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The Texas Edition PUBLISHING SINCE 1993



SUMMER, 2016


Grapevine, TX - Grapevine worked a three-alarm kitchen fire in a two-story apartment building on May 18th. Police officers arrived first and found heavy fire, which started as a cooking fire.

- See full story on page 12

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Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

The search for missing SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers Dallas, TX - At 1:39 A.M. on July 5th, Dallas Fire-Rescue was notified of an individual who was trapped in his car that was being moved by high waters, at the 1700 block of Fitzhugh Avenue, at Turtle Creek Boulevard. JUMP TO FILE # Teams searched in 071116114 the water and along the banks of Turtle Creek, from Fitzhugh Avenue to Lemmon Avenue, but found nothing. DFR then called on the assistance of DPD's Air-1. The missing man was soon identified as 43-year-old Southern Methodist University Police Officer Mark McCullers. Officer McCullers was working an overnight private security job on July 5th, when he called police and said that rising waters were washing over his car. By the time emergency crews arrived however, there was no sign of Officer McCullers or his car. His body has yet to be found. Recovery operations took place over the following two-weeks. Search efforts were suspended at approximately 7:00 P.M. on July 5th. After consistent efforts that morning, DFR felt that continued efforts would be best and most efficient when served with fresh personnel, search dogs and other resources. Search efforts resumed on July 6th at approximately 8:00 A.M., with firefighters, Search-One personnel and Human Remains Detection (HRD) Dogs, who walked the banks of Turtle Creek, North of Harry Hines, to Park Bridge Court. DFR'S Swift Water Team took the Search-One HRD Dogs to re-canvass the creek from the point at which Officer McCullers was last seen, down to Park Bridge Court. Firefighters also continued to walk the banks, down to the Trinity River, as the creek was too shallow to accommodate any boats. DFR resources along with those from the Dallas Police Department, Texas Parks and Wildlife and Search-One, spent the day researching Turtle Creek along it's entire length as the water levels receded and allowed for a more thorough search in some of the locations. Unfortunately, their efforts still did not reveal the missing SMU Police Officer. In addition to the creek, they were able to use sonar equipment to scan an approximate 150-yard stretch of water between the Turtle Creek outlet and the Trinity River, with no findings. At 5:30 P.M. on July 7th, the third-day of operations was concluded in the search. Despite the overall lower water levels, units were still not able to locate Officer McCullers. Assets from Dallas Police would continue searching in Turtle Creek, but Dallas Fire-Rescue, together with Air-One, would shift their operation to the Trinity River. The fourth-day of operations surrounding the search and recovery efforts took place on July 8th and also yielded no findings. Efforts

were shut down at approximately 8:30 P.M., after Swift Water Teams and Texas Game Wardens spent their day looking through the Trinity River and Turtle Creek respectively. Search efforts resumed again at 8:30 A.M. on July 9th. Dallas Police Department's Dive Team focused on initial efforts in Turtle Creek. Everyone else (Swift Water, Game Warden and Search-One rescue dogs), searched in the Trinity River, with initial focus on debris piles underneath the Interstate-30 Bridge. An excavator helped to clear the debris piles while search crews staged downstream to keep watch for the missing officer. Approximately one-third of the debris was left to be cleared, and there was still no sign of Officer McCullers. The search was expected to wrap up at approximately 7:00 P.M., however; the incoming rains forced a change in plans and the operation was shut down at 4:30 P.M. On July 10th, the sixth-day of search efforts, operations surrounding the search resumed at approximately 9:00 A.M. Dallas Fire-Rescue’s Swift Water Rescue Team, with the assistance of the Dallas Police Department’s Air-1 did sweeps overhead, remaining in the Trinity River downstream from where the remaining debris pile, underneath the Interstate-30 bridge, was being pulled apart. In addition, the Game Wardens continued using sonar technology on various points of Turtle Creek with DPD’s Dive Team on stand-by for any hits that may require investigation. Operations concluded for the evening at approximately 7:30 P.M., with no leads. The seventh-day of operations concluded on July 11th, at approximately 6:00 P.M., and there were no new developments in the search for missing SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers. Personnel spent their day along the Trinity River, south of the Ellis County line, before wrapping things up. Day-eight of operations in the search wrapped up at approximately 3:00 P.M., on July 12th. Personnel from Dallas Fire-Rescue, the Dallas Police Department, Southern Methodist University Police Department, Highland Park Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden’s Office and Search-One combined efforts to search from Stonebridge Drive, where Officer McCuller's car was found, to the location where he and his car were swept into the creek. Boats from DFR and the Game Wardens were in the water with search dogs and handlers in tow, with the dive team on stand-by in case of any hits. Volunteer SMU and HPDPS Officers walked the banks to aid in the search as well. Search teams extended their originally planned search efforts and passed Stonebridge Drive, down to Park Bridge Court, but unfortunately, the were still no signs of the missing officer's body. Day-nine in the search for missing Officer McCullers resumed on July 13th, at approximately 9:00

