UL FSRI Launches New Online Course/Congrats to Steve Kerber

Saturday, April 12, 2014   

www.FirefighterCloseCalls.com and www.ModernFireBehavior.com are proud to partner with www.ULFirefirefighterSafety.com to host UL's newest online course: "Scientific Research for the Development of More Effective Tactics" - an online course that serves as a culmination of the full-scale field experiments performed on Governors Island by the Fire Department of New York, NIST and UL.  The interactive training takes learners through a research timeline of the previous fire dynamics research conducted by NIST and UL, all of the details that went into the tests, test results, and tactical considerations derived from the test results. This course brings science to the streets by examining two main groups of tactical considerations. The first group looks at the impact of controlling ventilation and flow paths. The second explores the use of exterior fire attack as a means to rapidly reduce the fire hazard inside the structure in order to facilitate interior fire operations.   Fires were conducted within numerous 3 story residential row houses with ignition occurring in the basement, in the first floor living room and in a second floor bedroom.


UL FSRI Director Steve Kerber shared, "This training program presents the most up to date fire dynamics research in a way firefighters at all levels can comprehend.  It builds off of all of the UL and NIST firefighter research to dat

e and provides students with the science they need to examine their tactical approaches.  Tactical considerations are presented with video and data in a way that is easy to understand.  For the firefighters out there that want all the details, buttons allow access to all of the data graphs, experimental video and relevant FDNY procedures."

There are many features to this course that will increase fire service knowledge.  An initial interactive research timeline provides links to more than 15 years of previous UL and NIST research that led to this series of experiments.  Then basic fire dynamics concepts are introduced and linked to tactical considerations that will allow for the students to re-examine their current operating procedures.  Finally, students have the opportunity to use interactive examples to develop an in-depth understanding of the impact of ventilation and water application on fire dynamics.

The course link is: http://www.firecompanies.com/modernfirebehavior/governors%20island%20online%20course/story.html

For mobile users, the course is compatible with tablet devices and iPad via the Articulate Media Player application in the App Store

  In closing, Congratulations to UL FSRI Director Steve Kerber on his 2014 George D. Post Instructor of the Year Award. Steve's vision for a thinking firefighter and drive to provide firefighters around the world with knowledge truly exemplify what is means to be great leader and educator.  

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 4-11-14-1700 hours





Wednesday, April 9, 2014  Some real heroes in this story.



AP: 20 hurt in school stabbing spree in PA

Associated Press

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. (AP, April 9) — Flailing away with two knives, a 16-year-old boy with a "blank expression" stabbed and slashed 19 students and a police officer in the crowded halls of his suburban Pittsburgh high school Wednesday before an assistant principal tackled him.

At least five students were critically wounded, including a boy who was on a ventilator after a knife pierced his liver, missing his heart and aorta by only millimeters, doctors said.

The rampage — which came after years in which U.S. schools have geared much of their emergency planning toward mass shootings, not stabbings — set off a screaming stampede, left blood on the floor and walls, and brought teachers rushing to help the victims.

The motive was under investigation.

Police didn't immediately release the name of the suspect, who was taken into custody and treated for a minor hand wound.

The attack unfolded just minutes before the start of classes at 1,200-student Franklin Regional High School, in an upper-middle-class area 15 miles east of Pittsburgh. It was over in a matter of minutes.

Witnesses said the boy with the knives at first tackled a freshman and stabbed him in the belly, then got up and ran wildly down the hall, slashing other students.

Nate Moore, 15, said he saw the first attack and was going to try to break it up when the boy got up and slashed his face, requiring 11 stitches.

"It was really fast. It felt like he hit me with a wet rag because I felt the blood splash on my face. It spurted up on my forehead," he said.

The attacker "had the same expression on his face that he has every day, which was the freakiest part," Moore said. "He wasn't saying anything. He didn't have any anger on his face. It was just a blank expression."

Doctors said they expect all the victims to survive, despite large and deep abdominal puncture wounds in some cases. The wounded police officer — who was regularly assigned to the campus — was treated and released.

Authorities credited an assistant principal with subduing the assailant. They gave no details, but students identified the educator as Sam King and told local news organizations that they saw him tackle the boy after the youngster stabbed the campus officer.

