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Monday, July 31, 2006

Back in the Saddle

This cycle was a little different for me than the usual. Day one I rode the engine most of the day then switched to the ARFF crew due to the Haz Mat call on I-81. Middle day I rode the Engine the whole day, first twelve as officer and second half as driver. Third day, today, I split the day on the ambulance riding the first twelve and riding on ARFF the second half.

But that is just the explanation of where I was riding and when. The interesting part is coming up.

Last day on the engine we ran a code (cardiac arrest) and unfortunately the patient did not have a positive outcome. This being the first code I had run in about a year. That was one of two or three calls we ran. I hadn't even been in the hospital in probably over a year.

Then today on the medic unit we had another code. But this one did have a positive outcome and when we left the hospital the patient was on the way to the cath lab.

It is always fun getting some time on the engine, or medic truck for that matter. Of course most of my coworkers reading this out there probably think I must be crazy to say that I enjoyed the medic truck. I actually took a patient in the back. It was a BLS call so I said what the hell. The last time I took a patient in the back of an ambulance was years ago. It is hard to keep your skills up. You would think I would check myself for a pulse most days I am on ARFF. Ha.

Now that I have been re acquainted with the EMS side of things, I sure could go for a fire. The last fire I was in was an apartment fire at Ferncliff Apartments. That was over two years ago. Throw me a freakin bone.

I guess the good news is that I will be paroled soon when my two years is up on the ARFF crew. Yeah I know wish in one hand...but I am optimistic.

Across the pond

I have often wondered why the International Association of Fire Fighters isn't completely international. Actually to my knowledge the IAFF encompasses the United States and Canada, there being a visible difference in the two divisions. If the IAFF is for the U.S. and Canada then who looks after the best interests of the other paid firefighters around the World. Today that question was answered in part.

The IAFF has been in talks with other Fire Unions about a Global Alliance. I don't think there will be any mergers or take-overs, rather a United Nations for the Fire Service. The other Unions in the talks are the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Association (NZPFA), and the United Firefighters Union of Australia (UFUA).

Are there other Unions of the sort out there? If you know, let me know.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Random Fire Video

This is hilarious. The video was apparently filmed in 1976. It is in German, so I cannot understand it, other than the chorus having something to do with calling the firefighters, or that they are the firefighters. Anyways, it is hilarious I thought. I wonder if this was a legitimate fire prevention video or a spoof or what.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tractor Trailer Fire

Tanker Fire 2
Originally uploaded by firefleitz.
Here is a picture of the tractor trailer fire on Interstate 81 yesterday. The picture was taken by FF Travis Collins who responded with Roanoke City's Hazardous Materials Team. The fire was in Roanoke County on I81 Northbound between I581 and Hollins.

Local 995 Member Bernard E. Emerson Passes Away

From the IAFF:
It is with deepest regret and sorrow to report the line-of-duty death of Lieutenant Bernard E. Emerson, Jr. of IAFF Local 995 - Richmond, Virginia. Brother Emerson, 44, died on Thursday, July 27, 2006 of cancer. The visitation will be held on Saturday, July 29, 2006 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday, July 30, 2006 from 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Bennett Funeral Home, 8014 Lee Davis Road, Mechanicsville, Virginia 23111, (804) 746-8665. The funeral will be held on Monday, July 31, 2006 at 12 noon at the First English Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1603 Monument Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23220.
I signed up for the IAFF LODD email list (you have to have an IAFF number to sign up for it) at the beginning of this year. It has amazed me at how many firefighters die of cancer. The thing is that the LODD list is only the ones that are considered a "Line of Duty Death". I hear of many others through, and individual websites.

In researching the history of the Roanoke Firefighters, I can tell you that Roanoke has lost its fair share of firefighters to cancer. Luckily for the firefighters of today we have Presumptive Laws for Cancer, Lung Disease, Heart Disease, and Infectious Diseases due to our increased chances of suffering from these ailments. Unfortunately for us, and everyone else, there isn't a cure for Cancer.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Tractor trailer catches fire on I-81

A truck carrying a chemical called Sodium Hydrosulfite is burning on I-81 tonight. The fire is causing a backup for miles as both Northbound lanes are shut down. The Roanoke City Haz Mat crew is on scene with Roanoke County units. The firefighters are having a problem putting the fire out because Sodium Hydrosulfite reacts to water.


WSLS coverage
WDBJ coverage

What happens when the kittens escape their box

This article is a must read for Firefighters and Officers. Just read it and follow the link to the rest of the article. Or follow this link and read the whole thing on the

By Chase N. Sargent

Company Officer Development: Kitty Litter

What happens when the kittens escape their box

"Morale is one of the most elusive concepts a leader has to deal with, and it is one that can easily lead a leader astray. It is usually mixed up with the debate as to the better way to run a company … as a 'taut ship' or as a 'happy ship.' My experience and observation tell me that a taut ship, with high standards, fairly administered, is always the happiest."
— Louis B. Lundborg

"A commander must train his subordinate commanders, and his own staff, to work on a set of verbal orders. Those who cannot be trusted to act on clear and concise verbal orders, but want everything in writing, are useless."
— Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

The story you are about to read describes an incident in which company officers from my department failed to "keep the kittens in the box." What does that mean? Keeping the kittens in the box takes many forms. First, it’s about making sure people understand what’s acceptable and what isn’t acceptable as a supervisor. Second, it’s about understanding, and maybe even agreeing with someone’s position, but being wise enough in the ways and protocols of the organization to stop your subordinates from hurting themselves. Finally, it’s about using a mistake as a learning tool. The company officers involved in this story failed to do these things, and as a result, cost one firefighter his acting assignment, created discontent among members of the organization, raised questions without answers and created a gap between the ranks. There are lots of lessons to learn here, so pay attention, young Jedi.

