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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Political stories from The Roanoke Times-Republicans pick up key endorsements

Mark McConnel, one of the three endorsed candidates of the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association (RFFA) is a Republican. Recently he has gained momentum in his quest for Roanoke City Council. The article below speaks of recent endorsements including RFFA Local 1132. The other two endorsed candidates from the RFFA are David Bowers and Granger Macfarlane, both Democrats.

Political stories from The Roanoke Times-Republicans pick up key endorsements:
Republicans pick up key endorsements

By Todd Jackson

Mark McConnel, a Republican candidate for Roanoke City Council, picked up two endorsements late this week, one from the Roanoke Firefighters Association and another from former Democratic council candidate Evelyn Bethel.

The firefighters' group became the first politically active city group to split its city council endorsements this year between the two political parties, asking voters to use their three votes on Tuesday to support McConnel and Democrats David Bowers and Granger Macfarlane.

On Friday morning, Bethel, a former Democratic council candidate who had to drop out of this year's race because of an unexpected health problem, announced that she's supporting McConnel and his Republican running mate, Stuart Revercomb. Bethel said it's the first time she's ever endorsed any Republican, but she said she felt compelled to this year because she believes McConnel and Revercomb are clearly the best candidates in the race.

The firefighters group, one of the most influential groups of its kind over the years, believes the election will be a deciding event in city history. Association President Rodney Jordan said the election will decide whether the city has a government that dictates to the citizens or one in which people have a say through their elected officials.(Read More)

Roanoke Blogging Group

Today, the area bloggers met up for the first time. At least some of us did. We hope to catch up to a lot more next time. Needless to say, it was a good time. The people who attended our first meeting, held at De Expresso, were Keith and his wife (Just another day in Roanoke), Elena (Ms. Elenaeous), Andrew (Technology Futures), ATL (Lotzothoughts), Pam (HallsofBlueRidge), and of course yours truly. It was an interesting group of people of all walks of life. The blogs represented were from across the board. The one who surprised me was Andrew (Technology Futures) who is from Blacksburg. He joined us, although I had not heard of him. I had seen his blog from the Roanoke.Com Blogroll (scroll to the bottom), but we hadn't crossed paths.

After our initial introduction, we talked about all sorts of things. From restaurants to WiFi, from politics to past-times. The interesting thing is that not one of us was born in Roanoke, and only one of us was raised in Roanoke. All of us were born North of Virginia, and none of us live in the City Limits currently. However all of us hold downtown Roanoke near and dear to our hearts. Most of us are from bigger Cities, and know what possibilities lie ahead for Roanoke. We all feel we know what Roanoke is missing, and what opportunities have been taken and passed on in developing the downtown area.

It was definitely interesting meeting up with so many strong personalities at one time. Each of us has our purpose in blogging, some broader than others. Some of us run more than one blog. For instance, I have my family blog which I may not update as much as I should.

There are certainly some other bloggers from the area that I would love to meet. I will not name names, but they are in my Links on the right under Roanoke Area Blogs. Some of the area blogs are very intriguing.

To a point, if you were to take all of the Roanoke area blogs together, you will find better, more interesting, and more in depth thought than you might read in the paper or hear on the news. I am not saying that we could take the place of them, because they are the ones who report initially, and have the ability to do so. What I am saying is that many area bloggers can take a story and really showcase it. Take for instance a fire. The Roanoke Times or one of the News Channels may have someone on hand pretty quick, but I can give more of a story line with more pictures and explain certain details that a reporter may not be educated on. Of course I couldn't report a lot of the pictures and details without feedback of my co-workers for which this site is named.

The meeting went well, and we are planning another one soon, so if any of you would like to be incorporated next time, let us know. We will probably be sending out invitations as well, so you know about it for sure, but an invite will not be required to participate.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Just another day in Roanoke

If there are any other blog authors out there who would like to meet up, come on down. There is a group of local bloggers, me included, who are getting together tomorrow for the first time. The individuals involved run the whole gamat of blog types. From what I understand there has been a meeting of the Floyd area bloggers already. So even if you want to learn about blogging, or want to meet one of the local bloggers, come on down. It should be fun.

Just another day in Roanoke:
An open invitation:
Well, you wanted an open call, hows this for an open call?

This is an open invitation to come down and meet the Bloggers, Saturday April 29th, between 3-5pm at De Espresso on Jefferson St. downtown.

Confirmed: RoanokeFound (moi)
Roanoke Firefighters
Ms. Elenaeous

And many more..

Just a reminder that De Espresso is WiFi-friendly, so bring your laptops. With any luck - we will be running a live blog of the event. Possible AudioBlog posts as well. And (blackmail) photos for sure.

Remember to bring a couple of bucks for the coffeeman, and your sense of fun.

This could be the first in a series of get-togethers, so if you miss this one, you have only yourself to blame.

That is all...

Alleged EMT Grade-Changing Under Investigation at Ohio Fire Academy — Emergency Medical Services (

So the fix is in. Who wants this kind of liability. Read on.

Alleged EMT Grade-Changing Under Investigation at Ohio Fire Academy — Emergency Medical Services (
Alleged EMT Grade-Changing Under Investigation at Ohio Fire Academy

Story by

A state investigation is under way into alleged grade-changing at the Ohio State Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg. It's raising questions about public safety and whether the people providing the public with emergency medical care have been properly certified.

The following is a transcript of Nancy Burton's report, shown on NBC 4 at 11 p.m. on April 27, 2006.

Nancy Burton: If 70 is passing, you can see from this report obtained by NBC 4 more than half the students who took the EMT exam at the State Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg last December failed the final exam. Anything below 70 percent means students are not permitted to sit for the national registry exam, which they must also pass to become certified emergency medical technicians.(Read More)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Safety Group Challenges Unhealthy Firehouse Lifestyles - News

This is a topic which has become more important to me recently. As I have realized that sitting around all day eating with little or no activity is not a good thing. Therefore, I have begun working out when I find the time. This usually consists of going to the downtown YMCA to do lift some weights and run on the treadmill. I have bought a trainer for my bike at work which I try to get some use out of here and there. In my department, only a couple of stations have state of the art (translation - usable) equipment. My station is not one of them. From what I have heard, we are waiting on grant money for more equipment and my station is next in line. Some of our stations have pretty decent equipment. It is good to see the department making a conserted effort to help us.

