Scuttlebutt 2/13

Emergency Preparedness Conference

The City of Dryden, the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources will be hosting the Northwest Response Forum from April 9 to 11 at the Dryden Regional Cultural & Training Centre in Dryden, Ontario, Canada.

The conference will have a series of plenary sessions, expert presentations, workshops and networking opportunities. The 2013 Northwest Response Forum will increase the level of emergency preparedness in Northwestern Ontario and better prepare its citizens for emergencies and disasters.

This conference is a must for emergency preparedness planners, first responders, elected officials, safety officers, educators and employees involved in emergency planning.

To participate or to become a sponsor, email or visit for a conference package.


Climb for a Cause

Fight for Air Climbs are unique fundraising events for the American Lung Association. They usually happen in prominent skyscrapers, stadiums or arenas and involve climbing multiple steps. Sometimes called a “vertical road race,” teams and individual participants can use the event as a fitness target, as a race against other people or as a great way to be active and meet new friends. American Lung Association Climbs are also a wonderful way to support someone who has lung disease or as a memorial to someone who has passed away.

Here is a list of upcoming events:   
Race up Boston Place, Boston, MA, February, 2
Fight for Air Climb, New York, NY, February 9
Scale 360 State Street, New Haven, CT, February 9
Peak the Plaza, Providence, RI, February 23
Fight for Air Climb, Buffalo, NY, March 9
Fight for Air Climb, Hartford, CT, March 23
Fight for Air Climb, Bennington, VT, May 18
Information on all the events can be found at or by calling 1-800-LungUSA.


Deerfield Township Fire Rescue Welcomes Ghana Doctor

Deerfield Township Fire Rescue recently hosted Dr. Nicholas Ofori for a ride along during two 24-hour shifts. Ofori, an emergency room doctor at Swen Clinic in Ghana, Africa, was visiting for the month on vacation. “We were eager to hear this diverse perspective from Dr. Ofori” stated Chief Chris Eisele.

Ofori was “looking forward to the experience of observing pre-hospital care in the United States.” Ofori was overwhelmed with the efficiency and organization of the department and the on-scene treatment of patients.

During Ofori’s shifts on December 14 and 17, the department responded to 29 dispatchs, according to PIO Lt. Patrick Strausbaugh. Ofori rode along on 14 of the calls, including two lightning strikes, a structure fire, a gas leak, an auto accident and nine health-related incidents.


WPI Honored for Firefighter Safety

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) was honored at the 23rd Annual “Firefighter of the Year” award ceremony with the 2012 State Fire Marshal’s Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the fire service made by those outside of the service. 

“For more than a decade now, a group of WPI faculty has been diligently working to develop technologies to protect our first responders,” said Dennis Berkey, President and CEO of WPI. “They have worked closely with the Worcester Fire Department, with federal researchers and with industry to move this important work forward. This award recognizes their hard work and it echoes the pride that the entire WPI community feels for this exceptional team.”  

WPI professors and on-going multi-disciplinary research team members, John Orr, David Cyganski, James Duckworth (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Kathy Notarianni (Fire Protection Engineering) accepted the award. In December 1999 the city of Worcester lost six firefighters after they were unable to find their way out of the Worcester Cold Storage warehouse, which was destroyed by fire. Professors Orr, Cyganski and Duckworth set out to develop technology to help command officers locate firefighters precisely, in three dimensions, inside buildings, and to guide them to safety or rescue them, if necessary. Prototypes for a personnel locator device have been developed and extensively tested. 

More recently, with Fire Protection Engineering head Kathy A. Notarianni joining the WPI firefighter safety and technology research team, it has developed a sensor that would give a firefighter advance warning of “flashover” conditions, in which combustible materials in a room simultaneously erupt in flames, and are working on a new device that will warn firefighters of the presence of toxic gases. 

“What’s exciting about this work and what keeps us focused and hard-driven is that we know with absolute certainty that our research and technology development will have the impact of saving firefighter lives and improving long-term health of firefighters,” Notarianni said. 


This Month in Fire History

Feb. 2, 1973, Eagle Grove, IA: Coast to Coast Hardware store fire kills 13

Feb. 3, 1971, Woodbine, GA: Thiokol Chemical Co. fire kills 29

Feb. 6, 1851, Australia: “Black Thursday” forest fire damages 50,000 square miles

Feb. 7, 1904, Baltimore, MD: Great Baltimore Fire causes $50 million in damages

Feb. 10, 1863: First fire extinguisher patent issued to Alanson Crane

Feb. 17, 1957, Warrington, MO: Katie Jane Nursing Home fire kills 72

Feb. 26, 1993, New York, NY: World Trade Center bombing/fire kills 6 and injures 1,165

Courtesy NFPA

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