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National Fire News

Veteran Washington firefighter was sleeping when run over by pickup truck at California wildfire

A veteran firefighter who came to California from Washington state to fight the Woolsey fire was left with major injuries when he was run over by a pickup truck as he slept at night in a field next to a fire truck in the Malibu area, the California Highway Patrol said Thursday. Terry Geisleman, 46, of the South Kitsap Fire and Rescue Department of Port Orchard, Washington, received crushing injuries to his chest and the left side of his body, a CHP report on the 11:45 p.
- PUB DATE: 11/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: San Bernardino County Sun

FDNY retaliated against two EMS lieutenants upset over a new pilot program, labor board rules

Top Fire Department brass retaliated against two emergency medical services lieutenants due to their “union activity,” a labor board ruled, the Daily News has learned. FDNY Lt. Douglas Rondon was “totally restricted” from duty for an entire year after he reached out to his union president for assistance on potential disciplinary charges.
- PUB DATE: 11/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: New York Daily News

How Arizona firefighters are fighting to curb trauma and suicide rates

While it's a scary trend, it's one that's commonly swept under the rug. First responders are now more likely to die by suicide, than in the line of duty. Each year, the number of men and women in the fire service taking their own lives continues to rise, according to the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance.
- PUB DATE: 11/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: ABC 15 Phoenix

Wildfire's destruction of California town creates uncharted credit territory

The deadly wildfire that left the town of Paradise, California, in ruins may become a test case for the municipal bond market. “The situation casts doubt on whether the local government can meet over $3.5 million in annual payments to pension obligation bondholders, CalPERS and retiree healthcare plan participants,” wrote Marc Joffe, a policy analyst with the Reason Foundation.
- PUB DATE: 11/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: BondBuyer.com

Enough is enough: 5 ways to end bullying in fire and EMS

A lot has been published recently about harassment and discrimination. However, much less is being said about the problems of bullying in the fire and EMS industries. Yet, these problems have equally-serious effects on their victims. I was recently at a state EMS conference and heard a speaker give a very poignant discussion on suicide in EMS.
- PUB DATE: 11/16/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: FireRescue1

Pulse shooting review: Communication failures hampered Orlando Fire Department's response

When Orlando Police and Orange County Sheriff’s Office tactical teams used explosives to break through the wall of Pulse nightclub to confront gunman Omar Mateen, some Orlando Fire Department personnel — including its arson and bomb squad — thought the shooter was the one who set off the blast. That detail was among several examples of inadequate communication and outdated training policies that hampered the multi-agency response to the June 12, 2016 massacre at Pulse, creating confusion between OFD, Orange County Fire Rescue, police and the Sheriff’s Office, according to a report released Wednesday.
- PUB DATE: 11/15/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel

Third body found among wreckage of Woolsey fire as residents blast California officials about emergency response

As a third body was discovered among the ashes of a home in Agoura Hills, residents in nearby Malibu questioned fire officials about the division of resources and rushed evacuation notices during the Woolsey fire’s devastating march through Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The body, which has not been identified, was found by a cadaver dog searching a burned-out home in the 32000 block of Lobo Canyon Road with law enforcement Tuesday.
- PUB DATE: 11/15/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Los Angeles Times

'A bittersweet moment’: Alabama fire chief retiring after 30 years of service

Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service Chief Charles Gordon is ending his tenure as the city’s 21st fire chief. Gordon, 57, will retire effective Dec. 28 after 30 years with department. However, his last day on the job will be next Tuesday. Gordon joined the department in January 1989 and rose through the ranks until he was appointed chief by former Mayor William Bell in September 2014.
- PUB DATE: 11/15/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: AL.com

Woman’s friendship with Oregon firefighter leads to federal discrimination suit against city

A woman with developmental disabilities who befriended a Portland firefighter but then was ordered to stay away from him and certain fire stations under threat of a criminal trespassing charge is suing the city for alleged discrimination. Brandy Tuchscherer first encountered firefighters while rowing with the Wasabi Paddling Club’s “Special Dragons’’ team.
- PUB DATE: 11/15/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Portland Oregonian, Hillsboro Argus, Oregon Live.com

Kim Kardashian’s Private Firefighters Expose America’s Fault Lines

As multiple devastating wildfires raged across California, a private firefighting crew reportedly helped save Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s home in Calabasas, TMZ reported this week. The successful defense of the $50 million mansion is the most prominent example of a trend that’s begun to receive national attention: for-hire firefighters protecting homes, usually on the payroll of an insurance company with a lot at risk.
- PUB DATE: 11/15/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Atlantic

