Friday, November 21, 2014  Office of the State Fire Commissioner and the Department of Insurance: tips to avoid a turkey-frying homeowners catastrophe.

Text of Nov. 19 press release.

Harrisburg – Deep frying a turkey, while a tasty alternative to the traditional oven–roasted main course, can lead to fire and serious injury if you are not careful. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department and the Office of the State Fire Commissioner caution consumers to be extra careful if deep frying a turkey is part of your Thanksgiving celebration.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports that nearly 4,300 fires occur on Thanksgiving, causing 15 deaths and almost $27 million in property damage. Many of these home fires are due to deep-frying accidents.

Here are some tips to keep you, your guests and your property safe:

• Read the turkey fryer owner’s manual thoroughly for proper set up and safety tips.

• Make sure your bird is completely thawed before frying (hot oil and water do not mix).

• Use the correct amount of oil. Overfilling the oil may spill out of the pot and hit the burner, increasing the chance for flames and fire to engulf the entire unit.

• Never leave the fryer unattended. Many don’t have thermostat controls to prevent overheating of the oil to the point it ignites.

• Keep children and pets away from fryer.

• Use proper hand protection. Lids and handles of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

• Have an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish an oil fire.

• Do not deep fry your turkey inside your garage, on your porch or deck, or inside your home.

• Use your fryer outside, away from trees, walls, fences and other structures.

Homeowner insurance policies will cover things like the structure of your home, your personal belongings and liability protection for injury to your guests, but it is best to do what you can to avoid these types of insurance claims in the first place.

For more information on homeowners insurance, or to download a fact sheet on turkey fryer safety, visit www.insurance.pa.gov. For more fire safety tips, visit www.osfc.state.pa.us.

Media contacts: Rosanne Placey or Melissa Fox, Insurance, 717-787-3289; Cory Angell or Ruth Miller, OSFC, 717-651-2009




Suicide continues to be a constant in the profession of fire, rescue and EMS. Please take time to review these links-and have the info on hand.


Out of respect to the families and members of those affected, we won't share names or the departments-but once again, two of "our own" have taken their lives in just the last few days, One FF in South Florida and the other in the Tampa Bay area.

In addition to the "awareness" of the two losses, we wanted to share
the leadership shown

by a Chief of Department:


It is with deep regret that I must inform you of the untimely death of Firefighter who took her own life this morning.  Words cannot express the profound sadness that we all feel.  I am at a loss as to how to make sense of her death, many of you have expressed the same sentiment.   We may never have an explanation that makes sense to us.  I have no words to offer that will make this right, or even bearable.  I can only say that I am both saddened and sorry that she did not feel like she had another option.  Our grief cannot compare to what Toni's family is going through so I ask you to pray for those she loved..  These next few weeks will be trying for everyone.  Look out for each other and please reach out if you need to talk.  Take care of each other. 


Suicide continues to be a constant in the profession of fire, rescue and EMS. Please take time to review these links-and have the info on hand.







=NFFF : 

















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Renewing the Fire Service Tradition Starts with You From Fire Engineering Online

Tuesday, November 18, 2014  Renewing the Fire Service Tradition Starts with You

I recently attended the IAFC-VCOS Symposium in Clearwater Beach.  It was a tremendous experience filled with great course content, lively discussions and debate about how to move the fire service forward in a unified fashion, and awesome networking with current and future fire service leaders from all across the country.  As you might expect, one of the most talked about topics was the ongoing UL/NIST fire behavior research.  It’s important stuff, to be sure.  In fact, the underlying theme of the symposium, “Taking it to the Streets” focused on effectively communicating the results of these studies as well as eliminating the sometimes fragmented messages we tend to deliver across the American fire service from time to time.

The UL/NIST studies aside, I happen to agree with Clearwater (FL) Operations Chief Ricky Riley’s opinion that along with embracing the new scientific data that we have before us, we also have to get back to teaching the basics and demanding that they be done consistently, efficiently, and effectively.  We need to get back to doing our jobs the right way 100% of the time if we are to improve fireground operations and firefighter safety.  It’s a core value that applies regardless of the fireground tactics we employ at a given fire scene, and we need to take that to the streets too.

