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National Fire News

Massive Times Square billboard thanks the firefighters who battled Australia's devastating fires

VIDEO: After months of devastation, all the fires burning in the Australian state of New South Wales were declared contained for the first time last week. And who else to thank but the thousands of firefighters who have put their life on the line to extinguish them? Knowing that a simple "thank you" wouldn't suffice, the NSW Rural Fire Service took out a 70-foot billboard in New York's Times Square to thank all the firefighters who helped battle the blazes.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: CNN

Finding funds to ease strain on overworked paramedics in Nebraska is challenge, fire officials say

Despite putting a seventh city ambulance in service in mid-2018, Lincoln Fire and Rescue's paramedics remain swamped responding to emergency medical calls in the growing city, retiring Fire Chief Micheal Despain said. Call volumes in Lincoln continue climbing at three times the rate of population growth, mainly because of the medical needs of the city's aging population, Despain said.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Lincoln Journal Star

Proposal to create Pennsylvania Fire Commission garners tentative support from firefighters, with caveats

A Pennsylvania House committee is weighing a measure that seeks to make changes in how fire and emergency services are administered in the state. The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee took up House Bill 1819, which would create a state Fire Commission. State Rep. Austin Davis, D-McKeesport, the bill’s sponsor, said his district includes professional and volunteer-led fire departments that face issues regarding the ability to provide essential services and the ability to recruit and retain members.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Center Square

New York: Statewide effort aims to protect firefighters from cancer threats

Every day firefighters put their lives on the line to protect others, and when their shift ends, some of the risks they face still linger. That's because of the potentially toxic contaminants they encounter while on the job. "We want to make sure that the firefighters are aware that the chemicals, and the soot, and the smoke, and the particulates that get on their clothing during a structure fire, during training, is dangerous.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WGRZ-TV ABC 2 Buffalo

‘Certainly is a growing problem:’ Wisconsin fire department has new tool to fight bed bugs

Bed bugs can be hard to spot and even tougher to get rid of. The City of Waukesha Fire Department has a new tool to fight the problem -- and make sure every ambulance is clean. Kira Benkert is getting an ambulance ready for the day's first patient -- including making sure there aren't any unwanted passengers: bed bugs.
- PUB DATE: 2/20/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WITI-TV FOX 6 Milwaukee

Two teens arrested in deadly California library fire that killed two firefighters

Two 13-year-olds have been arrested and booked on suspicion of arson and manslaughter charges in a deadly fire on Tuesday that claimed the lives of two firefighters and destroyed the Porterville Library. Tuesday’s blaze started shortly after 4 p.m. The man killed has been identified as Fire Capt. Raymond Figueroa, 35.
- PUB DATE: 2/19/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Visalia Delta Times

California library blaze claims lives of two firefighters

VIDEO: A large, deadly fire consumed the Porterville Library Tuesday evening and claimed the lives of two firefighters. "We are still working on notification," Tulare County Fire Chief Charlie Norman said as he fought back tears. The names of the firefighters killed have not been released. Both work for the city of Porterville, Norman said.
- PUB DATE: 2/19/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Visalia Delta Times

Firefighters in Maine say new city payroll system violates union agreement

Representatives from the city’s firefighters union say a new public administration software system designed to streamline payroll for the department has instead burdened the force with extra duties. The union has filed a grievance on behalf of its 911 dispatchers claiming the software has not only created more work, but shifted payroll responsibilities to their supervisors who they say haven’t properly been trained to administer it.
- PUB DATE: 2/19/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Bangor Daily News - Metered Site

Minnesota county the first to map AED's for 911 callers

Any first responder knows in an emergency, time is of the essence. Bruce Bechtold is a former Stearns County deputy. He says cutting minutes or even seconds off response time can make all the difference. That was the case when his cousin Mark suffered a heart attack nearly a decade ago. "Firefighter just happened to be nearby with an AED and shocked him and he's alive today," said Bechtold.
- PUB DATE: 2/19/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KARE-TV NBC 11 Minneapolis

Unions say rookie EMTs in New York City barely getting by on near-minimum wage

The Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) responded to more than 1.5 million medical emergencies last year, saving countless lives in the process. But many of these first responders — who endure high stress in a job where mere seconds may mean the difference between life and death — barely have anything left to save once they get their paychecks, according to unions representing them.
- PUB DATE: 2/19/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: AM New York

