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Monday, September 29, 2008

Clearbrook Agreement to end June 30, 2009

Where do I start? Much like the rest of the FD I am losing my hair from scratching my head.

Ok, accept this as as much of an apology as I am willing to give. The information I posted earlier was a little less than the complete truth. However, that is not entirely my fault. The majority of blame is actually in the hands of the people calling the shots but only giving us the cliffnotes minutes before action.

Let me say this, from what I am hearing since the document was published (which can be viewed on is that there will be a Medic 8 and Engine 13 will stay in service as well (according to Admin). The Clearbrook guys will come back to the City. How, What, and When all depends.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fireproof the Movie

I just got a phone call from a woman who wanted to make sure that her Roanoke Firefighters knew about this movie which is apparently playing at the Tanglewood Cinema. She called the RFFA office. The name of the movie is Fireproof. I heard about this movie some time ago and had since forgotten about it. Check out the website and watch the trailer. By all appearances it seems like a movie about Firefighters, the main character having issues with his marriage. I don't know if all of the issues are due to him being a firefighter, but I do know that it is not the easiest job to have while keeping our home lives intact. I think I might check it out. Case and point, if you think about Backdraft, Ladder 49, Rescue Me, and Third Watch - they all deal with Firefighters and their !#$@#%ed up personal lives relating to the job.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Reminder: 1st Annual Fire Officer Seminar in Roanoke

The Roanoke Valley Regional Fire Departments are hosting the 1st Annual Fire Officer Seminar in Roanoke. The event will be held on October 3rd and 4th. The Presentation will be the same for each day from 8am til 5pm. Dan Noonan (FDNY retired) and Michael Dugan (FDNY) will be speaking.


To register:
Roanoke Valley Regional Fire/EMS Training Center
1220 Kessler Mill Road
Salem, Virginia 24153


The cost is $35 and includes lunch and break items.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

RFA Bowling Night

The message below was sent to our Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary members. All Roanoke Firefighters and their families are invited. The last one was a blast. Contact to rsvp or for more questions.

We hope to see everyone this Saturday at Hilltop Lanes (Williamson Road) from 7-10 for the Auxiliary Bowling Night. It is $12.50 per person. Let us know if you all will be attending and how many you will be bringing with you so we can reserve lanes.

Your Auxiliary Board

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Random Thoughts and Contributing Editors

Has anyone heard the phrase "the beatings will continue until morale improves"? Well it seems as though that has become the Roanoke Fire-EMS Vision Statement.

If indeed our management is handed down by our City Manager and Assistant City Manager, then would it be safe to say we could save a lot of money by replacing certain people with monkeys and a lifetime supply of bananas?

How long will our fake smiles we put on in public last? Numerous of us are unhappy with a lot of what is going on, even if some people only say it is 5%. Then again, how can you believe those statistics if other statistics given to Council members were way off base?

What is the answer? I don't know at this point. There have been numerous people begging for a vote of no confidence for some of our staff, but will that sink in or not?

You know what amazes me? That we the firefighters are still able to provide the best EMS care, Fire Suppression, and public service considering our circumstances.

I will be the first one sitting at the meeting of the labor/management committee that our Tri-Data report called for.

It would be nice if City Council took off their blinders and started running the City and supporting mandates and initiatives for our City Management to carry out.


If you want to write for the Roanoke Fire Blog, simply email your post in word form to me at and I will post it. If you want to post it anonymously, I will honor your wishes.

News from Governor Kaine on Price Gouging

Read below about the investigation of price gouging seen probably the worse in Roanoke several days ago. It seemed as though the outfall of media hype fed by rumors was the drastic increase in fuel prices. This increase was obviously gouging. Read what Gov. Kaine says below:

RICHMOND In an effort to increase the supply of gasoline in the Commonwealth of Virginia following the disruption in the normal flow of petroleum products caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Governor Timothy M. Kaine waived certain specifications that prescribe volatility standards for gasoline. This action allows immediate distribution of gasoline blends that would normally not be allowed until October 1.

