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The Texas Edition PUBLISHING SINCE 1993



SUMMER, 2017



San Antonio, TX - Multiple fire companies, including the San Antonio FD, responded on August 1st at 10:35 A.M. to the 3900 block of Thousand Oaks, “Bright Kids Daycare” center, for reports of a fire. Over 50 people had already evacuated the fully engulfed building before firefighters’ arrival.

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Dallas Firefighter Discharged from Hospital After Being Shot Dallas, TX - On Wednesday, May 31st at noon, Will An, the Dallas Fire-Rescue Firefighter/Paramedic who was critically wounded after being shot while responding to a shooting call on the first of May, was discharged from Baylor University Medical Center. Dallas Fire-Rescue personnel, members from the Baylor University Medical Center staff, family and friends were all on-hand as Will was wheeled from his room, in a stretcher specially outfitted to resemble the bed he was confined to for the last month, to the back of the very vehicle in which he last rode – Rescue-19. Station-19 was "given" the honor and privilege of providing an escort detail, consisting of the Engine and Rescue, back to his

JUMP TO FILE #060217111 North Texas home where he would continue his recovery. "Watching Will being released from Baylor Hospital was amazing, especially when you consider where he was just a month ago. None of us could have imagined we’d be at this point, this soon,” said Fire Chief David Coatney. "This is truly a testament to Will's positive attitude, the exceptional care he received from the entire hospital staff of Baylor, and the support of his family, department members, friends, and the community. Although Will has a long recovery ahead of him, we remain

very optimistic about seeing him return to work and the DFR family will continue to support Will and his family during this next phase of his recovery. We, as a department, cannot say thank you enough to the officers of the Dallas Police Department, the surgeons, nurses, and associated staff of Baylor Hospital who made such a difference in Will's positive outcome." The An family would like to humbly extend their gratitude to everyone, from the day Will was brought into the hospital, through the multiple procedures and through now, for the compassion shown throughout this entire ordeal. - JASON EVANS


Children Safe After Blaze Destroys San Antonio Daycare Center San Antonio, TX - Multiple fire companies, including the San Antonio FD, responded on August 1st at 10:35 A.M. to the 3900 block of Thousand Oaks, "Bright Kids Daycare" center, for reports of a fire. Over 50 people had already evacuated the fully engulfed building before firefighters' arrival. A total of 63 children and nine staff members were found safe and accounted for. The building was a total loss and the cause of the blaze is currently under investigation. DALLAS FIRE-RESCUE

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Summer, 2017

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX


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15 Years of Amazing – Dallas Fire-Rescue’s K9 Ashly (July 2001 – April 10, 2017) Dallas, TX - K9 Ashly crossed the rainbow bridge, leaving behind a legacy for the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department. Adopted as stray when she was six months old, Ashly was trained and certified as an Accelerant Detection Canine from 2002 until 2012, serving 10 years. Retiring at 70 (dog years) from fire scenes, she still attended department functions and citizen events for several more years. Ashly spent her entire life as a ranch dog with her playmates of dogs, cats, horses and goats. Thanks to Ashly, Dallas Fire Rescue began an Accelerant Canine Detection Program that is still active today. To obtain certifications at no cost to the city, Ashly was used to obtain grants and funds to host an Annual Texas K9 Conference and NAPWDA workshop in Dallas that ran at no cost to all police and fire K9 teams

JUMP TO FILE #060217110 from 2003 until 2012. Dallas still hosts the annual conference. During her career, Ashly was featured in major newspapers as well as local media outlets, ad campaigns such as Novartis and the SPCA, and attended many events and functions in the Dallas community. Ashly was the first fire dog inducted into the National Kids N Cops Program. Ashly raised tens of thousands of dollars in grants and funds while saving the Department tens of thousands of dollars in fire scene processing, as well as evidence collection and processing. What an amazing life for the little stray mutt found in a cow field...

Jeff Day started his career as a Firefighter with Murfreesboro Fire Department in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on November 6, 1988. After only two years, he rose through the ranks quickly to the position of Engineer, and just eight years later, he was promoted to Captain/Shift Inspector. In 2009, Day helped the department develop and implement a Special Operations program, providing new technical rescue services to the citizens of Murfreesboro, such as Water Rescue, Confined Space, High Angle/Rope Rescue and Trench Rescue. With the addition of these offerings, the name of the department was changed to “Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department,” to more accurately reflect the technical rescue aspect. Day spent a total of eight years in Special Operations. During his time at MFRD, he also served with the Lascassas (TN) Volunteer Fire Department from 1989 until 2006. As a state-certified Fire Inspector with certifications from both the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and Certified Fire Investigator (CFI), Jeff was active in the Tennessee Advisory Committee on Arson (TACA) and even held the Vice President’s position for two years. Over the years, Day instructed several classes for both paid and

JUMP TO FILE #041917112 volunteer departments, including Firefighter Survival, Special Operations and Hazardous Materials. “I absolutely love teaching and training Firefighters to be the best they can be,” he said. Recently, while assisting the department’s Public Information Officer Ashley McDonald with footage for a Recruitment Video, Day’s unique way of hanging his turnout coat on the engine was captured on film, along with a victory dance. “We would love for this video to go viral,” said McDonald. “Personally, it makes me laugh every time and I could watch it over and over.” McDonald posted the video on the department’s social media accounts and it has since traveled nationwide to many other social media sites, including the 1st Responder News Facebook page. To watch the must-see coat hanging with victory dance, go to and click on 'Videos'. It's guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone's face! Captain Day, with 29 years of service, has no interest in retiring just yet, because he simply loves his job. - MURFREESBORO FIRE RESCUE DEPARTMENT


Two Firefighters Injured at Southeast Houston Apartment Fire Houston, TX - On Thursday, May 4th at 8:47 A.M., HFD responded to a working apartment fire at 8250 Park Place Blvd., in Southeast Houston. During firefighting operations, one firefighter accidentally cut into a power source with a K12 saw, resulting in an electrocution. EKG readings were normal. The firefighter was transported as Priority 3 to Memorial Hermann Hospital.

JUMP TO FILE #050517102 An additional firefighter was reported to be injured at this incident, but details on this firefighter’s injury were unknown. The cause of the fire is under investigation, as well as the estimated damage. - HOUSTON FIRE DEPT.

MFRD Captain/Shift Inspector, Jeff Day.


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Summer, 2017



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Record Attendance Achieved at FDIC International 2017 Tulsa, Okla., May 1st, 2017 – The Fire Department Instructors Conference International (FDIC International) announced a record-breaking attendance of nearly 34,000 attendees from 58 countries at its 90th annual training conference and expo, held at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN April 24-29, 2017. The world’s largest and most comprehensive annual firefighter training and exposition event, FDIC International includes Classroom Sessions, Pre-Conference Workshops, Hands-On Training Evolutions, networking events, a conference program with more than 300 speakers, and an exhibition showcasing cuttingedge products and services from nearly 800 companies. “FDIC International 2017 was a huge achievement for PennWell and the fire service. Its continued growth reflects its reputation for delivering the most advanced training and education from the world’s finest instructors,” said Eric Schlett, Vice President/Executive Director, PennWell Corp. “And with 798 exhibitors demonstrating the latest apparatus and equipment advancements within the fire service, it is clear that firefighters will travel from all corners of the globe to attend this international event.” FDIC International 2017 featured many special events and networking opportunities throughout the week. The NFFF 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge, the Firefighter Throwdown Crossfit competition, the HEAT Competition, and the Real Time Outdoor Product Demonstrations provide firefighters with competition and educational opportunities. Many off-site industry association events also take place each year, as well as networking events such as the International Networking Event. As an official event of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyers Select Program, FDIC International also provides an International Lounge complete with local area informa-

