Bravest Edge Finest in Emotional Game

The FDNY (the Bravest) recently squared off against the NYPD (the Finest) in the 38th annual FDNY/NYPD hockey game at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. Prior to the game, both teams stood at center ice and watched a video tribute to their colleagues who died on 9/11. While many of the younger players weren’t active members 10 years ago, FDNY coach Joe Byrne makes sure they never forget what happened that day. “He doesn't talk about it a lot,” said FDNY’s Jim Becker, the game’s MVP. “But he’s helped us understand what 9/11 was about.”

The FDNY earned its third straight win in the series, with a 6-5 overtime victory. Proceeds from the game went to help loved ones of FDNY and NYPD members killed in the line of duty. The FDNY Hockey Team is a not-for-profit organization comprised of FDNY firefighters and officers who donate their time and efforts to raise funds for several charities each year. Past charities include the UFA Widows and Children’s Fund, the Thomas Elsasser Memorial Scholarship Fund, the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial and the Teddy Bears That Care Program. The FDNY Hockey team competes in charity events and tournaments worldwide, including the upcoming World Police and Fire Games in New York City this August.

Woman on Top

The Bay St. Louis Fire Department has a new chief. Pam San Fillippo is now part of a select few. She's one of only 25 female fire chiefs in the entire nation, and the only female fire chief in Mississippi. San Fillippo is no stranger to the halls of the Bay St. Louis Fire Department. She has worked at the department for the past 25 years and has served as assistant chief for the past nine years. “To get a unanimous vote from the council is really big and it means a lot to know that you have the councils support,” she said. The chief said protecting and maintaining the city's class five fire rating to keep insurance rates low for residents, will be one of her top priorities. Making sure firefighters are well trained and keeping equipment up-to-date will help her reach that goal. Chief San Fillippo will oversee 35 full and part-time firefighters at two fire stations. “This kind of work is done by a team of people, it’s never done by one person,” said San Fillippo. “It just doesn't work that way. And it takes everybody in the department at every level to do that.”

Saving Rover

Saving a human life is always the first priority when a fire occurs, but pets can also be saved if firefighters have the right equipment: pet oxygen masks. Invisible Fence Brand knows this can happen and is stepping up to save the lives of cherished family members – pets. That’s why during the month of April, more than 1,300 pet oxygen masks were donated to more than 20 fire departments in the U.S. to celebrate Project Breathe month. Project Breathe was established with the goal of equipping every fire station in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks. These masks allow firefighters to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires. The masks often save pets’ lives. Invisible FenceBrand has been quietly equipping fire stations all over the U.S. and Canada with pet oxygen masks for years. By the end of April, the number of pet oxygen masks donated through Project Breathe will total more than 10,000. A reported 50+ pets have been saved by the donated masks so far, including two pets saved on April 1 in Willoughby, OH.

“We’re making these donations simply to save pets,” said Randy Boyd, Invisible Fence President and CEO. “To lose a pet in midst of a house fire would be devastating. In many cases, pets can be saved if firefighters have the right equipment. Project Breathe makes it possible for pets to stay alive after suffering smoke inhalation.” 

Getting an Education

Saint Petersburg Fire & Rescue invited children between the ages of 8 and 14 to the annual Take Your Child to Work Day on April 28, 2011. More than 36 children experienced a bird’s-eye view inside the daily operations of the department. Designed to be more than a career day, the girls and boys get to appreciate the vital aspects of what their parent or mentor experience during a work day, the importance of their position in the department and the value of their education. Saint Petersburg Fire & Rescue implements a hands-on, interactive environment to help the children discover the power and possibilities associated with a career in Fire & Rescue. They are offered an opportunity to share how they envision their future and are educated on the steps in achieving those goals. Each year, St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue offers new interactive activities to engage the children. This year’s activities included the Fire Chief’s Ironman Challenge and a twist on the popular TV show The Amazing Race.

Basri Honored

Our very own Dr. Raymond Basri (Firefighter Health and Wellness) received the Oscar E. Edwards Memorial award for 2011 from the American College of Physicians. This award recognizes work done by a physician for volunteer and community service. The award is bestowed upon an ACP Medical Student Member, Associate, Member, Fellow, or Master who has initiated or has been involved in volunteer programs or has provided volunteer service post-training. The service must have been performed on a completely voluntary basis and not for the completion of training or position requirements. Volunteer work must have been done as a physician or medical trainee and be medically related.

Newark Gains State-of-the Art Hazmat Vehicles

Newark, NJ, Mayor Cory A. Booker, Newark Municipal Council Members, Fire Director Fateen A. Ziyad, and Fire Chief John Centanni unveiled five new fire trucks, consisting of three engines and two Hazmat vehicles, at the Newark Fire Department’s Fire Training Academy at 191 Orange Street in Newark.

“Since 2006, my administration has made public safety a top priority, and we have worked to provide our courageous firefighters with the state-of-the-art technology they need to save property and lives. I commend Fire Director Ziyad and his team for their commitment to make Newark one of the nation’s best Hazmat responders,” said Mayor Booker.

The two Hazmat vehicles were paid for with an Urban Area Security Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and cost $330,000 each, including the high-tech support equipment. Two of the new engines’ costs were borne by the City of Newark’s capital budget, while the third was paid for by the Hazardous Materials fund, which consists of fines collected from hazardous waste violators. Each engine cost $358,000.

“These two Hazmat vehicles are state-of-the-art Hazmat apparatus,” said Director Ziyad. “They give us the ability to support a regional response, and put us on the same line as New York City and Fairfax County, VA, the two best Hazmat responders on the East Coast. The three new engines allow us to upgrade our fleet, giving us a top-of-the-line engine fleet.”

Newark Gets $7 Million Grant to Hire 70 New Firefighters

U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-NJ-10) announced that the Newark, NJ, Fire Department was awarded $7.1 million in federal funding to hire 70 new firefighters.  The funding is being made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program and will be used to fill vacancies left by recently retired Newark firefighters.

“This federal grant funding will help ensure that the Newark Fire Department has the staffing necessary to protect local families and secure our region,” said Senator Lautenberg, Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security that funds the SAFER grant program.  “I am committed to making sure our fire departments are equipped and staffed when the alarm sounds and I will continue fighting in Washington to fund homeland security programs that benefit our state.”

The $7.1 million two-year SAFER grant funding awarded by FEMA comes as a much needed boost to the Newark Fire Department.  Recent job losses have left much needed positions to be filled. 

“Safer grants were created to provide funding directly to fire departments to help them increase the number of trained firefighters available in their communities.  The Safer grant funding is a win-win as more jobs are now available to the unemployed and the residents of Newark will be safer because of the new hires,” said Congressman Payne.

The SAFER grant program provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained “front line” firefighters in their communities. The program is administered by FEMA and funds salaries for two years. 

 The recently passed Congressional budget for Fiscal Year 2011 has an additional $405 million for the SAFER program.  This funding will be made available for fire departments across the country to apply for later this year. For more information about the SAFER program, please visit: