October 24, 2004
A day in the life of a firefighter
Published by news-press.com on October 24, 2004
The food is cold by the time they get back, a minor inconvenience when they have calls to respond to. They use the microwave a lot here.
After dinner, they swap stories about some of the calls, how hard they can be to witness.
Some of them responded last April to a brutal murder-suicide. A man had strangled his girlfriend then stabbed himself, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
Weiss remembers a recent incident well. A man was careless with a gun and put a bullet through his hand, Weiss said.
Ott calls them the indelible images that firefighters have to live with.
"We deal with mental stress on this job," he said. "I love what I do, but it can be tough."
They responded to five calls this day, more than the slowest days, where nothing happens in the central and southeast regions of Bonita, the primary areas covered by Fire Station One.
Last year, the Bonita Springs Fire District responded to 4,513 calls, or about 12 per day.
The firefighters and paramedics expect one to come in, as.........
October 23, 2004
Ann Coulter takes aim!
October 20, 2004
Firefighter Job......in Iraq
Support the U.S. Military in Iraq
Annual salaries starting at $90,000
Wackenhut Services, LLC. is currently accepting applications for professional fire fighters (ranks of Fire Fighter, Lieutenant, Captain, and Training Officer) for immediate employment in Iraq. Primary duty will be on secure military bases. Minimum one year contract. Must be U.S. citizen. Annual salaries starting at $90,000. Excellent benefits. Complete uniform and full turn out gear issue.
Minimum requirements for all Positions:
DOD, IFSAC or NFPA certification at:
Fire Fighter Level 1 and Level 2
EMT Certification or Medical First Responder training
Hazardous Materials Technician Certification
Minimum 3 years fire fighting experience (career or voluntary)
Former Military Fire Fighters
Additional Requirements: Valid driver's license
Valid passport by scheduled departure date
Background investigation, pre-employment drug screening, and physical agility tests are conducted. Will be subject to post offer physicals and respiratory use approval.
Please submit all resumes and or questions electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
October 19, 2004
California Fire Season OVER!!
TUESDAY OCTOBER 19 2004 - 0530 MDT
NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS LEVEL 1
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA
Geographic Area Weather
Cloudy with rain, heavy at times, turning to snow over the mountains
overnight over Central California. Cloudy with showers turning to rain
overnight, heavy at times, over Southern California.
40 to 55 mountains.
55 to 70 valleys.
55 to 70 upper deserts.
70 to 80 lower deserts.
Minimum Relative Humidity
60 to 80%.
October 18, 2004
October 16, 2004
Fire burning in Yosemite in mid October?
INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SITUATION REPORT
SATURDAY OCTOBER 16, 2004 - 0800 MDT
NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS LEVEL 1
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA LARGE FIRES:
HETCHY, Yosemite National Park. This fire is 16 miles northwest of
Yosemite Village, CA in brush and timber. Running, spotting, and
isolated torching were observed.
INCIDENT |ST|UNIT| SIZE | % | EST |TOTAL|CRW|ENG|HELI|STRC| $$$
NAME | | | |CTN| CTN |PERS | | | |LOSS|C-T-D
HETCHY |CA| YNP| 1500| 0|10/30| 64| 2| 0| 3| 0| 25K
October 13, 2004
Fire season still on in California
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 13, 2004 - 0530 MDT
NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS LEVEL 1
Initial attack activity was light nationally with 128 new fires
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA LARGE FIRES:
RUMSEY, California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CDF),
Sonoma-Lake Napa Unit. A CDF Type 1 Incident Management Team (Streblow)
assigned. This fire is 18 miles south of Williams, CA in brush. Poor
accessibility and strong winds have hampered suppression efforts.
Wind-driven fire behavior on the southwest flank was observed.
POWER, Eldorado National Forest. A transfer of command from a Type 2
Incident Management Team (Wendt) is assigned. This fire is 28 miles
southeast of Pollock Pines, CA in brush and timber. Increased fire
activity resulted from strong winds over the fire area and spotting
throughout the night.
