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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

26 Fallen Heroes Honored at 2006 National EMS Memorial Service — Emergency Medical Services (

26 Fallen Heroes Honored at 2006 National EMS Memorial Service — Emergency Medical Services (
26 Fallen Heroes Honored at 2006 National EMS Memorial Service
Susan Nicol Kyle,

ROANOKE, Va. - All wore different uniforms. Some were volunteers, others were paid. And, all 26 died serving their communities.

The EMS providers who gave the ultimate sacrifice were honored during a solemn ceremony this past weekend in Roanoke, the home of the nation's first life-saving crew.

The 14th annual National EMS Memorial Service attracted families and EMS personnel from around the country. They brought ambulances, rescue squads and other vehicles bearing the logo of their departments. (Read More) (Read another related article)

San Antonio Firefighter Jumped Out Of Window After Breathing Mask Failed - News

Read this. Next time you bump into one of our guys who helped with the airpack committee thank them. It appears we chose wisely.

San Antonio Firefighter Jumped Out Of Window After Breathing Mask Failed - News:
A San Antonio firefighter jumped out of a window while battling a house fire Monday after his breathing apparatus failed, fire officials said.

Firefighter Mike Hernandez was among a team of firefighters who were battling flames and thick smoke in the attic of a home at 602 Burnet when his lifeline malfunctioned.

"It just stopped working on him and he couldn't get any more air," said Capt. Stephen Ersch, of the San Antonio Fire Department. "And he tried making it out, but the house had quite a bit of furniture in it and he couldn't make his way out, so he ended up diving out the window."

Joseph Earl Myers - Former Roanoke Firefighter Passes away

Joseph Earl Myers worked for the Roanoke Fire Department from May 1, 1956 - July 31, 1962. I do not have much information on Joseph other than he left, possibly on disability, due to losing his eyesight. I have spoke with several retired firefighters today who remember him. His funeral arrangements are below. Please take note that Joseph, like so many other Roanoke Firefighters, was a decorated Soldier who served in WWII.

Joseph Earl Myers:

Joseph Earl Myers (PaPaJoe), 80, of Roanoke, died peacefully Saturday evening, May 27, 2006. Earl was born in Pittsylvania County, a son of the late Grady and Effie Myers and was preceded in death by his youngest brother, Clifton Ray Myers. He served in the United States Army during W.W. II and was a recipient of a Purple Heart, was a former Roanoke City fireman and was Vice-President of Eldercare Inc. Earl is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 62 years, Grace (Tootsie) Doss Myers; his son and daughter-in-law, Steven Earl and Susan T. Myers of Roanoke; his daughter and son-in-law, Gloria Jean and Barry White of Salem; his grandchildren, Wanda M. Smith and husband Timmy, Corey White and wife Jennifer, Ashley N. White, Jeremy White and wife Jessica; his great-grandchildren, Steven, Shannon, and Sarah Grace Smith, Trevor (T.T.), Toby and Chloe White; his sisters, Doris M. Padgett of, Laurel, Md., Charlotte M. Pagans and husband Ray of Moneta, Dottie Jean M. Nance and husband Harry of Bedford, Patricia (Pat) M. Sink and husband Gerald of Roanoke; his brothers, Marshall G. Myers and wife Hazel of Altavista, Jimmy T. Myers and wife Lori of Arlington, Danny K. Myers and wife Anita of Moneta, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and many close family and friends. A funeral service celebrating his life will be held at Oakey's South Chapel, Wednesday 10 a.m., May 31, 2006 with Eddy Gilpin and Charlie Gwaltney officiating. Interment will be in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens with military honors. The family will receive friends Tuesday 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Oakey's South Chapel, 989-3131.

News from The Roanoke Times-Women fighting fires, stereotypes

Update: is running this story now. You can view it here.
Women in the fire service. To me that is as normal as running EMS calls. I wonder how it was on the day, in any department, when the Chief said that a women would be working there. I would imagine it was culture shock. I am sure it was not easy on the women. Some can probably relate it to the days of hiring the first black firefighters. It seems as though most firefighters nowadays don't care about their coworkers color of skin or gender, rather they want to make sure that the firefighter next to them inside a burning building is capable of doing the job. I believe that the CPAT testing puts an emphasis on ensuring the capabilities of the recruits. It seems to me that the "stereotypes" which the newspaper article speaks of, have been left by the wayside.

The women of Fire Departments in the Roanoke Valley have made their stake in the progression of the Fire Service and will undoubtedly make a profound effect on the history in the Valley. From the first women who began in EMS and later became firefighters to the ones who have been hired into the Roanoke Fire-EMS Departement as firefighter/EMTs.

News from The Roanoke Times-Women fighting fires, stereotypes:
Women fighting fires, stereotypes
Of the 452 career firefighters working in Roanoke, Roanoke County and Salem, only 13 are women.

By Christina Rogers

Along a hallway in the Cave Spring firehouse hangs a row of grainy black-and-white photographs with scenes of dirt roads, wood-frame fire wagons and all-male fire crews.

Natalie Dibling, a 25-year-old firefighter with the Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Department, walks by these pictures each workday, a seemingly stark reminder of the once impenetrable brotherhood.

But she simply shrugs them off. After all, she's not a firewoman but a firefighter, and "being a girl" doesn't have much to do with how well she performs as a member of her eight-person crew -- all of whom have their individual strengths and weaknesses, she said.

"I kind of stick out like a sore thumb, and I don't," said Dibling, a Virginia Tech graduate who joined the department in November.

Her job as a firefighter is just that -- a job. And a rewarding one at that. Starting salaries hover around $30,000, and three Roanoke Valley fire departments -- Roanoke, Salem and Roanoke County -- pay for medical training and community college courses. Some women in Dibling's department even prefer the shift work, saying it gives them more time to spend with their families. (Read More)
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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - Team in Training

I wrote not too long ago about my wife Becky running a marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is selling raffle tickets as a fund raiser for the event. If you all would like to purchase raffle tickets let me know. The proceeds go directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They will be credited to Becky for her goal of $4000. The prizes are:

1 night stay @ Hotel Roanoke (includes breakfast)
1 night stay @ Wyndham (includes breakfast)
6 month Kirk Family YMCA membership
Free Car Wash, Vacuum and Wax at First Team Auto Mall
Free Oil & Filter Change at First Team Auto Mall
Roanoke Times Gift Bag
Dinner for Two at TGIF
$20 Hollywoods Cafe (2 to be given)
Blue Jean Brunch at Hotel Roanoke in Pine Room

$5 for one, 3 for $10. The drawing will be held June 24th.

