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National Fire News

Career-ending emails sent to more than 200 Houston firefighters

Six days after Houston City Council approved 220 firefighter layoffs, Fire Chief Sam Peña followed through telling the department's newest hires in an emailed letter, "I am sorry to have to notify you that your position is being eliminated..." Peña explained the layoffs, telling firefighters, "The City of Houston has experienced a sizeable budget shortfall due to the implementation of Prop B.
- PUB DATE: 5/1/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: ABC 13 News

Maine fire chiefs: Measure to give volunteer firefighters minimum wage will help retention

Stephen Carr, president of the York Village Fire Department corporation, laid out the typical scenario for a volunteer firefighter at the York Village or York Beach departments. “The pager goes off. You could be at work, so you’re leaving work and not getting paid while you respond,” he said. “You get in your vehicle, using your own gasoline.
- PUB DATE: 5/1/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Bangor Daily News

Trial to finally begin against two men blamed for San Francisco's Ghost Ship fire that killed 36

After weathering six judges, a long preliminary hearing, a botched plea deal, countless legal motions and no shortage of emotional courtroom drama, the trial of two men held responsible for the deaths of 36 people in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire 2 1/2 years ago finally begins Tuesday. Prosecutors are scheduled to deliver opening statements laying out their case against Derick Almena, 49, and Max Harris, 29, who are charged with 36 counts each of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the Dec.
- PUB DATE: 5/1/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: East Bay Times

Rhode Island city reaches tentative contract deal with firefighters union

Negotiators for the city and the executive board of Warwick’s firefighters union have reached agreement on a proposed union contract that would bolster the city’s financial position, Mayor Joseph J. Solomon said Tuesday. The proposed contract, which remains subject to ratification votes by the union’s membership and by Warwick’s City Council, would incorporate pension language already written into the city’s ordinances, said Solomon.
- PUB DATE: 5/1/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Providence Journal

Bills would curb, document use of contaminated firefighting foam in Michigan

State lawmakers are working to curb and document the use of contaminated firefighting foam with a trio of bills. Fire chiefs who use firefighting foam that contained per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances would be required to report its usage within 48 hours, including details on the location, quantity used, nearby waterways and cleanup efforts.
- PUB DATE: 5/1/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Detroit News

Decorated Navy SEAL rejected by FDNY for being 'too old'

A decorated Navy SEAL was rejected by the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) because he was too old, multiple reports say. According to the "New York Post," 37-year-old Special Operations Chief Shaun Donovan was told by FDNY he's six months and 25 days too old to join the department. Donovan passed the written exam for firefighters, scoring in the top 1 percent of nearly 44,000 candidates and passed the physical test.
- PUB DATE: 4/30/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: ABC 10 News

Body Cameras Are Changing How Firefighters Train

You’ve seen police body-camera video, but now we’re seeing similar videos from firefighters. The new videos are changing the way departments train their crews. “Kind of like what sports athletes do. They’re watching batting practicing or watching another football team. We’re doing the same thing. We’re reevaluating and seeing how we can get better,” Captain JD Flint, with Metro Fire of Sacramento, said.
- PUB DATE: 4/30/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: CBS 13 Sacramento

Legislators seeking national reclassification of dispatchers

Efforts are under way nationally to get communications officers, aka dispatchers, proper recognition for what they do. Rep. Norma J. Torres' House Resolution 1629, called the 911 Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services (SAVES) Act, seeks to reclassify communications officers nationally from a non-protective service occupation to a protective one in the Standard Occupational Classification system, giving dispatchers recognition as first responders.
- PUB DATE: 4/30/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Norman Transcript

NFPA to consolidate emergency responder standards into 38 key documents

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards Council approved a plan to consolidate the information currently contained in 114 NFPA Emergency Response and Responder Safety (ERRS) standards, guides, and recommended practices into 38 overarching standards. The move will not only provide emergency responders with easier access to well-rounded safety information, but also improve the standards development experience for more than 2,000 principle and alternative NFPA Technical Committee Members.
- PUB DATE: 4/30/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: NFPA.org

