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March 25, 2006

Firefighter Code of Ethics

Once in awhile it is inspiring to go back and read the IAFF Code of Ethics for fire personnel.

"As a firefighter and member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, my fundamental duty is to serve humanity; to safeguard and preserve life and property against the elements of fire and disaster; and maintain a proficiency in the art and science of fire engineering.

I will uphold the standards of my profession, continually search for new and improved methods and share my knowledge and skills with my contemporaries and descendants.

I will never allow personal feelings, nor danger to self, deter me from my responsibilities as a firefighter.

I will at all times, respect the property and rights of all men and women, the laws of my community and my country, and the chosen way of life of my fellow citizens.

I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the fire service. I will constantly strive to achieve the objectives and ideals, dedicating myself to my chosen profession--saving of life, fire prevention and fire suppression.

As a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, I accept this self-imposed and self-enforced obligation as my responsibility."

Firefighter Jobs

FiremenJobs.com looks to me to be one of the best firefighter job boards on the web. When you visit the site you are offered a firefighter job search box on the left hand side. Enter a search and it will return a couple of jobs for free.
The site offers a premium subscription option that looks to be fairly inexpensive at under $10 per month.
The site claims to have 643 active firefighter and EMS jobs listed as of Saturday March 25th 2006. I cannot vouch for the timeliness of the information on the site. I have no affiliation with the site owners.

March 21, 2006

Citizen Firefighter & Good Neighbor

Blog submission; firefighting story!

By Eugene Caruso
Arcata, CA

I was reading in my apartment when I heard a smoke alarm from the kitchen area. I entered the kitchen to find out why the smoke alarm had sounded. I continued hearing the smoke alarm as I followed the noise and determined it was from another apartment.

I checked the neighbor's door to determine if the door was hot and looked along the edges for smoke. I observed dark gray smoke bellowing from the edges of the door. I decided not to open the door or break it down instead using the door to secure a barrier to prevent the fire from spreading.
I immediately called 911. When it was clear my emergency call went through I returned into the other apartment and kicked in the door. I observed the room was filling with smoke and flames were on the back floor, wall and ceiling. I took a guess the resident (known only as Joe) of apartment 47A was not home. It was a lucky guess, he wasn't home. I put my head through the door and stepped into the apartment enough to observe nobody was home but without stepping completely in to search the apartment for victims.

I think if I had walked into his apartment completely I had a 50 - 50 chance of escaping the fire without injury. The fire was burning hot and spreading rapidly. I ran out and alerted other residents by shouting Fire! Run! Evacuate! I physically banged on doors and windows. After I felt I had alerted enough people and as they were leaving I fought the fire with a bucket and water. I hadn't remembered the exact location of the fire extinguisher, it was located near an area I don't often walk by.
Within a few minutes some residents arrived with fire extinguishers and handed me an extinguisher and we fought the fire to put it out and to keep it contained in that apartment with hopes of preventing it from spreading. I think the buckets of water helped significantly until the fire extinguishers were located by other neighbors. When the extinguishers were emptied I resumed fighting the fire with a bucket until the sheriff arrived.
The sheriff deputy evacuated the apartment building and told me to leave after asking me if there were any people inside the apartment.
Before I left I observed the firefighters still had hoses on the ground and personnel were looking for a hydrant. I gave them my account of the incident and told them I didn't see anybody from a partial look around and had not gone into the burning apartment completely to look. I was treated for a minor cut.
I believe I assisted the Arcata Volunteer Fire Department in fighting that fire and acted soundly to contain it and prevent it from spreading.

I would describe apartment 47a as eccentric, maybe cluttered. I observed the apartment interior on ocassion as filled with storage bins and shelves full of glass ware and tables full of pots and pans. It was not really messy but it was clear he used hobo like camping gear inside and kept everything on shelves and in bins.
I remember on one visit seeing a mattress and blankets on the floor without a bed frame and headboard. When the fire was burning that is the location where the greatest concentration of flames was located.
That night my view inside was partially obscured by the stacked bins and shelves of empty glass jars and other clutter. The mattress was low on the ground and the room was dark, with smoke and window blinds drawn. The fire and light from the kitchen provided the only means to see into that area. I heard no one and observed no one. It was silent except for the smoke alarm and the sound of bellowing flames. I believed I had to act right away to warn neighbors of the spreading apartment fire.
I only presumed Joe was not home at the time and it was a lucky guess. I really was concerned about escape time and to spend to much time in that burning apartment could have been a mistake. I thought the best move at that point was to warn my neighbors.

