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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Guns N' Hoses Hockey, the Bowl A Thon, and MDA Camp

January 26th is the 5th annual Guns N' Hoses Hockey Game. Check out their website for more information. The link is here: http://gunsandhoseshockey.com/. The picture below is from last year I believe.

The 2nd Annual Bowl A Thon will be on March 29th. Information below is from Charles Adkins of the Salem FD.

Hey Brothers and Sisters,


2nd annual IAFF/MDA "Fire in the Alley" Bowl-A-Thon.

MARCH 29. 2008 SAVE THIS DATE!!!!!
1400 - 1630 HRS

OK, I have been contacted by several Locals about the price increase of the team cost to play from last year.

The way this thing works is:


* Pick a team Captain( need your info by deadline Jan. 18, 2008)
* Team Captain picks 4 other players ( 5 Man or Woman teams ) must have $650.00 to play this year!!
* Cost per team is $650.00 ( Example: Each team member ask 12 family members, friends, bosses, etc... for a pledge of $10.83 will equal $130.00 per player and x 5 = $650.00)
* This will sponsor you in a MDA bowl -a - thon to raise money to send kids with some form of MD to summer camp, for these kids and parents are strapped by paying for medical bills, wheelchairs, walkers, and just day to day living, this intern gives the kids something special to look forward to at the end of summer and the wonderful parents a little break so the don't break from day to day living.
* 20 teams are all we need.
* This is open to anyone that's loves to bowl or just want to donate to the cause.( Not just IAFF members we tried that last year and got hardly any participation).
* You can get sponsored by a company from the area if this would be an easier way to reach our goals it is a tax deductible write off for this coming tax season.


FYI: If we do not have any captains by Jan. 08, 2008 we will have to consider canceling this event due to scheduling with Salem bowling alley,we had to reschedule last year multiple times and I don't think they will be as accommodating this year.



If anybody feels like this is to much or to hard to accomplish, I want to here your ideas ASAP!!!!

Contact me at any time:

In Unity,

Charles D. Adkins/Director/VP-B
Salem Professional Firefighters Assoc.
Local #3478
Cell -(540)-309-4566
Pager-(540)-581-9131
Firepro3478@msn.com


The dates for the MDA camp have been posted.

ANNOUNCEMENT!
CAMP DATES JUST ARRIVED:

JULY 13 - JULY 18

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS.

WE NEED MORE MALE COUNSELORS - PLEASE HELP US RECRUIT - PRIZES AWARDED TO COUNSELORS WHO ARE GOOD RECRUITERS!!

Recent Comments

Recently, I have witnessed another wave of comments on the blog. Some are great...constructive and professional. Others are childish, rude, and unnecessary.

I get a lot of people who say things like the blog is becoming the rumor mill, or that it is not doing any good.

I know the people who make certain comments. I have known them for a long time. I don't mean that I know each person who has made each individual payment, however I know the type. Remember the rumor mill. I know who was making most of the comments. Everyone knows I was a part of it, but no one knows to what extent. It doesn't matter.

My point is this; As long as you let it bother you, they will continue to do it. It is just like in the company. If you give your brothers material, they are going to have fun with it. That is our nature. The wheel chock...that was priceless. I can't believe that person wasted the time to type that comment.


As for the comments on training and certain incidents that have happened recently, I will say this:

  1. Everyone in this department needs to train more, especially on the basics.
  2. We will always have room to improve.
  3. We will continue to learn from our mistakes.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Our Boys Overseas

Check out the photo I received today. All seems to be well overseas. Reighley will be home in a month or so from what I understand. Meanwhile, Fish just started his tour overseas. I got to speak with Fish just prior to his departure. Stay safe guys.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Fires in Roanoke on Christmas Eve

Christmas Jingles Submitted

Below are all of the Christmas Jingles which were sent in. Check them out and let me know what you think...

Anonymous sent in this gem:
Jingle Bells all the way.
Horses eat hay.
What do you want me to say.
Some firefighers were born in May.
The tones go off and we say OK.
In the middle of the night or day.
Some cats have homes, some are stray.
Some go to church and pray.
Pepsi has a nice display.
Food is sometimes served on a tray.
Kids like to go outside and play.



CountryDew - A fellow blogger and the wife of a firefighter sent this one in. Visit her blog here: http://bluecountrymagic.blogspot.com
The Wife Before Christmas

The night before Christmas, a dear holy hour
I sit with a brandy in front of the fire.
Alone with our child tucked asleep down the hall
and the man that I love has gone out on a call.

He's a fireman, you see, and when sirens blast
He rushes to help, to bring hope to you fast.
Through smoke, in the ice, in hard driving rain,
He offers assistance and helps folks in pain.

No though for himself, he offers a hand,
No matter the season or what we had planned.
I just let him go, see him off with a kiss
and try not to worry about what he will miss -

Baby's first step, or her eyes all alight
When she sees what Ol' Santa leaves her tonight.
I pray for his safety, that he comes back to me
That he not be in danger is my nightly plea.

He's my whole life, I give him all that I can.
He's one of the finest - he's a fireman.


-- CountryDew
http://bluecountrymagic.blogspot.com

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasnt fuzzy was he.

Oompah oompah oompidy doo,
I have got a puzzle for you.

I sit home in the middle of the night,
My father yells what you gonna do with your life.
Oh daddy please you know your still number one,
Girls...they wanna have fun.
Thats all they really waaaa-aant.
Oh girls they just wanna have fun.

Big Trav sent in:
Twas the night before Christmas and through the fire house not a creature was stirring except #2’s mouse. The Firefighters all snuggled all down in their beds with dreams of their families held tight in their heads. Their boots right beside them their coats hung on the engine with care, to make sure they get it on quick if they have to go anywhere. A short silent prayer for a run free nights sleep, to have enough energy with their families to be, awake and alert and not miss a thing, to be wide eyed and waiting to see what Santa brings.
For a few of the bravest it’s their first Christmas with chaps they don’t want to miss it while taking a nap. Others we know have been with their chaps before and look forward to that smile when they come through the door. Some of the bravest don’t have chaps of their own but still look forward to a love that is waiting at home and some have had several but their off and grown and may stop by later with chaps of their own.
When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter we all jump out of bed engine, medic, and ladder and wait with our feet in our boots to hear what is the matter. We wait on the dispatch to give us the news’ alarm coming in, now we’ve got to move. Control relays the call and it’s just an alarm, thank goodness this time no body is harmed. We will go back to bed and of family still dream and again pray that’s the last time the alarm bells will ring.
Remember now bravest as you finish this night, in a few more hours with the suns first light, the next shift will be in and you can go home to be with the family you missed all day long. So take just a minute and remember those folks, who have taken your place so you could go home.
Remember the soldiers who are so far from home who fight for our freedom so we don’t have to roam who won’t see their husbands, their wives or their chaps and won’t get a big dinner and definitely no nap. The will stand at a post maybe even alone and spend Christmas day thousands of miles from home. God bless them and keep them and bring them home safe I hope this is the last Christmas they have to spend in that place.

Merry Christmas to all my Brothers and Sisters and the US Armed forces wherever you may be God bless you all!
Lt. Travis A .Simmons
“Big Trav”
Roanoke Fire EMS
Station 2A “The ZOO”

Monday, December 24, 2007

Roanoke Fire-EMS Responds to 31st St. Fire


Roanoke Fire-EMS Responds to 31st St. Fire

Press Release from Roanoke Fire EMS

On December 19, 2007, Roanoke Fire-EMS responded to a structure fire at 753 31st St. The call came into the E-911 Center at approximately 4 a.m. The response of 4 engines, 2 ladder trucks, 2 medic units, the EMS Captain, the Investigation Unit and a Battalion Chief for a total of 26 personnel responded to the scene. The fire was under control at 4:23 a.m.