Click for the link to her site.

Friday, May 26, 2006 - New River Valley Current-Bloggers help raise funds for Radford boy

I was out of town when this story ran. This article is about Ian who I wrote about here. I was contacted about being interviewed for this story, but in the end they did not need me. I am kind of mentioned in the article though. - New River Valley Current-Bloggers help raise funds for Radford boy:
Bloggers help raise funds for Radford boy
A fundraising campaign for Ian Herbst is collecting old cell phones and printer cartridges to recycle.

By Andrew Kantor

Eleven-month old Ian Herbst needs a liver transplant to live, and a group of Southwest Virginia bloggers, along with a local technology company, is working to raise $100,000 to help save the Radford infant's life.

Modern technology will hopefully be able to help Ian. But it's also getting the word out and the funds in.

Local bloggers -- including a chef, a firefighter, a lawyer and a zoologist -- have picked up the cause, spreading the Herbsts' story through the Internet and reaching more people in less time than any letter-writing or collection-jar campaign could.

They're asking people to recycle their old tech to help Ian, taking donations of dead cell phones and empty printer cartridges, which will be turned into cash ($3 for each phone, and $1 to $3 for each printer cartridge) the Herbsts can use to offset their medical expenses.

Ian suffers from biliary atresia, a comparatively rare children's disorder in which the "drain tube" from the liver is blocked or never formed. If the liver can't dispose of bile, it builds up until the liver fails. (Read More)

I have received a couple of old cell phones already. If you have any, please get them to me at Fire Station #10. I will send them off soon. The phones do not have to have chargers or even work. Spread the word.

"Firefighting in Roanoke"

This weekend I will sign the contract for the book I am working on. The working title is "Firefighting in Roanoke". Let me know what you think or if you have a better suggestion. I will be busy working on this book through September 1st when the book will be submitted.

Here is your chance to get yourself into the book. If you have a photo you think is worthy of the book send it in to me. I will need an original if possible to be used in the book. You, or the proper photographer, will be credited in the book. If you remember a great photo seen in the paper, get me the photographers name and the date it ran and I will seek it out.

In the near future, I will be looking to Roanoke Firefighters for information on certain fires, photos, and events so that I can accurately document our history.

Thanks in advance for any assistance on the book.

Rescue Me premieres Tuesday

Rescue Me premieres Tuesday May 30th at 10pm on the FX Network.

National Fire Fighter Near Miss Reporting System

The National Fire Fighter Near Miss Reporting System is a database of incidents which could have been an Line of Duty Death but luckily were not. The website is defined by the stories which firefighters submit about a "Near Miss". The sites sole purpose is to increase Fire Fighter Safety and Awareness. The stories are voluntary, confidential, and non-punitive. Firewhirl has been following the near miss stories and chronicles them each week. I have been following along. Please check out the frontline stories which tell of near disasters. I am sure most of you firefighters have stories which would warrant a story on this site. We have all seen incidents which could have been a lot worse. I think every firefighter should check into this site and read some of the stories. Maybe it will prevent an accident in the future.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

2006 International Fire Fighter Safety Stand Down

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFF) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) have teamed up for the Second annual International Fire Fighter Safety Stand Down. The event will be held June 21st and continue until all the shifts have participated one day.

From the IAFC site:

"Building on the success of the first Fire Fighter Safety Stand Down in 2005, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the Volunteer and Combination Officers' Section of the IAFC have called for a second stand down to be held starting Wednesday, June 21, 2006, and continued until all personnel and duty nights have been covered. Fire departments are urged to plan to participate in the event.

Last year, an estimated 10,000 fire departments participated in the Fire Fighter Safety Stand Down. Activities were posted on the IAFC and its partnerÂ’s Web sites. The IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section and the IAFF Department of Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine will be updating the recommended activities, and when those details are developed, they will be distributed."

Last year, the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department participated in this event. Prevention is the key in decreasing firefighters deaths. Whether it is the food prepared at the Station, a short workout each day, reading over SOP's, thoroughly checking your PPE for defects, or going over Vehicle Safety. Check out the link above for more information regarding this event.

Ed Watts Retirement Dinner

Here are some pictures from Ed Watts retirement dinner. I do not have much information on the event. I was unable to attend due to being at work so if you have any comments on the event or well wishes for Ed leave them below.
L-R Lt. Brent Scott, Lt. Jim Hylton, Capt. Ed Watts, FF Kenny Hurt.
L-R BC Bobby Slayton, FF Jimmy Jennings (retired), FF/PM Rob Joyner.
Thanks to Jim Hylton for the pictures.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Randy Smith is Promoted to Lieutenant

Pictured is Captain Thomas Burton and Mike Overacker with Randy Smith in the back
Randy Smith was promoted to Lieutenant yesterday. Randy was hired on August 31, 1990 and was most recently stationed at Fire Station #7 on A-shift. From what I hear, Randy will be stationed at Station 8 on C-Shift as the Lieutenant. Congratulations on your promotion Randy. The picture was taken around 1990-1991.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Would you like to know what I did today? Apparently you have stopped in to see what is going on, so I will tell you.

Today I began the day with stopping by the Union hall to open it up for the MDA Poker run coming in from Lynchburg. I got off work this morning, and did not get to stop by the house to see my wife and kids until after lunch was served for the bikers. Unfortunately there were not as many riders as were expected. Only 3 Roanoke Firefighters rode and another helped me at the Hall. Yet another event brought to the firefighters for a good cause, but not nearly the support expected.

Fast forward to 3pm, I got home. Guess what. I have yard work too... Unfortunately I do not have someone to come by and mow my yard. I did get to play with the kids a while. Then down to business. Yard cut by 5:30. Out the door by 6pm after a quick shower.

Where to now you might ask? Becky, the children, and I head off to the Fire on Ice hockey game. I have to be there early to sell t-shirts. The Henrico Fire Hockey team came to town to play the Roanoke Valley Firefighters team. Unfortunately there was not nearly the turnout expected. (see above, kinda the same thing. Actually the exact same thing.) But I was there in support of the cause, MDA, and to see my brothers battle in the round house. It was a great game. We came out to a 2 point lead and held them 2-1 until the third period. However, Henrico fought back and won 4-6 in the end. It really seemed as though the guys had a great time.

If you are a Roanoke Firefighter, go ahead and print this out and keep it close. This is a perfect example of your Union doing things for you. We created 2 great events for you to participate in. The outcome is raising funds for our Charity and increasing the publics positive perception of the Firefighters. Remember, these events do not cost the Union a dime. They are completely self funding. There are members who spend a lot of time planning these events.