Detroit firefighters remember colleague who lived life 'with no fear'

Firefighter Michael Lubig was a man whose colleagues say lived his life with no fear. The 46-year-old, second-generation fireman died late Monday, days after suffering a medical emergency at a west side firehouse and being rushed to Henry Ford Hospital. Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said the cause of death is under investigation, and the incident unfolded during a 24-hour shift Thursday while Lubig was working a detail as an acting sergeant at Squad 4 on the city's west side.
- PUB DATE: 11/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Detroit News

Illinois city council votes to cut fire, police department positions to fill budgetary hole

The Peoria City Council voted 8-3 Tuesday to approve eliminating 22 firefighter and 16 police positions as part of a move to close a $6 million budget hole. The cuts don’t mean 22 firefighters will be laid off, said 1st District Councilwoman Denise Moore. Rather, she said, vacancies that were currently open would not be filled within the departments.
- PUB DATE: 11/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Peoria Journal Star

Trapped by Camp Fire, more than a dozen people — one 90 — survived in chilly lake

When Scott realized that his lakeside home in the wooded hills of Butte County was surrounded by fire, he knew he had only one way out: the water. He, his wife and their two young adult sons, along with two dogs and a cat, plunged into the chilly Concow Reservoir 20 miles east of Chico last Thursday as flames singed the giant tule reeds on shore behind them.
- PUB DATE: 11/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle

Florida firefighters will face random drug tests under new contract

Hillsborough County firefighters just agreed to a new three-year contract, and part of that deal also calls for new random drug testing. For years, Hillsborough firefighters knew when it was coming. Every six months, there was a round of hundreds of drug tests that a small handful would likely prepare for by laying off drugs or alcohol long enough to pass the test.
- PUB DATE: 11/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WTSP-TV 10 News

Houston layoffs spurred by firefighter pay parity vote avoidable, some experts say

Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration is moving forward with plans for hundreds of layoffs following last week’s voter approval of Prop B despite questions about whether jobs could be saved through renewed negotiations with the city’s firefighters union. The pay parity referendum, which passed decisively after a bitter campaign that pitted Turner and the city’s police union against Houston firefighters, adds an estimated $100 million a year to the $500 million annual budget of the Houston Fire Department to bring firefighter salaries in line with those paid to police of corresponding rank and seniority.
- PUB DATE: 11/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

Ohio city rejects fact finder recommendation on firefighter salary increase

Fairfield City Council rejected a fact finder’s recommendation on proposed wage increases for two years of the firefighter union’s three-year contract. The fact finder suggested the city pay members of the International Association of Firefighters Local 4010 a 2.5 percent increase in 2018 (retroactive to April 1) and 2019.
- PUB DATE: 11/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Hamilton Journal-News

Death toll in California soars as officials fear more wildfires

Fueled by blustery winds and parched vegetation, two massive fires burning in California both grew overnight, leaving thousands of exhausted firefighter battling to stretch containment lines around the raging blazes that have killed at least 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes. Adding to the turmoil were two new fires that broke out within five minutes of each other Monday morning near the massive Woolsey Fire burning in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
- PUB DATE: 11/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: ABC News

Rescues, not firefight, prove emotional for firefighters in California

Casey Peck had never prayed so hard. His fire engine was trapped with dozens of cars and panicked people as an inferno roared through the Sierra Nevada foothills town of Paradise on Thursday, hot enough to peel the firetruck’s paint and melt its hoses, blowing relief valves designed to withstand 900 degrees and immolating nearby vehicles.
- PUB DATE: 11/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Associated Press

Seattle Fire Department prepares contingency plans for ambulance strike

The Seattle Fire Department has begun contingency planning in case critical private ambulance service is disrupted by a labor dispute. The emergency medical technicians for American Medical Response are now voting on whether to accept the company's offer or authorize a strike. They are members of Teamsters Local 763.
- PUB DATE: 11/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KIRO 7 Seattle

New York volunteer firefighter seriously hurt in accident responding to call

A volunteer firefighter remains at Strong Memorial Hospital with serious injuries following a crash Monday night. State Police say 27-year-old Jared Thompson was traveling eastbound on Route 31 in Murray around 5:40 p.m., responding to a call. Thompson is a member of the Fancher Hulberton Murray Fire Company and had his blue emergency lights activated, according to New York State Police.
- PUB DATE: 11/13/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WUHF Fox Rochester