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The California Edition PUBLISHING SINCE 1993





On April 13th at approximately 2:00 P.M., units from Anaheim Fire & Rescue responded to a traffic collision involving two vehicles. Upon arrival, firefighters reported one vehicle overturned with a man trapped in the driver's seat.

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San Diego Fire Department conducts Fire 101 Training Members of the San Diego Fire Department IAFF Local 145 spent a good part of their Saturday showcasing many of their skills to a select group of participants during a hands-on Fire 101 training session on April 23rd. The event took place within the departUMP TO FILE# ments training area J051616129 at the Regional Public Safety Training Institute on Harbor Island. Selected policy makers, staff members and members of the media were invited to experience the everyday rigors that firefighters experience on the job, but are often not fully appreciated or understood by those observing from the sidelines. Once fitted with PPE’s, the participants were welcomed by SDFD Chief Brian Fennessy and Local 145 president Alan Arrollado. Over a light breakfast in one of the facilities classrooms, both men discussed what the group would be experiencing over the next few hours, along with providing some firefighting insights and history. Outside, the drill participants, who were divided into groups for the drills, finished donning their gear, under the watchful eyes of their instructors. Getting aboard SDFD’s training apparatus, each group went on a Code 3 run to the area where their instruction would really begin, experiencing four drills in rotation: Fire attack, forcible entry with search and rescue, roof ventilation and emergency medical procedures simulating a cardiac arrest patient. As the drills progressed, each participant had a firefighter right next to them, instructing and providing insight about the world of firefighting. During breaks in the training evolution, members of the SDFD Fire Cadet program were on hand to roll hose, stow gear and keep the drill area in pristine condition. Following the drill, the training rigs were utilized to get everyone back to the classroom area to turn in their PPE’s and examine some of SDFD’s specialized USAR, HAZMAT and Bomb Squad rigs and equipment.

Students learn the ins and outs of working a nozzle.



Read more stories on our website!

Fire 101 students head up the stick for roof ventilation drills.


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1st Responder News (ISSN 1525-1683) - Vol. 2 No. 2 - California edition is published bi-monthly, 6 times a year for $15 per year by Belsito Communications, Inc., 1 Ardmore St., New Windsor, NY 12553. Periodicals Postage Paid at Newburgh, NY and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to 1st Responder News, 1 Ardmore St., New Windsor, NY 12553. No financial responsibility is assumed by this newspaper to publish a display, classified, or legal ad or for typographical errors except of reprinting that part of the ad which was omitted or in error. Omissions or erA division of: rors must be brought to the attention of the newspaper during the same month of publication.

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Residential fire for Fullerton

At 3:00 A.M. on April 18th, Fullerton City Fire Department responded to reports of a structure fire on the 200 block of North Berkeley Avenue. Crews located a duplex with two attached garages fully involved, extending into the duplex and began operations to attack the blaze. Knockdown was achieved in approximately thirty-eight minutes. Two adults and four children were displaced by the fire. A pet bird was also rescued from the blaze.


Working fire in Anaheim On April 2nd at 5:29 P.M., Anaheim, Fullerton and Orange City Fire Departments responded to a multi-story apartment building at the 2800 block of Jackson Avenue. Upon arrival, fire units reported two ground level garages and one unit on the second floor well involved with fire. The fire was knocked down in approximately 25 minutes with no injuries reported.

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Multiple injuries sustained in fatal National Trails collision Just after 12:00 P.M. on May 31st, SBCFD received reports of a traffic collision with extrication in the area of National Trails Highway and Rodeo Road. Units from Station-4 Helendale arrived in ten minutes to find a head on collision with major damage between a semi and full size pick up truck. Upon further assessment, a total of one immediate and one delayed patient was found; one victim was found to be deceased upon contact with rescuers. Additional ground ambulances, an additional engine from MCLB Barstow, as well as an air ambulance

JUMP TO FILE #060116125 was requested. Crews initiated extrication to one victim that was trapped inside a vehicle that sustained major front end and driver's side damage. Firefighters used multiple hydraulic powered extrication tools to remove the vehicle from around the patient. It took rescuers approximately ten minutes to extricate the victim. The semi truck trailers did not pose any hazard. An air ambulance was landed near the scene to trans-

port the immediate patient to a trauma center down the hill while the one delayed patient was transported by ground. County Fire responded with one Paramedic Engine Company and one Paramedic Brush Patrol for a total of four personnel. Desert Ambulance responded with two ground ambulances. The cause of the accident is currently under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. - SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY FIRE




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In memory of those who gave all

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1st Responder Newspaper honors and remembers emergency responders lost in the line of duty

North Carolina: Joshua Warren Rank: Firefighter Incident Date: June 16, 2016 Death Date: June 16, 2016 Fire Department: Alexis Volunteer Fire Department Initial Summary: Firefighter Warren fell ill from a nature of injury still to be determined while onduty and engaged in physical fitness training at a local middle school. Warren was rushed to CHSLincoln Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injury. Hawaii: Clifford M. Rigsbee Rank: Firefighter III Incident Date: June 14, 2016 Death Date: June 16, 2016 Fire Department: Honolulu Fire Department Initial Summary: Firefighter III Rigsbee was found unconscious and floating in the water immediately after being separated from a jet ski/rescue sled while participating in a rescue watercraft training exercise. The firefighter operating the jet ski jumped into the water to initiate a rescue and with the assistance of others, including a nearby off-duty firefighter, brought Rigsbee to shore where he was rushed to the Straub Medical Center in critical condition. The firefighter/operator of the watercraft, who was also injured in the incident, was treated at the hospital and released. In spite of all efforts, Firefighter Rigsbee, who had suffered a spinal column injury, succumbed two days later while in the hospital.


1st Responder News’ graphics team will work with you on your adverA division of: tisement free of charge. Additionally, we offer a complete marketing department for all of your printed needs. Whether they are posters, or single sheet handouts, full color or black and white, no one else delivers the high quality work at our competitive prices. As a newspaper in the Belsito Communications Inc. family, 1st Responder News has a state-of-the-art production facility which utilizes the latest scanning technology available. Materials are processed using Power Macintosh G4s. Output is handled on our HP Color LaserJet 8500 to produce this highest quality black and white or color prints on the market.

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North Carolina: David K. Britt Rank:Fire Chief Incident Date: June 17, 2016 Death Date: June 18, 2016 Fire Department: Severn Volunteer Fire Department Initial Summary: Fire Chief Britt suffered a med-

ical emergency at his home several hours after responding to a motor vehicle crash. The nature and cause of fatal injury are still to be reported. Ohio: John R. Fritz Rank: Firefighter Incident Date: June 27, 2016 Death Date: June 27, 2016 Fire Department: Austintown Fire Department Initial Summary: While on duty at Austintown Fire Station #1, Firefighter Fritz passed away from a nature and cause of fatal injury still to be determined. Firefighter Fritz ran several emergency calls throughout his shift, and when he did not report to the truck for an emergency medical response, his crew found him in the station unresponsive. Fellow responders and Lane LifeTrans Ambulance provided medical assistance but Firefighter Fritz did not regain consciousness.

Pennsylvania: Michael Morgan Rank: Deputy Fire Chief Incident Date: May 3, 2016 Death Date: June 26, 2016 Fire Department: Garrettford - Drexel Hill Volunteer Fire Company Initial Summary: Deputy Fire Chief Michael Morgan began feeling ill during or shortly after responding to two fire calls on May 3, 2016. After a brief rest period at the firehouse, Chief Morgan reported for his midnight shift at the Delaware County Emergency Communications Center where his condition worsened and was then transported by ambulance to Riddle Memorial Hospital in Middletown. Chief Morgan succumbed to his CVA related injuries on June 26, 2016.