First, let me acknowledge that I don’t know every detail of the event, because it involved a personnel issue that occurred just as I was retiring. But in talking to many of the parties involved, I’ve pieced together enough information to determine that company officers failed to keep the kittens in the box on more than one occasion — and the cascading effects ultimately cost someone their job. (Note: I’ve changed the names of those involved to protect both the innocent and the guilty.)

Our story begins with the annual EMT recertification process. As the department had done for almost 18 years, it issued notices through the chain of command and directly to individual firefighters about the required EMT two-day refresher course. As fate would have it, five of our intrepid members did not show up for the training. In essence, they were not at their assigned work location when they were supposed to be, and were, for all intents and purposes, absent without leave (AWOL). One of the requirements of the job: Show up at the right place, at the right time, in the right uniform. It’s really not that hard. (Read the rest of the article)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Link Dump 4

This blog tops the Roanoke Times Community Blog Roll
Roanoke gets its own Craigslist
Pearl home escape ladder wins Fire Safety Award winner
More 9/11 victims - responders fall prey to lung diseases after working at Ground Zero
Davidson County North Carolina gets new uniforms - bright flourescent yellow shirts
Definitions clash in annual LODD reports by NFPA, USFA
5000' of 3" fire hose for sale $50
More fire crews needed to battle California wildfires
National Interagency Fire Center

Apparatus Innovations - Feuerwehr

Here is a tour of a Rescue Company in Denmark I believe. One common feature among fire apparatus outside of the U.S. is that most everything is inside of roll up doors including the pump. While more and more American apparatus is being built with roll up doors instead of regular ones, the pump has held out as a mainstay decoration on the outside of the rig. Only occasionally do I see a picture of an engine or quint with the pump housed behind a roll up door. Thanks to Feuerwehr Weblog for the video.

Firefighter oral board questions

Thanks to Firefighters Blog for this link. The Don McNea Fire School's website offers an in depth look at oral board questions for firefighters. I remember some of these questions from different interview processes including Roanoke's. I also remember some of these questions from the promotional process interview. Take a minute to look through the website and see what types of questions there are.

The website claims that there are only about 30 questions which might be asked several different ways. Basically you have to dissect the question down to the main point and view what exactly they are asking you. Otherwise you might get trapped by answering the question wrong.

You can view the website here. I think it is worth your time whether you are an aspiring firefighter or a firefighter seeking promotion.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Marci Stone Leaves Roanoke Fire-EMS

Captain Marci Stone has decided to leave the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department after 9 years. Marci was hired on April 21, 1997 and was the first woman to attain the rank of Captain in the department. Marci and other female firefighters in Roanoke recently had a newspaper article written about them. The article received State and National attention and was featured on The article can be viewed here. Marci just recently returned to work from maternity leave with her first child. Marci is married to Todd Stone, also a Captain with the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department.

Marci was the acting Battalion Chief of Training prior to going on maternity leave. When she returned she was assigned to the ARFF crew at Station #10 on A-Shift. Her last day is tomorrow.

We wish Marci the best in her new position as the Emergency Medical Coordinator with Lewis Gale Hospital.

The number of female firefighters in Roanoke City are now down to 7 as Marci makes the 5th woman to leave the department in the past 5 years.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Roanoke Fire Department - Badges

Did you know that firefighters badges used to be numbered? That is right, Chief W.M. Mullins sent a bulletin to all the Captains on April 4th, 1930 explaining the new program of numbering all the firefighters badges.

The bulletin read:

Roanoke, Va.
April 4th. 1930

Bulletin to Captains:

We are to-day providing each member of the Department with a badge, numbers to begin with 15, The number has nothing to do with seniority or length of service but is a means of recognition at fires and other places.

Captains and Engineers whose badges are not numbered, when entering a place where the badge must be shown will state that he is a Fire Dept. Captain or Engineer of the Company to which he belongs.

Members must not loan or borrow badges, and in the event a badge is lost, it must be reported to this office immediately, violators of this ruling will be subject to heavy punishment, since the City has furnished these badges for the best interest of the Department, the members should show their appreciation by properly using them.

Yours truly,
W.M. Mullins (signed)
Chief Fire Department.

I am not sure of the date in which we stopped numbering our badges. Currently everyone's badges look the same.

Explosion at Roanoke Industrial Center

Late last night around midnight there was an explosion and subsequent fire at the Roanoke Industrial Center in Southeast Roanoke. The Roanoke Times has a short article online.

