Scuttlebutt 6/14

FDNY Firefighter Meets His Blood Donors

The New York Blood Center (NYBC) hosted its annual Long Island donor recognition and appreciation awards dinner at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY, on May 7. During the night, FDNY firefighter and Long Island native Robert Wiedmann was able to meet several of his donors for the first time.
Wiedmann suffered mostly third-degree burns on more than 50 percent of his body as he battled a major house blaze in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn in 2011. A type O-negative blood donor himself, Wiedmann received a tremendous outpouring of blood donations from across the region, reaching as far as Boston, MA. O-negative donors are known as “universal donors” because their blood can be used in trauma situations when there is no time for blood typing. Wiedmann’s many donors were critical in saving his life as he recovered from more than a dozen surgeries.
Wiedmann was able to meet nine of his donors in person for the first time. FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano was in attendance and introduced Wiedmann to his donors.  

“I am grateful for the people who came out for me, to support me and help me through my time of need,” said Wiedmann. “Hopefully, everyone could take a few minutes out of their day to do [donate blood] for somebody they don’t know. It’s a great feeling to be able to do that for someone. I’m just so appreciative of the community.”


CFSI Awards Announced

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) held the 26th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on May 1 at the Washington Hilton.  The theme of this year’s program was “Cultivating Relationships.” The dinner was the culmination a two-day program hosted by CFSI and attended by nearly 2,000 fire and emergency service officials from across the country.  The program featured seminars covering a broad range of national issues conducted by prominent public safety leaders.  Attendees also spent part of their time in Washington, DC, meeting with their members of Congress to discuss issues of concern to public safety.

As part of the ceremonies, the CFSI announced the winners of several prestigious awards:


Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education

Mary Marchone, a training specialist for Fire Prevention Management Curriculum at the National Fire Academy (NFA), United States Fire Administration, was the 2014 recipient of the Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education. Marchone is a functional area expert and program manager for fire prevention management curricula. She has been a skilled course developer and instructor with the NFA for 29 years focusing on all areas of community risk reduction (CRR). She was instrumental in introducing the concept of fire department involvement in injury prevention in Academy courses, and was the first woman to serve as a training specialist in Fire Prevention Management Curriculum for the NFA.


CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award

The CFSI Board of Directors selected the Honorable James M. Shannon, President of the National Fire Protection Association, as the recipient of the 2014 CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award. Established in 1998 and co-sponsored by CFSI and Motorola Solutions, the Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have been proactive at the local, state and federal government levels to improve and advance fire/emergency services and life safety issues. 

A former member of Congress and Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Shannon has served as NFPA president for the past 12 years. In June, he will retire from this position following a remarkable 23-year career with the organization. Under his leadership, NFPA has made many significant contributions to the fire service at the federal level, helping raise greater awareness in Congress about the challenges and needs of local first responders. He has also been a tireless advocate for the fire service at the state and local levels.  


Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award

The CFSI and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) selected the Office of the State Fire Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a unique partnership between the Oklahoma Council on Firefighter Training and INTEGRIS Heart Hospital as the co-recipients of the 2014 Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award. Named after retired-Senator Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland, a strong advocate for our nation's fire and emergency service personnel during his 36-year career in Congress, the award recognizes organizations for their outstanding contributions to firefighter health and safety. State Farm Insurance and VFIS serve as the corporate supporters of the award program.

Under the leadership of Edward A. Mann, the Office of the State Fire Commissioner developed and implemented the first LODD training course in Pennsylvania. The “Courage to be Safe” program is now a mandatory training requirement for every fire service member in the Commonwealth.  

 The Oklahoma Council on Firefighter Training and INTEGRIS Heart Hospital, were honored for the development of the Healthy Heart Program for Oklahoma firefighters. The program launched a pilot study to identify firefighters at risk for potentially life-threatening cardiac events and to conduct follow-up testing and treatment. The pilot program also helped raise greater awareness about the risks of cardiac events among the entire Oklahoma fire service.   


Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award

MedicAlert Foundation and the CFSI recognized the innovation and leadership of three fire departments with the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award. The awards program was established to promote innovative emergency medical services programs as examples for other fire departments around the country to consider embracing to enhance the services they provide within their communities.  