Click the picture for more pictures and the rest of the story.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Billy Goldfeder - And the Beat Goes On - Fire Training

I thought that this video clip was worthwhile. Check it out.



And this one from Chief Rick Lasky about Pride and Ownership.

Christmas Jingle Competition

Hey guys, in the spirit of Christmas I thought we would have a little competition. Lets see who can come up with the best Christmas jingle. It can be a poem, carol, jingle, or whatever. Simply write an original with something to do with firefighting, EMS, our department, or Roanoke in general and send it in. I will publish all of them. They can be anonymous if you like. Get them in by Sunday and I will publish them. You can email them to me, or just post it as a comment to this post. I will in turn, post it on Sunday night. We all know there are some poets among us. Try and keep it as professional as possible!

In the spirit of Christmas Carols...I give you Achmed the Dead Terrorist singing Jingle Bombs...Silence. I Killllll Youuuuu. This guy is hilarious.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Station 6 Fabricates Pierce Quantum Style Steps


Sent in by Station 6 A-Shift.

With the arrival of FF/Dr. to be George Harris at Station 6-A Shift, Station 6 personnel thought it would be nice to make George feel as at home as possible. Realizing that George has gotten used to the fancy Pierce Quantum assigned to Engine 1, Station 6 personnel thought that retrofitting 6 Engine with a step like the Quantum’s folding step would reduce the risk of injury to George as well as help to make him feel at home. With no money allotted for the upgrade, the station 6 crew had to make this step a manual pull-down model rather than the air-actuated model on the Quantum. Welcome to Station 6 George! Good luck on your Dr.’s test!

Now that is funny!!!

I Want to Drive the Fire SUV

Check out this video on Youtube. It is hilarious. Thanks to Tim Pickle from the Lynchburg Fire Department for the heads up on this one.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Little Reminder

The Banquet is on Feb. 2nd. Get your Firefighter of the Year nominations to Parry or Fleitz.

The Invitations went out yesterday. If you don't get one shortly, let me know.

Rooms will be available and the event is at the Holiday Inn (formerly the Clarion).

Voting is currently being held online for C-Shift Vice President (http://www.local1132.org).

Voting will continue through the 22nd and end on the 23rd with voting at the Union Hall from 8-10am.


Roanoke Firefighters battle fire in SW

Mike Overacker was on scene taking some really great photographs. I have the story and photos on VAFireNews.com, and Mike has some more photos on RoanokeFirefighters.com.


New chat area added

I just added a chat area to the blog on the right hand side. I will give it a trial time and if you guys like it and use it, I will keep it. Otherwise it will be gone. Just remember, anyone can use it or be reading it at any time. Who you think you are talking to might not be who you are actually talking to. You can go by any name you want. Try and keep it professional, all kinds of people get on this site.

Thanks

Committees

The Roanoke Fire EMS Department has many committees. For the most part, the committees are very effective. In the more recent years, the recommendations of the committees have been agreed upon by Administration. The most common reason for non-compliance with committee recommendations has been budget constraints. Usually, this is taken care of up front when Admin. gives certain criteria for the committees to follow. This criteria is usually budget driven.

It hasn't always been that way. I won't delve deep into the certain issues which committees have been rendered useless due to veto by Administration, however the Quints is one issue where the committees were backed into a corner and were uncomfortable with the outcome.

Examples of Roanoke's committees are the turnout gear committee, uniform committee, apparatus committee (two actually - one for fire and one fore ems vehicles), training committee, airpack committee, and many others. Some meet regularly, others like the airpack committee were kind of a one time thing to decide on new airpacks.

The Charleston Fire Department (SC) is facing the very worse for the newly formed committees which were suggested by the panel overseeing the reformation of the department. These committees have been overruled by their Chief. Chief Thomas, who has been identified as the root of many problems in the department by many inside and outside of the department, went along with the recommendations for forming committees. However, when given the recommendations by the committees, Chief Thomas has decided not to implement the recommendations and do whatever he felt like. Basically, the committee members felt as though Chief Thomas had wasted their time and according to some; returned to the dictator role he had been posturing for the past 16+ years in the job.

This is not healthy. The system we have is healthy. Although we cannot have everything we want, the firefighters in Roanoke have figured out that through committee involvement we can compromise on what equipment we have to work with. This system has been very beneficial to the firefighters, giving them a sense of worth in the department and offering them the input into equipment which could mean the matter of life or death while on the job. The flip side of the coin would be Administration deciding on this key equipment while being removed from the day to day operations in which we use them. What does it matter to an Incident commander, who is standing outside, of what airpack we have on. It doesn't directly effect them. Just as the firefighters don't order office supplies equipment for Administration because we don't use them.

There are issues on the committee level too though. Many believe that a lot of the committee members do it for one reason only (to make themselves look good). I cannot say that is not true. There are some who appear to be in that situation. However, for the most part it seems as though the firefighters who are involved in committees do so for the simple reason of understanding that they can be part of the solution. The other issue with committees is that many firefighters have been unable to get involved in certain committees due to some firefighters being involved in more than one. All I can say is the next time there is a sign up for a committee, have your company officer put in a good word for you.

As for Charleston, from my point of view I think that there is one simple answer to reform. That answer is to get a new Chief. I am not saying it will be a cure all. But from what I have read, and I have been following it since the tragedy, it would be a great place to start.

Firehouse #3 is sold

Firehouse 3 has been sold. The new owners hope to restore it to its original look as much as they can. It will be good to see the station hang around a while longer if everything goes as planned.


Below is from the Roanoke Times (Read the entire story here)

A nearly 100-year-old firehouse that was decommissioned earlier this year will become the headquarters of a local architectural company after the Roanoke City Council approved the building's sale Monday.

Interactive Design Group, currently housed on Norfolk Avenue Southwest, will give the city $171,000 for Fire Station 3, located at Sixth Street and Rorer Avenue Southwest.

The site is assessed at $321,800, according to city records.

The business plans to renovate both the two-story building's interior and exterior, according to city officials.

City Manager doesn't want crimes or fires given a quadrant designation

The City is doing away with documenting crimes and fires in specific quadrants of the City. Apparently, the City Manager feels that it "could fuel negative racial and socioeconomic perceptions about certain areas of the city."

Honestly, I don't really care anymore about this. The City has been using tactics like this to spread out certain statistics. The Fire Department sees this all the time when territories are changed to make an engine, ladder, or medic truck seem less busy in order to prove a point.

However, if they removed the NW, SW, SE, and NE designations from CAD, this could cause a big problem. How many streets do we have that share the same name? Including the same block.

Yesterday, there were two fires...one in SW and one in NW.

Below is from the Roanoke Times (Read the entire story here)

Roanoke residents who want to know if crime is happening in their neighborhood could have a harder time getting complete information from the city's Web site.

City police earlier this fall removed a list of crime incidents from their Web site. They re-posted it last week, but without the quadrant designations -- Southeast, Southwest, Northeast and Northwest -- that had specified where the crimes happened.

It is the latest example of a reluctance by some city officials to provide the most precise information about where crimes are occurring. And it could cause confusion in a city where numerous streets cross quadrants and where one street may have two 600 blocks.

Under a directive from City Manager Darlene Burcham, officials are not allowed to provide quadrant designations in news releases reporting crimes or fires.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sad day for Firefighters across the Nation

UPDATE BELOW THE ORIGINAL POST!