The explosion and fire occurred at the Virginia Distillery Recovery Center according to WSLS. They have a short article online as well. The fire was knocked down quickly and the Haz Mat crews are working on it now.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Transportation Museum Saga Continues

You know all this mess with the Transportation Museum and the roof flying off in the storm the other day? Well here is the deal. I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for a freaking year to get into the museum and see the pictures that they have of Roanoke Firefighting. Meanwhile as I waited, I was able to speak with the guy who was working on the vehicles at the museum and get some pictures of the old Cadillac ARFF vehicle they have. However that wasn't any help with the photos and he doesn't work there anymore. Then after so many months of waiting for that phone call I stopped back by. The guy at the front desk remembered me, but the lady who was in charge (of what I do not know) was new. So I told her my story and that I wanted to see the pictures. She explained to me that it would take a couple of weeks to get to them, but that she would call. No phone call ever happened. Imagine that. Fast forward a couple of months to about two months ago. I placed a phone call again to speak to someone about the pictures. This time on the phone I was told that everyone was new, so I told the story again...yada yada yada. Nothing. So last week I stopped in to see about the pictures and the titles. Guess what? Everyone was out, except for the guy at the front desk who still remembers name. The bonus news was that the museum just hired an archivist. This is great news for me, someone who can help me with the pictures. Then guess what. The freaking roof blows off, and the museum closes for a while, and the deadline for the book gets closer and closer, and now they found asbestos on the roof, so they will have to clean that up, and I probably will not get my hands on the photos. But wait, it gets better. Now there is a huge investigation going on in regards to the Museum Director Bob Dills and his use of funds. You can see a video of the ordeal on WDBJ 7.

I know that these guys are busy at the museum. They are probably underpaid and overworked. The thing about it is that all the pictures at the museum that are fire related belong to someone else. Several firefighters, mostly retired, let the museum borrow them for their exhibit that they still have up. The museum used the pictures they wanted and stored the rest.

So the book will move forward without the pictures which are being held at the Museum.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Storms Cause Damage in Roanoke

Heavy storms ravaged parts of Roanoke today. The Virginia Museum of Transportation lost part of its roof during the storm. The debris from the roof fell right next to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial which is located in front of the museum. Click here for a picture of Ladder 7's crew.

The Roanoke Times: Weather Journal:
It was probably a wet microburst that caused high winds in downtown Roanoke that caused extensive roof damage to the Virginia Museum of Transportation, meteorologist Jan Jackson at the National Weather Service in Blacksburg said.

Observing from the Roanoke Times pedestrian bridge over Second Street, I would estimate the winds as gusting to as high as 65 mph, not an uncommonly high speed in a microburst. The bridge was shaking in the wind. There was also some small hail. (Read More)
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Arlington County Fire Department Video

Here is another video, this time from Arlington County Fire Department via the Firefighter Blog.

Aerial Ladder on Firetruck built too small

Apparently when this truck was designed, they accidentally made a huge mistake. I find it hard to believe that this actually happened. However, it was in the newspaper. You judge for yourself. This clip is from the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I still have yet to find any truth to this article, if you have anything like the newspaper it came from please let me know.

"Town Angered by Ladder Swap" "Fire engine ladder is 7.5 feet, not 75 feet as originally promised."

Carbon Monoxide - What you need to know - From Roanoke Fire-EMS

Roanoke Fire-EMS and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants to help you keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. Many homes have common sources of carbon monoxide

malfunctioning furnaces
water heaters
gas-fired dryers
clogged chimneys
corroded flue pipes
un-vented supplemental heaters

Below is a list of frequently asked questions:
1. What is carbon monoxide (CO) and how is it produced in the home? Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Appliances fueled with natural gas, liquified petroleum (LP gas), oil, kerosene, coal, or wood may produce CO. Burning charcoal produces CO. Running cars produce CO. How many people are unintentionally poisoned by CO? Every year, over 200 people in the United States die from CO produced by fuel-burning appliances (furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters). Others die from CO produced while burning charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent. Still others die from CO produced by cars left running in attached garages. Several thousand people go to hospital emergency rooms for treatment for CO poisoning.

2. What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include: Headache Fatigue Shortness of breath Nausea Dizziness Many people with CO poisoning mistake their symptoms for the flu or are misdiagnosed by physicians, which sometimes results in tragic deaths.

3. What should you do to prevent CO poisoning?
Make sure appliances are installed according to manufacturer's instructions and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by professionals. Have the heating system (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually. The inspector should also check chimneys and flues for blockages, corrosion, partial and complete disconnections, and loose connections. Install a CO detector/alarm that meets the requirements of the current UL standard 2034 or the requirements of the IAS 6-96 standard. A carbon monoxide detector/alarm can provide added protection, but is no substitute for proper use and upkeep of appliances that can produce CO. Install a CO detector/alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home. Make sure the detector cannot be covered up by furniture or draperies. Never burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent. Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent. Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open. Never service fuel-burning appliances without proper knowledge, skills, and tools. Always refer to the owner's manual when performing minor adjustments or servicing fuel-burning appliances. Never use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers for heating your home. Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in any room with closed doors or windows or in any room where people are sleeping. Do not use gasoline-powered tools and engines indoors. If use is unavoidable, ensure that adequate ventilation is available and whenever possible place engine unit to exhaust outdoors.

