Looking back over the last several months, there have been several firefighters, EMS workers, LEO’s and recovery personnel, who have lost their lives on the scene of an emergency, on active roadways. Sadly, this is nothing new. As the number of distracted and/or drivers under the influence have increased, so have the numbers of deaths and injuries to emergency and recovery workers.
This issue hit very close to home for Chief Victor Conley and the members of the Irving TX Fire Department, when one of their ladder trucks that was blocking an emergency scene, was hit by a fully-loaded tractor-trailer, throwing three firefighters in all directions and totaling a million-dollar tiller. Luckily, all three survived, but this incident was the proverbial, “straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Chief Conley never wanted to see this occur again and set to work, together with the City of Irving, to create a new program that would use retired apparatus to be the “official” blocker vehicle at these types of emergencies. Whether your department already has a blocking program, (as Irving did) or you haven’t created one yet, you need to hear Chief Conley discuss the Irving blocking program!
Tune in to this episode of “5-Alarm Task Force at www.dalmatianproductions.tv or your favorite podcast streaming service and learn!
When we think of the fire service, we think of the one where we live. But how often do you think about the fire service in other countries? Luckily, many of our listeners are spread out across the globe. And in this podcast, a good friend of the show, Exec. Asst. Chief Todd LeDuc shares with us hos recent visit to the Irish Fire Brigade. Chief LeDuc traveled to Ireland on behalf of the IAFC-SHS (The International Association of Fire Chiefs – Safety, Health and Survival) Division.
While there, Chief LeDuc shared with the important information on the Firefighter Cancer and Behavioral Health Initiatives, among other issues facing fire departments no matter where one might be located. We all share the same basic job and we all finds ways to carry out our duty.
In October, Chief LeDuc was at the National Fallen Firefighters’ Strategy Summit, which was held in Nashville TN at FIREHOUSE® Expo. To augment that topic, Chief LeDuc will join with Bill Carey of Firefighter Nation for a FREE webinar on December 6th, dealing with occupational cancers and the importance of early detection. Bill will also share his personal fight with occupational cancer. You won’t want to miss it.
So tune in to this episode of “5-Alarm Task Force at www.dalmatianproductions.tv or your favorite podcast streaming service and learn!
What happens when you’re the co-creator of a new tool that, although you see it works very well for its original purpose in construction and demolition, you have the feeling that it could do so much more? That’s exactly where co-creator of Nestorbar®, Mark Slafkovsky found himself. He had this new, remarkable tool that combined a standard pry bar with a doubled claw hammer, in three different lengths and, which created its own fulcrum point wherever it might be used.
After Hurricane Sandy, Mark started to use the Nestorbar®, to assist his neighbors in the demo of major sections of their homes that had been flooded and severely damaged. Instead of using a simply pry bar that poked a small hole in the drywall, the Nestorbar®, made a much larger hole going in and a huge one coming out!
This work being a citizen “first responder” gave Mark the idea that real first responders could use the Nestorbar® not only for overhaul and demo, but for actual rescue work. Imagine someone with their arm pinned by a toppled drill press in a garage. Using the Nestorbar®,, rescuers could slip the double claw under the heaviest part of the tool and by exerting downward pressure on the long handle, lift the machine high enough to remove the patient from the entrapment, long before the air bags could be deployed and filled.
Listen, as Mark Slafkovsky explains the Nestorbar®,, from creation to its many uses, especially for the fire-rescue services.
Our nation’s capital, Washington DC, is actually a relatively small parcel of land. At the same time, DC Fire usually can be found in the top 12 for total runs and several of its engines and ladders run in the top 5! Our guest today, Capt. (ret) Jimmy Partridge, knows all about that, having served over thirty years in DCFD.
In our podcast today, Jimmy starts off telling us about several of the challenging calls he ran, including the last call of his long career. As you listen, you’ll hear him describing conditions and tactics, rather than self-promotion and bluster.
These calls lead to the crux of what the retired captain wanted to focus on, namely if you are thinking about seeking a promotion, what are some of the challenges you will face. An officer must change the way he or she thinks as a basic firefighter. With rank comes responsibility – a lot of responsibility, over many areas. Jimmy tries to help you move over that “mine field.”
Listen to a real, long-time veteran of one of the busiest departments in the country.
Smoke from any type of fire has never been good for a human, even long before we could actually know what was in it. All it took was a good “snootfull,” and we were coughing, hacking and crying…all at the same time! Today, nearly 20 years after 9|11 and after losing so many brothers and sisters who worked the pile or anywhere near Ground Zero, we now realize that smoke from almost any combustion, isn’t just bad for us – it’s deadly!
Firefighter/Engineer/Paramedic/PIO Brad Bihun, is doing everything he can to warn firefighters in southern California about the dangers of the invisible carcinogens and toxins in the smoke we so often find ourselves immersed in while fighting everything from a dumpster fire to a vehicle fire, to a multi-story structure fire. Brad is also the co-founder of “Stachetober Fest,” a moustache competition for both men and women, where proceeds are dispersed to firefighters in need. And all too often, this fundraiser has helped firefighters in his area that are fighting cancer, or to a family of a firefighter who has paid the ultimate price.
In our podcast, Brad explains some of the toxins with which we come into contact with and what happens to both us and our gear, when we do. Additionally, he explains some of the methodology needed today to avoid both initial contamination and cross-contamination.
FULL DISCLOSURE – Brad Bihun is a part owner of a distribution company Hygenall Full-Spectrum Firefighter Decon products. However, as a firefighter, his main goal is first and foremost, to educate the fire service so that they can make informed decisions and implement procedures to help mitigate the toxins firefighters face on a daily basis.