Yesterday saw a potential huge loss to firefighters across the Nation. I tuned into CSpan yesterday to watch the Senate in session debating the Farm Bill. The Republicans and Democrats attached 20 amendments to the bill each. One of the amendments is amendment 3830 which is the Public Safety Officer Employer/Employee Cooperation Act or the Firefighters bill as it was commonly known as among the Senators. The bill largely backed by the IAFF as well as the Fraternal Order of Police and State Troopers would basically give collective bargaining rights to all Public Safety.


Another amendment involved in the Farm Bill is H.R. 3997, as amended, which would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide earnings assistance and tax relief to members of the uniformed services, volunteer firefighters, and Peace Corps volunteers, and for other purposes.

As I watched many of the amendments get discussed and voted down, I thought that the firefighters amendment was good to go. Unfortunately, I believe that was not the case.

This below what I felt I understood of the end of today's session, please do not take this for fact until something official comes out.

It appeared as though the drawn out discussions on the amendments were taxing the Senators and around 7pm a Senator asked for Cloture. Cloture basically means ending debate on the bill and voting. Prior to the vote on the cloture, it seemed as though the Firefighters amendment was withdrawn. Following, Senators spoke out about the fact that cloture was needed but that they were dismayed by the fact that they could not come to agreement on certain important amendments; one of those being the firefighters amendment.

Following that, cloture was voted on and they apparently ended the day. Tomorrow morning, when we felt they would be voting yeah for the Farm Bill with our amendment attached they will instead be voting on the Farm Bill with whichever amendments that had been voted yeah for prior to cloture.

And so we are left with another year without Collective Bargaining. Although I am positive that the IAFF will be back next year with even more support for our Bill.

I want to be clear on one thing, I could be wrong on what I thought I saw in the proceedings. Please watch the IAFF website to see what they have to say about the bill.

I will be in Court all morning and I will add more later in the day including any additions and corrections.

UPDATE:

This is from the IAFF this morning:

Anti-Labor Senators Derail Fire Fighter Bargaining Bill

December 14, 2007 -- With the Senate on the verge of passing the IAFF’s national collective bargaining bill, a small group of hard-line anti-labor senators engaged in a series of parliamentary tactics late last night to block the Senate from acting. With no way to overcome the obstacles, the Senate was forced to postpone action on the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act until after the New Year.

“I am personally outraged that a small group of senators are denying the nation’s fire fighters the basic right to discuss how they do their job,” says IAFF General President Schaitberger. “But this battle is far from over. Ultimately, I promise that this legislation will be signed into law.”

Both Democratic and Republican Senate leadership had agreed to allow the IAFF's collective bargaining bill to be offered as an amendment to the comprehensive Farm bill, which the Senate had to finish before the Christmas break. With time running out in the legislative session, the Farm bill was one of the last legislative vehicles that was a “must” piece of legislation that could carry the proposal, while at the same time making it more difficult for the president to veto.

Prior to beginning debate on the Farm bill, the Senate unanimously agreed that each political party would be allowed to offer up to 20 amendments to the bill on any topic they chose, as long as those amendments were approved by a super-majority of 60 Senators. The two leading sponsors of the IAFF’s bargaining bill — Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) — jointly agreed that the the collective bargaining bill would be offered as a Democratic amendment.

After more than two dozen amendments were debated and voted on, Democrats moved to bring up our amendment. To the surprise of leaders of both parties, anti-labor senators, led by Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), refused to honor the unanimous consent agreement which would allow the Senate to consider the amendment. Additionally, they vowed to engage in parliamentary guerilla tactics to tie the Senate in knots.

Complicating the process, five key Senate supporters of the collective bargaining proposal are spending most of their time in Iowa and New Hampshire as they run for president. DeMint and Enzi knew that the IAFF would have a hard time meeting the 60-vote threshold without Senators Biden, Clinton, Dodd, McCain and Obama. While the presidential candidates had agreed to return to Washington last night, canceling their scheduled events for a significant portion of today to vote on the amendment this morning, there was no way the Senate leadership on both sides of the aisles could put the presidential campaigns on hold to remain in Washington indefinitely.

With no way to circumvent the parliamentary hurdles that could have dragged on for a couple of days, Gregg and Kennedy were forced to withdraw their amendment.

“Our opponents may have delayed the inevitable outcome, which will be the passage of the Public Employer-Employee Cooperation Act,” Schaitberger says, “but we know that the will of the Congress, the continued support of the Senate leadership and the will of the American People cannot be thwarted for long. We will prevail and we will prevail in this 110th Congress.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

IAFF Collective Bargaining Bill up for Vote this Week

Hey all, I get a lot of questions about he Collective Bargaining Bill. Below is the update from the IAFF. Basically, YOU NEED TO CALL YOUR SENATORS TO SUPPORT THIS BILL. The switchboard for Senators is (202) 224 3121. Read more below.

By the way: Virginia's Senators are Jim Webb and John Warner. I made the phone calls and simply asked for their support in the Amendment for the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act by Senator Gregg, Kennedy, and Harkin. They said they would pass it along and asked for my zip code. This is a numbers game people. You better hope we outnumber the Right To Work people.

You can also email Senator Warner here

Or Senator Webb here

--------------------------------------------------------
The day we have long anticipated is at hand. The U.S. Senate will be considering the IAFF’s Collective Bargaining proposal TODAY between 3:45 and 5:00 p.m. A vote is likely tomorrow.


The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act was offered as an amendment to the Farm Bill by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH), Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA).


We must mobilize our membership immediately to begin making phone calls to Senate offices. In every office, senators are already receiving dozens of calls -- from constituents in their states who oppose this vital legislation.


Our message is simple: Tell your senators, regardless of party, to vote in favor of the bipartisan Gregg, Kennedy, Harkin Amendment to the Farm Bill.


This is now a numbers game. Every Senate office has been educated on the issue. Your call is not about explaining the ins and outs of collective bargaining -- it's about generating as many phone calls as possible in the next 24-48 hours.


Again -- a very simple message -- vote in favor of the Gregg, Kennedy, Harkin Amendment to the Farm Bill.


The phone number for the Senate switchboard is (202) 224 3121. Your members can simply dial that number and ask to be connected to their respective senator's office.


Your assistance in mobilizing your members to make these phone calls is greatly appreciated.


Fraternally,

Kevin B. O’Connor
Assistant to the General President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
---------------------------------------------------------------

Dear IAFF Member:

Our long antiicpated day has arrived. The U.S. Senate will be considering the IAFF's national collective bargaining bill in the next few days, with a vote likely to follow. I am asking all IAFF members to call their senators TODAY and tell them to support America's fire fighters and police officers by voting in favor of the Harkin-Kennedy-Gregg "Fire Fighter" amendment to the Farm Bill.

This is expected to be a very close vote, and your senators could be the deciding vote!

More than 80,000 of your brother and sister fire fighters in 18 states do not currently enjoy basic employment rights. The Harkin-Kennedy-Gregg "Fire Fighter" amendment ensures that every fire fighter has the right to collectively bargain.

National Right to Work and city managers are lobbying hard against us. To be successful, we need to flood the Senate with phone calls supporting the "Fire Fighter" amendment. Call your senators and ask your friends and family to call their senators in support of public safety officers.

This International has fought for the last 12 years to bring this issue to a vote. Please give five minutes of your time to call your senators and urge them to stand with their fire fighters and support the Harkin-Kennedy-Gregg amendment to the Farm Bill.

The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. Simply call this number and ask to be transferred to your senator's office.

With your help we can achieve one of the biggest victories in the history of the IAFF.

Support the "Fire Fighter" amendment.


Sincerely and Fraternally,



Harold Schaitberger
General President

Staffing Concerns Firefighters

One issue at the forefront of firefighters minds is staffing. Roanoke is no different. I have gotten a lot of feedback since posting Staffing in Roanoke, Part II, and Part III. I get phone calls frequently about trucks being out of service. It is unfortunate we cannot have at least the minimum staffing met.