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Residential structure fire with fatality in Lemon Grove At 12:00 A.M. on January 22nd, Heartland Fire & Rescue units from Lemon Grove, with assistance from San Diego Fire and Cal Fire, were dispatched to a reported residential structure fire in the 1800 block of Costada Court. Initial reports were of a house with flames coming out of a window. Fire crews arrived within fiveminutes to report a single-story, single-family dwelling with heavy smoke and flames coming from the front of the house. A 90-year-old female occupant was able to escape the residence on her own before firefighters arrived. Her 63-year-old son was unfortunately not able to escape

JUMP TO FILE #012216120 the house and was found and pronounced deceased on scene by firefighters. Firefighters quickly attacked the fire and were able to contain the fire within ten-minutes, with no damage to any of the surrounding structures. There were no firefighter injuries reported. The San Diego Sherriff Bomb & Arson Task Force is currently investigating the fire. Damage to the structure and contents is estimated at $300,000. - SONNY SAGHERA



Technical rescue in Somis On the morning of February 19th, the Ventura County Fire Department received a call for an overturned tractor. It was reported that the operator’s foot had been pinned. Multiple units, including VCFD’s Urban Search and Rescue companies, responded and freed the operator within 30-minutes. He was transported to the hospital with moderate injuries.

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June/July, 2016

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SDFD Firefighter douses hot spots on steep terrain.


Brush fire weather erupts in San Diego Fire season is right around the corner for Southern California, and on a day that saw a high temperature record broken, San Diego Firefighters got an early start to the season. A brush fire broke out in a canyon just south of the Tecolote Wildland Preserve and north of a dense group of houses in a Linda Vista neighborhood at about 5 P.M. on April 18th. With first-alarm vegetation units responding, San Diego Fire Department's Copter-2 made seven water drops on the fire as the San Diego Sheriff Depart-

JUMP TO FILE #042216100 ment's Copter-10 assisted with an additional drop. As the first-alarm vegetation response began their attack, forty firefighters made an aggressive attack on the flames, which were moving southwest and advancing on steep terrain, covered with heavy fuel vegetation. A moderate wind made it imperative that the flames be stopped quickly, as a number of structures located at the

top of the hill were vulnerable to flames if the fire grew out of control. San Diego FD crews flanked the flames and achieved a knock down in 35-minutes, confining the blaze to less than one-acre in size. As firefighters overhauled the burn area, arson investigators arrived to examine the scene. With evidence of homeless activity in the area and the discovery of a large tea kettle, it appeared the cause was most likely from a campfire. - BOB GRAHAM

FACES OF CALIFORNIA’S EMERGENCY SERVICES To see your photos in the newspaper, upload them on our website or email them to


Mobile home fire in Fullerton

On May 3rd in the city of Fullerton at approximately 11:50 A.M., units from Fullerton and Anaheim Fire Departments fought a blaze at a mobile home park on Orangethorpe Ave., near Raymond St. Upon arrival, first-in units reported a fully involved mobile home with exposures on the "bravo" and "delta" sides of the fire. Due to aggressive fire attack, Fullerton Fire Department was able to confine the fire and protect exposures. Incident command called a knock down in approximately 25-minutes. One family was displaced and one firefighter suffered minor burns to the hand. The cause is under investigation.


Modesto Fire Department's Command Team (Fire Chief, Division Chiefs and Battalion Chiefs), participated in a leadership and team building class in March.

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If your department has photos you would like to see in our “Departmnt Profile” feature, please upload them on our website, or email them to

Anaheim Fire & Rescue Engine 6



Structure fire in Ojai Anaheim Fire & Rescue Truck 3


Anaheim Fire & Rescue Urban Search and Rescue 2


Anaheim Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief 1


Anaheim Fire & Rescue Hazardous Materials Response Team


Ventura County FD responded to a working structure fire in Ojai on Thursday, March 31st, in the 100th Block of West Aliso St. The structure consisted of three small apartments and one business. Heavy smoke was showing on arrival of Medic Engine-21. An interior fire attack, along with vertical ventilation of hot gasses, led to quick knockdown of the fire. The red covers were used to protect the contents of the structure.


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Rollover leaves one vehicle in creek Santa Barbara City and County Fire Departments responded to a rollover traffic accident at the intersection of Los Positas and Veronica JUMP TO FILE# Springs Roads on 041516100 the afternoon of April 13th. The first arriving engine company reported a single vehicle off of the roadway and into a creek. The acci-

dent occurred when the driver of the stake bed truck was traveling Southbound on Los Positas Road approaching Veronica Springs Road where he became distracted when the load of roofing materials in his truck bed started to shift. The traffic signal at the intersection was knocked down as a result of the collision. The driver was able to exit his vehicle without assistance and no injuries were reported. The Santa Barbara Police Department is inves-

tigating the accident. No fuel, oil or any other fluids were discharged into the creek at the time of the accident and the Santa Barbara Creeks Division was notified and responded to the scene for further assessment. The Santa Barbara City Fire Department would like to remind everyone to always wear their seat belts when riding in a motor vehicle. - KEVIN CORBETT


Early morning apartment fire


At approximately 1:30 A.M. on April 8th, Santa Barbara City Fire crews responded to a structure fire at an apartment complex on the corner of the 2600 block of State Street and El Vedado Lane. First arriving on scene firefighters found one of the apartment units engulfed with heavy smoke and flames. Safe and aggressive firefighting action by personnel on scene provided containment of the fire into the involved unit. Two battalion chiefs, three additional engines as well as Hazmat responded to assist with the incident. No injuries were reported. Fire investigation preliminary results determined that the fire

JUMP TO FILE #041516108 started in the master bedroom of unit #27. The cause was accidental in nature, most likely smoking related. Three other units received varying degrees of damage as a result, including both smoke and heat damage. Preliminary loss is estimated at $700,000 for the structure and $100,000 for contents. The Red Cross also responded to the scene to assist displaced residents. - RICH GRIGUOLI


June/July, 2016

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TheFireStore Promotes James Witmer to Chief Executive Officer

COATESVILLE, PA – 2/16/2016 TheFireStore, the nation’s leading multi-channel distributor of public safety equipment, supplies, training, and service is pleased to announce the promotion of James Witmer to the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective February 10, 2016. Witmer, former Vice President of Sales, has been a crucial member of the TheFireStore team since joining the company in 2003 as the Special Projects Manager. From there, James worked his way through the company ranks, serving as the Marketing Manager, Director of Business Development, and most recently, Vice President of Sales. Witmer will be assuming the CEO position in place of his father, Jim Witmer, who will continue to serve as Co-Founder and Chairman of TheFireStore. With this promotion, he will take on the added responsibility of establishing strategic growth priorities, articulating the company’s vision, setting the company culture, ensuring key positions are defined and filled, providing resources, and removing obstacles. In October of 2014, TheFireStore shared with their customer family and friends that Jim Witmer had been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease at only 57 years of age. Since then, James has been leading the charge in ensuring that the company continues to grow as it always has—with the support of its excellent customers, positive

relationships with the manufacturers it represents, and the hard work and dedication of its fantastic employees. James has been vital in the recent acquisition of Heroes Apparel in Richmond, VA; expanding the company’s SCBA sales and service footprint to include the state of New Jersey; explosive growth in both the outside and web-based sales for all TheFireStore brands, and targeting corporate philanthropical efforts at Alzheimer’s research. “I am so excited to have the opportunity to lead TheFireStore into the future,” said James Witmer. “It is humbling to follow in the footsteps of my father, a true visionary, and I am so thankful for this beautiful business that he has architected. I am grateful that my parents are not abdicating their role as owners and that they will be a sounding board for me as I grow in this role.” The entire team at TheFireStore is excited to celebrate James as their new CEO, and looks forward to the continued success they’re certainly going to experience. “You can’t help but to beam with pride when you see your children thrive and succeed. James is a born leader, and it’s really great getting to witness success after success in not only his role at TheFireStore, but his role as a husband and father, too,” said Jim Witmer. “This is a very exciting time for us as a company and we are proud of the growth we have seen in James

in recent years. He will do a great job leading us forward,” said Ruth Witmer, President of TheFireStore. “I’m honored by the trust that my family has in me and also the team that I work with on a daily basis,” said James. “I know that what we have accomplished and what we will accomplish is not the result of any one person, but through the hard work of many and by the grace of God.” James holds a degree in Accounting from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He and his wife Keshet Witmer have four children. James sits on the committee for Northern Chester County Young Life, is on the Missions Leadership Committee at Providence Church in West Chester, PA, and has been a member of Vistage since 2011. About Witmer Public Safety Group, Inc. Witmer Public Safety Group, Inc.’s (THEFIRESTORE) motto is Equipping Heroes™; this is accomplished by providing the industry's best equipment and supplies to the professional men and women who serve to ensure the public's safety. THEFIRESTORE prides itself on its competitive prices on quality products coupled with top-level customer service not found anywhere else in the industry. For additional information, please call (800) 8526088 or visit

