OH Stations Reopen after Push from Unions

Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 15:01

Michael Cooper and Katherine Collins On Jul 2, 2017
Source: McClatchy

A Springfield fire station shuttered earlier this year will reopen amid pressure from the local firefighters union.

June 30–SPRINGFIELD, OH– A police and fire station shuttered earlier this year by the city of Springfield are reopening this month amid pressure from local unions.

Fire Station No. 5 opened on Saturday — less than two weeks after the city announced plans to postpone its reopening from July 1 to Aug. 7 due to staffing and equipment issues — after calls from union leaders for it keep the promise it made to voters who expected coverage to resume after an income tax increase was approved at the polls in May.

“We’ve been doing everything we can to respond to the concern that we said the station was going to open,” Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said. “While this will be an issue in terms of a budget expenditure, the decision was made that we need to as much as we can reassure people that we were going to do what we told them we were going to do when we voted on the levy.”

The city embraced the importance of honoring its commitments during the recent levy campaign, Acting City Manager Tom Franzen said. The reopening of the fire station and the police substation is the first step in delivering on those promises, he said.

“Many factors, such as staffing levels, equipment availability, and financial resources, must be considered when determining the appropriate time to reopen both Station 5 and the Police Substation,” Franzen said. “Specifically, several options were considered for the timing associated with the opening of Station 5, as current fire staffing levels are down and issues with our equipment/fleet exist.

“Ultimately, the decision was made to open Fire Station No. 5 starting (Saturday) despite the strain on financial resources and equipment,” Franzen said.

The Springfield Police Division substation on Johnny Lytle Avenue will reopen on July 10 with one full-time employee stationed there, Police Chief Steve Moody said.

The reopening of the fire station will cost the city about $3,000 per day in overtime, Springfield Fire Division Chief Nick Heimlich said — meaning it will cost more than $100,000 during that time period.

The fire station on Commerce Road and the police substation were both closed on Jan. 1 to save money as the city failed to pass a tax increase last November.

The city told voters it would reopen the stations in July, although elected officials and city staff told the Springfield News-Sun this week that no July 1 date was promised as part of its levy campaign for a .4-percent income tax increase that would generate $6.7 million annually.

“We never made any promises in our materials to the public about a July 1 opening,” Springfield City Manager Jim Bodenmiller said. “We always said we wanted to open them as soon as possible.”

The “blessing in all of this” is that the levy passed, he said. The city intends to keep its commitments to taxpayers, Bodenmiller said

“We’ll absolutely be keeping our promises to the citizens,” Bodenmiller said. “We absolutely intend to keep our commitments.”

Heimlich told the city commission at its June 20 meeting the city wanted to delay the reopening of Fire Station No. 5 until Aug. 7, when a group of 10 new firefighters were set to join its ranks.

However, that decision upset local union leaders who believed the city broke its promise to residents during its levy campaign. Response times in both the area around the closed station and throughout the city have increased since it closed earlier this year.

“At the end of the day we believe they’ve done the right thing,” said Andy Rigsbee, President of Springfield Professional Firefighters Local 333.

Delayed opening?

The city had considered the delay for financial reasons, Rigsbee said, but for him it was more about the safety of residents.

Earlier this week, city leaders told the News-Sun the fire station would operate only during peak hours in July until Aug. 7.

However, the city decided on Thursday night to make the station fully operational on Saturday — hours after the firefighters union posted a video on its Facebook page urging residents to contact city commissioners to keep their promise to reopen the station on July 1.

“We believe that emergencies do not occur at predictable times and the remaining time that there is no fire or EMS protection is a risk for the citizens of Springfield,” the post read.

Rigsbee doesn’t believe the post is what changed the minds of city leaders, but rather the ongoing conversation the union had about public safety.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction by focusing on public safety as our primary concern,” he said.

Heimlich told the News-Sun it was a more efficient use of taxpayer money to open the station in August.

“I believe that I made the recommendation that I thought was the best recommendation,” he said. “That has been revised.”

Response times up

Since Station 5 closed at the beginning of 2017, EMS response times near the station are up by about one minute and 15 seconds, data from the fire division shows.

The division is also projected to have over 1,000 more calls this year than 2016, Heimlich said.

That’s meant firefighters and paramedics are overworked during their shifts, Rigsbee said.

“It feels like it’s just nonstop and it takes a toll,” he said.

While the time has increased, the fire division is reaching its goal for response times for EMS calls 80 percent of the time in that area, data shows. The benchmark for the division is 90 percent of the time, Heimlich said.