As I reflect on my fire service career, I can tell you that things were quite different when I started than they are today.  While I am not old enough to remember the days of horse-drawn fire engines, I do remember a time when we did not have the safety of enclosed cabs, a guarantee of apparatus mounted SCBA, or even bunker pants (you got ¾ boots until a set of pants became available and you earned them).  We did not have the advantage of modern scientific research to help us make potentially life-altering decisions.  We carried steel SCBA cylinders on our backs, (if you had an SCBA at all).  We rode the tailboard or hose bed of the engine, and the ratio of SCBA to firefighters was rarely 1:1.  You had to be quick to get one if you weren’t lucky enough to be riding in a jump seat, and if you did get one, it was usually stored in a case in a compartment.  If you wanted to get work in, you had to be quick and efficient.  You had to know your equipment inside and out, and you always made sure you were properly geared up, because you would pay dearly if you weren’t.

Today, the technological advances in apparatus, equipment, and protective clothing are nothing short of amazing.  And while I am grateful that these advances have put us in a safer place overall, they have also made us lazy.  No longer do we have to compete over equipment.  It’s all there, safely and securely mounted on our apparatus.  We get in (not on), slide a couple straps over our shoulders, and we’re off to the races, so to speak.  Fires are down; protected buildings are becoming the norm.  That’s a good thing from a community safety standpoint, but it’s made us complacent.  We’ve become victims of our own success.  “Back in the day”, we had a healthy respect for fire and what it could do, we appreciated the equipment we had, and we wore it and used it properly.  Today, instead of ramping up our training in the basics to account for less frequent fire activity, some seem to place more emphasis on how we look.  We often assume the best instead of assuming the worst and remaining vigilant and prepared for anything.  It’s downright dangerous, and there’s no tradition in that.   

What’s my point in all this?  If we want to get back our tradition, we have to get back to our roots.  I’m not talking about discarding new advances in science and technology.  I believe the willingness to be open-minded and engage in progressive thinking that helps us do what we do safely is a big part of supporting our tradition.  But my generation of firefighters is evolving into leadership positions.  What we do in the station and on the fireground sets the standard for our younger firefighters.  So, while we embrace emerging technology (some of which is actually stuff we did before we had science to back it up), we must also get back to when we were good at the basics: Gearing up, pulling lines, throwing ladders, and conducting searches – we must get back to being prepared for the reality that bad things happen in our line of work and we’re the ones that are expected to deal with them.    

Then vs. Now

When I was a rookie, I can assure you that if my captain caught me watching TV in the dayroom instead of practicing donning and doffing of turnout gear and SCBA in the engine room, there was hell to pay.  On training nights, we almost ALWAYS included time on the basics, regardless of the topic of the day.  We pulled and packed attack lines, we raised ladders, we competed against each other to see who could gear up and mask up the quickest and do it properly.  We were required to learn our districts: Streets, occupancies, building construction, water supply, and special hazards.  When we weren’t practicing on the streets, our kitchen table discussions consisted of “chalk talks” that challenged each others’ thinking about what we would do in different fireground situations and our knowledge of our districts (not the firehouse drama that seems to take center stage more often than not).  We were taught to think about what obstacles we might have to overcome and to stay prepared to do our jobs proficiently, and we were schooled in the importance of projecting the appropriate image to the public.  And while we strived to educate the public, our eyes remained wide open to the fact that fires happen, regardless of our prevention efforts.  Folks, there’s pride and tradition in that. 