A.M. In the continued efforts to try and bring some closure to the McCullers and SMU family, approximately 50 volunteers from multiple groups and agencies took part in the efforts, which involved searches in both Turtle Creek and the Trinity River. The SMU PD established a Command Post from which all efforts were coordinated. DPD's Dive Team remained at the post and on stand-by, in case their services were needed. Boats were deployed in both bodies of water, from which the Texas Parks and Wildlife's Game Warden conducted their operations. Police officers from Dallas Veterans Affairs, the Highland Park Department of Public Safety and two classes that equalled just over 30 cadets from the Cedar Valley College Law Enforcement Academy, also assisted in the search. The committment was not only evident in the eyes and actions of the volunteers, but also in those of the surrounding community, as neighbors showed up at various times throughout the day to drop off water and words of encouragement. Efforts resumed again on July 14th, marking the 10th-day of the search. Efforts were almost identical to those made on July 13th, but on a slightly smaller scale. Approximately 30 volunteers from the Plano Police Department, SMU Police Department, Highland Park DPS, the Game Wardens (who flew over the Trinity River earlier in the morning), and the Dallas Police Department's Dive Team (on standby), helped in the efforts to search along the same stretch of Turtle Creek that was searched on July 13th. There were also more Good Samaritans who came by and dropped off food and drinks for the volunteers. Operations wrapped up around 1:00 P.M., but still nothing was found. At an unknown time on July 15th, search operations resumed again. In contrast to previous efforts, the search was scaled back somewhat, as SMU attended to personal matters related to the family and volunteers were at a minimum. In fact, the Game Wardens were the lone participants in the search on July 15th, as they spent their day in the Trinity River. July 16th marked the 12th-day in the search for the body of SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers. As was the case for day-11, the lone participant in the search was the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, who concentrated their efforts in the Trinity River, South of the Ellis County line. Despite everyones hard work, there has still been no sign of Officer McCuller's body. A memorial service was held on July 28th at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium where family, friends and hundreds of fellow officers gathered to remember and celebrate the life of Officer Mark McCullers, who leaves behind a wife and six children. The Texas Game Warden's office will continue conducting the search for Officer McCuller's body. - JASON EVANS

SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers.




1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2016



Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX


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Crews work to gain access to the garage area.


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1st Responder News (ISSN 1525-1683) - Vol. 2 No. 2 - Texas edition is published quarterly, 4 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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Crews working off of Quint-202 (Crimson/Spartan ERV).

Firefighters gaining access into the garage.


House fire knocked down in Bedford

Bedford, TX - Bedford crews arrived to find heavy smoke and fire coming from the garage of a 2100-square-foot house on March 31st. At one point, fire vented from the roof but was quickly knocked down using hand-lines. Hurst and Colleyville also responded to the scene as mutual aid. A Euless Fire Investigator also assisted at the scene. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Neighbors help evacuate residents from early morning fire Hurst, TX - At about 2:40 A.M on April 4th, a fire was reported in a multi-family dwelling on Timberline Dr. Neighbors reportedly used a ladder to help two residents down from a second-story balcony. Police officers who arrived shortly after were able to evacuate the other residents. Two of the residents were treated and transported for smoke inhalation. Hurst Fire Department arrived to find heavy fire showing and requested extra mutual-aid engines, which included Bedford, Euless, Haltom City, Richland Hills and North Richland Hills. The cause of the fire was being investigated.

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2016



Summer, 2016

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In memory of those who gave all 1st Responder Newspaper honors and remembers emergency responders lost in the line of duty

Kentucky: David W. Conley Rank: Lieutenant Incident Date: February 10, 2016 Death Date: February 10, 2016 Fire Department: Olive Hill Fire Department Initial Summary: Lieutenant Conley fell ill from an apparent heart attack while on-duty at the fire station. Conley was treated by fellow responders and transported to the hospital in Morehead, KY, where he succumbed to his injury.

Kansas: Daniel F. Cool Rank: Assistant Fire Chief Incident Date: February 11, 2016 Death Date: February 14, 2016 Fire Department: Jefferson County Fire Department #1 - Kaw Initial Summary: Assistant Fire Chief Cool responded to an emergency incident on the morning of February 11th. Later that day, he attended a training meeting and collapsed suddenly from a heart attack. Chief Cool was admitted to St. Francis Hospital in Topeka, KS, where he succumbed to his injury early in the morning of February 14th. California: Shawna Lynn Jones Rank: Inmate Firefighter Incident Date: February 25, 2016 Death Date: February 26, 2016 Fire Department: CAL FIRE Initial Summary: Inmate Firefighter Jones was working as part of a hand crew in a steep ravine on a fire in Agoura Hills-Malibu, California, when a large rock fell about 100 feet from the hillside above and struck her in the head. Firefighter Jones was treated immediately on scene by her fellow firefighters and quickly hoisted into a Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter then airlifted to UCLA Medical Center where she succumbed to

her injuries the following day. Thanks to firefighters on the ground combined with air attacks, the fire was brought under control and no structures were lost. Investigation into the cause of the fire continues by local and state authorities.

Maine: Peter Larlee Rank: Captain Incident Date: March 2, 2016 Death Date: March 2, 2016 Fire Department: East Millinocket Fire Department Initial Summary: Within one hour of responding to a medical emergency, Captain Larlee went into the fire department's engine bay to fix a mud flap on an ambulance. Within two minutes of going into the bay and while on the bay floor, Larlee fell ill. Captain Larlee was treated by fellow first responders, but passed away at the scene from injuries sustained.

