Scuttlebutt 3/14

NVFC, IAFC Encourage Departments to “Train Like You Fight”

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) have announced that “Train Like You Fight” will be the theme for the 2014 International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week.

Fire departments are encouraged to suspend all non-emergency activity during the week of June 15-21 to focus on safety and health training and education. An entire week is provided to ensure each shift and duty crew can spend at least one day focusing on these critical issues.

This year’s campaign will focus on the critical nature of training in supporting responder health and safety. The theme captures two angles of responder safety:

  • Safety on the training ground and reduction of training-related injuries and death
  • The importance of adequate training to prepare for safe fireground operations

“This is a complex issue and the data that we have only begins to tell the picture,” said Chief Bill Metcalf, IAFC President and Chairman of the Board.

The NFPA reports that over the 10-year period from 2001 through 2010, 11.3 percent of all on-duty firefighter deaths were training-related. Recent studies have also shown increased rate of many forms of cancer among firefighters, making safety precautions – such as the full and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during all activities including training – essential for firefighter safety.

“Utilizing fire training programs that conform to the highest professional standards and operating a safe fire training ground at all times are two of the NVFC’s priorities for health and safety,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “We need to make sure that personnel are using proper PPE and following all safety and health procedures and precautions at all times during training activities….Our job is dangerous enough without adding to it by being lax or unprepared during the very same activities designed to make us ready for the next call.”

The NVFC and IAFC have provided planning resources at Departments are encouraged to submit links to additional resources, articles, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that can help other departments. Upload these resources using the form available on the Event Planning page of the Safety and Health Week website.  


Firefighters Conduct Aircraft Rescue Training in Ocala

In late January, 120 firefighters with Ocala Fire Rescue received specialized training to combat aircraft fires. The training props, which included a mock airplane featuring live fire and manikins to simulate passenger rescue, were supplied by Kellogg Community College located in Battle Creek, MI.

The annual training offered to local firefighters consists of classroom instruction and hands-on activities. In addition, this year 17 firefighters from the Leesburg Fire Department traveled to the Ocala International Airport to participate in the training.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our firefighters to practice extinguishing brake fires, engine and cabin fires inside an aircraft” said Ocala Fire Chief Bradd Clark.



Firefighter Makes Wife’s Dream Come True

Maria Childs loves to write, especially for children. While working on her master’s degree at Miami University in Ohio, Childs composed a manuscript about a mischievous little boy who wanted to live the life of a firefighter (or what he imagined a firefighter’s life was like). The story was inspired by her own family – three mischievous boys and a firefighting husband.

Childs sent the manuscript to dozens of publishers, only to receive rejection after rejection. So, she decided to put the publishing dream on hold and concentrate on her career as a teacher and raising her family. In the meantime, her husband, Scott, a firefighter/paramedic with the Union Township Fire Department (UTFD) in Clermont County, OH, called on fellow UTFD member Craig Forster for a favor. In addition to being a firefighter/medic, Forster is also a talented illustrator. Unbeknownst to Maria, the two firefighters conspired to have Forster illustrate Childs’ manuscript and have it printed as a keepsake.

It was a nice idea that would take on a whole new meaning. In March of 2012, Maria Childs was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma, a deadly form of cancer with no cure, not many treatment options and a very low survival rate.

Forster started working feverously to finish the illustrations and friends jumped into action to show their support for the family. Scott Childs and Nikki Forster (Craig’s wife) desperately searched for someone to print the book. Throughout hospital stays and treatments, Scott took one final attempt to have the book published. He submitted the manuscript to a publishing company and to his amazement and delight, the book was picked up!

In February of 2013, some wives from the fire department planned an event to show their support for Childs. Family and friends gathered together for a night of bowling and fun…and to reveal the big surprise to Maria. It was an extremely emotional and motivating experience.

Firefighters Don’t is scheduled to be released on March 25 and is currently available on Childs’ website If you are wondering where the name of the book comes from, it’s a favorite phrase of the young main character of the book, Colin Ryan, who constantly refuses to do his chores around the house because, “Firefighter don’t make beds…firefighters don’t clean the house….” A trip to the local fire station, however, eventually teaches Colin about all of responsibilities of firefighters.



This Month in Fire History


March 1, 1911 – The Weeks Act authorizes federal and state cooperation in forest fire protection


March 2, 1970 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) bans tetrachloride fire extinguishers


March 5, 1770, Boston, MA – A false alarm leads to confrontations that result in the Boston Massacre


March 10, 1941, Brockton, MA – The Strand Theater fire roof collapse kills 13 firefighters


March 17, 1631, Cambridge, MA – The first fire prevention legislation passed


March 18, 1951 – Sparky the Fire Dog is “born”


March 19, 1896, New York, NY – Insurance groups form a committee to design what will become the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)


March 25, 1911, New York, NY – The Triangle Shirtwaist fire kills 145


March 25, 1990, New York, NY – The Happy Land Social Club fire kills 87


March 29, 1929 – Michigan passes the first state law banning the public use of fireworks


Courtesy of NFPA


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