President’s Presence Accentuates Summit’s Importance
President Joe Biden was the first president since Harry Truman to address a fire prevention and control conference when he appeared via video feed at the U.S. Fire Administrator’s Summit on Fire Prevention and Control.
Biden expressed his awe of responders and how they set aside their own needs to assist others. He said that he witnessed that in person at the wildfires in the West and after Hurricane Ian in Florida.
“Fires will always be a fact of human life,” Biden said, “and when the worst happens, when those alarms go off, when everything and everybody you love is in danger, there’s no better sight in the world than that firefighter who’s ready to go to work.”
In addition to Biden, the Summit brought together representatives from various fire service organizations for a national roundtable. The event, which was held on Oct. 11, 2022, at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD, was prioritized into six critical issues that affect firefighters and the public: firefighter cancer; behavioral health; codes and standards; elevation of the fire service (federal policy development and prioritization); firefighters working in the interface (training and PPE); and recruitment and retention. A team for each of the six issues was formed, including legislative aides from fire service organizations. Each team is expected to file a report by the end of the year.
“We stand together as a unified fire service,” U.S. Fire Administrator Lori Moore-Merrell said. “Some of the issues discussed may take some time to resolve, while others can begin immediately.”
“Everyone had a seat and input,” Ron Siarnicki, who is the executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, said, “yet we are working in unison,” adding that he believes that having a unified voice will be well-received.
2022 CSU Outstanding Fire Service Professional of the Year
Miner has worked with his fire department for five years. He is a firefighter/paramedic and acting officer. He also worked with the Spokane County, WA, Fire District 9 in 2004, where he earned a training award and a community service award.
The 2022 Outstanding Fire Service Professional runner-up is Amber Stine. Stine is a firefighter/paramedic with the Fort Wayne, IN, Fire Department. She is seeking her bachelor’s degree in fire administration. She teaches fire training at schools in Fort Wayne.
The Outstanding Fire Service Professional of the Year award was established as part of National Fire Prevention Week and to recognize CSU fire service students and graduates for their commitment to fire safety, their professionalism and their accomplishments in the industry.
For more information about CSU, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu.
Augmented Reality & Community FamiliarizationHelping children to become familiar with firefighters is a significant aspect of Fire Prevention Month—and why members visit schools to help kids to become comfortable with firefighters in their gear.
The North Penn Volunteer Fire Company (NPVFC) in North Wales, PA, and forensic investigation firm, DJS Associates creates in-home tech to do that, too, via their an augmented reality (AR) experience that brings firefighter familiarization straight to anyone who has a smartphone or a tablet.
Matthew Daywalt, who is the NPVFC’s fire prevention officer, explains that the technology allows a firefighter to be virtually placed in a living room, basement, front porch, etc. “Now, kids and families can become even more familiar with firefighters, even from the safety and comfort of their own home,” Daywalt says.
“If we can help just one kid run toward a firefighter in an emergency rather than away, then we’ve been successful,” Steve McGlynn, who is the vice president of the NPVFC, says.
To access the AR experience, scan the QR code.
Educating the Public About In-Home RisksAn online whole-home safety training course that’s designed for volunteer fire departments is the result of a collaboration between First Alert and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC). “Whole Home Safety: Reducing Preventable In-Home Injuries and Deaths through Community Education” prepares fire departments to educate residents on reducing preventable injuries and deaths in the home. The primary focus is on fire, but there are references to other causes of at-home accidental injuries and fatalities.
Course participants will learn how to conduct a community risk assessment, develop fire prevention and whole-home safety strategies, and apply best practices for improving community outreach. The training includes critical information about the role that smoke, carbon monoxide (CO) and explosive gas alarms, along with fire extinguishing devices, play in community risk reduction. Data show that three out of every five home fire deaths result from fires in homes that either lack smoke alarms or have smoke alarms that are inoperable, according to the NFPA.
The First Alert/NVFC collaboration is complemented by a fire extinguisher donation program for community outreach initiatives.
“Having access to this extensive training, along with First Alert’s generous fire extinguisher donation, helps keep fire departments informed on best practices and supplies them with the knowledge to educate their communities,” NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch said.
The course is available in the NVFC Virtual Classroom. It is free for the first 500 participants, courtesy of First Alert. Go to tinyurl.com/wholehomeclass to learn more.
Fee Is 2022 Parmelee Award Recipient
In recognition of his dedication to the fire sprinkler industry, the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) named Kevin T. Fee as its 2022 Henry S. Parmelee Award recipient. The award is given to individuals who strengthened the fire sprinkler industry.
Fee, who is the president of Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., has spent more than 50 years dedicated to the fire protection industry. He has had strong involvement with associations over the years, including AFSA, the National Fire Sprinkler Association and the NFPA. Fee was one of the founding members of the International Fire Sprinkler Association. He was instrumental in the development of the Community Action Program for Sprinklers (CAPS), the Suppliers and Manufacturers (SAM) Council and the Sprinkler Manufacturers Industry Fund (SMIF).
The Henry S. Parmelee Award is named for the person who is recognized as the inventor of the first commercially successful closed sprinkler head.
7 U.S. firefighters died in the line of duty. Two died after they suffered a medical emergency during wildfire operations, two died from a health-related incident and three died from injuries that they sustained in a motor vehicle accident while they returned from responses. This issue of Firehouse is dedicated to these firefighters.
Gerardo Rincon, 48, of North Reforestration Inc., died on Sept. 20. He suffered a medical emergency while fighting the Moose Fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Oregon.
Capt. Charles D. Krampota, 60, of the Alvin, TX, Volunteer Fire Department died on Sept. 23. He responded to a fully involved mobile home fire. After extinguishment of the fire and being cleared from the scene, Krampota returned to his home. He was found dead approximately three hours later from an apparent heart attack.
Chief Timothy R. Pfleger, 32, of the Keyport, NJ, Fire Department died on Sept. 30. On July 16, 2022, Pfleger was involved in a motor vehicle crash while he returned from fire department-mandated training. His assigned vehicle was struck head-on by an oncoming vehicle. Pfleger sustained traumatic injuries. He spent one month in long-term rehabilitation, after which he was transported home to rehab more. On Sept. 30, he was transported to the hospital for a medical emergency, where he passed away.
Assistant Chief Michael Moody, 59, of the Purdum, NE, Volunteer Fire Department, died on Oct. 2. While fighting the Bovee wildfire near Halsey, NE, Moody suffered an apparent heart attack and passed away.
Chief Curtis Brown, 51, and Firefighter Brendan Torres, 19, of the Dalhart, TX, Volunteer Fire Department, died on Oct. 4. They were returning from a mutual aid traffic incident when they were involved in a motor vehicle collision with a semitrailer. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Capt. Kenneth Roy Sott, 65, of Summerville, SC, Fire & Rescue, died on Oct. 17. Sott returned home after physical fitness training with recruit firefighters. A short time later, he experienced a medical emergency. Sott was rushed to the Summerville Medical Center, where he passed away from an apparent heart attack.