Category Archives:

15 Years of Fire Suppression

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Recently I had the opportunity to participate in what I thought was going to be a “speed recruiting” event at a local high school, unaware until I got there that the tables would be turned and I was the one who was going to be interviewed. More than 30 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors […]

Tremendous Loss of a Talented Storyteller

Although I never had the opportunity to meet or speak with the man, I was "in his presence" on a few short occasions and was always impressed by his talented writing abilities. Today we mourn the loss of fire service and news world leader: Hal Bruno.

Impact of the Digital Age on Recruitment and Retention

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The world is changing rapidly and the fire service is getting caught up in the tornado effect of technology on our society. More and more fire departments are smartly using web sites, e-mail and social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter to recruit new firefighters and to stay connected to their community. There isn't much you […]

RuntotheCurb: Everybody Loves Sparky

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Just as much as kids love firefighters, every kid (well, almost every kid) loves Sparky. Recently I had the chance to catch some Run-to-the-Curb type kids interacting with their favorite Fire Dog, learning all about fire prevention and safety and making new friends. Thanks to Sparky, I’m sure these kids will be running to the […]

It’s Time to get SAFER!

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Are you SAFER than you were last year?

That is, did you submit a grant application under the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response” program for recruitment and retention?

If you didn’t, you missed out on a great opportunity to better your fire department, or in our case, the entire volunteer fire service in our region.

Here’s the good news. You get another chance. DHS just announced that the application period for the 2009 SAFER grants opens November 16, 2009.

There’s at least Four Cs in NBFC

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img_6153Earlier today I had the pleasure of joining lots of other folks who  participating in the dedication of a new fire station for the North Boston Volunteer Fire Company in the Town of Boston, NY.

As I was sitting here remembering the ground breaking ceremony they held last fall, I was reminded of how proud I am to be associated with their fire company.

Many times when we discuss incident management, training and collaboration in emergency services — we refer to the Three Cs of: Coordination, Communications and Cooperation. For a small rural fire department, the North Boston Volunteer Fire Company (the NBFC) is far ahead of the curve when it comes to the Three Cs.

Those three Cs have become the hallmark

Schmittendorf Secures $500k for Erie County Chiefs to Conduct R&R

Erie County Fire Chiefs Awarded $500k Recruitment Grant – Offer Opportunities for You to Get Involved The Erie County Fire Chiefs Mutual Aid Organization, in collaboration with the Erie County Division of Fire Safety, are pleased to announce that they have been awarded a $498,800 SAFER-Staffing for Adequate Emergency Response grant by the US Department […]

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

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.

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