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National Fire News

'I'm not OK': First responders learn to embrace help for mental health during symposium in California

When a medical call came in on June 24, 2015, to assist an intoxicated man at a trolley station, San Diego firefighter Ben Vernon thought it would be a routine situation. He had been on this type of call several times in the past, so he was not too worried. Arriving on the scene, however, tensions started to rise between a bystander and several security guards, and a fight broke out.
- PUB DATE: 10/23/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Bakersfield.com

Georgia firefighter who lost leg on interstate credits colleagues with saving his life

An Atlanta firefighter who lost his leg after getting struck by a vehicle while responding to a call on I-85 said he wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the quick-thinking actions of his colleagues. Sgt. Darrow Harden was hit by a car in May while responding to a wreck near Cleveland Avenue in the interstate’s northbound lanes.
- PUB DATE: 10/23/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Atlanta Journal Constitution

World’s largest treehouse burns down in Tennessee

An East Tennessee landmark is now completely gone after a fire late Tuesday night. Cumberland County Fire Rescue responded to a fire at Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. We’re told the entire building burned to the ground in about 15 minutes. No injuries have been reported.
- PUB DATE: 10/23/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WJHL-TV CBS/ABC 11 Johnson City

New York Mayor Gets Earful From Union Head Following Attack On EMT By Emotionally Disturbed Man

Mayor Bill de Blasio is being asked to do more to protect first responders in the wake of an attack on a 20-year-old emergency medical technician as he was transporting an emotional disturbed person to the hospital. The ambulance EMT Nicholas Cody used to transport an emotionally disturbed person on Friday night sat parked outside the emergency room at Lincoln Hospital on Monday, the decal warning that it’s a felony to attack a first responder, apparently not much of a deterrent in a city where the number of of mental health 911 calls have nearly doubled in the last decade.
- PUB DATE: 10/22/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WLNY-TV 55 Riverhead

Pennsylvania lawmakers push bills to address firefighter shortage: ‘This is an absolute crisis’

Pennsylvania’s growing shortage of volunteer and career firefighters and EMS providers has reached a point where state lawmakers are calling for action to avert a crisis like the one Rep. Stephen Barrar described at a Monday news conference. “How would you feel if you had a fire or an accident or a life-threatening emergency and when you dialed 911, no one responded? These type of doomsday scenarios are not far-fetched,” said Barrar, R-Delaware County, who chairs the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
- PUB DATE: 10/22/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: PennLive

Related: Pennsylvania's midstate fire department highlights its ‘live-in’ firefighter program

On the same day that a package of bills was introduced at the State Capitol to help Pennsylvania’s fire and EMS workers, one midstate community is applauding the decision. The Middletown Fire Department is 100% volunteer, so for about two years now, they’ve been offering a live-in program for young firefighters.
- PUB DATE: 10/22/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WHTM-TV ABC 27 Harrisburg

Failing forestry: Oregon governor launches team to fix department’s financial mess

Gov. Kate Brown has appointed a financial oversight team and will hire an independent contractor to address a cash flow crisis caused by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s failure to promptly bill and collect money it is owed for wildfire costs. The 13-member team, chaired by the governor’s chief of staff, is tasked with identifying the structural changes needed to expedite and standardize how the agency processes financial transactions related to wildfires.
- PUB DATE: 10/22/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Portland Oregonian, Hillsboro Argus, Oregon Live.com

California: Fire, flood disaster plans to be mailed to 200,000 homes and businesses in San Diego County

Officials are urging residents throughout the San Diego region’s most fire-prone areas to prepare for this year’s peak wildfire season. The county is slated to mail out its “personal disaster plan” to roughly 200,000 homes and businesses starting next week. The recently updated 16-page document will be sent to those living in areas designated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as “very-high fire severity zones.
- PUB DATE: 10/22/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The San Diego Union Tribune - Metered Site

New York firefighter dies during training, chief says

A firefighter with the Homer Fire Department died Saturday after falling ill at a training, according to the fire chief. Firefighter Robert Bush was feeling ill during a training, and his fellow firefighters offered him medical help immediately, chief Mahlon Irish Jr. said in a Facebook post. “Bush was transported to the local hospital where revival efforts continued.
- PUB DATE: 10/21/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Syracuse.com

Ohio firefighters build dryer that saves tax dollars, aids in cancer prevention

Over the last few years, national firefighter organizations have put an emphasis on cancer preventions. Firefighters face higher rates of cancer diagnosis and cancer-related deaths than the general population. Innovative work by the Xenia Fire Department will help them be more diligent about keeping gear clean to prevent the inhalation of carcinogens as suggested by many national firefighter organizations.
- PUB DATE: 10/21/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WDTN-TV NBC 2 Dayton

