It’s more than that though, there are so many aspects of Pride. Pride in your self, Pride in your Company, your Department and the Fire Service as a whole.
I’ve been off from work the past 13 days due to a minor injury and, must admit; wasn’t very excited about having to return. It didn’t take long for my attitude to change and the day turn into one of those that makes you proud to be a firefighter.
We had a visitor this morning … a very special visitor!
4 year old Hunter Moseley, his sister Carolyn and dad Baron dropped by for a visit.
I met Hunter’s dad, Baron; through Ironfiremen.com and my Face Book page.
He knows several local firefighters and is Grandfather is actually a retired Captain from my Department.
We had a great conversation one night about how much Hunter loves firefighters. I didn’t have to wonder why after learning that he’s been surrounded by Brothers bearing the name Obenchain and Houff.
He has physical therapy at least once a week and that’s in addition to his regular Dr. visits. Throw in a trip down to Duke Medical Center every so often and it’s easy to see that the little fella has a rough schedule.
It doesn’t seem like he has a lot of time to have fun or “play” … to be a kid.
His mother passed away soon after Hunter was born so Baron has been raising his children alone.
He explained to me how every minute that he’s not working, or taking Hunter for a Doctor visit, he’s tries to do something “fun” with the kids. Something they’ll enjoy. I told him he HAD to bring Hunter by for a visit.
As it turned out, Baron contacted me this morning and was wondering if they could stop in and say hello. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We would have went and picked them up!
Baron explained to me that Hunter may be a little shy at first but in no time, we had him in a helmet.
I explained to him that if ya wear the helmet, you gotta be in the rig.
Up he went …. right to the Captains seat.
We could tell he was excited. It was then that I explained that just sitting in the rig wasn’t near as fun as riding in it.
Next thing you know, we were out the door!
His eyes were as big as his ball cap and his smile was ear to ear (dad’s was just as big …lol)
Of course then I had to explain to him that there is more to being a firefighter than just riding in the rig …. you have to do a little work.
We quickly made a nearby empty parking lot and stretched the trash line.
Yep … little Hunter got the nozzle!
Now he was really excited.
He advanced it a little …. checked out the patterns and seen what kind of distance he could get.
I’m not sure who was having the most fun … Hunter or Randy …LOL
Then I explained that you just can’t take the nozzle, pass out a few “high fives” and head back home … there’s more work to be done.
It was time to “take up”
I knew he looked good in that red helmet for a reason … Hunter is a born supervisor and would make a great Captain.
He helped our little “Rookie Randy” (his new best friend) pack the hose back just the right way. These two little fellas made for a heck of an attack team (that is if we ever catch a parking lot fire …LOL)
After taking up, we headed back to quarters.
Of course once back in house, Hunter stocked up on all the typical fire safety, education materials. Coloring books, stickers etc.
I can’t explain the emotions from the entire morning.
Watching my crew interact with little Hunter and Carolyn. George (Lt. Perdue) like an Uncle and Randy like a big brother. Hunter had full rein and he knew it … it excited him.
There was no doubt that he had never had an experience like this before and that he truly enjoyed it. PRIDE doesn’t even begin to touch what we felt after seeing all of their reactions.
You see, that’s just it. Baron was hoping for, maybe even only expecting a simple station tour and/or a chance to climb on the Engine for Hunter. What he was unaware of was the PRIDE my Company has. PRIDE in all the aspects I mentioned above … Hunter, Carolyn and Baron would get nothing less than 100%.
I hope all of you feel and act the same way when you have visitors at your house / station (young or old). I know Rhett and the members of Station #3 A-shift do. Read about their latest visitors in the link below …
So why we’re talking about kids, I have another one to tell ya about.
This little fella’s name is Nathan Norman from Rustburg, Va.
He’s 6 years old and battling cancer … terminal Cancer…. and it’s feared that he may not survive until Christmas.
Like little Hunter, apparently; Nathan loves Firefighters, EMTs, Police Officers, Doctors and Nurses.
HE HAS A SPECIAL REQUEST ….
Nathan would LOVE to receive Christmas cards from as many of us as possible. I hope the response will exceed his expectations!
We’re sending one.
Actually, we’re going to send two. This is one we made to send to the Face Book page they have but I should note that they are asking for the card to be mailed … as in “snail mail” … the US Postal Service.
My thoughts and prayers will be with both of these little fellas tonight and for many more to come … I know yours will be too. Thanks as always for taking the time to follow along. Hay field tomorrow and back on duty Tuesday. I’ll check back in as soon as possible … until then, stay SAFE and in House!