INCIDENT |ST|UNIT| SIZE | % | EST |TOTAL|CRW|ENG|HELI|STRC| $$$
NAME | | | |CTN| CTN |PERS | | | |LOSS|C-T-D
RUMSEY |CA| LNU| 29695| 5|10/16| 1222| 41| 69| 14| 1| 950K
POWER |CA| ENF| 475| 50|10/19| 408| 6| 15| 0| 0| 2.8M
Red Flag Warning: For Eureka, Sacramento, and Monterey areas through
midday Wednesday for moderate or stronger northeast to east winds, low
relative humidity levels, and generally poor relative humidity recovery
for mid-slope and above.
Go get em CDF!
Firefighters accounts of Fl. hurricane devastation
By Esther Avila, The Porterville Recorder
Two local firemen recently returned from Florida with a first-hand account of the aftermath of the four hurricanes that left Florida with billions of dollars in damage.
"The destruction was beyond description. Houses were totally destroyed and debris was everywhere," said Clyde Tillery, who is a fireman with the Porterville Fire Department. "Houses were ripped apart - like a tornado had gone through them."
Tillery and his friend James Lawson talked of the devastation they witnessed - from the four lane highways they saw littered with boats and houses to a big rig they saw on a bridge - it's rear trailer still on the bridge while the front trailer and tractor cab were submerged under water.
They also saw sailboats up in trees and talked of a mobile home park in Blountstown where four people were killed after the trailer they were in was picked up and slammed down. The insurance industry estimated insured losses at $20.2 billion for the four hurricanes.
"It's an experience I'll never forget," Tillery said. "I wish I could do more. I had never seen anything like it. It makes you appreciate what you have here."
Lawson said he was amazed by what he saw when he drove by a forest of trees.
"It was such a natural phenomenon to see one or two trees completely knocked down and other trees, right next to them, still standing. It was so weird," Lawson said.
Tillery and Lawson are local instructors for the Community Emergency Response Team of Tulare and Kings County. They were recruited through the Department of Homeland Security's Citizen Corps and FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency - and then deployed to Florida as Community Relations Officers during Hurricane Frances.
"I didn't know what to expect," Tillery said. "I had never been to Florida. Then when we got there they told us that they had two more (hurricanes) coming our way."
The two firemen joined thousands of other volunteers and were assigned to a logistics command post in Atlanta.
When the men arrived, Hurricane Frances was passing through Atlanta and Hurricane Ivan was not far behind.
"We were told we had to stay at a safe distance until it passed," Tillery said. "So we stayed there for five days."
As the first hurricane passed, Tillery and Lawson had a six-hour window to get to Jacksonville, Fla., before the next hurricane hit.
After running a command post for four to five days, the two men left for Atlantic City where teams of two were formed and sent to rural towns to check for structural damage.
"We checked with the fire chief of each town," Tillery said. "That is when we started seeing the devastation. They were pretty much on their own. They didn't have any help."
Because of the hurricanes, the fire departments could not function in every town. In one town, there was no way to fuel the trucks and the fire chief was personally driving 200 or more miles a day to get ice and water for the town.
The fire department in Baker needed a power generator.
"It was hard for me as a firefighter to hear the needs and not be able to do anything about it," Lawson said. "It was a different experience."
The two inspected structural damage to homes and businesses in each town and then filled out forms and reported back to their headquarters.
"That way they have an idea of what kind of structure damage was done and what resources were needed," Tillery said. "I felt helpless looking at the devastation. I'm used to being a first-responder - not being in the middle of everything. Now I can say I have seen the other side."
Lawson said their basic job was to get a telephone-assistant number out to the public.
"Everywhere we went, they kept asking 'What do we do now?'" Lawson said. "They would see us and were so thankful and really happy to see us. They all had similar stories of hearing the winds and seeing the trees."
It was the first time in the history of FEMA that they had such a massive call for disaster response volunteers, Lawson said.
