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National Fire News

Follow Up: Veteran Los Angeles cops and firefighters can work one shift, then collect double pay for years

A program that allows Los Angeles cops and firefighters to collect their pensions and salaries simultaneously at the end of their careers was originally hailed as a no-cost way to keep the most experienced officers on the job. But six years into the program it was clear there were serious problems, including reports that aging officers with bad backs and aching knees were joining and then immediately going out on long injury leaves — sometimes for years — at essentially twice the pay.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Los Angeles Times

Washington fire department's air packs found to be clear of contaminants

Spokane firefighters may soon breath easy again after a recent round of testing determined there are no contaminants in the department’s air tanks. The test results, announced by the city Thursday morning at a news conference, come from health consultant companies Veritox, Inc. and TRI Air Testing, which both found no traces of toxic metals in firefighter’s self-contacted breathing apparatus (SCBA) bottles.
- PUB DATE: 2/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Spokesman-Review

New York firefighters support legislation on EMS billing

Several Long Island elected officials and volunteer fire service leaders expressed support Thursday for legislation that would allow fire departments to bill insurance companies and government benefits programs for emergency medical services. Tom McDonough, former chief of the Port Washington Fire Department, said the measure would generate needed revenue — and ultimately save lives.
- PUB DATE: 2/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Newsday

North Carolina fire chief on diversity: ‘I want to be inclusive'

Charlotte's fire chief sat down one-on-one with Eyewitness News to talk about his mission to push for diversity. This comes days after firefighters packed City Hall, standing united against more claims of unfair treatment of minorities. Chief Pete Key said the department is taking a grassroots approach to recruiting and that wherever he goes, he does his best to bring people into the department.
- PUB DATE: 2/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: wsoctv.com

West Virginia teen accused of stealing fire department truck, claiming to be chief

A teen investigators say stole a fire department vehicle is behind bars. Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies say Aubrey Turley III, 18, of Uneeda, is charged with grand larceny. Turley was arraigned Thursday afternoon by a Kanawha County Magistrate. According to a criminal complaint, Turley stole a pickup truck from the Alum Creek Volunteer Fire Department Thursday morning.
- PUB DATE: 2/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: wsaz.com

Florida EMS Chief: PulsePoint app turns citizens into lifesavers

Ordinary citizens are being called on to help save lives in Sarasota County with the aid of a smartphone app that notifies users when a person nearby has gone into cardiac arrest. The PulsePoint app, which can be downloaded onto a smartphone, shows users within a quarter-mile how to locate and use public-access Automated External Defibrillators and how to perform hands-only CPR.
- PUB DATE: 2/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Herald-Tribune

17 dead, 15 wounded, former student in custody after Florida high school shooting

An American nightmare unfolded Wednesday afternoon at a South Florida high school after police say an expelled teenager returned to campus and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing 17 and wounding 15 more in the worst school shooting in Florida history. Just before dismissal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, thousands of students puzzled at the sound of a fire alarm were launched into a panic when gunfire punctuated the din.
- PUB DATE: 2/15/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Tampa Bay Times

Rhode Island firefighter dies after collapsing at fire scene

A Pascoag volunteer firefighter who died Wednesday after being rushed from the scene of a chimney fire is being remembered as a generous, spirited man who was dedicated to helping others. Lt. Richard Jenks collapsed outside a home on Hill Road, Deputy Chief Keith Carter said, after tripping and falling inside.
- PUB DATE: 2/15/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WPRI-TV Providence 12

New Leadership at USFA, NFA Discuss Their Goals

The evolution of the fire service in the 40-plus years since the formation of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has been remarkable, and the new leadership at the organization and at the top of its National Fire Academy recognizes how much change has occurred and how much is yet to come for our nation's emergency responders.
- PUB DATE: 2/15/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Firehouse

Federal judge orders Florida city to give fired firefighter her job back

Former firefighter Tanja Vidovic should be reinstated to Tampa Fire Rescue, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Wednesday, nearly two years after she filed a federal lawsuit against the city and was fired the next day. She won her discrimination and retaliation case against the city on Dec. 7, when a jury awarded her $245,000 in damages.
- PUB DATE: 2/15/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Tampa Tribune and TBO.com (Tampa Bay Online)