The comments etc are heating up following my last post surrounding several issues in Wythe County Va. … more specifically, the Wytheville Fire Department.
Some are even trying to make me out as the “bad guy” here.
It’s been suggested that I am untrained and lack the intellect to publish my opinion or comments on Fire/EMS related issues pertaining to communities that I don’t live in (For some unknown reason, apparently; my mustache is also partly to blame …lol).
There are several issues here and, if you’ll stick with me; we’ll go over them.
First off, this is MY site. The views and opinions published here are MINE. They are in no way connected to, approved by or endorsed by my employer. With that said, I would hope that my 25+ years in Fire/EMS (paid and volunteer) along with my certifications, experience etc does allow for me to form an educated, valid opinion on such issues. This site is merely an outlet for me to voice them. With all due respect, if you don’t like the stories I publish … don’t read them. I value your opinion and your right to disagree with mine. My comment policy is open as long as it’s kept civil. There are a few words / phrases that will cause your comment not to be “approved” but it has nothing to do with whether or not you agree with or speak positive of me or this site (very few comments have NOT been approved … none pertaining to the Wytheville post).
I’ve been asked … why “pick on” Wytheville, their Fire Department and the Chief?
I’m not “picking on” any of them. I’m publishing information related to issues that I see as problematic for the Fire Service and the communities we serve.
They are not small issues either …. there are some very serious problems exposed in my post and many more questions left unanswered.
I see myself as an advocate for the Fire Service. Like my father, I too am a firefighter and I take a lot of PRIDE in that. I have that same PRIDE for the Brothers and Sisters who came before us … the ones who helped build the American Fire Service and bring us to the level at which we are today … the best in the world! That’s why I titled this site as I did … a reflection back to the days of “Wooden Ladders and Iron Firemen”.
I’m an advocate for firefighters, paid and volunteer alike. “Everyone Goes Home” is not just a “catch phrase” for me. I work extensively with multiple organizations to directly support Departments and their members in need. I am fortunate enough to be able to do so on a level greater than just the community I serve.
I’m also an advocate for those we protect …our citizens … our communities …. large and small. Part of our duty as firefighters is public education and I believe it goes deeper than fire prevention. I think we also need to educate our customers on acceptable levels of service. What SHOULD they expect from their Fire Department? They also need education on what’s needed to meet those standards as far as funding, staffing, training, equipment etc. In some communities, our firefighters need that same education.
So, back to Wytheville. I’ve been posting about Wythe County for some time now. It all started back when I posted about the issues in Botetourt County and convicted felons serving on Fire/EMS agencies. Several months back, Wythe County made a bold and smart decision (in my opinion) in not allowing felons to actively serve. They also faced issues within the Speedwell VFD and were forced to make another bold decision that closed the doors “in the interest of Public Safety”.
The Wythe County Board of Supervisors has earned my faith in being able to make the right vs popular decision. I think they acted appropriately in both of the previous situations. Find Wythe County’s web site HERE.
Now, they’re facing issues within the Wytheville Fire Department and I believe they can all be traced back to poor leadership / management. These issues are not new, nor were they “made up” by me. Where is the first place to look within a Department when you have issues such as these??? The Chief. In this case, The Wytheville Fire Department’s Chief is Ronnie “Ron” King ( find his Firefighter Nation Bio HERE )
I don’t know Chief King personally, nor do I have anything “against” him. This is NOT a personal attack. For all I know, Chief King is a great person and an upstanding member of his community.
I’ll just add that it takes more than that to be the Chief of a Department. Among other things, it takes responsibility. Responsibility for his members and the community they’re sworn to serve and protect.
Most recently, the Wytheville Fire Department has had 2 fires within a week. The fires were just miles apart and approx 5.8 miles from their station. Both homes were a total loss. Now don’t get me wrong … houses burn down … urban and rural. I’ve made plenty of vacant and parking lots over my career. What troubles me is some of the details involved in these fires.
A secure, well established water supply seems to be at least one of the issues on both incidents. Was the Wytheville Fire Department not aware that water is an issue in this area? Have they not Pre-Planned this area and made preparations for water? Why are neighboring jurisdictions not automatically dispatched to these areas to assist with tankers? Do they not have automatic and mutual aid agreements within their own County? Is this a Department or County issue?