I had a lot to think about today. Somebody questioned me about what the Union had done for them. I could have answered them with one statement - "If you come to the meetings, you would already know". But I didn't. I entertained his gripe as a good Union Officer and considered his standpoint. I left out an important point though, the start and finish of the conversation was that he was turning in his Union Card. What? That is right. Apparently he felt that the Union had not done enough for him. Which leads me to my next point. Just because you are an RFFA, VPFF, and or IAFF member does not make you entitled. There is a greater good, a common goal, a give and take involved. As a Union member you have a responsibility. That responsibility is to support your fellow brothers and sisters. Not everyone will be able to do everything all the time, and actually that would be unnecessary. If everyone gave a little, we would be able to achieve so much more.

Before you ask me what the Union has done recently you might want to think twice. If you do not know, chances are you haven't done anything for your Union. Before you tell me that you did not hear about these events. Every fire station has a computer and all of this information is on the website.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed your Saturday. I will be at the VPFF convention the next three days. I will try and post some information on it. It is being held in Lynchburg this year.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Basketball at #10

Thanks to Travis Collins for the pictures and video.

Basketball tonight at Fire Station #10. Ladder #13 came over to play some roundball. All in all we had a blast. There were plenty of hacks, bricks, fouls, and laughing. It is no wonder we are all firefighters. Check out the video below for my highlight reel. It is short, but gets the point across.

In case you were wondering, that is me... Nothing but net...

Fire on Ice

This is a reminder of the Fire on Ice Hockey game tomorrow night at the Lahaye Ice Center in Lynchburg. This is a perfect reason to venture out to Lynchburg on Sunday and watch Firefighters from the Roanoke Valley battle Firefighters from Henrico County in the Roundhouse. Come on out and enjoy the evening with your family. If you need more information email me or check out Local 1132 for all the details.

Of course you could come out just to see Jon "Grace" Willdigg skate ever so gracefully on the ice.

Friday, May 19, 2006

World Trade Center - The Movie

Do you remember where you were on that fateful day.

I remember Captain Armstrong came out to the bay of Station 13 and said something had just happened to the World Trade Center. All the men, 6-8 of us stood there in awe as we watched the news. The events unfolded, the rumors were flying. CNN and Fox were reporting different possibilities. Planes hijacked, car bombs, missiles. One of the most vulnerable times in modern media.

Helpless is what I thought.

And when the first tower fell. I remember saying "Just think about all of the Firefighters who just lost their lives."

On August 9 the movie "World Trade Center" will be released.

Take a look at the trailer - World Trade Center

Thanks to KMC for the heads up.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What is it?

What differentiates Roanoke Fire-EMS from other departments across the Nation? Is it the pay? The benefits? The demographics? The personnel? The training? The City itself?

What is it?

Are Paramedics leaving at an increased rate?
Are the Officers underpaid and Medics overpaid?
Should the Medics ride the ambulance everyday for the extra pay they receive?
Should starting pay be more?
Is there selective discipline?
Is the promotional process fair and equitable?
Should we be riding on better trucks?
Are City employees treated as well as they deserve?
Are City funds missing there mark?
Are firefighters represented the way they should be?

These are just several of examples of issues that are talked about at the morning shift change. These conversations usually remain on the top of discussion the rest of the day. Occasionally news will drop affecting some of these issues and creates a buzz in the air. Then the rumor mill starts to wind up in full motion. Roanoke Fire-EMS top officials rarely answer the echoes of the buzz. Occasionally though, the eyebrows are raised in realization that there is a void of information which needs to be filled. We have all seen examples of this in the past. If you have taken the Officer I class from Virginia DFP then you know that this is a form of communication. While it may not be the most affective or even recommended, it happens.

At the end of the day, after fielding phone calls from all sorts of firefighters, I always return to the same thought: Every fire department has these problems. That is right, we are not special in that right. I am not saying we should throw our hands up and welcome mediocrity, rather I am relating our issues to that of other departments.

We do stand out though. Mostly in the viewpoint of Roanoke Fire-EMS being the biggest department in Virginia West of Richmond. We have well trained firefighters, loyal employees, specialized teams, specialized training, and adjunct instructors which teach throughout the State. We have a very young department, yet we remain a very experienced, dedicated, and professional force.

So what is the bottom line of all these issues? The bottom line is that each department has its strengths and weaknesses. If we learn from all the strengths and build upon that, then our department will move to the front. Take Phoenix for example. Why do they get so many applications each year? Because firefighters like what they see. Departments like Phoenix have placed the Fire Department and the services that the PFD offer at the top of the priority list.
The other day at the fire station we were doing a hard and arduous task that we were not asked to do, but we wanted to. After we were done, one of the older firefighters said to me "you know if someone had asked us to do that we would have bitched and complained". Why is that?
There are several ideals that I have always believed in:
  1. Customer Service should be a priority.
  2. If you make it a point to do your job to the fullest, you will reap the benefits.
  3. If you want something, the first step is asking for it.
  4. Don't ever let someone else tell you what you think.
  5. Stand up for what you believe in, you will be able to sleep at night.
  6. Be safe so you can go home in the morning.

I know I have kind of hit several points and wandered away from the point. That point being that Roanoke Fire-EMS isn't as bad as some make it. If all the energy used to talk about what is wrong was used to fix what is wrong, we would be better off.

The next time you bump into a firefighter from another department ask them if their department is perfect.

The things that we put ourselves through.

Roanoke City Corner:

I sat down to read the brand new City Corner today and found some astonishing news. That is right, we now have proof of who Dr. Suess actually is. If you look at the bottom left hand picture on the page you can see that Fire Marshal Marlan Morris is reading to students at Raleigh Court Elementary School. Seriously though the pictures show the lengths that Firefighters will go in order to provide positive role models in students lives. This event was Read Across America and encompassed the City Mayor and City Manager down to Firefighters from Station #2 reading to students. On another note: Fire Marshal Marlan Morris will be retiring soon. I will have more information when his retire date is known.

Also in the City Corner are stories on Peay, Crouch, and Bennington getting promoted and Chuck Mills custom built locker at #6.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

2006 Firefighters Golf Tournament

Reminder that the Golf Tournament is coming up on June 9th. If you would like to play let Tina O'Brien or myself know. If you would like to sponsor the tournament let us know. This year there will be shirts for all the players. The image above is what will be on the shirts. The shirts will be tan with blue lettering. Come on out and support the MDA, meet some firefighters, drink some beer, have some fun, eat some bbq, drink some beer, win some great door prizes, and did I mention drink some beer.