4. What CO level is dangerous to your health?
The health effects of CO depend on the level of CO and length of exposure, as well as each individual's health condition. The concentration of CO is measured in parts per million (ppm). Health effects from exposure to CO levels of approximately 1 to 70 ppm are uncertain, but most people will not experience any symptoms. Some heart patients might experience an increase in chest pain. As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms may become more noticeable (headache, fatigue, nausea). As CO levels increase above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.

5. What should you do if you are experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning? If you think you are experiencing any of the symptoms of CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors for more ventilation, turn off any combustion appliances, and leave the house. Call your fire department and report your symptoms. You could lose consciousness and die if you do nothing. It is also important to contact a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis. Tell your doctor that you suspect CO poisoning is causing your problems. Prompt medical attention is important if you are experiencing any symptoms of CO poisoning when you are operating fuel-burning appliances. Before turning your fuel-burning appliances back on, make sure a qualified serviceperson checks them for malfunction.

6. What has changed in CO detectors/alarms recently?
CO detectors/alarms always have been and still are designed to alarm before potentially life-threatening levels of CO are reached. The UL standard 2034 (1998 revision) has stricter requirements that the detector/alarm must meet before it can sound. As a result, the possibility of nuisance alarms is decreased.

7. How should I install a CO Alarm?
CO alarms should be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. CPSC recommends that one CO alarm be installed in the hallway outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area of the home. CO alarms may be installed into a plug-in receptacle or high on the wall because CO from any source will be well-mixed with the air in the house. Make sure furniture or draperies cannot cover up the alarm.

8. What should you do when the CO detector/alarm sounds?
Never ignore an alarming CO detector/alarm. If the detector/alarm
sounds: Operate the reset button. Call your emergency services (fire department or 911). Immediately move to fresh air -- outdoors or by an open door/window.

9. How should a consumer test a CO detector/alarm to make sure it is working? Consumers should follow the manufacturer's instructions. Using a test button, some detectors/alarms test whether the circuitry as well as the sensor which senses CO is working, while the test button on other detectors only tests whether the circuitry is working. For those units which test the circuitry only, some manufacturers sell separate test kits to help the consumer test the CO sensor inside the alarm.

10. What is the role of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC) in preventing CO poisoning?
CPSC worked closely with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to help develop the safety standard (UL 2034) for CO detectors/alarms. CPSC helps promote carbon monoxide safety awareness to raise awareness of CO hazards and the need for regular maintenance of fuel-burning appliances. CPSC recommends that every home have a CO detector/alarm that meets the requirements of the most recent UL standard 2034 or the IAS 6-96 standard in the hallway near every separate sleeping area. CPSC also works with industry to develop voluntary and mandatory standards for fuel-burning appliances.

11. Do some cities require that CO detectors/alarms be installed? On September 15, 1993, Chicago, Illinois became one of the first cities in the nation to adopt an ordinance requiring, effective October 1, 1994, the installation of CO detectors/alarms in all new single-family homes and in existing single-family residences that have new oil or gas furnaces. Several other cities also require CO detectors/alarms in apartment buildings and single-family dwellings.

12. Should CO detectors/alarms be used in motor homes and other recreational vehicles? CO detectors/alarms are available for boats and recreational vehicles and should be used. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association requires CO detectors/alarms in motor homes and in towable recreational vehicles that have a generator or are prepped for a generator.

Roanoke Fire-EMS encourages all Roanoke residents to practice fire safety steps every day. Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility and fire prevention precautions DO make a difference! The Fire Prevention Division of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department offers fireplace safety and/ or home fire safety inspections at no cost. Citizens can call 853-2795 to set up an appointment. Citizens in need can also receive a smoke detector at no cost from Roanoke Fire-EMS Administration, 541 Luck Avenue, Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24016 or call 853-2327. Visit our website at

Monday, July 17, 2006

Powered Parachutes

A while back, while I was on vacation in Charleston, I asked the readers to provide me subjects they wanted to hear about. I got one response. I will finally make good on it and provide you with as much information as I could find in about 15 minutes on...wait for it...Powered Parachutes. That is right. You all asked, so I will deliver. You can probably imagine who asked. I only know of two powered parachute pilots in the department, Jerry Franks and John Dubose.

Powered Parachutes -

You could start here, for general information and probably the second best domain name. The best domain name for this topic being (no link to save you time) is not online, apparently someone is missing out on a very marketable domain name. Buckeye Aviation is a decent site and I believe that is where Jerry and John bought there chutes. Of course you can always rely on the good ole Wikipedia for online information. The wikipedia has plenty of information on Powered Parachutes aka paraplane:

On 1 October 1964, Jalbert applied for patent for his new "Multi-Cell Wing" named "Parafoil", which was a new parachute design. His ideas finally were registered as US-patent 3,285,546 on 11.15.1966. However a first motorized version by Nicolaides had already flown in 1964.

