Editor's Dispatch

IAFC Promotes Awareness Of The Danger Of Heart Attacks

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is promoting awareness of the danger of heart attacks in the fire service. A toolkit provided by the IAFC includes information and resources to assist members and fire departments when responding to on-duty or duty-related cardiac events. The international campaign, titled ‘If You Don’t Feel Well, Don’t Make It Your Farewell,’ offers standard operating procedures (SOPs) including an example policy that departments can u...

Fire Service Likely To Suffer As Government Finances Stumble Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic presents new economic challenges to county and municipal governments. Fire departments are likely to be impacted as local governments respond to the economic downturn with spending freezes, hiring freezes and spending cuts. Some local governments are hoping for help from the state and/or federal level. Although some governments have “rainy day funds” to address economic downturns, not all of them do. Furthermore, the extent of the current economic crisis may ex...

IAFF Shows Support For Firefighters On The Front Lines Of U.S. Riots

Protests and riots spread throughout the United States in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman. Firefighters are on the front lines as rioters set fires and even attack firefighters seeking to do their jobs. In Richmond, Virginia, rioters blocked a fire truck from responding to a burning home. Protesters had intentionally set the fire at the home, and there was a child inside. In Philadelphia during a 24-hour period, the fire department responded to doze...

Best Practices to Avoid Spread of COVID-19 in Fire Stations

Fire stations are unique environments with conditions that could be conducive to the spread of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19. Firefighters live in close quarters for 24-hour shifts, and then return home to their families. Reports about “hot” firehouses have helped to emphasize the need to follow best practices to avoid the spread of the disease.  The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) has compiled a list of guidelines that departments can put into practice to...

Volunteer Departments Face Grim Finances As Pandemic Eliminates Fundraisers

Among volunteer fire departments, spring is a prime season for fundraising. But not in 2020. Concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus have ruled out the possibility of large public gatherings. A consequence of the coronavirus shutdown is cancellation of hundreds of volunteer fire department fundraisers across the United States – from fish fries to bingo to hog roasts to chicken barbecues. No more carnivals or spaghetti suppers or gun raffles. And departments are losing thousand...

Even with Firefighters Retiring Earlier, Pension Costs Remain Manageable

Because the physical challenges take a toll, firefighters tend to retire at earlier ages than other occupations. There is also a greater likelihood of workplace disability. Firefighter pension plans are often more generous to offset a lack of Social Security eligibility for some public safety employees. Also, more years of retirement translate into an overall increase in medical care costs for fire service retirees. Therefore, pension benefits for public safety workers are more expensive than...

Cordico’s App Promotes Wellness, Psychological Self-Care Among Firefighters

Wellness, mental toughness and psychological self-care for firefighters are available in the palms of their hands; that is, in a smart phone app. Fire and police agencies can provide their officers access to these and other self-help tools in an app that reflects each agency’s identity and design choices. Employees can be assured that use of the app is totally confidential. Cordico, Gold River, California, west of Sacramento, provides confidential support for firefighters and other emplo...

In An Emergency, Communicating Exact Location Is Easy Using what3words

Working to organize events around the world in the music industry, Chris Sheldrick struggled with the challenge of bands and equipment constantly getting lost on the way to venues and festival locations. It became clear that street addresses were not good enough, and there needed to be a better way to communicate locations. GPS coordinates are hard for people to input into devices and nearly impossible to give correctly over the phone. Sheldrick sat down with a friend and devised a solution as...

Training Goes Online for Safety During COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting every aspect of our business lives. But buried among the disruption might be an opportunity. Newly idled workers could see this as an opportune time for training to expand their career options. Meanwhile, employees still on the job may find that a cancelled or postponed project means they have time on their hands. Training can enable them to make the most of that time. In-person training has come to a halt, of course, because of social distancing requirements...

FirstNet’s First Responder Network: Deployment and Subscribers Exceed Expectations

A new report highlights FirstNet’s progress in its goal of enhancing public safety communications using a nationwide interoperable broadband network for first responders. The report provides an update after three years of a public-private partnership between AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority, which oversees the development of FirstNet. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for FirstNet is more critical than ever. The report comes from the First Responder Voice project, a s...

BAFE Registration Ensures UK Fire Service Competency and Best Practice

Why do gas engineers need to become Gas Safe Registered? Why do heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers need to have an advanced driving license? We all know the answers to these questions: To determine competency and reduce risk. Because they are mandatory, it is simply expected. Premises managers expect the same competency from their fire safety providers; however, there are no mandatory measures in place to ensure a particular level of competency is met. But there should be, says Stephen Adams, C...

CARES Act Includes Money for Firefighters, But Is It Enough?

The third stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27 includes funding earmarked to help fire and EMS services deal with the burgeoning coronavirus emergency. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides $2.2 trillion in all to help the nation deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Among the provisions of the law is $400 million in grants that can be disbursed for firefighters, emergency managers and providers of emergency foo...

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