The Book Proposal

The proposal has been sent in for the book, tentatively titled "Firefighting in Roanoke". If the book is picked up it will hopefully be completed on my end by September and published by early spring of next year. I will keep everyone posted on the progress of the book. If it is not accepted then I will seek a different publisher and we will go from there. Once it is accepted the stress will begin because I will be working under a deadline. It isn't like I have anything else going on, so what the hell.

Monday, May 15, 2006

License Plates

This is just a reminder of the ongoing project at the Local 1132 site: Firefighter Plates. If you have any pictures send them into the webmaster and they will post the pictures. All they ask is that the plates be of Fire or EMS in nature. There are some funny ones on there already. The one below might take the cake though. I was sent this one earlier today. From what I understand, it is meant to read 10-70 in Roman numerals. Many firemen informed the owner today that it actually read Exlax the popular and powerful laxative.

If you have any funny license plates please send them in.

2006 Virginia Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service

VDFP ~ Virginia Department of Fire Programs:
Location: Richmond International Raceway
Horticulture Garden - Richmond, Virginia
Date: Saturday June 3, 2006
Time: 1200 hours

You are cordially invited to attend the 2006 Virginia Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service on Saturday, June 3rd. Each year citizens, firefighters, and public safety honor guard members gather to celebrate the courage and dedication of Virginia’s fire service - by honoring those Virginia firefighters who died while serving our citizens. This is an annual service and historically honors fallen firefighters from the previous year.(Read More)

Firefighting test wipes out reporter - Quad-Cities Online

Thanks to Firewhirl for this link. Anthony Watt, a Davenport journalist took the Davenport Fire Department physical agility test and wrote a story on it.

Quad-Cities Online:
Ever heard of someone's legs being like rubber? I am that guy. In fact, as I stagger over to where the Davenport firefighters have thoughtfully left an icy cooler full of drinks, I feel like Gumby looks.

The lieutenant, Todd Whitchelo, looks concerned. I suspect he thought about having a paramedic look me over, but he doesn't. I sit on some steps, sucking down cool air and a sports drink that I have to hold with both hands because they won't grip.(Read More)

Firefighting occupations

I thought that these figures were interesting compared to Roanoke. Realize that these figures are already two years old. This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook. You should read the entire webpage to get the full picture.

Firefighting occupations:
According to the International City-County Management Association, average salaries in 2004 for sworn full-time positions were as follows:

Fire chief min. $68,701 max. $89,928
Deputy chief min. 63,899 max. 79,803
Assistant fire chief min. 57,860 max. 73,713
Battalion chief min. 58,338 max. 73,487
Fire captain min. 49,108 max. 59,374
Fire lieutenant min. 44,963 max. 53,179
Fire prevention/code inspector min. 43,297 max. 54,712
Engineer min. 41,294 max. 52,461

Fire fighters who average more than a certain number of hours a week are required to be paid overtime. The hours threshold is determined by the department during the fire fighterÂ’s work period, which ranges from 7 to 28 days. Fire fighters often earn overtime for working extra shifts to maintain minimum staffing levels or for special emergencies.

Fire fighters receive benefits that usually include medical and liability insurance, vacation and sick leave, and some paid holidays. Almost all fire departments provide protective clothing (helmets, boots, and coats) and breathing apparatus, and many also provide dress uniforms. Fire fighters generally are covered by pension plans, often providing retirement at half pay after 25 years of service or if the individual is disabled in the line of duty.(Read More)

According to Salary.Com, Roanoke Firefighters are at about the 30th percentile in the Nation for Firefighter pay.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Firefighter Exchange

If you "Google" the term "firefighter exchange" you will come up to several links related to a program much like a foreign exchange student in high school. There is an International Firefighter Fellowship which is based in Australia and provides for Firefighters from Down-Under swap job and housing with another firefighter across the seas for a year. This allows the firefighters to learn different aspects of the job from a different perspective all while keeping their job at home.

The City of Toronto Fire Department has a similar firefighter exchange program.

Has anyone out there known a firefighter who has participated in a program like this. I would like to know more about it.

National EMS Week

The Roanoke Fire-EMS is celebrating National EMS week this week by inviting everyone to visit their neighborhood Fire Stations May 14-20. Stop by and say hello. Get a picture in front of the Firetrucks. If you would like, bring by a low-fat dessert, the firefighters always like that.

Of course, anyone is invited to the fire stations anytime.

Then National EMS Memorial Service will be held on May 27th at The First Baptist Church in Roanoke.

Friday, May 12, 2006

New Protocol Lets Washington EMTs Forgo Resuscitation — Emergency Medical Services (

New Protocol Lets Washington EMTs Forgo Resuscitation — Emergency Medical Services (
New Protocol Lets Washington EMTs Forgo Resuscitation

The Seattle Times

"Compelling Reasons" | A new emergency-response protocol is designed to spare families the nightmare of an "inappropriate" resuscitation.

Mary Sundborg was a spirited woman of 100 who had long endured advanced colon cancer and two strokes. And she knew how she wanted to die: at home, peacefully, with dignity.

So with the help of her eldest son, she signed an official order specifically directing emergency responders not to attempt CPR.

Then came Jan. 3, the day Sundborg stopped breathing. Her nurse, who wasn't sure at first what was happening, called 911. When emergency medical technicians (EMTs) from the Fire Department arrived at her Magnolia home, they pulled her out of bed, attached their equipment and began pushing on her chest.

"Put her back in bed!" the nurse yelled. Sundborg didn't want to be resuscitated, she told them, waving the "No-CPR" order. One of the emergency workers told her the order had expired, and kept going.

But Sundborg was dead.

"It was terrible, absolutely terrible," said her nurse, Bonnie England. "It felt very disrespectful. It was just so wrong."

And it was far from an isolated case. Emergency medical responders, long trained that a 911 call is a request for resuscitation, have routinely ignored family members who ask that CPR not be given to their loved ones who are dying of terminal illnesses.

This year, that is changing in most King County jurisdictions, thanks largely to years of effort by two South King County paramedics who saw the current system as an affront to patients' wishes for peaceful death.

For the first time, EMTs the first responders to 911 calls are being given the latitude to forgo resuscitation when they judge it to be "futile, inappropriate and inhumane" even when there is no official paperwork.

I have been on calls where this little bit of latitude in our EMS protocols would have prevented us from going through the motions in a futile attempt at resuscitation on a patient that you just knew was not viable. I mean a patient who had just passed on around the time of the 911 call, not someone who had been dead for hours or days. This is especially bad when the family is on scene and does not want you to resuscitatee the patient.

This is the way the system is set up, if we do not follow the protocol and something goes wrong it is our fault. There is not much wiggle room written in the protocols. Maybe Virginia EMTs can look forward to this protocol change.