March 14, 2006

Texas Fires Rising Toll

".... four oilfield workers apparently died Sunday, said Newell Rankin, the range foreman of the Roberts County ranch where the bodies were found. Rankin said it appeared the men drove off a gravel road and into a ravine, where they abandoned the car and tried to flee.

Their bodies were found within 50 yards of the car.

"In a last act of desperation you just run for your life, literally," Rankin said. "It's a shocking thing, the loss of life."

Carla Everett, a spokeswoman for the Texas Animal Health Commission, said about 10,000 cattle and horses were believed killed.

"I think it's going to be absolutely devastating once we get out there and look," said Gene Hall, the Texas Farm Bureau spokesman.

Rankin said most of his 1,300-acre ranch was burned, and he was trying to account for his 750 head of cattle. He found 12 dead and had to shoot another. About 500 were back in their pens, and firefighters managed to save his home, Rankin said....." More at USA Today

** We're not hearing much from the National media which is a real shame. Major TV media outlets offer a glance but for some reason they are more fascinated with aging true crime cases having to do with dead or missing women in New York or Aruba. As sad as those cases are we have some real heroes performing great deeds on the Texas prarie protecting their communities. Some of us are watching.

March 13, 2006

Deadly Texas Wildfires; Entire Towns Threatened

GROOM, Texas - "Massive wildfires raced across the Texas Panhandle and South Plains early Monday, burning more than half a million acres, leaving at least seven people dead and injuring at least seven more...." More from Yahoo News here.

ABC News reports. "In southeastern New Mexico, 100,000 acres of tinder-dry grass and brush had burned by Monday morning, forcing the evacuation of up to 200 people in two communities, authorities said. Flames damaged a post office and several other buildings in McDonald, officials said. One person suffered burns..."

KGBT 4 TV Harlington Texas reports. "This is probably one of the biggest fire days in Texas history," said Warren Bielenberg, a spokesman for the Texas Forest Service.

Rachael Novier, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, said 11 fires were still burning Monday morning over roughly 530,000 acres. In the past 24 hours, the state has responded to 162 fires and evacuated about 1,900 people in Carson, Childress, Gray, Hartley, Hutchinson, Moore and Wheeler counties, she said.

The state has deployed 25 air tankers, 47 bulldozer crews and 11 fire engines, Novier said.

"This has been a very deadly wildfire season, but Texas communities have shown strength, and we're going to continue fighting these fires from the ground and from the air," Novier said. "The men and women fighting these fires ... have shown extraordinary bravery, and we certainly owe them a debt of gratitude."

Pampa Texas wildfire photo

March 05, 2006

Jacksonville F.D. Incident Update

I blogged here about the racial incident within the Jacksonville Fire Dept.

Update is reported here

You Can't Top This

Firefighter goes beyond the call of duty

"Saving lives is in a firefighter's job description. Seth Wells figured he would just go about it in a different way.

The 27-year-old civilian firefighter at Vandenberg Air Force Base returned home this weekend from Boston after donating his kidney to a fellow firefighter he had briefly met.

Wells gave a kidney to Walter Stecchi, 45, who worked at Vandenberg in the 1980s and is currently an assistant chief at Otis Air Force Base, Mass.

Stecchi's kidneys had been going downhill for nearly 20 years and his body had already rejected a kidney from his father. Stecchi was on dialysis when his firefighters union sent a letter to other bases requesting donors. Wells immediately stepped forward, something Stecchi wasn't expecting.

Wells first met Stecchi when he flew to Boston in September to undergo testing. He met him a second time last week, before surgeons performed the surgery.

The transplant was an immediate success and the effect was like night and day, according to both men. After leaving the hospital, Wells and his family spent the week at Stecchi's home before returning to the Central Coast Friday night........"

More at Lompoc Record

Battalion Chief Robert Schnibbe, 57

A life given in duty.

Daily News reports:

" NEW YORK (AP) _ A Westchester County firefighter died after suffering a heart attack while responding to a fire Friday.

Battalion Chief Robert Schnibbe Jr., 57, of the Hastings-on-Hudson Fire Department, suffered the attack while directing firefighters at a house under construction in Irvington, the department said. "Chief Schnibbe was one of the most widely known and respected fire officials in Westchester County and throughout the State," the department said in a statement.

Schnibbe had served in his department for 39 years and was chief officer from 1977 to 2001."

March 01, 2006

IAFF History Online

Very nice website, IAFF history online.

Read it and pass it along!