The partial coverage isn’t enough, Rigsbee said. It’s a safety issue, he said, so it’s worth the extra money.

“If we could schedule emergencies that might work,” he said, “but we can’t necessarily say when an emergency is going to happen.”

Residents near Station 5 are glad to hear it’s reopening.

“To have them reopen that and get here a lot quicker time, that would be a lifesaver for us, literally,” Evelyn Mercer said.

Paramedics saved Gary Saylor’s son’s life, he said. His son was born with a immunodeficiency disease that left him in need of an emergency bone marrow transplant, he said. When the doctor couldn’t reach Saylor by phone, paramedics arrived at his door to tell him of the emergency.

Saylor was in favor of the tax levy, but his trust in city leaders is, “iffy,” he said.

Still, he said he wouldn’t mind a delay in reopening the station.

“It’s OK,” he said. “Things happen, things get changed all the time.”

___ (c)2017 Springfield News-Sun, Ohio Visit Springfield News-Sun, Ohio at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Fire Agencies Seek Improvements in CA County

Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 14:59

Randi Rossmann On Jul 5, 2017
Source: McClatchy

The leadership from fire agencies across Sonoma County, CA, convened Saturday to discuss improvements, with several agencies surrounding Santa Rosa expressing interest in consolidating into one body.

July 4–Officials from three fire agencies surrounding Santa Rosa who envision becoming a single firefighting agency were among scores of fire officials who met Saturday to hammer out a vision for improving Sonoma County’s complex and uneven firefighting delivery service.

There is a fall deadline from Sonoma County supervisors to come up with a long-range plan streamlining the county’s nearly 40 fire agencies.

Saturday marked a high point in cooperation and planning for the historically fractured fire services community as more than 75 fire officials worked in regional groups to tackle the thorny questions of filling gaps in coverage, lengthy response times in some rural areas, relocating fire stations, replacing aging engines, sharing volunteers and equipment, and calculating how much new staffing is needed.

Progress was incremental and chiefs acknowledged the process has a long way to go.

The workshop was the latest part of a three-year effort by the county to improve fire services, as fire officials have clamored for help for agencies facing severe financial and staffing struggles.

Fire officials have asked supervisors for as much as $11 million annually to plug holes and enable financially healthy fire agencies to help the struggling ones.

Supervisors have said that amount is unlikely, but have pledged financial aid tied to signs of progress toward consolidating into fewer agencies.

Missing from Saturday’s discussion was what county officials considered crucial information: the results of a $110,000 county-commissioned study compiling details on each fire department’s staffing, equipment, finances, response times and abilities.

The study is expected to point out weaknesses in the fire service network and include a review of the effectiveness of the Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services Department, which oversees 11 volunteer fire companies.

Supervisors are counting on the study to help with decisions on the future of some fire agencies, as well as their own county department. The study, commissioned a year ago, was due May 1.

A draft released in late June by the consulting firm Matrix had several mistakes, including omitting fire stations and agencies in tables and maps, said Jim Colangelo, a fire services consultant for the county.

Limited information from the study was available to each regional group.

“It’s very disappointing,” Colangelo said.

The study is the latest in a long string of studies paid for by the county in the last several decades regarding improvements to the county’s fire service program. All called for large amounts of money and were mostly shelved.

Sonoma County is considered to lag in the fire industry’s statewide efforts to provide a sustainable service.

Jack Piccinini, fire chief of Rincon Valley and Windsor fire districts, pushed his counterparts Saturday to look at a bigger picture and start the complicated steps toward consolidating, rather than reaching for incremental fixes and losing the momentum and focus of supervisors.

“If we continue to operate individually we will not hold onto the attention of the board of supervisors. They will walk away,” Piccinini said.

Much of Saturday’s discussion revolved around how best to fill response gaps.

Ideas floated included a new station in Knights Valley on Highway 128, having San Antonio and Lakeville volunteer companies share a new station closer to Petaluma and adding paid staff to a Cazadero station to improve coast coverage.

In the north county, where fire officials have led the effort toward regional consolidation, efforts have stalled because of ongoing talks with the county about releasing tax dollars from the Geysers geothermal campus to a larger fire district covering the area.

Smaller steps underway include a Geyserville fire district-Knights Valley volunteers consolidation plan with the Local Agency Formation Commission, a county agency that determines boundaries and approves annexations of political entities including city and special districts, such as fire services.

For greater Santa Rosa, officials from Rincon Valley and Bennett Valley fire districts, and the Mountain Volunteer Company, which covers a stretch along busy Petrified Forest Road between northern Santa Rosa and Calistoga, agreed Saturday to discuss consolidation with their boards.