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash
The job of being a firefighter has never been a “lightweight, even going back to the days of hauling canvas buckets of water. Over a hundred years later and even with all the tools we have, the job still demands that we fit and healthy. That’s hard enough, but factor in today’s lifestyle and what we face when we fight fires that we cannot even see, this job demands that we are in the best shape possible.
My guest today, Dr. Lance Walker, knows quite a bit about firefighter health and wellness. His company, SiteMed provides over 6,000 firefighter physical exams per year. And for the past twelve years, Dr. Walker has dedicated himself to speak not only to firefighters, but to other health practitioners as well, to advise them in the particulars of firefighter health and wellness.
Listen in as Dr. Walker discusses his list of the issues we face and how regular physical exams and common testing can not only keep us fit and healthy but help us look forward to long careers and long and healthy retirements.
Join us on our website, www.dalmatianproductions.tv, iTunes, Spotify or your favorite podcast streaming service, to learn that a healthy firefighters is a safer firefighter!
This job (whether you are career, volunteer, wildfire or paid-on-call) that we love to do, is rarely a “walk in the park.” No matter how simple the dispatch or phone call appears to be, it often turns out to NOT be that simple or easy and that requires us to think it through and fast!
My guest on this podcast is Nicholas Higgins, the editor and frequent contributor to the Firehouse Tribune website (firehousetribune.com), a long-time supporter of the show and a repeat presenter at FIREHOUSE Expo. As a matter of fact, Nic will be teaching the course that he shares with us today, at this year’s Expo, on Thursday October 18th.
In his discussion, Nic addresses the need that the task of firefighting requires every firefighter, whether in training at the station, performing a preplan or on the scene of a call, no matter his/her rank, to always be thinking several steps ahead of the next move. Look at it as a game of chess, where multiple moves or actions, must be considered in advance.
Whether you plan on attending Firehouse Expo or not, here’s your chance to hear from a seasoned firefighter and instructor who can help you to “think on your feet.”
Tune in at www.dalmatianproductions.tv or on your favorite podcast streaming service. Just search for “5-Alarm Task Force!”
It’s there, hanging on the rack, next to our bunk, in the backseat or trunk of our car. What is it? Our bunker or turnout gear; part of our entire PPE ensemble. It is designed to protect us from sharp or pointy edges, to prevent the heat from reaching our “civilian” bodies and to not allow wetness to pervade into the inner layers which might cause us suffering steam burns. Besides our boots, coat and pants, it includes our hoods and gloves – all playing a critical role in protecting us from environmental toxins and carcinogens so often found in what is burning today.
However, what if this PPE is doing its job at a higher risk than we had ever known or suspected? It is here that the “waters get muddied.” We know for a fact that certain chemicals used to waterproof not only our PPE, but carpets, upholstery and almost anything else that is made where we do not want any liquid incursion, when joined together and over a period of time, can develop into carcinogenic compounds. What do we do about this and why did we not know about it?
My guest on this podcast, knows a great deal about this topic. Diane Cotter is the wife of Lt. (ret) Paul Cotter of the Worcester MA Fire Dept. A month after Paul’s promotion he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Yet, before that, he had been at the peak of health and fitness-for-duty. So, they began looking into this issue, certainly not by themselves, but along with scientists, researchers, and many more.
You will be surprised my any number of the facts that Diane shares with us on this podcast. If you did not know about this side of the firefighter cancer battle, you just might be amazed at what you hear. One thing is for sure – you will never look at your bunker gear the same way again.
Over the years, many men and women have entered the fire service with little or no prior training other than perhaps being a “junior” firefighter, an Explorer® or perhaps the departments basic training program. Yet, as we are all well aware, we are quite often, not fighting the types of fires that our forebears did and, as a matter of fact, we are responding to many different types of calls, altogether. Add to the mix is the fact that many people entering both the career and volunteer fire service are looking towards advancing their knowledge to meet the changing role of the firefighter and the best way to do that is to expand your educational reach.
My guest on this podcast is Anthony Mangeri. Not only has Anthony been a volunteer in NJ for over thirty years, he is the Director of Fire & Emergency Services Initiatives at American Public University System. Anthony clearly and concisely explains how one can advance a career in not only the fire service, but in many areas of emergency services, through any number of choices of fields of studies, as well as the different types of degrees that are available.
If you are thinking of expanding your emergency services educational horizons, I urge you to listen carefully to Anthony’s descriptions of the types of degrees and which ones may or may not be transferable to other fire schools/academies or even towards college credits. This information might help you avoid some of the common difficulties when seeking to transfer your studies and credits.
As firefighters, we face some very difficult situations such as flammable liquids, concentrated atmospheres of flammable gas, heavy content fires, mass casualty incidents and more. Yet, many might agree that in 2018, there is one that could bring the bravest and “toughest” firefighter to his/her knees – and that is a diagnosis of cancer. Although today, more people are surviving cancer than ever before, our love for our work can often bring us together with strange, alternative forms of known cancers, even ones that have rarely, if ever, been seen before.
That is where our guest on this podcast, Cindy Ell, comes in. Cindy is the founder of the Firefighter Cancer Foundation, which was established in 2004. Cindy and her group of over three dozen volunteers, spread out across the country to help lead the charge against cancer in the fire service. They work on multiple platforms, including legislative at both state and federal levels; medical, working with medical professionals and facilities who are studying the causes of cancer in the fire service and searching for new treatment methods, and perhaps, their most important mission, working with firefighters and their families who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis.
This podcast contains excellent information and a great deal of it. You will see that Cindy doesn’t “beat around the bush,” and tells it like it is. The statistics that Cindy provides are somewhat overwhelming. Yet, she counters those with messages of real hope thanks to the work of the FFCF.
Who knows? This podcast just might save your life.