Finally in March 1981, the P-1 was created by Steve Snyder, Adrian Vandenberg and Daniel Thompson. The flight lasted 25-30 seconds and the paraglider suffered from torque problems. It took 2 years for them to fix these problems, and in 1983 they formed the ParaPlane corporation to produce first commercial paragliders.

In 2004 Don Shaw mounted a standard motor scooter with a parafoil and propeller. The combination can both fly and continue to drive on the road as a ground vehicle. A conversion kit is now commercially available.

This is where it gets interesting though. Some of you might not realize the Jerry Franks started a blog. Jerry's blog Tree Top Flyers of VA has been online for several months now. I have offered him some assistance in his design, and will be helping him soon. But hey, everyone has to start somewhere. I remember when I began this blog I didn't have a clue.

Jerry has incorporated pictures of his new baby. Congratulations to you and your wife on your new arrival.
"Jerry, you sure this thing can handle me?"
"Well John, there is only one sure way to find out!"

"Bad Speed" as seen on the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue - Blog

This is a well written story by Jose A. Nochea on the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Blog. It isn't every day that we get to see the perspective of another firefighters feelings and experiences written after the incident.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue - Blog:
Rescue 37, Engine 37 respond on a 29 Delta - 4, vehicle versus house and light pole, person trapped. As I made my way into the truck, I had a bad feeling about this one for some reason, and as we turned East into Coral Way from SW 137 avenue, I confirmed my feelings as I could see from the cab of my Quantum engine a mangled sports car that had absorbed most of the impact from the light pole through the passenger door where a 17 Y/O boy sat badly trapped. After conducting my size-up, taking command, and requesting additional required units including TRT, I assigned R37 as medical group, and my three firefighters to set up the jaws and pull and charge the 100’ bumper jumpline. (Read More)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Investigation continues on CO leak cause -

It is good to read the praise of the Salem Fire Department. It isn't every day that the public safety is given kudos. Keep up the good work guys.

Investigation continues on CO leak cause -
Roanoke College President Sabine O'Hara, in her first appearance since Friday's carbon monoxide leak in a campus dormitory, said at a news conference today that she flew back from an out-of-town trip "because I needed to be here."

O'Hara had been in Minnesota for her son's wedding rehearsal dinner. But, addressing the media at the Henry H. Fowler Alumni building, she said she flew back Friday night after the incident "because this is my family too."

O'Hara said there has been an outpouring of support, understanding, prayers and concerns. She said the city of Salem's emergency services, fire and police departments "worked really well. You don't ask for a situation like this but we know our emergency procedures work."(Read More)

Guns N' Hoses Softball Game 2006

Does anyone have any information on the game tonight at the Salem Avalanche stadium? I was unable to make the game due to a family emergency. I hope the event was well attended and everyone had fun. I will add any information as I receive it.

Roanoke College experiences Mass Casualty CO Incident

62 people were transported to Lewis Gale Emergency Room including two first responders, while another 49 were transported to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital ER. Only 5 of the victims were still in the hospital today. The two first responders recovered.

Judy Norris woke up about 6 a.m. Friday in a dorm room at Roanoke College's Yonce Hall.

Norris, 68, had arrived the day before to attend a three-day Lutheran Power in the Spirit conference on campus. But that morning, Norris couldn't walk. She barely managed to crawl into the bathroom.

When Norris got out of the bathroom, she tried to rouse her roommate, but got no response.

"That's when I figured something was wrong," Norris said.

On Friday, an apparent buildup of carbon monoxide in a campus dormitory -- a collection of stately row houses known as Sections -- sickened dozens of adults attending the Lutheran conference and teens participating in a six-week college prep program called Upward Bound. Officials say the leak of the odorless and colorless gas may have been caused by failure of the gas hot water system. (Read More)
I have not heard about the incident from the standpoint of the Salem Fire Department. If I get details, I will add them in. I do know that in order to transport 111 victims to the hospital you need a lot of ambulances making several trips. If you have anything to add please send it in.

Dennis Duncan Leaves the Fire Department

Dennis Duncan at RMH ER. Photo taken by Travis Collins.

Recruit Class 15 dwindles as Dennis Duncan leaves the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department to go to PA school. Dennis began as a part-time medic at EMS-1 before he was hired on full time as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the Roanoke Fire-EMS Dept. in 1999. Dennis attended Recruit Class 15 which was held at the Jefferson Center with yours truly. We wish Dennis and his family the best with his new endeavors.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Link Dump 3 - Keep your eyes open

One hell of a response vehicle
National Incident Information System
Wildfire Season is upon us, check out the action
How to properly place a flag at half staff
Useless Movie Quotes - Search by movie
Dennis Hayes' Hybrid Martial Arts Commercial
Illusion of an ambulance
Order your own Historic Fire Station #1
Woodrum Field (Roanoke Regional Airport) explained
Good Semaritan or Super Hero, Candid Video tells all

If you have more, send them in and I will include them.