Ken Iiams, American Red Cross director of Emergency Services for the Tulare-Kings chapter, said they currently have 4,347 nationwide members assigned to hurricane relief.
"This is the largest disaster-relief effort that the Red Cross has ever been involved in," Iiams said. "From Aug. 1 to present, we have had 9,023 relief workers in Florida."
Tillery and Lawson returned on Sept. 22 with an appreciation for the power of hurricanes and a willingness to help out in the future.
"In situations like that, people get in a daze and don't know what they can do to help themselves," Lawson said. "If I had a chance to go again, I'd go."
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, ext. 1051, or email@example.com
October 07, 2004
Kids killed by fire, no working smoke detector
Associated Press (October 5, 2004)
DENNIS, Mass. (AP) - A couple and their three children died in a house fire that could have been burning for an hour before a neighbor called authorities.
A neighbor called authorities after noticing ``a huge glow'' from the fire in a two-story, wood-frame duplex, acting Dennis Fire Chief John Donlan said. Firefighters in the Cape Cod town were unable to immediately enter the duplex because of flames and because a portion of the roof collapsed.
Smoke detectors apparently had not been working, said Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Fire Services. The other side of the duplex was not occupied.
Several media outlets, citing friends and family, identified the victims as Cherie White, 24; Ronald Mero, 29; Nathan Mero, 2; Jordan Mero, 9, Ronald Mero's son from another relationship; and Destiny Becotte, 5, White's daughter from another relationship.
October 06, 2004
Fallen Firefighter Daniel Holmes
Find the tribute here.
No one listening to San Diego Fire Chief!
Tue Oct 5, 8:45 PM ET
Local - San Diego Daily Transcript
Nearly a year after the Cedar wildfires destroyed about 2,200 homes in San Diego County, the region remains susceptible to another massive conflagration, according to California fire chiefs who are both "confused" and "disappointed" by state Legislators' lack of action.
Speaking at a meeting held by the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security on Tuesday, a panel of fire chiefs from around the state presented a bleak assessment of the region's firefighting advances.
Jeff Bowman, fire chief of the city of San Diego, said, "This entire group of people at this table is utterly frustrated."
In short, none of the fire chiefs were impressed with what's been done over the past year.
William McCammon, past president of the California Fire Chiefs Association, said, "We are poised for the same situation. All we need is wind and an ignition source, and we can be in the place we were last year."
The fires that raged across six counties in Southern California -- including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Diego, Riverside and Orange -- destroyed 3,631 homes and burned 739,597 acres of land.
Following the fire, former-Gov. Gray Davis (news - web sites) called for the formation of the Blue Ribbon Fire Commission to study successes and failures of the firefighting effort.
The committee submitted 48 recommendations on ways to improve the firefighting capabilities for the state that ranged from purchasing more equipment to clearing more dead brush and other ignition materials from forests.
William Bamattre, fire chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said that just three of the recommendations have been completed, 19 are being worked on and 26 have seen little or no progress.
One specific point of frustration: Four out of five commission recommendations that resulted in amendments proposed and approved by the state Legislature were subsequently vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (news - web sites).
The only piece of legislation that passed was authored by Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, and requires all cities in high-fire zones to submit safety elements for review by the state.
The four failed bills would have allowed easier access to aircrafts for disaster response; required the state Fire Marshal to compile response time and staffing level information from local response services; rework the safety element requirements for high fire hazard severity zones; and require the Governor's Office of Emergency Service to acquire 150 additional fire engines.
Addressing the vetoes, Bowman said the ruling was "confusing" because the proposals had the support of the Blue Ribbon Committee.
Bowman also noted that Schwarzenegger has had no communication with the fire chiefs regarding his dissatisfaction with the amendments. Bowman suggested a face-to-face meeting to discuss the importance of taking action quickly.
"How can we work on fire issues in California if we are being ignored," he said.
