National News

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Study: San Francisco’s women firefighters face high exposure to toxic ‘forever chemicals’

San Francisco’s women firefighters are exposed to higher levels of certain toxic PFAS chemicals than women working in downtown San Francisco offices, shows a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, San Francisco, and Silent Spring Institute. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are used in grease- and water-resistant coatings and can be found in fabrics, furniture and food packaging, but also notably in firefighting foam and turnout gear. These “forever chemicals,” which don’t easily break down in the environment, have been linked to a variety of cancers and are known to interfere with immune function, endocrine function and breast development. The study, which appears online today (Wednesday, Feb. 26) in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is one of the first published results from the Women Firefighter Biomonitoring Collaborative, a long-term investigation into the chemical exposures faced by women firefighters.
UC Berkeley

Volunteer firefighters to see training tweaks in Georgia Senate bill

The Georgia Senate passed legislation Tuesday aimed at loosening training requirements for volunteer fire departments in the state. Senate Bill 342 would create a council tasked with establishing training and certification rules for volunteer fire departments in Georgia that are separate from those required for full-time professional fire departments. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and heads to the Georgia House for consideration. Its sponsor, Sen. Burt Jones, said the measure’s intent is to loosen training requirements for volunteer firefighters. Currently, volunteers receive the same kind of stringent training that professional firefighters are required to take. Jones, R-Jackson, said tougher training may scare off qualified people interested in volunteering particularly in rural areas where volunteer firehouses are often critical to a community’s public safety readiness.
The Augusta Chronicle

FDNY Urged To Look At Segways To Shorten Response Times

Ambulances with flashing sirens trying to weave their way through congested city streets. Traffic poses challenges to EMTs rushing to treat patients. To improve response times, some EMTs in San Diego use scooters get around faster. City Councilman Joe Borelli wants the FDNY to test the scooter idea here in New York. "We know that minutes and seconds do matter and it's not always safe to wait for an ambulance who might be stuck in some traffic in gridlocked streets," Borelli said. Borelli says scooters would be especially useful in Manhattan where security bollards and barricades create additional obstacles for first responders. "Having these vehicles that can navigate those is just something that can make the FDNY response time to medical emergencies much quicker," Borelli noted.
Spectrum News NY1

Hunterdon firehouses are working together in a program that could be a model for others across New Jersey

Not only is somebody going to respond, but they are going to respond quickly. That’s how Deputy Chief of Quakertown Fire Company Brad Patkochis described the North Hunterdon Fire Alliance’s Squad 51 program, through which the communities of Quakertown (Franklin Township) as well as High Bridge, Lebanon, Clinton and Annandale are each serviced by the fire companies of all five towns. Through the program, between four and six firefighters from one of the five departments volunteer from 6 p.m. on Saturday through to 6 a.m. on Sunday on a rotational basis. If there is an emergency that occurs within that timeframe in any one of the five municipalities, firefighters from that town are dispatched to the scene in addition to the Squad 51 volunteers housed at a department in one of the four other neighboring municipalities.

A baby born, a life saved: Iowa fire department recognizes saves beyond fighting fires

VIDEO: It's easy to see and hear a firetruck when it's driving past but unless you are up close you might have missed a special marking. Small stickers line the doors of Davenport Fire Department trucks symbolizing an accomplishment achieved by the crew on board. "Those calls they go on, the saves they have or bringing a child into the world it's kinda a pride thing to recognize that they did something like that," Lt. Zach Soliz with Davenport Fire said. "It was very unique at the time and it's just a tradition that carried on since then." They have been handing out these stickers for over thirty years. A lightning bolt represents a crew saving someone using a defibrillator and a stork represents when a baby is delivered in the field.
WQAD-TV ABC 8 Moline

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

How a Fire Department in Virginia is Changing Active Shooter Response Worldwide

VIDEO: Dr. Reed Smith knows that when it comes to active shooter emergencies, seconds matter. That’s why the emergency room doctor, who also serves as the medical director of the Arlington County Fire Department, began studying hundreds of autopsies from victims of mass shootings years ago. With other medical researchers at George Washington University, he found as many as 15 percent of victims might have lived had they gotten care quickly. He says the desire to reach more victims, and sooner, helped spur a change in how Arlington fire and rescue prepares for incidents of mass violence. Now, instead of waiting for the all-clear from police before entering an active shooter scene -- a process that can take hours -- they work with law enforcement to try to reach the injured amid the violence.
WRC-TV NBC 4 Washington, D.C.

Illinois: One decade later, the legacy of fallen Homewood firefighter is better training for emergency response

Every year at the end of March, firefighters and the family of fallen firefighter Brian Carey meet at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery for a memorial service. It will be 10 years ago on March 30 when 28-year-old Carey, a rookie firefighter for the Homewood Fire Department, was killed after he rushed into a burning home in an effort to rescue a resident trapped inside. A lot went wrong that night in the way the situation was handled, acknowledged Homewood Fire Chief Bob Grabowski. He said there was no chance to save the resident, 87-year-old Wendell Elias, from the burning home by the time firefighters from multiple departments arrived, and Carey should have never been in there. A federal report would later blame “ineffective fire control tactics” among the factors that led to the death of Carey, who was the first firefighter to be killed in the line of duty in the Homewood Fire Department’s 109-year-old history.
Chicago Tribune - Metered Site

Bill Aims to Compensate Wyoming First Responders for ’Mental Injuries’

The Wyoming Senate spent nearly an hour discussing a bill that would affect the lives of first responders across the state on Monday, Feb. 24. SF 117 would allow first responders, law enforcement officers and search and rescue workers to apply for workers’ compensation if they receive a mental injury while performing official duty. A first responder is defined as anyone who is employed or volunteers as a firefighter or law enforcement or ambulance personnel. A mental injury is one experienced by a first responder and established by clear and convincing evidence, including a diagnosis by a licensed psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. Originally, the language in the bill required that the mental injuries would only be compensable if the first responder submitted to a psychological exam, but Sen. Tara Nethercott suggested an amendment during Monday’s floor session.
Oil City News

Cleveland council members concerned, no minorities in city fire cadet class

Some Cleveland city council members expressed their disappoint and concern after they said they learned there weren't any minority candidates in the upcoming city fire department cadet class. Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland told News 5 the current fire class applicants are made up of 42 white male candidates and no minorities, which is a violation of city guidelines, which require at least one out of every 10 candidates be a minority. Cleveland said she's wondering why the city civil service commission couldn't come up with even one African American, Hispanic, Asian or female candidate. “How many people did they have to go through, and they came up with 42 white males, it doesn’t add up,” Cleveland said. It’s disturbing that it doesn’t speak to this city, it doesn’t reflect the city and it’s problematic.”
WEWS-TV ABC 5 Cleveland

Firefighters in Texas Inspect Residential Homes for Fire Risks Through Program

Firefighters with Dallas Fire Rescue are doing more than just fighting fires. They’re also working on growing a free program that they're calling the ultimate form of fire prevention. It's called the Home Fire Safety Survey Program, where firefighters go into your home and look for all the things that could start a fire, as well as the hazards that would make it hard for you to get out. "I feel much better, especially in a whole house that's mostly wood," said Elaine Lantz, who lives in a neighborhood around the Bishop Arts District, an area mostly made up of older homes. We followed firefighters as they made a house call to Lantz' home. Checklist in hand, the fire safety agents will inspect practically every corner of your home, checking smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, space heaters, outlets, extension cords and even burglar bars. They have tools on hand to make fixes or install smoke alarms for you. The agents installed several smoke alarms for Lantz, as well as carbon monoxide detectors.
KXAS-TV NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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