Firefighting in Roanoke - Deadline looms

I got the cover proof for the book I am working on from the publisher today. I have to admit, it is pretty neat seeing my name on the cover of a book. But this is just the cover. I have a lot of work cut out for me. I am getting back to business tomorrow, I will be working on the book all day.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have been working on the IAFF Local Listing at the Local 1132 site. This is a list of all of the IAFF locals which have websites, although I am taking it one step farther. I am adding every IAFF local to it. Did I mention there are over 4500 of them? Needless to say this will take a little while to finish.

As I continue learning web design and html etc., I completed another site recently. It is my Father's new business he has begun. The site can be seen Here. Let me know what you think.

Speaking of new websites. I am thinking about re-designing the Local 1132 site, if you have any ideas let me know. I will probably be working on this in September actually. The book deadline is September 1st.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Preview: New EMS Special Ops Track Offered at Firehouse Expo — Emergency Medical Services (

A new learning curve is bein offered this year at the Firehouse expo. EMS Special Ops will now be available for EMT's and Paramedics who want to learn more. It seems as though this is meant for EMS agencies, while combined fire and EMS departments will remain on the Technical Rescue paths that they already use. If anyone else has any information on this let me know.

Preview: New EMS Special Ops Track Offered at Firehouse Expo — Emergency Medical Services (
EMSResponder.Com News

It's no longer all about hoses, ropes and ladders.

Firehouse Expo in Baltimore later this month will offer a unique track -- special ops for EMS.

Experts in that field say they know of no other conferences that offer a specific focus for EMS, and believe it's long overdue.

"Just what is 'special ops'? It's a grab bag term that includes everything other than the medical emergency or vehicle crash. It's HAZMAT, technical medicine, anything that requires special training or equipment," said Dr. David Jaslow, medical director for Bucks County Pa. Rescue. Dr. Jaslow also specializes in special operations training at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and contributes to EMS Magazine and
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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Roanoke Fire-EMS HTR

Roanoke Fire-EMS members train for Heavy Technical Rescue at the Roanoke Regional Training Center. Click on the picture to see more photos of the training on Roanoke Firefighters Blog Flickr Account. If you have pictures you want to add, just send them in. These pictures are courtesy of Zach Bechner of the Troutville Fire Department.

Over the past few years as the HTR team has grown to include most of the disiplines of Technical Rescue. We have members who have assisted with emergencies locally as well as in other States, trained all across the Nation, and some who now teach these disiplines Internationally. Technical Rescue includes Trench Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Vehicle Rescue, Water Rescue, Rope Rescue, Farm Machinery Rescue, Structural Collapse Rescue, and Wilderness Search Rescue, as well as some others. Roanoke should be proud of the level of care the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department is capable of providing.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Stomp - Coming Soon to a Training Center Near You

Here is a little wildland fire training video for you to feast your eyes on.

I have removed the embedded video because it played everytime the page was loaded. The link to the video is HERE.

First Response Coalition Blog

The First Response Coalition Blog has an interesting article on how the emergency communications are still not capable of what they should be while we have set up one hell of a system over in Iraq. This is one of those things that everyone will be wondering why it was never fixed after the next big incident.

First Response Coalition Blog:
At a July 10 press briefing in Baghdad, Iraq, U.S. Army Major General William McCoy provided an update on the progress that has been made towards restoring key Iraqi infrastructure, noting the installment of the Advanced First Responder Network, a high-tech data and voice communications system linking police, fire and emergency services across 14 provinces.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... first responders throughout the United States still have do not have the ability to reliably and effectively communicate with each other, and there remains no national strategy to establish a nationwide interoperable emergency communications network. (Read More)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Strecthing out the helping hand

From Roanoke Police Lt. James Fazio:

Robin Galleo's Son has been diagnosed with Duchenne's (a form of Muscular Dystrophy) and we need your help in trying to raise some funds to assist with medical expenses. Roanoke City Police Patrol Administration has purchased 300 of the attached coins to commemorate the five year anniversary of 9/11. The coins are $10 each with all of the profit going to Robin's family to assist them through this trying time.

Please conctact James Fazio if you wish to purchase one of these coins.

Feel free to call me with any further inquiries.

Lieutenant James Fazio
Executive Officer, Patrol Bureau

Feel free to get a hold of me if you would like. I can help you get your hands on one of these coins.

Roanoke Regional Airport Emergency Drill

September 23rd 2006, 10 A.M.

The first seventy participants will be allowed to play the part of victims, victims'’ family members, and media. This is a great opportunity to participate in the community and test your improvisation skills. You will be given a brief description of your injuries and then expected to play the part accordingly. Brunch will be provided along with Commemorative T-Shirts.

The FAA mandates all airports conduct a full scale exercise once every (3) years to test and train emergency responders in the event of an aircraft accident.

To receive a sign up form please call
(540) 362-1999 or email:
NOTE: 18 years of age and older may participate

Hey look, you can come play with the ARFF Crew at the Airport. Doesn't that sound like fun. Best of all it is a C- Shift day. Oh Joy. Maybe I will have a call by then. Huh? You heard me right. I have yet to run a call since I have been back on ARFF, with the exception of the FAA mandated "Quick Dash". I have been at the ARFF Crew since December of 2004, we ran 2 calls during my time there before being moved to Station 8 for about 5 months in June 2005. I returned to the ARFF crew in October and I have not run an ARFF call since. I should play the lottery. I have run calls while riding on Engine 10, I get to ride E10 once every other cycle or two. This brings a whole new meaning to "The best job in the world" trust me. If my coworkers had a clue they would be lined out the door to get my position. Just don't tell nobody.

