Category Archives: Safety

Nobody can argue that our work isn’t dangerous, but that doesn’t give us the excuse not to do things as safely as possible. We owe it to the folks we go home to – to have the courage to be safe.

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 […]

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

Dig In.

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ToolkitDig in.

“Early on in my fire service career, we responded to a report of a tractor-trailer rolled over on a nearby state highway. We arrived on scene and found a truck lying on its passenger side. The wheels were facing the roadway and the top of the cab was on the shoulder of the road. The truck driver was being treated as walking wounded. It seemed like a relatively benign accident.

As we approached the curb side we realized that this was no ordinary call. It

From X-Box to the Box Alarm

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img_5855-cropAs I travel around the country talking with other firefighters, a commonly recurring theme of our chat is the future of the volunteer fire service.

The conversation always comes around to the topic of today’s firefighters and the next generation of firefighters. Some “more experienced” firefighters (notice I didn’t use the term older) share that they don’t understand the “kids” coming into the fire service today.

The veterans don’t think today’s recruits share the same values as those who are currently leading us. And they certainly don’t have the same appreciation for the traditions and discipline of the fire service. Community service is not in their blood as it is in ours. Or at least that’s their complaint.

The first question I

Clean the Litterbox

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This blog is a companion piece to my article titled “Make it Personal” in the June edition of Fire-Rescue Magazine.

 

I was reading a not so tongue-in-cheek blog on FirefighterNation.com written by my good friend Art Goodrich titled: “Ordering From the Risk Menu” and it reminded me of a Saturday I spent recently, full of fire service activities.

 

I started the day by attending a heavy dose of an 8-hour seminar focusing on preparation for a Line of Duty Death. If you’ve ever read one of my blogs, you know I’m very passionate

Now It’s Your Turn.

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Last fall I wrote about doing the right thing by getting involved in an organization of firefighters known as Hancock Hope, formed for the sole purpose of helping other firefighters and fire departments in need.

 

I talked about the struggles of a very rural volunteer fire department in Oneida, Kentucky and of the goodwill of the Newstead NY Volunteer Fire Company who donated a used fire engine to them. It was a team effort with a lot

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Continental Flight 3407 crashed into a home in Clarence Center around 10:20pm on Thursday-February 12, 2009 - killing 50 people and changing the lives of thousands more, including mine.

I responded in the first wave of emergency services personnel sent to help restore order to the chaos that the crash created.

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

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