Roanoke Fire History

Can someone please help me identify the fireman and the horse in this picture? Ok, that might be a tall order, and I do not expect any of you to know the answer.

I am full swing into the book now. The proposal will be going off in the next week. Today in between phone calls I was able to work on the book a little bit. Apparently when I am busy everyone else knows about it and decides to call.

This is the last call for any pictures that might exist that you think should be submitted for possible publication in the book. In case you do not know what I am talking about, I am working on a book that chronicles the history of Fire Service in the City of Roanoke through pictures. You can see an example of what it will look like here. Be sure to contact me if you have some pictures. I will have them scanned and returned to you ASAP.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

RFFA Softball Game #2

We had our second game tonight. We lost. Our sportsmanship is great though. Better luck next time.

UPDATE: I got an anonymous comment about the game. I did not realize that Zach from K92 was playing. However, after my playing I do not think I am qualified to pick apart the other teams playing. The final score was $%@&* to 7.

I will however try to describe the team as far as Firefighters are concerned.

Pitching - Doug "I almost went PRO" Hurd
1st base - Phil "I'm over here" Dillon
2nd base - Rhett "Hang Time" Fleitz
Shortstop - Eddie "Legs" Fielder
3rd - Richard "Golden Glove" Lipes
Outfield -
Jeff "The Dream" Proulx
Becky "The only good player we have" Smith
Travis "Hey look I caught one" Meador
Joe "I can make it to third" Hodgin
Travis "Hey look a base hit" Collins

I will be at 10 all day tomorrow if you want to defend your honor or have a better nickname.

Fire and EMS Related Blogs

On the right hand side of this blog you will notice a bunch of links. First there are some website links, then Roanoke area blogs, then Fire related blogs, followed by EMS related blogs. You might ask "Why all the links?" The answer is that I have not found any other sites which list so many Fire and EMS related blog links. If you look around you will find websites with Fire and EMS related websites, but blogs are different. I enjoy reading what others write, both journalists and bloggers. Daily I check out the following websites:, Fire Engineering,, FireTimes, FireRescue1, Scon, Firefighter and EMS news. But that is just what people get paid to write either in print or online. If you want reality, if you want to know what the firefighters, EMT's, and Paramedics are doing, thinking, and experiencing then you need to read some blogs. In the sidebar I have links to 56 Fire and EMS related blogs. Some I read everyday like Firewhirl and Firefighter Blog. Others I will check out every couple of days like Chronicles of a Paramedic and Random Acts of Reality. Some I even get emails when they are updated like Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things and 43 Firefighter. I find more and more blogs each day. Some of them only make it weeks or months before the author throws in the towel. Others build readership and develop into great journalism. The authors range from current Firefighters and EMT's to retired ones, spouses, aspiring individuals, and transitional ones.

I link to stories on other blogs occasionally, as some sites do with my site occasionally. I feature other blogs sometimes as well. I do not always post when I add a site, this occurs weekly. So you need to keep an eye out.

If you have a link you think I should add, you have a site of your own you want added, or your site is linked here and you want it removed just let me know.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Roanoke Tornado of 1974 - WDBJ7 Archives

I learned something tonight. A tornado ripped through Roanoke back in 1974. However this was only 1 of an outbreak of tornados that year. There were 148 tornados, including Five F5, in the period of 2 days that year. (Read More)

Check out the video as well. It has a couple of shots of Roanoke Fire Department Apparatus. The video also charts the tornados path and where it touched down.(Video here)

The Lost Engines of Roanoke

Here is an interesting Roanoke History link: The Lost Engines of Roanoke. Several months ago, a fellow firefighter asked me if I had seen the old Norfolk & Western Steam Locomotives. I have seen them, but not as close as the pictures on the website show. Check out the site and navigate the pictures of Locomotives 917, 1118, 1134, and 1151. There are pictures of the locomotives now and the locomotives back in their day.

I only wish that Virginia Scrap Iron and Metal Company had gotten a hold of our old horse drawn steam engines and kept them around. You never know what else may be out there. Don't forget that Local 1132 has been granted permission to remove the 1918 model water tower which is still at Cycle Systems. I guess that is our little part of history which correlates with The Lost Engines of Roanoke.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Florida Firefighters Attempt Rescue Of 3 Trapped Construction Workers - News

This is not your everyday call. This is a must read, as it pertains to a rescue at the scene of a freak accident. Unfortunately three of the four victims perished in the accident.

Florida Firefighters Attempt Rescue Of 3 Trapped Construction Workers - News:
Florida Firefighters Attempt Rescue Of 3 Trapped Construction Workers

Associated Press

Courtesy of AP/Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Lt. Eric Baum

Firefighters work to free trapped construction workers following a partial building collapse May 6.

Courtesy of AP/Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Lt. Eric Baum

Firefighters load an injured construction worker into an awaiting rescue vehicle.

Bal Harbour, Florida-- A support frame collapsed at a high-rise construction project Saturday, killing three workers who became trapped in quick-drying concrete as co-workers dug to try to free them, authorities said.

The workers were on the 27th level of the building, pouring its concrete roof, when the supporting frame structure below them gave way, dropping them to the 26th floor, said Capt. Al Cruz of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

A 3-foot layer of hardening concrete completely encased one worker and partially buried the others, fire rescue officials said. The cause of the frame collapse was not immediately determined.

The identities of the three workers killed were not immediately known. A fourth worker was taken to a hospital with suspected heart trouble, authorities said.(Read More)

News from The Roanoke Times-E-mail message opens up a Pandora's inbox

This monkeyman935 hoax sure is creating a ruccus again. I posted on this back in November, post here. Apparently it has taken on a whole new life. What is also interesting is how easily people forward emails and messages that they do not even research for truth. If you do a search for Monkeyman935 on Google you will come up with several sites which identify it as a hoax. Snopes has the whole story here. It is interesting how this thing has stayed alive for so long. This hoax and online forward may be here when I retire. I should have known the hoax was heating up, I have gotten numerous hits from searches for "monkeyman935".

News from The Roanoke Times-E-mail message opens up a Pandora's inbox:
E-mail message opens up a Pandora's inbox

Warning: Do not talk to Monkeyman935 -- and do not call or e-mail the Roanoke Fire-EMS about the hoax.

Andrew Kantor

"I'd like to take the person who did this, and ..."

Roanoke Fire-EMS Acting Chief David Hoback didn't finish the sentence. He simply pounded the table once, and he didn't smile.