Governor Kaine also announced today that the State has put together an experienced team of 30 inspectors from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) who are working across the Commonwealth to respond as quickly as possible to the more than 2,000 calls about possible gas price gouging received by the VDACS Division of Consumer Protection since Virginians first felt Hurricane Ike’s impact. Staff at VDACS continue to monitor the Consumer Protection Hotline to take calls around the clock to ensure that every complaint about gas prices is evaluated.

"It is intolerable that anyone would take advantage of consumers in this situation, and we will aggressively pursue unscrupulous operators charging excessive prices,” Governor Kaine said. “Virginians can do their part to help by maintaining a normal routine for refueling their vehicles, conserving fuel whenever possible and reporting any instances of possible price gouging to the VDACS Division of Consumer Protection.”

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of price gouging is encouraged to report such by calling VDACS Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-552-9963 or 804-786-2476.

The state has taken additional measures in response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes. The Departments of Emergency Management, Transportation and Motor Vehicles have issued waivers to facilitate the uninterrupted transportation of gasoline from suppliers to retailers. The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is closely monitoring the situation to ensure that adequate gasoline supplies remain available. As part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact that allows for the sharing of resources in response to disasters, Virginia has sent state personnel and resources to Texas and Louisiana to help in response and recovery.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Paramedic to RN Bridge Class in Roanoke


I am looking for interested NREMT-P’s who would qualify for a paramedic to RN transition course that can be brought to the area. You must have the prerequisites prior to admission in the program. NO EXCEPTIONS! The course would possibly start in Jan 2010 and be finished in Dec. 2010(LESS THAN 1 YEAR). The classes would be a hybrid type with limited classroom time. There is a clinical component that must be completed as well. In order to secure a class in the area there has to be at least 8 people to be interested. LPN’s will be allowed as well so it should not be an issue. Please read the following requirements. If you already have these requirements or would be able to complete them by the admission process this would be a great opportunity for you.

Prerequisites (must be completed prior to application submission)

~ High school graduate or GED

~ High school or college algebra, biology, and chemistry with a grade of “C” or better

~ Any developmental courses identified as needed after placement tests

~ Preadmission nursing test with acceptable scores (NLN 45 or better in verbal and math;

NET 45 or better in reading and math; HESI 45 or better)

~ The following general education courses with a grade of “C” or better:

NAS 161 (BIO 141) – Human Anatomy & Physiology I 4 credits

ENG 111 – College Composition I 3 credits

PSY 230 – Developmental Psychology 3 credits

SDV 100 – College Success Skills 1 credit

ITE EEE – Information Technology Elective 3 credits

14 total credits

Kent McIlhany

Please contact me if you have questions or to express interest.

I will be forwarding the information on perspective students to the course director as soon as possible.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Back in Town Soon

Hey all, I will be back in town for a few days by Sunday evening. I appreciate the comments and discussions. I would like to address one comment though about how I handled the retirement of Mark Podlewski. I have in the past, posted a picture and as much information as I can find about or retirees. I try my best to honor their service which is just a small gesture that I am afforded due to my position in having this blog. That honor which is usually nonexistent from our department.That being said, let me offer you a couple of reasons why Mark's retirement post was not what you expected:
  1. I was going out of town and very busy.
  2. Mark did not even tell the guys he was working with he was retiring, his BC accidentally let the cat out of the bag.
  3. I did not, and still do not have my external hard drive which has all of the Union's Photos on it including any of Mark.
This has little to do with Mark and more to do with the fact that I do what I can when I am able. I do not take offense to your viewpoints. As a matter of fact, I appreciate your concern and your attention to detail.

As for what I have been doing. I have put everything on the back burner for the past week and enjoyed myself down here in the Outer Banks. I actually shot some pics of a house fire and they were posted on FireNews.Net (NC's version of Check them out here.