A Place Closer to Mattie

Take a minute to read this article on Jeni Stepanek, the mother of Mattie Stepanek. Mattie died 2 years ago serving for many years as the IAFF Goodwill Ambassador.

A Place Closer to Mattie:
A Place Closer to Mattie
Two years after losing the last of her kids, Jeni Stepanek and the disease that claimed them are moving on

By Darragh Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 9, 2006; Page D01

Their place is nearly empty now. The boxes are sealed, the walls blank.

The photos have all come down -- framed snapshots of Mattie J.T. Stepanek with the stars he called friends: Oprah, Jimmy Carter, Jerry Lewis, Larry King.
Jeni Stepanek, mother of the late Mattie Stepanek, prepares to leave the condo she shared with her son. Mattie was a young boy whose poetry charmed Oprah, Jimmy Carter and the world. His mother, Jeni, is now dying of the same disease that claimed her son in June of 2004 as well as three more of her children.

Down, too, came the boy's vast collection of books, and the rhyming dictionary and Latin text he kept next to his computer. His board games are packed away. So are his big green monster claws and rock collection, his baseball caps and favorite stuffed animal.

Tomorrow, his mother is moving. Jeni Stepanek is leaving the Rockville condo purchased with the proceeds from her son's best-selling "Heartsongs" poetry books and where, for Mattie's final years, they lived together until he died two Junes ago at age 13. (Read More)

Oops the monkey found, returned to zoo -

Yesterday, the search for Oops the monkey ended as Zoo officials tranquilized the monkey and retrieved her from the tree where her arm got stuck when she fell. Ladder 1 "C" Shift was on location to assist with the capture. From what I understand they were called out for a "special assignment". Ladder 1 raised the aerial ladder to get a Zoo official as close as possible to the monkey in order to shoot it with the tranquilizer. Another bang up job by the Roanoke Firefighters.

Oops the monkey found, returned to zoo -
Zoo staff and animal control officers followed her through the woods and after about two hours cornered her up a tree about 30 yards from the Fishburn Parkway Spur.

Staffers tried to encourage Oops to climb down by calling her name and offering her food. But she wouldn't budge.

"She was locked tight in that tree," said Bill Poage, the zoo's consulting veterinarian.

After about 45 minutes, the staff decided it was time for the tranquilizer gun.

Using a ladder provided by the Roanoke Fire Department, Poage climbed to within 30 feet of the monkey.

His first shot at Oops was on the mark. Oops pulled the dart out, then climbed up and down the tree, agitated by the tranquilizer. (Read More)
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MSA Fireslayer

I found a game on the MSA website. I do not know when it came out, but this is the first I have heard of it. I have posted previous firefighter games on the blog, but this one is truly unique. The idea is that you are using a thermal imaging camera inside a residential dwelling. You have to locate and rescue victims while using proper air management. The game will need to be downloaded to your computer which takes a few minutes. This might be used as a training tool. Check it out and let me know what you think. Click the link below for the game.

MSA Fireslayer Challenge 3-D video game

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fish On!!

Yesterday we went to Pirates Cove Marina bright and early to go fishing on the boat Hot Reels. We had a slow start, but caught up quick. Ours was the biggest catch brought in for the day. We ended up catching 7 tuna, one small dolphin, and a small brown shark. Some of the other boats caught some marlin, but they are catch and release. We ended up catching 164 lbs of fish that we kept - 6 tuna and 1 dolphin. We had a blast. You can see the fishing update for July 5th here, we were the featured catch. Sunday we will be having Tuna for dinner, big shock huh.

In other news of interest, the Local 1132 site is back online.

This is the 600 post on the Roanoke Firefighters Blog. I hope you all have enjoyed reading. Total visits to the site are just over 35,000 and total pageviews just over 56,000. Not too bad for a blog that is just over 1 year old.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Extra, Extra, Read all about it!

I write posts about a lot of topics. For the most part they are meant to be informational to my readers. However, sometimes the posts draw the attention of those close to the story. The family members, the victims, the firefighters and EMT's, and others who might be involved in the incidents or stories that I post about. I recently posted about Jeff Dunn, a firefighter, who recently succumbed to Lou Gehrig's Disease. His brother Michael left a comment which probably speaks louder than my post. Check it out HERE and click on comments.

Open Water

I am now officially an open water diver. I made two dives yesterday on the Zane Grey. Visibility was about 10-15 feet. It was fun, it is interesting how it takes little to no time to get to 60 feet.

In other news there was an MVA today, here is the information and some pictures.

MVA 2100 block of Dale Ave. Call received @ 00:40. E-6, L-1, M-6 & RS-1 responded. 1 female inside. Vehicle upside down. Drivers window broken to get PT out. Large power pole and 3 transformers on ground and lots of mineral oil flowing down road. Stay dri used to damn up oil on road and to keep anymore from flowing into storm drain. PT sustained no apparent injuries. Was transported to RMH. She was wearing a seat belt. Photo by Lt. Baron Gibson.