The idea of a workout regiment or exercise policy would probably scare the hell out of a lot of firemen. Anytime you tell firemen that they have to do something they are not going to like it. However, if you incorporate a reward system you will gain many supporters.

Safety Group Challenges Unhealthy Firehouse Lifestyles - News:
North Jersey Media Group :: The Record

For firefighters, it's a fact of life -- and death.

Every year in the United States, about 100 firefighters die in the line of duty, but most aren't killed by smoke, flames or collapsing buildings.

They die from heart attacks.

In New Jersey, 80 percent of firefighter deaths since 2004 have been linked to heart attacks.

Dashing into a burning building and up six flights of stairs lugging 60 pounds of gear is a severe test for even a young firefighter in top condition. But for an older firefighter who is out of shape and hasn't seen a doctor in years, that dash up the stairs could be the ticket to an early death.

Despite the danger, recent studies have shown that fire departments in New Jersey do little to promote health and fitness among members. Few require annual physicals -- firefighters cite prohibitive costs and fears that poor results could thwart careers -- or offer even simple fitness equipment like treadmills and weights.

"For a firefighter, there is enormous stress on the heart," said Maggie Wilson, health and safety coordinator for the National Volunteer Fire Council, a Washington, D.C., lobbying group. "It's 2:30 in the morning and the firefighter is fast asleep when the alarm goes off. He goes from being in a deep sleep to rushing off to fight a fire. That requires a tremendous surge of adrenaline. If a firefighter's blood pressure is 200 over 120 and he doesn't know it, he's in deep trouble.(Read More)

Roanoke City Elections

While I am not the most educated fireman when it comes to politics, I think I know enough to comment. What the hell is the deal with the Raonoke Times and the Independents? Am I the only to notice that it seems as though "For the City" has the newspaper in their back pocket. Look at the front page of the Times yesterday. "$308,332 makes the most expensive campaign ever". I guess everyone is on the edge of their seat to see money can buy the Roanoke City Council Election. Sure I know that contributions have a lot to do with making it or not, but let's be real. What has this ticket really have to offer?

What really set me off was today's article about Ralph Smith backing the Republicans and one of the Democrats. He got them all together for a press release and made the statement. The Roanoke Times reports it as it should be. HOWEVER, look at the last paragraph. They ask Fred Hutchins, a political candidate for the Indies about what he thinks. Who cares what he thinks. We already know what he thinks, and what the Indies think.

I feel as though the Firefighters, as well as the rest of Public Safety + other City Employees, have a lot riding on this election. Local 1132 has decided to endorse McConnel, Bowers, and Macfarlane. It is a chopped ticket, and probably the best choices out of all of them. Revercomb is right up there too. But they could only pick 3, and so it shall be.

I guess the biggest thing is for the City Residents to get out and vote. To borrow an EMS term, I believe you could say that the City is "Circling the Drain". I just hope we get the right people in their to make the right decisions.

Maybe the Times could be a little less obvious when it comes to endorsements.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Local business fundraising for sick child

If you have any old cell phones to raise money for this child. I would be happy to collect old cell phones for this cause. If you want just get them to me and/or put them in the department mail and send them to me at station10. Check out Ian's Site. I know I have two old cell phones in my truck.

Roanoke Virginia Real Estate Blog - Local business fundraising for sick child:
Local business fundraising for sick child

IanCCS-Inc (aka Comprehensive Computer Solutions) is raising money for baby Ian H.

Ian was born with Biliary Atresia and is in need of a life-saving transplant. The employees and families of CCS are having several fundraisers (with the help of COTA) to help offset the $100,000 cost of the transplant.

Upcoming events-

May 16, 2006 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm - Make & Take Stamp Event (Radford Rec Center)
May 20, 2006 from 7:00am to ? - Garage Sale (Central United Methodist Church, Radford)
June 30, 2006 - Golf Tournament sponsored by CCS (Auburn Hills, Radford)

Please consider helping the fundraising by attending one of these events.

Also, they are collecting used cell phones for recycling. We receive $3 for each phone so if you would like to recycling your old phone(s) and help a young child in need, For more information or pick up of your phone(s), please call me at 397-0014 in Roanoke or John Herndon at (800) 277-3077 in Radford.

Google Videos

Here is a funny Mastercard/Priceless Firefighter video - Link

I am still learning. So here is my first video feed on the blog. It may not be the best, but it is true.

Monday, April 24, 2006

NFPA Does Second ''Needs Assessment'' Study - News

Here is an interesting article. FYI, Roanoke Fire-EMS follows certain NFPA Standards, but not all of them. They utilize it more as a guideline than anything else. Some departments have adopted some or all of the Standards. This is costly ($) but the benefits can be substantial in the long run. Especially Standards such as 1500 and 1710. Look for a post about the different Standards soon.

NFPA Does Second ''Needs Assessment'' Study - News:
Since the 2001 survey, the total number of firefighters has increased by 1 percent (1,101,250), the number of career firefighters has increased by 11 percent (294,100) and the number of volunteer firefighters has decreased by 2 percent (807,150). The study shows that more departments' initial complement of personnel still falls short of the minimum of four to launch an interior attack.

Running in conjunction with the second needs assessment was an effort to determine if money from the FIRE Act, or now The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, had made any difference in solving department needs problems and resources requested and granted to the same fire departments in 2001-2004. To date about $2.5 billion has gone directly to fire departments in grants for their specific needs. It was determined that "this analysis can only be taken as a rough indicator of the match between needs and resources." But some needs were substantially reduced during this period such as the percentage of departments without enough SCBA to equip a shift, a decline from 36 percent to 28 percent. And the percentage without enough personal protective clothing declined by 32 percent. (Read More)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

HTR Incident pics are up

The HTR images have been added to the Local 1132 website.