JUMP TO FILE #050417104 tion and translation services for attendees traveling overseas. Recognizing that the FDIC Experience is hard to put into words, Chief (Ret.) Bobby Halton, FDIC International Education Director, maintains that “after nine decades, FDIC will stay true to our heritage and original commitment to train the fire service.” FDIC International 2018 will be held April 23-28, 2018, at the Indianapolis Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium. To learn more about FDIC International, please visit About PennWell Corporation: PennWell Corporation is a privately held and highly diversified business-to-business media and information company that provides quality content and integrated marketing solutions for the following industries: Oil and gas, electric power generation and delivery, hydropower, renewable energy, water and wastewater treatment, waste management, electronics, semiconductor manufacturing, optoelectronics, fiberoptics, aerospace and avionics, LEDs and lighting, fire and emergency services, public safety, and dental. PennWell publishes over 130 print and online magazines and newsletters, conducts 60 conferences and exhibitions on six continents, and has an extensive offering of books, maps, websites, research and database services. In addition to PennWell's headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Company has major offices in Nashua, New Hampshire; London, England; Houston, Texas; San Diego and Mountain View, California; Fairlawn, New Jersey; Moscow, Russia; and Hong Kong, China. For additional information about PennWell Corporation, visit - ERIC WEST/SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER OF PENWELL

Austin, TX - Austin Fire Department's three stooges, otherwise known as Smokey, Max and Gunny! These three Accelerant Detection Canines can recognize more than 18 different accelerant odors and are integral members of the department's investigations section.


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Rick Billings (Cartoon) Henry Campbell (Staying Safe) Bob Long (Cartoon) John Malecky (Apparatus, Video, Bookshelf) Didymus McHugh (Chaplain’s Corner) Fernando Villicana (Chaplain’s Corner) Robert “Pip” Piparo (Health & Fitness) Joel Miller (Social Media) AJ Fusco (Food Blog)


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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

Kentucky: James "Dewon" Wells, 52 Rank: Firefighter/Paramedic Incident Date: May 5, 2017 Death Date: May 6, 2017 Fire Department: Montgomery County Fire/EMS Initial Summary: Firefighter/Paramedic James "Dewon" Wells worked his shift on May 5, 2017, from 0800hrs to 1600hrs. During his shift, he complained to a fire department member that he was experiencing numbness in his mouth. Immediately before leaving the station at the end of his shift, he complained to his chief that he had a headache and did not feel well. The following day, May 6, 2017, at approximately 1400hrs, Firefighter/Paramedic Wells was still not feeling well and went to a medical clinic, but returned home since he started to feel slightly better. Soon thereafter, his wife came home and found him unresponsive on the couch and not breathing. He wife initiated CPR and Firefighter/Paramedic Wells was transported to St. Joseph Hospital in Mount Sterling, where he was pronounced deceased.

Florida: James Franklin Dorminy, 55 Rank: Lieutenant Incident Date: May 9, 2017 Death Date: May 18, 2017 Fire Department: Reedy Creek Emergency Services Initial Summary: Lieutenant James Franklin Dorminy worked on May 8, 2017, and ran three calls: amusement park ride evacuation; rescue-assist at citizen cardiac arrest; and a false fire alarm. His shift ended at 0700hrs on May 9, 2017. After his shift, Dorminy went to an off-site, private gym for his regular workout. Lieutenant Dorminy was found floating in the pool by bystanders at approximately 0830hrs and was resuscitated. He never regained consciousness and the family terminated life support on Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Texas: Scott Deem, 31 Rank: Firefighter Incident Date: May 18, 2017 Death Date: May 18, 2017 Fire Department: San Antonio Fire Department Initial Summary: Firefighter Scott Deem died from injuries received while operating at a fouralarm fire in a shopping center. Fire crews were searching a gym in the strip mall for any possible occupants as fire conditions rapidly intensified and the structure began to collapse. All firefighters were ordered to exit the building but Deem was unable to do so before becoming caught and trapped. Crews continued to battle the fire but due to conditions were unable to reach Firefighter Deem. According to initial reports, another member of the initial search team was also trapped in the fire but was pulled to safety along with an injured member of the Rapid Intervention Team. The two injured firefighters were transported to the hospital where one remains in critical but stable condition.

Georgia: John Chester, 56 Rank: Battalion Chief Incident Date: May 18, 2017 Death Date: May 18, 2017 Fire Department: Whitfield County Fire Department Initial Summary: Several hours after answering an emergency response call during his normally scheduled shift, Battalion Chief John Chester passed away while at home of a yet to be determined cause.

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After 33 years of service, the first woman appointed to the rank of Division Chief at the Austin Fire Department, Dawn Clopton, retired.


Austin FD Experiences Dallas Crews Install Free Smoke Alarms to Local Residents After Fatal House Fire the End of an Era Austin, TX - July 28th marked the end of an era for the City of Austin. After 33 years of service, the first woman appointed to the rank of Division Chief at the Austin Fire Department, Dawn Clopton, retired. Joining in 1984, she is one of the longest-serving female uniformed members in AFD. Chief Clopton holds numerous certifications, including Rope Rescue, Confined Space, Structural Collapse, and Swift Water Rescue—and has either served on or led such groups as the Leadership Council for the Austin Women Firefighters, the Department’s Diversity Council, and the Austin Firefighters’ Association/Local 975’s Human Relations Committee. She also served two terms as a Vice President on Local 975’s Executive Board. Chief Clopton is a two-time recipient of our Medal of Merit, has received various AFD Certificates of Commendation, and has been recognized with the Austin Police Department’s Certificate of Recognition. But perhaps nearest and dearest to her heart is her membership on Texas Task Force 1, where she was “boots on the ground” at the World Trade Center after 9/11, in New Or-

JUMP TO FILE #080217111 leans Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and at the Texas A&M bonfire collapse. Now a part-time instructor at TEEX - Fire and Emergency Services Training, Chief Clopton is one of the most humble and service-oriented people you’ll ever meet. If you need help with something, no matter the task or the size of the request, she’ll be the first one to offer assistance. If you ask her what she has enjoyed most about her time in the Austin Fire Department, she won’t hesitate to tell you: “I have always been proud to wear the title of Firefighter for the City of Austin. The opportunity to work with the courageous and dedicated men and women that make up this department have made going to work a pleasure.” Dawn, thank YOU for your dedication, commitment and service to all those whose lives you have touched in one way or another during the past 33 years. We will miss you!

Dallas, TX - On the morning of Thursday, April 20th, DFR Fire Inspectors started canvassing the streets (Huff Trail, Redstart Lane and Chantilly Lane), surveying between 80-90 homes of the Lakewood Community where a recent house fire, in the 6900 block of Redstart Lane, claimed the life of a resident in his mid-60’s. Fire Inspectors visited 74 homes and installed 22 smoke alarms. There were some homes that already had the necessary smoke alarms and some that didn't; but for the majority of visits, no one was

JUMP TO FILE #042117102 home (due in part to a neighborhood meeting at an undisclosed location). Background: DFR responded to the fire early Tuesday morning, April 18th. A senior couple and their dog were in the house when the fire began; but only the wife was able to make it out safely. Though the cause of the fire is undetermined, pending a final ruling on the cause of death from the Medical Examiner’s Office, it is important to note that the

home was not equipped with working smoke alarms. Considering that 65% of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms at all, or no working smoke alarms, there is a strong possibility that the outcome of this incident could have turned out differently if smoke alarms had alerted the occupants. This, in addition to other fire safety matters, is what we hope to communicate to the community going forward. - JASON EVANS


Serving g those who se erve us.