I am still on vacation. Look for more posting if some decent info comes in.

Monday, July 03, 2006 | The many faces of Va. bloggers

Here is an interesting article on Bloggers in Virginia. Although the article speaks of the majority of bloggers, the political ones, I feel as though we are all incorporated. My blog only turns political when need be. Read on. | The many faces of Va. bloggers:
The many faces of Va. bloggers
The Web gives them a way to air their views and raise some issues Many faces of Virginia bloggers Web gives them way to air thei


Jul 2, 2006

Find blogs on local issues and state politics at

As there are for most everyone, political bloggers have their own stereotypes.

One of the most common is that of an unkempt white male, typically in his 20s, who spends count- less hours every day in front of a computer, churning out opinion articles and ruminations about the latest headlines.

In other words, a tech-savvy hermit.

Conaway B. Haskins III, 29, is none of those things.

He spends only a few hours a day working on his blog, doesn't suffer computer withdrawal and admits that he isn't exactly a techie. Oh, and by the way, he's black.

But Haskins is a part of Virginia's burgeoning blogging community. (Read More)
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Ok, here is the deal. I am away on vacation again. I know, a tough life for someone who doesn't do anything. Ha ha. I will post stuff if it is really important or a good enough story. Otherwise check out for stories most like the ones I might post. Joe Fiala's site is a decent look into the fire service without the Local taste that I offer to Roanoke. If you have any sites you like, post them in the comments.

Check out Firewhirl and leave some comments. Joe, I am leaving it up to you.

I am leaving it in the locals hands to inform me of any pressing issues to post on. a Captain I know says "Alright baby, gone".

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) & Firefighters -- The Online Wages, Hours and Overtime Pay Resource

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) & Firefighters -- The Online Wages, Hours and Overtime Pay Resource:

Check out this website for information concerning FLSA and Firefighters, Police Officers, and Paramedics. It is an interesting read. I have incorporated what I found interesting below. I have heard all this before, but I had never read it.
"Moonlighting" and "Dual Employment."

Employees may not "volunteer" to do similar work for the same employer without the time being counted as FLSA work time. Firefighters may not perform "additional" fire related activities for their employers without that time being included as hours worked for FLSA pay computation purposes. Also, employees who work "two jobs" for the same employer must aggregate their total hours worked for FLSA pay purposes. For example, a fire fighter who works 40 hours as a firefighter and an additional 20 hours as an animal control officer has a total of 60 FLSA hours worked. Employees are permitted to work "moonlighting" jobs -- for separate employers -- without the hours being aggregated. Employees may sometimes work for "joint employers," such as when they are assigned to a "task force." In such cases, each employer is equally liable to be sure FLSA wages are paid properly.
The way I read this is that any work you do for your employer has to be considered FLSA work time. There is no such thing as "volunteering" for your job. What does it mean to you?

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IAFF Local 4116 Member Jeff Dunn succumbs to Lou Gehrig's Disease

Blogger allows me to write posts and save them as drafts. Until today I had one draft which I never published. The reason for that is that I sent an email out about this firefighter and never received a reply. Due to the delicate nature of the firefighters disposition I did not want to publish the post without knowing the firefighters current state of health. Well today I received that reply I was waiting for. Read on...

My original post left in draft form from February 26, 2006:

Jeff Dunn, a firefighter with Castle Rock Fire Department and a member of Local 4116, is battling A.L.S. (Lou Gehrig's Disease). His brother and sister firefighters have assisted in raising money for Jeff Dunn and the ALS Foundation. If you get a chance check out the Castle Rock Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 4116 website and you can see the events they have held for their courageous brother who is battling the biggest fire of his life. On the site there is a link to an article the local news channel reported on Firefighter Jeff Dunn. Jeff and his wife, Cyrilla, have kept their heads up through their battle with ALS.

You may or may not know about Vernon Barnard, a Roanoke City firefighter, who died of Lou Gehrigs Disease in November 1997. While I was not here when Vernon was, I have heard the many stories about him. There are a lot of Firefighters here in Roanoke who remember Vernon, the fun times he had with the guys, and the...this is where I had stopped and saved it as a draft.
The email that I received today from the webmaster of CastleRock's website stated that he apologized for not getting to my email sooner and that Jeff Dunn had passed away three days ago. He told me to look to their website for more information.

For those of you who do not know Lou Gehrigs disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), neurodegenerative disease that usually attacks both upper and lower motor neurons and causes degeneration throughout the brain and spinal cord. Basically you loose all ability to control your body beginning with your muscles and ending with your organs.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff Dunn's family and friends.

There is no more of a point to make other than this is why firefighters across the Nation and Canada raise money each year for the Muscular Dystrophy Association to find a cure for this disease and others like it.

Addition: I completely overlooked the fact that Captain Brown died of Lou Gehrig's disease as well just a couple of years ago. I apologize for the oversight, and I thank the individual for pointing it out.