The Roanoke City Council Endorsements have been added as well.

The format of the Local site has changed a bit. In order to keep you all up to date the homepage lists any updates as well as the links to them.

Check out the images and all the other good stuff over at Local 1132.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

LAFD News & Information

Check out this information via the LAFD News and Information Blog. This is something I know nothing about, other than it is not something I want to be around.

LAFD News & Information:
With recent confirmation, yet at-times mysterious or sensational reports that one Los Angeles woman has contracted bubonic plague, we wanted to remind you that factual sources of information remain available to you about this well documented disease.

We encourage you join us in learning about plague, while separating the fact from fiction:

# CDC Plague Information

# California Department of Health Services Plague Brochure (PDF)

# LA County Department of Health Services

# LA County DHS Communications Office

Visit the website for the links (Read More)
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Friday, April 21, 2006

Breaking news from The Roanoke Times-Crews rescue workers hurt at treatment plant

WDBJ7 Story Here
Includes video links.

Breaking news from The Roanoke Times-Crews rescue workers hurt at treatment plant:
Crews rescue workers hurt at treatment plant

Two construction workers were injured Friday morning in an accident at Roanoke’s Regional Water Pollution Control Plant, authorities said.

According to Scott Shirley, director of wastewater operations for the Western Virginia Water Authority, the workers, employed through a contractor called Fru-Con, were working on the construction of a new pump station. They were standing on a suspended platform in a sloped pit approximately 30 to 40 feet deep.

Shirley said the two workers were using a hose to direct wet concrete when, at about 9:20 a.m., the hose experienced a pressure surge. The force of the surge threw the two workers off balance and they fell approximately five feet to the bottom of the pit.

Both workers were injured, said Roanoke Fire-EMS Battalion Chief Ralph Tartaglia, who was not able to estimate their condition but said one of the workers was ambulatory while the other worker’s injuries were more serious.

L-R Chris Brown, Mark Brown, Jamie Brads, Brian Adkins, Baron Gibson, David Ploch, Becky Smith, Brian Fichtner, Jeff Beckner, Davel Muse, John Willdigg, Trevor Shannon, Matt Dewhirst, David Lucas, Marvin Huddleston, John Sweeney, Dennis Duncan. Kneeling in front L-R Todd Harris, Mark Kesterson, Mark Bailey. By the looks of the picture the Units on Scene were BC-1, RS-1, HTR 6, E-6, E-5, E-11, L-1, L-7, M-6, and M-1 transported 2 patients.

I will put more pictures up on the Local site in the next couple of days as they come in. If you have any, please send them in. Thanks to Kent McIlhany for the pictures.

New Student-Designed System Tracks Firefighter And Special Forces

I was talking to Lt. Baron Gibson, our resident expert on Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), the other day about new technologies in the World of SCBA. He stated that in the next 7 - 10 years we will have GPS enabled tracking of each Firefighter while working inside a structure. I found an article below about this technology. This could be one of the biggest advance

New Student-Designed System Tracks Firefighter And Special Forces:
New Student-Designed System Tracks Firefighter And Special Forces

William Goh, a University of Florida senior in electrical and computer engineering, holds a personal digital assistant displaying a map in his right hand and a GPS device in his left hand on Wednesday, April 12, 2006. Goh and six other engineering students tailored the components to create a system that can track forest firefighters and special operations soldiers in remote, rugged terrain. The system also allows the firefighters or soldiers to communicate with each other or with remote commanders or observers via short text messages.

The old technique of using push pins and maps to track troop movements just got a radical new upgrade for soldiers or firefighters in rugged terrains.

A group of University of Florida engineering students has designed a system to locate, track and communicate with special forces troops or firefighters in remote areas where no cell towers or other communications infrastructure exist.

The system allows soldiers or firefighters to pinpoint their own and their comrades' whereabouts on digital maps displayed on handheld personal digital assistants. It can transmit this information via satellite phone, making it available to Internet-connected commanders or observers anywhere in the world. It even gives users the option of punching a panic button or sending text messages such as "need more water," "pull me out," or simply "help!"(Read More)
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IAFF Logo on Ebay

I am a proud International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) member as well as a member of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters (VPFF) and the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association (RFFA). As an IAFF member we are entitled to displaying the IAFF Sticker on our vehicles. This is a symbol of Pride and Brotherhood. I travel a lot by Interstate and I enjoy seeing other stickers out there. I have read of Brothers/Sisters being assisted by other IAFF members in a time of need all because the sticker in the window.

Any IAFF member is able to get these stickers. As a Sec./Treas. of my Local (1132) I know that each year we are sent the typical red IAFF stickers. If we want we can purchase customized IAFF stickers through But you have to have proof of IAFF membership to order, either by letterhead or by your Local's Check.

Unfortunately there are people out there who see the sticker as a possible way of getting out of a speeding ticket, etc. These people will go through great lengths to get a hold of an IAFF Sticker to display in their window. Currently there is a sticker going for $25 on Ebay, View the Item. You can view similar IAFF items for sale on Ebay HERE.

As an IAFF member you are doing yourself an injustice to sell IAFF logo items on Ebay or elsewhere unless you can guarantee that the buyer is an IAFF member. It is obvious to me that if someone is bidding $25 on Ebay for an IAFF sticker then that person is not an IAFF member, because an IAFF member can get them for free through their local.

In the South the name given to somebody who might use the IAFF Sticker without being an IAFF member might be a "Scab" a "Squirrel" or "Tick", in the north they might call them a "Mutt" or "Pimp".