Pennsylvania: Earl J. Shoemaker Rank: Firefighter/Safety Officer Incident Date: March 12, 2016 Death Date: March 12, 2016 Fire Department: Eagle Fire Company #2 – Hanover Fire Department Initial Summary: Firefighter Shoemaker was responding to the scene of a house fire on the 500 block of Pumping Station Road when he became ill. The mobile air unit apparatus he was operating left the roadway (Brunswick DR) and came to a stop several hundred feet away. Shoemaker, alone in the apparatus at the time, was rescued by local residents and fellow first responders. He was then transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased from a cardiac related injury.

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2016



Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

CITGO becomes official fuel sponsor of First Response Team of America



Grapevine Citizens Fire Academy's Alumni Association setting up rehab.

Grapevine house fire quickly controlled Grapevine, TX - On April 2nd, initial reports stated that as a resident was cooking with propane, one of the bottles exploded and caused a fire in the garage. Upon arrival, Grapevine crews found heavy fire and requested a secondalarm. Some of the second responding crew were canceled while en-route and most of the other crew members were released the fairly quickly. Southlake was on-scene, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport responded with their Hazmat truck to fill air bottles.

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Houston, TX – June 28, 2016 – CITGO Petroleum Corporation has entered into a new partnership with First Response Team of America, making CITGO the natural disaster response organization’s official fuel sponsor. With this partnership, First Response Team of America, which aids communities between the onset of a natural disaster and the arrival of traditional relief agencies, will be able to continuously and reliably fuel its support vehicles as they travel the country assisting areas in need. First Response Team of America is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to reaching communities in the crucial moments immediately following natural catastrophes in order to reduce the time it takes to help those affected. The partnership with CITGO will play a large role in enabling first responders to reach their destinations. By working with meteorologists to study weather patterns, First Response Team of America is able to anticipate where and when the worst storms may strike and pre-position itself nearby in order to quickly deploy responders after an area is hit, arriving within hours. With a fleet of specialized trucks, equipment and experienced staff, many of which were recently deployed to Houston following deadly flooding in the region, First Response Team of America is the only national relieffocused non-governmental organization with the capabilities and the specialized, heavy equipment to assist with the immediate needs of leaders and community members in the aftermath of natural disasters. “From hurricanes and flooding to earthquakes and tornadoes,

JUMP TO FILE #063016101 First Response Team of America is there ensuring communities get back on their feet,” said Tad Agoglia, First Response Team of America’s founder and CEO. “Thanks to our partnership with CITGO, we can turn our attention to the crucial moments following a catastrophe and quickly get on the road to jump start recovery efforts.” Since inception in 2007, First Response Team of America has responded to 91 communities across the United States and Haiti and helped hundreds-of-thousands of storm survivors. On the ground, First Response Team of America’s staff assist with everything from clearing roads blocked by debris and power lines, to providing emergency power and distributing much-needed supplies. In Houston, First Response Team of America worked with families to begin to clean out and repair homes damaged by the near 20-inches of water that flooded parts of the city. “In the past month, we witnessed First Response Team of America helping our neighbors in Houston and know firsthand what a tremendous impact it has on the community’s recovery,” said CITGO President and CEO Nelson Martinez. “We are honored to work with organizations like First Response Team of America that are so committed to supporting communities during times of crisis, and we are confident our partnership will help aid workers across the country.” In addition to partnering with the First Response Team of America, CITGO continuously supports

natural disaster recovery efforts. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, CITGO helped the communities in recovery by providing funds and fuel to non-governmental organizations and first responders, as well as assisting in the evacuation of residents out of harm's way. Following the storms, the operations at the CITGO Lake Charles refinery were brought back online in record time, so that fuel and other desperately-needed products could be provided to the region. More than 10-years after the storms passed, CITGO continues to help with recovery efforts through its environmental protection and coastal restoration program, "CITGO Caring for Our Coast." About First Response Team of America: First Response Team of America is an independent, not-forprofit, 501.3.c. service organization that works to aid communities and people affected by disaster, regardless of who or where they are. FRTA is not affiliated with any church, religion, denomination or creed, nor any political philosophy or belief. About CITGO: CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., aa indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit - WHITNEY WILLIAMSON ON BEHALF OF CITGO PETROLEUM CO.

Local hospitals and EMS agencies receive American Heart Association awards San Antonio, TX - The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC), is excited to announce that the San Antonio Fire Department, City of Schertz EMS, Acadian Ambulance, Christus Santa Rosa Hospital – Westover Hills, Methodist Hospital, Methodist Stone Oak Hospital, North Central Baptist Hospital, Northeast Baptist Hospital, Northeast Methodist Hospital, and University Hospital will be receiving national recognition, in the form of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Mission:Lifeline Program. This designation from the AHA recognizes the success and

JUMP TO FILE #060216106 commitment in the treatment and care of patients suffering from severe heart attacks known as STEMIs (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarctions). A total of seven hospital sites will now hold Mission: Lifeline awards. Previously, only two hospital sites in the STRAC region held such recognition. Each year in the United States, an estimate 500,000 people have a STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, the most severe form of heart attack. A STEMI occurs when a blood

clot completely blocks an artery to the heart. To prevent death, it’s critical to immediately restore blood flow, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication. Hospitals and EMS agencies involved in Mission: Lifeline are a part of a system that ensures STEMI patients get the proper care in a timely manner. Mission: Lifeline focuses on improving the system of care for STEMI patients and at the same time improving care for all heart attack patients. - JORDAN GHAWI

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2016



Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

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Lucas Fire-Rescue participates in Shattered Dreams Program Lucas, TX - On Wednesday, April 6th, Lucas Fire-Rescue teamed up with Lovejoy High School, Medical Center of McKinney, the Collin County Sheriff’s Office, Fairview Fire Department and PHI Air Ambulance to create an educational experience known as “Shattered Dreams," which demonstrates the tragic consequences of underage drinking.