1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

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1st Responder Newspape er features EMERGENCY SERVICES RELA ATED TATTOOS

Jonathan Arteaga, 19, joined his parents, brothers and sister, to listen to the staff members of Magnolia Volunteer F.D., Montgomery County Hospital District, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Dept., Magnolia Towing, Tomball Regional Medical Center Emergency Dept. and Memorial Hermann Health System tell about their roles in saving his life after a house his family was moving crushed him when a jack gave way. MONTGOMERY COUNTY HOSPITAL DISTRICT

The Story of MCHD’s First Simple Thoracostomy Save Richard Earl has been a firefighter for 15-years, a paramedic for 7-years and is currently a member with the Compton Fire Department. He got this tattoo done in 2016 and when asked what the inspiration was behind it, he said "The inspiration was from the guys before me, the dedication and hard work that they gave to the department. They inspired me to want to work for this department and also work in the community that I grew up in. It has been an honor to work for this department and that was my ultimate inspiration for this tattoo." Fernando from Corona Tattoo and Piercing in CA is the talented artist who did Richard's full-back tattoo.

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Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year; on average 3,287 deaths a day.

Magnolia, TX - Everyone was caught by surprise. Jonathan Arteaga and his family moved mobile homes and buildings for a living. They knew what to do, when to do it and the safest way to set up a house to move it. On February 24, 2016, Jonathan was helping the family move a mobile home when something went terribly wrong. While leveling the mobile home, one of the jacks holding the house gave way. The building fell on top of him, pinning his knees to chest, under 37,000-pounds of structure. The emergency medical call went out to responders as an “inaccessible incident,” meaning that the responders would not be able to get to the victim immediately. If it had not been for the rapid series of events that followed, Jonathan would have died underneath that house. A new Montgomery County Hospital District dispatcher answered the 911 call. Danielle Williams said she “couldn’t forget” this call; she had to tell the family to leave Jonathan under the house until help arrived. Typically, a dispatcher has a list of actions for people to do on the scene in order to help. Within minutes of the call, Montgomery County Sheriff Deputies Brad Crandell and Kenneth Morris arrived on the scene and determined that Jonathan still had a pulse and jumped into action. Since there were limited resources onsite to lift the heavy structure, the deputies called for help from Peter Baty of Magnolia Towing, who used his wrecker to safely lift the building so that the paramedics could get to Jonathan. While the house was being moved, Jonathan’s heart stopped beating. The Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department team arrived just as Jonathan was pulled out from under the building and immediately started CPR. Moments later, Montgomery County Hospital District Emergency

JUMP TO FILE #122116103 Medical Services Paramedics Carol Finnegan, Micheal Fischer and Isaac Shaul, along with their District Supervisor, Sherry Sullivan, arrived. They determined that Jonathan’s lungs were crushed under the weight of the house. A more aggressive and advanced intervention was needed to resuscitate Jonathan. MCHD paramedics performed a procedure called a “Simple Thoracotomy,” similar to a chest tube procedure, to re-inflate Jonathan’s crushed lungs. MCHD is the only ambulance service in the State of Texas currently performing this procedure, and this procedure is what saved Jonathan’s life. Immediately after the thoracostomy, Jonathan regained a pulse. Although he was still in critical condition, a heartbeat for a patient who experienced an incident like Jonathan’s was a sign of hope. The crews moved quickly and Jonathan was soon on the road to Tomball Regional Medical Center, which was only a few months into their pursuit of a Level-3 Trauma Designation. Tomball Regional Medical Center Emergency Department staff were ready for Jonathan, including a trauma surgeon. After being stabilized, Jonathan was transferred by LifeFlight to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, where he continued to receive care and begin his long road to recovery. Six months later, the people involved in his care were able to reunite with Jonathan and the Arteaga family. Patients who suffer a cardiac arrest secondary to a traumatic event have a small chance of survival. Jonathan beat the odds and survived being folded in half by the weight of a mobile home. Jonathan is still un-

able to walk, but has regained sensation in his lower extremities. He is otherwise, neurologically intact. Jonathan’s story would not have ended this way if not for all of the links in his chain of survival. Thank you to all of the crew members involved in this positive outcome! Montgomery County Hospital District’s mission is to care for the indigent and provide EMS services while protecting the interests of the taxpayers and insuring long-term stability through fund development. To accomplish this mission, the board members and staff of MCHD abide by the values of accountability, compassion, excellence, innovation, integrity and unity. For more information about MCHD, visit their website at or call 936-523-5000. People and organizations involved in Jonathan Arteaga’s save included Carol Finnegan/MCHD in Charge, Michael Fischer/MCHD in Charge, Isaac Shaul/MCHD Attendant, Sherry Sullivan/ MCHD Supervisor, Danielle Williams/MCHD Call Taker, Deputy Brad Crandell/Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Kenneth Morris/Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy David Lasalle/Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Captain Galen Hargrave/Magnolia Vol. FD, Firefighter Colby Anderson/Magnolia Vol. FD, Firefighter Aaron Duhon/Magnolia Vol. FD, Firefighter Brad LeVrier/Magnolia Vol. FD, Captain Scott Geminden/Magnolia Vol. FD, Firefighter Davin Heitmeyer/Magnolia Vol. FD, Firefighter Jacob Griffith/Magnolia Vol. FD, Assistant Chief Kevin Walters/Magnolia Vol. FD, Battalion Chief Keith Soliz/Magnolia Vol. FD, Peter Baty/Magnolia Towing, the Tomball Regional Medical Center and Memorial Hermann Health System. - JULIE P. MARTINEAU

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Summer, 2017



Summer, 2017

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ON THE LITER SIDE If you have photos you would like to see in our “On The Liter Side” feature, please upload them on our website, or email them to

Austin, TX - What does the Austin F.D. do with their old fire hose? They donate it to Austin Zoo for their residents to use!

This is Meadow, helping herself to a snack from the department's woven fire hose "trellis". Now that's a use most never would have thought of! COURTESY OF AUSTIN ZOO

Automatic Fire Alarm or Is It? STAYING SAFE

Chief Henry Campbell

The other morning, as I was finishing breakfast and admiring the 22-inches of freshly fallen snow from two days prior, my pager opened, announcing for my department to respond to an Automatic Fire Alarm at a private residence. I pushed away from the table, bundled up, and headed for the location, which was less than a mile from my home. En-route to the location, an additional dispatch announced that the alarm company had called back, reporting an overheated pan on the stove. With the heavy snow plowed up on the side of the road, it made it difficult to spot addresses on mailboxes, which were covered in snow. As I found the correct location, a residence sitting back 200-feet from the street, the first rig pulled up. Three of us trudged up the driveway, rang the door bell and were met by the homeowner, who offered her apologies for having us respond to an unnecessary alarm. She explained that she was drying a large cast iron frying pan on the stove and had momentarily forgotten about it, that is, until the home alarm sensed the smoke and activated the alarm system. The homeowner had called the alarm company requesting they cancel the alarm and was advised that the fire department was on the way and couldn’t be cancelled. We explained how her alarm system works and how fire dispatch works in conjunction with her alarm system. The homeowner was most appreciative of our response and explanation as to why we continued our response to her location. We said our goodbyes as she continued to apologize, and headed back to the fire station. Our fire department, like many others, is dispatched to many AFA’s (automatic fire alarms) in our community, and as in many departments, we have members who tend to shrug off AFA’s with a negative remark, and others who may not respond to the alarm. The members will complain that the AFA’s are wearing them out, the constant crying “Wolf” when there is no wolf, has an impact on them. Many years ago, fire alarm systems were found in commercial buildings, buildings of public assembly, institutional facilities, and where fire sprinkler systems were installed. Today, under the name Security Systems, they can be found in almost any type occupancy, including residential homes.

