Category Archives:

(Missing) The Big One(s)

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Busy Day in Fairfax The news and Facebook, of course, were awash with stories of yesterday’s unusual spate of multiple-alarm fires in the western part of the County, including a couple of rows of town homes, a large apartment building and a bank. Those back porches ablaze are reminiscent of Boston. I left the active […]

Trump on Fire

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I’m a bit conflicted about this past weekend’s fire on the 50th floor of Trump Tower in New York, especially after hearing that Trump lobbied against the requirement for sprinklers in residential high-rise buildings. Let’s be honest–any building code that doesn’t require sprinklers is job security for firefighters, the public be damned. Trump apparently said […]

DC Fire(d)

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Fatal Accident Data Missing On March 9, 2018, DC Fire and EMS Engine 26 was involved in a fatal accident at 12th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE. Now, WJLA reports that the data card for the on-board camera is missing. They say, “Investigators are trying to determine when the camera stopped recording, and how […]

Fairfax: Cyber-bullying 2.0

It’s Steve’s Turn Now Earlier this week I wrote about recent developments in the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department related to the treatment of women there. In recent days the women’s program officer tendered her resignation and Steve Mittendorff, whose wife was a department member when she committed suicide in 2016, urged Richard Bowers, […]

Safety Technology: Smile, You’re on Camera!

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It Was Only a Matter of Time Cameras in vehicles are now so prevalent they shouldn’t attract notice much less interest. The combination of digital technology and portability now means that any activity can be recorded, including fire rig operations. Firefighters in Baltimore aren’t happy about that. Several years ago the department installed cameras in […]

IAFF @ 100: How Schaitberger Sold Us Out

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Death of a Union The chief and crucial reason for labor unions is to fight or advocate on behalf of their members. It’s very simple, really. To employ collective strength to ensure that we have acceptable wages, benefits, hours and safe working conditions. Real unions remain vigilant, focused, unconflicted and unrelenting in that mission. The […]

Thank Dr. Melius

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Brunacini in a Lab Coat The diesel extraction systems protecting you from particulates? Thank Dr. Melius for that. Better and more targeted medical exams for firefighters? Thank him for that, too. Workers compensation coverage for occupational cancers? Yep. The Zadroga 9/11 Program? Ditto. And the list goes on and on. Jim died on New Year’s […]

Survive: Older Apartment Fire Safety

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 Charming But Potentially Deadly, Too “A woman and her two daughters and a niece on the fifth floor were killed when flames from the first floor rushed up the stairwell, filling the passageway with smoke and sending people scurrying down a fire escape.” (NYT)   Older apartment buildings can be very beautiful but will usually […]

Line of Duty: Miosotis Familia

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Rest in Peace? Miosotis Familia, veteran NYPD officer, was killed last week by a deranged, psychotic man as she sat in a mobile command unit in the Bronx. Her murder was not unlike the 2014 killings of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafeal Ramos, shot as they sat in their marked cruiser. Or Dallas police […]

Safety: USS Fitzgerald Collision

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A Cole with No Explosives? This past weekend, the USS Fitzgerald, a Burke class, Aegis equipped vessel, was struck in a t-bone type accident by a large cargo carrier off Japan during night operations; seven sailors were killed. Ship collisions are hardly rare but a t-bone is, especially involving a naval vessel on patrol. Most […]

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