October 05, 2004
Alice Wilson; Firefighter
Posted on Tue, Oct. 05, 2004
Alice Joy Wilson has logged 22 years as a Parrish volunteer
Herald Staff Writer
PARRISH - Perhaps one of Parrish's most cherished legacies is that of the town's volunteer fire department, whose members banded together about 25 years ago.
While there are still 22 volunteers and only four career firefighters in the Parrish Fire District, some believe within the next decade many volunteer firefighters will be replaced because of increasingly strict insurance and state regulations.
When that happens, 22-year veteran Alice Joy Wilson, along with 25-year veteran Wayne Ownby and 13-year veteran Ed Chitty, will be known as the last of the original Parrish volunteers.
Longevity will embellish any career, but Wilson's gruff laugh, her firehouse nicknames "Mother" and "AJ," her ability to drive any of the department's 10 trucks, including engine, tanker, brush trucks and the new Carolina skiff rescue boat and her feats of courage on rescues have made her reputation.
At 59, when many of her friends are grandmothers, Wilson is still whipping on 50 pounds of fire gear and running out on calls.
"I don't sew, don't knit, don't bake, don't golf and don't do crafts," Wilson said. "This is my home away from home. These people are my family. This and 4-H is all I do."
Wilson raised her daughter, Wendy, through local 4-H Club activities and life at the fire department. Wilson and her daughter were part of Quality Beef Club for many years, and Wilson still announces the steer, heifer, showmanship and other livestock shows at the Manatee County Fair.
In the old days, Wilson would put Wendy in the fire truck on a call, and Wendy knew her job was just to stay still.
"Those days are gone," Wilson said. "You can't take a child on call anymore. Gosh, I remember one time when we worked a car crash and came back to the station at 5 a.m. and had a structure fire. Wendy was with me through it all, and finally Chief Glenn Cooley's wife took Wendy home."
Wilson's friends say there is no one quite like her.
"She is always willing to help anyone out," said Bradenton's Sandra Rawls, who has known Wilson for 40 years. "She's tough, but she's also got a marshmallow heart."
Wilson's nickname, Mother, came about mainly because she watches over the station like a mama eagle.
"AJ definitely speaks her mind," said volunteer firefighter Sawyer Ramsey. "She has all kinds of knowledge and gives tips. After a call we always debrief, and no one does that better than AJ."
A common mistake many new volunteers make is to want to show off their equipment and gear, Wilson said.
"The heat can get to them," Wilson said. "I'm always fussing at them to stay cool. I always preach safety. That's why they call me Mother."
Wilson worked for years in 4-H, helping kids find steers, working as an assistant club leader, Rawls said. "She was the leader of the 4-H exchange clubs and one year chaperoned a group to Tennessee," Rawls said.
Wilson tried to work in a nursing home once, but failed.
"I couldn't stand hearing people say, 'My daughter is coming next week' when they haven't been there in six years," Wilson said. "I just can't take that. Now, give me an emergency room. I can handle that."
Rawls said most people don't know that Wilson has been through triple bypass open heart surgery and diabetes herself.
Wilson left her hometown of Pahokee in 1974 and moved to Parrish, where she worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 18 years, the first five in the brucellas program and the last 13 as a crop reporter, amassing information from area farms on tomatoes, peppers, corn, cucumbers and other crops for the state.
Wilson was laid off in 2001 when the state ended its crop reporting program. She has no retirement or insurance benefits.
But her troubles haven't made her bitter or depressed. She considers herself a volunteer, someone special.
"When we go out on parades and I see people wave in appreciation, tears start rolling down my face," Wilson said. "The fire trucks make people happy. Someone has got to do this and it's us."
Wilson once raced into a flooded ditch to save a motorist and ended up sinking to the bottom. She had to grab onto the car to keep from drowning before fellow firefighters tossed her a lifeline and pulled her out.
While giving CPR to a heart attack victim on State Road 62, Wilson was kneeling so long on rocks that blood from her knees soaked through her bunker gear.