Fisch Solutions announces premier vendor for fire departments

Fisch is proud to have established itself as the premier fire department IT vendors for fire departments and fire vendors. Founded by Firefighter/EMT Jason Fisch at the age of 14 as a freelancer and 2006 as an official company, the 11-person firm is made up of mostly firefighters from around the country. The company provides agencies

web design, software, and app solutions as well as system integrations for stations and mobile applications. Most notably, Fisch is known for its Spotteddog ROVER response system it provides to agencies around the region. The system allows responders to be alerted via App or text message and allows for the responders to respond

back via speed dial, text, or app. The program also has integrated mapping, AVL, and pre-plans. The award winning company has received various recognitions including being a Goldman Sach's 10K Small business and a member of most fire department organizations including NYS Fire Districts Association, FASNY, and NYS Fire.


Fully involved structure fire in vacant home Modesto FD and Ceres Fire responded to reports of a working structure fire on the 900 block of Dover Avenue around midnight on March 29th. First arriving crews found a vacant single story home fully involved. This property had previously caught fire and is known to be frequented by transients. Crews worked the fire in defensive mode and protected nearby structures while extinguishing the fire from the exterior. There were no injuries and the fire was limited to the strucutre of origin. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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FUTURE 1ST RESPONDERS If you have photos you would like to see in our Future 1st Responder feature, please upload them on our website or email them to


County Fire saves home in Victorville

On May 29th at 10:50 A.M., SBCoFD received reports of a vehicle fire in the City of Victorville. Medic Engine-312 was updated enroute to a motorhome fire extending into a residential structure and requested a structure fire response. Medic Engine-312 arrived within five-minutes to find a motor home completely involved in fire and extending into a structure less than ten-feet away. An aggressive attack was initiated and personnel were able to contain the fire within ten-minutes and with minimal damage to the structure. SBCoFD responded with three paramedic engines, one paramedic truck company and one battalion chief. The motorhome was destroyed, but crews were able to save the house. The cause of the fire was determined to be from an unattended candle inside of the RV.


This little girl has the right idea about the need for more women firefighters! The future of the fire service looks bright with her all geared up and ready to go next to Firefighter/Paramedic Chad Meketarian, at Redlands Fire Department on May 21st.


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Commercial fire breaks out in Garden Grove restaurant On May 3rd at 3:23 A.M., Garden Grove Fire was dispatched to a commercial fire on the 12000 block of Brookhurst St. Upon arrival, GGFD reported a commercial building with heavy smoke coming from a restaurant. The blaze was upgraded JUMP TO FILE# to a 4-alarm fire 050516103 which took 75 firefighters from Garden Grove, Anaheim and OCFA approximately one hour to knock down, pumping 8,000 gpm. The fire caused over 1.5 million dollars worth of damage and was determined to have started in the kitchen area. No injuries were reported and the cause was determined to be accidental. - FERNANDO VILLICANA


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Firefighters flippin’ cakes at the Saratoga Fire Station Santa Clara County Fire Department (County Fire) and the Saratoga Fire District hosted the annual "Saratoga Fire Station Pancake Breakfast." Over 350 residents and their families attended the breakfast that took place on Saturday, April 23rd, from 8-11 A.M., at the Saratoga Fire Station. County JUMP TO FILE# Fire's firefighters, 042816101 volunteers and explorers prepared and served breakfast that included pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee. Donations were requested to benefit the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. This year, firefighters were able to raise approximately $2,200 for the foundation. The pancake breakfast is a tradition that started back in the 1990s. Captain Tyler Mortensen has been working out of the Saratoga Fire Station for over 15 years and has organized the last two pancake breakfasts. "We appreciate Saratoga traditions and want to see this tradition continue for many years to come," Captain Mortensen said. The city of Saratoga's Mayor, Vice Mayor and City Manager also attended and served pancakes alongside firefighters. - STEPHANIE STUEHLER

Saratoga Mayor Manny Cappello and Vice Mayor Emily Lo.


Chaplains Corner: 911 CHAPLAINS CORNER Pastor Fernando Villicana

The three-digit telephone number "9-1-1" has been designated as the "Universal Emergency Number" for citizens throughout the United States. This “magic number” provides them with fast and easy access to emergency assistance. What a relief it is when our citizens hear the distant yelp of sirens as Emergency Services respond to their call for help. A sigh of relief and hope stirs in the heart of the patient as you arrive on scene. A full arrest, TC, physical rescue, pediatric problem, drowning, emergency child birth or other trauma finds the patient and loved ones in perhaps the worst situation of their lives. Upon arrival of an incident, Firefighters can see the desperation of a patient but simultaneously a look of confidence as they trust in the skill and professionalism of their rescuers.

I’m thankful God is with you on every call. And I’m also thankful that, when people require emergency assistance, God sends you. You are the answer to someone’s prayers! But have you ever cried out to the Lord during a difficult time in your life or that of a family member? A struggle in life. A trying time with your children, sickness or disease, a bitter divorce, financial collapse or perhaps a pain in your heart accumulated over the years due to a series of disappointments and discouragements. Have you ever looked up and cried out for help (911)? Due to God’s love demonstrated in Jesus Christ, we have the confidence that God hears, cares, and responds to His children in a time of need. In a crisis situation we can look to Jesus Christ with confidence that His expertise is sufficient to meet the need and calm the storm in our lives. Bible verse: “This poor man cried and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:4). Don’t ever forget that we all have immediate access to emergency services. All we have to do is “call Him up.”

Read more articles from all of our columnists online.


Vegetation fire breaks out adjacent to house A structure fire was reported on Thursday, March 31st. Units from multiple departments responded and found several palm trees burning adjacent to a structure. The home was successfully defended. The fire spread into nearby vegetation and burned about one-acre before it was extinguished.


June/July, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - CA

Non-injury collision shuts down road Los Positas Road was shut down in both directions between Stanley Drive and McCaw Avenue after a non- injury traffic collision on Los Positas Road. The single Toyota 4Runner crashed into a power pole on Sunday, May 22nd, just before 10:30 A.M., near the entrance to JUMP TO FILE# McKenzie Park. 052216103 Traffic was impacted and the major repair operation required the road closure until sometime Monday morning, May 23rd. The male driver was un-hurt, however; his vehicle sustained major front end damage. The Santa Barbara City Police Department was investigating the accident. Southern California Edison responded to install replacement poles and make repairs due to the damage from the vehicle accident. There was a potential for the surrounding neighborhoods to have intermittent power outages. The Santa Barbara Public Works Department provided barricades and traffic cones for the road closure. The Santa Barbara City Fire Department reminds everyone to always wear your seat belt. Seat belts save lives. -KEVIN CORBETT


Two graduate from Leadership Academy


Las Positas Road closed; broken power pole.

Captain Jeff Pike and Firefighter Pat Kelley graduated from the Los Angeles Fire Department Leadership Academy recently. The academy is an intense, three month graduate level course, developed by the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. During the program, students study behavioral science, problem solving, organization, leadership practices and much more. The intent is to develop their leadership potential and encourage them to adopt a lifelong commitment to the study of leadership.