Firefighters learn about overlooked dangers in Vermont

Two national experts on firefighter safety were at the Vermont Fire Academy Saturday sharing what they know with leaders in the state’s firefighting and emergency services community. “The entire class today is focused on firefighter health and safety,” Chief Craig Haigh, a 36-year veteran of the Hanover Park, Illinois, Fire Department, and a field staff instructor at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute.
- PUB DATE: 10/21/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Rutland Herald - Metered Site

San Francisco grapples with how to fight massive firestorm expected after next big quake

San Francisco’s Marina was ravaged by fire during the Loma Prieta earthquake, centered 60 miles away. Thirty years later, experts say, as much as a third of the city is still largely unprotected against the massive fires they fear will be sparked by the Big One. “The way the situation is now, we are going to have some major conflagrations in the city,” said Charles Scawthorn, an engineer and earthquake fire modeling expert, who predicts as many as 100 separate fires across the city, fueled by broken natural gas lines.
- PUB DATE: 10/21/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KNTV NBC 11 San Jose

Philadelphia Fire Crews Battle Massive 3-Alarm Blaze At Auto Body Shop

VIDEOS: Firefighters are battling a three-alarm fire at an auto body shop in Philadelphia’s Cobbs Creek neighborhood. Crews were called to the the area of 59th and Irving Streets for a fire around 10:10 a.m. Monday. Arriving crews found heavy fire conditions coming from a second-story building. The fire caused parts of the building to collapse.
- PUB DATE: 10/21/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KYW-TV CBS 3 Philadelphia

New York City EMT and EMS lieutenant hospitalized following bizarre turn of events on Brooklyn highway

Two city EMS veterans were in critical condition Thursday after a bizarre episode where one suffered a stroke behind the wheel — and the other an aortic aneurysm while headed to assist his colleague, authorities said. The double dose of tragedy began when Liam Glinane, a 28-year FDNY veteran, was stricken while driving around 1 p.
- PUB DATE: 10/18/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New York Daily News

Oregon First Responders Reflect on Firefighter Ambush One Year Later

VIDEO: One year ago, a man shot himself after setting a fire that destroyed several homes in Springfield, and today the first responders are looking back. “We started getting ready to fight fire. As we were pulling up on scene, glass exploded through the cab and something hard hit me in the left chest," said Captain Craig Degarlais with Eugene Springfield Fire.
- PUB DATE: 10/18/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KEZI-TV ABC 9

Wisconsin rescue squad to disband; call volume, lack of volunteers cited as reasons

The Burlington Rescue Squad will dissolve at the end of the year due to difficulties keeping up with increased call volume and a decline in volunteerism, Mayor Jeannie Hefty has announced. The dissolution will leave the City of Burlington Fire Department to pick up rescue services for city residents.
- PUB DATE: 10/18/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Journal Times

Climate change threatens firefighters and farmworkers, and that’s only the beginning

As an emergency medicine resident at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Zachary Wettstein, MD, has seen the effects of wildfires firsthand. On days when it’s really smoky, he says, “I’m not surprised that I’m seeing more people with shortness of breath.” Densely smoky days certainly are growing as wildfire season worsens, experts say, spurred in part by such environmental changes as earlier snowmelts that can cause drier, hotter conditions.
- PUB DATE: 10/18/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: AAMCNews

Arkansas firefighters to see pay increase due to new state minimum wage law

In 2020 Arkansas' minimum wage goes up 75 cents: from $9.25 an hour to $10 an hour. For firefighters starting out in Harrison, they currently only make $9.40 an hour. “Roughly 10 members of our department were going to fall below that minimum wage if we didn’t do something," said Harrison Fire Chief Marc Lowery.
- PUB DATE: 10/18/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KYTV NBC 3

Three Texas first responders struck, killed by vehicles in separate incidents in week's time

Three Texas first responders were struck and killed by vehicles while on duty in a week's time — prompting officials to remind motorists to move over and slow down for roadside emergency vehicles. On October 7, 2019, two Louise Volunteer Fire Department firefighters, having cleared a previous call, stopped in their lane of travel on Farm-to-Market (FM) 647, south of Highway 59 near Louise, Texas, to check the fire engine's front tires, believing something was wrong.
- PUB DATE: 10/17/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: My Texas Daily

Massachusetts female firefighter/paramedic commands incident, makes history

Full-time firefighter/paramedic Wendy Ashworth made history last week in the Acushnet Fire and EMS Department when she became the first female member of the department to command an incident. Ashworth, 56, is the only full-time female firefighter in the department, according to Chief Kevin Gallagher.
- PUB DATE: 10/17/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Standard-TImes