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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Open Post

The Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary Bowling Night has been canceled for this Friday and will be rescheduled.

Otherwise...OPEN POST

Someone asked me about a shirt I was wearing once. The shirt was the Roanoke Fire Blog shirt. You can purchase them here: There are two designs. The newest is the one with the "Roanoke Fire Blog" on the front. If you have a slogan you would like to see let me know.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Upcoming Events for Roanoke's Firefighters

There are several upcoming events:

Monday, August 25th is the RFFA Business Meeting

August 29th is the next Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary Bowling night. Event details will be announced soon. The last bowling night was a lot of fun and well attended.

On September 6th and 7th, the RFFA will have a Fill the Boot event to benefit the MDA. The event details are TBA. Contact Becky Smith or Steve McFaden for more information.

On September 11th, around a dozen Danville IAFF Local 2532 Firefighters will be making a motorcycle ride to Roanoke. They did this similar trip last year to Salem. The Firefighters are looking for a station to come visit for lunch. The Firefighters will pay for lunch, as long as your station fixes it. If your station is interested in hosting the incoming firefighters let me know and I will get you all in contact with each other to work it out. The firefighters ride up, eat lunch, hang out for a while, and then head back to Danville. There might be interest in our Firefighters riding back with them and they said they would host whoever rides for dinner.

September 11th is right around the corner. Please do not forget the sacrifice of our 343 firefighters who died on that day and the others who have died since due to service that day.

October 3-4th is the 1st Annual Fire Officer Seminar held at the Roanoke Civic Center. More information here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Words or Actions...which is cheaper

There was an interesting comment on the last post which read something like this:
Awesome to have some good news and posts on here for a change. Great Job
I find this interesting. I don't disagree the fact that the post it refers to is good news. What I do find interesting is that so much of what is on this blog is good news. It is easier to remember the negative over the positive aspects though. I understood this early on in this blog.

The ironic twist is that commonly I speak out against Administrations "actions" and occasionally their "words".

Take for instance, the recent budget cuts. I won't name names, but certain Chiefs came around to various stations to tell us they were not in support of the cuts. They SAID they weren't. But when it came down to it their ACTIONS spoke louder and showed that the cuts were no big deal to them.

Therefore, it would have been impossible to speak about this event without being either positive or negative. Either I would have to talk about their words or actions which contradicted each other.

Furthermore, how can anyone actually be in support of the current administration? It is darn near impossible. If you support what they say, you would be pissed by their actions. If you support their actions, you would be mislead by their words.

Think about it for a minute.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Salem Firefighters Honored for Rescue

When Salem’s Swift Water Rescue team was put to the test in February of 2003, its members responded with amazing courage and humility, saying afterwards, “We were just doing our jobs.”
On that February 22nd day, team members Mike Elston, Tim Graham and Shawn Stanley knew they were in trouble when the Roanoke Valley was hit with over two inches of rain in a 24 hour period. As the rivers and streams around the area began to rise, the trio began what would eventually be a 12 hour rescue marathon.

In case my brother/sister firefighters in Roanoke, Salem, Vinton, or other area want something posted on here just let me know and send in the story.

Playing the Odds Mentality

You know that mentality that our City leaders have that we can play the odds when it comes to Public Safety. We remove a truck here and move a truck there. Decrease the police officers and firefighters. Consolidate this station and that station. Then we tell everyone nothing will change. This is playing the odds.

This mentality is a lot cheaper than "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Cheaper to taxpayers, cheaper to the City. Budget cuts are in effect across the Nation. September 11th has worn off. The days of Politicians and Local Leaders realization of the need for more firefighters and more police officers is gone. Now the fight has become local. Only in the face of tragedy do things change anymore. Look at Charleston. Firefighters complained for years seeking change in their outdated system. 9 Firefighters died and suddenly everyone is opening their eyes.

Unfortunately, this playing the odds mentality has seeped into the rank and file of our department. The ideals of needing more firefighters on the trucks and more firefighters on scene have been replaced with "Who Cares" and "We have tried but cannot make a difference". Very true, we have tried to get them to listen. So far they aren't hearing it. I will be damned if I am going to give my life up because the system failed me. Don't take that the wrong way, I am still willing to risk my life for the life of another, that is what we do. However, I am not going to give my life by accepting the odds and going along with Administration.

Through this whole ordeal of budget cuts and future changes, the single most significant moment was when Chief Hoback admitted that he had not seen the Fire-EMS Budget located in the Resource Allocation Plan. That same documentation that we were told he created, one of three as a matter of fact, and our City Manager picked that one. This happened, I was there. It was a moment of clarity.

We all know who is running the department. Call it what you will and use your own analogies, but it is not safe the way things are going. We need change. We need reform.

I took a class recently at the training center. The class was offered on duty and was taught by Retired Chief Poff from Roanoke County. The class was on the art of reading smoke. This class was great. Not only did I learn a lot, but I could tell that the other firefighters with me learned a lot. The case studies on the Keokuk Iowa fire that killed 3 firefighters and the Houston McDonald's that killed 2 firefighters was especially interesting. These case studies were interesting because I remember them. The lessons learned from the fires which took these firefighters could be life saving one day.