King's son told The Associated Press that his father was treated at a hospital, though authorities have said he did not suffer any knife wounds.

"He says he's OK. He's a tough cookie and sometimes hides things, but I believe he's OK," Zack King said. He added: "I'm proud of him."

As for what set off the attack, Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said investigators were looking into reports of a threatening phone call between the suspect and another student the night before. Seefeld didn't specify whether the suspect received or made the call.

Mia Meixner, 16, said the initial assault touched off a "stampede of kids" yelling, "Run! Get out of here! Someone has a knife!"

Meixner and Moore called the attacker a shy and quiet boy who largely kept to himself, but they said he was not an outcast and they saw no indication before the attack that he might be violent.

"He was never mean to anyone, and I never saw people be mean to him," Meixner said. "I never saw him with a particular group of friends."

During the attack, the boy had a "blank look," she said. "He was just kind of looking like he always does, not smiling, not scowling or frowning."

Michael Float, 18, said he had just gotten to school when he saw "blood all over the floor" and smeared on the wall near the main entrance. Then he saw a wounded student.

"He had his shirt pulled up and he was screaming, 'Help! Help!'" Float said. "He had a stab wound right at the top right of his stomach, blood pouring down."

Float said he saw a teacher applying pressure to the wound of another student.

Someone, possibly a student, pulled a fire alarm after seeing some of the stabbings, the police chief said. Although that created chaos, Seefeld said, it emptied out the school more quickly, and "that was a good thing that that was done."

Also, a girl with "an amazing amount of composure" applied pressure to a schoolmate's wounds and probably kept the victim from bleeding to death, said Dr. Mark Rubino at Forbes Regional Medical Center.

Public safety and school officials said an emergency plan worked as well as could be expected. The district conducted an emergency exercise three months ago and a full-scale drill about a year ago.

"We haven't lost a life and I think that's what we have to keep in mind," said county public safety spokesman Dan Stevens.


Associated Press writer Mike Rubinkam in Allentown contributed to this report.



Mayday Video-Hero Captain Uses His Body To Save FF's (The Secret List)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014  Mayday Video-Hero Captain Uses His Body To Save FF's (The Secret List)Hey,
Two Toronto Firefighters were injured when a floor collapsed during a fire in a townhouse this morning. The members were working inside the building and fell into the basement when the ground floor collapsed.
Their Captain was one of the firefighters who fell, but was not injured. Heroically, he was able to hang onto the first floor and then helped the other two climb up, using his body as a ladder. A mayday call was sent out, but the alert ended once the firefighters got out of the home-with NLT injuries.
The fire broke out in the basement of the townhouse shortly before 0800, and residents were evacuated from neighboring homes as a precaution.
Congrats the the Captain and crew-it's a good day.
Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.
The Secret List-4-9-14/1500 hours



AED for Schools

Wednesday, April 9, 2014  Rep. Rosemary Brown: Brown's bill to make AEDs available in schools sent for Governor's approval.

Text of April 9 press release.

HARRISBURG – In an effort to assist Pennsylvania schools to acquire automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), the House passed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe/Pike), to establish a new AED program within the state Department of Education (PDE). The bill has been sent to the governor for his final approval.

"Nearly 2,000 people under the age of 25 die from sudden cardiac arrest each year," said Brown. "Not only is it impossible to predict when a sudden cardiac arrest will occur, but there is currently no law requiring public schools to have AEDs available in case one of our students has a health emergency."

House Bill 974 would direct the PDE to issue an invitation for bids every two years for the costs of the AEDs. The department would then permit any school to purchase the devices at the lowest contract bid price. The ultimate effect would be that schools could obtain AEDs at significant cost savings, possibly increasing the number of AEDs installed in schools.

Brown's legislation would allow AEDs to be purchased with Pennsylvania Accountability Block Grant and educational improvement tax credit (EITC) funds, giving schools flexibility in how they finance the purchase.

The bill was inspired by the late Greg Moyer, formerly of East Stroudsburg, who died at age 15 of sudden cardiac arrest during a high school basketball game in December 2000.