What do I see today?  Today I see our reputation being damaged by firefighters planted in recliners watching TV or playing video games.  I see them standing in front of the engine bay smoking cigarettes instead of engaging in fitness training.  I see firefighters coming off the apparatus with exposed skin, waist straps dangling, and chin straps behind their helmets.  I see equipment that is stowed on apparatus without being serviced and restored for the next run.  Although these people and actions may represent a minority, their impact is powerful.  Frankly, it’s embarrassing.  If you’re in a leadership position in your department (note that I did not say “officer”), and you’re allowing this to happen or acting like this yourself, you need to take a hard look in the mirror and re-evaluate your role and your priorities.  What are you teaching the younger generation about pride, tradition, and public service?   What are you doing to repair the reputation of a profession that is plagued with a minority group that engage in unethical actions, taking advantage of their positions to better themselves?  Do your actions project that it’s “cool” to look and act like that, or are you walking the talk?  If you’re not part of the solution, it’s likely that you’re part of the problem.  It’s embarrassing to those of us that like to think hard work, training, and pride still exist in our profession, and it’s dangerous to us all.

So, how do we get our tradition back?  Here are some things you can do to project the right image:

Take care of our own.  Firefighter health and wellness goes to the very foundation of our profession.  Even before we discuss training and fireground operations, it is vital that we embrace the core value of achieving and maintaining our own fitness for duty.  We work in one of the most physically and mentally demanding professions known to mankind, yet there is no national requirement for medical evaluations, fitness training, or behavioral health.  Until we can change that, it’s up to you.  Become a champion for firefighter health and wellness.  Get a physical, engage in fitness training that is appropriate for the job, and watch out for each other. The effects of what we see and do every day are cumulative as much as they are acute.

Wear your seatbelt.  Not a lot needs to be said about this.  It’s not only the law; it is clearly one of the simplest yet most effective means to reduce the chances of serious injury or death in the event of an accident.  This should be a no-brainer.

Buckle your waist strap on your SCBA.  In case you still haven’t heard, modern SCBA technology is designed to take the weight off your shoulders and transfer it to your hips, thus reducing fatigue.  Our job on the fireground is difficult enough.  Why would you make it even harder?  Leaving your waist strap unbuckled completely defeats the purpose of modern SCBA design.  It also puts you at risk of enta... [ more ]



NEW Web-Based Training for Crude By Rail

Saturday, November 15, 2014   Announcing NEW Web-Based Training for Crude By Rail:
> Watch You Tube Now -- http://youtu.be/CwT6pBehOXY
> For your information, and to forward onto your state and local responders, or others you feel may benefit from this training. SERTC is now offering, for a limited time ONLY FREE Web-Based Training for Crude By Rail (CBR)! Be the first to take advantage of this phenomenal training opportunity by going to www.sertc.org, and clicking on Web-Based Training (WBT) under "What's New." 
> This program is designed for first responders with railroads passing through their jurisdiction. You will learn basic knowledge to respond to incidents involving CBR. The web-based training is designed for your convenience. You decide when and where to start your training. 
> Instructors teach this program in a format that is easy for you to understand, and it gives you the foundational information needed to make basic protective decisions in the event an incident happens in your jurisdiction.
> The program covers the following:
>> History of crude oil
>> Planning and working with the railroads
>> Basic tank car recognition and design
>> Chemical, physical, and toxic properties of the different crude oil transported
>> Basic site and damage assessment
>> Tactical product control methods, including the application of firefighting foam agents, water and spill control procedures
> SERTC Admin
> 719.584.0584





Don Konkle


 website pfesi.org



Fire & EMS Help Line

Saturday, November 15, 2014 



Obituary for John R. Johnston, Sr.

Saturday, November 15, 2014 

Obituary for John R. Johnston, Sr. February 14, 1947 - November 13, 2014
Upper Darby, Pennsylvania | Age 67

Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Brother



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Click here to be notified when a service is added, or check back for updated information.

