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National Fire News

Florida interim fire chief out to calm department facing harassment suits

Nearly three decades ago, when Michael Mackey of Miami was looking to begin his career as a firefighter, his father suggested he consider Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. Mackey knew other municipal departments could offer better pay — as much as $10,000 per year more. But Mackey’s father, an engineer with the city of Miami, knew Palm Beach County’s fire chief, Herman Brice, and he suggested that his son would be able to grow in a department he believed would thrive under Brice’s leadership.
- PUB DATE: 1/23/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Palm Beach Post

Colorado fire chief retires after nearly 50 years

Longtime Boulder Rural Fire Rescue Chief Bruce Mygatt retired this week after being with the department for almost 50 years. Mygatt, who told the department about a year ago he would be retiring, celebrated his last day on Wednesday. Mygatt joined the at-the-time all volunteer Boulder Rural and Suburban Volunteer Fire Department in 1972 and became the department’s first full-time chief when it became the Boulder Rural Fire Protection District.
- PUB DATE: 1/22/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Denver Post

Northern Mariana Islands ‘opt-in’ decision gives FirstNet clean sweep of states and territories

Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph DeLeon Guerrero Torres today announced that he has accepted the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) deployment plan offered by FirstNet and AT&T, meaning all 56 states and territories in the U.S. have made an “opt-in” decision. “Today, Gov. Torres made history,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said in a prepared statement.
- PUB DATE: 1/22/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Urgent Communications

Firehouse sex scandal places nearly a dozen Chicago firefighters on the hot seat

As many as a dozen Chicago firefighters are facing disciplinary action for allegedly looking the other way while a colleague had sex with a woman at a South Side firehouse. The firefighter accused of engaging in the firehouse sex - with a woman who was his girlfriend at the time - is facing either a lengthy suspension or termination, City Hall sources said.
- PUB DATE: 1/22/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Chicago Sun-Times

Pennsylvania firefighter suffers head trauma after woman drives over hose

A firefighter suffered head trauma after a woman drove over a fire hose while Palmyra Fire Department was dispatched to the scene of a reported fire last week, police said. The department was dispatched at 4 p.m. Jan. 9 to 1300 Park Drive in North Londonderry Township for a report of a fire, township police said.
- PUB DATE: 1/22/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Lebanon Daily News

Longtime Cal Fire/Riverside County chief removed from post

John R. Hawkins, who for 12 years was chief of the Cal Fire Riverside Unit and the Riverside County Fire Department, was suddenly removed from his post on Friday, a Cal Fire spokesman said Friday night. Daniel Talbot, a deputy chief, on Friday took over as interim county fire chief until a permanent replacement is found, said Mike Mohler, a Cal Fire spokesman.
- PUB DATE: 1/22/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Riverside Press-Enterprise

White FDNY lieutenant in iconic 9/11 photo files discrimination claim against head of black firefighter group

AN FDNY lieutenant immortalized in a photo at Ground Zero has filed a complaint against the head of the fraternal group representing black firefighters, sources told the Daily News. Lt. Daniel McWilliams, who is white, filed the equal employment opportunity complaint after he appeared as part of the ceremonial unit at a memorial service Nov.
- PUB DATE: 1/19/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New York Daily News

California sheriff grabs control of air rescues in turf war with fire authority

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has taken over the county’s helicopter rescue operations after talks disintegrated with the county fire authority in the turf war over who should conduct air rescues. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said this week that her department has not renewed an agreement that named the Orange County Fire Authority as the primary agency in handling air rescues in remote wilderness and park areas.
- PUB DATE: 1/19/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Orange County Register

Virginia Fire Department's new vending machines don't dispense candy – they provide medical supplies

Vending style machines are making an appearance at Chesapeake fire stations, but they are not there to supply the firefighters with chocolate bars and soda. The machines at three stations are part of a new, secure, web-based vending system for medical supplies. Chesapeake is the first fire department in Hampton Roads and just the fourth one in the commonwealth to adopt the supply dispensing system UCapIT.
- PUB DATE: 1/19/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Virginian Pilot

Ohio ambulance service revamped for quicker response times

The City of East Liverpool is getting closer to having the area’s first public-private ambulance service. This comes after several incidents where no ambulance was available for emergencies — some of which ended in tragedy. East Liverpool’s fire crew is looking forward to the department’s new additions.
- PUB DATE: 1/19/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WKBN.com