Whatever you call them, they are definitely Wanna-Be's.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Foam Training

I don't know about your department, but we do not get to do too much foam training. We also have some on board foam systems which are a little bit confusing if you don't flow foam often. Captain Banks and I rode down with Engine 10 to do some foam training. As you can see from the picture below we got a little bit of foam introduced into the foam tank. This is common from what I hear. There is a Direct Tank Fill that needs to be utilized during foam operations to keep this from happening. Ok, lesson learned. After all, we had done foam training about a 1 1/2 months ago and didn't have this problem. I think we were using the correct intake though.

Above you can see Lt. Dean Russell (E10) walking, although I am not sure who is on the line. We were testing a new foam nozzle. It is a task force tip with an aerating attachment on it. This is to replace the old solid tube foam nozzles. I am not sure why we went with the new nozzles, not that I don't like new equipment to play with. I just do not think the new ones work as well as the old ones. You don't have the reach that the old ones offer. I have only used the new one once, I look forward to doing more testing on it.
Here is a picture of Lt. Stacy Boothe (E14) on the left and Yours Truly on the right. It isn't everyday that I get a picture on this blog.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Team in Training

You want a good cause that you can support without doing anything but donating a little bit of money? Here it is. My wife has made the dedication to run the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco on October 22nd, 2006. She needs to raise $4500 for the event. The cause is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Becky will be running with a friend from work. Visit her WEBSITE to donate.

Team in Training:
Becky Fleitz's Team In Training Page
Racing to Save Lives

Welcome to my Team In Training home page.

I am training to participate in the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training. All of us on Team In Training are raising funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. I'm completing this marathon in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers. These people are the real heroes on our team, and we need your support to cross the ultimate finish line - a cure!

Please make a donation to support my participation in Team In Training and help advance the Society's mission.

I hope you'll visit my web site often. Be sure to check back frequently to see my progress. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Block is on, and I admit to it...

Today, Keith over at Roanoke Found stated he had writers block. Well I think that I have it worse, not quite something I am proud of.

To be fair, it might not be writers block. It might just be the fact that I am taxed.

Sure, I may not be running 20 calls a day at work, or any for that matter. And yes I did have last cycle off.

But the truth of the matter is that I might be getting burned out. Burned out of everything, except for my family that is. They are number 1.

No matter what station I work at, what my assignment is, what I did that day, I still have my Children and my Wife at home waiting for me.

I also have just finished Officer II and I am in the middle of Instructor II class. It has given me a break from the Credit Union. I don't really need a break from that place. That is the one place I get time to myself. With the ability to walk downstairs and have some camaraderie with A-Shift and Dave "The third Blues Brother" Sexton, or B-Shift who always enjoy jumping on my back about the latest rumors.

Which leads me to the next thing. I am not exactly sure why I am considered to be certain namesakes on another website by some of you. Why do you think I the only one with an opinion? You guys really must think I have too much time on my hands. Well truth be known, I wish I had that kind of time.

So maybe for the first time since this sites inception I have reached a plateau. This could cost readers for a very dynamic website. And by the stats, the site has slowed down. But I notice when I put a controversial or thought provoking post up.

Like the Medic/Officer pay post. From what I understand, this post got some people thinking. It also made some Captains realize that they are underpaid, or that the Medics are overpaid. Which ever way you look at it. I did get some feedback on the figures I used. I was off in my calculations by a little bit. I should have used an average of somewhere around 3.5% instead of 2.5%.

The RFFA has kept me busy, and you might have noticed a decrease in posting since taking office in January.

Now that I look at it, this was an informative post for admitting writers block.

I will attempt to keep up, but I do have a lot going on.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Chef Jeff Online

Check out this event coming up soon. This would be a great event for the Firefighters to get together, cook some of that Famous Price BBQ, set out the Fire Safety House, and mingle with the public. Let me know if you are interested. There are some other events coming up soon like the Chili Cook off and Festival in the park.

Chef Jeff Online:
Blue Ridge BBQ Battle

If you live in the Roanoke area, or close by, please be sure to check out the 2006 Blue Ridge Blues and Barbecue Festival on July 22nd at historic Henry Street. There will be tons of blues, great food, and the first annual Blue Ridge BBQ Battle! I am the coordinator of the battle and we need people to compete! Check out or for more information!

Not having a good day?

Not having a good day, it could be worse. This dozer was being trailered by a semi on I-285 in Atlanta when it suddenly met its match, a steel beamed bridge. I am not exactly sure how he made it this far without hitting anything. I would have taken a picture of the bridge, but it was about 200 yards behind the dozer. The accident closed down all lanes of traffic and filtered the four lanes into one on the shoulder.

Fire Service History

Check out this new site I found. It chronicles historical fires and the like. It seems to be an up and coming blog related to the fire service. Check out the history on the Maltese Cross. There is also information on the Star of Life.

Fire Service History:
History of the Maltese Cross
I ran across this article tonight while looking for another article to post on. The entire article is gleaned from another website from along time ago, I wish I could reference and give proper credit to the original author, web-host, and the contributors. Some people have asked about the origins of the fire service. This symbol is an ancient representation of the fire service.
The Maltese Cross

The eight-point Maltese Cross is the international symbol of the fire service's willingness to make great
sacrifices in order to protect others from the ravages of fire. It is a badge of courage and honor and it story is
hundreds of years old.

This honored symbol originated with a group of eleventh century knights who were serving in a Jerusalem
hospital. They became known as the Order of Knights Hospitaller and later became the Knights of St. John. This
charitable organization cared for the ill with great compassion.(Read More)
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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Oscar Smith Retires

I apologize for being a day late on this post. I was stuck in traffic yesterday on my way to Atlanta. So here it is.

"Oscar was hired October 25 1982
giving him 23 years and 7 months.
He was sent off with a steak dinner per tradition and will be leaving afterwards.
There are no immediate plans to replace him, but as his 1st Lt Loren Thompson said "How can you replace him" others at 2 said why would you want to have another like him. Everyone from Chief Grigsby and Hoback down to Every unit on duty came by to see him off at some point. His traditional pencil in his hat is not going to be willed or passed on to anyone, he says he may need it. Oscar is planning 3 seperate trips in the near future and plans to do 'some' plumbing work a couple days a week and is eventually going to move to the lake.
he seemed in good spirits and said that he doubts he'll miss the job or the city but will miss messing with the guys and will stop in from time to time to fret them."