They also discussed the need for a new station west of Santa Rosa, staffing a remodeled Mountain station, remodeling a Rincon Valley station in southern Santa Rosa and assigning 27 firefighters to the area.

While several chiefs have expressed reluctance toward consolidation, Mountain Fire Chief Loren Davis said he liked the idea.

“It’s getting better coverage to people I’m trying to protect,” Loren said.

Progress toward consolidation will occur faster in regions of the county where the combination of fire agencies include fewer volunteer companies, said fire officials.

“There are some zones that are easier to deal with and some will need more time,” said Gold Ridge Fire Chief Dan George, referring to areas with a single volunteer fire company.

George’s area includes greater Sebastopol, Bodega Bay and volunteer companies of Bodega, Valley Ford and Two Rock, who have agreed to the concept of eventual consolidation.

___ (c)2017 The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Visit The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.) at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

NJ Blocked from Reducing Department’s Staffing

Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 14:54

Aug 29, 2017 Source: News

New Jersey’s plan to scale back the number of Atlantic City firefighters has hit a roadblock. reports that a judge’s ruling released Friday effectively blocked the state’s attempt to reduce the number of firefighters from 198 to 148 in the struggling resort town.

“The court holds that the (fire department’s union) have established by clear and convincing evidence that Defendants’ proposal to reduce the size of the Atlantic City Fire Department to 148 firefighters will cause irreparable harm in that it compromises the public safety of Atlantic City’s residents and visitors,” Judge Julio Mendez wrote in his opinion.

The state has been looking for ways to cut costs since taking over control of the city last November, and it proposed in February that the department move to a less expensive health plan and reduce its numbers to 125.

Mendez had previously granted the firefighter union’s request to block those actions, and the latest ruling was a denial of the state’s request to overturn it. Mendez wrote in a March 17 opinion that any reduction below 180 firefighters “compromises public safety” and that any reduction should happen “through attrition and retirements.”

Mayor Don Guardian said in a statement that the cuts would have “left Atlantic City residents and businesses woefully unprotected.”

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Fatal fire in Portsmouth raises staffing shortage concerns

Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 14:49

By Deanna LeBlanc Published: December 22, 2015, 8:50 pm

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The president of the Local International Association of Fire Fighters 539, which represents Portsmouth, questioned whether the department’s response to a fatal fire could have been more efficient on Tuesday.

Rusty Quillin, with the Local 539, is concerned staffing issues created a problem.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Mike Stockton, a spokesperson for the Portsmouth Fire Department, each time there is a fire call in the city, dispatchers radio for two engine trucks and one ladder truck.

The nearest fire house to Tuesday’s fire on Tarnywood Drive in the Churchland section of the city, is Station 3. The station houses both an engine and a ladder truck. So in theory, along with an engine company from another station, both the ladder and engine from Station 3 would be dispatched.

“They’d be right behind the engine company. So theoretically they should arrive at the same time which instantly gives you six people on the scene,” Quillin says.

Because of staffing shortages, Ladder 3 was out of service Monday night into Tuesday. While other engine and rescue companies from other stations responded moments after Engine 3, the first ladder truck did not arrive on scene until 18 minutes after it was dispatched, according to a fire report from Deputy Chief Stockton.

“It’s hard to say the difference to the outcome, what it would have made if that ladder was right there right behind the engine company, it’d be all speculation,” Quillin says.  “It’s safe to say the more people you get there the quicker you get them there, the higher the chance is for a rescue or a safe if the occupancy is tenable.” took Quillin’s concerns to Deputy Chief Mike Stockton with the Portsmouth Fire Department.

“These units didn’t come any further than normal. The ladder came from downtown. The ladder carries certain tools. As for the ladder, we don’t need it. But they do carry certain tools,” Stockton said.

When it came to staffing issues, Stockton told us that he would not comment on any questions regarding department operations. He said the volume of the response was appropriate, regardless of which units arrived from which stations.

While Quillin is not specifically questioning whether the response impacted how quickly the fire Tuesday morning on Tarnywood Drive was put out, he worries what could happen when a ladder company becomes a critical need.

“I relate it to Russian roulette. Sooner or later you’re going to get the bullet. So if we’re putting stuff out of service in different areas of the city, eventually, it’s going to catch up to you,” Quillin said.