Visit us on web This lioness seems to be enjoying playing with the old fire hose...or she's just bored with the whole idea. You decide!


The primary function of the alarm system is to detect and initiate the transmission of an alarm to a private monitoring agency, where it is then transmitted to the local 911 dispatch center. Fire, Police or EMS assistance, or any combination, will be automatically dispatched and once on the way, will not be returned by dispatch. Dispatch may transmit additional information, but they will not terminate your response. That will be determined by on scene investigation, or department policy. On scene investigation is always the best method. Maybe the occupant thought the problem was minor and had not noticed any fire spread. Cancelling response based on occupant call back may result in having to play catch up, followed by legal ramifications. There also are false alarms transmitted from AFA’s caused by a variety of reasons. The primary rea-

son would be poor, or lack of maintenance. Dust in the detector head is common; blow it out with a can of air and the system is back in business. Every now and then, the system may malfunction for no apparent reason. If it is a continual problem, the system needs technical assistance to correct the problem. Many communities have local ordinances that levy fines after so many false alarms are transmitted. AFA’s are a part of the American technology age and they do make the job of firefighting safer by initiating early response to what may be smoke scares or incipient fires. Even I have a system! Definition of automatic fire alarm system: a fire alarm system which detects the presence of a fire and automatically initiates a signal indicating its detection. To be continued... Till next time, Stay Safe and God Bless!




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Tell Me Exactly What Happened ON THE BOOK SHELF

by John Malecky

Tell Me Exactly What Happened Dispatches From 911 By Caroline Burau Available from: Anywhere books are sold Price: $16.95 The book is softcover, measuring 5 ½ inches by 8 ½ inches and has 182 pages within 31 chapters. As you can see, the chapters are fairly short. These are memoirs of the author who worked in two different dispatch jobs. One was a 911 operator for the White Bear Lake, Minnesota Police Department. The center also covers the township, which combined, has a population of 35,000. It is a suburb of the twin cities. The 911 desk has a single operator, so you can imagine the demand and restrictions placed on that one person, right down to getting a chance to perform human bodily functions. She eventually leaves this job to work as an EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatcher) for a private ambulance company so diversified that it even has air ambulances! One thing you will realize is that dispatchers can and do save lives from their desks by coaching callers about the proper things to do while help is on

the way, and by calling the appropriate agencies to handle the situations. You’ll also realize that they do get emotionally and personally involved with the outcome of the calls, especially when life is at stake, because with very few exceptions, they never leave their positions no matter how serious an incident gets. The exceptions are dispatch centers manned by emergency personnel who would have to leave their posts and call forward to the police for instance, because they have to respond in an emergency vehicle at a busy time. The chapters will hold your attention. Not all are about calls. Some involve work conditions with respect to time off, seniority, personalities, private space, fatigue and many other aspects of the job. Dispatchers reading this book will relate accordingly with respect to their own work environment and the ever present hierarchy. Personal life comes into play as well because her husband is also a dispatcher and they have a school-aged daughter. The chapters are peppered with slang, locker room talk, humor and other things that go on amongst themselves, never of course on the air or on the phone. The reader will be amazed about how many diversified emergencies happen in the jurisdiction. I believe this book will help educate readers about the highs and lows of the job and about how versatile dispatchers can be, helping them to respect these workers. She is also the author of “Answering 911, Life in the Hot Seat".

Summer, 2017


TOOLS OF THE TRADE If you have photos you would like to see in our “Tools of the Trade” feature, please upload them on our website or email them to


Houston Fire Department personnel used a drone to survey a recent multi-agency grass fire in Southwest Houston.

ALL IN THE FAMILY If you have photos you would like to see in our “All in the Family” feature, please upload them on our website or email them to


Austin, TX - Firefighting in Austin is a family business for the Cloptons; Dawn Clopton's brother, Christopher Clopton, is currently a Fire Specialist at Engine-39 on the C-shift, with 22 years of service under his belt. Dawn recently retired as Division Chief of the Austin Fire Department after 33 years of service.



Summer, 2017

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Woman Escapes Fatal House Fire that Killed Husband Dallas, TX - At 2:59 A.M. on April 18th, Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to a 911 call for a structure fire at a residence located in the 6900 block of Redstart Lane, near White Rock Lake in Northeast Dallas. When firefighters arrived, they could see flames rolling from the front door and window of the home. There were two residents inside the home, a husband and his wife, along with a dog when the fire began. Though the wife had made it to safety, the husband and dog were still trapped inside. During the course of the offensive attack, firefighters were able to locate the unresponsive body of the husband and pulled him from a window. The firefighters immediately began life-saving measures, including CPR, before taking him to a local hospital, where he was ultimately pronounced deceased. The dog was also found inside, but could not be saved. According to the homeowner, she was asleep in a back bedroom

JUMP TO FILE #041817114 when something woke her up. At that point, she saw smoke coming into the bedroom. She called for her husband, but was unable to find him. After finding fire in the front office of the home, she attempted to put it out with a small water container. After no success, she called for her husband one last time before being forced, by smoke and fire conditions, to exit the home. The fire engulfed the office, spread down the hall and into the living room, where it vented out of the front door. The majority of the house and its contents sustained major damage before it was finally extinguished. Investigators believe that the fire may have originated in the office located at the front of the home, but the exact cause is still undetermined, pending the Medical Examiner's ruling on a cause of death. - JASON EVANS


If you have photos you would like to see in our “Patch of the Month� feature, please upload them on our website, or email them to


This patch belongs to Bedford Fire Department, located in Tarrant County, TX.

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2017


Dripping Springs’ First-Ever “Firefighter Fitness Day” a Success Dripping Springs, TX - Kids both young and old enjoyed the challenges encountered while pulling 100-feet of fully charged hose line, completing dummy drags and ascending stairs in full bunker gear, all while wearing JUMP TO FILE # an SCBA, at the 021417104 city's first-ever “Firefighter Fitness Day," held on January 21st. The City of Dripping Springs teamed up with North Hays County Fire/Rescue and Dripping Springs Professional Firefighters Association to organize the event. Around 100 residents came out to show support and experience the first year of this event. The activities included obstacle courses for both kids and adults, a Kaiser sled, bleacher workout and a full-body cardio workout hosted by "Fitness on the Go Training". In addition, a fire engine and brush truck were available for residents to explore and learn about. An obstacle course was created for the adults based on movements used in required yearly physical fitness tests for North Hays County Fire/Rescue. The obstacle course included a 160pound dummy drag, Kaiser sled, a

Kid's obstacle course hose pull.

bleacher workout while dressed head-to-toe in bunker gear and a hose pull using 100-feet of charged hose line. Many adults walked away with a new respect for firefighting, and were also impressed with their own abilities after completing many of the events. The kid's obstacle course was a scaled down version of the adult obstacle course. It included a dummy drag event that used a 50foot section of hose made into the shape of a rescue dummy, a rubber mallet used to hit a piece of lumber to mimic the Kaiser sled and a 100-foot section of charged wildland hose to perform a hose drag. The kids thoroughly enjoyed striking the piece of lumber and pulling the dummy around the course. "Firefighter Fitness Day" helped the community of Dripping Springs maintain first place in “IT’S TIME TEXAS Community Challenge,” presented by H-E-B (local grocery store chain). The challenge promotes, unites and mobilizes community members, schools, businesses, organizations and mayors to see which communities can demonstrate the greatest commitment to healthy living.