Are all the tankers in the County outfitted the same? Do they have the same diameter hose, type of couplings etc? Are they compatible with each other? If not, are the members aware and do they carry the necessary adapters? All this information should be worked out well in advance of a fire.
It’s been said that there were “issues” with a dry hydrant on one of the fires. Was this a training issue, equipment failure or something else? What exactly was that problem and who is working to correct it?
The Chief was quoted in an article talking about the “new technique” he deployed on the Crockett’s Cove Road fire. They basically preformed salvage efforts as opposed to extinguishing the fire (members did enter the Chase Lane fire for interior attack and searches). It made no sense. I’m not alone in my thoughts here … watch the video (just for a good laugh) and then read the article and the comments from SW Va Today in the link below….
(Also read comments from my Face Book pages HERE and HERE)
I’d love to know more details and the thought process here. If the house was too well involved to enter for suppression efforts, then what made it safe enough for salvage operations? I’m pretty well versed on strategy and tactics yet I still can’t make sense of this operation ( “new technique”). Maybe instead of cutting the exterior walls, they could have cut a hole in the roof for ventilation? Knocked it down from the exterior before pushing in (transitional attack)? I don’t want to “Monday morning quarterback” this one to death but there just seems to have been so many more options. BASIC options that may have resulted in the saving of more than a few guns, some cloths and an x-box.
I’m sure there were factors on scene that I’m not aware of … after all, I wasn’t there. I’m curious as to the minimum level of training within their Department. How many of their members are “certified” for interior operations? How many of those were on scene of the Crockett’s Cove fire?
How often to they train? What are the topics and who are the instructors? Do they have a Training Chief (Officer)? Do they ever train with their neighboring Departments?
How many members do they have on the roster? How many were on scene and in what time frame? Do they use the Incident Management System and if so, how are they accountable for those members? What is their policy on responding in personal vehicles?
I believe the town staffs a single paid member at the station who acts as a Driver / Operator (engineer). Do they allow this member to leave the station with a staffing of only one?
So many of these questions/factors could have fatal consequences if not answered / addressed. Do they have the “it will never happen here” mentality? I hope not…. the results can be devastating…FATAL.
Can you imagine the NIOSH report should something ever happen when tactics like these are being deployed on a regular basis? Who would they hold accountable? The County? The Town? The Department? The Chief? The Training Officer? It doesn’t matter because it wont bring back the dead. Death is not an “illusion” … it’s VERY REAL and never pretty.
Again, more and more questions arise. Minimum staffing. Just how effective is a single member responding on a piece of apparatus? Did you watch that video above … YOU NEED TO. Yea.. but our members live close and can get there quick. Really? How quick? How fast will they have to drive to do so? There have been 73 Line of Duty Deaths so far this year. 46.6% of them were volunteers. 15.1% of those were while responding (find the entire report and more details HERE).
Again, I think I’ve raised some legitimate questions and concerns. If the members of the Wytheville Fire Department have become complacent, they need to WAKE UP. Firefighting is NOT a hobby!Maybe the residents of Wythe County don’t expect more .. if they don’t, they’re being cheated and the Wytheville Fire Department is doing their community a disservice. From what I’ve seen, the money spent on turnout gear and suppression equipment could be better spent somewhere else. They could run a salvage crew (related links HERE and HERE) and do the same as what they appear to be accomplishing now.
I should add here that I’m certain the Wytheville Fire Department, as well as Wythe County; has some GREAT firefighters. These Brothers and Sisters have a response area that includes 2 major Interstates (I-81 and I-77), urban / wild land interface, industrial complexes etc. I hope they have a Chief capable of leading them in the right direction … Im not sure they do and if I’m right, I hope they find one. Their lives (and those of their community) depend on it.
I hope that by shedding light on these issues, the Wytheville Fire Department will emerge a better trained, safer and more efficient Department. That’s up to them and their leadership. I’ll extend an offer to these Brothers and Sisters to help in any way possible … all they have to do is ask.
I’ll remind those who commented stating that my facts in the original post were wrong that I attempted to contact the parties involved before publishing. I even requested transcripts from their 911 coordinator (who I believe is also a volunteer with the Wytheville Fire Department) through the Freedom Of Information Act so I could assure my timelines were accurate and read the communications first hand. So far, I have only been contacted by the Auxiliary and a member of the WFD who was pictured in the post.
Instead of following my site, maybe these folks should keep up with our good friend Dave Statter (Statter911.com) …. ok … they should follow us both.