Roanoke's firefighters have continued to see the staffing reduced for many years. More recently, we have seen staffing get moved around like Engine 12's crew get reassigned to Medic 4 and Roanoke County Clearbrook Station to staff an engine and medic unit. This was done when engine 12 was disbanded. This year, engine 7 was taken out of service and its crew was reassigned to a medic truck at station 7 and to staff ladder 7 with 1 more additional firefighter (minimum staff on ladder 7 is 4 now).


Rarely a day goes by that an engine isn't out of service for half the day. Engine 2 or Engine 13 most commonly, but others are as well. I can imagine it is not easy for the Battalion Chiefs to figure out who will be marked out of service when because they don't have enough firefighters to staff them all of the time.


Today, Engine 2 is out of service for most of the day. It appears as though two of our EMT-Intermediates are riding as a third on two of the ambulances to be precepted. However, if you look at red alert it seems as though there are three other firefighters available riding as a 4th person on trucks. This is at the face value of red alert and how accurate the information is. If this is the case, that there are 3 extras, then shouldn't we move around some ff's so we can staff engine 2?


I realized when writing an older post that by marking units out of service for any length of time, we are not meeting the minimum staffing.


The fire service has a history of realizing needs after disasters. Not the firefighter necessarily, but the ones writing the checks. What is it going to take here in Roanoke for us to realize that we are playing with matches when it comes to staffing. Most of the reason why we mark trucks out of service is because we are short staffed. Basically, if a Battalion has more than 6 firefighter positions unfilled (vacation, holiday, light duty, extended illness, vacancy, etc.) then we have to call in for overtime. That is not a large threshold for calling in overtime. Obviously it is cheaper to call in overtime than it is to hire more firefighters. But we don't always call in overtime because it is too expensive. Basically, unless there is a need for a firefighter for an entire shift, we don't call in overtime. That means if we have a firefighter, making a crew of 3 and no extras in the City, who needs to go to training or whatever for 8 hours then we mark the truck out of service until the firefighter is back from training. Why don't we just fill the position with overtime. I know...because overtime is too expensive.


Rest assured, eventually it will catch up. I hope it doesn't, but the wrong persons house will burn, or someone will get injured or killed and the first due engine will be out of service because they don't have enough manpower. What is going to be cheaper then? The overtime.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Station 8 B shift and our new Rookie

This is a picture of Station 8 B-shift standing in front of Engine 8 with their Christmas Wreath. Left to Right is Captain Kent McIlhany, Firefighter Shane Duncan, and Lt. Jim Hylton. The crew works at Station 8 located in Crystal Springs.







Shane Duncan fries up a turkey for the guys to eat for dinner. The guys had purchased a turkey for thanksgiving, however it was not needed because of the local Church which provides a complete dinner for all the fire stations in the Roanoke Valley. So the guys enjoyed a fried turkey for dinner. You have to love Shane's set up including two chairs and a recycling bin to keep the wind off of the burner.




Here is the new rookie at Station 13 C-shift Josh Slaughter. Josh's first day was on Saturday and was quickly thrown in the mix of vacation sign ups. We sign up for a whole years vacation in December. Josh, like the rest of the rookies, won't have much vacation to sign up for because they will only accrue a little bit of vacation during the year.

Josh enjoyed a very slow day, we didn't run our first call until after midnight. However, once he was in bed around 10pm, we decided to let him know what the alarm tones sounded like. We were hoping that he would come out of the bunkroom struggling to get his turnout pants on, but it wasn't the case.

More hi jinx in the future I am sure, we decided to be easy on him the first day.

If you guys have photos to share, just let me know.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary

A couple of months ago, I told you about several wives of firefighters who were starting the Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary. I just want to give you guys an update on the group and to fill many of you in who haven't heard about them yet.

The Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary was started to support Roanoke's Firefighters and their families. Since they began, they have assisted the Heck Family and the Hetherington Family.

Last week they delivered dinner for the Hetherington Family every night.

The women have created a phone and email tree that enables them to discuss issues back and forth and plan for tasks such as above. It seems as though every week or so, another spouse will find out about the group and get involved in what is going on.

If anyone is interested in joining the Auxiliary check out the website here: Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary. The website offers a little more detail on who can join. Be sure to email them if you are interested. The next meeting will be in January.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Perception is everything

The post titled “Things I need to get off my chest” has gotten a lot of comments. Comments that I am glad to see. I enjoy the dialogue and learning what you all think about various issues.

Jay, at Firefighter Hourly commented on it and on Scooter’s incident on his most recent podcast as well. However, he identified an issue, which I believe deserves a little clarification. Jay perceived my comments on the tact of a certain individual to incorporate all of Administration as a group. That isn’t the case. Listen to it here.

The truth is that due to one person’s lack of tact, it was perceived that it meant all of Administration. Kind of like the comparison of one bad apple spoiling the bunch. All of the Roanoke Firefighters should know and realize that Chief Hoback and other members of Administration acted promptly and professionally during and throughout this incident. From what I saw, I cannot complain about them as a whole. I am proud of the way the entire department acted in this event which we never could have seen coming.

Perception is everything. Jay didn’t put a spin on the information; he just perceived it a little differently. Maybe I am the one who inaccurately wrote the information in the first place. Either way, what was meant isn’t what was perceived. This is not a new problem. I use the term “Administration” loosely on the blog, just as I refer to the rank and file as the firefighters. Us against them. That is just the way it is.

I have some control over how someone perceives what I say, unless they are trying to put a spin on it. Just as Administration has control of how they are perceived.

This flows right into one thing I left off of an earlier post. What is the deal with SOP’s, SOG’s, POP’s, memorandums, and emails? What the heck are we supposed to follow? POP’s are policies set by the City. The department sets SOP’s and SOG’s. At least that is how I understand it. It seems as though we now have standards set by email, memorandums, and whatever some people feel like at any given time.

One person is told this, another that; One person is reprimanded this way, and another that for the same offense; One person is reprimanded, another not for doing or not doing the same thing; One person does one thing and another that and both think they are right in their own mind. Standard Operating Procedures or Standard Operating Guidelines are simple Company Officer level ideals in which we learn in Officer I, II, and III. Classes I took as a Firefighter with other firefighters up to the rank of Assistant Chief. These SOP’s and SOG’s are put in place to define our actions when we work. This is one of the most basic ideals: Rules, Regulations, Standards, and Guidelines so that we understand our jobs and what is asked of us without much interpretation. The lack of these creates havoc in the workplace as well as unfair and inequitable practices.

I don’t see how anyone could complain if we had fair and equitable SOP’s or SOG’s. However, without them we find ourselves at the mercy of whoever feels whatever at any given time. This creates unfair and unbalanced management which in turn creates discontent among the ranks.

Why can’t we get back to the basics and see reform from the ground up. Correct the issue with the lack of SOP’s and SOG’s where needed. End the misuse of memos as SOP’s. End the use of emails as the only form of communication, not everyone uses email.

We have a great department, ask most any firefighter. It could be so much better though.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Housekeeping

First off, Today is the last day to sign up for the Health Care and Child Care Flexible Spending Accounts. Thanks to Stafford on the heads up.

Secondly, I will be sending out a collection for Scooter and his family tomorrow. There are also some other things in the works for him by other departments. Captain Rorrer is working on getting some guys/gals together to do a chore over at Scooter's house. We will know more about what needs to be done this weekend.