"Fitness on the Go" group.


Dummy drag.




Hose brush truck.



Summer, 2017

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX



1st Responder News correspondent, David Burns, covering the arrival of Air Force One at Newark Liberty Airport.

David Burns has been a 1st Responder News correspondent since 2013. He has 35 plus years of experience (first major page at the age of 16) shooting and covering breaking and national new events. Some of his credentials include eight years as a lead photo editor at two major New York City area newspapers (NY Post and NY Daily News), NJ/NY State Certified EMT, former Chief of Operations for a NYC based volunteer ambulance corp., and Honorary Chief in the New York State Honorary Fire Chiefs' Association. Some of his specialties include photojournalism, photo editing, emergency medical response, emergency management public information officer, fire and police scene photography, assignment desk operations, twoway radio communications, public safety communications and event planning.

JUMP TO FILE #060317100 David has covered some major stories over the years, including the release of US hostages from Iran in 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992; Presidential campaigns and Inaugurals; the United States Space Shuttle Program; Papal trips to America in 1980, 1987 and 1995; the first Reagan/Gorbachev summit in Geneva, Switzerland; US Military operations in Central America in 1983 and 1993; and the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. David also planned and executed the New York Post's special coverage of the 2008 Papal visit to the United States. He directed coverage on the death of Osama Bin Laden, and also planned and executed coverage of the US 2012 Presidential Campaign, including the Inaugural.

The first major assignment that David worked on was the Carter v. Reagan campaign in 1978.



Six-Alarm Blaze in Dallas Damages Four Businesses Dallas, TX - At 9:17 A.M. on July 8th, Dallas Fire-Rescue units responded to a 911 call for a structure fire at a vacant Washateria, located at 2663 South Lancaster Road, in South Dallas. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they observed heavy smoke coming from the Washateria, which was part of a strip shopping center. A second-alarm was almost immediately transmitted as

JUMP TO FILE #071717151 firefighters tried to make their way inside the building to effect an offense of fire attack. However, around 9:30 A.M., attack teams were pulled out and a third-alarm was transmitted. Operations moved to a defensive posture. From that point, the fire only

worsened as it eventually escalated to a sixth-alarm, damaging a total of four businesses. Ultimately the fire was declared extinguished at 2:02 P.M., but with no word as of yet on what caused it. Crews remained on the scene conducting overhaul operations. There were no injuries reported. - JASON EVANS

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

Haslet Tanker-28 with all lines stretched at a two-alarm house fire.


1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2017



Summer, 2017

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX


Four Separate House Fires Erupt in Leander, All Caused by Lightning Strikes Leander, TX - You’ve probably heard the saying, “a bolt out of the blue,” meaning something completely unexpected, which comes as a big surprise or shock. But did you know that idiom is based on meteorological science? It actually originated as part of a descriptor for positive-charge lightning, which comes from the top (or the “anvil”) of a storm. On Monday afternoon, July 24th, four of our C-shift crews (Quint-19 and Engines 31, 38, and 45) got to see the damage this rare form of lightning can do up close, when they were called to assist our colleagues at the Cedar Park Fire Department and Leander Fire Department when, within 30 minutes, they had four active, separate house fires going on at the same time…all caused by positivecharge lightning. Along with our personnel, members from Round Rock Fire Department, Georgetown Fire De-


JUMP TO FILE #080217113 partment, Florence Volunteer Fire Department, and Travis County ESD #1 were also on hand to assist. Thankfully, no injuries were reported but all four homes suffered significant damage. Most of the lightning we see is negative; it comes from the middle or base of a storm. Positivecharge lightning, on the other hand, is extremely rare; less than five percent of all cloud-to-ground lightning is positive. It is 10 times more powerful than common negative-charge lightning and can carry as much as one billion (yes, that’s “billion” with a “B”!) volts of power, striking as far away as 25-30 miles from the parent storm. - AUSTIN FD

Where to Begin: Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Your Fire Department The new year has rolled in and your fire department has started the dialogue to consider incorporating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), often referred to as “drones”, into departmental operations. Your officers and firefighters have witnessed some of the benefits of using UAS during departmental operations because a local hobbyist has volunteered to fly his aerial vehicle over your fire scenes and has shared the videos in real-time with the chief. So, where do you go from this point? The first step is to immediately stop what you are doing. While the intentions of the hobbyist may be sincere and much appreciated by the fire department, they go against federal regulations and can land both the fire department and the hobbyist in serious trouble, including fines adding up to tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. The same holds true for any firefighter who may be using his or her personal UAS on scene for the benefit of the fire department. The bottom line is, this is not allowed within the scope of federal UAS regulations. Fire chiefs have recognized the value of using UAS during departmental operations. Whether it’s for scene size up, hazmat conditions, search and rescue, or large scale incidents, the benefits of this technology are certainly notable. The decision to acquire a UAS is not one that should be entered into lightly. For any fire department, this process should be initiated with a strategic-level needs assessment that evaluates a variety of factors, including types of calls, number of alarms, manpower and

JUMP TO FILE #121216109 budget. The appropriate UAS platform and accessories must also be matched with the department’s operational needs. Fire departments need to conscientiously and sensibly establish comprehensive and risk adverse UAS programs along with substantial educational and training protocols for the utilization of this technology as a practical and sustainable tool. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established separate guidelines for the use of UAS by public organizations as compared to hobbyists and commercial entities. As public organizations, fire departments need to follow the procedures set forth in this category by the FAA in order to deploy UAS legally and safely during departmental operations. Through the FAA, public agencies can apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) in order to seek approval to conduct UAS operations in the nation’s airspace. This approval follows a lengthy all-inclusive operational and technical preparation by the fire department and an equivalent review by the FAA. Fire departments may also utilize elements of the newly designated FAA small UAS rule (Part 107) to become properly certified to fly for their department’s aerial vehicle. Attaining this certification, which must be renewed every 24 months, requires becoming proficient in general aeronautical knowledge. This includes being able to read visual flight rules (VFR) sectional

charts in order to recognize various airspaces and their limits; the understanding of weather phenomena and their effects on your UAS in flight; and specifics about the Part 107 regulations that you will be flying under. Depending upon the individual, preparation for this test could take more than 20 hours of study time. All of these details illuminate the fact that fire departments are not permitted to simply go to a store, purchase a drone, and deploy it during their calls. It is an exciting time in the world of unmanned aerial technology. Use cases are presenting themselves at dizzying rates as the aerial and imagery technology continues to rapidly advance. In this blur of progress it is essential for fire departments and other public agencies to remember that they are being closely scrutinized by the public. Your department needs to ensure that it has developed and implemented a comprehensive UAS program that encompasses regulatory compliance, ground safety, executive management and operational training. Much consideration needs to be made by your department and municipality in regard to budgeting and vendor management, as well as designing appropriate policies, standard operating procedures and emergency safety protocols. In the end, the essential objective is to be able to deploy your UAS in a safe and responsible manner in order to aid your department in effectively saving lives and property. - MIKE RUSSELL

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2017



Summer, 2017

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

What is the Root of the Problem? Chaplain's Corner Didymus McHugh

I am going to start off by stating that I am not an expert, nor do I play one on TV, but sometimes common sense just prevails and makes one think. There are many people today using many different substances for many different reasons. I remember growing up in a firehouse, where on Sunday mornings and many nights, the members would drink. Nobody really asked why. It was the culture. There was one person that had a bottle of brandy in his pocket. He said that it was to treat a toothache. Many people, society, use so many different substances these days. So many get hooked on opioids. Some get hooked after surgery. There are some people that get hooked after a surgery, then the insurance will not cover the prescriptions to cover it when they need to use it for pain. They tell me that it is cheaper to use street drugs. There is also another class of people that use substances. That class may be the people that you may stereotype, but many that you would never expect to be using substances.

