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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Roanoke Firefighters represent at the City Council forum on the budget

Update: We will have a van to get people from the Union Hall to the Municipal Building. We will also be serving Pizza around 4:30-5:00. At that time the t-shirts will be given out. Pizza, Van, and t-shirts are on the Union bill. We will also have 250 tickets to the Guns and Hoses Softball game to give away (scroll to bottom of this post for more information).

On Thursday May 1st, the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association will represent in force at the Roanoke City Council Meeting at 7pm. The Firefighters are standing up against the proposed budget cuts by Chief Hoback.

The proposal call for a reduction in 6 positions, although the Roanoke Resource Allocation Plan (fancy for Budget) calls for the reduction in 8 positions in operations. Firefighters are not sure why there is a major discrepancy in the numbers, but this isn't the first time the numbers don't add up. There is a long standing tradition of skewing the statistics to help prove a point.

Roanoke's Firefighters will meet up at the RFFA Union Hall between 4:30 and 5:30pm to get ready for the Council meeting. They are calling for all concerned citizens and Civic Leaders to be at the Council meeting to voice their concerns. The media have been following the story for the past week since the proposal was brought up. 100 firefighters are expected to converge on Council Chambers in solidarity against the budget cuts which they feel will jeopardize their safety and that of the citizens they protect.

Several Firefighters are planning on speaking at the council meeting.

Firefighters from Roanoke County and Salem are being asked to show up in solidarity with its Roanoke City Brothers and Sisters to help with the cause.

There will be t-shirts handed out at the Union Hall for all Firefighters.

If any firefighters, citizens, or members of the media need to get a hold of me my phone number is 540-537-8158 (cell).

In other news, Former Mayor David Bowers leads Incumbent Mayor Nelson Harris in the current Mayoral race according to a poll by News Channel 7 52% to 31%. Maybe Roanoke's Citizens are finally standing up.

Just a reminder-

The 5th Annual Guns & Hoses Baseball Game will be this Saturday, March 3rd at 3:15pm at Salem Stadium.
Here is the agenda:
  • 2pm - Gates open, kids activities
  • 3:15pm- Guns & Hoses Game
  • 6:07pm - Salem Avalanche Game

If you need tickets, contact me.

In case there is any question, this was posted by an off-duty firefighter.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Special Meeting called

The Roanoke Fire Fighters Association has called a special meeting on Monday April 28th at 7pm. The meeting will be held at the Union hall. All members are encouraged to attend.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Roanoke Fire Fighters Association on the News

Last night, Channel 7 and 10 ran stories on the Budget Cuts. You can see the two news stories with video here:

Channel 7:

Channel 10:

By the way, my new email address is, the old one at comcast does not work anymore.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fire on Rorrer Avenue

Engine 9 was first in on this house fire on Rorrer Avenue. C shift responded to find fire blowing out of 4 sides of the attic. An aggressive interior attack on the fire brought the fire under control quickly. No injuries were reported.
To view more pictures and read the press release click here.

Proposed Budget Cuts

Next Union Meeting is Wednesday April 23rd at 7pm. The Budget Proposal Memo is online at (click here)

Update: There will be a story on WSLS Channel 10 at 5, 5:30, or 6pm tonight April 23rd. There will also be a story on Channel 7 at the same time.

The meeting on May 1st will be at 7pm in Council Chambers. The meeting is a public hearing on the budget.

Well, the news is out. Chief Hoback has been given the ultimatum to make budget cuts within the Fire Department. The plan he has proposed to Roanoke City Council is the following from what I understand (although I may have misunderstood some of it):
  1. Engine 13 will be taken out of service. -6 FF's, 3 1st Lt.'s, 3 Lt.'s.
  2. Ladder 7 will lose the 4th firefighter minimum and be reduced to three. -3 firefighters
  3. The power medic truck will go to the Northside (most likely 13 or 14). 0 change
  4. A medic truck will be placed into service at Station 8. +6 firefighters
  5. Mary Thompson's position will be terminated. (I believe she will still have job somewhere else in the City). -1 civilian position
  6. We will get a 2% raise in July and possibly another 2% in January.