With our current and future cuts, consolidation, disbanding of companies we are in a downward spiral. The end is nowhere in sight. We have effectively created a quint concept in some of our stations and possibly more in the future. With 3 firefighters on our rigs, this is a recipe for disaster. The one saving grace is that while we do have fires in Roanoke, we do not have many fires with people trapped. This enables us to not risk quite as much while fighting fires. We still search and are capable of rescue, we just don't have to push the envelope too far regularly. Who can forecast the future? Apparently our City leaders can. Because they continue to cut and play the odds. Just don't let that mentality get a hold of you.

Policeman VS Fireman Part 9

Fireman Jake vs Policeman Perry Part 9

Thanks for the heads up by the anonymous commenter on the new video.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Roanoke Fire Blog hits the news

Over the years, I have formed friendships and acquaintances with many journalist and bloggers. There are several who check in daily to and the Roanoke Fire Blog. Several picked up the story about the blog being banned.

View some of the stories here:

STATter 911 - a reporter with WUSA9 in D.C.
Firefighter Hourly
You may have to scroll down on the blogs, the stories ran yesterday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Station Coins

Station 9's Coin and a message from Goodo. If you have a photo of #1's coin send it in. Correct me if I am wrong, but these are considered Challenge coins aren't they.

Here is the picture of our Station 9 coin. Its the building when it opened with the old doors and no office addition. Since they are shutting it down soon we thought we should get on it now. Hopefully the other stations will see this and we can get everyone doing it. The one side is already on 1 and 9's coins. Bradbury and I hoped everyone would use the same City logo side and put there station design on the back. I would love to get 1 from every station.

Our coins are solid brass, and the cost is quickly recovered. They can call me or Bradbury and we can get them more information, or hook them up with our contact.

Thanks for putting them out there, maybe we can have a little tradition of our own started.

-Good O

Roanoke Fire Blog Banned By Chief

I guess the most interesting thing about this blog being banned by the Chief is that it is being banned right now. I have covered very interesting topics in the past that have not had the same effect. Do not misunderstand me, a ban was not my intent.

I still maintain that this blog is positive and shows the unadulterated opinion of the Firefighters of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department. An attempt to cover up this shows that certain people have blinders on.

Not every Firefighter embraces this blog or the thoughts on the site. However, those are the ones who read it the most to see what is said next.

If you remember back to the beginning of the blog, I brought news, fires, and history to the forefront. It was only when I finally realized that I could do more with the blog that I decided to add commentary and opinion. Unfortunately, some people did not like this.

I still contend that this department needs significant change. Blocking this blog from City Computers isn't going to change anything. Similarly, nothing is going to change in the department until certain people are realize it.

One ironic twist is that the person who banned this blog is also the person so many Firefighters saw as a catalyst for change. No dice. When the sword changed hands, even he continued to slash at the morale and backbone of this department.

One thing is for sure, either I work in a make believe department or he does. The stories, comments, thoughts, and ideas I hear from our Firefighters cannot be the same that he hears.

I could talk about the positive attributes of this site and the work that I have done, but I don't do it for myself and do not need to toot my own horn. I will note one thing though. When I wrote "Firefighting in Roanoke", the book was never publicly recognized by the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department. It was at that moment that I realized I was not embraced by our management. I am not going to change to make people like me.

I have maintained that this Department is where it is at because of its Firefighters. We have created and maintained one hell of a department. Through all of the despair, cuts, poor planning, bad decision making, lack of leadership, and mismanagement we continue to do our jobs. That in itself is a tremendous accomplishment. I have not met one firefighter in our department who has not complained about current management. Yet the Management continues to cut because of arrival times, fire under control times, etc. Times that are created because we are the best. We know the territory and get there quick. We know how to fight fires and put them out quick. We know how to mediate any emergency and do it quick.

All this in the shadow of:

the IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger and International Association of Fire Chiefs President Steve Westermann signed a joint agreement yesterday at the 49th Convention to provide a framework to improve labor relations between fire fighters and the nation’s fire chiefs. This occured last week at the IAFF Convention, just days prior to the IAFC Convention our Chiefs attended. (Read more about it here)
"The Labor Management Initiative also states that labor and management must improve communications and training, and promote a relationship based on respect, trust and understanding. The LMI also calls for labor and management to find ways to identify problems and resolve disputes.

Westermann urged fire fighters and fire chiefs to work together so they can do their jobs more efficiently and more safely."

Didn't the City send some of our Chiefs to this conference?

In case you are wondering, I will not be changing the domain. You all know how to get to this site, why should I change anything. Aren't there bigger issues to deal with?

Monday, August 18, 2008


Wait for it....wait for it...wait for it...

It will be positive, professional, and warranted.

For the other media outlets, THIS web site and have been banned on Roanoke City Computers in a fit of Censorship from the Roanoke Fire-EMS Chief.