JUMP TO FILE #041916101 Shattered Dreams is a studentled program that promotes responsible decision-making among high school students regarding underage drinking, driving after drinking and riding with a driver that has been drinking. The Shattered

Dreams program helps students see the potential consequences of drinking and driving by simulating an accident involving their peers and showing the resulting effects. Through this process, students have a better understanding of the numerous DWI-related deaths that occur each year. - ASST CHIEF TED STEPHENS

San Antonio-110 upcoming 9/11 Memorial Climb San Antonio, TX - On Sunday, September 11th, First Responders from all over will join together at the Tower of the Americas to pay tribute to their fallen brethren. To reach their goal of paying tribute to their fallen, they will climb the Tower stairs TWICE to reach, and actually exceed, the height of the World Trade Center Towers, in which our fallen heroes perished in. All 343 fallen-firefighters will have a tag, with their name and photo on it, carried by a climber. The San Antonio 110 is one of the largest 9/11 Memorial Climbs in the country. Although the focus of 110 climbs is to pay tribute to our fallen-firefighters who went into the WTC towers and climbed to saved others, we also pay tribute to additional fallen-first-responders

JUMP TO FILE #052716101 who perished that day. Another 70 tags will be carried by law enforcement officers for their fallen, along with nine tags for EMS. We anticipate over 50 different agencies represented as participants this year and approximately 700 first responders. Registration opened at midnight on June 1st, 2016. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2016 SA110 are now also open. We are actively seeking Gold, Silver and Bronze level sponsors. We have all level of sponsorships available, but limited quantities for Gold and Silver. Participant registration and Sponsorship informa-

tion can be found at SA110 is 100% run by volunteers and supported by the generosity of the community and contributions. It is the generosity of the community that allows this event to occur each year. Additional remaining proceeds from this year’s event will benefit SA110's chosen 2016 beneficiary, "Rotary Firefighters Home." It is an honor to be able to help give back to an organization that does so much for our brothers and sisters in times of need. The event is not just for first responders. Participation is open to all public. (Must be at least 15years-of-age.) - DAWN SOLINSKI

Search recovery for missing man in Lake Ray Hubbard Dallas, TX - At 12:50 P.M. on July 3rd, Dallas Fire-Rescue units were called out to help search for an adult male, who jumped from a boat and never resurfaced. DFR'S Marine-1 went into the water and used sonar equipment to search for the missing man. Rockwall's Marine-1 and resources from Texas Park and

JUMP TO FILE #071116115 Wildlife also assisted, with DPD's dive team on stand-by in case there was a reading on sonar. The incident reportedly took place Northeast of the Bass Pro Shop, North of the In-

terstate-30 bridge. Units were staged on Cooke Drive. The search resumed at 7:30 A.M. on July 4th and at 1:52 P.M., the Dallas PD's dive team confirmed the recovery of the missing man's body in Lake Ray Hubbard. - JASON EVANS

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1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2016

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Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

DFR responds to parking garage collapse Dallas, TX - At 5:55 P.M. on June 27th, Dallas Fire-Rescue units were assigned to a 9-1-1 call for a collapse at a parking garage, located at 3100 Carlisle Street in Uptown. According to on-scene personnel, the front façade of a six-level parking garage, which was flanked by a two-story apartment building on one side and a 17-story, highrise, luxury apartment complex on the other, collapsed onto the ground below. There were no injuries reported as a result of the collapse, but efforts were made to ensure that to be the case. Debris did fall on top of a van at ground-level, but thankfully, the driver of that van was inside of the building at the time of the collapse. DFR’s Urban Search and Rescue Team was called out to assess the situation, but noted no structural damage to the garage or either

JUMP TO FILE #063016108 apartment building. Out of an abundance of precaution however, caution tape was put up and no one was being allowed to enter or leave the parking garage. DFR Officers were working with property management to determine the next course of action and it would be up to property management to determine what caused the collapse. After assistance from the DFR canine Search Dogs, it was confirmed that no one was underneath the pile of collapsed debris. The scene was cleared and left in control of property management.

Euless Quint-551 crew working a hose-line.




Cooking fire goes to three-alarms

Grapevine, TX - Grapevine worked a three-alarm kitchen fire in a two-story apartment building on May 18th. Police officers arrived first and found heavy fire, which started as a cooking fire. A second-alarm was quickly requested as fire crews arrived and then a third-alarm was requested as the fire spread into the attic. Many neighboring departments worked the fire and filled in at Grapevine stations. The American Red Cross provided relief and support to about 50 people who were displaced from 28 apartment units. The Grapevine Citizens Fire Academy Alumni provided rehab for firefighters.

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2016



Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Vehicle News


Lightning destroys several Trophy Club homes Trophy Club, TX - Several house fires were started by lightning strikes in Trophy Club during a Sunday afternoon storm on June 12th. While most of Trophy Club's Fire Department worked one fire, several other area departments worked another on Trophy Club Road.


Fire Chief Robert Rocha, Firefighter Todd Thibodeaux, Fire Captain Joel Ponton, and Firefighter Zach Gunning.

