Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities addresses actions to improve individual and community safety.
Photo credit: Courtesy USFA
March Line-of-Duty Deaths
Seven firefighters died in March. Three volunteer firefighters and four career firefighters died in seven separate incidents. Five deaths were health related, one death was the result of fireground operations and one death resulted from an accident.
FIRE CHIEF NOLAN ERVIN PITTMAN, 46, of the Centreville, MS, Volunteer Fire Department died on March 4. While operating at the scene of a residential structure fire, Pittman became ill and went to a hospital emergency room. His condition worsened and he died at the hospital. Pittman was a 25-year veteran of the department.
LIEUTENANT/EMT JAMISON KAMPMEYER, 34, of the Colby, WI, Fire Department died on March 4. While performing interior firefighting operations at the scene of a mutual aid structure fire at a theater in Abbotsford, Kampmeyer and two other firefighters became trapped inside when the roof partially collapsed. Firefighters had been ordered to evacuate the building when the collapse occurred. The injured firefighters were rescued and transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield. Kampmeyer died at the hospital from his injuries. Investigators determined the fire started in the lobby of the theater and was accidental in nature. Damage was estimated at $300,000. Kampmeyer was a 10-year member of the department.
LIEUTENANT MARK W. MORRISON, 53, of the St. Lucie County Fire District in Port Saint Lucie, FL, died on March 4. Morrison was found unresponsive in quarters after responding to several emergency calls. Immediate aid was given and he was transported to a hospital, where he died. Morrison was a 25-year veteran of the department.
SENIOR CAPTAIN THOMAS DILLION, 49, of the Houston, TX, Fire Department died on March 14. Dillion collapsed at the scene of a cooking fire at the Jade Stone apartments. He was treated at the scene and transported to West Houston Medical Center where he died. Dillion was a 22-year veteran of the department.
CAPTAIN DONALD L. JONES, 56, of the Jacksonville, AR, Fire Department died on March 19. Jones was operating at the scene of an accident involving a vehicle and a gas main when another vehicle left the roadway and struck him, another firefighter and a police officer. Jones died on impact. The other firefighter and the police officer were transported to a hospital. The driver of the vehicle that struck the emergency personnel was charged with second-degree murder and two counts of criminal intent to commit second-degree murder. Jones was a 31-year veteran of the department.
FIREFIGHTER JONATHAN D. MYERS, 54, of the Norfolk, VA, Fire-Rescue Department died on March 19. Myers was found unresponsive on the floor of the fire station’s bunk room. Immediate aid was given and he was transported to DePaul Medical Center, where he died. Meyers was a 20-year veteran of the department.
FIREFIGHTER EDWARD RICHARD BERNOSKY, 79, of the Adena, OH, Volunteer Fire Company died on March 20. Bernosky was delivering water to a remote camping area when he suffered an apparent heart attack. Immediate aid was given, but he did not respond. Bernosky was a founding member, former chief and a 50-year veteran of the department.
—Jay K. Bradish
NVFC Honors Rockefeller
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) named Senator Jay Rockefeller 2012 Legislator of the Year for his leadership in introducing and passing legislation to create the first-ever nationwide broadband communications network to connect public safety officials and first responders during emergencies. Rockefeller’s public safety spectrum bill, S. 911, included in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, was enacted earlier this year and had been a top legislative priority for the NVFC. It will prevent the kind of communications failures that occurred during rescue efforts at Ground Zero on 9/11 and at the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia in 2010.
Rockefeller’s public safety legislation allocates 10 MHz of radio spectrum in the 700 MHz band (commonly referred to as the “D-Block”) to public safety for the purpose of building a nationwide broadband communications network. It won’t cost taxpayers a penny and provides funding that will be raised through the auction of additional radio spectrum currently held by the federal government to pay for construction of the new public safety network.
“This legislation is about protecting the safety of every American, and now because of it, our firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers will have the tools they need to do their jobs,” said Senator Rockefeller. “This legislation has been one of my top priorities, and a more than 10-year long effort. I’m thrilled that it’s finally law.”
Maldonado Named FDNY Associate Commissioner for Compliance
FDNY Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano has appointed José Maldonado as the first ever FDNY Associate Commissioner for Compliance. In this role, he will oversee the FDNY’s ongoing and extensive efforts to strengthen and enhance its recruitment, diversity and equal employment opportunity (EEO) programs.
“José Maldonado has had an extensive and distinguished career in public service – from law enforcement to consumer advocacy – and has helped improve the lives of countless New Yorkers,” said Commissioner Cassano. “In this newly created position, he will again serve the city by helping the FDNY in our continuing effort to achieve a more diverse workforce.”
Maldonado, a graduate of the New York University School of Law where he now serves as a life trustee, has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, including work as an assistant district attorney for New York County; deputy attorney general in the State Attorney General’s Office; and assistant commissioner at the NYC Police Department.
“I’m thrilled to join the premier Fire Department in the world,” said Associate Commissioner Maldonado. “The FDNY has already demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity through its extensive recruitment efforts, and I’m looking forward to helping the Department further achieve its goals.”
Guide to Reduce Wildland Fire Risk
The U. S. Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, has released Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities. This new guide promotes a holistic approach to wildland fire risk reduction in the wildland urban interface and addresses actions to improve individual and community safety.
For communities to become more resistant to wildland fire threats, a strong collaboration must exist between federal, state and local agencies and the public.
“It is important that fire departments partner with other local emergency response departments, state fire and forestry agencies and any regional federal organizations before a fire begins,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell.
The concept behind fire-adapted communities is that with proper community-wide preparation, populations and infrastructure can withstand the devastating effects of wildland fire, thereby reducing the loss of life and property. In addition to understanding wildland fire defensible space and preparedness, the guide further explains how a community can co-exist with the threat of wildland fire and ultimately reduce the need for costly fire suppression responses. As the science of fire-adapted communities continues to evolve, agencies and the public can take steps now to understand better the role they play and actions they can take to co-exist safely with wildland fire threats.
Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities can be downloaded under the Publications section of the USFA website at: www.usfa.fema.gov.