When you get a chance to actually sit down and hear these peoples stories, you hear the other type of pain. You hear the trauma that they have lived with, the depression, the crisis, the "untreated" behavioral/mental health issues. They express that they feel the pain and use the substances to self-medicate. The question that comes about is why don't they get the help that they need to handle the behavioral health issues? Is it stigma? Is it insurance? Is it that they were told that they are not supposed to discuss their problems with anyone? What challenges are members of your department facing that may be causing them to self medicate? Do they know where to reach out? Do they know that there are locations that rehab and detox emergency services? Brothers want to help brothers/sisters. We are one family. We, ourselves, need to get to the root of why we really do a certain action. People avoid certain people or places because it brings up pain or bad memories. For others, the pain may be too great. If you know someone who may have a substance abuse problem, including alcohol, please say something and help them get the help that they need. There are many treatment facilities out there. Stay safe, Didymus McHugh


Houston Firefighters Recognized as “Firefighter Crew of the Year�

Houston, TX - The Independent Insurance Agents of Houston Honored a "Firefighter Crew of the Year" on July 25th. The crew of Tower-21 (Station-21, A-Shift) was selected for their efforts during a fire in August of last year. A citizen was rescued from his burning home and his family was able to enjoy six more months with him before he passed away. Three other HFD crews were also recognized as finalists for their outstanding dedication and service while making daring rescues (Engine-73/C-Shift, Engine-56/B-Shift and Engine-24/A-Shift).

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

SCENES FROM FDIC 2017 Photos by Jeff Belschwinder/Sidewinder Photography

Summer, 2017



Summer, 2017

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

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

Euless Firefighter Wroblski descends Quint-553 at an apartment fire.


Hurst F.D. Engine-201's driver opening the hydrant at a house fire.


Euless Firefighter/Driver Sutterfield coming out for rehab after some interior work at a structure fire.


Summer, 2017


Does Social Media Belong in Today’s Fire Service? Today, almost everyone has a smart phone and endless opportunities to record life in real time, the good and the bad. Fire departments must now embrace the social media world in which we live. But what role does social media play in the fire service? Most fire departments now have an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) or SOG (Standard Operating Guideline) addressing social media. But is social media helping or hurting your department? Herein lies the problem. Does the SOP or SOG truly guide the fire service to use social media to their advantage? Public Relations is something the fire service has definitely not mastered. As a rookie volunteer firefighter in the early 90’s, one of the first things stressed to me was “Never take any pictures because you will end up in court." The truth is, I would end up in court with or without the pictures and it would be much more difficult to convey accuracy without pictures to support and recreate the scene. Several departments have now used social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, to propel their departments to a new level. This allows fire departments the ability to reach a new generation of firefighters because the new generation is definitely connected by technology and social media. Some departments have even utilized social media to enlist community support to obtain new apparatus, afford pay raises, and seek potential new personnel. Social media has also heightened public awareness of the dangers involved with firefighting and virtually taken viewers into the fire via social media. Scott Ziegler, a firefighter with Detroit Fire Department, wore a helmet cam for a year while employed as a firefighter with Highland Park, Michigan Fire Department. Scott then appeared on national news, giving the nation a glimpse into the lifethreatening experiences a firefighter faces every day. Am I implying that all social media, or even news media coverage is good? Absolutely not! The key is to train staff about social media etiquette and how to embrace the photographers on the side lines of the scene or during an incident. Yes, you read that correctly; “photographers on the side lines". I recently traveled to California to experience fire photography as a fire chaser, known as buffing. I had the honor of working side by side with two Southern California fire photographers, Tod Sudmeier (@epn564) and Brandy Carlos (@epn106). I was amazed at how many fire departments not only welcomed our presence, but they actually encouraged us to get close to the action. Of course, we followed the safety rules outlined by each fire de-


Chief Joel Miller, Federal Government Fire Chief, fire department social media consultant and owner of the world’s largest Fire Instagram page (@chief_miller).

partment, such as wearing wildland firefighting gear as we stood on the front lines, streaming live footage via Periscope and Facebook Live to hundreds, even thousands of viewers around the world. We each shared awesome pictures capturing the action in real time on some of the world’s largest fire service based social media sites. Social media has even helped the fire service recruit some of the best candidates for the job simply due to the awareness and visibility, triggering an increase in applicants. Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City and Cal Fire are some of the most recognizable departments in the world, partially due to social media and dedicated fire photographers. Social media also raises community awareness of the great service their tax dollars are paying for. Shortly after my California experience, again with California fire photographers Tod Sudmeier (@epn564) and Brandy Carlos (@epn106), we traveled to Detroit, Michigan. Detroit is one of the country’s most deprived cities and busiest fire departments. They are confronted with a high number of arson related fires. I found that the Battalion Chief would be the one to set the temperature as to how well received the fire photographers were on scene. I made calls where the Battalion Chief himself would be snapping shots as much as he could. Most Battalion Chiefs welcomed us as we followed their rules and stayed out of harm’s way. Real-time live broadcast from DFD went out around the world via social media. The world saw top notch firefighters doing an amazing job, despite the struggles

their department has experienced in the way of equipment and manpower. We later responded to a call with DFD where the Battalion Chief was anti-fire photographer and anti-social media. As one photographer was streaming live to viewers world-wide (while obeying all the rules and respecting the firefighters on scene from a safe distance outside the hotzone), the Battalion Chief began yelling at him. The photographer, a retired firefighter himself, chose to cut the live feed as to not reflect negatively on the fire department. After all, it was the firefighters that we were there to represent and they deserve the utmost respect. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident and the photographer has felt it necessary to cut live feed on other occasions at different locations. Realistically, we live in a world where everyone is at the mercy of social media. Fire departments need to embrace the professional fire photographers, as their goal of honoring the fire service is the one true defense guarding fire departments from the negative effects social media can bring. Your department can either stand by and become a casualty of social media, or your department can choose to prepare staff and public relation officers on how to use social media to propel your department to the next level. Social media is here to stay. I encourage each of you to choose a direction and develop a plan for the role social media will play in the success of your department. The choice is yours, make it a good one! - CHIEF JOEL MILLER