Oscar was one of those guys whose demeaner and personality will be remembered for a long time. That is a good thing.
L-R Front Ronnie "Chicken" Campbell, Lewis Kennett, Oscar Smith
L-R Middle Johnnie Johnson, Charlie Fields
L-R Back John Sweeney, Jay Ransome, Billy Obenchain

Friday, April 14, 2006

125th Anniversary Committee

I was invited to sit in on Roanoke's 125th Anniversary Committee meeting on Tuesday. I had written an email to Mayor Nelson Harris to explain certain events that will occur next year in relation to the Fire Department. Mayor Harris forwarded the email to the committee Chairman Chip Woodrum. Chip contacted me and invited me to the meeting.

I did not have any expectations going into the meeting. I was an outsider, and did not have a voice on what to do. I was merely invited to give my two cents on the Fire Department. Unfortunately it did not go the way I was hoping.

The 125th Committee is very busy with numerous ideas. They have a long process in front of them.

I feel as though the RFFA and Fire Department will need to celebrate it's milestones and have an emphasis on Roanoke's 125th. This is kind of what the committee was hinting at. The businesses and citizens can plan events and incorporate the 125th theme. Instead of the 125th committee planning everything.

Remember that next year, 2007, will be the 100th year of Fire Station #1 and the 100th year of a fully paid Fire Department.

I know that the Fire Department is planning on forming a committee to look into certain festivities.

I wish the 125th Committee luck in their task. I hope that the Citizens are able to help pull of certain events.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

News from The Roanoke Times-Kaine announces public safety funds

News from The Roanoke Times-Kaine announces public safety funds:
Kaine announces public safety funds

Gov. Tim Kaine announced Wednesday that Virginia is allocating $2 million in federal funds to 28 communications initiatives, including several in Western Virginia.

The money will go toward "interoperability" projects, meaning those designed to improve radio communications between public safety personnel.

Roanoke will receive $73,584 in funding, Covington $66,500, Giles County $75,000, Pulaski County $18,000, and the town of Pulaski will get $75,000.
I have not heard if the money awarded to Roanoke is for the City or the County or both. If anyone knows let me know.

2006 Retirees Breakfast

So the other day, Local 1132 held the first Retirees event in a long time. The Retirees, as well as the current firefighters were invited to the Union hall to have breakfast together. Fortunately we had almost 70 retired Firemen onhand. Unfortunately we only had a handful of current firemen/firewomen on hand. All those who were present had a great time. The menu was sausage gravy, biscuits, bacon, sausage links, eggs, and hash browns.

I would have to say that the highlight for me was the fact that Jimmy Jennings picked up Pete Smith. Jimmy retired several years ago as a fireman at Station #1, and Pete (Elmer Elijah) Smith retired in 1974 as a Captain. Pete is right at 94 years old and worked for the Roanoke Fire Department for 32 years, he has also been retired for 32 years. That is what you call getting your money's worth. Jimmy also brought Pete Price, another retired Captain.

I have heard a lot of stories over the years of many of the "old guys", I have now met most of them. One of the very interesting things about the old guys is that almost all of them had nicknames. The nicknames were so well known that even to this day, some of the guys do not know their peers real first names.

Some of the nicknames include Scooter, Pooper, Slim, Stick, Floor Board, and Big Daddy.

I have received nothing but thanks for the Local putting on the event. I hope that the Local is able to continue putting on this event once, maybe twice a year.

Travis Collins was hoping to get a group photo of all the retirees. Unfortunately we were unable to pull it off. Logistically it was just not possible.

So thanks to all who helped. Check out the Local site to see who helped. Once we get all the pictures we will post a photo album.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

How much do Medics/Officers actually get paid?

I would like to delve into the other side of a topic I have discussed on this blog. I like to uncover both sides of each story when I am give the chance. Allow me to show you exactly what a stipend or promotion is worth over the course of a Career. Now let me explain the figures. All the pay is based on base salary currently. The figures also include an annual 2.5% pay raise each and every year.

This shows the pay over a 25 year period comparing a FF/EMT, a FF/EMT-I, and a FF/PM.

Firefighter FF/EMT-I FF/PM
1 $30,002.18 $31,789.18 $33,798.16
2 $30,752.23 $32,583.91 $34,643.11
3 $31,521.04 $33,398.51 $35,509.19
4 $32,309.07 $34,233.47 $36,396.92
5 $33,116.79 $35,089.31 $37,306.84
6 $33,944.71 $35,966.54 $38,239.52
7 $34,793.33 $36,865.70 $39,195.50
8 $35,663.16 $37,787.35 $40,175.39
9 $36,554.74 $38,732.03 $41,179.78
10 $37,468.61 $39,700.33 $42,209.27
11 $38,405.33 $40,692.84 $43,264.50
12 $39,365.46 $41,710.16 $44,346.11
13 $40,349.60 $42,752.91 $45,454.77
14 $41,358.34 $43,821.74 $46,591.14
15 $42,392.29 $44,917.28 $47,755.92
16 $43,452.10 $46,040.21 $48,949.81
17 $44,538.40 $47,191.22 $50,173.56
18 $45,651.86 $48,371.00 $51,427.90
19 $46,793.16 $49,580.27 $52,713.59
20 $47,962.99 $50,819.78 $54,031.43
21 $49,162.07 $52,090.27 $55,382.22
22 $50,391.12 $53,392.53 $56,766.78
23 $51,650.89 $54,727.34 $58,185.95
24 $52,942.17 $56,095.53 $59,640.59
25 $54,265.72 $57,497.91 $61,131.61

This shows the pay over a 25 year period comparing a FF/EMT, a FF/EMT-I, and a FF/PM which get promoted to Lt. at the 5 year mark.

