Deadly Philly Blaze, Ensuing Riots Highlight Misconceptions of Fire Service

The aftermath of a deadly fire in Philadelphia on July 5, 2014 that killed 4 young children. Photo courtesy ABC7.

The aftermath of a deadly fire in Philadelphia on July 5, 2014 that killed 4 young children. Photo courtesy ABC7.

Last week, a fiery blaze that ripped through ten buildings in Philadelphia claimed the lives of four young children. It also claimed national headlines after the parents of the children killed criticized the fire department and crowds of supporters gathered outside a firehouse to protest the department. Continue reading

A Firefighter’s Mom

Photo courtesy EMSShirts.com.

Photo courtesy EMSShirts.com.

Today, just as our society has every second Sunday of May since 1908, we celebrate our mothers. And as I sit thinking about the holiday, and all of the things that makes mothers like mine great, I couldn’t help but think of the role a mother plays in the fire service. Continue reading

Walking the Social Media Tightrope

In the age of up-to-the-second news, thanks to an ever changing and improving technology field, social media has become a part of everyday life – for better or for worse. And the fire service has been by no means exempt from the social media spectrum.

But make no mistake—social media can present Continue reading

The Firefighters of Chernobyl

A firehouse close to the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant with a memorial for those killed in the disaster. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

A firehouse close to the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant with a memorial for those killed in the disaster. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Nuclear power is abundant across the world today, thanks in part to the US and former Soviet Union’s research and competitiveness during the Cold War.

But one April night in 1986 proved that this nuclear power had deadly consequences, and has left many Soviet firefighters in the same situation those who responded to Ground Zero face today. Continue reading

Converting Conflict into Progress

Internal conflicts can take a toll on department members, but using effective techniques can turn conflict into confidence. Photo via U.S. Navy/WikiCommons.

Internal conflicts can take a toll on department members, but using effective techniques can turn conflict into confidence. Photo via U.S. Navy/WikiCommons.

*This article appeared in the March 19 edition of the Cape May County Herald.*

Conflict is a basic human interaction—it has been since our cavemen ancestors fought over who got to sleep in what cave.

So naturally, conflict is a common occurrence in the fire service. And it can be a good thing, if certain steps are taken to ensure the conflict is constructive.

But more often than not, conflict is nothing more than lots of shouting that puts both sides no closer to a resolution or agreement. Continue reading

Firefighter Near Miss Program Relaunched

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has relaunched it's Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System with improvements to make the program more interactive. (Photo courtesy of IAFC).

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has relaunched it’s Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System with improvements to make the program more interactive. (Photo courtesy of IAFC).

*This article appeared in the March 5 edition of the Cape May County Herald.*

Firefighter injuries continue to be a key issue in the United States, with nearly 70,000 firefighters injured in the line of duty each year. The fire service has long strived to lower the number of injuries that occur through awareness, and some new technology is set to aid the process. Continue reading

New Online Initiative Aimed To Increase Fire Sprinkler Awareness

Studies have shown that residential sprinkler systems can drastically reduce life and property loss during fires. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Studies have shown that residential sprinkler systems can drastically reduce life and property loss during fires. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

*This article appeared in the February 26 edition of the Cape May County Herald.*

Construction is a constant sight in Cape May County, and it’s hard to find an area where new residential homes or condos aren’t going up.

Safety is always taken into consideration by builders, and hopefully by homeowners who play a part in their home’s construction. Fire safety is certainly a safety aspect not to be taken lightly, but often homeowners are unaware of their options. Continue reading

The Last Step: Overhaul

Firefighters perform various actions during the overhaul process to ensure a fire is completely extinguished. Photo courtesy of flickr user Lee Cannon.

Firefighters perform various actions during the overhaul process to ensure a fire is completely extinguished. Photo courtesy of flickr user Lee Cannon.

*This article appeared in the February 19 edition of the Cape May County Herald.*

When fires rage through buildings and homes, firefighters race to the scene in an effort to stop it from spreading. They deploy ladders and hooks, hoses and axes, and often make an aggressive attack to put out the flames. But despite often being overlooked, firefighters aren’t always done when the flames are gone. Continue reading

California Highway Incident Shows Need for Cross-Training

Using a fire engine to block the scene of an accident in order to protect emergency personnel and victims is common practice across the United States. Photo courtesy of Sheepshead Bites.

Using a fire engine to block the scene of an accident in order to protect emergency personnel and victims is common practice across the United States. Photo courtesy of Sheepshead Bites.

*This article appeared in the February 12 edition of the Cape May County Herald.*

A traffic accident on Interstate 805 in Chula Vista, California made headlines this week not because of the crash, but after a Chula Vista firefighter was handcuffed by a California Highway Patrol officer for refusing to move a fire engine at the scene. Continue reading

Toledo: Closer Than You Think

Effective mayday training could make the difference between life and death for the members of your department. Photo courtesy of flickr user Marines.

Effective mayday training could make the difference between life and death for the members of your department. Photo courtesy of flickr user Marines.

*This article appeared in the February 5 edition of the Cape May County Herald.*

Last week, the fire service mourned the loss of two Toledo, Ohio firefighters who were killed in the line of duty while operating at a multi-story mixed-use building in the city on Jan. 26.

Private Stephen A. Machcinski, a 16-year veteran of the department, and Private James A. Dickman, a member of the department for only six months but a longtime firefighter with other area departments, perished after becoming disoriented in the blaze, which “rapidly deteriorated in condition,” according to the department’s chief.

And while the national media may have been more focused on the arrest of Justin Bieber Continue reading