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June/July, 2016


5 Things to Consider When Entering the DROP THE INFORMED FIREFIGHTER “YOU PROTECT THE PUBLIC, WE’LL PROTECT YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE” Whether or not to enter the DROP is a unique decision and one which should be considered carefully. For some, the decision is a foregone conclusion due to personal circumstances and an attractive plan design. For others, the decision is less obvious and involves a more thorough review of the costs and benefits. This article covers the most important points to consider when a sworn employee has decided to enter the DROP. The goal is to avoid the common pitfalls in the DROP-decision process and make informed choices that maximize the benefits offered within the pension plan and within the tax code. The first and most fundamental point regarding DROP is that it is an irrevocable decision. The one consistent feature in all DROP plans is that once the paperwork is completed, the employee is considered “retired” for all practical purposes. As such, his length of service is suspended, his final average salary is calculated, and he no longer accrues pension credits. When the DROP period ends (5 years typically), the member must separate from service. It is important to recognize that during the period between DROP-entry and DROP-exit, most plans suspend a member’s contributions. So if a firefighter had been contributing 7% (as required by the plan) to the pension prior to DROP-entry, his paycheck will effectively increase by 7% once he enters DROP. This is an ideal time to increase 457 (deferred comp) contributions by a similar amount (7%), since the employee would not “feel” any difference in his take-home pay. This would likely lead to a higher 457 plan balance at the end of the DROP period and be an important resource in retirement. In short, a firefighter has every incentive to increase 457 contributions at DROP-entry. Additionally, it would be an ideal time for a certified financial planner to review the member’s 457 allocation and consider rebalancing the portfolio to lower risk. A second point to consider before entering the DROP relates to timing. Ideally, one would enter the DROP after a pay-raise from a promotion, or perhaps right after a COLA (cost of living adjustment) is announced. This would maximize the member’s pension and therefore lead to a higher DROP balance at separation. It is important to time one’s exit from the DROP after the member turns age 50. Retiring any sooner may compromise the employee’s ability to access the DROP money without a 10% penalty. Per section 72(t)-10 rules, a member can exit the DROP in the year she turns 50 and not be subject to a premature penalty. This section in the internal revenue code deals exclusively with sworn employees and is a calendar-based rule, not an agebased rule. For example, say a chief is scheduled to exit the DROP in November of this year and anticipates a DROP balance of $350,000. Let’s assume she is presently 49 years old, but will turn 50 in December of this

year. Per IRS guidelines, if she takes a direct distribution for any amount in the DROP, she will not be subject to a 10% early-withdrawal penalty on the money. With proper planning, exiting from DROP should be a smooth process and not involve withdrawal penalties on the DROP balance. When entering DROP, another important decision a firefighter must make is choosing a pension payout. The retirement benefit one chooses is a personal decision based on factors such as risk tolerance, investable assets, and whether one is single or married. The default retirement benefit in most plans is 10- year certain. This benefit is paid to you for life, but you or your beneficiary will receive at least 120 monthly benefit payments in any event. Keep in mind that the period certain begins once a firefighter enters DROP, not at separation from service. So if a member is in DROP for 5 years, he has 5 years of period certain left when exiting DROP. Interestingly, this type of default retirement benefit or “normal benefit”, is not the most conservative option and therefore might necessitate additional life insurance to mitigate exposure to premature death. Other optional forms of retirement benefit include joint & survivor payouts. While of equal actuarial value as the normal benefit, these optional forms vary in degree of risk. The most conservative option is 100% joint & survivor and guarantees that a spouse will receive an unreduced monthly annuity in the event of a joint pensioner’s death. Other iterations of this retirement payout include modified monthly amounts that are 75%, 66 2/3%, or 50% of the primary pensioner’s benefit. Another thing to consider in choosing a retirement benefit relates to social security integration. Increasingly, this optional form of benefit is available in retirement plans. If you retire prior to the time at which social security benefits are payable, you may elect to receive a more level retirement income during your entire period of retirement by integrating your social security. Effectively, the city front-loads your pension by giving you a higher monthly amount and then reduces the pension once your social security payments begin. It is also a powerful way to turbo-charge your DROP, since it yields the highest monthly pension. However, many plans only allow social security integration if the member elects a single life annuity payout, a retirement income of a comparatively higher amount, but payable to you for your lifetime only (with no period-certain). A fourth point to consider when entering DROP is that you will no longer be eligible for disability benefits under most pension plans. As such, if a firefighter becomes disabled in the line of duty while in the DROP, he will not be eligible for benefits unless he has coverage in a private disability plan. Additionally, DROP participants are typically not eligible

for pre-retirement death benefits either. Given this fact, it is important to review insurance coverage prior to entering DROP to minimize exposure. A final point to keep in mind when entering the DROP is that most plans allow a firefighter to roll unused sick time and vacation time to a 457 account. This tax deferral strategy is ideal for those who have accumulated sizeable balances. Rather than taking a check for these benefits, an employee has the opportunity to defer immediate taxation until a later date. Also, given the favorable distribution rules for 457 plans, a firefighter can request drawdowns right after separation from service occurs. For example, say a chief enters the DROP and has accumulated $18,500 in sick time and vacation time. He decides

to have the city cut two checks: one to him for $5,000 to pay down debt and another for $13,500 to his 457 provider. So long as he doesn’t exceed federal guidelines on maximum contributions to the plan for the year, he can redirect the larger second check to his 457 account and take distributions on his terms. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to DROP and making a mistake can be costly. All of the different rules present potential pitfalls, so leveraging a financial professional is essential. Consider contacting me to discuss your specific situation and I will design a comprehensive, customized plan for you and your family. Rick Palmer is a Certified Financial Planner™ and a recognized

expert on DROP. He manages money for sworn employees and hosts educational seminars on DROP across the state of Florida. He can be reached at: 2905 Bayshore Blvd Tampa, FL 33629, (866) 347-4482 and ©2016 Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

©2016 Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC


June/July, 2016

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KIMTEK Targets Improved Fire, EMS, and Police Rescues with New Facility

KIMTEK Corporation, Vermontbased makers of MEDLITE® and FIRELITE® transport skid units, celebrated the opening of its second production facility in September. Attended by company employees, vendors, community members, and special guests representing the fire and rescue manufacturing industry, the event marked an expanded focus on fire, EMS, and police rescue markets by the company founded in 1984 by Kimball Johnson, holder of numerous U.S. patents and founder of the Westmore, Vermont Fire Department, for which he also served as fire chief. KIMTEK moved into the new facility, located in Orleans, Vermont, in May with plans to expand research, design, and production of its lines of off-road patient evacuation and fire suppression units within the domestic and international medical, fire, and rescue communities. According to Mr. Johnson, the addition of the new facility triples the space now available for company operations. The original Westmore facility will continue to house office and warehouse space as well as provide additional room to expand the company's new product design and engineering pursuits. KIMTEK office headquarters have been relocated to the Orleans facility. Darley CEO notes KIMTEK's growth and sound corporate culture Special guest and speaker Paul C. Darley, president and CEO of W.S. Darley & Co., of Illinois, manufacturers of Darley water pumps and fire apparatus, delivered remarks at the ceremony. Mr. Darley applauded the tenyear relationship between the two companies, and specifically noted that KIMTEK Corporation has grown significantly in a market that has not grown much in the last ten years. "We're very pleased to be a small part of your success and growth,"

Mr. Darley told the assembly. "I'm a big believer that culture is what sets aside a company from all the others. You need a culture with a leader such as Kimball who gets it... who understands people, understands his customers, understands his employees, and who understands where the market is going. And with the innovative, high quality products produced here, he has actually created new markets."

Mr. Darley also recognized the family-based core values that their companies share, obvious to him, he said, while meeting company employees during his visit. He emphasized the two companies' similarities as family-owned businesses.

Mr. Johnson said the strong relationship with the Darley team has helped KIMTEK become the company it is today. He also spoke of his appreciation of company employees, some of whom are actually relatives but all of whom he thinks of as family. He recognized his workforce as consisting of committed public servants, and said, "We're celebrating the ribbon-cutting of our new facility, but in reality we are celebrating our employees and our families, for without them, none of us would be standing here today."