With this proposal, we will lose 3 1st Lt.'s, 3 Lt.'s, 3 Firefighters and 1 civilian position. However, it was my understanding that we would only lose 7 positions. All I can imagine is that they are only counting losing 9 positions on Engine 13 (minimum staffing) even though we have 12 positions on the apparatus.

This proposal is similar to several years ago when they tried to remove positions on Ladder 1. Much like that time, our response needs to be the same. We need to fill the Council Forum on the budget which will be on May 1st at 7pm.

Another firefighter mentioned the fact that when we merged the Fire Department with the EMS Department in 1995, the departments were 272 and 40 members strong respectively. Now we are down to less than 272 members.

It amazes me to sit here and witness more potential cuts to an already skeleton crew. What amazes me is that the 6 positions we have given the County weren't the first to go, or the new position down in Administration (nothing personal against BC Dave Bishop). If you look at it close, Administration is adding personnel and Operations is losing personnel. That recommendation is only if we really had to cut personnel. Why don't we start with the frivolous spending by Roanoke City Council for starters. Maybe if we hadn't have given away $888,000.00 to millionaires we wouldn't be in this predicament.

To say that the firefighters in Roanoke City are outraged would be an understatement. I have had more than one rookie ask me if they could lose their job. The answer is no.

It is almost like Roanoke is reinventing the wheel. We are using a little bit of the Quint concept and now we are creating the ambulance concept where everything is ambulances.

The sad truth is that someone will pay for all of these cuts we have seen in the past and will see in the future. That someone will more than likely not be a member of Council or a Department head, that person will be a civilian and/or a firefighter trying to save that civilian because we didn't have enough people on scene quick enough to make an effective rescue.

This information and more can be found here on the IAFF website

Each year, more than 100 fire fighters die in the line of duty, and additional tens of thousands are injured. While it will never be possible to eliminate every death, many could be avoided if industry consensus standards for safe fire fighting were followed consistently.

Developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and other standards-making bodies, industry consensus standards address a wide range of issues, including requirements for protective equipment, safe staffing and fireground operations, training, fitness and incident command. Developed by all facets of the fire service, government agencies and interested private sector parties, these standards are widely respected as the gold standard for safe fire fighting practices and fire department operations.

To better promote compliance with such standards among local fire departments, Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) have introduced legislation to study the current extent of such compliance and establish a task force to make recommendations to ensure their broad adoption. The Firefighter Fatality Reduction Act, H.R. 5686 in the House and S. 2887 in the Senate, are currently pending consideration by the Congress.

Fire Fighter Safety Standards

• The failure to follow industry consensus standards puts both the public and fire fighters at risk. An independent analysis conducted by the Boston Globe found that response time to emergencies in fire departments throughout the nation rose significantly over the past two decades due to a failure to abide by industry consensus standards.

• Fire fighter fatality investigations conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health often cite the failure to follow specific consensus standards as contributing factors to a fire fighter’s death. Providing adequate training and proper equipment, establishing safe staffing levels, following safe operating procedures and ensuring the physical and mental health of fire fighters can help reduce fire fighter fatalities.

• Using an open, consensus-based development process, standards-making bodies such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) develop fire fighter safety standards in concert with members of the fire service as well as industry and government agencies. As a result, fire fighter safety standards are widely respected throughout the fire service, government and private sector.

• The federal government already places minimum requirements on fire departments through NIMS, OSHA and the EPA, but many of these requirements are outdated and are not fully consistent with modern fire fighting practices, placing fire fighters and the public at risk.

• The federal government relies on local fire departments to properly implement the National Response Framework in response to any large-scale disaster. Fire departments and fire fighters must possess certain minimum capabilities to ensure an efficient and effective response.

• Insurance companies use standards compliance data to price homeowner and commercial property insurance. Widespread standards compliance would result in significantly lower insurance costs for both consumers and businesses.

• Recent surveys by the U.S. Fire Administration have found that a significant percentage of fire departments were unable to effectively respond to many common emergency situations. A more thorough analysis on the status of compliance with consensus standards would assist policy makers in seeking to address these threats to public safety.