"This" is an e-mail -- the "Monkeyman" message -- that has been making the rounds since 2000. It's Fire-EMS' own urban legend, and it's convinced thousands of people to call, e-mail, fax or write to the department.

The message (Hoback likened it to a virus) has now made the leap to MySpace, the ultrapopular Web site and online meeting spot. And that means a new round of messages for the good -- and aggravated -- folks at Fire-EMS.

The missive causing all the trouble is, like many urban legends, a warning.

"If a person with the screen name of Monkeyman935 contacts you, do not reply," it reads. "Do NOT talk to this person; do not answer any of his/her instant messages or e-mail. Whoever this person may be, he/she is a suspect for murder in the death of 56 women (so far) contacted through the Internet."

And then the kicker -- what's causing Fire-EMS all the trouble: It's signed by the department's former spokeswoman, Jennifer Faulkner, and includes her real phone number, real fax number and real e-mail address.(Read More)

From Snopes.Com:

John Edward Robinson Sr., 56, was arrested on 2 June 2000 and charged with sexual assault on two women in the Kansas City area. Robinson lured the women (as he had others) into participating in sadomasochistic sex by contacting them over the Internet under the name "slavemaster." The two women filed charges after Robinson "brutalized them in a way that went beyond what theyintended."

After Robinson's arrest, law enforcement authorities discovered two 55-gallon industrial barrels, each containing a woman's body, on land Robinson owned in Kansas. A few days later, they discovered three more bodies in barrels kept in a storage space Robinson rented in Missouri. All five women appeared to have been bludgeoned to death.(Read More)

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Captain Ed Watts Retires

Captain Lynn Edward "Ed"Watts has retired after 30 years as a Firefighter in Roanoke City. Ed enjoyed his last day at Station #11 on B-Shift where he has worked the past several years. Ed worked at Fire Station #10 for many years prior to moving Southeast to Station #11.

Ed began his career on November 18, 1975 with the Roanoke Fire Department.

Ed was known by his peers as being carefree, and always looking to make people laugh. The picture to the left was taken around 1991.

Pictured is Captain Dalton Swanson, Lt. Ed Watts, FF Leroy Doss, and FF Stan Fielder
Picture taken by Captain Maurice Wiseman

The new look of the Blog

I hope you like the new look of the Blog. I finally switched to a resolution of 1000 pixels wide. For all of you out there, which is about 1/3 of my viewers, I suggest that you make the switch to a higher resolution soon. More and more sites are going to it. Most computers sold in the past several years come this way default. Either way, I hope you like it. I may look into building a template which automatically expands and contracts for the different resolutions. Basically the same as I use at the Local 1132 site, that template expands and contracts as needed. Thanks to for the template.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

LotzOthoughtz - Roanoke's Revolution :: City Government

This is an interesting read on fundemental changes to the Roanoke City Governement. Read the whole article for the whole story. Most of what he speaks of makes a lot of sense. You never know.

Roanoke's Revolution :: City Government

Roanoke City’s governmental structure truly needs fundamental reforms, alterations to its long established structure. Currently Roanoke resides under a Council-Manager structure of government. In this construct the City Council is an elected body that appoints a City Manager who really oversees the day-to-day happenings of the city. This does two things, 1) Puts primary control of the city and it’s resources in the hands of an unelected official is not accountant able to the people and 2) Gives a select few in the City Council an inordinate amount of power. This accompanied with the five appointed positions in the city government in addition to the appointed seven-member school board, the voice of the people in Roanoke is largely ignored and only paid lip service to. Government has ceased to work for the people, now it simply works for itself and the rich who control it while wearing a veil of foggy public service.(Read More)

Out and About

I made it down to the Chili Cookoff and the Strawberry Festival today, as a matter of fact the whole family was there. I have been to each of the events in the past, and it seems as though the events popularity has increased. These are the events which attract the younger crowd. The beer garden, the activities for the young children, and the family atmosphere.

The Virginia Chili Cookoff had been held around the Market building in the past and where First Fridays had been held. This year it was held in the parking lot directly behind the bus station. The turnout was great, although next year they will have to find an area to accommodate all the patrons. All in all it was fun, and a lot of people seemed to like seeing Big Tom from Survivor. Apparently he is as close as Southwest Virginia comes to having a Celebrity.

After the Chili Cookoff we made it to the Strawberry Festival which was very well attended as well. The lines were long, but moved relatively fast. Once we got our Strawberry shortcakes we made it over to a shady area and took a break. The wait sure is worth it for those desserts. We listened to the live music and enjoyed the great weather.

When I go to these events I can't help but think about the firefighters. Guys ask me all the time what the RFFA can do for fundraising. You guys know my predisposition, I cannot do everything. But I think we are missing out big on these local festivals and events. For example, at the Chili Cookoff I got two bowls of Chili for Becky and I which cost $4 a piece. That table, which was the only one I saw selling by the bowl, was making money hand over fist. Understand that you have to provide samples for the crowd, enough for everyone if you want a chance at winning the Cookoff. Think about the positive public relations (using the Fire Safety House), and the profit that could be made from food and drink sales. There are plenty of other events for us to do this as well. Oktoberfest, Festival in the park, Blueridge Festival and BBQ Cookoff, St. Patricks Day Celebration, etc. It seems as though we are all in the idea stage. It will be interesting to see what ideas actually take shape.

After all, the more the Public sees you out and about at events and doing positive public relations, the better chances we have of getting what we need (pay, benefits, equipment).

Friday, May 05, 2006

DCist: Fighting Fires in Cleveland Park? (Updated)

This is a prime example of why you need to be aware of what you are doing, when you are doing it, and in front of whom. I am not saying that these firemen are guilty, but this guy is pretty sure of what he thinks he saw. A complaint like this would be hard to explain away to the Chief. If indeed these guys were drinking on duty, well that is plain ole stupid.

DCist: Fighting Fires in Cleveland Park? (Updated):
Fighting Fires in Cleveland Park? (Updated)

Is this allowed?

Last night, as dusk set upon the District, we sat outside Four Green Fields in Cleveland Park enjoying a quiet meal. A large fire truck, pictured at right, slowly ambled down Connecticut Avenue, stopping in front of a public library between Newark and Macomb Streets. Out jumped a number of firemen, who promptly but unhurredly walked behind the restaurant where we were sitting. Minutes later, we spotted them inside enjoying a few beers.