(Public Safety Alert- 10.01.17) 6 companies out of service; Engine 2- provides service in the downtown area, Engine 10- provides service in the Cavalier Manor area, Ladder 3- provides service in the Churchland area, Rescue 1- provide service through the city on high priority events, Medic 1- busiest Medic in the city and EMS 2- provides critical life saving assistance through out the city. To our community and our members out there today, please be careful.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Six Milwaukee fire stations set to close under Mayor Tom Barrett’s 2018 budget

Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 14:47

Mary Spicuzza and Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Published 10:21 a.m. CT Sept. 26, 2017 | Updated 9:13 p.m. CT Sept. 26, 2017Top of Form

Six fire stations are to close under Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s 2018 budget plan.

The Milwaukee Fire Department announced the planned closures Tuesday following Barrett’s budget address at City Hall.

The stations targeted to close are at 100 W. Virginia St., 1313 W. Reservoir Ave., 1693 N. Franklin Place, 300 S. 84th St., 424 N. 30th St. and 2400 S. 8th St.

The Fire Department will continue to use three of those stations, but for other purposes. The Virginia St. station will be used for construction and maintenance; the Reservoir location will serve as the department’s wellness center; and the station at the corner of Brady Street and Franklin Place will become the Community Relations and Education Office.

“I’m certainly not standing here trying to tell you that it doesn’t hurt to take a fire station out of a neighborhood or community, because it does,” Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

The closures likely will add five to 25 seconds to response times, which would remain under the national average, he said. The department’s current average time for an engine to arrive on scene is 2 minutes and 50 seconds, he added.

Earlier in the day, Barrett was frank about the cuts in his address to the Common Council.

“The budget I am presenting today is not the budget I was hoping to introduce,” he said. “But there’s a big difference between hope and reality.”

The City of Milwaukee would lose 33 police officer positions and 75 firefighter jobs under Barrett’s budget plan. But he said the cuts will not result in layoffs.

The proposed budget also includes a 3.7% property tax levy increase.

Mayor Tom Barrett said “no city budget has presented more challenges or more frustration than this one” as he presented his proposed 2018 budget to the Common Council.

“Our men and women in uniform have earned our respect. They have earned our admiration. That makes these decisions so much more difficult,” Barrett said. “In my time as mayor, no city budget has presented more challenges or more frustration than this one.”

Barrett again pushed for a half-cent local sales tax. He has repeatedly said it could raise some $35 million per year for the city’s police and fire departments.

The Democratic mayor repeatedly called on Republican Gov. Scott Walker and state lawmakers to give the city the authority to pursue the tax, which would allow the proposal to go before voters as a referendum next year on the April ballot.

Barrett again said Milwaukee is not getting its fair share of state funding, saying that the money generated by the city far exceeds the amount of state aid it receives.

“The beneficiary of our economic growth is the state’s coffers,” Barrett said.

But it’s unlikely Milwaukee will get that authority from the GOP-controlled Legislature.


“With tax cuts and record investment in K-12 education, Gov. Walker proved you don’t need to raise taxes to grow the economy and adequately fund your priorities,” Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said.

Barrett’s budget drew immediate criticism from Republicans, streetcar opponents and the heads of local public safety unions.

“It is very concerning to even consider that we would slash one officer from the rank and file,” said Mike Crivello, president of the Milwaukee Police Association.

Crivello didn’t oppose the sales tax outright, saying: “It should be discussed.” But he said the voters should know exactly how the money would be spent.

“The mayor is not placing enough emphasis on public safety,” Ald. Tony Zielinski said.

He said it was “financially irresponsible” to add potential additional expenses, like possible operating expenses related to the Milwaukee Streetcar.

“I’m calling on the mayor to commit to at least no future expansion of the streetcar,” Zielinski said.

And state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) said Barrett’s budget priorities “lack all common sense.”

“When criminal behavior is on the rise and the carjacking epidemic continues to spread, he intends to cut police positions. The absurdity of this proposal is dumbfounding. In simple terms, Mayor Barrett will gamble with your safety in order to play politics,” Vukmir said in a statement. “Inexcusable.”
She added, “Oh, but don’t worry Milwaukee, funding for Barrett’s hobbyhorse trolley project stays intact.”

Barrett’s spending plan includes up to $315,000 in the parking fund budget for the city portion of the streetcar operations grant, but there is no impact to the tax levy, city officials said.

Patrick Curley, Barrett’s chief of staff, said he doesn’t recall Vukmir objecting when voters in other communities in Wisconsin voted to approve local sales taxes.

“Apparently she doesn’t hold voters in the City of Milwaukee in the same regard,” Curley said.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Register for “Every Second Counts for Everyone” webinar

NFPA - Safety Source - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 07:00
Join NFPA Regional Education Specialist Meredith Hawes (pictured at right) and fire and life safety experts for a discussion on the 2017 Fire Prevention Week theme and how it applies to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Meredith will be joined by
Categories: Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 08:41

Halloween can be a hectic time for Ireland’s emergency services, as reports of bonfires, fireworks and general mischief increase for the spooky season.