• The bill does not require municipalities, fire departments or fire fighters to comply with consensus standards, and would place no cost requirement upon such entities. The bill simply tasks the federal government with collecting data on standards compliance among local fire departments and studying ways to increase such compliance.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Policeman Perry VS. Fireman Jake Part 7

Here is part 7. Short and sweet....Reading is Fundamental.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Correction on the Golf Tournament

I apologize for my error. The Golf Tournament is on May 29th. I had a typo on a previous post and made an error on the date.

The Golf Tournament is on May 29th.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fire on 9th Street

This was sent in by Derek Surratt at Station 6 A-Shift
Call was received that a house was on fire in the 500 block of 9th St. SE around 0100, sending E6, E1, L1, M6, BC1, RS1. While en route control advised that a VA State Trooper was on scene stating that the house was fully involved. Upon arrival E6 advised that the house was fully involved & defensive attack was initiated. Working fire companies were E11 & M2 w/ the additional engine request bringing E8.

See more photos of this fire and others at Overacker was able to grab some decent photographs at the Tazewell fire, 9th Street fire, and the Roanoke City Mills fire. Click here to see them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Truss Roof Construction

Just the other day, I was explaining to our rookie some of the differences in residential building construction. We talked in depth on truss construction. I was trying to explain how we have more time inside a structure built of balloon frame as opposed to newer light-weight truss construction. Although balloon frame has other concerns, basically the construction is more solid. The light-weight construction is cheaper and has killed too many firefighters.

Then, Scott Fritz sent me a video that I had actually checked out a couple of months ago. Thanks for the idea Scott. It seems as though I come across a lot of things I should blog about but do not, only to revisit it later when someone sends it in. Which leads me to another point I will be blogging about soon - how to learn on a daily basis just by checking in on the various websites which offer news, training, incidents, etc. online.

Here is the video:

Roanoke Valley Professional Fire Fighters Annual MDA Golf Tournament

The Golf Tournament is on May 29th.

I didn't have time the other day to add in any more information on the Golf Tournament other than copying and pasting the information from Charlie Adkins.

First and foremost, if you know of any potential sponsors, let me or Charlie know. We will take care of contacting them unless you would like to yourself.

Secondly, I recommend you get your team information in to Charlie or myself immediately. The roster is filling up and there are only a few teams from Roanoke City enrolled right now. The cost is $260 per 4 person team. The money is well worth the event. Where else can you go and have as much fun, drink as much beer, and play your best (or usually worst) golf.

I am not a golfer by any stretch of the imagination, yet I always have a blast at this event. There aren't too many other venues which get so many firefighters together in the Roanoke Valley.

Thirdly, and most importantly the event raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. This is our charity, and we give money each year through many events.

If you have any questions let me know.

See you at the 19th hole.

Last year I hit an extra point and ended the game with a triple double.

By the way, anyone can play and everyone is welcome.

Monday, April 14, 2008

How to fix Roanoke City Council

I saw this commercial the other night. I loved it. Then, posted the Youtube video. I am now posting it for you all.

Amidst all of the issues with Roanoke City Council, the problems continue. I have spoken with several candidates and I am not too surprised by the people who are running. Nor am I surprised by some of the reasons some are running. So much for the Republicans though, they aren't running anyone. It seems as though many aren't willing to waste their money running against the Harris Contingency.

Bowers and Wishneff are running though. So far, I am more pleased with these two than any others.

Check out their ideals they are running on below. It seems as though they are willing to spell out what they will spend, instead of the Harris Contingency just doing whatever the hell they want.

A Real Downtown Roanoke Agenda – April 2008

Abandon the Amphitheater project along Reserve Ave and take the $12,600,000 budgeted for that project and instead spend it downtown on the following projects:

1. $3,000,000 - Elmwood Park Amphitheater of 2-3,000-seats

2. $3,000,000 - City Market Building Renovation, City share of estimated $7-$8M for comprehensive renovation

3. $1,000,000 - Center in the Square Renovation this represents initial payment on multi-year City $4M commitment for this $27M renovation and reinvention of Center

4. $1,500,000 - Church Ave. Garage Renovation, this represents a cash payment to eliminate need for City to borrow which makes parking rate increase unnecessary

5. $250,000 - Farmers Stalls Modernization that adds items like heat, electricity, which was requested by farmers