Firefighters receive Unit Commendation award Corpus Christi, TX - Corpus Christi Fire Department awarded Unit Commendation in April to Engine-101's “A” Shift for a rescue call involving a young girl, located off of North Beach. Captain Joel Ponton and Firefighter Todd Thibodeaux swam out to her and brought her safely to shore. BC Mike Schmitt and Firefighter Zach Gunning assisted with shore operations.


Irving, TX - Irving Fire Department's new Engines 9 and 10 headed to Texas on a cold February morning from the Pierce plant, located in Appleton, WI.

Texas A&M Forest Service employee honored for fire prevention College Station, Texas - Texas A&M Forest Service Firewise Coordinator Nick Harrison received the 2015 USDA Forest Service Robert E. Browning Jr. Award for his efforts in wildfire prevention on March 23rd. JUMP TO FILE# The award is in 041216106 memory of Browning, a southern wildland firefighter who gave his life while battling the South Canyon Fire in Colorado, in 1994. The award goes to those who have gone beyond the call of duty in the 13-state Southern Region, which spans from Virginia to Texas. As one of the three leading natural disaster states, along with California and Florida, it is important that Texas homeowners and fire departments are well informed of how to reduce wildfire-causing hazards. Harrison uses the "Ready, Set, Go!" program to provide educational materials and opportunities for homeowners that can amplify the preparedness of communities. “Nick works diligently in coordinating all of the "TFS RSG!" programs. His dedication and leadership has led to national recognition for how we utilize the program across the state,” said Mitigation and Prevention Department Head, Bruce Woods. The RSG! program develops and improves the dialog between fire departments and the communities they serve. The Texas program is routinely put to use by 500 fire departments across the state and is frequently used by TFS. Harrison has actively worked in coordinating RSG! videos


L to R: Mitigation and Prevention Department Head, Bruce Woods and Firewise Coordinator, Nick Harrison.

filmed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs in Texas. “I’m very much honored to receive this award, which is a highlight of my career,” Harrison said. “I am thankful for the opportunities that Texas A&M Forest Service provides, which allows me to promote and deliver the Ready, Set, Go! program at all levels, including local, state and national.”

Harrison spearheaded the agency's efforts to sign up over 500 Texas fire departments and the state maintains five of the top 15 national RSG! fire departments. Harrison is a native of Brownwood and currently resides in Benbrook. - JESSICA JACKSON

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2016



Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Beachwood, N.J. Fire Department starts Pro-Police trend in support of Dallas Beachwood, NJ - The guys from Beachwood FD put a sign up at their station in support of police after the recent police shootings in Dallas, TX. Shortly after, many other fire departments and EMS squads across Ocean County in N.J. followed suit, posting their own supportive signs. The "I Got Your Back" slogan was started by Sugarland, Texas Firefighter Greg Hopper approxi-

JUMP TO FILE #071116104 mately one-year-ago. In October of 2015, Beachwood FD received a few stickers displaying the slogan from FF Hopper, which they proudly still have on their Chief car. - BEACHWOOD VOL FD

Beachwood, NJ - Beachwood FD put a sign up at their station in support of police after the recent shootings in Dallas and shortly after, many other fire departments and EMS squads across Ocean County, N.J. started doing the same.



Pine Beach, NJ - Pine Beach Volunteer Fire Company No.1 shows their support to police.

Howell, NJ - Howell Township First Aid and Rescue Squad No. 1 showing their support.


Toms River, NJ - Manitou Park Vol. Fire Dept. shows their support from Toms River, NJ.

Jackson, NJ - Cassville Vol. Fire Co. showing support for their town's PD.



1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2016



BOB LONG Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX


Units respond to structure and brush fire Aransas Pass, TX - During the mid-morning of July 13th, Rockport FD responded to a small structure and brush fire, located on Shaver Road. Aransas Pass FD and Fulton VFD assisted. Allegiance EMS was also on-scene to make sure all firefighters made it home safely. The residence was abandoned and there was no known cause for the fire.

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2016



Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

World’s Worst Natural Disasters VIDEO REVIEW

Video reviews by John Malecky

Available from: FSP Books & Videos 188 Central Street, Suite #4 Hudson, MA 01749-1330 1-800-522-8528 E-mail: Price: $24.95 (DVD) VIDEO REVIEW By John M. Malecky July, 2016 World’s Worst Natural Disasters, National Geographic, 2014 Available from: FSP Books & Videos 188 Central Street, Suite #4 Hudson, MA 01749-1330 1-800522-8528 E-mail: support@fire-pol i c e - e m s . c o m Price: $24.95 (DVD) This is a 45 minute program seen on TV. It covers seven of the

most horrific disasters not only in our country but throughout the world! With the benefit of some reenactment, testing machinery and just plain unimaginable footage of the actual disasters, this DVD may just bring a chill down your spine when you reason that it can happen and sometimes with little warning! It begins with tornado alley covering particularly one in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and one in Joplin, Missouri. An analyst explains the conditions needed for a tornado. Next the 1906 earthquake of San Francisco is covered followed by Hurricane Katrina. A Tsunami in Japan is next followed by the 1883 volcano eruption in Indonesia. Moving forward the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand takes the forefront with the grand finale being the June 7, 1783 Iceland eruption which got caught up in the jet stream and travelled over Europe. As each disaster is covered the destruction and death toll increases from the first to the last ending with mindboggling numbers. This is one program you may not want to miss!

