Industry Veteran Joins Firehouse
Greg Toritto has been named group publisher of Firehouse Magazine and Firehouse.com. Toritto, who has been involved in the fire service industry for more than 13 years, most recently served as managing director of Fire Chief and the Wireless Communications Group at Penton Media, which included Fire Chief, Urgent Communications and the International Wireless Communications Expo.
“Firehouse Magazine and Firehouse.com have done an excellent job reaching the decision-makers in the first responder community and engaging the fire service through our print, online and social media outlets,” said Toritto. “Firehouse will continue to expand its content offerings and our goal is to always provide first responders with the critical information they need, when and where they need it.”
“Greg is highly respected in the industry and will be a key asset to the Firehouse franchise as we move forward,” said Executive Vice President Scott Bieda. “Engaging decision-makers has been a strong focus for our staff, which has led us to develop new products, including our Firehouse iPad app and our mobile products.”
FEMA Releases National Preparedness Report
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its partners released the 2012 National Preparedness Report (NPR) identifying significant progress the nation has made in areas of prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. Overall, the report found that the nation has increased its collective preparedness, not only from external threats, but also for natural and technological hazards.
“This report illustrates areas of national strength to include planning, operational coordination, intelligence and information sharing, and other response-related capabilities,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “As we continually assess and aim to meet the full vision of the National Preparedness Goal, we must continue to build on the significant progress to date and address identified opportunities for improvement.”
The Report reflects how the nation has made significant progress addressing opportunities for improvement identified after events such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. For example, the 9/11 attacks revealed limited information sharing across the government and the private sector, but since that time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has developed a national network of fusion centers and has standardized policies. Additionally, DHS has been closely coordinating with the Joint Terrorism Task Forces for sharing information across the whole community.
To read more on this report or to download a PDF of the report, go to
Fire Officials Selected for Harvard Program
Four senior fire officials will receive fellowships to attend the Harvard University's Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program this summer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The 19-day program includes other state and local government leaders from across the United States and other countries with a focus on exploring the interrelationships between citizens and government, analyzing policy options, and examining the ethical and professional responsibilities of exercising leadership.
Those selected are Claude Beauchamp, Director of Operations, Quebec National Fire Academy, Laval Quebec Canada; Martha Ellis, Division Chief, Salt Lake City Corporation Fire Department, Salt Lake City, UT; Matthew James Fratus, Fire Chief, City of Rialto Fire Department, Rialto, CA; Bertral Washington, Fire Chief, Clark County Fire Department, Las Vegas, NV.
Fellowships for this program are provided by Fire Protection Publications/International Fire Service Training Association (FPP/IFSTA), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) administered the competitive selection process and coordinated the final phase which took place at USFA's National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland on April 30.
“USFA, along with FPP/IFSTA, IAFC and the NFPA believe that these senior fire executives will also represent fire and emergency services with a high degree of professionalism,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell. “We encourage participation in the Harvard Program because the experience at the Kennedy School of Government enables fire and emergency services officials to have important conversations with elected officials and appointed executives. Now more than ever we need to think creatively together and enjoy dialogue with others regarding the critical challenges facing our communities and nation.”
New Chemistry Course Added to NFA Online
The U.S. Fire Administration's (USFA) National Fire Academy (NFA) announced the availability of a new NFA Online course: Foundational Concepts of Chemistry (Q228). Completion of Q228 is recommended prior to attending all NFA hazardous materials curriculum courses and is a precourse assignment for Chemistry for Emergency Response (R233) and Advanced Life Support Response to Hazardous Materials Incidents (R247). Beginning in October 2013, Foundational Concepts of Chemistry will be a prerequisite for acceptance into those courses.
There are currently 54 online courses available through NFA Online with topics including Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Response to Terrorism, Fire Prevention, Incident Management, Management Science, Public Education and Wildland Firefighting. Students can access NFA Online at www.nfaonline.dhs.gov.
For more information about the Hazardous Materials / Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) curriculum or other USFA programs and offerings, visit www.usfa.fema.gov.
Firefighter Line-of-Duty Deaths
Six emergency personnel recently died in the line of duty. Three volunteer firefighters and three civilian employees died in five separate incidents. One incident claimed the lives of two civilian pilots. Four deaths were the result of accidents and two deaths were health related.
FIRE POLICE CAPTAIN DAVID WINTZ, 65, of the Bristol, PA, Fire Company died on May 16. Wintz was directing traffic at the scene of a three-alarm fire at Dow Chemical on Route 413 when he became ill. He was taken home, where he suffered an apparent heart attack. He was transported to Aria Health’s Torresdale Hospital, where he died. Wintz was a 50-year veteran of the fire service.
FIREFIGHTER WILLIAM R. DANES, 69, of the Brazos County Precinct 3 Volunteer Fire Department in Bryan, TX, died on May 17. Danes suffered an apparent heart attack and died while performing a ladder training evolution at the TEEX Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station. Danes was a member of the department for one year.
CERTIFIED FIRST RESPONDER ETHAN AMSBAUGH, 22, of the Mount Union, PA, Fire Company died on June 2. Amsbaugh was a passenger in an ambulance that struck an embankment and rolled over on Route 22 in Brady Township while returning from a patient transport to J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital in Huntingdon. Amsbaugh was transported to the hospital, where he died. Reports indicate he was partially ejected from the ambulance. Amsbaugh was a member of the department for one month.
Two pilots from the Neptune Aviation Services Inc. in Missoula, MT, died in a plane crash on June 3. CAPTAIN TODD N. TOMPKINS, 48, and FIRST OFFICER RONNIE E. CHAMBLESS, 40, both of Boise, ID, died when the Lockheed Martin P-2V aircraft crashed on its second run of the day on a wildfire near the Utah-Nevada state line. The 5,000-acre White Rock Fire was sparked by lightning on June 1. The aircraft crashed in the Hamlin Valley area of Iron County, UT. At the time of the crash, the aircraft was carrying 1,600 gallons of fuel and 2,000 gallons of fire retardant.
ENGINE BOSS ANTHONY POLK, 31, of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs died on June 8. Polk was in a brush truck involved in an accident on Federal Route 19 southwest of Tucson, AZ. The crew was responding to the 1,700-acre Montezuma Fire in the Baboquivari Mountain Range. Two other firefighters were injured in the accident.
—Jay K. Bradish