6. $850,000 - Market Square Improvements, initial aesthetic and functional improvements to Square to support ability to more easily change uses at nights & weekends

7. $3,000,000 - New 600+ Williamson Rd Parking Garage in parking lot across from Link Museum could hold new hotel rooms and meeting space on top for expanded Hotel Roanoke;
strategic location allows for parking garage to serve multiple purposes including Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, the Civic Center, the improved Market Building and the new Art Museum, money represents initial City contribution for planning & design toward a much larger
multi-million project
$ 12,600,000

Presented by Mayoral candidate David Bowers and Roanoke City Councilman and candidate Brian Wishneff

Sunday, April 13, 2008

2008 Golf Tournament

Here is a message from Charlie Adkins who is running the Golf Tournament this year.

Hey Brothers and Sisters of Local 1132,

This years MDA Golf Tournament is under way!!!!

This is a reminder that I need anyone that is going to have a Team in this tournament, Please E-mail me@ , with the (Team Captain Contact info, Names of Players, and T-Shirt Sizes). Don’t sweat the money for the Teams until morning of the Tournament the Ladies from the MDA will be registering you just like last year.

If any one needs to use a Credit Card to hold your team feel free to Contact Robyn Grayson @ (540)-772-3237 or .

I am working on getting my orders together so I can place them in a timely matter, So if possible and I know some teams will be last minute and that ok, But just send me a name of the person heading a team so I can reserve you a spot, I am getting some outside request for placing teams and I don’t want anyone to be left out.

Anyone having questions or concerns please feel free to call me anytime!!!

In Unity,

Charles Adkins/Director
MDA Golf Tournament
Roanoke Valley Professional Firefighters
Cell -(540)-309-4566
Pager-(540)-581-9131 [alpha, us mobility]

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dennis Hayes fights in Ruckus in the Cage

Dennis Hayes, a Firefighter/Paramedic with Roanoke City, will fight tonight in the Ruckus in the Cage at the Roanoke Civic Center. I meant to blog on this a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, someone left a comment and reminded me.

You can view the Ruckus in the Cage website here.

The fight ticket is here.

Dennis Hayes
Roanoke, VA
35 yrs. old, 5'8", 155 lbs.
Style: Jiu Jitsu & Judo
Record: 6-2
Team: Hybrid Martial Arts

Dennis is fighting the defending champion below.

Noe Quintanilla
Glade Hill, VA
26 yrs. old, 5'10", 155 lb
Style: Kickbxn, Jiu Jitsu
Record: 6-1
Team: Ripper's Ultimate
Fighting Arts
Defending Champion

We wish Dennis the best and that his opponent is still able to walk after Dennis is done with him. I have only seen him fight once and it was several years ago. The guy he beat did not look to good after it was over. It seems as though every time he fights locally it is on the shift I am working. If you are going, have fun.

Dennis runs Hybrid Martial Arts (website).

A little about Dennis - Dennis is the founder & head instructor at HYBRID(est. Sept. 2001). Dennis is a Professional Firefighter/Paramedic for Roanoke Fire/EMS.
Dennis began his training in1995 in Judo & in BJJ soon after having to travel to Va Beach to the world renowned Linxx Academy for authentic instruction. Dennis currently holds rank as
2nd degree blackbelt in Judo under Gus Carper.BLACKBELT in Gracie Jiu Jitsu under Professor Pedro Sauer. He rec'd his Blue belt in 8/98, Purple in 10/01, Brown in 10/04 & blackbelt in 01/08.
He has trained with Pedro Sauer extensively for 12+ years & also with the likes of Royce Gracie, Renzo Gracie, Royler Gracie, Ralph Gracie, Jacare, Luis Palhares, Jeff Curran & Frank Cucci to name a few. Read more on the website here

Thursday, April 10, 2008

2008 Promotional List

Someone asked me to publish the promotional list. This is something I was planning on doing on the IAFF site, but haven't had time to do and this is easier. Since the Department does not publish the list anywhere for all to see, I don't mind letting you all see where the candidates placed. As far as promotions go, there are rumors of making promotions, holding off until July 1, holding off until the next recruit school graduates, and there is also talk of getting rid of the 1st Lt. position all together. Unfortunately for all of us, we will just have to guess until it happens since it is hard to get a straight answer. This is an unofficial list. I apologize in advance for spelling errors.