Summer, 2017

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Dallas Fire-Rescue Holds 2017 Annual Awards Banquet Dallas, TX - On Saturday, May 20th at 5:30 P.M., Dallas Fire-Rescue honored dozens of its members, retirees, and community partners during their annual awards banquet. Coemceed by Fox 4’s Brandon Todd and KOCO’s in Okla- JUMP TO FILE # homa City, Madison 052217122 Miller (daughter of DFR’s Jerry Lee Miller), the ceremony took place at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, located at 6911 Lemmon Ave., and was an evening to remember. Award recipients were as follows: -Fire Rescue Officers Daniel Diaz and Miguel Garcia for their actions during the July 7, 2016 downtown Dallas shooting: Medal of Valor is presented only in those events wherein a uniformed member has, under especially hazardous conditions, courageously risked their own life to save another. -Fire Rescue Officer Milton Williams: John Stemmons Outstanding Service to the Department recognizes a uniformed member for a significant contribution to the department and for demonstrating a high degree of commitment and pride in the performance of their duties. -Driver Engineer Jason Guerrero: Firefighter of the Year in Memory of John Clark recognizes a uniformed non-officer in Emergency Response who consistently demonstrates high standards of courage, professional excellence, moral integrity and commitment to provide quality service to the citizens of Dallas. -Captain Mark Combs: Fire Officer of the Year recognizes a uniformed officer in Emergency Response who consistently demonstrates high standards of courage, professional excellence, moral integrity and commitment to provide quality service to the citizens of Dallas. -Fire Rescue Officer Joseph Piper (EMS Bureau): William E. Cooper Staff Officer of the Year recognizes a uniformed member in a staff position who is characterized by professional excellence, integrity and commitment to provide quality service to the citizens of Dallas. -Fire Rescue Officer Casey Gunter: Paramedic of the Year recognizes uniformed members in the paramedic program that provide outstanding emergency medical service to the citizens of Dallas. -Fire Rescue Officer Tyler McGuire: P.L. Andrews Rookie of the Year recognizes a uniformed member of the department who has distinguished themselves by displaying personal initiative and resourcefulness since becoming a firefighter. The member also displays a keen interest and a highly cooperative attitude, diligently seeks the knowledge and skills required for superior performance and exhibits high standards of character and conduct. -Celia Salazar, Internal Affairs:

Support Staff Member of the Year recognizes a non-uniformed member of the department demonstrating a high degree of job expertise, professional pride, exemplary team effort and commitment to the department. -Fire Rescue Officer Christopher Davis: Dispatcher of the Year recognizes a uniformed member of the department, assigned to Fire Dispatch, who exhibits exceptional abilities in the area of technical and professional communication skills that best servce the citizens of Dallas. -Lieutenant Dwight Freeman (Fire Prevention, Education and Inspection Bureau): Fire Prevention Excellence in Service is presented to the member who demonstrates the highest level of commitment to the reduction of life and property loss through education and enforcement. -Travis Lewis: Explorer of the Year recognizes a young adult member in good standing with the Explorer Post who consistently demonstrates a passion and dedication for the department. -Battalion Chief Danny Watson: John J. Linskie Service Award is presented to the uniformed member with the longest tenure in the department who has not already received the award. -Driver Engineer Abel Ramirez: Robert E. Cullum Safe Driving Award is presented to the uniformed member holding the rank of Driver Engineer with the longest tenure, who has not already received the award, and has the safest driving record in the department. -Truck 33 A-Shift: Box Four Fire Buffs Hot House of the Year Award is presented to the station that responds to the most incidents and actively fights more structure fires during the fiscal year. -Rescue 18 C-Shift: Emergency Medical Servcies Award in Memory of Doris Nelson is presented to the Rescue and shift providing the highest quality of emergency medical service to the citizens of Dallas in regard to the number of incidents answered and the number of transports during the fiscal year. -Lieutenant William Greenleaf, Chaplain Elaine Maddox, Captain James Russ and DPD Sergeant Robert Watson: Special Recognition Awards are presented to individual members who have been outstanding during the calendar year in their service to the department or community. -Chaplain Willie Range: Dallas Hispanic Firefighters Association Community Service Award. -Lieutenant Antoine Dooley: Henry Majors Community Service Award. -Battalion Chief Robert Myers, Driver Engineer Mary O’Donnell, Captain Ryan Truelove and Driver Engineer Kelly Swindle: Barney McKenzie Humanitarian Award. DFR would like to extend a very special thank you to all our members, retirees, their families and all those who contributed to make this such a special event! - JASON EVANS

Moment of silence held for the lives lost in the line of duty.

Medal of Valor recipients Daniel Diaz and Miguel Garcia.




DFR's William An and wife watch the special presentation to Dallas police officers via Skype.

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

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


Texarkana Fire Rescue working at a multiple vehicle accident on I-30, near Richmond Road.


Summer, 2017

HPD Credits Houston Firefighters for Saving Officers’ Lives Houston, TX - Officials with the Houston Police department say two Houston firefighters are the reason two police officers are alive today. Firefighters with Engine-28 responded to a car accident with Ambulance-28 on U.S. 59 at Newcastle in Southeast Houston on July 28th. The ambulance was the first HFD unit to arrive on location, with HPD already on scene. Upon arriving on location, Engine-28 was positioning apparatus to block the scene and before the engine could come to a complete stop, a car was seen passing it on the driver’s side, going approximately 75 MPH. The car then moved to the far-right lane of the exit onto the shoulder where the ambulance crew and HPD officers were standing. The Engine-28 crew witnessed the vehicle drive at a high rate of speed, into the scene of the initial accident where crews were standing. The car impacted the HPD officers' back-right passenger door. At the same time of im-

JUMP TO FILE #073117116 pact, the Engine-28 crew could see one person fall over the freeway barrier, falling approximately 20-feet onto the median of 610 freeway and Access Road. The ambulance crew was able to avoid impact of the incoming car. Engine-28 then assisted the ambulance crew with the care of the officer who fell. Sargent E.T Fendia stated that he wanted the crew on Ambulance-28 (Wesley Pleasant and Fernando Garcia) to be commended for valor awards due to their situational awareness that saved their lives. Police are crediting firefighters who screamed at the officers about the incoming vehicle. They say if it wasn't for their warning, the officer's outcomes could have been life-threatening. - HOUSTON FIRE DEPT.


8:00 AM



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Summer, 2017

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

FUTURE 1st RESPONDERS Why Isn’t it Okay to be a Fit Firefighter?

If you have photos you would like to see in our “Future First Responders” feature, please upload them on our website, or email them to


San Antonio, TX - In February, SAFD participated in the 2nd Annual SA Works "Job Shadow Day" in partnership with Junior Achievement. The event matched nearly 3,000 San Antonio students with over 100 local employers for a day of onsite, experience-based learning. SAFD was proud to be involved, hosting 80 high school students and their teachers.