2008 IAFF Convention

Rodney Jordan, Duane Dixon, Brent Berry, and I recently returned from the IAFF Convention in Las Vegas. In case you were wondering, the Convention is a "Business Meeting" of sorts. We vote on resolutions which set forth the business for the next two years as well as beyond. If you would like to view video and resolutions, check out the IAFF website.

Rodney and I were pleasantly surprised to see that one of Local 1132's historic images was used as the banner for the convention. As you can see in the picture, Steamer #2 sitting in front of Station 9 was picked as the main centerpiece for the convention and could be seen all over the Exhibit hall. This image was one of many sent in to the IAFF for the History Project. The IAFF also used several images for the IAFF History Project which was unveiled a couple of years ago.

About the Open Post

I must say that the commentary on the last Open Post was rather amusing. I did not have time to read every comment until just now. Some of the comments were just hilarious. The raw bread comment takes the cake.

It is interesting to see how the comments escalated.

I have a lot to add, I just need to find the time. Maybe soon.

Do you guys think I should have a weekly Open Post? Every Friday maybe?

NCPERS Report on Public Pensions

Check out for a detailed report from NCPERS on Public Pensions. This article compares Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution plans.

Link -

By the way, the Local site is back up and running. The issue was with our previous domain host, we have successfully moved domain hosting to the same host as our web server and this issue has been corrected. I apologize for the downtime, it was out of my control.

Officer Bryan Lawrence Benefit Car Truck & Motorcycle Show

Officer Bryan Lawrence Benefit Car Truck & Motorcycle Show

On May 10th 2008 a Roanoke Virginia police officer was viciously and brutally attacked while attempting to make an arrest in Roanoke City. Officer Lawrence was assaulted by two assailants and severely beaten and kicked in the head and neck leaving him unconscious and paralyzed on a city street. Officer Lawrence is currently undergoing extensive therapy in Atlanta Georgia with some improvement in his paralysis, but has a long and expensive road ahead.

As a Roanoke Crime Prevention Officer, he has always worked with the underprivileged and citizens in need. Much of his attention has been directed toward citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s, Autism, and Downs Syndrome. He also has routinely visited local nursing homes, providing much needed attention to the elderly.

Officer Lawrence will be eligible for retirement next year and would like to become a minister.

In this time of need, we have the opportunity to come together to give our support and show our appreciation to this community servant, officer and friend.

A car, truck, motorcycle, and semi truck show that will also include food, games and live entertainment is being organized to benefit Officer Lawrence. The event will be held Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Parts Depot, 2177 Dale Avenue in Roanoke, Virginia , beginning at 10:00 A.M.

We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate in this very worthwhile benefit and show your support of this extraordinary Father, Police Officer, Husband, and fellow Man.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Please call us with donations for our representative to pick up, or forward your donations, and or auction items to:

Car Show
1128 Pechin Ave
Roanoke VA 24013

Bryan Lawrence Car Show Committee
& The Lawrence Family
Contact phone: Walter 540 761 1073

Friday, August 08, 2008

Open Post

I will be out of town from the 9th til the 16th. I offer you another open post. You guys comment on whatever the heck you want. Please try and keep it civil. I will try and post the comments as often as possible. Have fun and be safe. All are welcome, outsiders included. Maybe we can break the record for comments with this one, having a week to post comments. The current record stands around 48.

- I talked to Gary Fisher today...all is well in Iraq.
- Send in the pictures of the Station Coins, I will post them when I get a chance. They are very unique and affordable.
- If you need me, my email is I only check my City email once or twice a month. I get emails quickly on my CrackBerry.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

FF hurt, Roanoke Cop Blog and an Update

Steve Dixon, a Salem (VA) Firefighter suffered a heart attack on scene of a structure fire Monday. Dixon is believed to have been venting a roof of a house fire when he became ill. He is recovering at the hospital and has undergone surgery. His family would like their privacy during his recovery from what I understand. Our thoughts and prayers are with him during this time.

The Roanoke Cop Blog is in full swing. The blog is an introspective look at what it is like to be a Roanoke Police Officer. The apparently anonymous blogger writes about life on the street working the beat in Roanoke. The writings are unlike this blog in that he writes about his day to day job and what he experiences. Check out the blog here.

Another Cop blog that I found out about a couple of weeks ago is one written from Memphis. If some of you think that this blog is bad at times you need to check out MPD Enforcer 2.0. The blog has uncovered supposed crime and cover ups within the Memphis PD.

As for me, I have been overwhelmed with a lot of things recently. That is why the blog is somewhat stagnant.

Roanoke City just hired at least one. Apparently, Mark Altman the son of Chief Altman was hired today. There isn't any word on any other hirings.

There have been some fires recently. The Sofa Warehouse on Williamson Road and the McDonald's on Orange are two of them. I cannot stress enough that in these times of companies out of service you need to be careful. The recent jobs have been put out quickly, you just never know when the shit will hit the fan.

Someone recently pointed out to me the amount of Opticoms out of service. For those who don't know, the opticom system turns the lights green when we come to them running emergency. This helps alleviate the traffic backup and gets us through the light quicker. Why haven't these been fixed. I know of a couple which have been out of service in 13's first due for around 6 years.