Category Archives: Line of Duty

A December to Forget?

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Given recent events and all the heartache they’ve brought, I’m not sure that December is a month to remember but instead, it’s one we’d like to forget.

My Flag

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The next time I look at that flag, it could be a tangled mess – or it could be flowing freely in the breeze. It’s different every time I look at it. That’s the beauty of my flag.

Get Fit. Get Safe. Make It Personal.

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Despite the fact that I wrote this piece for Fire-Rescue Magazine last year, I’m pretty sure its content is still relevant as we ponder recent and not so recent events during Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week http://www.firefighternation.com/forum/topics/usfa-reminds-you-that…. As I stated in comments to another blog by John Mitchell (www.firedaily.com) titled: “The Charleston 43″ (http://www.firefighternation.com/profiles/blogs/the-charleston-43) […]

If you’re worried about getting cancer — you probably shouldn’t be a firefighter!

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“You have a mass in your throat,” he said after examining me, “It looks malignant. And aggressive.” He looked me right in the eye as he spoke, making sure I understood the gravity of his comments. My wife Mary Ann and I sat in stunned silence as he informed us of what needed to be done to complete his diagnosis. As he talked on, my mind took me back to all of those times when I entered burning buildings without breathing protection, and all of the times I worked for hours, unprotected, doing salvage and overhaul in the smoldering remains of fires over the past three decades. Like my peers, I had felt bullet-proof in those days. I had always thought that cancer was something that happened to other people. Not me. Now, for the first time, I was actually afraid for my life.

Change, for Safety’s Sake.

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If you are a Fire/Rescue Chief, Commissioner, President, Fire Officer or in a leadership role of a Fire Department or Fire Company, you have the responsibility of ensuring firefighter safety.   With the holidays right around the corner, here’s a cool opportunity for your organization to provide something to your members, and support the work of the Safety, Health […]

A December to Remember

I’m not big on forwarding for the sake of forwarding; or just regurgitating information in an effort to build traffic to a web site. However, my good friend Billy Goldfeder sent out a broadcast yesterday that deserves sharing. His efforts were followed up by a newsletter distribution from the USFA Coffee Break that highlighted similar events. […]

Make It Personal

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The following article is a reprint from the June-2009 edition of Fire-Rescue magazine. It is also a companion piece to my blog titled: Clean the Litterbox.

I recently attended a seminar on preparation for line-of-duty deaths and firefighter funerals. If you’ve ever read one of my blogs here or at FirefighterNation.com, you know that I have very strong feelings about firefighter deaths.

But, for the first time, the subject really hit home with me. While it’s important to plan that stuff, if we really think about it, doesn’t the need for proper funeral planning only further acknowledge our acceptance of failure in protecting our own from the risks we face?

Too often we focus more time, energy and attention on those types of activities instead of the things

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

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.

Death Toll

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Here’s a hot topic that might set off some fireworks. Who knows, it might even incite a reader to leave a comment.

This is something very near and dear to me and something I feel very strongly about. I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time and a recent conversation with a friend prompted me to pick tonight to write it. And, now that I have the forum to do so, here goes.

I’ll be involved in at least two fire service funerals this week, and hopefully not a third but it’s quite possible.

In my role as Deputy Fire Coordinator, I’ve honestly probably attended perhaps hundreds of such

Tiger Schmittendorf

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