Roots of leadership in R&D Mr. Johnson purchased the Orleans facility to expand production of the company's full line of MEDLITE® and FIRELITE® transport skid units, products he designed when, as fire chief, he saw firsthand the need for affordable, flexible transport in remote rescue locations. In fact, KIMTEK Corporation was founded as a research and development company dedicated to advances in life safety technology in the fire sciences. Today KIMTEK is the largest producer and marketer of ATV, UTV, and compact pickup truck-specific skid units for public safety agencies in the

United States. Custom designed for off-road emergency service vehicles, KIMTEK's slide-in medical, fire, and rescue skid units are now in service in all fifty states, the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. Its ever expanding global presence is cemented with units in service for U.S. Embassies, the Department of Defense, and all branches of the U.S. Military. A certified GSA (General Services Agency) contractor, KIMTEK transport skid units are also widely used in first response for large industrial plants, mining operations, and for seashore, sports stadium, racetrack, and other recreational venues. According to Mr. Johnson, among the advantages of the new and bigger facility is a streamlined, spacious production area, improving workstation assembly and packaging efficiency. With help from a dedicated in-house machine and tool center, KIMTEK's production area stays ahead of updates in equipment technology and quickly meets its markets' growing demand for custom, specialized products. Known for exceptional quality construction and top-of-the-line

components such as pumps from Darley and Pacer, Hannay reels, and Scotty foam systems, KIMTEK's transport units are made in America. Mr. Johnson says the company's leadership in the marketplace is due to big vision and small details. "We insist on installing all aluminum tubing and diamond plate on the chassis, and we never cut corners," he said.

Protecting the protectors The needs of first responders are as varied as the terrain within their jurisdictions. Mr. Johnson sees opportunities for custom skid units nearly everywhere he goes. Some of the new products KIMTEK has in prototype are for beach rescues and specialized police team response. Mr. Johnson's plans may also include providing more accessories options to customers, simplifying their procurement of routine items such as strainers, suction hose, and nozzles. "Assuring customers of the superior quality and reliable delivery they expect from KIMTEK is paramount in all our plans for the future," he said.

A company keenly familiar with adapting to the fast-changing specifications of ATV and UTV markets, KIMTEK consistently meets needs specific to first re-

sponders with top quality, easy-touse components and attention to ergonomic details, such as installation of sturdy, stainless steel grab bars and non-slip texturing on component grips. Always aiming to support first responders as well as their mission, KIMTEK works with industry specialists to deliver options that professionals report are needed in the field. One recently launched series of new skid units features an ultra high pressure FoamPro® Turbo Stream® foam concentration injector system, specifically requested by fire professionals for UTVs and pickup trucks. After 31 years in business and expansion into a large, new manufacturing facility, KIMTEK is poised for even greater growth. "Our new space means we can indeed better explore new products serving new markets," Mr. Johnson said. "New units custom designed for military and law enforcement applications are in the works right now." The company expects to conduct field tests on these and other prototypes in development in 2016. More information about KIMTEK may be found at

1ST Responder Newspaper - CA

June/July, 2016


Fire Family Foundation provides additional Lake County Fire Relief Support Lake County fire survivors, including children and families who continue to rebuild their lives and community, will benefit from a generous donation of nearly $60,000 from Fire Family Foundation (FFF). Combined with a previous FFF donation of $80,000, a total of $140,000 has been provided by the Foundation to provide care, counseling, housing and community support to assist children and families in recovering from last fall’s devastating fires in Lake County. Fire Family Foundation provides assistance to individuals and families affected by fire-related disasters throughout California and is the charitable hand of Firefighters First Credit Union. FFF worked with Mendo Lake Credit Union (MLCU) and Redwood Credit Union (RCU) along with the California Credit Union League (CCUL) and local Lake County leaders to identify the greatest needs of fire survivors and provide the funding. The needs identified in this phase of funding

include child counseling services, support for a community center and pool, a school garden program and water supplies. Superintendent of Middletown Unified School District Catherine Stone identified counseling for kids struggling with the aftermath of the fires as their top priority. Stone shared Middletown was the largest district impacted by the fires in terms of students and residents affected, and she and her staff continue to see students struggling with recovering psychologically and emotionally in the aftermath of the fires. FFF provided funds for the school district to hire a counselor to support the students in their recovery. During and after a traumatic experience, amplified and confused emotions are common, especially in children. “It means so much to us to receive this generous donation to help our community’s children. As educators, whenever our students suffer, we’re impacted as well,” stated Superintendent Stone. “This gen-

erous donation allowed us to hire a qualified counselor who is helping bring peace of mind to our students who are still struggling to cope after the fire, and it’s a huge relief to all of us in the district. We can't thank the Fire Family Foundation enough for this generous donation,” Stone added. FFF funding will also go toward repairing the Pine Summit Recreation and Social Club—a member-owned, not-for-profit pool center donated to the community in the 1960s and run by a volunteer board. It serves as a gathering place for local children and the Lake County community, and will support community rebuilding. Volunteers saved the pool area from being destroyed in the fire, however, the property sustained significant damage, which was not covered by insurance. The FFF donation will allow repairs to be made so this important community recreation center can reopen this summer. FFF also provided $3,000 to support school garden programs

throughout the burn area. The ability for children to help replant the post-fire landscape has proven to be a form of “dirt therapy.” Finally, FFF provided $1,000 to help the Cobb Mountain Lions Club Relief Center, which due to the remote location of the community, provides high-need supplies such as bottled water for local residents. The water system in the Cobb area is being replaced, and residents are experiencing a high number of “boil water” days, often without advance warning. Mike Mastro, Foundation Board Chair and President/CEO of Firefighters First Credit Union, highlighted the Foundation’s choices. “Last fall we watched as hundreds of families evacuated their homes, while many of our firefighters were on the front lines battling the fires. The Foundation, committed to helping after such disasters, strongly believes in offering a helping hand. Helping children, families, and schools move forward ensures the recovery efforts can continue.”

Anyone wishing to donate to support Lake County fire recovery efforts may still do so through North Coast Opportunities at ABOUT FIRE FAMILY FOUNDATION As the charitable hand of Firefighters First Credit Union, Fire Family Foundation responds when tragedy strikes, offering compassion and financial assistance to firefighters and fire survivors in need. In 2015, the Foundation provided more than $175,000 in immediate assistance to firefighters and their families, fire survivors, fire departments and charities. Support is widespread throughout the State of California; this past year attention was given to Northern Californian communities and fire personnel who experienced a devastating fire season. The Foundation believes those in need can experience comfort, healing, and support from their “Fire Family.” - FIRE FAMILY FOUNDATION

Two awarded with Medal of Valor On May 26th, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department recognized SBCoFD Firefighter Captain Jeremy Kern and Firefighter/Paramedic Eric Sherwin with the Medal Of Valor for their lifesaving efforts as part of the flight crew of Sheriff's Air Rescue-306. On Monday, February 16, 2015, Pilot/Sergeant Al Daniel; Crew Chief/Corporal Mike Ells; Air Medic Ray Ramirez, Firefighter Captain Jeremy Kern and Firefighter/Paramedic Eric Sherwin were assigned to work as the flight crew for Sheriff's Resuce-306. At approximately 11:50 A.M., a man was off-road motorcycle riding with his friend when he crashed and went over the mountain side in

JUMP TO FILE #060116128 Warm Springs Canyon. The victim fell approximately 60-feet and was found lying on the steep, rocky, unstable mountainside and his friend called 911 for help. Due to the victim's position, any movement would cause him and the rescuer to slide down the mountain side where they would suffer severe injuries or possible death. Air Rescue-306 responded to the scene. The crew decided a 'pick off' maneuver, the most dangerous and technical helicopter rescue, would have to be performed. With no room for error, the pilot and crew coordination

would have to be precise. The medic to be hoisted down could not even be placed on the ground. The team precisely maneuvered the helicopter to hover directly over the victim and Eric Sherwin was lowered to the mountainside, where he strategically placed a rescue pick off strap around the man's chest and under his arms without letting him fall. Once Sherwin secured the man in the strap, they were hoisted off the mountain slope to safety. This was a highly complex technical rescue with no room for error, but Air Rescue-306 got the job done! - SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY FIRE





