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Take This Survey and Save a Life (Maybe Your Own)!

Members of the fire and emergency services regularly respond to traumatic events and face a variety of daily stressors that can have lasting effects on their mental and emotional well-being. Tragically, some first responders do not receive the help that they need to adequately deal with these issues and decide to take their own life.

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is conducting a survey to measure behavioral health issues facing firefighters and emergency responders. Participation from the fire and emergency services community is critical to accurately assess the prevalence of these issues and develop programs and resources that can help.

“It is unacceptable that we lose firefighters, emergency medical and rescue personnel to suicide,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “We, as the fire service community, have an obligation to help each other and provide the appropriate assistance to first responders in need by aggressively addressing this issue. The data collected from this survey will help to build the programs and initiatives that can create awareness of behavioral health concerns and prevent the tragedy of suicide.”

The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete and is anonymous. No information is gathered that will in any way identify the respondent. All firefighters and emergency medical personnel are invited to participate in the survey to help in this groundbreaking firefighter behavioral health initiative.

To take the survey, go to


Firehouse Gives Back

When our very own Editor-in-Chief Harvey Eisner set out to publish his book, WTC: In Their Own Words, he was determined to give something back. Eisner designated four charities who would receive a portion of the proceeds: The FDNY Foundation; the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation; the UFA Thomas R Elsasser Fund; and the Wounded Warrior Project. The book raised $32,200 for the charities (to be split equally amongst the four groups). In April, Eisner personally delivered a check for $8,050 to Ron Siarnicki, Executive Director, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). 


Walking For a Cure (and a Special Little Girl)

Ariana Davis is 10 years old and the daughter of Assistant Chief Shawn Davis of the Ridge (NY) Fire Department.  Ariana was diagnosed with Juvenile Scoliosis when she was 5, asthma when she was 6 and Bronchiectasis at 8. Though unconfirmed at this point, she also shows all the signs of having Cystic Fibrosis.  Ariana’s doctors, in fact, have told the family to treat her symptoms as if she had CF. 

With all of this on her, Ariana never stops to ask “why me?” Instead, she wants to help others like her. When she found out that the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (who treats her Scoliosis) raises money by collecting the pop tops of soft drink cans, Ariana delivered more than 150 pounds. When she heard the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation conducts the Great Strides Walk for a Cure for Cystic Fibrosis each year, she knew she had to walk. Last year, was her first walk and she raised about $3,500. But it was what happened at the walk that made the day so special.

Fifteen members of the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department showed up in full gear to make the three-mile walk with Ariana. At the one-mile mark, Ariana got tired and her breathing got difficult, but that did not stop the firefighters. They told Ariana that they would finish the last two miles for her, and they did just that. 

When this year’s walk came around, the firefighters of Ridge came out again and walked along with Ariana. The Ridge Fire Department, along with the Holtsville (NY) Fire Department worked together to set up a ladder arch with a big American Flag for all the walkers to walk under. 

This year Ariana reached out to all the fire departments in Suffolk County for help in raising money to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, by asking each fire department to donate $1.00 per department member.  The donations are still coming.  Ariana would love to turn this into a national campaign, “Fire Fighters for a Cystic Fibrosis Cure.”  For more information on Cystic Fibrosis, you can check out the Cystic Fibrosis Web Site,  To donate to Ariana’s cause and her team you can go to and search for Team Ariana Rose or Ariana Davis. The money raised will get us one step closer to a cure; help Ariana blow away Cystic Fibrosis. For Ariana’s full story, please visit:


All in the Family

When Danielle Jachlewski joined the Carman Fire Department in Rotterdam, NY, back in March 2010, she became the only female firefighter in her department. She was not, however, the only Jachlewski. Danielle’s father Ray J. (R.J.) Jachlewski has been in the department for the past 34 years. The former chief and current Chief Emirtus is still an active interior firefighter. R.J., even with his 34 years, is not the longest tenured member of the family. That honor goes to his father (Danielle’s grandpa) Ray L. Jachlewski, who is marking his 59th year in the department. Ray L. is also a former chief and interior firefighter, who is still active as a member of the fire police squad. Ray L. and R.J. are the only father/son combination to both serve as chiefs in the department. Danielle has already made this a three-generation family of firefighters. Only time will tell if she will make it three generations of chiefs.


IAFC Offers Toolkit on Smoke Alarm Placement

In an effort to reduce home fire fatalities, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has introduced Smart Choices for Smoke Alarm Placement, an online toolkit that provides fire chiefs, fire officials and public fire educators with materials to educate themselves and their communities about the different types of residential smoke alarms and how the placement of alarms may maximize their utility.

The toolkit emphasizes the need to have working smoke alarms on each floor of a home, in hallways and inside all sleeping areas – consistent with recommendations by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The toolkit will reside online and contain:

  • Key messages and statistics
  • A smoke alarm placement diagram
  • Public service announcement
  • Supporting studies
  • Facts sheets and more

“As fire service leaders, we are the ones who educate the public because they trust our counsel. If we want to make sure the public is adequately informed about their options in home fire safety, we need to first ensure the fire service is well-educated,” said IAFC President and Chairman Al Gillespie, fire chief with the North Las Vegas Fire Department.

The NFPA reports that almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. In addition, most homes do not have enough working alarms.

“Kidde wants to ensure that every family has working smoke alarms in the right locations in the home,” said Chris Rovenstine, vice president of sales and marketing, Kidde. “By partnering with the IAFC, we can help educate fire officials, who will then educate their communities.”

To access the toolkit, visit



This Month in Fire History


July 1, 1879, New York, NY

First mechanical water tower built in New York


July 4, 1984, Beverly, MA

Elliott Chambers Rooming House fire kills 15


July 6, 1944, Hartford, CT

Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey Circus tent fire kills 168


July 11, 1973, Paris, France

Varig Airlines B-707 in-flight fire kills 123


July 23, 1984, Romeoville, IL

Union Oil refinery fire kills 17; losses worth $177 million


July 24, 1931, Pittsburgh, PA

Little Sisters of the Poor home for the aged fire kills 48


July 26, 1990

Americans with Disabilities Act passes, greatly affecting safety codes


July 28, 1945, New York, NY

Fire after B-25 crash into Empire State Building kills 14


July 29, 1956, Sun Ray, TX

Shamrock Oil & Gas corp. refinery fire kills 19 firefighters


Courtesy of NFPA


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