Friday, November 21
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM   

Donohue Funeral Homes, Inc.
8401 West Chester Pike
Upper Darby, PA 19082
(610) 449-0300

Get Directions
Send Flowers
Book Travel to Service
Friday, November 21
8:00 PM   

Donohue Funeral Homes, Inc.
8401 West Chester Pike
Upper Darby, PA 19082
(610) 449-0300

Get Directions
Send Flowers
Book Travel to Service
Saturday, November 22
9:00 AM to 10:00 AM   

Donohue Funeral Homes, Inc.
8401 West Chester Pike
Upper Darby, PA 19082
(610) 449-0300

Get Directions
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States Struggle to Contain Firefighting Costs

Monday, November 3, 2014  States Struggle to Contain Firefighting Costs




Volunteers are increasingly unable to assume rising firefighting costs. Flickr/ Tiger Schmittendorf

Firefighting is expensive. In the past 30 years, the costs for key pieces of equipment have jumped more than fivefold. And that’s the least of it. The time and training to become a certified firefighter have increased. Volunteers, who make up roughly 70 percent of fire department personnel, not only pay for their own training but also face additional indirect costs, such as temporary lodging, lost time at work and medical expenses. Not surprisingly, a growing number of localities are confronting a significant decline in volunteer firefighters.

A recent report from Pennsylvania, where 96 percent of all fire companies are fully staffed by volunteers, spells out the problem. The state’s 72,000 volunteer firefighters provide services with an estimated annual tax savings value of $6 billion. But those savings and systems, as the report notes, “are creating increasingly serious challenges,” including a decline in the number of active volunteer firefighters (down from 152,000 in 1985 to 72,000 today); difficulties in funding, with volunteers spending 60 percent or more of their available hours on fundraising activities; and unnecessary and inefficient duplication of firefighting equipment.

Pennsylvania may have the highest percentage of volunteer firefighters but most states have similar problems, particularly in nonurban areas. Nationally volunteers or paid on-call firefighters predominate in fire departments that protect fewer than 25,000 people.

The question for state and local leaders is how do they protect these systems and help pay for the rising costs volunteer firefighters are increasingly unable or unwilling to assume?

In Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico and a few other places, the state offers stipends to volunteers to cover time spent training, the cost of travel and overnight or on-call services. In New York, the state grants volunteer firefighters property tax abatements, income tax credits and $50,000 in death benefits if they die in the line of duty. Most states allow volunteer departments to provide workers’ compensation, often through state-run programs. Increasingly, there is pressure to define volunteer firefighters as public employees and offer them public pensions and post-retirement health-care benefits.

Then there’s Texas, where 75 percent of the firefighters are volunteers. Throughout the state, financing of fire departments varies widely. Some tiny departments make do with bake sales and fish fries; larger ones find funding through agreements with their municipality or county. Some departments raise the money to pay for their fire needs by adding (unconstitutionally in most cases) a fee onto water bills. But with increasing frequency, Texans are funding emergency services through a special taxing district -- an emergency services district (ESD) that can levy property and sales taxes. The trend is so pronounced that special districts in the Lone Star State collect almost as much property tax revenue as cities.

Depending on how urban the area is, the district might create paid departments and/or give funds to volunteer departments. This, in turn, is creating governance quandaries over taxing, especially when cities expand into heretofore “rural” areas. If a city annexes into an ESD and leaves the special district in place, the ESD gets to keep its share of local sales taxes. If a city annexes into an ESD and dissolves the district in that area, the city has to pay cash for any ESD assets serving the area.

Pennsylvania’s report recommended regionalization of fire services by adding a technical assistance unit in the State Fire Commissioner’s Office, which would be the lead agency for the system. Instead of hundreds of tiny different municipalities having their own forces, one large fire force in a region would serve all the communities within its bounds. That might prove to be a far more effective and financially sound way to respond to the next 911 call.



Company Recalls US Fire Trucks; Wheel Can Fall Off

Monday, November 3, 2014  Company Recalls US Fire Trucks; Wheel Can Fall Off

DETROIT — Nov 2, 2014, 1:56 PM ET


Pierce Manufacturing is recalling 135 fire trucks in the U.S. because a suspension part can fail and cause a wheel to fall off.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted on its website this weekend that the recall covers Pierce Arrow fire trucks from the 2010 and 2011 model years. The trucks have TAK-4 front suspensions and were built from Nov. 18, 2009, through May 11, 2011.