June/July, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - CA

APPARATUS IN ACTION If you have photos you would like to see in our Apparatus in Action feature please upload them on our website or email them to



Fullerton Truck 1 in action at a recent structure fire

Brea Truck 2 in action at a recent structure fire


Fire damages classroom at Bloomington High School On May 13th, San Bernardino County Firefighters from Bloomington and Fontana were dispatched to a reported rubbish fire which was shortly thereafter reported as a portable classroom on fire. The call then was changed to a commercial structure fire, bringing more units to assist. Units arrived in seven minutes, finding one portable classroom with heavy smoke showing and one portable classroom immediately threatened. With an aggressive attack, the fire was knocked down in 13-

JUMP TO FILE #051316106 minutes, limiting damage to only one classroom. No injuries were reported. San Bernardino County Fire Investigators and San Bernardino County Sheriff Arson/Bomb were summoned to the scene to determine the cause and origin of the fire. Earlier in the morning at 1:23 A.M., SBCoFD responded to a report of trees on fire at Bloomington High

School, on a different portion of the campus. SBCoFD investigators are looking into if these two fires were related. SBCoFD is also working with Colton Unified School District to gather information and determine damage estimations. Four Medic Engines, one Truck Company, one Paramedic Squad and two Battalion Chiefs responded to the incident. Rialto FD also responded with one Engine to assist. - MIKE MCCLINTOCK

Two-story house fire in Fontana

Fullerton Fire Department in action at a recent structure fire


Anaheim in action at a recent structure fire


On April 20th at 5:30 P.M., San Bernardino County Fire Department responded to multiple reports of a residential structure fire on the 16200 block of Pine Ave., in Fontana. The first unit arrived on scene approximately five minutes after dispatch to find heavy smoke and fire coming from an open garage door, with flames extending to the second-story roofline. With other units arriving just JUMP TO FILE# moments later, fire- 042916103 fighters began an aggressive attack. The attack was made especially challenging, as high winds in the area were pushing heat into the flames and toward a neighboring home. Firefighters deployed additional hose lines to keep the fire from spreading to the other home. Interior crews were assigned to search the home for victims and fight fire that had burned through to exterior walls and into the second-story attic. Fortunately, no civilians were inside of the home. It took 40-minutes for firefighters

to get the fire under control. No civilians were injured but two firefighters suffered minor injuries. One firefighter was treated on scene and returned back to work while the other was transported to a local hos-

pital for treatment. Damage to the home was estimated to be $300,000. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. DANIEL NELSON


1ST Responder Newspaper - CA

June/July, 2016



June/July, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - CA


Vehicle found on fire in carport PROVIDED

San Bernardino County Fire Department announces new East Valley Division; Division Chief Appointment San Bernardino County Fire Department officials announced the creation of a new County Fire Division on April 29th. The East Valley Division (Division 6), will be formed to accommodate the expected transition of the San Bernardino City Fire Department into the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District. Division Chief John Chamberlin, currently assigned to lead the South Desert Division, will be reassigned to become the first Division Chief of the East Valley Division, effective immediately. He will also help lead the transition of the San Bernardino City Fire Department into County Fire. “Chief Chamberlin brings a wealth of knowledge and experience into his new assignment. He has demonstrated strong leadership throughout his career at County Fire and I am confident in his ability to lead this new division from the ground up,” Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said. The prospective boundaries of Division 6 will split the existing Valley Division (Division 1), along Interstate 215 and will result in the renaming of Division 1 as the West Valley Division. “I am honored by the department’s decision and privileged to serve our residents in this new role,” Chief Chamberlin said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to help transition the San Bernardino City Fire Department, and look forward to working with the city’s

At 1:22 P.M. on April 11th, 911 dispatchers received reports of a structure fire in the 1100 Block of Laguna St. Engines 3, 2 and 1 along with Truck-1 and Battalion Chief712 were dispatched to the fire. Engine-3 arrived first and reported a vehicle in a carport that was well involved in fire. With the carport located to the rear of a deep residential lot, firefighters on Engine-3 pulled a 275-foot hose line to initiate their fire attack. Santa Barbara Police Officers assisted Engine-1 firefighters with the evacuation of the adjacent apart-

JUMP TO FILE #041516109 ment units. Firefighters from both the Truck Company and Engine-2 assisted with checking for fire extension into the walls and ceiling of the carport. Several storage lockers were involved in the fire in addition to the vehicle. The fire was confined to the carport area with no extension into the living areas. An investigation into the cause of the fire is currently underway.

This was a fairly routine fire with only property damage and no injuries to residents nor firefighters. The potential for injury and life loss elevates significantly had this fire occurred during the nighttime hours. The importance of properly functioning smoke alarms can’t be emphasized enough. Please take the time today to test your smoke detectors and install new batteries or buy new detectors if needed, to provide maximum protection for yourself and your family members. - GARY PITNEY

JUMP TO FILE #042916102 staff and respected fire chiefs in completing the annexation process.” Division Chief John Chamberlin began his full time career with San Bernardino County Fire with the contracting of services for the City of Adelanto in September 1999, as a Firefighter/Paramedic. Prior to this, he served as both a Fire Dispatcher and Paid-Call Firefighter for both the County of San Bernardino and City of Victorville. During his time with the County Fire, Chamberlin worked his way through the ranks, becoming a Captain in 2004 and a Battalion Chief in 2013. Chamberlin has served on various committees and special projects, including oversight of the Fire Suppression component of the department’s Hazardous Materials Response Team. He is also an active member of the department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team (RTF 6). Chief Chamberlin, along with Deputy Chief Jim Johnstone and Assistant Chief Don Trapp, will work closely with San Bernardino City Chiefs' Thomas Hannemann and Daniel Harker to carry out the annexation, expected to be completed July 1, 2016. - LOUIS PENNA


Mobile home fire in El Cajon

At 10:45 P.M. on April 24th, Heartland Fire & Rescue crews from El Cajon, with assistance from Cal Fire – San Miguel, were dispatched to reports of a mobile home fire in the 400 block of Van Houten Ave., in El Cajon. Fire crews arrived within five-minutes to discover a fully involved fire in a single-wide mobile home as well as an exterior shed. Firefighters quickly attacked the fire, preventing it from spreading to the adjacent mobile homes on both sides. The sole resident, an adult female, self-evacuated prior to fire department arrival. There were no occupant or firefighter injuries reported. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. Estimated damage is $40,000 for the structure and $20,000 for contents.

1ST Responder Newspaper - CA

June/July, 2016



June/July, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - CA

The Human Factors, a contributing factor in firefighter Injury and death - Part I STAYING SAFE

Chief Henry Campbell

This article and the next 2 following articles first appeared when I first started writing this column, Staying Safe, 15 years ago. I repeated it 6 years ago with slight modification, and feel it still holds true today as a leading cause of firefighter injury and death. It can serve as a refresher for senior firefighters and as a safety lesson for newer firefighters. The prime suspect for a majority of all unsafe acts and the resulting injuries and deaths in fire/EMS personnel can be relegated to “Human Factors.” This Human Factor or Human Error category includes many sub categories that contribute to unsafe and dangerous acts at the emergency scene. Included, but not limited to, the following: laziness, lack of concentration, poor judgment and failure to evaluate risks involved, not being prepared, insufficient training, taking foolish chances, complacency, macho or indestructible attitude, accidents don’t happen to me, refusing to seek help, emotions out of control, and the proverbial taking short cuts rather than following standard procedures. It is always easy to blame the equipment, apparatus, or changing fire conditions, but was it really the individual firefighter at fault? Laziness is probably the greatest cause for any type of unsafe act because indirectly it will almost appear as the root cause for the incident to have occurred. Most will deny laziness as the primary cause because of the guilt complex that goes along with being identified as being LAZY. Hey, I got news for you, we all suffer from the same problem and it has a bearing in our everyday life. Who gets up to change TV channels? How about the portable telephone? When I sit down to watch TV I make sure I have the TV remote, but more often then I like, I forget to bring the portable phone. In the height of laziness I hope my wife will come join me, and then I ask her to bring the phone, anything to keep from getting up! I am not alone. Fortunately the aforementioned are not life threatening, but if laziness carries over into our day-to-day chores or when we respond as