We're not questioning whether or not firemen should be allowed to have a beer now and then to soothe the nerves on a calm night. We are wondering, though, are they really allowed to use their truck to get from the station to the bar where they'll be enjoying those beers (considering also that the station was a mere two blocks north)? Supposing that they need to be close to their truck in case a fire is reported, should they be fighting fires after having some beers at the local bar? (Read More)

Roanoke Firefighters Spans the World

Roanoke Firefighters Blog is now being offered translated for you all into 8 languages. Taking a queue from the LAFD Blog I have incorporated links to pre-translated pages offered by Google. The links are just under the Banner at the top of the site. This might be a perfect way for all of the Spanish studying firefighters in Roanoke to keep up on their second language. Of course I have also offered German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.

You might ask why I would even think the Roanoke Firefighters blog needs this offering. Sure the LAFD Blog has a population which might require the translation. The truth is, while I do not know of anyone locally who has requested the translation, the page gets a lot of traffic from other Countries. Most of whom end up on the site due to searches and might be able to read English very well. But you never know. The fact is that this could be a small step toward International publicity. The blog has already been linked on other Blogs throughout the World.

If you want to see the scope of traffic by location across the World check out the Roanoke Firefighters Cluster Map. The map is wiped clean each month and tracks the hits for the month by location.
On the right you can see where the hits came from between January - March.
On the Left you can see where the hits came from between March -April. For the current map, which is bigger, check out the Roanoke Firefighters Cluster Map. The map is always in the right hand sidebar of the site.

IAFF Local 1605 - Bonanza Extravaganza

Public Opinion - - Chambersburg, PA:
HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Three years ago, paid firefighters in Hagerstown, Md., decided they wanted to conduct a fund-raiser that would draw at least 8,500 people and give out big prizes, such as cars and motorcycles.

This month they will realize that dream with the first of what they see as an annual Bonanza Extravaganza, set for May 12-14.

Under the umbrella of the Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 1605 Foundation, firefighters will give away more than $750,000 over that weekend in cash and prizes.
They are predicting the turnout for the event at the Hagerstown Speedway will be at least 10,000.

While the project has all the earmarks of being a success, IAFF Local 1605 officials say it

would not have happened if businesses and fire departments in Franklin County had not become involved.

"Seventy percent of all ticket sales so far are from Pennsylvania," said Rick Conrad, chairman of the committee organizing the event.

Conrad said the union foundation could not advertise the event here, but found word of mouth to be the best advertising of all. (Read More)

For the direct link to the Bonanza Extravaganza Click Here.

It seems as though these guys have their stuff together. I am waiting to see how much this event raises for them. If you would like to purchase a ticket Click Here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Oscar Smith's Retirement Party

L-R George Purdue, Matt Wheeling, Toby Bedwell, Phil Dillon, Travis Meador, Charlie Fotchman, ? in the back, Richard Lipes, Brian Conner, Willie Wines Jr., Me, Kevin Weeks, John Sweeney. Seated is Oscar Smith and Billy Obenchain. Somehow Gary Fisher missed the picture. I don't think we missed anyone else.
This evening, I dragged Becky and the kids out to the Salem Avalanche game. The highlight was not the Avalanche though, it was actually the fact that it was Oscar Smith's Retirement Party. It was a great time with all who showed up. It was good to see most of his crew from Station #2 C-Shift there.
Here Richard Lipes honors Oscar with his honorary Paramedic Certification. Oscar also received a gift: Bait.
L-R Oscar Smith, Billy Obenchain, Charlie Fotchman, Brian Conner, Richard Lipes, Travis Meador.
The Crew from #2 C-Shift.


Today, actually about a half hour ago, I was told by a friend and fellow firefighter that he felt as though I had a bitter hatred for ARFF and everything it stood for. He added that he felt I didn't' think that ARFF belonged in the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department. I guess he thinks that I feel the ARFF guys are just a bunch of slugs who don't have any business incorporating themselves with the Fire Department.

To that I say: WTF Mate? <---Click it, it really is hilarious.

Obviously it made me want to write something about the comments. So here it goes. I think that ARFF definitly has a place in Roanoke Fire-EMS. I think that the Crash Crew (as it once was known) and the rest of the Department have a great working relationship. I believe that in the event of an actual disaster (read = plane crash) we will be in a lot better situation than if we were a seperate department. I also feel as though the ARFF firefighters standby for the worst case scenario all the time (read = there aren't any fenderbenders in the sky). Luckily for the ARFF guys and all others who would be involved there is a low tendency of Fixed Wing (read = airplane, jet, etc.) accidents. Even the low percentage which do occur, the chances are that if the ARFF crew is involved they would be 2nd due (read= not on Airport Property). That is fact.

Really in the end I guess if anything you would call me ungrateful. I am about to break an unwritten rule of Firefighters. I am about to tell you what I do all day. NOT. You really think I am that stupid. It amazes me that there isn't a list of firefighters waiting to get assigned to the ARFF crew. Actually I am the one who brought up a rotation onto the Engine, which is my little bit of heaven on Earth. Something most firemen take for granted.

In closing: Do I hate the ARFF crew? No. Would the ARFF crew be my first choice of assignments? No.

February 5, 1985 - Fire at 12 1/2 Street SW

Fire at 12 1/2 Street SW on February 5, 1985. The fire occurred at shift change ( around 7am). Pictured in the yard is Pat Taylor on the left, Baron Gibson, and Billy Word. Captain Hanks is on the roof in the yellow helmet, other two have not been identified. Thanks to Baron Gibson for sending in the picture.

Notice the long black coats. Those were worn by recruits up until about 2000. My recruit school wore them. Thank God for PBI. Also notice the type of flashlight that the firefighter has in his hand at the top of the ladder. Some of the firemen have on 3/4 boots and some have on night pants. All signs of the times.

Capnography for Paramedics

Sure, I know, I am not a Paramedic. However, in the past week I have come across several articles on Capnography or End Tidal CO2 Monitoring. So I figured that I would pass along the information that this blog has in it. Check out the latest post about Capnography. The blog is all about the topic. When I worked for Richmond Ambulance Authority the Paramedics were using it, and that was 8 years ago. Roanoke just recently got it in the past year or so if my memory serves me right.

Capnography for Paramedics:
I am using this blog to explore the issue of capnography in the prehospital setting. Unlike with 12-Lead ECGs, you can't just go out and buy a book. The information on capnography is out there, but not that accessible. I want to use this site to gather that information into one place, as well as to post my own experiences.

