Archive for January2009

Night at the Museum

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OK. I admit it.

It was a day at the museum but hey, nobody ever made a movie with the catchy title: “Day at the Museum.”

Regardless, we had a great day recently when we visited the Buffalo Fire Historical Museum on William St. near Ogden St. on the city’s eastern border with the Town of Cheektowaga.

I was there once before, a very long time ago, but had forgotten just how rich the museum is with placeholders of our heritage. And the best part was, I went with friends.

I dragged along my best friend Chief Denny Allen, my 21-year old niece Christina who is a new firefighter with neighboring Lake Erie Beach; and Kyle, the 9-year old son of another best friend – Chief John Latimore. I’ll tell you about

Keeping People

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RecruitersGot any bright ideas?

Here’s a link to a FirefighterNation discussion started by a firefighter struggling to maintain the membership in his volunteer fire department.

“In my group we have people that come and don’t show up for 6 months; people who quit due to other members ill behavior and misconduct – and people who stay and do as they are told.

What do we do to keep members and to have the members come back?”

Join the Recruiters Group on FFN and chime in on the chat: Keeping People

Please CO-operate. It’s a matter of life and death.

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This morning’s Buffalo News headline featured the photo of a bright, beautiful 16-year old girl with a promising future, her life snuffed out by a silent killer yesterday.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is colorless and odorless. It strikes with symptoms that could easily be mistaken for the flu. Small doses accumulated over time can be as dangerous as a prolonged exposure. Left undetected, there is potential for harm and death in almost every household in America.

Carbon Monoxide is a normal by-product of combustion. Natural gas fired appliances (stoves, boilers, hot water tanks, furnaces, etc.) give off carbon monoxide. So do wood burning stoves and fireplaces. However, under normal operating conditions and with sufficient ventilation, the CO does not accummulate to levels that

That’s Why.

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Friendship NY Firefighter Tom Torpey is flanked by his mom Sissy and wife Jessica at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo NY

Friendship NY Firefighter Tom Torpey is flanked by his mom Sissy and wife Jessica at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo NY

I recently responded to a post on FirefighterNation.com from my friend Adam Box, who shared the dilemma he was experiencing with his significant other:
Tomorrow, I will be attending the funeral of Elizabeth Fire Department Acting Captain Gary Stephens. This will be my second (unfortunately I doubt it will be my last) time attending a LODD funeral.

I was in a bit of a

Schmittendorf Signs On for Fire Service Leader Round-Table

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The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) has secured volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention specialist Tiger Schmittendorf as part of a round-table presentation at their 2009 Convention in Niagara Falls, NY.

Schmittendorf will join Deputy Chief Billy Goldfeder, host of FirefighterCloseCalls.com; J. Gordon Routley, who oversaw the inquiry into the Charleston Sofa Store firefighter fatalities; and Phoenix Fire Department Chief (Ret.) Alan Brunacini, who is largely credited with promoting customer service in the fire service as we know it today.

The four-man team will culminate what promises to be a day of lively, informative and even entertaining presentations at the FASNY convention on August 20, 2009. The panel will field questions from the audience and will discuss everything

Conveying Tragedy

Buffalo News Photo-Tonawanda Fatal Fire

Buffalo News Photo-Tonawanda Fatal Fire

I consider myself a student of effective public and media relations. One of the most difficult messages a fire chief or public information officer must convey is that of a tragedy where, despite our best efforts, the results are fatal.

I often coach fire officers and public officials at incident scenes as how to best deliver difficult news. While I encourage them to focus on the role of the rescuers – not the victims, showing respect and concern for all those affected by the tragedy is very important as we speak publicly. This difficult and uncomfortable situation is one that any of us could be faced with at any time.

Some things bear repeating

I’m not one to regurgitate information. I don’t do a lot of pass through e-mails. And I certainly don’t perpetuate “Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Some inane subject matter” e-mails like so many copy-and-paste-challenged people do.

But some things bear repeating. Some things strike you so profoundly, so succintly, that you simply feel obligated to pass it along, even if so many others have done so already.

This is one of those occasions. I’m re-publishing (with permission) this excerpt of an e-mail from my good friend and mentor Billy Goldfeder. It’s from his not-so-secret Secret List at FirefighterCloseCalls.com. If you don’t subscribe to it, you’re either out of touch or you don’t care about our brother firefighters getting hurt and dead.

Schmittendorf Selected to Deliver Leadership Training

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Tiger Schmittendorf has been selected as one of only 25 firefighters from across New York State to be certified as an instructor of the newly developed
“7 Habits of Effective Firefighters” training program.

Customized specifically for the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC) by Franklin-Covey, this “7 Habits” program is funded by a SAFER grant from the US Department of Homeland Security.

Starting Out the New Year Right!

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I originally wrote this piece back in 2002 but I feel it’s appropriate to re-visit it every year as we evaluate and re-align our outlook on life in the fire service.

My purpose for posting is not totally unselfish. I use this as an evaluation tool to examine my relationship with my fire department and the fire service at large, and make adjustments as necessary.