Lieutenant Lt/EMT-I Lt./PM
1 $30,002.18 $31,789.18 $33,798.16
2 $30,752.23 $32,583.91 $34,643.11
3 $31,521.04 $33,398.51 $35,509.19
4 $32,309.07 $34,233.47 $36,396.92
5 $34,732.25 $36,800.98 $39,126.69
6 $35,600.55 $37,721.00 $40,104.86
7 $36,490.57 $38,664.03 $41,107.48
8 $37,402.83 $39,630.63 $42,135.17
9 $38,337.90 $40,621.40 $43,188.55
10 $39,296.35 $41,636.93 $44,268.26
11 $40,278.76 $42,677.85 $45,374.97
12 $41,285.73 $43,744.80 $46,509.34
13 $42,317.87 $44,838.42 $47,672.07
14 $43,375.82 $45,959.38 $48,863.88
15 $44,460.21 $47,108.37 $50,085.47
16 $45,571.72 $48,286.08 $51,337.61
17 $46,711.01 $49,493.23 $52,621.05
18 $47,878.79 $50,730.56 $53,936.58
19 $49,075.75 $51,998.82 $55,284.99
20 $50,302.65 $53,298.79 $56,667.11
21 $51,560.21 $54,631.26 $58,083.79
22 $52,849.22 $55,997.04 $59,535.89
23 $54,170.45 $57,396.97 $61,024.28
24 $55,524.71 $58,831.89 $62,549.89
25 $56,912.83 $60,302.69 $64,113.64

This shows the pay over a 25 year period comparing a FF/EMT, a FF/EMT-I, and a FF/PM which get promoted to Lt. at the 5 year mark and 1st Lt. at the 10 year mark.
1st Lt. 1st Lt./EMT-I 1st Lt./PM
1 $30,002.18 $31,789.18 $33,798.16
2 $30,752.23 $32,583.91 $34,643.11
3 $31,521.04 $33,398.51 $35,509.19
4 $32,309.07 $34,233.47 $36,396.92
5 $34,732.25 $36,800.98 $39,126.69
6 $35,600.55 $37,721.00 $40,104.86
7 $36,490.57 $38,664.03 $41,107.48
8 $37,402.83 $39,630.63 $42,135.17
9 $38,337.90 $40,621.40 $43,188.55
10 $41,213.24 $43,668.00 $46,427.69
11 $42,243.57 $44,759.70 $47,588.38
12 $43,299.66 $45,878.69 $48,778.09
13 $44,382.16 $47,025.66 $49,997.54
14 $45,491.71 $48,201.30 $51,247.48
15 $46,629.00 $49,406.33 $52,528.67
16 $47,794.73 $50,641.49 $53,841.88
17 $48,989.60 $51,907.53 $55,187.93
18 $50,214.34 $53,205.22 $56,567.63
19 $51,469.69 $54,535.35 $57,981.82
20 $52,756.44 $55,898.73 $59,431.36
21 $54,075.35 $57,296.20 $60,917.15
22 $55,427.23 $58,728.61 $62,440.08
23 $56,812.91 $60,196.82 $64,001.08
24 $58,233.23 $61,701.74 $65,601.11
25 $59,689.07 $63,244.29 $67,241.13

This shows the pay over a 25 year period comparing a FF/EMT, a FF/EMT-I, and a FF/PM which get promoted to Lt. at the 5 year mark and 1st Lt. at the 10 year mark and Captain at the 15 year mark.

Captain Captain/EMT-I Captain/PM
1 $30,002.18 $ 31,789.18 $33,798.16
2 $30,752.23 $ 32,583.91 $34,643.11
3 $31,521.04 $ 33,398.51 $35,509.19
4 $32,309.07 $ 34,233.47 $36,396.92
5 $34,732.25 $ 36,800.98 $39,126.69
6 $35,600.55 $ 37,721.00 $40,104.86
7 $36,490.57 $ 38,664.03 $41,107.48
8 $37,402.83 $ 39,630.63 $42,135.17
9 $38,337.90 $ 40,621.40 $43,188.55
10 $41,213.24 $ 43,668.00 $46,427.69
11 $42,243.57 $ 44,759.70 $47,588.38
12 $43,299.66 $ 45,878.69 $48,778.09
13 $44,382.16 $ 47,025.66 $49,997.54
14 $45,491.71 $ 48,201.30 $51,247.48
15 $48,903.59 $ 51,816.40 $55,091.04
16 $50,126.18 $ 53,111.81 $56,468.32
17 $51,379.33 $ 54,439.61 $57,880.02
18 $52,663.82 $ 55,800.60 $59,327.02
19 $53,980.41 $ 57,195.61 $60,810.20
20 $55,329.92 $ 58,625.50 $62,330.45
21 $56,713.17 $ 60,091.14 $63,888.72
22 $58,131.00 $ 61,593.42 $65,485.93
23 $59,584.27 $ 63,133.25 $67,123.08
24 $61,073.88 $ 64,711.58 $68,801.16
25 $62,600.73 $ 66,329.37 $70,521.19

And so what does all this mean. Well if you were paying attention it shows that a 25 year Captain only makes $1500 more than a 25 year Paramedic. This also shows case and point where a 15 year Captain ($48,903.59) compares to that of a 15 year Paramedic ($47,755.92). Go ahead and check out other comparisons. Let us take this one step further, many people say that Medics only make $3700 a year. Well that is not entirely true, and what does that add up to over the course of 25 year. If it were only $3700 a year then that would equal $92,500 in 25 years. Actually the Medics make almost $130,000 more than a Firefighter in their lifetime (25 years).

This is why I feel that in order to give any more incentive to the Medics, I believe that the Officers need to be paid properly.

As far as the Medic pay goes. I do not know how many Medics who have been promoted have kept their pay, or how much pay they have kept if they did.

Disclaimer: I have to let the jury (you) decide if my figures are accurate or not. Please feel free to let me know if I am off. I realize that the raise amount year to year might differ, the average might also be higher than 2.5%, however this is the figure I use.

