Wednesday, February 29, 2012


A firefighter has been killed in California on the Interstate.  The Following is taken from  The Secret List of Billy G:

The Secret List
We regret to advise you that a Cottonwood (Calif) Firefighter was struck and killed in the Line of Duty this morning. The incident occurred around 0600 on southbound Interstate 5 near the Shasta area. There were 3 separate crashes, originally, there was a solo spin out which both CHP and the Cottonwood Fire Protection District responded to. The weather was nasty, with hail and snow, although some lanes were plowed, the conditions made driving difficult and caused a second vehicle to lose control. After that second spin out, the driver of a black 2003 Chevy S10, Jered Shumaker, 31, tried to avoid running into yet another vehicle that had lost control. Shumaker rotated in a southwest direction and passed between (a parked CHP vehicle and the fire truck, 3 people were standing nearby, a CHP officer, a Firefighter and one of the passengers of an earlier wrecked vehicle, all were struck. All 3 victims were transported to Mercy Hospital where the Cottonwood firefighter was later pronounced dead. More to follow. RIP. Our condolences to all affected.
Take care-BE CAREFUL.

Be Safe out there people.  Protect yourself out there..........

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Reason We Should Be Safe

I know all of you all are different, and each of our reasons for choosing the job are different.  However, most of us have the same reason for being safe, to go home the next day to your family.  Although some of you may be young, everyone most certainly has a certain someone, group or even pet to go home to every morning after shift, or after each call.

Sure, we don't want our Fire Department to be on Billy G's site or on Statter 911's site being picked apart by Capt. Anonymous and Firefighter Keyboard Quarterback, but I know each of you wants to make it home to your "Family" whatever that may consist of.  I have two crazy dogs, an incredible wife, and an jovial one year old that keeps my motivation to make it home everyday up.  The smiles, kisses, or slobbery kisses I get every morning when I arrive home are enough to make anyone value family and the things that it brings (Including aggrevation).  Also, my love for my family motivates me to ensure members of the crews I supervise get to have the same joy when they return home.  I certainly aim each day to ensure I don't place them in any sort of situation that would prevent that homecoming.

As some of you know, I am a Relief Captain, meaning until I have enough seniority, I sub for Officers when they are off.  This system allows me to learn alot, but it results in me working with many different crews as weeks go by.  I still attempt to ensure I instill some of my values in the crews, but they don't always take to them.

As I said above, I love going home to family in the morning.  This same love for my family will motivate me to train my crew (Once I finally get one) in a way that they take to.  Too much drilling can kill morale and not enough can kill performance, so a happy balance is the only way to go and I hope to find that when I have a permanently assigned crew.

This same love for family, makes me want to make the fire service a better place, so that all of the brothers worldwide can go home everyday.  By no means am I saying I'm God's gift to the fire service, because I am anything but.  I am only saying that deep down what motivates me is the thought of my family's greeting when I get home.  Sure who doesn't like driving fast, hearing the wail of the Q or fighting fire??? but in the same regard who doesn't love their family?  (I'm sure we can all name 1 or more firemen who claims this at the firehouse).  So, we all understand the Brotherhood of the fire service and why we need to look out for each other, but let's remember why we look out for each go home after shift or after each call.

So today take the time to train for your family, not for you or your crew.  Stay engaged everyday so that you can go home and get the hug from your kids or drink that beer with your buddies.  Have a great shift and be safe out there.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Indiana LODD

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the McCutchanville FD.  tragic accident, please wear your belts on every call...

The Secret List
It is with deep regret that we advise of of the Line of Duty Death of Firefighter Jeremy Tighe, 18, of the McCutchanville VFD near Evansville, Indiana.
Along with FF Tighe, another FF was injured last evening after their apparatus was involved in a single vehicle crash. NOTE: FF Tighe was wearing his seat belt.
18-year-old FF Tighe died when the engine company he was a passenger ran off the road, partially overturned, very violently striking a utility pole. Lt. Brandon Cason, the driver, was not injured seriously in the crash. They were returning from a run when for a yet unknown reason their truck went off the side of the pavement around 2030 Hours. It occurred only about a half-mile from the McCutchanville station on North St. Joseph Avenue. The truck had responded to a request for a carbon monoxide check earlier in the evening, and the firefighters had called in available at 2001 hours. The preliminary investigation indicates that the truck left the roadway and onto the shoulder for unknown reasons.
FF Tighe had been on the department for about 18 months, and would have turned 19 years old today.  FF Tighe is the second McCutchanville Firefighter to die in the past 12 months. In April, 27-year-old Nathan Kuehne was found dead in a hot tub at a friend's house on Evansville's East Side.
Our condolences to all affected. More details to follow.
The Secret List 2-23-12 / 0809 Hours

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mayday are you ready?