Other than hanging out with my family for the week, the highlight of my vacation was swimming with some sand tiger sharks and barracuda. I was able to do this while SCUBA diving on the wreck Dixie Arrow off the coast of Hatteras, NC.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

7th Anniversary of September 11th

Today marks the 7th Anniversary of September 11th. Take the time to reflect on the events and the heroics of so many of our Brothers.

Most of all, discuss with and educate our Brothers and Sisters who were not in the department at the time.

Maybe discuss what you were doing when you found out, how long you watched the news to see the events unfold, or what your first thoughts were when you saw what was happening.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Open Post

Here is an open post while I am out of town, although I have a topic for you.

If you would like, please discuss the blog. For instance what you like or don't like. Maybe what you would like to see done, or what you would do if you ran things. I will be back in town Sunday.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Vote on Local 1132

Ok, I have corrected the glitch for all the newly registered members on the Local 1132 site. You should be able to click on online voting and the voting initiative will show. My apologies. If indeed you still cannot see the voting initiative, please contact me directly and I will update your profile.

One other note. If you have already registered, please do not register again. If you cannot find your registration information through the website, contact me and I will reset your password and send you the information via email. For this stuff please use my email:


Also thanks to all who helped with Fill the Boot today. If you would like to help out tomorrow (Sunday) please contact Steven McFaden at Station 2 and he will point you in the right direction. We are collecting at Towers Kroger from 10am - 3pm.

Fill the Boot for MDA

Today and Tomorrow (Sat. and Sun.) The Roanoke Fire Fighters Association is holding a Fill the Boot for MDA. Members of the Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary and Salem's Local will also going to be on hand to help. The event will be held from 10am - 3pm at the Kroger's at Towers and Crossroads. Please plan on being there to help for any length of time. If you need to contact someone, give me a call at 537-8158 (Rhett).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Firefighter Mark Podlewski Retires

Mark Podlewski is retiring effective November 1, 2008. His last day on the job was Tuesday, September 2nd. Mark was hired by the Roanoke Fire Department on July 1, 1991, although he actually transferred from the Roanoke Police Department where I believe he was hired in 1984.

Mark's last assignment was at Station 13 on A-Shift with Captain Yearout. He will be missed. I always enjoyed getting him riled up in the mornings as he enjoyed getting under my skin too.

Good luck in your retirement Mark.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

RFFA is looking for feedback on the 2008 Banquet

Attention all RFFA members, please take the time to complete a short one answer voting initiative on the Local 1132 website. If you would like to leave further comments on the banquet, feel free to leave feedback here or contact myself or Tim Parry.

Click here for

Monday, September 01, 2008

Roanoke Fire-EMS Deploys Team to St. Bernard's Parrish, LA

From the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department:

Roanoke Fire-EMS has been called upon by EMAC once again to deploy a Hurricane Recovery Team to St. Bernard's Parrish, LA. This group of 8 Fire-EMS personnel will serve with the Incident Management Team in

The team consists of: Deputy Chief Ralph Tartaglia, Battalion Chief Jeff Beckner, Battalion Chief Teddy Adkins, Captain Werner Van Damme, Captain Chuck Swecker, 1st Lt. Tim Cady, FF/EMT-I Becky Smith and FF/EMT Jeff Oliver.

The crew departed from the Roanoke Valley Regional Fire-EMS Training Center at approximately 4:30 this afternoon. They will be traveling to Birmingham, AL tonight and will be staying at a Fire Station there. The team will be deployed for approximately 18 days - 4 days of travel and 14 days of working in Louisiana. They are to report to their post by 7am on Wednesday, September 3.

This is the fourth deployment that Roanoke Fire-EMS has been on since 2005. In 2005, three separate teams were deployed to assist Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Hurricane Gustav. Roanoke Fire-EMS is ready to assist the citizens of St. Bernard's Parrish in any way that we can during this recovery period," says Chief David Hoback.