Scuttlebutt 12/11

Oct. 27, 2011

Firefighter Lends a Helping “Paw”

Frustrated by an increasing number of families with nowhere to take their pets after being displaced by fire or other emergency, Philadelphia Firefighter Jennifer Leary established the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team. “People aren’t willing to evacuate if they can’t bring their pets,” said Leary, a five-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD). “The Red Cross will provide emergency shelter for people displaced, but there isn’t a resource available to provide that service for their pets.”

That's where Red Paw steps in, helping to find temporary housing and veterinary care for animals in need. “If an owner knows his or her pet will be taken care of, it helps relieve some of the stress during the recovery," said Leary.

Working in conjunction with the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter, the volunteer run Red Paw responds 24/7 to provide emergency transport, vet care and shelter for animals in need.

Red Paw was founded in July 2011 and serves animals in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania.”We are looking to expand our presence in the region, with the goal of becoming a national organization,” said Leary.

Red Paw has applied for 501c3 nonprofit status. For more information and to help, visit

San Bernardino County CERT Leaders Win Award

The state of California honored two Wrightwood residents recently with an award recognizing their dedication to protecting their community and preparing for disasters. The California Emergency Services Association (CESA) bestowed residents Ed and Bonnie Ross with the CESA Southern Chapter’s Silver Award, which recognizes “exceptional efforts in the field of emergency preparedness, emergency services or emergency response.”

As Volunteer Coordinators of the Wrightwood CERT program, the Ross’ work closely with the San Bernardino County Fire Department/Office of Emergency Services and their CERT Fire Liaison Captain Bob Kittleman to prepare the residents of the Wrightwood community. Their day-to-day CERT duties include maintaining their community’s membership records, developing practices and guidelines for the group and holding monthly CERT meetings for advanced training. They have organized disaster drills, are Certified CERT Instructors and have assisted in instructing multiple basic CERT Courses in Wrightwood.

San Bernardino County is one of the five California Counties to receive a grant to develop the Disaster Corps Program. Disaster Corps will take 200 CERT trained volunteers in San Bernardino County and equip them with additional training and the ability to respond anywhere in the County.

Emergency Vehicle Safety Study Initiated

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)/National Institute of Justice (NIJ), has begun a study of emergent topics in emergency vehicle and roadway operations safety to assist in the development and demonstration of best practices for the emergency services. The International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) will conduct the study.

“USFA is committed to reducing the incidence of vehicle crashes and emergency responders being struck on the roadway as they are a large cause of on-duty fatalities,” said Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines. “We are grateful for the U.S. Department of Justice’s support of this important initiative, which benefits both the fire service and law enforcement.”

Each year, approximately 25 percent of on-duty firefighter fatalities occur while responding to, or returning from, incidents, with the majority of fatalities resulting from vehicle crashes.  This represents a leading cause of firefighter fatalities - second only to heart attacks.

“These types of injuries and fatalities are among the most preventable types for all emergency responders,” said IFSTA Executive Director Mike Wieder. “IFSTA is grateful for the opportunity presented to us by the U.S. Fire Administration and the DOJ’s National Institute of Justice to perform this study with the goal of reducing these losses.”

Further information on USFA's vehicle and roadway operations safety initiatives may be found on the USFA website at

Bringing Home the Harvest

The City of Ocala and Ocala Fire Rescue are participating in a community wide effort to help restock the pantries of its local food banks. This campaign is named “Bring Home the Harvest.” Citizens are invited to drop off non-perishable food items to any fire station or Ocala City Hall. “This campaign will indeed help those in our community who need assistance, especially as the holidays approach” said Fire Operations Chief Jim Ganter.

Chief Retires After 50 Years

Western Springs, IL, Fire Chief Tony Bednarz’s last official day is set for Dec. 31, ending a fire career that began on Sept. 1, 1961, when he joined the Riverside Fire Department in the town he was born and raised. After serving almost 45 years in Riverside, where he became chief in 1991, Bednarz took the reins in Western Springs in March 2006 and has remained fire chief since.

“Here is a man who has been in the forefront,” said Joseph Myrick Fire Chief, McCook Fire Department, McCook, IL.  “He has been a friend, mentor and most of all a fine leader.”

Patrick Kenny will take over as Western Springs’ fire chief starting Jan. 1, 2012. Kenny is currently the assistant executive director at the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.

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