County in Maryland seeks to shorten ER wait times for ambulance patients

Just because you call an ambulance in Montgomery County, Maryland, that doesn’t mean you’ll skip the lobby wait in the emergency room. Maryland’s ER wait times — the time spent in the emergency room before being admitted to the hospital or being sent home — are the longest in the country: an average of 376 minutes, in the latest data, from 2017.
- PUB DATE: 2/19/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WTOP-AM 1500 Washington

Michigan fire chief begs, 'Guys, don’t quit yet' before millage vote triggers possible layoffs

It’s a sign of our era — when countless Americans distrust government — that firefighters in one of Michigan’s most affluent communities worry about a millage vote next month. If most voters in Bloomfield Township vote no, as they did for a police-and-fire measure with a bigger price tag last year, a projected 22 firefighter/paramedics could lose their jobs, Fire Chief Mike Morin says.
- PUB DATE: 2/18/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Detroit Free Press

Firefighters who can sew? Kansas team may get teased but save department time, money

When a firefighter rips his or her uniform, repairing it isn’t quite as simple as ironing on a patch. Although it used to take weeks or months of waiting and thousands of dollars to repair their gear, the firefighters at the John B. Glaser Fire Station in Shawnee can have everything fixed in a few days.
- PUB DATE: 2/18/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: The Kansas City Star

Firefighter cancer coverage ‘loophole’ posed with legislation on its 5th appearance in Virginia

Persistence may soon be paying off for firefighters across the Commonwealth. They have pushed for expanded cancer coverage as many are developing it at an high rate. Now, after five years of legislation, this year’s bill looks like it will become law. Firefighters said state lawmakers were no longer able to overlook the problem in front of them and that’s why they think they are the closest they’ve ever been to getting it passed.
- PUB DATE: 2/18/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WSLS-TV NBC 10 Roanoke

Mesa is first Arizona fire department to become Certified Autism Center

The Mesa Fire and Medical Department has become the first fire team in Arizona to receive the designation of being a Certified Autism Center. The designation was granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards and comes after the staff, firefighters and other first responders at the department received position-specific training to "enhance their understanding and sensitivity when helping individuals with autism or other sensory sensitivities," according to a press release by the organization.
- PUB DATE: 2/18/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Arizona Republic, AZCentral.com & KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix

Scholarships for students: Fire department in Alaska helps their staffing by helping students

With tight budgets and dwindling amounts of volunteer help, interior fire departments struggle with maintaining staffing. In 2011 the Steese Volunteer Fire Department came up with an idea to help -- they began providing scholarships and a place to live for students who are going to UAF. "We are able to staff two stations, two ambulances, two engines, with these scholarship folks to serve the community for minimal amount of money," said Captain Ruth Church.
- PUB DATE: 2/18/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KTVF-TV NBC 11 Fairbanks

New Tech Helps Texas Police And Firefighters Do Jobs Faster, More Effectively

VIDEO: The North Richland Hills Police and Fire Departments showed off new technology Thursday they say will allow them to do their jobs more effectively and in less time. Jennie Espy, a North Richland Hills Police Department Crime Scene Investigator said, “This is absolutely fantastic technology.” The state-of-the-art device scans everything in its site — 360 degrees — and provides 3D photographs of a crime scene, major crash or an arson fire.
- PUB DATE: 2/14/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: KTVT-TV CBS 11 Fort Worth

Colorado fire department seeks better guidelines in aftermath of firefighter's death

It’s been more than two months since Summit Fire & EMS firefighter Ken Jones fell to his death while fighting a blaze in Copper Mountain, though the feelings of grief are still fresh for his second family at the fire department. Jones’ picture still stands on a table in the entranceway of Summit Fire’s administration building in Frisco — the first thing visitors see on their way into the building each morning.
- PUB DATE: 2/14/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Summit Daily News (Breckenridge-Dillon)

Ohio fire department dealing with increased number of bed bugs while on calls

When you think of fire fighters, what comes to mind? You should think nothing short of heroes. Dedication. Bravery. Saving others' lives while risking their own. The list is endless. For the Lancaster Fire Department, there are two words you probably don't think. And, it's such a big deal, the department has five pages on policy about it.
- PUB DATE: 2/14/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WBNS-TV CBS 10 Columbus

'Another Tool for First Responders': Massachusetts sheriff helps families with autism seat belt covers

It was on a trip to Britain and Ireland that Norfolk County Sheriff Jerry McDermott first saw seat belt covers that notify first responders that the wearer has autism, the Patriot Ledger reported. Half a world away, a light bulb went off, McDermott said that he thought that covers could be helpful at home too.
- PUB DATE: 2/14/2020 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: WCVB-TV ABC 5 Boston