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December 25, 2006

Department Profile; Hsinchu City, Taiwan

Fire Bureau for the Silicon Valley of Taiwan.
Wikipedia, about Hsinchu City.
Hsinchu City Bureau of Fire website.
2006 fire statistics.

December 24, 2006

Terror Alert Blogs; We Should Read Them

Two good ones, Political Beach Girl, and Noisy Room Blog but there are dozens of blogs and websites that are serving notice of the intentions of radical Islam in the U.S.A and Western Europe.
What does this have to do with firefighting? First responders are front line fighters on the home front when these cretins unleash their evil.

Sorry for such a downer on Christmas eve.!

December 23, 2006

Christmas FDNY Style

NYTimes (reg. req. {sorry}) sent a reporter to a few firehouses in NYC this Christmas season and found holiday spirit.

"Most firehouses drag out their lights and bows in preparation for a holiday party every year, a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when the firefighters — overwhelmingly Christians, although some firehouses examined last week displayed menorahs and one featured an oversize dreidel — and their families gather and exchange gifts. The number of young firefighters in the department has grown after the wave of post-Sept. 11 retirements, and so have the numbers of young children. It is not unusual for 50 youngsters to attend a party.

“The job is so young now,” said Firefighter Joseph Sherry, 39. “There are lots of little kids.”

At an appointed time during most every firehouse party, a dispatcher announces over the loudspeakers that a big man in a red suit has been spotted flying over the area in a sleigh. At Engine Company 39 and Ladder Company 16 on the Upper East Side, Santa Claus emerges from a window above the firehouse and walks down the ladder of a fire truck. At Engine Company 163 and Ladder Company 83 on Staten Island, he slides down a fire pole as children cheer below...."

Merry Christmas Firebloggers! God Bless America.

December 17, 2006

LAFD Chief Bamattre

LAFD Museum and Memorial blog remarks on the retirement of Fire Chief William Bamattre. Chief Bamattre retired due to circumstances surrounding a firehouse prank involving an African American firefighter who was fed dog food by fellow crew members.

Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa commented on Chief Bamattre's departure;

"New leadership will help set a new tone and extinguish the incendiary practices of hazing and harassment that have plagued the department for some time,"

Villaraigosa is a touchy feely, PC embracing girly man liberal but he may have a point here.

Pranks and rough jokes are part of the job. Practical jokes act as bonding rituals. I don't know the circumstances surrounding the dog food prank but it appears a line was crossed even though the complaining firefighter was (according to the Argonaut piece) was a prankster as well.

Firefighter Tennie Pierce may have had a right to complain and he did not deserve continued harassment after doing so. Pierce left the department as a result of the harassment.

So Chief Bamattre quit, not because the incident was his fault but because the fire service has changed. It's more a profession today than it was when his career began.

I hope the Chief enjoys his retirement. He will be remembered as one of the finest administrators in the department's history.

December 12, 2006

Circuit City Introducing Firedog With a Contest


"To kick off firedog Across America, firedog and Circuit City presented $100,000 donations to both the FDNY Foundation, which supports New York City Fire Department initiatives, and the National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children's Foundation for its efforts in helping children of law enforcement and firefighting personnel. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York City Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta were on hand to receive the donations."

How Firedog's contest works; (information from their contest site)

Write a personal story about how a local firehouse has demonstrated service to your community (see samples here). If your story is chosen as one of 10 finalists, you will receive a $10,000 home “techover” from firedog and your fire station will receive a $20,000 donation.

Once the 10 finalist firehouses have been chosen, the stories will be posted on firedog.com and America will vote for their favorite.
All of the finalist firehouses win. For every vote cast for a finalist firehouse, that finalist firehouse will receive a $1.00 donation (total donations based on voting for all 10 firehouses not to exceed $250,000). After 16 days, the station with the most votes will be the national grand-prize winner and receive an additional $100,000 donation!

December 08, 2006

Australia Fire Season Begins; Koalas Early Victims

The Aussie fire season is underway and unfortunately one area hit hard is a Koala preserve.
Reuters reports;

"CANBERRA, Australia (Reuters) -- Bushfires may have wiped out one of the last remaining outposts of healthy Australian koalas, scientists and animal rescue experts said on Monday.

Park rangers and specialist rescue teams from Sydney's Taronga Zoo have been searching for two days for surviving koalas in a vast tract of bushland in which wildfires have been burning uncontrolled for more than two days.

"The fear is that koalas can't really move fast along the ground to get away from the fires and unfortunately many probably will have been killed," a Taronga Zoo said.

The fires are burning in the Pilliga scrub nature reserve, 350 kilometers (217 miles) northwest of Sydney, which is home to one of Australia's most genetically diverse koala colonies.

"The Pilliga scrub contains thousands of koalas and is one of the healthiest colonies in genetic terms," the zoo spokeswoman said. "The hope is that some will have been able to break across firebreaks."