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Once a firefighter, always a firefighter! AFD welcomes back retired Battalion Chief Edwin Goodwin Austin, TX - It was the "A" shift's great joy and honor to welcome back retired AFD Battalion Chief Edwin Goodwin to his old stomping ground, Central Station, in July. In addition to his career with AFD, which also had him at Stations 2, 9 and 18, Chief Goodwin is also a veteran of the United States Navy. Chief Goodwin joined the department in 1955 and retired in 1986, after 31-years of service.

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2016



Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

AMKUS Rescue Systems acquires 911 Tools Valparaiso, IN - AMKUS Rescue Systems, an industry leader in providing cutting edge hydraulic extrication equipment and rescue systems to emergency responders worldwide, announced its intent to acquire "911 JUMP TO FILE # Tools," a U.S. man- 072516117 ufacturer of vehicle stabilization equipment and lifting systems. “This is a patented, state-of-the-art system that integrates the strength, speed, control and dependability of handpowered hydraulics with the structural components of the strut,” said Kyle Smith, President of AMKUS Rescue Systems. “It’s an affordable system that’s easy to set up and operate and is rated for structural loads, so rescue professionals can confidently raise and lower materials as quickly as the circumstances of their particular emergency requires.” The 911 Tools rescue strut product line, which is marketed under the RescueStrut brand name, includes accessories that will allow emergency responders to transform vehicle stabilization struts into other life-saving rescue tools, such as manual hydraulic rams and shoring struts, as well as tripod, bi-pod and mono-pole adapters for use in rope rescue scenarios. In addition, the RescueStrut system can be easily configured for trench, structural collapse or confined space rescues. “Not only does this comple-

ment our existing AMKUS line of extrication equipment and rope rescue systems, but it also puts us in the position to offer a wider range of high quality rescue products to our customers at an affordable price.” Smith added. “This acquisition further supports our efforts to provide the best in class rescue systems to our global market.” With the expected August 1st completion of the acquisition, the RescueStrut line of equipment will be marketed under the AMKUS brand, and distributed by AMKUS and 911 Tool distributors within their existing territories. 911 Tools will move from its current Lansing, IA home to the newly completed AMKUS World Headquarters, in Valparaiso, IN. AMKUS/911 RescueStrut System Release: AMKUS began business as a fledgling family start-up in 1971 – mirroring the year and means that its parent company, Task Force Tips, opened its doors for business. For TFT, its 2016 AMKUS acquisition made perfect sense professionally, since the two companies were founded and built on an earnest commitment to provide innovative new products and world-class service and support to emergency service professionals the world over. For more information on AMKUS or to find a dealer in your area, please visit or call (800) 59AMKUS. - AMKUS RESCUE SYSTEMS



Business destroyed by structure fire

Abilene, TX - One of Abilene's long standing businesses was destroyed by a structure fire in the early morning hours of May 25th. Taylor's Army Surplus, which has been in business for more than 30-years, caught on fire shortly after 6 A.M. Fire officials have not yet determined the cause of the fire.

Tony Robbins event leads to burn injuries


AMKUS RescueStrut System sets up quickly and is easy to operate with gloved hands.

Dallas, TX - On Thursday, June 23rd, just after 11:00 P.M., Dallas Fire-Rescue assigned multiple resources to an event that was being held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which resulted in dozens of "burn victims." Apparently as part of a motivational event being held at the location by famed Author Tony Robbins, several participants attempted to walk across hot coals. As a result, a large number of those people sustained burn injuries to their feet and lower extremities. As many as five additional rescue units and two EMS Supervisors, among other resources, were

JUMP TO FILE #062916116 assigned to help manage the situation. In addition, a DART bus was requested to help hold some of the patients (approximately 30-40), who were being evaluated. The severity of the injuries were unknown, but most people elected not to be taken to the hospital. However, five people were taken to a local hospital by DFR for evaluation of their injuries. Event organizers had the necessary permitting in place to conduct the operation that led to multiple

burn injuries. They had a permit for flammable and combustible liquids, as well as a permit for open burning/recreational fires. In addition, they had a "Fire Watch," which is made up of two Fire Prevention Officers who are on-scene to monitor the event for compliance. They also had (in addition to a privately contracted EMS service), a DFR EMS contingent (two paramedics and one rescue unit), on location at the event. There will be no investigation by DFR into why so many people sustained burn injuries. - JASON EVANS

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Multiple units participate in training for Natural Disaster El Paso, TX - On May 3rd, the U.S. National Disaster Medical System, based out of Ft. Bliss, conducted a full-scale exercise at Biggs Army Field. The El Paso Fire Department, Border RAC, the Emergency Medical Task Force and Elite Ambulance participated in the scenario, which simulated an F-4 tornado touching down in Wichita Falls, Texas, resulting in a mass evacuation of 50 patients to El Paso. Battalion-3 and ROC-33 were present, as well as Pumper-

JUMP TO FILE #072816122 20, Pumper-12, Pumper-25, Rescue-32, Rescue-12 and OEM staff. "The exercise was beneficial to Ft. Bliss personnel more than anything," Battalion Chief Francisco Perry-Herrera said. "We did what we are trained to do on mass casualty incidents, which is to implement our incident command structure and create a medical

branch with a triage, treatment and transport. Captain James Young did an excellent job in charge of the medical branch and working with Ft. Bliss authorities and Border RAC. Ft. Bliss rotates their personnel every three-to-four years and so the Colonel and Sgt. Major in charge of this operation were content in learning and understanding how everyone will be working together, should a disaster happen." - EL PASO FD


Austin, TX - "Smokey," one of Austin Fire Department's accelerant detection canines, lunges for a toy held by Austin Fire Arson Investigator Lt. Randy Elmore, before entering the scene of a singlestory house fire, located at 3906 Convict Hill Road in Austin, on May 28th. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the reported damage was estimated at $300,000 structural and $100,000 to contents.