I first heard about capnography at the JEMS conference in Philadelphia a few years ago. I took a one hour mini-class from a vendor. In one ear and out the other. I didn’t have capnography so it didn’t stick. Last year, we finally got capnography put on our Life Pack 12s. I learned how to put it on the ET tube, but the first couple codes I did, I completely forgot that I had it, then the next couple times I remembered about ten minutes into the code. Now, I keep an ET filter line in my airway kit, so it is starring at me when I unzip the kit.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Roanoke Firefighters begin Softball Season

The Roanoke Firefighters started off the season on the wrong foot this year. We played Automotive Specialists and the score was A lot to A little. The firefighters being the ones who scored a little. I made my debut on the Softball field, having not played baseball or anything that resembles it since about the 5th grade, and my Dad was coaching. Yeah I know, most of you think that 5th grade was only last year. Ha Ha. Actually I spent 7th-post High School playing Lacrosse.

I played catcher in the game tonight, tagged one out coming home, and caught a fly. I guess that is pretty eventful. At the plate I had two singles and popped out.

Travis "I got it" Meador played outfield next to Matt Wheeling, they were certainly busy. The bloopers reel will be ready soon. Seriously, it was a good time, and we all had a lot of fun.

Splitsville City Council no longer

The results are in, the Independent ticket will fill the elected seats in Roanoke City Council soon. This historical win, will most definitely end the indecision of the current regime. The big ticket items have most probably been decided by the election. Victory Stadium to be torn down, and two stadiums will be built, one at each of the High Schools.

Where do the Firefighters stand? That is a good question. As most of you know, the Independent ticket was not endorsed by the Firefighters, or the Police Officers, or the Sheriff's Deputies. The reason why the Independent Ticket was not endorsed is most probably due to better interview answers, and a better outlook by the other candidates. This does not mean that the Independent ticket is anti-Public Service. Actually, all of the Candidates seemed to be pro Public Service.

So where does this leave the Firefighters in the grand scheme of things. Well, we will have to see. As far as I can tell, there are some really big issues facing Roanoke City Council; Schools, Victory Stadium(s), the greenway, Downtown improvements, the decreasing population, etc. Hopefully we will be able to fit in there somewhere to improve our situation.

By the way - I am working on getting clarification on the Overtime Pay (or lack there of) that the Police Department was able to reverse.

Check out this site for information:
Hit the next button to toggle through the code.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things - Lootentin's send off

Read this hilarious account of a well respected fireman's last day on the job. Click on Read more for the full story with audio files.

Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things - Lootentin's send off:
After 32 1/2 years on the job "Lootentin" Kevin Bridgett just walked out of the firehouse for the last time, but not before we had a last laugh together.

Kevin was scheduled to work until 5pm and then would be on administrative leave until midnight when his retirement took effect. Throughout the quiet day there was a countdown of the hours and minutes remaining. We had a lunch of rollers and sliders and Station 30's personnel joined us. The atmosphere was remarkably subdued and there wasn't any last-day shenanigans like pies in the face or a hosedown. All through the day Kevin fielded phone calls from well-wishers.

With 90 seconds left in his career the bells rang for a crash up River Road in 30's area. Ladder 10 was due so the four comedians plus young February took one last ride together. The crash looked worse than it was. It was a fairly high-speed, rear-end collision in front of a local nursery whose entrance is inconveniently located between two blind hills. We blocked the road with the ladder and helped Medic 309 with one patient who was complaining of neck and back pain. The other driver was unhurt.

After clearing the call, Lanahammy headed north on River Road and it rapidly became apparent that we weren't heading back to the station straightaway. "We're kidnapping your ass," Hammy told Kevin. "One last ride." We headed down Falls Road towards MacArthur Boulevard and the C&O Canal Park, then turned south on MacArthur.

"Battalion Two, Montgomery. Truck Ten's location?" our radio crackled. We laughed right away, anticipating Kevin's response.
"Truck ten?" the dispatched called.
"Truck Ten, Montgomery," Kevin answered, "Alternate channel with Battalion Two."
"Truck Ten, Battalion 2; Seven-Delta."
Kevin adjusted the radio. "Truck Ten to Battalion Two."
El Jefe Batalion said, "Are you still on the scene of the crash?"
"Negative sir. They've kidnapped me and will not take me back to the station." During the long pause after Kevin's transmission, we about died laughing.
"Approximate location?"
"They have me blindfolded sir, I don't know." More laughter. Barnyard, gasping for breath, said over the intercom from the tiller bucket, "Make it stop. I can't see if I'm still on the road."
Kevin managed to stay perfectly straight-voiced. "Driver said they'd take me back in a few minutes." More laughter.(Read More)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Roanoke Fire Fighters Local 1132 - Roanoke City Council Endorsement

Roanoke Fire Fighters Local 1132:
Mark McConnel, David Bowers, and Granger Macfarlane have been endorsed by Roanoke Fire Fighters Association Local 1132 for Roanoke City Council Elections 2006 [Endorsement letter below].

Keeping Roanoke Safe

Roanoke has reached a political crossroad, and this year’s election will decide the path we take. On one side we have a system where Elected Officials dictate the direction of the city, with little or no direction from the citizens. The other side leads us towards a system where the people have a say in their future, through their Elected Officials.

The Roanoke Fire Fighters Association feels that the Citizens of Roanoke should have more say in the decisions that affect their City. However for this to occur, it will require a change in City Councils philosophy. Our City Council can no longer make decisions without regard for the Citizens that elected them to their Council Seat. They must realize that they are the voice of the Citizens and have a responsibility to carry out the wishes of the Citizens.

We recently sat down and spoke with Council Candidates. We tried to identify Candidates that had the strength to give the City back to its Residents. We tried to find Candidates that were serious about getting involved in the business of the City. We must have Candidates that will question the decisions of our City Government and are passionate enough to ensure that the best interest of the Citizens be considered.

We sought Candidates who truly understand the phrase “Our employees are our greatest asset” A phrase found in the City’s mission and vision statements. At a time when health care cost are soaring, employee’s salaries are well below state average, employee morale at an all time low, retaliation toward employees a common occurrence and many other employee benefits being cut, we need Candidates who truly understand the relationship between the efforts of the City’s workforce and the success of the City. We sought Candidates that were capable of not only breaking down the old system but were also capable of building a solid foundation for a new system… a system based on respect. Respect for the Citizens as well as the employees of this great City.

The quality of all of the Candidates made our task of identifying our endorsements very difficult, but we were able to identify the Candidates that we know possess the skills necessary to take our City Government into a new era… An era that will bring about not only financial responsibility, but one that will also restore the faith of the Citizens in the administration of the City.

On Tuesday, May 2nd, we are asking you to join the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association in supporting Mark McConnel, David Bowers and Granger Macfarlane for City Council.

Together we can change how Roanoke governs. Together we can give the tough choices that Roanoke faces back to the Citizens of Roanoke. We urge you to cast your vote for these candidates on May 2nd.

Rodney A. Jordan
Roanoke Fire Fighters Association