Finally, I apologize but for some reason the comments on the post "Things I need to get off my Chest" didn't come through until today. I approved them and I suggest you read them. As a matter of fact, I will post some of them right here below. I don't post them to exploit anyone. As a matter of fact, I have never meant to exploit anyone...maybe certain actions or ideals but it has never been personal.

I would also like to add that I always enjoy hearing what people think about me. Does that mean I need to change if I don't like what I hear. NO. It just gives me an idea of how people perceive me and if that isn't the perception I want them to have, then I make sure to clarify myself. Not everyone is going to agree with me or like me...But if nobody does...ugh, I better get out the mirror and take a look.

Some of the once lost, newly added comments are below.

Anonymous said...

well said. how many more great firefighters are we going to lose to other depts? it seems every couple of months we lose someone, sure some come back, but most don't. it's pretty sad when guys would rather go to Iraq then work here. you barely get to know some of these guys and they leave for other depts. or just change careers. i'll be gone in about 6 years and i have seen this dept go downhill. here is some tips chief,
1. promote the ones qualified. not guys who freeze on the radio and give back their rank. not guys who get drunk and bad mouth you and the dept. not people who spend most of their carrer in training.
2. forget the emt-i bulls**t. you want medics, hire medics. don't run these guys off because they are C students. (that C is an exaggeration for some of you knuckleheads.)
3.make a decision and stick to it. don't change sop's constantly on us. you are running this dept in the ground.
one more thing, where the f**k is my station exhaust system?
12:21 AM
Anonymous said...

Great Points Rhett. Since you ranted, I'll put my two cents worth in as well. Sorry, but I think it'll be a little long.

Maybe the problem lies in trying to run a Fire Department without ever really being involved with having a Fire Department run around you. If you never really experienced the issues from the "grunt" side, how can you effectively handle the issues that affect those below you? Or for that matter, know how they affect those below you?
It is a numbers game. Betting on the odds of things not happening at one time.

Betting the lives of the Citizens and Firefighters.

We don't have multiple, simultaneous incidents anymore, so we can do with less.

But wait. Let's see. Airport Alert, Structure fire (with a firefighter down shortly after arrival) and another fire incident somewhere on the back side of Mill Mountain. Did those all happen at the same time?

How often are we "dumped" for ambulances in the City?

But it is okay, it doesn't happen often. How would Scooters outcome have possibly differed if the Mill Mountain call came in first, then the Airport Alert and then the Structure Fire? Would there have been enough people on scene to do what needed to be and was done to save Scooter?

Promotions? Hah, seems that it is a whim and popularity contest.
Are the best candidates at the top?
Not entirely. Many great pump operators/drivers sucked at taking tests and were never on the top of the list.

But that really doesn't matter today. Instead, if you pressure wash the Chief's and his family's floors, paint the Ass. Chief's Church, or maybe even hint at discrimination, you get promoted.

People skipped repeatedly and given different reasons each time, you didn't do this, or you didn't have that, or someone had more time than you, only to next promote someone with less training, less time, etc.

Micro-management, there is a word that the office knows all too well. You MUST call ME before taking your apparatus to the garage to get a lightbulb replaced!!!!! Inconsiderate and plain STUPID comments are the norm. Comments that in the future can come back to haunt the individuals and the Department. But then again, "I do not recall saying that," "I did not knowingly or willingly do anything wrong," and "we have no plans to do that AT THIS TIME" are well know, rehearsed and used statements.

Policies written, rewritten and interpreted on a whim. Variations in disciplinary action for the same infractions. Decisions made and enforced without consideration of legality, morality, etc. until someone challanges the decision. And once challanged, the old "oops, we were wrong, sorry. A new policy will be out tomorrow to cover that."

Many years of service have seen this Department go from a place that people enjoyed coming to work, to a place that people can't wait to get out of. How many people do you hear today, that can tell you how much longer it is until they can retire?

Wake up Administration and smell the coffee (you expect someone to make and pour for you when you show up at a station). Get out in the field in an informal manner. Visit the station and the personnel. Show a genuine concern for the welfare of the men and the Department. Quit trying to find ways to punish people or make them guilty of ANYTHING, instead, find ways to raise your employees to a pedistal to which they belong.

Every day gets better or worse. The choice is yours.
1:14 AM
Anonymous said...

You said it Brother! This department is beginning to be so caught up in me me me that its blurring their vision.We have one who just wants to move you here and there just because he can. "Respect my athorati" as Cartman would say. All with no thought on special skills and knowledge. So we just say " Boy it will piss him off if I send him here!" It doesn't matter if people at 2 can actually do Hazemat or the ones at 6 are HTR, 10 can do ARF or E-5 and L-1 even have personnel who actually know extrication. Hell we even got a Lt. on L-1 who cant drive cause his foot is numb and cant feel how hard he's pushing the peddles and has to wear 2 different size boots because of the swelling so he has to "Till" or ride the seat.I saw him the day before he returned to work walking with a cane. If it where any other we'd still be on light duty or lookn for a job! Wonder why he's there? The promotions are all about what have you done for me lately, and will he still do what I want and not what he wants or what is right. These "young ones" cant do what there told because all they want is to get a badge and get off the medic truck or they are just here for the money. This makes guys 6 months out to busy to learn because there too busy taking officer classes and instructor. They need to learn there job as a firefighter and get some time in before they run the world. The quints are junk and need to be sold to the highest bidder to get some real trucks in here. Why not buy some nice used ladders that some Vol. Company has had sitting in a building for 5 years and go on 3 runs a year and they got money for new ones. Because we all know the Vol. motto "if we don't spend it somebody else will". We don't really need new trucks just nice dependable trucks. All the "Tick" trucks have all the options you can get on them so there better than we could afford anyway! We need E-7 back on the streets or another ladder somewhere. I know for a fact that 7 was down the other night and L-1 was the only ladder on southside,and the were in 901 so how quick where they going to get there? The I's is another story all together. If all these young guns would bite the bullet and take the class we would have enough medic's that they wouldn't have to ride as much as they do now. Think about that? If there were 3 or 4 medics at each house it would be better for all. You could skip cycles at a Oh the mouthy one's? We as officers need to take this in hand and get control of our firefighters. I don't mean be a ass just make them understand that if we tell them to do something there is a reason for it. Be a good leader and they will follow and respect you. Some of this is to blame on us because they have had officers that let this happen or didn't care happend as long as they still got paid and nobody bothered them. So we need to ask ourselves are we here for the right reasons? God knows were not going to get rich at this. So I leave with this, There are hundreds of people who would love to be in our shoes! And if its so bad here don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out! I love this job and Department there's not much I would trade it for and I never get up and say I don't want to go to work today......CAN YOU?


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Best Retirement Speech

If you are just joining in today, be sure to read the posts below.

I detailed a decent rant for you all, several issues discussed; click for more.

I also documented Scooters return home and a fire in Northwest the other day; click for more.

Scroll to the bottom of the post if you are a recruit.

This video below (those of you at work will not be able to watch on City computers) is a decent view of a Retirement party for a coworker that even the Chief decided to attend. The retiree is a cop, but that is not important. I found the video on TheHouseWatch.com.

You have to watch the video in its entirety, trust me it is worth it. The banter between the retiree and the Chief and Captain is priceless. Even the Chief's wife catches feelings.



I have been asked several times over the years why one guy gets a big retirement party and another gets a small one. Well the answer is that it has been accustom for the guys who work with the retiree, or other peers of the retiree put the event on. I will be honest with you. It seems as though you can base how much people like someone by the amount of people at their retirement party. Sure, it can be skewed by certain details which disallow others to be at the event, but it is a good measure.

Think about that if you are one of those boot-lickers. It is much better to be respected and get promoted based on merit, than to be despised and suck your way to wherever you are going.