emergency responders, it can lead to injury. How about cleaning the leaves from the gutters? You put the ladder up and then hug it, getting as close as possible to the rungs while over reaching left and right as far as possible in order to keep from climbing down and repositioning the ladder. When we complete the gutter-cleaning chore what have we saved, having to move the ladder 2 or 3 more times, while giving no thought to our personal safety. You don’t have to fall from a great height to be injured, and the older you get the shorter the distance. Maybe, as one gets older, it would be safer to hire someone to clean the gutters for us. Think about it, if we do the same things at the emergency scene in order to save energy and footsteps, the risk of injury and death are far greater than being unable to change the TV channel. Are we wearing all our protective equipment, or have we forgotten or misplaced an item in the excitement? If we have, the chances are we are not going back to get it. How many times have we used the tool in hand as a poor substitute for the correct tool simply because it requires going back to the rig to obtain it? How often do we stand on a chair, table, or bed, or whatever else is available, to pull a ceiling with a halligan tool when a 6 foot hook is the preferred tool for the job? It is almost impossible to maintain ones balance walking on a bed, let alone perform some physical activity. How about ladder placement and height? Do we reposition the ladder, or get a ladder of greater length when it is the safe thing to do, or do we make do and hope nothing goes wrong. There are times the IC gives a specific assignment and we immediately come up with a better idea, usually one that reduces physical exertion and therefore easier to perform. Officers and Incident Commanders should be aware of counter proposals and their effect on the safety of personnel. The task may be made easier, but will it be as effective and safe? Counter proposals are usually shortcuts that eliminate a safe method of performing a task, and may become the contributing factors to injuries and death, and they generally start with being lazy. We know better, but laziness is driving us so therefore we overlook the added risk. To be continued next month. Till then, Stay Safe and God Bless!


San Bernardino County Fire honors CONFIRE Each year we dedicate the second full week in April to those who serve as public safety dispatchers and communications personnel. With that in mind, San Bernardino County Fire honors the dedicated dispatchers of the Consolidated Fire Agencies of San Bernardino County (CONFIRE) who serve as the first, first responders when county residents dial 9-1-1. The week-long event, known as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, was initially set up in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Office. Over the years it picked up steam and was eventually recognized by Congress, thanks in large part to Rep. Edward J. Markey (DMass). By 1994 it was officially recognized as an annual event. The joint powers authority known as CONFIRE is the communications and dispatch hub for numerous fire agencies within San Bernardino County, including County Fire. They received almost 132,000 9-1-1 calls in 2015, about 70 percent of which were medical calls, and are expecting to handle even

JUMP TO FILE #042916106 more this year. In 2012, CONFIRE was recognized as an Accredited Center of Excellence by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. In September 2015, their accreditation was renewed for another three years, and remains one of only 16 accredited centers in California and one of 149 worldwide. 2015 was a busy year for CONFIRE; they played a significant role in organizing and tracking all the Strike Teams and resources sent to Northern California to assist with the Valley and Butte fires over the summer. Some of the major incidents back home were the North Fire and the Dec. 2 San Bernardino shooting. These type of large scale incidents require CONFIRE employees to keep multiple agencies in contact with each other and deploy coordinated resources where needed. CONFIRE Joint Powers Authority is a multi-agency Fire, Rescue

and Emergency Medical Services Dispatch Center comprised of San Bernardino County Fire, Colton, Loma Linda, Redlands, Rialto, and Rancho Cucamonga Fire Departments. CONFIRE also provides dispatch services by contract for Apple Valley Fire Protection District, Big Bear Fire Authority, Mt. Baldy Fire, Running Springs, Twenty-Nine Palms, Montclair and Upland Fire Departments, Baker Ambulance, and the San Bernardino County Transportation/Flood Control Department. CONFIRE also functions as the operational area dispatch for the County of San Bernardino, where they are responsible for coordinating mutual aid needs within the county and processing mutual aid requests to and from the Region VI Office of Emergency Services Operations Center. San Bernardino County Fire Department thanks the CONFIRE team for their hard work and dedication to safety and excellence. We wouldn’t be able to do it without you. -TRACEY MARTINEZ


1ST Responder Newspaper - CA

June/July, 2016



Lucerne Valley fire claims one life and injures another SANTA BARBARA CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT

Multi-vehicle rollover on freeway

On May 14th, at approximately 4:45 P.M., the Santa Barbara City Fire Department responded to a vehicle rollover traffic accident on US-101 Northbound, at the Bath Street off ramp. Two of the three vehicles that were involved rolled over and all three sustained moderate to major damage. Engine-1, Engine-2, Truck-1 and a Battalion Chief were assisted by two ambulances. The California Highway Patrol assisted with traffic control and is investigating the accident. Four patients were transported to the hospital. All occupants in all vehicles were wearing seat belts. The Santa Barbara City Fire Department reminds everyone to always wear their seat belts. Seat belts save lives! -Kevin Corbett

On Tuesday, April 19th just after 4:30 A.M., San Bernardino County Fire responded to multiple reports of a residential structure fire in the 9800 block of Mesa Road in Lucerne Valley. 911 callers reported elderly residents possibly unable to evacuate from their home. The first engine company arrived to find heavy smoke and fire involving 50% of a 1400-square-foot, singlefamily structure. One resident was located outside of the home and was treated by fire department paramedics. San Bernardino County Firefighters made entry into the house to find hoarding conditions, which contributed to the spread of the blaze and also slowed their pro-

JUMP TO FILE #042916105 gression toward the seat of the fire. During the attack, the roof collapsed over the suspected room of origin. It took just over 30-minutes to bring the fire under control. While conducting a search for victims, an elderly female was located and found deceased in a bedroom, which was the suspected room in which the fire began. An elderly male resident, who was initially found outside of the residence, was treated for smoke inhalation and burns and flown to a regional burn center for definitive treatment of his

injuries. Additionally, one dozen cats had been located and found deceased inside of the structure, though firefighters expected that number to climb as overhaul efforts continued through all of the debris inside of the residence. Five engine companies, one paramedic ambulance and a chief officer were on scene of the incident. County Fire received assistance from both the Apple Valley Fire Protection District as well as Cal Fire. The cause of the fire remains under investigation through County Fire’s Office of the Fire Marshal and the San Bernardino County Sheriff. - ERIC SHERWIN

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Anaheim responds to traffic collision

On April 13th at approximately 2:00 P.M., units from Anaheim Fire & Rescue responded to a traffic collision involving two vehicles. Upon arrival, firefighters reported one vehicle overturned with a man trapped in the driver's seat. There were a total of four people involved in the crash. The driver of the overturned vehicle was extricated and transported to a local hospital and listed in stable condition.


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To see your action shots in the newspaper upload them on our website, email them to or mail them to 1st Responder News, 1 Ardmore Street. New Windsor, NY 12553.

Pancake food line at the Saratoga Fire Station.

San Bernardino County Fire honors CONFIRE.



Units from Fullerton and Anaheim Fire Departments fought a blaze at a mobile home park on May 3rd. FERNANDO VILLICANA


San Bernardino County Fire HHW & Community Safety partner up at the San Bernardino County Fair.


Santa Clara County Fire Department Fire Chief Ken Kehmna, Saratoga Station Firefighters, Volunteers, and Explorers Post in front of station.

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Residents rescued in Anaheim



The Bureau of Land Management Folsom Lake Hotshots has acquired this 2016 International/KME crew carrier, with the capacity of 2 + 8.