Every Halloween, Dublin Fire Brigade attend hundreds of fires.

Last night, Dublin Fire Brigade attended a bonfire in the East Wall area, and came under attack while doing so.

The DFB shared images on Twitter of their smashed fire engine window after the incident.

Luckily, no crew members were injured in the incident.

While they indicated that the incident occurred in the East Wall, the DFB withheld the exact location.

However, Twitter users were quick to accuse the brigade of suggesting that the incident occurred on Sheriff Street.

Dublin Fire Brigade corrected the user, revealing that the incident did not occur on that street.

‘I decided against naming the location as its not fair to define an area by the act of a few,’ reads the response tweet.

The images of the smashed window angered many on social media, who questioned why on earth anyone would attack our emergency services on their way to a potentially life threatening incident.

‘Unbelievable! Fire fighters risking their lives everyday to ensure the safety of others. What kind of idiot attacks a fire engine?’ tweeted one.

The damaged fire truck was taken out of service to be repaired.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

FACEValue: Worker crushed to death

NIOSH FACE Reports - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 23:00
Two excavator operators were using a tandem lift procedure to transport a 128-foot section of pipe. Both excavators were attached to the pipe with slings. The lead operator lowered his end, detached from the pipe and positioned his excavator on the left side of the pipe.
Categories: Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 19:35

Earlier this week a Mt. Carmel PA Ladder Truck from Anthracite Fire Company Station 2, Ladder 2 took out several parked cars doing damage to both the rig and several vehicles.  Here are some pictures of the crash.  Are your drivers trained to handle the truck they are driving?

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 19:28

A fireman was injured while putting out a fire that broke out at a godown in Kurla on Saturday morning. Fire Brigade officials said the blaze raged through the godown where garments were stored at Ansari Compound near Kalpana Cinema. It took two hours to douse the fire.

A Fire Brigade officer said, “We received a call about the fire at 9.14 a.m. on Saturday. We sent five fire tenders, five water tankers and two ambulances to the spot. It was a Level-II fire and was extinguished by 11.31 a.m.”

The fireman, Sunil Raur (48), was admitted to Bhabha Hospital in Kurla. Officials said the injuries were not too serious in nature. Kurla police have registered an Incident Report and are awaiting the Fire Brigade’s report on the cause behind the fire. Prima facie, a short circuit is suspected to have caused the fire.

The police are probing if adequate fire safety precautions were taken by the owner of the godown.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 19:26

Two fire trucks sustained “extensive damage” after crashing into each other at the intersection of Passaic and Calhoun streets Saturday morning, city fire Battalion Chief Todd Willever said.

Eight firefighters from two companies sustained minor injurers after a Trenton ladder truck and a Hamilton engine collided around 10:30 a.m. Both were responding to a call on the western side of town, Willever said.

The firefighters were all taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for observation. All were released with non-life-threatening injuries, fire officials said.

Willever said the cause of the crash remains under investigation, but excessive speed was not an issue. The trucks have been taken out of service.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Cancer Rates are Rising Among Firefighters, Research Shows

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 10:03

Check out the NBC Nightly News Report about the Rising Cancer epidemic in the fire service here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

U.S. Department of Labor and New York Manufacturer Reach Settlement to Improve Safety and Health

OSHA - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 07:00
Oct. 27, 2017 U.S. Department of Labor and New York Manufacturer Reach Settlement to Improve Safety and Health
Categories: Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 07:58

Five people, including four firefighters, have suffered injuries following an accident involving a fire department apparatus in Glen Burnie.

It happened around 12:55 p.m. Wednesday. The heavy rescue squad assigned to the Severn Fire Station was responding to an auto accident with reported people trapped when they were involved in an accident at Ritchie Highway and Aquahart Road, according to the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

As a result of the accident, the 17-year-old male driver and lone occupant of a two-door sedan was transported by paramedics to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center with possibly serious injuries.

The four firefighters were transported to Baltimore Washington Medical Center with minor injuries.

The accident is under investigation by the Anne Arundel County Police.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 15:25

By Tristen Land, News on 6

The Tulsa Fire Department honored two firefighters killed in the line of duty 100 years ago.

A fire inside of the Mayo building in downtown Tulsa claimed their lives.

But to this day, their bravery continues to live within the hearts of the community.

Ben Hanes and Ross Sheppard died while fighting the fire in 1917.

Click here for the full story. – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – |

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


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