As for the rookies just getting out of the Academy, I will steer you to this post that I put up a couple of recruit schools ago. I think it is a worthwhile read. Click here for the link, the post is simply titled "Recruit".

Scott Hetherington is going home from the hospital

Scott (pictured to the right) is going home from the hospital today after suffering cardiac arrest at a house fire on December 3rd. We wish him the best in his recovery. The cause of the fire has been determined. You can read more about it here. Scott, pictured to the right, The picture to the right is Scott from Todd Reighleys blog. It is the only one I could find and is about a year old.


Structure fire in Roanoke

Elsewhere, Northwest Roanoke Firefighters had a structure fire the other day. Click on the picture to the left to view more pictures and read more about the fire.
The cause is still unknown.

Things I have to get off my chest

Warning - Rant ahead. If you have sensitive feelings, do not read. Otherwise, tell me what you think in the comments section.


  1. I got the promotional reading list and bought the books. Then I get the updated reading list, and guess what? The first list was messed up, so I bought a book that the City isn't going to use. Where do I file to get my money back. The book being used is the newest edition, however there is still another book on the list which we use the older edition. WTF? Either way, for the most part the books are written by individuals. These individuals are gurus of their topic. However, at least some of them contradict each other in their theories, disciplines, and ideas. So which one do we listen to. Me? I just listen to the voice in my head that says it doesn't really matter, because we have no way of checking to see if the test is actually correct. If we had an issue with a question, there isn't anyone there to listen to it or make a correction. Plus we just have to guess which questions we got wrong and go from there.
  2. Promotions; when are we going to correct the problems with promotions. How many times are firefighters going to hear an excuse why they don't get promoted. Excuses that cover the facts or real reasons why they don't get promoted. I was told one time when I got skipped over that the others had more time in the department. WRONG. They didn't. The other thing told to me was that Jack and John (names changed) had to be promoted because they were 1 and 2 on the list. HUH? You had to? But you skip over #1 and #2 all the time. I thought you had to. These excuses came from the top.
  3. Promotions part two. It is a good thing that we have a decent grapevine in Roanoke. Otherwise no one would have known that promotions were taking place. Remember, we are required to hand in a resume. How are we to hand one in if we don't know when they are occurring? Why don't we post an official promotional list. We have people who find out too late that they were looked at for promotions. If it weren't for the firefighters putting together a list, no one would know. But that list always has gaps and is not always correct. We just need an official list sent out after all the candidates are made aware of their scores.
  4. Lack of tact. When a firefighter suffers cardiac arrest on the fire ground, and is spared his life because of the quick actions of Roanoke's Great Firefighters, don't ask stupid questions like "Mrs. Smith (name changed), do you know of anything that your son might have been doing to make this happen" (quote for effect, I don't have the exact wording.
  5. Intermediates. Don't tell guys one thing one day and change your mind the next. If they have to get their EMT-I then be honest. If you tell them no, honor it and don't change your mind.
  6. Intermediates part two. Why don't we fix the damn problem with the EMT-I contracts. Why don't we just say that ever new hire and their mother will have to get there intermediate from this day forward. We know you can't afford to put everyone through class. Better yet, why not put them through class before the fire part of recruit school. That way you can get rid of anyone who doesn't want to take it. Find the money and afford the class. What are we going to do if the EMT-I certification is no longer acceptable and everyone will be either an EMT or EMT-P. Raise of hands who want to go to college for two-four years to get their Paramedic?
  7. Intermediate part three. Why is there so many different contracts for the EMT-I and EMT-P's who have gotten promoted. This guys has to ride the medic truck once a cycle, that guy once a month, that guy once a quarter. This is not going over well among those involved. We need to have something that is reasonable and consistent.
  8. Seniority. The lost word in Roanoke. What the hell does that mean. The only thing it is good for is vacation sign ups...Unfortunately. It should mean more than that.
  9. Ladder 7, 13, and the Reserve Ladder. What the hell is going on. We play musical ladder trucks all the time. Trucks go to the service center to get fixed and they have to be pulled out to go back in service. It seems as though either Ladder 7 and 13 are at the garage constantly. Why don't we prove to the City that we need another ladder truck yesterday. That way, Ladder 7 can park Ladder 13 outside as a parts car.
  10. Ladder 7 run as an engine. What has is come to that Ladder 7 is replaced with an Engine. See the above post. We need another reliable ladder. I wouldn't be surprised if 7 and 13 have "Fisher Price" stamped on the bottom somewhere. And we don't need to buy a single rear axle ladder truck. Who's idea is that? WTF?
  11. Firefighters don't need to be micro-managed. Our best leaders are at the Company Officer Level. They lead by example and firefighters respect them and follow them, learn from them, and work hard for them. Let the Company Officers and Battalions run their companies and shifts and the department will be so much better off. Don't get me wrong, the work of higher Chief Officers is very important, as that of the subordinate firefighter. However, it gets hard on the firefighter when he/she has everyone above giving them orders. It is a lot easier if the chain of command is followed up and down.
  12. Firefighters answer to their company officers. One thing that really gripes my ass is when a firefighter, or subordinate officer supersedes their officer. You want to know what you end up with, micro-management. If you are told to do something, do it. It is as simple as that. I hate hear questions like why do we have to do that, or I don't feel like it. It gives you a bad name.

Don't think that I just made this stuff up. And, no this isn't directed at anyone directly. I am just voicing issues that I hear about daily. If you think that something can be done to correct these issues, then work at it. If it doesn't pertain to you, then so be it. Due to certain strong-armed tactics, firefighters feel they cannot bring up these issues to the ones who call the shots. Therefore, these issues and others remain at the company level and continue to spread discontent.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Update on Scott Hetherington

First of all, I want to thank everyone involved in saving one of our own. I have enjoyed reading the comments and appreciate the additional information.

One comment caught my eye:

Why do all the articles and news reports keep saying that he was just injured? He wasnt injured, he suffered full cardiac arrest and was brought back on scene by his own co workers. I think some outlets are down playing what happened and what was done to save him. Great job to all that was there.....and hope you get well soon Scooter.

Absolutely, Scooter had a heart attack which caused cardiac arrest. Scooter was essentially dead on the floor, however the guys on scene saved his life. This is a true testament to early CPR and early defibrillation. Scooter is not out of the woods yet. He is still in the hospital and is undergoing care to correct what caused the heart attack in the first place. His family wishes that he not be bothered, although you can visit with them. The department will keep you up to date on when he can have visitors.

As far as playing down the information...read on:

I agree completely, although I kinda understand why. Some might say, HIPPAA regulations and that might be so, but I also think it is because the reports were not confirmed until late that he had actually suffered a cardiac arrest. I don't mean by what people were saying, I mean what was officially reported by spokespersons for the department. From what I could tell this was Chief Hoback on the news and Tiffany Bradbury through the press release.

You have to realize that this is was a very delicate situation, and still is. I think they did a decent job at getting information to the news. All this was done while Scooter's relatives were still learning about the incident.

As for not playing down the situation. Firefighter Hourly.com and The Secret List both had Scooter's story online.

The Secret List released this:

FF CARDIAC ARREST: A Virginia Firefighter is recovering after he went into cardiac arrest while operating at a house fire in Roanoke yesterday. The firefighter, Scott Hetherington, 39, was in stable condition last night. Firefighters pulled FF Hetherington out of the house fire and initiated CPR. Our best for a quick recovery.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Working fire on Ferdinand - 1 firefighter reportedly injured


I put the story and some more pictures up on VAFireNews.com. Click the picture for the article. Also note that Firefighters around the Country are interested in Scott's story and hope that he is resting comfortably and recovering. I understand that the family would not like visitors to Scott's room, however they can visit with the family on the 7th floor of RMH.