It seems almost silly that I’m writing this article. It actually seems like a great waste of time that it even has to be written. However, my inbox continues to fill with questions about why it’s so hard to convince other members of their departments that being fit is really a good thing. It’s almost unreal that in our society we are still convincing people that being fit is good; that our bodies weren’t made to carry hundreds of extra pounds, or that our joints and muscles need to be utilized and trained to work well, or that our organs can only work with our help. Oh and by the way, all of that applies to firefighters' bodies too. We don’t get a “service” discount on that one. As firefighters, why do we create these stigmas when it comes to fitness within our service, and why do we allow them to continue? I suppose it depends on how you look at the bigger picture because about 30years ago, we wore hip boots and long coats. At that time, anyone who wore bunker pants was wrong. Same with Self Contained Breathing Apparatus. I think we can all agree that the level of protection bunker pants provides is far superior to that of hip boots. Wearing your SCBA is much better than eating smoke. In the end, bunker pants are good and so are SCBAs. So, maybe fitness is just as good...maybe even a better thing for the fire service than bunker pants and SCBAs. In part-one of this two part series, I plan to point out some of the common pitfalls that seem to plague the fire service when it comes to fitness and in part-two, I plan to address

some ways to overcome them. Let’s start off with the biggest one of all. Fitness standards will be used as a way to discipline or even replace firefighters, further discourJUMP TO FILE #013017120

aging people from volunteering. It’s very possible that if a department established a mandatory health and wellness program, a person who refuses to participate could be removed from that department. Why anyone would refuse is a mystery to me. It’s a proven fact that participating in a health and wellness program sponsored by your employer is a benefit to the employee, not to mention you'd also have an added benefit, called living a better life. The statement above also applies on the volunteer end; but, if you have an established health and wellness plan, do you really want a person to volunteer who doesn’t want to be a part of it? Our Line-of-Duty-Death numbers should answer that question for you... Then we have the firefighter who still feels that the only reason we want to workout is so we look good at the beach. Well, maybe looking good at the beach isn’t such a bad thing for the fire service. After all, we are constantly in the “public's eye." So tell me, who do you want representing your department? The firefighter who looks good at the beach, or the firefighter who can’t see his/her belt buckle because their stomach is hanging over it. Please realize that the above statements have zero bearing on appearance.

Take a moment and picture just called a Mayday from a collapse. Which of the above firefighters would you want on your Rapid Intervention Team? A firefighter fitness "hater line" that I just can’t seem to wrap my head around is when someone says "you shouldn’t workout on-duty, or at the firehouse because you might be “tired” from working out when a reported fire comes, impairing your ability to respond." In that case, I suppose we should never stretch lines, or put up the ladder, or do any form of training while on-duty because what if a reported fire comes in and we’re tired? It makes no sense to me at all. We are not “working out” at work. We are training our bodies to do our job. We just have to be smart enough to not deplete our entire tank, same as how we watch the air gauge in our masks while entering a commercial structure. In part-two of this series, I will better explain how to create a fitness culture within your department and trust me, the "quick-fix" haters won’t like this one either simply because it won’t cost $29.99, nor provide free shipping, nor promise you the ultimate weight loss or fitness solution specifically designed and doctor approved for firefighters. At the end of the day, don’t let any haters keep you down, just let them keep on hating! Every new change that was brought to the fire service was met with resistance and every new change that comes along will be met the same way, fitness included. - ROBERT “PIP” PIPARO

Crane Falls, Kills Man in Downtown Dallas Dallas, TX - At 2:45 P.M. on April 24th, Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to an incident involving a crane which had fallen over at 1700 Arts Plaza, on the outskirts of Downtown Dallas. When firefighters arrived at the location, just behind the Dallas Black Arts Dance Theatre, they found a large crane tipped over on its side and into a fencedoff area surrounding a T-Mobile cell phone tower. Reportedly, there were three (adult male) workers at the site doing work with the tower when the crane tipped over and fell into the area where two of the men were work-

JUMP TO FILE #050117125 ing.

The crane operator was uninjured, and one of the men on the ground suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation; however, a third man on the ground was crushed by the crane and died at the scene. Dallas Fire-Rescue was not involved in the investigation of this incident. - JASON EVANS


1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2017



Summer, 2017

FORK & HOSE CO. a Food Blog by A.J. Fusco

1st Responder News is excited to introduce firehouse food blogger, A.J. Fusco, as our newest columnist! A.J. has been a firefighter for 11 years with the Harrison F.D. (Westchester County, NY), and has a passion for food and cooking. He recently graduated from the International Culinary Center in Manhattan and is currently cooking at "White Gold Butchers" in the Upper West Side. In August of 2016, A.J. competed on the Food Network's "Guy's Grocery Games: Salute to Firefighters" episode, and won! He used some of his winnings to donate a fitness/foodie grant with 555 Fitness to the Williamsport F.D. in Pennsylvania.

“Grilled Sweet Potato Fries”

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

When he started his career in the fire service, A.J. saw the importance of the kitchen in the firehouse, thus spurring the idea for "Fork and Hose Co." He started back in 2011 as a way to share his own recipes, which has since grown to a worldwide community of firefighters sharing their recipes, kitchen stories and tips. A.J. tries to focus on healthier eating in the firehouse as much as possible because as we all know, the statistics for cardiac related LODD's are staggering. With that said, below is a recipe for “Grilled Sweet Potato Fries,” a healthy and delicious firehouse favorite! Stay tuned to see more of A.J.'s favorite F.D. recipes and photos featured in upcoming editions of 1st Responder News! For a chance to have your own F.D./Squad recipes featured in future issues of 1st Responder News, make sure to follow @Forkandhoseco on Instagram or Facebook and submit a recipe or photo.

Everyone helped push the new apparatus into the station.


Chief Rhodes places the new Quint-553 into service with dispatch.


Ingredients: 4 small sweet potatoes (or 2 large ones), cut into ½” wedges 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 tsp chile powder 1 tsp salt 1 Tbsp maple syrup 1 Tbsp cilantro

Procedure: 1. Pre-heat your grill to medium heat. In a large bowl, toss the potato wedge with the olive oil, chile powder, and salt. 2. Grill the potato wedges over direct heat until crispy on the outside and tender enough that a fork slides easily into the center, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer the fries back to the large bowl, drizzle with the syrup, and toss to coat. Top with cilantro and serve. Makes 4 servings.


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All in attendance helped dry the truck after the wash down.


Euless Pushes in New Truck

Euless, TX - Euless firefighters, along with family, friends, civic leaders and citizens, participated in a wash down and push-in ceremony recently for their new Pierce Velocity, 105-foot, rear mount, tandem axle truck. It will run as Quint-553 from Station 3 and replaces a Sutphen. A similar platform version is scheduled for delivery later this year from Siddons-Martin. Shortly after the ceremony, Quint-553 responded to a two-alarm apartment fire.

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

Summer, 2017


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Brother Dies, Sister Escapes Deadly House Fire in Houston


San Antonio, TX - Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) is the delivery of community based care; EMS providers deliver medical assessment and preventive healthcare education tailored to the medical needs of the individual. SAFD MIH was the recent recipient of the State of Texas ‘Commissioners Award of Excellence’. In the history of Texas' Department of Family and Protective Services, SAFD MIH is the first outside agency to receive the Commissioners award. Senator Charles Perry (left) was the distinguished guest speaker.

Bob Long

Houston, TX - It was just before midnight on July 19th when District-34 responded to a reported house fire with citizens trapped. The fire was confirmed to be at 6107 Bending Oaks Drive. The first arriving unit, Engine56, reported fire coming from the first and second floors of a twostory residence. One female resident managed to escape from the home. After a knockdown of the fire and primary search on the first-floor, the crews made their way to the second-floor. Engine-34 and Ladder-56 breached a wall on the secondfloor and made their way into a bedroom where they found a fire victim. The victim was a black

JUMP TO FILE #072017104 male approximately 50 to 60 years of age, and was determined to be deceased. The victim was believed to be the brother of the female who was outside the residence when crews arrived. The firefighters reported that forcible entry was required to enter the residence, but this did not cause any major delays. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Houston Arson Bureau. Damage was estimated at $70,000. -HOUSTON FIRE DEPT.


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Summer, 2017

1ST Responder Newspaper - TX

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1st Responder Texas Summer Edition  

1st Responder Texas Summer Edition