The question I ask you today is are you ready? Could you handle a mayday if one happened in your department today?

We get paid to be ready for everything, or at least that's what people expect. One problem we have is we can't be ready for everything. It is a challenge to keep our certifications up, conduct company level training, all while maintaining the fun of our job. Please watch the below video and make the theme of today making you and your crew Mayday Ready. Examine LUNAR, GRAB LIVES, and other Mayday related subjects.

There are numerous self survival presentations around so I won't duplicate any of those just yet.  I learned about the GRAB LIVES Mnemonic while taking the IAFF Fireground Survival Awareness class online.  Here is what it stands for:

G- Gauge -Examine your air
R- Radio- Call for help
A-Audible- Sound your PASS Device
B- Breathing-Control it

L- Low-Stay Low
I- Illuminate Turn on your light
V- Volume -Make Noise
E- Exit Find one
S- Shield Remove your regulator and Shield your airway (Last Resort)

Each of these elements are things that we should already know to do if we have an emergency inside of a burning building.   However, this mnemonic allows you to carry out these in a sequential sensible order.  Commit this to memory along with LUNAR to ensure you are mayday ready.  If you are an officer go over your department's Mayday and RIT policy so you can save your guys if there is an emergency. 

If you haven't taken the IAFF Fireground Survival Class online, shoot me an email, and I'll send you think link to it.  It is a worthwhile class put together by some great leaders in the American fire service.  Thanks for reading and sorry for the short post, but I'm a busy man this week and wanted to get you all something meaningful for this week. 

Below is a good video on the subject:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

San Francisco Fatality Report

I have finally located a copy of the San Fran LODD report in its full format. I received it yesterday from a friend who got it from Billy G over at   Billy G has stated that this has been shared with permission from the fire chief and is a public document.  I have only scanned through it, but as always radio failure is an issue.  Another issue was identifying characteristics on their gear, the rescuers couldn't figure out who they had rescued.  There are numerous other things in the report so please read over it.  There is a lot to learn from this one.  I uploaded to our Local's site because I couldn't get it to load here in Blogger.  Stay safe everyone, and thanks for following the blog.

Here is the link: SFFD Report in Full Text  or has it as well.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great News

Great news for the Ol'Hose Jockey today, I was informed that my Class "Emergency Communications: How We can Control our Own Destiny" was chosen as a presentation at the South Atlantic Fire Expo in August.  I'm very excited to teach a class that I'm so passionate about to such a wide variety of firefighters from all over the state of North Carolina.  Now the work begins to make a worthwhile presentation for all the attendees.  Thanks for the support everyone, and I hope to keep you coming back......

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Update on Philly Policy

Dave Statter has posted a video relating to the story I blogged on last week here: Guilty Until Proven Innocent.  The news station featured in the video is stating that a member who saved someone's life at a house fire was disciplined and transferred under this policy...  Here is the link to Dave Statter's Story. Philly story on Statter911.

As always thanks to Dave for keeping us up to date on everything that is fire service.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New NIOSH Report from SC

As I have discussed here, and here.  I really get scared while working on the interstates.  Here is the link to the NIOSH final report on the death of Brother Chance Zobel, and the severe injury to Brother Larry Irwin in my former department.  Please read this one if you work on any major roads, especially interstates.  They say a picture is worth 100 words, and the pictures in this report are......5 inches more of vehicle, and the car would have struck the truck not the firefighters... Scary to me to say the least.

Roadway LODD in SC NIOSH report

Stay Safe out there.....