Listen to Jay Lowry's Podcast on FirefighterHourly.com where he talks about the incident.

Firefighter Scott Hetherington was injured today while working at a structure fire with a report of occupants trapped. Firefighter Hetherington went down while in the structure and a mayday was called.

He was transported to the hospital and is awake and talking. His family is by his side.

Scott works on Quint 7 and has been a firefighter for 9 years.

Update:

Here is the story from what I have gathered talking to those on scene:

Engine/Ladder 7 was toned out to a fire at 1101 Ferdinand for a structure fire with other units. Engine 7 arrived and began interior suppression with a crew of three - Captain Rorrer, FF Zimmerman, and FF Hetherington (I do not know who was driving). Lt. Simmons met the crew at the front door to begin positive pressure ventilation by placing a fan at the front door. Upon entry by the crew of three, Simmons started PPV. The crew had a report of occupants inside. Shortly after the crew entered, Captain Rorrer came back to the door and signified to Lt. Simmons that something was wrong. Lt. Simmons retrieved FF Hetherington from just inside the door where he had collapsed. Hetherington was dragged to the front yard where firefighters began a fight to save his life. Apparently, Hetherington had suffered a cardiac emergency. Deputy Chief Altman, FF/PM Pfister, and FF/PM Murphy (all Paramedics) transported Hetherington to the hospital and were able to revive him. Shorty after, Hetherington was awake and oriented in the hospital.

Great job by all involved. I find it hard to believe that this was short of a miracle. If the situation were just the tiniest bit different, the outcome might not have been the same.

According to the comments:
Book keeping note: Although Altman did run the resuscitation at the scene, Dave Pope rode in and maintained Scooter's airway througout. Brady McDonald drove M4.Gator, who was right in the middle of it, pulled the truck closer to Scooter. Chief Bishop was right there too. Fine job done by all!

Here are links to the story:

Updated: Firefighter, family OK, but dog dies in Roanoke fire

House Fire in Roanoke

Station 3 will be sold

I got a call at the Union Hall on Wednesday from the Interactive Design Group. They are purchasing Fire Station #3 to be used as their offices. Unless something comes up, the deal will go through.

Apparently, the woman I spoke to is looking for the fire pole for the station. I told her that it is now the legs to the table at #1. So she was interested in finding another one from Roanoke. I told her that I would look around, but I doubt she would have any luck.

The plan is to restore the station and keep the open floor plan. They also plan on putting overhead doors in place of the current ones which replicate the original doors. That will be neat.

It is good to see that it won't be torn down.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

RIT training - training at its finest

I attended the RIT training today at the Troutville VFD RIT building. I must say that the evolutions were great. I love no bullshit, no nonsense, get in and get it done training. Especially with decent instructors who don't have the "I am better than you" and "I will teach at a 2nd grade level" attitude.

The training today was proctored by Lt. Mark Brown, Captain Chuck Swecker, Captain Scott Mutter, Captain Matt Dewhirst, 1st Lt. Ellen Bender, and FF Jeff Oliver. They were very interested in the companies getting out of the training what they wanted. There wasn't any hand holding or "Your Doing it Wrong" attitudes.

Instead, the training began with some classroom. Enough of an update to new understanding of RIT implementation, reasons for having an RIT, and when to call a MAYDAY.

Captain Mutter did some housekeeping of the utmost importance. He delved into what the hell happens when the orange emergency button is pressed on our portable radios. He went to dispatch to look at it at their end, and then reported his findings to the class participants. We learned a lot, and any day you learn something is a good day.

After the classroom, we had a series of 3 short "Firefighter Down" evolutions. The hands-off approach by the instructors was appreciated by myself, and it seemed as though no one else had issue with it. The hands off approach offered the opportunity for the companies to work through the incidents as they would if we had just hopped off the truck and were in a real situation.

The RIT disipline is very loose. Basically, as Captain Swecker explained (my interpretation and poor memory of exact word usage) you just have to be ready, competent, and willing to think outside the box. You never know what cards you will be dealt.

All in all, this was some of the best training I have had in a long time. A hell of a lot better than most certificate, resume padding, and poorly taught classes we have been accustomed to.

Special thanks to all involved.

If you haven't had the training, be sure to make it. It is well worth it.

If you didn't like it, you might rethink why you are a firefighter and hope that everyone else enjoyed it in case they have to save your ass.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

You just can't beat Fenway Park

I am not a huge baseball fan, but I have been to many MLB games living in Cincinnati, Kansas City,and Baltimore. Mostly I went when I was younger with my brother and dad. Recently, I went to a Boston Red Sox game with my wife and I realized that you just can't beat a game at Fenway Park.

Check out the fan participation on this video clip below.

oh yeah...and eat your heart out Zuga.


Crowd Helps Disabled Guy With Anthem - Watch more free videos

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Bennington House got the Certificate of Occupancy

My...Our...Jeremy's house has received the Certificate of Occupancy. This morning, Jeremy met with the building official out in Eagle Rock in Botetourt (Bot - it - tot) County and successfully got the CO. Rumors are coming in on what he had to do to get the CO and they mimic the tactics he used to get promoted...just kidding. Hell he is probably half drunk by now...kidding again.

There are many people who need to be thanked for helping out with the house. This is from me off the top of my head, so if I forget about anyone take it up with the Rod.

I guess we should all thank Doug Hurd for building the house. Doug was kinda like the crew who worked behind the scenes while Bob Vila (Jeremy) was on camera (sarcasm). Actually, Doug is a contractor and assisted Jeremy in building the house to specifications. His expertise and anal retentiveness kept the roof on the house that Jeremy built mostly with his blood and ours.

All kidding aside, Jeremy put a lot of time and hard work into that house, as did many of us. There are still cosmetic projects which need to be completed. But hopefully we will get his family moved in soon.

Here is a list of the firefighters who helped in some way or another in no particular order. Kelcey Branch, Chuck Sharp, Scott Mutter, Scott Boone, Scott Bradford, Todd Stone, Willie Wines Jr., Craig Sellers, Matt Dewhirst, Lynwood English, Sam Stump, Chris Elmore, Matt Wheeling, Phil Dillon, Jeff Beckner, Travis Meador, Brian Wray, David Wray, Nathan Foutz, John Burrows, Rob Joiner, Tim Cady, Daniel Murphy, Jeff Oliver, Travis Simmons, Chris Franklin, Tom Mougin, Jeff East, Eric Mulford, Dale Barker, Greg Fulton, Tim Brown, and whoever else I missed. If you leave a comment with names I will update it.

I also want to thank another firefighter. Dana Potter is a firefighter with Logan International Airport up in Boston. He called me after the initial S.O.S. for help for Jeremy's house was posted on the blog. Apparently, his parents live down here in the Roanoke area and he just happened to come across the blog. He read about Jeremy's predicament and called me to offer his help. I was amazed that a firefighter from Boston wanted to help out on his vacation, but he did. Dana then visited us at Station 13 the following day and sent us some t-shirts when he got back. I always like talking to a visiting firefighter, but this one takes the cake. Thanks so much for your help Dana.
Pictured from right to left are: David Bishop, Jeremy Bennington, Willie Wines Jr., and Dana Potter.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Roanoke Recruit School Final Burn

I posted pictures from the final burn today. Click the image to see more.

Santa rescued by who else...Firefighters

Check out this video sent in by Gavin Miller over in Troutville.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Roanoke Fire EMS in the News

HTR Training
including pictures
Wreck on 581
including pictures
Fire on Spring Hollow Avenue

Check them out and be sure to send in your news!