"We are cut out to be able to go to an accident scene and find a body," Wilson said. "We have a safe place to put that in our minds where we can separate it from everyday life. A family member can't. That's why we have to do it."
Wilson often helps with dispatch and knows every nook and cranny of the Parrish area.
She has saved many lives through CPR and fire rescue, but says she is proudest of her actions when she couldn't save a life.
"I've held so many hands," Wilson said. "We would call the preacher and take care of their kids. We would take over food or drive an extra car to the hospital. There were not so many people in Parrish then and we could do all that. We can't do things like that as much now."
Wilson and her volunteer mates are also among the last departments to pray over the deceased.
Rookie volunteer firefighters, many young men barely in their 20s, are at first intimidated by the sight of Wilson barking out commands, said fellow volunteer Sawyer Ramsey.
"The kids come right out of school and say to themselves, 'I'm a fireman,' " Ramsey said. "Then they see this woman who could be their grandmother driving a tanker and fighting structure fires and they don't know what to think anymore. They can't imagine a grandmother on a truck."
Ramsey said Wilson's biggest contribution is providing an institutional memory for the younger volunteers.
"AJ is one of the last of the old Parrish firefighters," Ramsey said. "The young guys don't have any idea of the history here. She helps us maintain that. They listen to her stories. Having her gives the younger guys a buy-in to the station. If you know the history, it will mean more to you."
ALICE JOY WILSON
• AGE: 59
October 04, 2004
Ladder 49 review
Frank tells me the movie portrays the profession fairly, has a decent story line, and casts firefighters as heroes. Frank is in a position to know.
I had reservations about this movie but Franks review settled my apprehenions.
October 02, 2004
October 01, 2004
Careful with your candles
Quincy, MA - New data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that candles are becoming an increasingly prevalent cause of home fires. Candles started fires in 18,000 homes in 2001, a 15 percent rise from 2000, and more than triple the number in 1990.
After declining from 1980 to 1990, candle-related home fires started increasing in 1991, and since 1995, each year has seen a new high in the number of fires blamed on candles. In 2001, candle fires in the home were responsible for an estimated 190 civilian deaths, 1,450 civilian injuries and $265 million in property damage.
What underlies this devastation? First, candles have become more popular: According to the National Candle Association, seven out of 10 households use candles. Second, many people don't realize how quickly something can go wrong, and don't know the rules for safe candle use. One-third of these fires occurred after candles were left unattended, abandoned or inadequately controlled. One-quarter occurred when combustible material came too close to the flame. And 6 percent were started by people-usually children-playing with the candle.
Another important factor may be poverty. As many as one-third of people killed in candle fires were using them for light because their power had been shut off.
Even as candle-caused fires increase, the number of home fires is dropping. So the proportion of home fires related to candles has been growing, according to the NFPA study. In 2001, candle fires accounted for 4.7 percent of home fires, compared with 1.1 percent in the early 1980s.
Four out of 10 candle fires start in the bedroom, and one in six start in common rooms, living rooms, family rooms or dens. Nearly half the people killed by candle fires in the home were younger than 20; children ages 5 to 9 accounted for a disproportionate share of the victims, with a candle-fire death rate 2.5 times higher than the general population.
Candle fires are most common in December, perhaps because candles are frequently a part of holiday decorating and rituals. Eleven percent of the candle fires in December started when decorations were ignited.
The NFPA offers these tips for safe candle use:
Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
Keep candles away from things that can catch fire, such as clothing, books, paper, curtains, Christmas trees, or decorations.
Place candles on stable furniture in sturdy holders that won't tip over and that are big enough to collect dripping wax.
Don't place lit candles in windows, where they may ignite blinds or curtains.
Place candles only in areas where they won't be knocked over by children or pets.
Extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get within two inches of the holder or decorative material. Extinguish votive and filled candles before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.
Avoid candles with combustible materials embedded in them, or with holders or decorations that could ignite.
Don't allow children or teens to have candles in their bedrooms.