For the Record 9/12

Colorado Fire Crew Receives High Honor 

Battalion Chief Timothy Hanlon, Lieutenant John Maes, Firefighters Josh Hamilton, Josh Deuto, John Brereton and Mark Maxwell of the North Metro Fire Rescue District are the heroic recipients of the 2012 International Benjamin Franklin Fire Service Award for Valor, co-sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Motorola Solutions, Inc.
The Franklin Award for Valor recognizes firefighters around the world for their expert training, leadership, heroic actions and safe practices and is the highest honor bestowed by the IAFC.
In icy conditions and howling winds, North Metro Fire Rescue Crew 63 of Broomfield/Northglenn, CO, confronted all the elements of a perfect storm: a deranged husband; his battered wife; barricaded doors; an intentional fire; and two young children trapped on the second floor of their home.

Without a moment’s hesitation, and with the pleas of the mother foremost on their minds, Rescue Crew 63 uses their charged hoses to push past the fire and smoke to gain access to the second floor where the young children were trapped. Within minutes, Rescue Crew 63 had rescued three people, treated and transported six people to local hospitals, including two police officers who suffered smoke inhalation, and taken the family’s dog to an emergency veterinarian center.


Alert Neighbor and Burnt Smoke Alarm Saves Family

Ocala Fire Rescue officials credit an alert neighbor and a badly damaged, but still functioning, smoke alarm for saving a family of five from an early morning fire. Firefighters responded at 5:56 a.m. to find a vehicle and carport on fire, with flames extending inside the concrete block house. A tenant told fire officials that she, another adult and three children were asleep when a neighbor awakened them. Firefighters arrived to the three bedroom house in less than five minutes. One firefighter suffered a medical emergency while battling the flames and was transported to a hospital by ambulance. The fire at was placed under control at 6:43 a.m.


USFA Releases LODD Report

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has released Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2011. There were 83 on-duty firefighter fatalities in the United States as a result of incidents that occurred in 2011. This represents a continuing decline in the overall number of firefighter fatality deaths in recent years and an almost five percent decrease from the 87 fatalities reported for 2010. When analyzing the overall trend in the United States going back to 1977, the 2011 total represents the lowest year of record for the second year in a row.

Heart attacks were responsible for the deaths of 50 firefighters (60 percent) in 2011, nearly the same proportion of firefighter deaths from heart attack or stroke (63 percent) in 2010. Ten onduty firefighters died in association with wildland fires, the lowest number of annual firefighter deaths associated with wildland fires since 1996. Fifty-four percent of all firefighter fatalities occurred while performing emergency duties.

For additional information on firefighter fatalities, including the annual fatality reports from 1986 through 2011 and 2012 firefighter deaths, please visit the USFA website.


Online Program for EMS Medical Directors

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), has developed an innovative online educational outreach program and focused website for physician medical directors of local departments and agencies who are involved in emergency medical services (EMS) response.

“This web-based program for current and prospective EMS medical directors will provide information in a conveniently accessible format to support key roles in the provision of EMS to communities,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell.

The online program complements the recently released Handbook for EMS Medical Directors (see For the Record, June 2012) and covers a wide variety of topics for the EMS medical director ranging from occupational health and safety to liability issues.

This initiative is designed to assist EMS medical directors in their role of providing medical oversight and direction, training, protocol development, and resource deployment advice.

Further information on USFA’s EMS research initiatives may be found at


Six U.S. emergency personnel recently died in the line of duty. Three volunteer firefighters, two career firefighters and one part-time firefighter died in six separate incidents. Three deaths were the result of accidents and three deaths were health related. Two separate dive-training emergencies claimed two lives.

LIEUTENANT DAVID R. CHEW JR., 30, of the Bloxom, VA, Volunteer Fire Company died on July 16. Chew was riding in the officer’s position of an apparatus responding to a motor vehicle accident when the apparatus left the highway while negotiating a curve on Nelsonia Road. When the apparatus left the highway, it struck several trees and overturned. Chew was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the apparatus. The driver of the apparatus suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

FIRE CHIEF JON TIBBETTS, 59, of the Sandoval County Fire Department in Bernalillo, NM, died on July 23. While operating a fire department vehicle on Interstate 25, Tibbetts’ vehicle was struck by another vehicle, causing it to roll over twice and go over a retaining wall and land on its roof. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Tibbetts was enroute to administer a physical abilities test to a new employee. Tibbetts was a 35-year veteran of the fire service.

FIREFIGHTER ANTONIO RODRIQUES, 49, of the Yonkers, NY, Fire Department died on July 31, 2012. Rodriques suffered a stroke while participating in fire department training on May, 9. He died from complications of the stroke.

FIREFIGHTER JIM REARDON, 51, of the Fire Academy of North Dakota in Mandan, ND, died on Aug. 4. While on an exploratory dive in Lake Seven (Scalp Lake) in Frazee, MN, Reardon became separated from his dive partner. After a brief search, Reardon was found floating face up on the lake. Reports indicate Reardon suffered a heart attack. Reardon was a four year veteran of the department.

CAPTAIN MIKE BURGIN, 46, of the Sugarcreek, OH, Fire Department died on Aug. 10. Burgin was participating in an advanced diving class at White Star Quarry when he surfaced and indicated he was in distress. He lost consciousness and went underwater. His body was recovered in about 60 feet of water.

FIREFIGHTER ANNE VESETH, 20, of the U.S. Forest Service, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, died on Aug. 12. Veseth was operating at the 43-acre Steep Corner fire near Orofino, ID, when a tree fell on her. This was her second year working as a seasonal firefighter.

Jay K. Bradish