Ohio city asks judge to disqualify ex-fire official's lawyers for ethics issues

Lawyers representing the city of Cleveland asked a federal judge Wednesday to disqualify the legal team representing a former fire official who claims in a lawsuit that he was improperly passed over for promotion. The lawyers accused the Chandra Law Firm of violating the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers by improperly obtaining evidence for former Battalion Chief Sean DeCrane's lawsuit.
- PUB DATE: 2/15/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Cleveland Plain Dealer & Cleveland.com

Shouting match between South Carolina Fire Chief and councilman follows vote on planned ordinance

VIDEO - It has been a rough month for first-responders in rural Berkeley County. A few weeks ago a firm hired to assess 26 volunteer departments released its findings from an independent fire study and determined, what a lot of those departments already knew, they are underfunded, understaffed and under pressure.
- PUB DATE: 2/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Berkeley Independent

Arizona town faces losing two-thirds of its firefighters amid budget crisis

Roughly two-thirds of the firefighters in South Tucson have now indicated they will resign by the end of the month, leaving residents of the small city wondering if there will be enough personnel to adequately respond to emergencies. A former South Tucson firefighter claimed that due to the mass resignations there are two days next month where only one Fire Department employee is scheduled to work on a specific shift.
- PUB DATE: 2/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Arizona Daily Star

Congress Restores Medicare Ambulance Add-On Payments

On Feb. 9 passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892) which funds the federal government through March 22 and raises government spending limits. H.R. 1982 also contains several provisions which address challenges facing the fire and emergency service. H.R. 1892 contains some of the most significant EMS reimbursement reforms that Congress has enacted in several years.
- PUB DATE: 2/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: International Association of Fire Chiefs

FDNY Marks 60 Years Since Fatal Paper Company Blaze

Sixty years ago, Firefighter Donald Blaskovich left a theatre where "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" was staged to witness an all-too-real living hell. The 85-year-old FDNY retiree, a member of the now defunct Engine Company 13, is the last firefighter alive to have fought the deadly blaze at the Elkins Paper Company on Wooster St.
- PUB DATE: 2/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Firehouse

Nebraska mayor calls firefighters soda can alerts "unnecessary"

Mayor Jean Stothert said she first saw the "soda can" alert when she watched our KETV report. Some firefighters place pop cans on top of a printer that activates when emergency calls come in--causing the pop cans to fall to the floor making a loud noise. "When I saw the cell phone video, I was very disappointed firefighters want to give the idea to the public their safety is at risk," Mayor Stothert said.
- PUB DATE: 2/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KETV-TV ABC 7 Omaha

Tennessee firefighter killed, 2 others injured in house fire

One firefighter was killed and four other firefighters were injured while battling a house fire Monday evening in Lawrenceburg. Multiple fire departments from across the region began fighting the fire around 4:30 p.m. at a home in the 500 block of Hood Lakes Road. The home collapsed and a county-wide mayday protocol was established, meaning a firefighter is in danger or injured, just before 8 p.
- PUB DATE: 2/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WKRN-TV ABC 2 Nashville

24 hours in the FDNY firehouse that never sleeps

It's long past midnight in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and firefighter Mark Merrell of Engine 255 is explaining to me why medals aren't important and being called a hero doesn't matter all that much. "What you try to achieve is for somebody to say, 'you're a good fireman.' That's probably the biggest compliment you can get," he says.
- PUB DATE: 2/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WABC-TV 7online.com

Pay, staffing and overtime: Why some South Carolina firefighters aren’t happy

Horry County firefighters are leaving and moving to other departments like Myrtle Beach with complaints of too much overtime and low pay, according to Rob Mullaney, president of the Horry County chapter of the International Association of Firefighters. “A lot of the problems are staffing,” he said. “Our turnover rate is ridiculous and you’re losing a lot of mid-level and senior guys to departments, starting over at departments because the benefits are better, the pay is better, the longevity with the pay is better.
- PUB DATE: 2/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: MyrtleBeachOnline.com

Update: Registered sex offender steps down as Pennsylvania Fire Chief

In an interview with JET 24 Roger Gilbert Junior confirms that he has officially resigned as Fire Chief of the Spartansburg Fire Department. Gilbert says he has been a Spartansburg volunteer firemen for 25 years, starting as a junior fireman. He spent five years as assistant chief, before being elected chief a year ago.
- PUB DATE: 2/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WJET/WFXP YourErie.com