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St. Pete FD Honors Hero2

When Gus Hertz took his family to St. Petersburg, FL, for a summer vacation, he probably thought about bringing home a memento or two, but he probably never imagined one of them would be the Heroic Citizen Award. But that’s what happens when you are in the right place at the right time…twice!

On June 13, Gus Hertz was fishing in Intracoastal Waterway when a man suffered a diabetic episode and drove his vehicle into the water. Hertz and another fisherman pulled the man from the car. As fate would have it, the very next day while fishing from his boat, he saved a pilot and passenger who had crashed their ultralight aircraft into Tampa Bay.

“Being in the right place at the right time one time is rare,” said St. Petersburg Fire Chief James D. Large. “Being in the right place at the right time two times is really unique.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster presented Hertz with the “Key to the City” and joked that the city needs more tourists like Hertz. “Enjoy the rest of your time here,” Foster said. “Please come back. With visitors like you, I feel safer already.”



Have 2 Ways Out!

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has announced that the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week (October 7 – 13) is “Have 2 Ways Out!” The NFPA wants to stress how important it is to not only have a home fire escape plan, but also how important it is to have a back-up plan in case your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames.  

To view a video of Sparky the Fire Dog announcing the Fire Prevention Week theme and discussing his new “Wish List,” visit

Good Times, Great Cause!
Join your fellow firefighters and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick at the Monster Mile (also known as Dover International Speedway in Dover, DE) on Sunday, September 30, 2012 and support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). Each $109 package includes a ticket to the “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, pre-race hospitality including all-you-can-eat buffet and beverages (beer, soda and water) and a trackside tour! It promises to be a good time for a great cause! For more information and to register for the event, visit


The Giving Continues

Last month we told you about Firehouse Editor-in-Chief Harvey Eisner presenting a check from proceeds of his book, WTC: In Their Own Words, to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). The giving continues. Eisner recently gave checks to Edward Kilduff, Chief of Department, FDNY, who was accepting on behalf of the FDNY Foundation, and Ed Brown, Bronx Trustee for the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA), who was accepting on behalf of the UFA Thomas R. Elsasser Fund (which benefits the widows and orphans of FDNY firefighters suffer non-line-of-duty deaths). The presentations were made at the Fire Bell Club of New York 74th Anniversary dinner.


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


August 4, 1949, Gates of the Mountain, MT

Forest fire kills 13 firefighters


August 10, 1955, Andover, OH

Gateway Restaurant fire kills 22


August 11, 1874

First Sprinkler head patented by H.S. Parmelee


August 13, 1953

National Safety Council incorporated by Congress


August 17, 1975, Philadelphia, PA

Gulf Oil refinery fire causes $44 million in damages


August 24, 1812, Washington, DC

Washington set afire by British troops during War of 1812


August 31, 1968, Gary, IN

In Crowd lounge fire kills 13


Courtesy of NFPA

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