Act 4 of 2001 directed the PDE to provide 1,083 free AEDs to schools districts, intermediate units and area vocational-technical schools. An additional 899 AEDs were purchased by school entities at a reduced cost through the program. House Bill 974 would help schools replace those devices that were purchased in 2001, and are no longer under warranty.

"This bill could help increase the chances of survival of sudden cardiac arrest victims in our schools, and is an enhancement to make it easier for schools across Pennsylvania to become fully prepared in this type of health emergency," Brown said.




Penn Dot Fees Rise Including FF Vanity Plates

Monday, March 31, 2014 

Remember, the Republicans say "no new taxes"  so I guess these are just considered fees along with the gasoline tax of 28 cents/gallon over time that is just a charge to the oil companies.


Note that vanity plates, yes FF plates, will go from twenty to seventy-six dollars each! and inspection stickers go from two dollars to five dollars each.






PennDOT's fees for everything from obtaining a duplicate driver's license to getting a title are scheduled to rise as part of the state's newly passed $2.3 billion transportation bill. The fees, along with an increase in the wholesale gasoline tax, will help fund mass transit and repairs to ailing bridges and roads.

A sampling of the increases include:


• Identification card: $13.50 to $27.50.

• Duplicate driver's licenses: $13.50 to $27.50.

• Certificates of title: $22.50 to $50.


Other fees, including those connected to license plates, are scheduled to rise July 1.


Costs for personal vanity plates will go from $20 to $76, and inspection stickers will rise from $2 to $5. Motor home drivers will feel the pinch when registration rates climb for Class 1 motor homes from $45 to $65.







Sunday, March 30, 2014 

Please help!
*Photo credit: Times Herald PA
On 3/26, the Hodge family watched helplessly as their home burned. They thought they had lost everything, until their baby Darius (pictured below) was pulled from the building unconscious. Firefighters worked quickly to administer oxygen but he had been in the burning house for too long and needed emergency medical care that his family could not afford. A Red Paw responder was dispatched to assess Darius' condition and immediately rushed him to Penn Vet where he received the lifesaving medical care he needed, costing thousands of dollars. Darius has spent 4 days in the hospital with complications from smoke inhalation but thankfully is recovering and being released today!

Red Paw provides FREE life-saving veterinary care to families who need help in an emergency. And Red Paw needs your help to continue to provide these services for free!

Your donation allows Red Paw to continue to offer free emergency care to families in need. 



Just this week alone Google, Darius, Blankie, Myla, Nene, Nena and Regean spent on average two nights in an oxygen tank due to smoke inhalation!
Their emergency medical costs are now close to $7000
At this time we have only raised $1000 in donations towards their care. We can not continue to provide these life saving services without your help!
Their family members are struggling and have already lost SO much, their beloved pets are all they have left!

$50 keeps gas in our response vehicles, so we're ready to roll when needed.
$100 will equip a Red Paw responder with an oxygen tank and dog/cat oxygen masks.

$1000 allows us to keep a pet in an oxygen tank overnight. 

But every $1 helps! 

Red Paw Emergency Relief Team
1328 S.24th Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19146

Red Paw Emergency Relief Team | 2008 Carpenter Street | Philadelphia | PA | 19146



The Council On Financial Reform (COFAR) Fraud Alert

THE COUNCIL ON FINANCIAL REFORM (COFAR) FRAUD ALERT Background: The Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) asked federal agencies to share the fraud alert message below from OMB with grant applicants and recipients.

"Over the past few months, the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) has received inquiries and complaints from persons targeted by a fraudulent grants scheme. Let me state clearly and unequivocally, the COFAR is not a grant making organization. The COFAR will never request banking information, social security numbers, or other personally identifiable information to facilitate the issuance of a "grant."

According to reports, the scam artist claims to represent the COFAR when contacting the individual. Victims are told they have been selected to receive a government grant ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. In order to receive the grant money, the representative explains a "processing fee" ranging between $150 and $700 must be paid and asks individuals for bank account information.

If you have received reports from anyone who may have been a victim of a government grant scam, please ask them to file a complaint with the FTC online, or call toll-free,1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

SAM.GOV REGISTRATION REQUIRED TO SUBMIT YOUR FY 2013 FIRE PREVENTION APPLICATION A valid registration in the System for Award Management (SAM), will be required in order to submit any AFG program application. Federal law now requires that applicants to Federal grant programs have a valid registration within SAM.gov at the time of registration. Applicants will be asked to affirm that they have a current registration prior to submitting their application.