That is all I will say, I will let you all draw your own conclusions.

TurnTo10 - Local News - Caught On Cam: Fire Truck, Car In Fender-Bender

Thanks to Firewhirl for the heads up on this story. Check out the video attached to this link. The news camera actually caught a car cutting off a fire engine which was responding emergency. I am just surprised that the firefighters didn't come off the truck with an axe, I mean an attitude adjuster.

TurnTo10 - Local News - Caught On Cam: Fire Truck, Car In Fender-Bender:
PROVIDENCE -- A Providence fire truck and a car were involved in a fender-bender Monday morning as the emergency vehicle was responding to a call.

An NBC 10 photographer caught the accident on videotape. The videotape shows a pickup truck and then a car turning in front of the fire truck, which had its siren on.

The pickup truck completed the turn, but the fire truck struck the car. The driver did not appear to be hurt. The rear fender of the car was damaged.

Providence Batallion Chief Thomas Warren said these kids of accidents are fairly typical. He offered some advice on what drivers should do if they hear sirens coming up behind them. (Read More and View the Video)
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Monday, April 10, 2006

Texas City's Public Safety Salaries Raised - News

This is what I am talking about. A raise to keep pay competitive, a 12 step raise formula to reach top pay, and an incentive to work harder and achieve more to get to top pay quicker. Unfortunately the biggest difference between the area in the article and Roanoke City is that McKinney is growing and Roanoke is shrinking. Maybe if City Council can get it together long enough to make a decision Roanoke City can move on.

Texas City's Public Safety Salaries Raised - News:

McKINNEY - McKinney police and firefighters now take home some of the highest salaries among public safety workers in the Dallas area.

And that's just how city leaders want it.

The City Council approved big raises this week to put the departments' pay scales on par with other North Texas cities, council members said...

..."It's not like we were asleep at the switch," Mr. Huff said. "A couple of years ago we were competitive. But the market took off."

A fast-growing city like McKinney, whose population has exceeded 104,000, needs a competitive pay plan to lure recruits and experienced officers to growing departments, Chief Kowalski said. The plan allows officers with experience to earn higher salaries than new recruits.

"It will translate into better service for the citizens," he said.

Under the new plan, a police officer and firefighter-paramedic would be paid a starting salary of $48,292. The 12-step salary plan tops out at $61,547. The old plan paid new officers and firefighters $39,355. The highest salary was $55,097. The raises will cost the city about $1 million this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. It will cost roughly $2 million in the next full fiscal year.

The new 12-step plan allows the employees to reach the top salary faster than they would have under the old system. Under the former scale, it took 12 years to reach the maximum salary. The new plan allows employees to skip a step based on high performance evaluations. A high achiever can reach the top in six years. (Read More)
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Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Code

I read a lot of articles on the Fire Service. It is rare that you come across an article that hits its mark as well as this one. This article relates to selling your department. That is one of the goals of this blog, to sell the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department to its citizens and visitors. I have only incorporated part of the story, as usual. I strongly recommend that you READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE from Thanks to 43Firefighter for the heads up on the article.

The Code
FF Danny Byrne
Beaufort Fire Department
Sconfire contributing editor

I remember as a young child in the early 70s anxiously awaiting the return of my father, a Lieutenant with the Boston Fire Department, from his shift at the fire station. No sooner had he walked through the door and set his things down was I jumping on him and asking the same old question “did you fight any big fires today?” Though he constantly smelled of smoke, and soot permeated from every line in his face, I always received the same answer, “no, another boring day.” Whether it was for the sake of my mother’s sanity or to not worry his children, he was keeping to “The Code.”

It has long been the tradition or, “The Code,” of the fire service that we do not brag or boast about what it is that we do, except only around the fire station “bean table” and then only to each other. Our life style, our profession, has been for years a secret fraternity that we have let no one other than our own see into or experience. Many times that is because we do not want to worry our loved ones, but more often because we are wrongly convinced that everyday civilians would not, or could not, understand it anyway, so why waste the breath and try to explain it. People call the fire department, we respond, we do our job, it’s that simple. But we all know it is not that simple, it never has been and it never will be, and we need to start making people understand that for the sake of our own budgetary survivability.

The fire service is built upon tradition; many good, some bad, some still applicable, some not. “The Code” however, is a long standing tradition whose time has come to pass, and needs to be changed. We can no longer afford to have our very own society in which outsiders are not permitted to experience. We must explain to all those who will listen, grab the attention of those who will not, and make them understand to the best of our ability what it is that we do, and just as importantly, why we are doing it. Everyone needs to understand the importance of doing this, from the Chief down to the tailboard firefighter.

Recent national headlines serve to illustrate the importance of this very point. The Boston Globe reported to the world that fire department response to building fires in the United States is “slow,” and that such a response has caused not only property loss, but the loss of life to both innocent victims as well as to firefighters. The Globe story also describes that this shocking revelation is largely due to the fact that many departments across the nation have lost not only manpower, but equipment and even fire stations to the political financial machine. As if adding insult to injury, only days later the headlines tell of how our Government is once again looking to find money by cutting into the Fire Act, SAFER Act and the United States Fire Administration...

...We as firefighters need to get out of this mindset and break “The Code.” We need to brag and to boast, to become story tellers, and tell our story to everyone and anyone who will listen because each time the bell sounds, there is a story to be told. Every incident, regardless of its complexity; requires manpower, equipment and training to bring it to a successful conclusion, and no matter how small it was, it could have been worse. If we do not explain that to people, how can we expect them realize the threat of fire, to know about our valuable service, appreciate our sacrifices, or understand what we need in order to do our job safely? (Read More)

Political stories from The Roanoke Times-Grandstand 2006: Roanoke City Council

Many of my fellow Firefighters have asked about the upcoming Roanoke City Council Election. The Roanoke Times has an ongoing interactive column they will run until May 2nd. Below is the recent column. The candidates answer a question posed by Bill McClure. Let me know what you think.