Signs point toward California city reactivating fire department

San Bernardino County Fire was welcomed this week to submit its second “best and final offer” to the city for handling services beyond June 30, when its contract officially expires. But elected officials were still proceeding with plans to reactivate a city-run department. Mayor Pro Tem Jim Cox was clear to temper Tuesday evening that an absolute decision had not been made, a suggestion that the Council still maintained a collective open mind to renewing a contract with County Fire.
- PUB DATE: 1/19/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Daily Press

Louisiana deputy chief dies after being struck while working at accident scene

The deputy chief of the West Feliciana Fire Protection District was killed Wednesday morning north of St. Francisville while responding to a crash on U.S. 61, according to State Police and Fire Protection District No.1 of West Feliciana. Deputy Chief Russell Achord, 48, of St. Francisville, was responding to an 18-wheeler that had run off the side of U.
- PUB DATE: 1/18/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Baton Rouge Advocate

Phoenix Fire Department increasingly taps taxis to take 911 callers to hospital

In Phoenix, not every medical 911 call results in an ambulance ride to the hospital. Sometimes, the fire department calls for a taxi to take the person to the hospital instead. The number of taxi rides is growing — overwhelmingly so for people in poor neighborhoods — as fire officials wrestle with more calls and limited resources.
- PUB DATE: 1/18/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Arizona Republic, AZCentral.com & KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix

Texas Department Places 'Blocker' Apparatus in Service

Firefighters and other responders working on some of the busiest stretches in Texas now have an added level of safety with apparatus that were recently placed in service. The Irving Fire Department has placed two “blocker” apparatus in service and the department will be adding three more blocker units in the coming months.
- PUB DATE: 1/18/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Firehouse

The effect of repeated exposure trauma on firefighters

Many research studies have focused on firefighter mental health challenges due to a sinAcross the country, firefighters are responding to fewer fires but are increasingly called upon to provide Emergency Medical Services (EMS), perform search and rescue, and react to hazardous materials incidents and natural disasters.
- PUB DATE: 1/18/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: U.S. Fire Administration

California Supreme Court refuses to reinstate San Francisco firefighters’ award

The state Supreme Court refused Wednesday to reinstate a San Francisco jury’s $3.7 million damage award to 15 firefighters who claimed age discrimination in the city’s scoring of a 2008 exam on promotions to lieutenant. The Superior Court jury agreed with the firefighters in 2013 that the Fire Department’s exam unit had weighed some parts of the test more than others, and ranked the test-takers, in ways that were unrelated to fitness for the promotion, and that had an adverse effect on applicants older than 40.
- PUB DATE: 1/18/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: SFGate.com

Proposed Florida law would grant first responders worker's comp for PTSD

Break a leg on the job and workers compensation will pay the medical bills and cover lost wages. But suffer emotional or psychological trauma after a failed attempt to revive an infant or hours processing dead bodies in the wake of a mass shooting and you're out of luck. Families of first responders and a bi-partisan group of lawmakers are behind a proposal to include post traumatic stress disorder in workers comp coverage.
- PUB DATE: 1/17/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Tallahassee Democrat & Tallahassee.com

Texas firefighters aim to make state senator pay political price for union bill

A Houston Republican is starting to pay a hefty price as she runs for re-election for running afoul with police and firefighter unions in Texas. In the last to Legislature sessions, State Sen. Joan Huffman has sponsored legislation to make it harder for many public worker unions to collect membership dues.
- PUB DATE: 1/17/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

New York attorney warns firefighter minimum manning dispute could last much longer than hoped

The bitter contract dispute between the city and the firefighters’ union could last much longer than the year deadline that City Council members hope. Syracuse attorney Nathaniel Lambright, who is representing the Watertown Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 191, warned on Tuesday that the labor dispute may not be resolved for another two to 2½ years while it continues through the lengthy appeal process.
- PUB DATE: 1/17/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Watertown Daily Times

Florida firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

Hillsborough County officials fired a Fire Rescue medic Tuesday after an internal investigation concluded he had "unwavering loyalty" to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club — the state’s dominant biker gang. Clinton Neal Walker, 33, of Bradenton is the first Hillsborough County employee to be investigated for gang activity under a series of countywide ordinances sparked by Walker’s own arrest last September over starting a bar fight in Key West.
- PUB DATE: 1/17/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Tampa Bay Times and Tampa Bay.com