As part of the SAM.gov registration process, every eligible grantee must have their SAM.gov account validated through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and have their CAGE (Commercial and Government Entity) code validated in order to be eligible for award. These validations are conducted as part of the registration process after the organization has submitted their SAM.gov registration. A valid SAM.gov registration is now also required for any payment or amendment request to an existing, open award. A valid SAM.gov registration is now also required for any payment or amendment request to an existing, open award.

Don’t delay, register today by visiting SAM.gov. SAM.gov is administered through the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Technical assistance may be obtained through the Federal Service Desk at 866-606-8220.

How to Apply

  • First, download and read the FY 2013 Fire Prevention and Safety Grants Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). It explains the purpose of the grant program, activities eligible for support, eligibility criteria, award criteria, application instructions, and Federal requirements for grantees.

  • Visit the Fire Prevention and Safety Grants homepage on the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Website and use the additional application resources below to help you develop your grant application.

    • FY 2013 FP&S Grants Get Ready Guide: This short guide will help you kick-start your FY 2013 grant application. It identifies the most important elements of all the grant application questions.

    • FY 2013 FP&S Grants Self-Evaluation Sheet: This tool is based on the application scoring dimensions used by the peer reviewers. It will help you assess your organization's readiness to apply for a grant and help you plan your application.
      more ]



    Pa. is beyond sounding the alarm about a shortage of emergency responders

    Friday, February 28, 2014  Pa. is beyond sounding the alarm about a shortage of emergency responders

    , fire commissioner says

    By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com
    Email the author | Follow on Twitter
    on February 27, 2014 at 6:31 PM



    In 1977, there were 300,000 volunteer firefighters. Today, the number is closer to 50,000.

    View full sizeRecruiting and retaining firefighters and emergency medical service providers is a growing concern in Pennsylvania and lawmakers are looking at ways to address it. File photo/Christine Baker | cbaker@pennlive.com

    Volunteer ambulance squads have also seen a decline. Even the number of paid career emergency responders are seeing cuts because of municipal funding shortages.

    "Sooner or later, somebody's going to dial 911 and the 911 center is going to dispatch a fire department and nobody's going to show up," State Fire Commissioner Edward Mann told the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee on Thursday. "That's where we're headed."

    The problem may not have hit every community in the state but taken as a whole, Mann said the commonwealth is facing a public safety crisis where this scenario will likely occur more often.

    The committee held a morning-long hearing on the dearth of volunteer emergency responders and heard a variety of suggestions for how to reverse this phenomenon ranging from financial incentives to entice volunteers to encouraging fire companies to merge.

    Mann and others advocated the state use a toolbox approach to address the problem since one tool that will help in some places may not work as well in others. Also a tool that may help recruit and retain volunteers in one age group may not be as appealing to others.

    "Sooner or later, somebody's going to dial 911 and ... nobody's going to show up." State Fire Commissioner Edward Mann

    For younger people to get involved in volunteering for emergency services, perhaps offering some type of college tuition breaks or offering firefigher or EMS courses in high schools. For older and experienced volunteers, offering a local earned income tax break or other types of tax credits, health insurance or pensions could work.

    But all of those incentives takes money. That's where lawmakers have to focus their energies instead of studying the volunteer shortage again, Mann said.

    Donald Konkle, a former Harrisburg fire chief and now executive director of the Pennsylvania Fire Emergency Service Institute, said a poll conducted by Penn State found 67 percent of respondents said they could support a half of 1 percent increase in their homeowners and/or auto insurance to support fire and EMS services in their communities.

    Another suggestion was to tax fireworks sold to out-of-staters but Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria, said he doesn't see such a tax law surviving a court challenge.

    Fire company mergers were discussed as a way to reduce the amount of fund-raising that is needed and Mann said that is happening more and more. More fire companies have merged in the last two to three years than in the previous eight to nine years, he said.