Political stories from The Roanoke Times-Grandstand 2006: Roanoke City Council:
Grandstand 2006: Roanoke City Council

From now until the May 2 Election Day, candidates will respond to readers who submitted questions on the upcoming election for Roanoke City Council. The candidates' replies appear below in alphabetical order. To see a specific candidate's response, click on the name below.

David Bowers | Carl Cooper | Alfred Dowe | Bill Lockard | Granger Macfarlane
Gwen Mason | Mark McConnel | Stuart Revercomb | David Trinkle | William White

This week's topic: Addressing citizen flight

For six two-year election cycles, candidates like you have been telling citizens in Roanoke that they would fix the “flight” of citizens from Roanoke. Many have identified the poor schools, lack of real economic development and good jobs, and the interrelationship of these two factors. To date no candidate has specifically addressed a solution, and the “flight” of citizens continues. What would you do specifically to address the school problems, and economic development problems? By specific, I mean specific in-depth solutions, i.e., do we abandon magnet schools for neighborhood schools? Or do we put tax incentive dollars in new tech jobs versus supermarket jobs? Merely identifying the problem, or acknowledging it, does not solve it, as past candidates have shown.

— Bill McClure, Southwest Roanoke
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Idle Time

I apologize for the lack of posts recently. Part of the reason for it is that I did not want to cover up the posts about Captain Johnny Price. I also have been extremely busy recently. I will be catching up this week hopefully. I have this coming cycle off, however that does not mean that I will be vacationing. I hope to get back on track, but I cannot make any guarantees.

On Tuesday I will be at the Union hall for the Retirees Breakfast. All current and former Roanoke Firefighters are welcome. I will comment on the event later Tuesday night.

This week I start Fire Instructor II. Not that I really have time to take classes, I said "what the hell" and signed up.

I wish I could point you to some interesting sights, etc. However, the truth is that I have not been on the up and up recently. Just check out the links on the right hand side. It might be the largest listing of Fire and EMS related Blogs on the NET. But who is keeping track.

If you have any leads, let me know.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

John Price

If a man's legacy can be measured by the reciprocal love shown to him in death, I believe that Captain John Price will be remembered for a very long time.

The extent of Johnny's caring and brotherhood was much larger than the several instances I saw him in action feeding the Firefighters of the Roanoke Valley.

I have been to numerous funerals for firefighters, but none quite like this one.

Most I have not known, but I chose to stand as part of the Honor Guard so that the ones who knew them could reflect.

I hope that once I am older, and my comrades join the heavens, I will be shown the same respect by the younger generation.

I would like to share with you my reflections during the Ceremony.

Chris, one of the sons, began with a heart wrenching poem. I am not sure how he managed through the entire reading, but he did.

The Eulogy spoke of Johnny's life, and how he lived life to its fullest. Priests everywhere should be using that sermon.

The amount of Active and Retired Firefighters present really spoke well of Johnny. I understand that around 800 people showed up to the viewing, most waiting 3 hours to see the family.

The procession to the cemetery spoke volumes.

Oncoming vehicles stopped and put on their lights...

Mechanics laid down their wrenches and came to the street to pay homage...

Bankers came out to pay respects...

EMT's andSheriff's saw Johnny's procession out of downtown...

The stop lights were blinking...

The town was in mourning...

The interment was amazing to say the least.

Words were spoken on behalf of Johnny, before his body was laid to eternal rest

Then Franklin County put out tones for Johnny and wished him and his family well

Then the bell was struck 5-5-5-5 for Johnny, boy did that bell sound good

Bagpipes followed, which left very few dry eyes

The bagpiper played in to the gravesite and then played out over the hill

It truly was poetic

The single biggest thought that I took away with me from the events today was 'When I die, will I have made an impact like Johnny has?'

The second thought I had was that I am getting worse at holding back a tear.

Then I thought of all the Brother and Sister Firefighters who showed up to the funeral today.

I am proud to be a Roanoke Firefighter.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Johnny Price -- Obituaries:
Johnny Price, 65, of Rocky Mount, passed away Sunday, April 2, 2006. He was born March 12, 1941 in Franklin County. He retired as a captain from the City of Roanoke Fire EMS Department with thirty-two years of service. Prior to working for the City of Roanoke, Johnny was a volunteer fire fighter for the Rocky Mount Fire Department. Johnny was a very devoted husband, father, and grandfather, as well as a mentor to many young people in Franklin County sporting community. The Eagle Express did not pull out many times that Johnny was not at the "helm". Johnny will be sadly missed by both present and past athletes and coaching staff. He also enjoyed cooking and serving his famous "Johnny's Barbeque" for family and friends alike, as well as cooking for the annual MDA golf tournament to support Jerry's Kids. Left to cherish his memories are his wife of forty-one years, Gail Lynch Price; sons, Courtney and wife, Jennifer, Jay Jay and friend Kathy, Chris and friend, Beth, and Trung; his mother, Mary Price; brothers, Carl, Warren, and Tommy; his father-in-law, Paul Lynch, and by his special grandchildren, Caitlin, Benjamin, Christa, Callie, and Cameron Price. Johnny will also be missed by his two special companions: Peaches and Pepper. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations to be sent to Franklin County High School Athletic Department in his memory. Funeral services will be conducted from Flora Funeral Chapel, 11 a.m. Thursday with the Rev. Rick Poland and Mr. Tommy Barrett officiating. Interment will follow in Franklin Memorial Park. Friends may call after 4 p.m. Wednesday with the family receiving friends from 6 to 9 p.m. at Flora Funeral Service and at other times at Johnny's beloved "Lake House" at Loblolly Lane, Glade Hill, Va. 24092. Arrangements by Flora Funeral Service, 665 S. Main St., Rocky Mount, Va. 24151.
If you get a chance you can check out the first post about Johnny Price that I posted the other day. There are some great comments, including a touching one from JJ Price. If you would like, you can leave a comment on this post or the first post.

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