For the Record 12/23

Dec. 11, 2023
David B. Rupert of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire & Emergency Services is the 2023 EVT of the Year.

Reduce Training Injuries & Fatalities
UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute released an online course that’s designed to help to reduce firefighter injuries and fatalities on the training ground. “Training Fire Exposures: A Risk-Benefit Framework” provides fire instructors with information about training environments as well as fuels, props and high-level control measures. The control measures include changing where instructors work inside of the training structure, engineering isolation practices and maintaining consistent PPE protection.
To access the course, go to

Rupert Named 2023 EVT of the Year
David B. Rupert, who is the fire apparatus, fleet and facilities manager of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire & Emergency Services in Norfolk, VA, was named 2023 Emergency Vehicle Technician (EVT) of the Year by Firehouse and the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA). The award recognizes outstanding efforts to promote a high standard of excellence in quality and safety in emergency vehicles.
Rupert is a U.S. Navy veteran and has worked for the Navy for 23 years. He provides technical assistance with all Navy fire and emergency services apparatus and emergency response units worldwide.
EVTs who joined Rupert as finalists for the award are John Murray, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, West Palm Beach, FL; Wayne Mittelstadt, South Metro Fire Rescue, Parker, CO; Mark Retzlaff, Green Bay, WI, Metro Fire Department; and Angus Duff, Consolidated Fire District No. 2, Prairie Village, KS.
The 2023 EVT of the Year Award is sponsored annually by Spartan Motors, which will present the award at the FDSOA Apparatus, Specification, Maintenance & Fleet Management Conference on Jan. 17, 2024, at the Gilbert Public Safety Training Facility in Gilbert, AZ. 

Fire Protection Engineering Prep
The Society of Fire Protection Engineers opened registration for its “Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Fire Protection Exam Review Course.” It’s designed to prepare candidates for the April 16, 2024, exam. All courses are live, online and offered twice weekly. Recorded sessions are available on demand after each session.
The exam schedule is available at



9 U.S. firefighters died in the line of duty. Two died from a health related incident, one died from injuries that were sustained during fireground operations, one died from injuries that were sustained when struck by an automobile while leaving the firehouse, one died in a single-vehicle accident during a response to a motor-vehicle accident, one died after suffering a medical emergency on an EMS call, one died after suffering a medical emergency on the fireground, one died from a medical emergency during wildfire operations and one died while on duty at a dispatch center. This issue of Firehouse is dedicated to these firefighters

CAPT. ADAM HART, 38, of the Hurlburt Field (Okaloosa County, FL) 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department, died on Oct. 5. During his shift, Hart was found unresponsive on the floor of his bunkroom. CPR was performed immediately, but fire department and medical personnel weren’t able to revive him.

RONALD MAURICE STROSNIDER, 75, of the Capon Valley Volunteer Fire Department in Wardensville, WV, died on Oct. 20. Strosnider responded to a medical emergency at a residence. While on scene, he became ill and was taken home by department personnel. Later in the day, emergency crews were called to his house. While he was transported to the hospital, Strosnider went into cardiac arrest and passed away.

FIREFIGHTER REGINA HUFFMAN, 39, of Coon Creek Fire & Rescue in Wooten, KY, died on
Oct. 28. Huffman and other firefighters responded to an ATV accident. Helicopters were summoned for transport. As the apparatus in which Huffman was riding left the accident scene to go to the landing zone, the vehicle slipped off of the road, went down an embankment and struck a house. Huffman and two other firefighters who were in the vehicle were injured. All three were rushed to the hospital, where Huffman died from her injuries.

FIREFIGHTER WILLIS SANDS, 69, of the Gardner Lake Volunteer Fire Company in Salem, CT, died on Oct. 29. Sands was struck and killed by an automobile as he was leaving the firehouse after an event. He was a former member of FDNY who responded to the 9/11 attacks.

ASSISTANT CHIEF JOSEPH BACK, 59, of the Whitesburg, KY, Fire Department, died on
Oct. 30. On Oct. 27, Back responded to the scene of a medical emergency at a residence. While on scene, Back suffered a heart attack. He immediately was transported to the hospital, where he remained in a coma until he passed away three days later.

DISTRICT CHIEF DAVID PHELPS, 74, of the Prairieton Fire Department in Terre Haute, IN, died on Nov. 2. Phelps was on scene of a structure fire. He was found dead in a fire apparatus from an apparent heart attack.

SGT. THOMAS PETSCHKE JR., 53, of Ballardsville Fire & Rescue, which is located in Crestwood, KY, died on Nov. 11. Petschke was on scene of a residential fire that expanded into woods that were adjacent to the residence. While he battled the brush fire, Petschke collapsed from an apparent heart attack. He immediately was treated and transported to the hospital, where later passed away.

FIREFIGHTER ANDREW PRICE, 39, of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD), died on Nov. 13. Members of the CFD responded to a fire in a four-story mixed-occupancy. Price was on the roof of the fire building conducting vertical ventilation when he fell through a skylight shaft. A mayday was called, and Price was located after members quickly breached a wall. He immediately was rushed to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he died hours later from the injuries that he sustained in the fall.

EMT FREDERICK WHITESIDE, 43, of FDNY, died on Nov. 17. Whiteside went into cardiac arrest while on duty at Public Safety Answering Center 2.

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