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Firefighter Separated from Hoseline Dies STAYING SAFE

Chief Henry Campbell

Over the past few years I continue to read of firefighters, who for some reason or another have managed to separate themselves from the rest of their crew, usually a hoseline attack crew, and become disoriented, trapped, and eventually running out of air and succumbing within the structure. A few firefighters caught in these conditions have managed to be rescued by RIT firefighters and revived. Why do these firefighters leave the safety of their crew? How do they leave the security of the crew without the other crew members knowing they have left? Many times the crew has withdrawn from the structure before they realize a member is missing. Is there no communication among the crew? One can only wonder as to the answers. They are supposed to be a team following some pretty simple operating procedures, stay together! They should be maintaining visual, vocal, or physical contact with each other at all times, you know, hanging onto each other’s coattail while keeping up the chatter. Staying alert to their surroundings and any changing fire conditions that may impact their safety while monitoring the radio are also required. If for any reason a team member has to leave, the entire team must exit, following the hoseline back out. If it is a Mayday situation, a Mayday should be called over the radio and department procedures for a Mayday should be initiated by the incident commander and followed. Sounds simple, yet firefighters continue to die in similar circumstances as in the following report. On April 15, 2016 NIOSH released the following FF Fatality report: “On May 8, 2013, a 29-year-old male career probationary fire fighter died after running out of air and being trapped by a roof collapse in a commercial strip mall fire. The fire fighter was one of three fire fighters who had stretched a 1½-inch hoseline from Side A into a commercial strip mall fire. The hose team had stretched deep into the structure under high heat and heavy smoke conditions and was unsuccessful in locating the seat of the fire. The hose team decided to exit the structure. During the exit, the fire fighter became separated from the other two crew members. The incident commander saw the two members of the hose team exit on Side A and called over the radio for the fire fighter. The fire fighter acknowledged the incident commander and gave his location in the rear of the structure. The fire fighter later gave a radio transmission that he was out of air. A rapid intervention team was activated but was unable to locate him before a

flashover occurred and the roof collapsed. He was later recovered and pronounced dead on the scene.” The NIOSH Report lists the following contributing factors and key recommendations: risk assessment, communications, crew integrity, firefighter ran out of air in an IDLH atmosphere, staffing and deployment, arson fire in a commercial structure, and lack of automatic fire sprinklers. There also is an extensive list of recommendations that are worthy of review. I include the following from the report as it contains important information relevant to firefighting in modern commercial buildings. “Adaptive Fireground Management Safety Considerations:” Firefighting in commercial buildings and occupancies demands alternate tactical engagement and management that differentiate from residential deployment and operations. Building features and systems and complexities create very distinct and defined incident action parameters that required commanders, officers and firefighters to implement discrete strategies, tactics and awareness that are commonly resource driven, complex, concurrent and high risk. Commercial building fires and incidents require specific training, skill sets, and experience and risk management protocols. Today’s fireground demands, challenges and risks are less forgiving than in the past, leave little to no margin for error and when those errors and omissions manifest themselvesmay be very unforgiving in their resulting severity and magnitude. This then requires significant adaptability in the identification, selection of strategic, tactical and task level actions that demand critical thinking skills, based on fluid incident and building assessment and evaluation for conditions. The importance of implementing Tactical Discipline, Tactical Patience and Adaptive Fireground Management is formative on today’s fireground and built upon an established platform of building knowledge, an understanding of the predictability of the building’s performance under fire conditions and the integration of critical thinking skills that aligns with the unique given conditions of an incident scene and structural fire in a building. Firefighting continues to be driven by long established practices and protocols that have a basis on expected building or fire performance and behaviors. These long held beliefs and methodologies have had new perspectives applied based on on-going research, development and emerging practices that suggest adaptive and alternatives methods, practices and protocols that are changing the rules of engagement. First-due company operations are influenced by a number of parameters and factors; some deliberate and dictated, others prescribed

Irving Engine-4 pumping to Irving Truck-7.


Four-alarm structure fire in Irving Irving, TX - On April 8th at 1:23 P.M., the Irving Fire Department received a call from a nearby office reporting that there was fire in an apartment building located in the area of Hidden Ridge and MacArthur Blvd. The first-due company was onscene within four-minutes and reported heavy smoke showing from a three-story apartment building, located at 1119 Hidden Ridge. As crews stretched a line to the third-

JUMP TO FILE #041816116 floor, they realized that the fire was already in the attic space and also between the second and third floors. By the time they got to the second-floor landing, the roof collapsed. After a quick primary search, the fire was declared a defensive operation and aerial master streams were used. The fire quickly

escalated to three-alarms and then ultimately became a four-alarm. There was an exposure building that received fire damage to its fascia and soffit, as well as minimal fire damage to the attic space. The IFD utilized on-scene crews from Coppell FD and Dallas FD and fire was knocked down at 2:39 P.M. - TONY HARVEY

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Dallas, TX - Operations in Turtle Creek during the search for missing SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers, who went missing on July 5th.

and prearranged and yet others subjective, biased, predisposed or at times accidental, casual and emotional. The connotations and implications are significant and can be characteristic of successful or detrimental operations. Buildings and occupancies

when involved in a structure fire will continue to require the suppression and rescue engagement and intervention of fire department resources and staffing; evolving into an art and science of firefighting that demands greater command and company officer skill sets and un-

derstanding of building parameters and fire dynamics.” The complete NIOSH report can be downloaded at: face201314.pdf Till next time, stay safe and God Bless!