The three fire departments – one career, one combination, and one volunteer – presented with the fourth Annual Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Awards are:


  • Memphis (TN) Fire Department (Career): Implementation of LUCAS mechanical CPR devices in all 35 ambulances to improve their ROSC (Return of Spontaneous Circulation) rates for sudden cardiac arrest victims.
  • Howard County (MD) Department of Fire & Rescue (Combination): Innovations created in order to improve cardiac care for residents, including: an education and feedback program to reduce DTB times for STEMI patients; an aggressive training program designed to improve neurologically intact survival for patients experiencing out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest; development of a Community Hands-Only CPR program; and the use of Glidescope Video Laryngoscope to reduce interruptions in CPR for sudden cardiac arrest patients.
  • Cullman County (AL) Association of Volunteer Fire Departments (Volunteer): Rigorous Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) education and licensing pilot program designed to increase the number of Licensed EMRs throughout the county.



Strongest Firefighter Comes to Ohio Fire & EMS Expo

The Strongest Firefighter competition will be held at the Ohio Fire and EMS Expo Sept. 25-26, 2014. This event is limited to 200 competitors (150 in the men’s category and 50 in the women’s category).  A $1,000 cash prize will be presented to the winners. Interested individuals can register at


Houston Firefighters Come to the Aid of “Iron” Bill

After spending almost a year recovering from devastating injuries suffered in what has been called the deadliest day in Houston Fire Department history, Houston Fire Captain “Iron” Bill Dowling was on the move recently. Not to a rehab facility, but to San Diego for Boot Camp! Specifically, to see his son, Forrest, graduate from the Marine Boot Camp.

Iron Bill, a former Marine himself, lost both of his legs and suffered brain damage after leading a rescue attempt where four fellow firefighters died and 13 were injured. The Dowlings weren’t sure that Iron Mike would be able to make the trip to San Diego, physically or monetarily. But no one was going to stop a former Marine/firefighter from seeing his son graduate. Thanks to hard work and dedication, he was physically able to make the trip, but affording it was another hurdle to overcome. That’s when generous donations began flowing in from fellow firefighters, Marines and Houstonians. They raised enough money (and secured a private jet) to make sure Iron Bill and his wife, Jacki, were there to see Forrest graduate.


OPEI Advises Emergency, Fire and Rescue Personnel to “Look Before You Pump”

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing 100 small engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers, is alerting owners and users of small engine and power equipment to be aware of new fuels that can destroy or damage the engine. 

The national ethanol education and consumer protection campaign, called “Look Before You Pump” is cautioning that it is harmful and illegal to use higher than 10 percent ethanol gas when fueling up a range of gas-powered equipment. The urgency of the industry’s campaign comes from research that shows high-ethanol blends of gasoline can damage or destroy small engines (like those in chainsaws) not designed to handle it.

“We are cautioning American consumers and business owners whose livelihood depends on our equipment to be more mindful at the gas pump,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “Don’t assume that the gas you put in your car can still go in your mower, chain saw or generator.” 

OPEI urges consumers to read their equipment operating manual before filling with gasoline to ensure they use the right fuel for that engine. 


Ocala Fire and Police Officers visit twin town in Ireland

Last month in this space, we featured an Irish delegation visiting Ocala Fire Rescue. This month, we report on an official delegation from Ocala that traveled to its twin town Newbridge, Ireland. The group consisting of 17 people had the honor to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and represent the Ocala community during many official activities.

This year the delegation included four fire department personnel, six law enforcement officers and seven citizens who paid their own expenses for the trip.


This Month in Fire History

June 5, 1973, Chicago, IL – LaSalle Hotel fire kills 61

June 6, 1982, Falls Township, PA – K-Mart warehouse fire loss worth $190 million

June 12, 1911, Whitewright, TX – Conflagration damages 70 buildings

June 13, 1980, Covington, VA – Hercules, Inc. plant fire loss worth $23 million

June 14, 1974, Carteret, IL – Carteret Shopping Center fire loss worth $37 million

June 17, 1972, Boston, MA – Hotel Vendome fire kills 9 firefighters

June 23, 1913 – First NFPA Committee on Safety to Life is appointed

June 24, 1973, New Orleans, LA – Upstairs Lounge fire kills 32

Courtesy NFPA

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