Scuttlebutt 12/12

Firehouse App Wins Editorial Award

The July issue of the Firehouse Limited Edition App was named Best B2B App (Editorial) at the recent min’s Editorial & Design Awards. The award committee said, “The July edition of Firehouse’s editorial app stands tall with two tablet exclusives, plus a feature on helping fire departments better understand the technology evolving in their hands.” Firehouse Associate Publisher Jeff Barrington, who was on hand to receive the award (see photo).


Volunteers Celebrate 275 Years of Service

In honor of the 275th anniversary of America’s volunteer fire service, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has released a new publication honoring the past, present and future of our nation’s volunteers. A Proud Tradition: 275 Years of the American Volunteer Fire Service pays tribute to the millions of dedicated individuals who protect our communities every day and honors the rich heritage of volunteers.

A Proud Tradition looks at the evolution of America’s volunteer fire service, from its earliest beginnings, to changes in equipment and apparatus, to current issues facing today’s volunteers such as expanding scope and recruitment and retention. Sections also cover training, women in the fire service and community involvement. The publication not only looks at where the fire service came from, but also where it stands today and where it is headed in the future.

Visit the NVFC website ( for information on how to order the book or to download the electronic version.


FPVFD Donates Pumper to Haiti

As all Firefighters know, equipment becomes obsolete due to age, ware, or constantly renewing NFPA requirements.  That dilemma became reality for members of the Florham Park Volunteer Fire Department (FPVFD), when their 1981 Mack/Engine 22 entered it’s own phase of obsolescence.  FPVFD members had witnessed the loss of an earlier engine’s demise in a scrap yards, and vowed to never let that happen again, especially with their retired Engine 22.

Members organized a committee, to seek out options for a new life for Engine 22.  This search led them to Captain Nathaniel Lasseur, Founder / President of the International Firefighters Assistance (IFA) organization, in Coral Springs, FL.

Captain Lasseur is a professional firefighter in Miami, and a native son of Haiti, where he has been active in the development of local firefighting companies throughout the island nation of Haiti.  The IFA organization he established, seeks donations of retired fire apparatus and necessary equipment for partners in Haiti and throughout the world.

The Florham Park Borough Mayor and Council members, who are responsible for the ownership of the apparatus, accepted the volunteers proposal to donate Engine 22 to the IFA, and plans were completed to transport the vehicle to the Port of Miami, where it was loaded on a ship bound for Haiti.

As the fire truck arrived in Haiti, Captain Lasseur’s partners, in Croix-des-Bouquets province, requested assistance to train their newly organized fire company in the technical aspects of the trucks operation.  Engine 22 is the first, and only, piece of firefighting apparatus in this Haitian province, where heretofore they fought fires only with water buckets, axes, brooms and blankets.  Members of the FPVFD Association agreed to donate a portion of their annual fund drive proceeds to support the expenses of a mission for two officers, Assistant Chief Chuck Keel and Fire Inspector Alban Kellogg, to visit their new friends and owners of Engine 22 in Haiti in late August.

Many Haitian Government Officials and community leaders of Croix-des-Bouquet province expressed their overwhelming appreciation for the generosity of the Community of Florham Park, and the members of the FPVFD Association for their kind donation of this essential firefighting equipment in their earthquake ravaged country.

The  FPVFD invites any other fire departments who may have obsolete equipment to join with them in supporting the IFA with additional donations of apparatus and equipment.  If you are able to participate in this effort, please contact Assistant Chief Chuck Keel at 973-377-3241 or contact the IFA at


Paying Homage to the Volunteers

Marek Fuchs is a writing professor at Sarah Lawrence College, the former New York Times “County Lines” columnist and – most importantly – a volunteer firefighter. Fuchs pays tribute to his volunteer brothers and sisters with the new book Local Heroes: Portraits of American Volunteer Firefighters. Traveling around the country with Ian Spanier, a well-regarded photographer, Fuchs chronicled some of the most interesting volunteer firefighters – and firehouses – in the nation.

“Firefighters are the unsung local heroes of every community,” said Fuchs. “They protect our towns and cities, risk their lives and give up their free time when the alarm sounds.”

Fuchs and Spanier take a glimpse into the lives of these men and women, all of them volunteer, including an Emmy-winning songwriter, an arborist, a lawyer and a topographic mapmaker. They also experience a sampling of life at firehouses from around the country, including a 100-year-old department in a small New York town and an ""Old South"" department in one of America's poorest counties.

Local Heroes is available on, Barnes & Noble stores and other bookstores around the country.


HFSC Addresses Residential Sprinkler Water Supply and Usage

In communities across the U.S. and Canada, a growing number of one- and two-family homes are being built with fire sprinkler systems. But when questions and confusion arise about water supply, they can hamper installations and result in needless costs to homeowners.

To answer common questions about sprinkler technology and provide detailed information about its life-safety and environmental benefits, the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has developed Understanding Water Supply for Home Fire Sprinkler Systems, funded by a FEMA Fire Prevention & Safety Grant. 

“There has been a clear and growing need for better understanding about fire sprinkler systems in homes and water supply for several years,” says HFSC President Gary Keith. “In particular, misinformation within the water industry results in unnecessary and costly sprinkler add-ons and unfair fees that penalize homeowners who just want greater fire protection for their families.”

Understanding Water Supply for Home Fire Sprinkler Systems includes a comprehensive DVD video that provides an overview of residential sprinkler systems and a full explanation of water supply, connections and usage. It features several local fire and water officials who share their own experience with the systems locally. A detailed brochure complements the information within the DVD. To download or order the free materials, please visit HFSC online at



This Month in Fire History


December 1, 1958, Chicago, IL

Our Lady of the Angels school fire kills 95


December 5, 1876, Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn Theater fire kills 295


December 16, 1835, New York, NY

Great New York fire destroys New York Stock Exchange


December 18, 1964, Fountaintown, IN

Nursing home fire kills 20


December 20, 1970, Tucson, AZ

Pioneer Hotel fire kills 28


December 22, 1910, Chicago, IL

Stockyard cold storage fire kills 21 firefighters


December 30, 1903, Chicago, IL

Iroquois Theater fire kills 602


Courtesy of NFPA


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