Garage fire in El Cajon At approximately 6:38 A.M. on Monday, January 18th, Heartland Fire & Rescue crews in the City of El Cajon responded to reports of a structure fire in the 800 block of Hacienda Drive. Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy smoke and flames coming from the garage of a single-family home, located at 897 Hacienda Drive in El Cajon. Heartland Firefighters from El Cajon and La Mesa, with assistance from San Diego Fire & Rescue, had the fire extinguished in five-min-

JUMP TO FILE #011916109 utes. The fire was contained to the garage, but there was smoke damage to the home. Damage has been estimated at $150,000, for structure and contents. The exact cause of the fire is now under investigation. - MONICA ZECH

A three-alarm fire at a large apartment building injured three people, displaced more than a dozen others and damaged 16 apartments, causing an estimated $400,000 in losses, authorities said. The blaze inside the building at 1741 N. Community Dr. was reported at 11:35 P.M on Tuesday, JUMP TO FILE# May 17th, according 051816104 to Anaheim Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt. The fire started in an upstairs apartment and that apartment is a total loss. The flames then spread to a large hallway, causing other seven apartments that line that hallway to suffer heavy smoke and heat damage. The eight downstairs apartments also sustained smoke and heat damage," said Wyatt. “Three people were hurt in the fire, one suffered burns and two suffered smoke inhalation. They were transported to a hospital but their injuries were not life-threatening,� he added. The fire displaced between 16 and 32 people from the 16 apartments. Sixty firefighters were dispatched to the scene by the Anaheim, Brea, Fullerton and Orange Fire Departments as well as the Orange County Fire Authority. - FERNANDO VILLICANA


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Phone: (203) 445 6536 • Built by firefighters, for firefighters



June/July, 2016

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WORKING FACES If you have photos you would like to see in our Working Faces feature please upload them on our website or email them to

United States Navy Seahawk makes a water drop.


Navy and Marines ready to assist Cal Fire with aerial assets Although fire season is really year round in Southern California, it's “official” start is the beginning of May. By that time, the last of the Winter rainstorms are memory, and unless an unusual bit of precipitation passes by, a long, hot and dry Summer/Fall has begun. When the disastrous wildfires of 2003 hit, coordination between fire agencies was minimal. The 2007 wildfires found improvements in many areas but the military, which had dozens of aerial assets available (outside of a couple of instances where helicopters did assist), was pretty much only able to be spectators to the carnage laying waste to vast stretches of open space and structures. After those wildfires, Cal Fire, the Navy and the Marines began talks to see if working together was feasible. While no major wildfires occurred until 2014, the training continued. More and more squadrons trained together with Cal Fire. During the biggest fires in Southern California that year, over 40 military helicopters were in the air, working alongside Cal Fire helicopters and tankers. Helicopters from local agencies also joined in to fight fire from the air. 2016 will find the largest and

JUMP TO FILE #051616131 most trained group of military aviators ever. This has been accomplished by year round training, on both the squadron level as well as with joint exercises with Cal Fire. Providing weather updates, standbys and call-ups is Cal Fire's responsibility but enthusiasm is so high within Navy and Marine squadrons that they are actually calling Cal Fire with weather updates when fire danger is high, having already prepped their aircraft and attached Bambi Buckets. Military assets can only be called into action when civilian assets are all committed. Until that time, they remain grounded. Once the call comes from Cal Fire, military helicopters can be airborne in as little as 30 minutes. In 2014, the vast majority of Marine assets in the air were CH-46 Sea Knights, with several CH-53E Super Stallions tackling heavy lift missions. The Navy provided a number of Sea Hawk helicopters. The Sea Knights and Sea Hawks fielded 420-gallon Bambi Buckets, while the Super Stallions flew with a 900- gallon bucket. In 2015, the

Marines retired the last of their CH46 Sea Knights, which was replaced by the MV-22 Osprey. Initially, because of a huge rotor downwash and other factors, the use of the Osprey for firefighting was not deemed a real possibility. On May 4th, 2016, the Navy and Marines put on a demonstration of their aerial might, working alongside Cal Fire and San Diego Sheriff’s Office helicopters in conjunction with Camp Pendleton ground crews using brush rigs and bulldozers. But as Marines do, they adapt and improvise. The Osprey, equipped with a much longer bucket line than with other helicopters, will join the fight when needed. The Marines will also be using the UH1Y Venom as a firefighting helicopter along with Sea Knight. The bucket capacity for the Sea Hawks and Venoms will remain at 420-gallons, while the Super Stallions and Ospreys carry 900-gallon buckets. Should a massive wildfire strike again in Southern California, the sky will still be filled with smoke, but Navy and Marine aircrafts will be creating a very large shadow as they work hand in hand with civilian agencies to quell the flames. - BOB GRAHAM


In between calls for service, Medic Engine-261 spotted a stranded motorist in the heat. Firefighter/Paramedic Swenson and Engineer Brookens changed her tire and got her back on the road in short order. Their unit remained available to respond to emergencies while they wrapped up. Redland FD is proud to serve and protect their community!


San Bernardino County Fire crew 6-1 on a recent Fire Control-7 class in the city of Fontana.


Cal Fire Huey makes a water drop after picking up water in a very low Lake Pulgas.


San Bernardino County Fire was honored to welcome firefighters from 29 Palms and San Bernardino Fire Departments into their county fire family on June 27th.

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To see your action shots in the newspaper upload them on our website or email them to

Anaheim responds to traffic collision


Rollover accident leaves vehicle in creek

Fullerton Truck 1 in action at a recent structure fire

Brea Truck 2 in action at a recent structure fire




Residents rescued in Anaheim


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Goats used to clear heavy brush, minimizing fire danger in Lemon Grove The City of Lemon Grove along with it's Fire Department, Heartland Fire & Rescue, will be taking steps to clear brush from eight and one-half acres of land near Lawton Drive and Camino De Las Palmas. Goats will be used as part of the process in clearing heavy brush to minimize fire danger and help create defensible space for homes in this area. “This type of brush abatement is a tremendous help to firefighters in protecting land and nearby homes from fast moving brush fires during our hot and dry summer months and the long fire season we deal with in San Diego County” says Heartland Fire & Rescue Chief Rick Sitta. The company being used for this project in Lemon Grove is Environmental Land Management (ELM), the same company that was used in El Cajon to create defensible space in a heavy grass hillside, along a section of the I-8 corridor. In 2011, a brush

fire ignited at the base of this hillside, but the brush clearing done by the goats, along with prudent weed abatement by homeown- JUMP TO FILE# ers, assisted in the 060116122 protection of several homes at the top of the hillside. The home owners’ 100 foot defensible space, and the abatement process involving the goats, allowed firefighters to keep the fire from the homes on Hacienda Drive, rendering no harm to structures. ELM began delivering 150 adult and 50 juvenile goats (kids) on Monday, April 18th. The brush clearing event lasts approximately two weeks. The goats may have been visible to those traveling along the 125 freeway in the area of Lemon Grove during this weed abatement process.

June/July, 2016


Stabbing victim flown to trauma center On May 29th at about 9:59 A.M., Cal City Fire Rescue was dispatched to a medical aid for a stabbing victim. Medic Patrol-190 JUMP TO FILE# arrived on scene 060116123 and found an adult male with a self-inflicted stab wound. His condition was deteriorating, so Mercy Air-14 was requested to transport the victim to a trauma center. Mercy Air-14 was able to arrive on scene prior to the ground ambulance that responded from Mojave, which expedited the patient's arrival to the hospital. - CALIFORNIA CITY FIRE RESCUE






Blaze destroys residence on Easter Sunday Just after 4:20 A.M. on Easter Sunday, March 27th, Modesto FD was dispatched to reports of a working structure fire on the 100 block of Magnolia Avenue. First arriving units found fire showing from the rear of a large, two-story single family residence. Second and third-alarms were quickly called, bringing crews from Modesto, Ceres and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire, totaling eight Engines, two Trucks, three Battalion Chiefs and one Fire Investigator. The fire was knocked down in approximately one-hour and one civilian injury was reported. The patient refused transport to the hospital. Damage was estimated at $150,000 and the cause of the fire is under investigation.


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1st Responder California June July Edition  

1st Responder California June July Edition