Scuttlebutt 2/12

This Month in Fire History

Feb. 1, 1974, Dearborn, MI

Auto manufacturing plant fire causes $650 million in damages

Feb. 7, 1904, Baltimore, MD

Great Baltimore Fire results in $50 million in damages

Feb. 9, 1942, New York, NY

USS Lafayette fire results in $53 million in damages

Feb. 10, 1863, Fortress Monroe, VA

First fire extinguisher patent issued to Alanson Crane

Feb. 20, 2003, West Warwick, RI

The Station nightclub fire kills 100 people

Feb. 23, 1991, Philadelphia, PA

One Meridian Plaza high-rise fire kills three firefighters and causes $325 million in damage. The building is eventually demolished.

Feb. 26, 1993, New York, NY

The World Trade Center bombing kills 6 and injures 1,165

Courtesy NFPA

For details on fires that occurred 100 years ago this month, turn to Paul Hashagen’s “Rekindles” on page XXX.


Special Delivery

Members from Ocala (FL) Fire Rescue delivered toys to local charities during the holidays for those less fortunate in their community. Beginning in early December, fire stations became collection sites and citizens were invited to drop off unwrapped presents.

“Ocala Fire Rescue appreciates the generosity of all those who donated gifts for children to make this holiday season memorable” stated Battalion Chief Martin Ortiz. “The charities were extremely glad to see us this year” he added.

Firefighters such as Jim Williams, Daniel Kiel and Ken Thomas Jr. (see photo) loaded presents that were delivered to charities. – Brian Stoothoff


Recognizing One of Our Own

Congratulations go out to our very own Paul Snodgrass, winner of an International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) 2011 Media Award. Paul won the prestigious “Best Story in a Trade Publication” for his article entitled “The Fog of Disaster: Into Haiti with Two Tampa Fire USAR Members.” The story, which focused on the rescue operations following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, appeared in the March 2010 edition of Firehouse Magazine. More than 230 entries were submitted in the annual Media Awards Contest, which “pays tribute to those who, in the public media and through their affiliates, document the great and the small in the life of firefighters everywhere,” according to the IAFF.


Ambulance Crash Data Report

Motor vehicle crashes involving ambulances pose a serious risk to both crew and patients. Recognizing the magnitude and severity of this risk, the Fire Protection Research Foundation recently released a report, “Analysis of Ambulance Crash Data.” The foundation is the research affiliate for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The report focuses on the collection of ambulance crash data, including fatalities and injuries from all 50 states, and the methods used to collect this data. The project stems from NFPA’s recent series of Emergency Management Services (EMS)-related efforts to develop a national standard for ambulance safety that addresses EMS responder health and protection and improved vehicle design and maintenance. Information on ambulance accidents was requested by the NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances Technical Committee to assist in identifying efforts that would have a positive impact on responder safety. The report was conducted with guidance provided by a Project Technical Panel of emergency medical service providers, data collection professionals, and other subject-matter experts.

A copy of the report can be found at Foundation/RFAmbulanceCrash.pdf.


IFRM Appoints Advisory Board

The International Fire Relief Mission (IFRM) recently named five fire-industry professionals from various disciplines to serve three-year terms on its advisory board. The board members will help IFRM achieve its goal of improving firefighter safety by providing donated fire and EMS equipment to firefighters in developing countries. The new advisory board members are Robb Chapman, William “Jim” Dunn, Jennifer Jesty, Wayne Martin and Christina Spoons.

“Because of their special skills, commitment to firefighting and belief in IFRM’s purpose, these five individuals rose to the top of a long list of well-qualified applicants,” said Ron Gruening, IFRM president and CEO. “We are grateful for the tremendous response we received from our call for nominations. Narrowing the field was very difficult, but we are confident that these new board members will have a profound and lasting impact on IFRM’s ability to make fire fighting safer in areas of the world where it is an extremely dangerous profession.”


And the Nominees are…

With award season in full swing, Golden Globe, Grammys and Oscars have been (or are about to be) handed out. Not to be left out, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is preparing to hand out its own awards. In fact, the NFVC is now accepting nominations for the NVFC Lifetime Achievement Award and the Fire Prevention Award. Nominations are due March 1, 2012.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors a volunteer firefighter who has served at least 20 years and has made a major contribution or achieved significant accomplishments in the volunteer fire service at the local, state, and/or national level. The nominee must have demonstrated superior dedication to the volunteer fire service, been active in their state firefighters’ association and have positively impacted the community through the fire service or other volunteer activities.

The Fire Prevention Award, sponsored by First Alert, honors a volunteer firefighter for remarkable efforts made in the area of fire prevention. The award was established in the memory of volunteer firefighter and NVFC board member Nominees must have made a major contribution or played a key role in a significant accomplishment in the field of fire prevention, demonstrated innovation in establishing and enacting goals and/or obtaining funding for the protection of the public through fire prevention and life safety programs and have demonstrated success in the area of fire prevention.

To learn more about these awards and submit nominations, visit


Fire-Safety Fun for the Kids

Are your kids getting restless being stuck inside during the cold winter months? Tired of the same old video games? Why not visit USFA Kids? It’s an interactive section on the U.S. Fire Administration website designed for children. There are fire-safety tips and fun activities like crossword puzzles, coloring pages and games such as Hazard House and Word Search. Children can even take the “Become a Jr. Fire Marshal” fire-safety quiz. Visit and give it a try.


New App for First Responders

Despite their demonstrated safety and efficiency, some of the new electric drive and alternative fuel vehicles that are becoming more common on American highways will inevitably be involved in highway accidents. When first responders are called to help, thanks to experts at a West Virginia University (WVU) center – there’s an app for that, as well as full-blown training programs.

The WVU-based National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) has created a suite of modern technology products that put knowledge about specific electric drive and alternative fuel vehicles at the fingertips of the nation’s first responders. “Electric drive and alternative fuel vehicles are an important part of the future of transportation because they reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and keep our air cleaner,” said NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron. “Because more consumers are choosing electric drive or alternative fuel vehicles, first responders must understand the differences between these and conventional, gasoline-powered vehicles. Electric drive and alternative fuel vehicles are as safe as conventional vehicles, but they are different. The First Responder Safety Training provides first responders with important information to enhance their understanding of those differences.”

The NAFTC developed the smart phone app – known in the iPhone App Store as “QRG,” which stands for quick reference guide – for first responders who need to access information about electric drive and alternative fuel vehicles at accident scenes. The app contains information on electric drive vehicles such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery and fuel cell electric vehicles as well as vehicles powered by alternative fuels like biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, propane and hydrogen.

Ebron said the QRG app, which is free, provides detailed, vehicle-specific information including identification mechanisms, disconnect procedures and other special concerns. A hard copy version of the QRG also is available as a durable flipbook for emergency personnel to use at the scene of an accident. It details various makes and models of electric drive and alternative fuel vehicles, alerting first responders to such items as high-voltage cables and cut zones. This version of the QRG is available for a nominal cost.

For more information on the app and the First Responder Safety Training program, visit or