    The committee's discussion also delved into why people are leaving the volunteer emergency ranks. Mann mentioned disgust with politics inside the station as one reason and the amount of time devoted to fund-raising as another. William Jenaway, fire chief from King of Prussia, said he suggests fire companies hand off the fund-raising and administrative responsibilities to individuals other than the ones who respond to fires as a way to dealing with that issue.

    Jenaway and others said one of the biggest reasons he hears as to why firefighters quit is the 160 hours of training it can entail. Konkle suggested some of that training could be offered online to make it more convenient.

    Barbin was troubled that firefighters have to pay for the training. In his view, the best investment the state could make is providing funding to community colleges to offer the emergency services training at no cost.

    Rep. Stephen Barrar, R-Delaware, said at the hearing's outset, it is paramount that the Legislature address this problem before the ranks of volunteer and career emergency responders dwindle even more.

    Mann agreed, saying the state is beyond the point of sounding the alarm on this problem. "We've burnt the building down. Now we're all standing around the foundation holding hands trying to figure out what the hell went wrong and that's where we are



    Don Konkle




    Hoarding Survey

    Saturday, February 15, 2014 


    My name is Molly Homchenko and I am a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I am working on a study with the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFB) dealing with hoarding related fires. In preparation for going to Australia next term and working with the MFB, my group is doing background research into hoarding related fires.  I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions with regards to hoarding fires in your area and how the fire department deals with these situations. Below is a list of questions we had. If you would be able to answer these, it would help our project immensely.

    • Are you aware of hoarding in your area? Is there a system for reporting hoarding so that fire/EMS are aware of a hoarding residence before arrival? Are you aware of any such systems in the US or elsewhere? 
    • Are firefighters or EMTs required to report hoarding in their reports? Required to report to any external agencies?
    • How does hoarding change or impact fires and your response to these fires? 
    • Have you personally fought any fires related to hoarding? Can you share your experience with this situation(s)?
    • Does your department/state have either voluntary or required education about hoarding and hoarding related fires? Is your department working to prevent hoarding and its risks? Are you aware of any other community, state, or federal agency working to combat this problem?
    • Are you aware of any incidents within your department or elsewhere where EMTs have removed themselves from a hoarding situation based on “scene safety” and keeping themselves safe?
    • Are you aware of any studies dealing with hoarding and either fire or EMS?
    We appreciate your time in helping our study. Please let us know if you would allow us to quote you in our study.

    Thank you for your time,

    Molly Homchenko

    on behalf of MFB hoarding study team





    Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Robotics Engineering (BS) '15

    Mechanical Engineering minor

    Fire Protection Engineering (MS) '16

    WPI Emergency Medical Service - EMT-B

    WPI Society of Fire Protection Engineers - Treasurer

    Chi Omega Fraternity 

    Women in Robotics Engineering
    Boylston Fire Department - EMT-B





    IRS Announces that Volunteers will not be Treated as Employees Under Obamacare

    Saturday, January 11, 2014 

    IRS Announces that Volunteers will not be Treated as Employees Under Obamacare

    Published Date: 01.11.2014 On January 10, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur posted a notice on the U.S. Department of Treasury’s blog that the IRS, “…will not require volunteer hours of bona fide volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical personnel at governmental or tax-exempt organizations to be counted when determining full-time employees (or full-time equivalents).” This is exactly what the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) had asked for in a September 9 letter to the IRS regarding this issue.

    “This is very good news for the nation’s volunteer fire and EMS community,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “We’ll need to wait and see what the final implementing regulations say to ensure that they address our concerns fully but based on the information in Assistant Secretary Mazur’s announcement it appears that emergency services agencies will not be forced to provide health insurance coverage to volunteer personnel under Obamacare.”

    The Treasury announcement references having reviewed, “…statutory provisions that apply to bona fide volunteers under Section 457(e)(11) of the Tax Code…” in reaching the decision not to treat volunteers as employees under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Section 457(e)(11)(i) is a definition of bona fide volunteer that allows for individuals to be treated as volunteers even if they receive compensation for performing services in the form of reimbursement for reasonable expenses or reasonable benefits such as length of service awards or nominal fees.

    Ensuring that nominally compensated volunteers would not be considered employees under the PPACA has been a top priority for the NVFC. Click on the articles below for more information on this issue.



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