The San Francisco FD has released an internal investigation report on the tragic LODD of two firefighters from last year.  There are some interesting findings in the press release summarizing the report, including some radio problems.  As always Dave Statter is on top of it here: SFFD Story.  Also, here is the full length press release from the SFFD: Press Release.  It looks like this report may be out for all of us to read soon enough, or at least I hope.  This is a classic "Routine" call gone bad. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Alexandria LODD

Firefighter Josh Weisman from the Alexandria Fire Department has died after battling his injuries he sustained at a vehicle fire yesterday.  FF Weisman fell from an overpass and was severely injured.  Please see for more information on arrangements and donations.   My thoughts and prayers go out to our NOVA brothers. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guilty until proven Innocent

This link : was sent to me by one of my fellow union brothers.  Mike Madden paints the picture of a blanket policy designed to scare brother firefighters into being safety sallys. (I doubt it will work)  While I have no background on the policy, and it doesn't concern me, for some reason I felt I had to respond to this post.  I agree with what Mike says in his blog completely. 

At first glance, it seems as though the admin is cracking down on over aggressive firemen, and maybe that is the theory behind this memo.  But after you read the whole post and run through the memo, all this is appears to be a blanket approach to an isolated problem.  Sure there are firefighters in every department that take it too far and do stupid things.  But there are plenty of firefighters that do their job and get burned innocently.  I am an advocate for safety, but I am also a Fireman, not a safety sally, a Fireman.  If you are part of an aggressive department I am sure you have been burned, maybe not burn center treatment burned, but burned.  I know I have had a few burns myself, none serious, but I've had them.  If someone is being overagressive, address that problem at the CO level or the BC level, there isn't a need for policy change.  Fix in the house.
So now if I get a burn on my face on neck in Philly, I am detailed to the Training Academy to be taught about donning my PPE, and my PPE evaluated.  Really????? I guess they have no faith in their members or company officers.  So instead of dealing with the problem let's just make everyone scared to be aggressive.  I am sure the brothers in Philly will just continue with business as usual, and take their lumps if they get burned. 

Policies like this give safety a bad name.  We can be aggressive and safe all at the same time, and as Mike says in his post, we know our job is inherently hazardous.  This completes my rant for the day.........Until the next time stay safe and stay trained.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reflection on Jay's Story

Since I read part I of Firefighter Jay Bettencourt's story I have been thinking about all that he described, did, and has to live with.  I don't even know where to begin to try and tell him thank you.  His story should be a tale to all of us of what could happen on any call to any of us, and then a heroic story of a man doing extraordinary things in the face of tragedy.  Captain Bowen may have died, but Jay did everything he could and then some to give him a chance.

Captain Bowen was one of my students at Fayetteville State and though I never "met" him he was always and exemplary student.  I have never met Jay but I saw him at Breathing Equipment School last October and saw that he was an incredible guy.  From talking with folks who know Jay, he doesn't want to be a hero, he doesn't want to be something special, but I have news for you are a hero, you are special....too late to deny those titles.  Many folks that I have spoken with who have read these stories, have told me that it caused them to reflect on the job what do, and what it could involve one day.  It made me think about how powerful the human will is, and the strength of the brotherhood of the fire service.  This man knew he could get out at one point and decided to go back to get his Captain.  He did all of this, and doesn't see himself as a hero, just a normal fireman. 

What Jay did that day was what we are trained to do, what we all say we will do, but none of us may ever experience.  And none of us will know if we could ever do what he did unless we are looking down the barrel of the gun of death.  I am so glad that it seems Jay's way of healing is getting this story out.  We need more folks who speak candidly as he has done.  We need people who are honest about their experience as he has been.  His quote "Fitness ain't no F'ing joke" should resonate with all of us.  He is a fit guy and he struggled with the physical exertion of that day, how well could you do today in your current condition?  

There are many lessons to be learned from Jay's experience, but each person will take something different from it.  Please read the story if you haven't already, and post some comments on how it struck you. That's the beauty (if there is one) of his story, that everyone who reads it can relate in some way, and learn something.  Jay is a special person (in a good way) and a special firefighter.  I hope one day to hear him speak in person about this story. 

Please train yourself to be the best you can be so that if put in the same position as Jay, you can act in a heroic way.  Please pray for the Asheville Fire Department as they continue to heal, and to help Jeff's family.  Please visit Captain Jeff Bowen website to donate to his family by buying a T-shirt or donating money. 

Until the next time, stay safe and stay trained.