Captains List:
  1. Toby Bedwell
  2. David Bocock
  3. Scott Graham
  4. Sam Stump
  5. Chad Riddleberger
  6. John Arrington
  7. J.J. Price
  8. Scott Alford
  9. Lynn Flora
1st Lieutenants List:
  1. Mac Craft
  2. Dean Russell
  3. Scott Weaver
  4. Travis Simmons
  5. Jason Crouch
  6. Rhett Fleitz
  7. Randy Smith
  8. Darren Parker
  9. Brian Wray
  10. Chuck Sharp
  11. Todd McFall
  12. Jeremy Bennington
  13. Rodney Jordan
  14. Terry Hauck
Lieutenants List:
  1. Jarrod Fuhrman
  2. John Burrows
  3. J.D. Reynolds
  4. Jonathan Van Dam
  5. Adam Troutt
  6. Scott Boone
  7. Josh Holmes
  8. Andy Foley/Trevor Shannon
  9. Matt Wheeling
  10. Todd Harris
  11. Chip Johnston
  12. Tim Brown
  13. Richard Lipes
  14. Jerry Thompson
  15. Zac Slayton
  16. Greg Fulton
  17. Devon Turner
  18. Jeff Proulx
  19. Travis Collins
  20. Mike Peay
  21. Shane Duncan
  22. Adam Fleming/Duane Noell
  23. Michael Jenkins
  24. Rob Bolton
  25. Travis Meador
  26. David Lucas
  27. David Wray
  28. Craig Champney
  29. Chris Price
  30. Dennis Hayes/Josh Pruitt
  31. Daniel Murphy
  32. Brad Dinwiddie
  33. Jon Dixon
  34. Kevin Taylor
  35. Linda Jones
If you have a complaint about the list, contact the complaint department. The number is:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hook, Line, and Sinker

Hey all,

Amidst one of the worst weeks of my life, I managed to enjoy the phone calls and comments related to the Blog coming to an end. After all, it was April 1st. Some of you all got it right away, others it was a little tougher. The best phone call was someone calling to complain about it, then the next day realizing it was April 1st the day before, calling me to admit I had got him. He even said that he was frantic in trying to think of someone else to take over the blog.

I had a "Cowboy" Captain call up and bitch me out about it, only to realize it was April 1st at the end of his sentence and promptly say something like "Oh I get it, April Fools you asshole" - I don't even think I got a word out of my mouth. Damn did I get him good. His guys called to tell me how pissed off he was.

Others just told me of firefighters who thought it was BS that I stopped the blog. However, several of you saw right through it.

I must say that my April Fools joke got a lot more mileage than I imagined it would. I will be back to work tomorrow, still homeless after having trouble closing on our new house. Tomorrow, I think I will try some new pump training, courtesy of C.J. Schaffer (Salem Fire Department):

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Time has Come

Hey guys,

I had word of a couple of rumors today, however I don't have the time to investigate them right now. I am busy with several things.

However, this is a long time coming and I am sad to say that the blog will end with this post. It has been fun. Almost 1200 posts in all over a span of 3 years almost to the day. The truth is that I just don't have the time like I used to.

All in all,the blog has been very fun. Bringing the news to all the firefighters who care to read. So many readers from across the Nation and even outside looking in to see what the Roanoke Firefighters are doing. I think that in the end, so many more people know about Roanoke's Bravest, who we are and what we are about. The courage, dedication, and professionalism is testament to the men and women we are. Especially considering some of the conditions we work within.

Everyone look out the window and you will notice that there aren't any fires still burning, noone still trapped in cars, and nobody still on the line with 911 waitin for us to respond. After all, this is all the bosses care about. There doesn't seem to be much benefit to the way we do our job, the excellence we provide on a daily basis, or the compassion we provide to our citizens.

So long, and farewell. The blog will still be on the internet for all to see. I will just stop updating it. I will be around, and stories will still be told, just not in this forum.

Thank you all very much for giving me the opportunity to tell your stories for all the World to see.

God Bless and Stay Safe.