Also, click here for a deal on the promotional reading list books.
Save over $100.

Gary Fisher leaves Roanoke for Iraq

Gary Fisher is leaving the Department to work in Iraq for a year. Currently working at 10 C-shift, Fish had worked at 13 A and 5 C during his career in the Department. Fish plans on coming back to the department once he fullfills his 1 year contract in Iraq. He will be working as a firefighter on base just as Todd Reighley and B.T. Butler have. I had the enjoyment of working with Fish at 10 when I was on the ARFF crew. Fortunately, Fisher will be making big money when he is in Iraq. Unfortunately, there is a war going on. I guess someone needs to make the cheese. I just don't get why we don't make 100k+ a year here in Roanoke (sarcasm).

Fisher is no stranger to war, he spent several years overseas in the Marines including Iraq. Apparently he liked the area enough to go back. Maybe he knows something we don't. Then again, maybe we know something he doesn't.

His last day at work is today, Sunday the 18th. Stop in and say goodbye if you get a chance.

Have fun and be safe in Iraq. You know where to check in on us.

Promotional Reading List - trying to save you guys a dime

I took the liberty of trying to save you guys some money on the books for the promotional reading list. If you were to purchase the books from the Firefighters Bookstore you are looking at spending almost $400 before shipping and handling. Good luck finding the study guide for Fire Department Company Officer. The 4th edition is already out and the 3rd edition can pretty much only be found used. Once you click on one of these, you can easily search through Amazon for other titles. I have just placed a link to each one. To get these great prices, many of the books are used, be sure to see what wear and tear the books have. With these prices you will save up to $110. However, I could not find Fire Officer's Handbook of Tactics in the 2nd edition, but I did find the 3rd edition and there aren't any used 3rd edition available.

The biggest savings is the Principles of Fire Protection - save over $80.

Don't hold me to this being the exact books. I did my best to figure out the correct books and matching up the ISBN numbers. The only one that didn't match is the Fire Officer's Handbook.
































Saturday, November 17, 2007

Firefighter Safety - wear your seatbelts

Recently I attended on-duty training put on by the department. I cannot remember what the class was or everything that was discussed. That isn't important either and my memory sucks. However, it was some of the best training I have ever had. Does that make sense? Not yet, but it will.

I learned something in that training, and the way I see it if I learn something then the class was worthwhile.

What did I learn? To wear my seatbelt all the time in fire apparatus.

Yeah I know what you are saying "You just learned that". The answer is NO, but this time it stuck. I wear my seatbelt ALL of the time in my POV, however not all the time in the firetruck.

But that all changed. Now let me explain.

When I came to the department we had open cabs, no not topless, but the back of the jumpseats were open. I usually stood up if the weather was good and faced forward to see what was going on. To and from the scene I was rarely buckled in. The rare exception was if the driver scared me with their skills (or lack there of).

The one exception to wearing my seat belt in apparatus was when I was driving, I always wore it then.

Now that I have outed myself, let me explain why.

Ever since I had children, I began realizing that I was not invincible and that if I was hurt because I was being stupid I wouldn't be the only one effected. I have learned that all this "Safety" stuff has a purpose: To save Firefighter's Lives.

So there I was, if I was driving I wore it, if not I didn't. Then I started riding the seat as the officer occasionally.

Once you go from driver to riding the seat you loose the control of the wheel. This is not very easy to do, especially with an inexperienced driver. I can always tell when I scare my officer when I am driving, because they frantically reach to put on their seatbelt.

I have seen picture after picture of apparatus accidents where firefighters die because they weren't wearing their seatbelts. What made me feel that I would walk away in a similar circumstance. I have been in close calls. I remember one close call, due to a citizens stupidity in trying to outrun an engine, that I almost killed him with the ladder truck. If I hadn't of seen him at the last minute he would have died. I am certain. After the investigation, it would have been found that I had the green light and he wasn't paying attention to me while trying to outrun an engine coming from the other direction. Both us and the engine were running lights and sirens and were going to the same call. Would I have been hurt if I didn't have my seatbelt on if we had collided? Probably, but he would have taken the brunt of the force of the accident. Luckily, no one was injured.

So there I was in that class which I don't remember and I made a pledge to myself that I would always wear my seatbelt and make sure to be a positive role model to my brother/sister firefighters and encourage them to wear theirs as well.

At my station, we have a poster encouraging seatbelt use. Although many firefighters have added a little artistic touch to the poster, it still gets the point across.

With all of the added danger of responding to emergencies, it only makes sense to wear your seatbelts. NO EXCUSES...WEAR YOUR SEATBELTS.

To read more on the National Seatbelt Pledge, visit the website here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kazim Shriners

Hey all, I totally dropped the ball on this story below. I apologize to the guys involved that I left it off the site for so long. The truth is that I get around 50 emails a day (after the spam filter). So if I forget to go back and mark it as unread it just falls to the bottom. I usually catch this sort of thing and post it, but this one fell through the cracks. I will post the story unadulterated. The story was submitted by Captain Willie Wines Jr.

October 6, 2007

Rhett,

With so many negative things happening around the Department this week, I thought I’d share a more positive story with you. We had a visitor at station #9 last week by Roy Lane. Roy belongs to the Kazim Temple’s Fire Brigade here in Roanoke. He told us a story of the Lexington, Va. Fire Department donating an Engine to the Temple. He said the guys of the Brigade worked endlessly to refurbish the Engine and had it in great condition. He was really excited to tell of how Captain Brown’s men ( Roanoke Fire / EMS Station #1-C ) had donated some 2 ½ hose and even went as far to load it into the bed for them. He continued to detail their work and said all they really lacked was to find some axes for the holders already mounted on the Engine. Roy and I know each other pretty well, so he knows I have a pretty large collection of Fire equipment etc. and thought I may have an axe or know where to get one. He also knows me well enough to know that my dad was once a volunteer Firefighter for Lexington (before being hired here in 1971) and knew I may have an interest in participating. Well, in particular, he was looking for a flat head axe, feeling it would be safer for the kids that often climb on and play around their equipment. Well, as my luck runs, of all the axes in my collection, none are flat head. So, I contacted Vince Stover at Fire Administration to see if he could help. Vince was happy to help and even offered to donate a new axe from our supply closet. That’s the good news, the bad? We only have fiberglass-handled axes and we just didn’t think that would be a good fit for antique apparatus. So, more calls were made. We contacted Chief Adkins at RTC to see if he had any wooden handle flat heads and as unbelievable as it is, he didn’t. Not to be stonewalled, we kept searching and were finally able to locate 2 axes on Reserve Engines (904 @ #10, and 901 @ #14). The Officers at both stations had the axes sent to # 9 where my guys worked most of the day refinishing and painting them. Lt. Richard Alley led the work and despite my opinion being biased, they turned out GREAT. Well, the timing was perfect because the Brigade was heading to Lexington this morning in that Engine to lead in a Parade. They left a few minutes early to stop by our station and thank the guys for their work and allow us to present them with the refurbished axes. The ironic thing here is that they wanted to thank us, yet they are the ones deserving the thanks for all they do! My hat is off to them and all who helped in this project (Roanoke Fire / EMS Dept., Vince Stover, Chief Teddy Adkins, Captain R.T. Flora, Lt. Stacy Booth, and the men from stations #1, and #9 C-shift).

In closing, I would encourage everyone to stop by the Shriner’s building (located on Rorer Ave behind the old # 3) to look at the Antique Fire apparatus they have. They have a really neat Ladder Truck, complete with wooden ladders that even have American LaFrance carved into them. Better yet, sign on to help these guys out in a really deserving cause.

Fraternally,
W.W. Wines Jr.
Captain, # 9-C