Connecticut firefighters union defers raises to help taxpayers

In a move West Shore Fire Department Commission Chairman Robert Bruneau called “phenomenal” and “unheard of,” the firefighters union in that district unanimously agreed to defer a contractual raise for two years to ease the burden on taxpayers. “I think it’s big,” Bruneau said. “I think they want to do what’s best for the district.
- PUB DATE: 4/30/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New Haven Register

'A horrible day in Seattle': Crane collapse kills 4 in downtown

Four people were killed when a crane collapsed Saturday afternoon, falling onto traffic in downtown Seattle. The Seattle Fire Department said one woman and three men were dead before the first firefighters arrived at the scene. Two of the people killed were ironworkers working on the crane and the other two were inside vehicles.
- PUB DATE: 4/29/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KING 5 News

California firefighters distracted by VIP requests during Woolsey fire, report says

The battle against the devastating Woolsey Fire was hampered in Los Angeles County by politicians asking firefighters to check on certain homes, according to an agency that helped battle the blaze. The conclusion comes from an after-action review by the Los Angeles Fire Department, which joined Los Angeles and Ventura county departments in battling the November blaze, the Los Angeles Times reported.
- PUB DATE: 4/29/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Ventura County Star - Metered Site

Column: The biggest mistake a fire chief can make

One day, a fire chief who is a good friend called me to talk, either for therapeutic reasons or validation that he made the right decision about something. In the end, the phone call may have been therapeutic, but he had certainly not made the right decision. He had reacted emotionally to a situation and felt he had to make an immediate decision.
- PUB DATE: 4/29/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: FireRescue1

Florida college junior developing device to save firefighters like his dad

Growing up the son of a firefighter, Flagler College junior Blake Richardson heard plenty of stories from his father Brad about his work at the Fernandina Beach Fire Department. Over the last 15 years of his dad’s career, two of the common themes that always came up were the stress of the job and the lack of sleep.
- PUB DATE: 4/29/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The St. Augustine Record

Colorado Firefighter Killed In Hit & Run Crash

VIDEO: The Greeley Fire Department is in mourning for a veteran firefighter who died after a traffic collision. The firefighter, identified as Steven Michael Kuzik, was on his way to work when the crash happened. Police officers rushed to the crash at 6:31 a.m. Thursday at the intersection of 14th Avenue and 5th Street on a report of a traffic accident involving a motorcycle, driven by Kuzik, and an SUV, possibly a Suburban.
- PUB DATE: 4/26/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: CBS Denver

3 firefighters sue Alabama city, citing 'major problem' with morale, fairness in department

Former Montgomery firefighter Kenneth Bolling wants his day in court. The longtime fire employee — along with former firefighters Ted Clark and Kyle Blake — are suing the city of Montgomery. The former MF/R employees are bringing three separate cases related what they say were forced resignations for several issues, including discrimination, wrongful termination, breach of contract and due-process violations.
- PUB DATE: 4/26/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Montgomery Advertiser

California Fire Department Looking To Add Bike Medics

VIDEO: The city of Sacramento is looking to add a small fleet of bicycle medics to their toolbox. “They found it to be a great little tool to quickly maneuver around downtown as opposed to a large vehicle when you're trying to navigate large crowds,” said Captain Keith Wade, Sacramento Fire Dept. Trucks and engines are not always the best tool for the job, especially in large crowds.
- PUB DATE: 4/26/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KOVR-TV CBS 13 Sacramento

Texas fire chief wants county to change department funding formula

Decatur Fire Chief Mike Richardson has asked the county to look at a more equitable funding formula for local fire departments. During Monday’s workshop, Richardson shared with the Decatur City Council a presentation on fire department funding and the challenges faced by departments in areas where the population is growing.
- PUB DATE: 4/26/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Wise County Messenger

Kentucky city could lose major public safety necessities under mayor's budget cuts

Mayor Greg Fischer's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include steep cuts to public safety, but the cuts will not be as severe as what Fischer hinted at earlier this year. The proposed fiscal year 2020 budget unveiled by Fischer on Thursday calls for about $9.6 million in cuts to public safety and the elimination of 81 public safety positions.
- PUB DATE: 4/26/2019 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Louisville Courier Journal