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Summer, 2016


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Fourth-alarm store fire in Houston


Grapevine, TX - Quint-4 and Truck-1 going defensive during a three-alarm fire in May.

Houston, TX - On June 17th at 12:25 P.M., Houston FD responded to a large store with heavy fire inside, located at 10161 Harwin Drive. A fourth-alarm was eventually requested. There was heavy fire, smoke and water damage to the entire store. The HFD Arson Bureau was assigned to investigate the cause of the fire.


Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX



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Houston, TX - Congrats to these Houston Fire Department members who received their new badges on June 21st. L-R: Captains Christopher Morrison, Robert Tibbetts, Paul Richardson, Douglas Hodges, Marc Sandoval, David Howard and Matthew Carrera.

San Antonio, TX - On July 28th, a citizen who was eating lunch on Broadway noticed a fire engine stopping to block traffic. Two firefighters came out of the truck to help an elderly woman cross the very busy street. They helped her with her bag and walked her all the way to where she needed to go. PROVIDED


1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 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


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Summer, 2016


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Trophy Club, TX - Rainfall tapers off for Westlake Firefighters as they were on-scene of a house fire in June, caused by a lightning strike.

Trophy Club, TX - "Chief Time," during a house fire on June 12th.



San Antonio, TX - San Antonio FD Cadets training in a simulated car fire and overturned fuel-tanker-truck fire on May 5th.


Grapevine, TX - Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport's Hazmat truck from Station2 refilling air bottles during a second-alarm fire in April.


Lorena, TX - On June 26th, Rockport FD was dispatched to a brush fire, located off of Estes Road. Upon arrival, crews found a large brush and debris pile unattended and on fire, quickly extinguishing it.


Dallas, TX - Operations in Turtle Creek during the search for missing SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers, who went missing on July 5th after his car was swept away by high waters.


Summer, 2016

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

The times they are a changing Chaplain's Corner Didymus McHugh

Back when I joined the fire service, we had the high boots, canvas coats, leather New Yorker helmets, fireball rubber gloves, and that was it. Now, a firefighter has a pair of boots inside bunker pants, bunker coat, hood, helmet with a suspension system, leather gloves and everyone on the fireground has their own portable radio. Now I look at the fire trade magazines and catalogs, and I just saw firefighter bulletproof vests. Wow! So many times we have seen war and riots overseas. Over the years, there has become something that is becoming a "new norm."

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Since Columbine, there has become a new environment of mass shootings. They happen in theaters, night clubs, schools, malls, churches, military bases, etc. Where is the safety? Did each event have mental health issues going on? This is definitely the “see something say something” era, and I hope that people actually do that. I do not care if someone wants to say that you may be profiling. If you say something, maybe someone who needs treatment or correct medication can actually receive it. Think seriously about taking a psychological first aid of mental health first aid course. I know that it may sound a little Utopian, but maybe we can help someone before they take someone’s life. If we say something early, maybe the police can help defuse the situation. We are supposed to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. I think that it is a shame that more people do not live that way, and you don’t have to go to my church to think that way. We use different terms these days to be politically correct and soften the blow to what is going on. When I was working EMS, I used to go to things that people classified as riots but today it is known as “civil unrest." A fight used to be a fight, not an “altercation." When someone needs help, they need help. When someone is behaving erratically, help them to get the help that they may need. Caring about people is also caring enough to speak out. It's bad when fire and EMS have targets on their backs, causing the need for bulletproof vests. My heart also goes out to the police who have to wear the vests all the time. They also have to end someone’s life when that person is ending so many lives. There has also become a new term used, "suicide by police officer." In the emergency services, we take care of people of any race, color, creed, or orientation, and same thing goes for our fellow responders. Who cares what you are, just as long as you can do the job. I think that we, as emergency services, can teach the public how to act. So many emergency services are also involved in the community. All those who are coaches or scout leaders, or civic leaders or people who mentor the youth, or assist other people, raise your hands. Thank you for doing it. You have the power to change lives. By your acts, you may unknowingly change someone’s destructive behavior or thoughts. I strongly believe that each person is a walking encyclopedia. They have learned so much, experienced so much and have a wealth of stories. And when a person dies, usually, that entire library is lost. My mind goes to the youth of Sandy Hook, and how many of those lives did not get a chance to live to the plans that were set before them. Each life that is taken affects so many people. Please keep in your mind and prayers all those who are no longer with us, no matter their background, political view, or anything else that may be different than yours. A life is a precious thing. Lives matter.

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Austin, TX - In May, Engine-13's "A" Shift went to do some training at an apartment complex on East 12th Street and were met by a few eager helpers! The kids were fascinated with what the crew was doing and wanted to help load the hose.




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