Scuttlebutt 5/13

May 1, 2013

Making a Difference

Jessica Carscadden is a very special little girl. Born in China and placed in an orphanage, she struggled with some serious medical conditions. There wasn’t much hope for a bright future. But, at age 5, she was adopted by the Carscadden family of San Diego County. Despite some lingering medical issues, Jessica now has a bright future. And she has made it her mission to brighten the lives of other children as well.

Two years ago, Jessica started donating stuffed animals to police and fire stations throughout Southern California with the hopes that a stuffed animal might bring a smile to the face of a child involved in a fire, accident or other tragedy. So far, she has donated stuffed animals to 420 emergency response vehicles in Southern California and Nevada, most recently, San Bernardino County, CA. 

On March 27, the San Bernardino County’s Office of the Fire Marshal graciously accepted a sizeable donation of stuffed animals. Bags of stuffed animals will go on the various engines, squads and paramedic units stationed throughout San Bernardino County Fire’s vast area of service. 

On her website, Jessica says, “The fire department comes into contact with children at fires, auto accidents or EMT calls. The kids they meet are often scared. I thought kids would be less scared if the fireman had a stuffed animal to give [them]. The fireman didn’t have any stuffed animals and were happy I donated mine.”

 To support Jessica in her goal of “putting stuffed animals into every police, fire and ambulance vehicle in Southern California” you can email her ([email protected]), visit her website ( or visit her facebook page (

On the Move

Captain Michael Breazeal has retired after serving 26 years with the Kern County (CA) Fire Department and six years with the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

The San Bernardino County (CA) Fire Department announced the retirement of Assistant Chief Peter Brierty after 35 years of service to the community.

Long time Operations Chief Mike Heston has been named Pullman, WA, Fire Chief. Heston replaces Scott LaVielle who served the department for only a year before announcing his retirement.

Part of the Brotherhood Family

“If something happens and you’re in a fire, it doesn’t matter who’s next to you, as long as you can trust they can get you out,” said Airman 1st Class Emily Beckerjeck, a firefighter with the 31st Civil Engineer Squadron.
A number of women like Beckerjeck are currently serving in non-traditional career fields at Aviano Air Force Base, Italy, contributing to the Air Force mission every day with their hard work and dedication, working side-by-side with men in jobs that, a few decades ago, were not available to women.
As a firefighter, Beckerjeck responds to aircraft, airfield and structural fires, hazardous material incidents, search and rescue missions and the many everyday tasks required of any male firefighter, to include carrying gear that can weigh up to 75 pounds.
Beckerjeck’s motivation to become a firefighter stemmed from the idea of women’s equality, and proving that girls can do whatever guys can do.
“There's no limit anymore,” she said.
Since the job is very physically demanding, she and her fellow Airmen must train every day to build up their strength and ensure they are able to carry out the mission, Beckerjeck said.
Firefighters at Aviano AFB work 24-hour shifts and are often required to spend holidays and special occasions away from their families.
Despite being separated from her family in the states, Beckerjeck said that the firefighters here have taken her under their wing.
“It’s not a brotherhood anymore, since I’m in it,” she said. “Now it’s a family.”
Beckerjeck and her firefighting family frequently welcome children into the fire station for tours and demonstrations. Beckerjeck also recently visited a school in Roveredo, Italy, to educate children about her job as a firefighter and share her story as a woman serving in the military.
“I love being an inspiration to little kids, especially little girls,” Beckerjeck said. “It’s so awesome when they say ‘I want to be just like you when I grow up.’”
And thanks to women like Beckerjeck, now they can.

by Senior Airman Katherine Tereyama, 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
(This feature is part of the “Through Airmen’s Eyes” series on These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

The Amazing Race(rs)

On March 3, Firefighter Jazz Doolittle, mother of two and cancer survivor, finished the Swamphouse Half Marathon in her firefighter gear, including air tank and helmet.
Doolittle is a member of the Seminole County Fire Department and Team Firefighter. Beginning in 2012, Team Firefighter selected Code 3 For A Cure as the main organization they support, and they encourage all firefighters to join this organization, which is dedicated to providing support to firefighters who want to better themselves through fitness in sport. Doolittle will continue to compete in marathons across the country to bring attention to her cause for hope and honor.