The agency began investigating the trucks in March after getting reports of a wheel falling off two aerial ladder trucks that were responding to emergency calls in Portland, Oregon, and Edmond, Oklahoma. The Wisconsin-based company also told the agency of another case in Milwaukee.

Pierce will inspect the lower control arms on the trucks and replace any that are defective.




Preview the New ResponderSafety Learning Network Promo

Friday, October 10, 2014  About Us
Protecting emergency responders at roadway incidents through collaboration, advocacy, networking and training. On the Highway We've Got Your Back!





Learning Network



ResponderSafety.com Breaking News Alert
  "From the roadway to the U.S. Capitol, responders and leadership alike recommend the ResponderSafety Learning Network as the free online portal for 24/7 training for the safe and efficient management of traffic incidents. See and hear what the buzz is all about."


On behalf of the CVVFA Responder Safety Team, thank you for your commitment to help us make the roadways safer for all responders. We are proud of our new ResponderSafety Learning Network Promotional Video. We have released this video through our communication channels and we would be honored if you saw fit to do the same. Our goal is to reach every roadway responder with these lifesaving messages.


This network would have not been possible without your constant support and partnership.





Thursday, September 18, 2014   From PFESI!

Don Konkle

Executive Director

717 236 5995


In an effort to make it easier for people to receive training at no cost we are offering what hopefully will become a series of free "Web Wednesday"  on line webinars for officers to take advantage of.


The training is free and will be available on line, meaning you don't have to travel or leave the comfort of your home or fire station. As long as you have a computer with internet connectivity and the ability to communicate by phone/ with voice mute capabilities.





The Pennsylvania State Fire Academy (PSFA) is pleased to offer free online training called Command Academy - Web Wednesday, a series of free monthly on-line webinars (live web sessions) held the first Wednesday on select months. Command Academy is available to any Pennsylvania emergency service personnel currently serving as a Command Officer within a career, volunteer or combination fire/rescue organization. The live webinar sessions last no more than two (2) hours, from 1900-2100 but live participation via computer is limited.

To enroll in the Command Academy "Web Wednesday" send an email to ra-fire@pa.gov listing your Name, Rank, Fire Department, preferred email address, and identify the webinar in which you wish to participate. You will need a computer/device with internet connectivity and the ability to communicate by phone/voice with mute capabilities. You will receive a reply email with specific instructions on how to log into the webinar.


Session # 1: October 1, 2014: "Understanding the Situations Around You" by Dr. William Jenaway, Ph.D, CFPS, CFO, CSP, CPP, FIFE and Executive Vice President of VFIS. Chief Jenaway shares being aware of your situation or what is most commonly called "Situational Awareness" can mean the difference between life and death. Command Officers must understand the level of risk encountered and must make those critical decisions such as "fight or flight", to risk only what you are willing to lose versus what can be saved. Similarly, Command Officers must understand the situation around them at the station, on the street, or when special problems are encountered. Chief Jenaway will share examples on how to protect you and your organizations.

Dr. Jenaway has served as Chief of two Pennsylvania Fire Departments and in 2001 was named IAFC "Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year". He served on the Editorial Advisory Board of Fire Chief Magazine, as Vice Chair of the Commission on Fire Service Accreditation and serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Congressional Fire Services Institute.


Session # 2: November 5, 2014: "Understanding Lightweight Construction Hazards as Greg Jakubowski, Fire Chief of Lingohocken Fire Company, Bucks County shares his perspective on greater attention on the integration of risk management within incident management. Greg will concentrate on the hazards of lightweight construction and how they impact the fire service at all operational levels, including strategic, tactical and planning. He will also share a recent rescue incident called "Trapped by Trusses" involving a construction accident.

Chief Jakubowski is a fire protection engineer, certified safety professional


Don Konkle


 website pfesi.org



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