Meanwhile, Firefighter Katrina Silvia (St. Johns County Fire Rescue, FL) recently competed in the Ironman Florida. After swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112, she donned her turnout gear for the 26.2 mile marathon portion of the event. Because of her extraordinary athletic abilities and efforts for Code 3 For A Cure, she received special recognition from Florida State Governor Richard Lynn Scott. Firefighter Silvia, who says one of her biggest challenges is to pass out Code 3 fliers during her races without getting sweat on them, has been selected by Code 3 for a Cure as the organization’s 2013 National Ambassador.

As mentioned, both firefighters were racing for Code 3 For A Cure, which provides financial assistance to firefighters across the country who are diagnosed with cancer and are facing a financial hardship. The CODE 3 fire truck carries a memorial fire bell on the empty seat, which signifies the loss of a firefighter to cancer. Please visit their website ( for more information.

Firefighters Assist Resident in Need

Firefighters from Mount Vernon, VA, Fire Station 09 recently assisted the group Rebuilding Together –Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church (AFF) building a wheelchair ramp for a local resident unable to leave her home.  These firefighters provided their services off-duty building the ramp so that the resident can have the needed access to leave her home for doctor appointments, shopping, etc. 

Rebuilding Together-AFF believes that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home.  Thanks to the Mount Vernon firefighters, belief is becoming a reality.

Emergency Vehicle Repair and Maintenance Program

The Ohio Association of Emergency Vehicle technicians 21st annual Emergency and Municipal Vehicle Maintenance and Repair program will be held September 23 to September 27. The event is held at the Ohio Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg, OH.

Classes (which are subject to change) include – Pump Repairs by Hale, Basic to Advanced Electrical, Air Brake Repairs, A/C Systems, Cummins Engines, 10 EVT Prep Classes, Spartan Chassis, Sutphen Chassis and Towers, Kussmaul Electronics Troubleshooting and Repairs, C.E.Niehoff Alternator and Electrical Maintenance, Akron Brass, Weldon Multiplex, Rom Products, Horton Ambulance, Fire Research Products, and Stryker EMS products.

Class tuition- $385.00 and includes lunch all week and the Wednesday Banquet dinner. For more information go to

Seminar Focuses on Learn From the Past

Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, University of Maryland, is partnering with the Maryland Emergency Services Life Safety Task Force to present a one-day seminar entitled “Learning from the Past, Improving the Fu ture.” The seminar, which is being held at Hancock High School in Hancock, MD, is designed to provide an opportunity for the participants to review incidents from the past that have resulted in operational changes to improve responder safety.

Chief Billy Goldfeder will deliver a presentation that is sure to set the tone for the seminar. Guest speakers will discuss the Near Miss Program and its importance as a learning opportunity. Incidents will be discussed involving highway safety, training safety and emergency operations safety.

Advanced registration closes May 15. Registration is open to all interested persons. Please register on-line at For more information, please email [email protected] or call 301-226-9971 or 800-275-6374.

Sun City West Fire District Honored

Fire Corps, in partnership with the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) and Fire Protection Publications (FPP), would like to congratulate the Sun City West (SCW) Fire District Fire Corps program (AZ) for being selected as the 2013 Fire Corps Award of Excellence winner.

Sponsored by IFSTA/FPP, this award annually honors a Fire Corps program whose remarkable achievements in the fire and emergency services and community exemplify outstanding performance. The SCW Fire Corps will be recognized at the upcoming National Volunteer Fire Council’s Awards Reception and Dinner on May 10 in Alexandria, VA. The Community Assistance Response Team (WA) and the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department (OH) both received honorable mentions.

Launched in 2004, Fire Corps is managed by the National Volunteer Fire Council and works with various organizations that make up the Fire Corps National Advisory Committee (NAC). Members of the Fire Corps NAC represent every major fire service organization in the nation. They provide valuable input, critical feedback and supplementary ideas as to the direction of the program. Fire Corps is also supported by the United States Fire Administration and is funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Citizen Corps.

This Month in Fire History

May 4, 1973 – National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control publishes America Burning

May 5, 1988, Norco, LA – Petroleum refinery fire; loss worth $513 million

May 6, 1937, Lakehurst, NJ – Hindenburg zeppelin fire kills 36

May 14, 1947, Rome, NY – Minerva Film Company fire kills 23

May 17, 1923, Beulah, SC – Cleveland School fire kills 77

May 18, 1971 – NFPA Standard 19B requires SCBA use during firefighting

May 23, 1964, San Francisco, CA – All Hallows Church Parish Hall fire kills 17

May 28, 1977, Southgate, KY – Beverly Hills Supper Club fire kills 165

Courtesy NFPA

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

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