Dave would have told them to reply to my requests and “get out in front” of the “issues”. That’s always better than playing “catch up” in these type of incidents .
Had they have replied, I would have been able to publish their “side” of the story. The side that despite all the comments etc, I still haven’t heard. Some of the comments are saying I have it all wrong but nobody is telling me what’s right.
As always, the comment section remains open. I’ll be back on duty tomorrow and check back in with ya as soon as possible. Until I do … stay SAFE and in House!
I’ve heard a lot of troubling news out of Wytheville, Va lately. The latest reports just shine more light on how bad the situation in Wythe County, Va really is.
You may remember back in August 2012 when I posted about the County (Wythe) closing the doors of the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department. They cited ”a lack of formal training” as just one of the reasons for the closure.
I later learned that they also had some trouble surrounding the former Speedwell Chief, Michael Hale; who had been convicted of felony embezzlement.
Apparently, the County’s Chief Officer problem is not isolated to Speedwell.
In less than a week, the Wytheville Fire Department has had 2 house fires less than 4 miles apart in the Crockett’s Cove section of the County. Both homes were a total loss … burnt to the ground. The incidents happened just 5.8 miles from their station.
A lot of the reports I’m getting seem to point to poor leadership / management within the Department. In my opinion, some of the stories even border negligence.
Before I go further, let me say that I attempted to contact many of the parties involved. I even requested a transcript of the latest incident from the Counties E911 director, Mr Davidson. I explained that I was working on a story surrounding these incidents and wanted to assure the information I have is as accurate as possible. I have yet to receive a reply from any of the people / agencies I contacted.
The latest fire occurred at 214 Crockett’s Cove Road on Friday, November 16, 2012 @ 2:15 pm (5.8 miles from the Wytheville Fire Department).
The home was a “TOTAL LOSS” with damages estimated at $75,000.
One of the sad things surrounding this incident is that they (the Wytheville Fire Department) are almost bragging about it!
The Chief, Ronnie King ??? He’s taking FULL CREDIT.
A local paper, SW Va Today; even used the headline ”Firefighters try out new technique in fire“.
“King, who thought of the idea, said he had never studied the technique in all of his years as a firefighter. I’d never heard of such a thing in all my hours of training, and I’ve had thousands and thousands of hours of training,” he said. “We plan on using it again.”
Chief King boasts 24 years in Fire / EMS. Read his Firefighter Nation Profile HERE
My first question is why Chief King didn’t name or title this new, revolutionary technique? He could have easily dubbed it something simple … maybe the “watch us let your house burn down technique”.
You see, instead of fighting the fire, which started in the living room and was “room and content” upon arrival; King directed his members to go straight to salvage operations.
Yes … SALVAGE. I don’t know how Chief King never learned that term in his “thousands and thousands of hours of training”. It’s such a simple term .. SALVAGE.
They cut a hole in an exterior wall on the opposite side of the home from the room of origin. They then formed a human chain to pass out firearms, clothing and even an X-Box. (click on the picture to enlarge it and you’ll see the members operating at the “hole”)
I need to get on the phone to Bobby Halton, Ray McCormick and a few other Brothers because apparently we’re going to have to change the technique of VES (Vent Enter Search) to Vent Enter Salvage.
When the Chief finally decided to try the technique the rest of American Firefighters use, putting water on the fire; he pulled small diameter hoses, attempted an exterior attack and quickly ran out of water…. IMAGINE THAT.
It’s my understanding that the Chief (Department) has a strict policy on interior firefighting. It’s very seldom attempted and then only at the discretion and orders of the Chief. The same policy applies to calling for mutual aid or additional resources such as a TANKER (Reports are that it was 45 minutes into the incident before mutual aid tankers were requested).
Egos, power struggles and a lack of training all seem to be prominent issues within the Wytheville Fire Department. The “good ol boy” system at work again as the Chief is elected by the members.
Here are some questions for the Chief …. Why did you not enter the house and attempt to extinguish the fire? Why did you not enter to “search”?
His reply is going to be that it was more than “room and content” upon arrival (it wasn’t). That the fire was too heavily involved.
Why then did you enter for salvage operations? Why did the members performing this “new technique” not have on proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus)?
What if the room you opened up was the bathroom? What would you have salvaged then? Did you know it was a bedroom in advance? Did you use a chain saw or rotary saw? Was the power company on scene, did you pull the meter or cut cut through the live wires?
Why waste water on a pile of rubble? If you let the house burn down, why not just let it burn itself out (note the small diameter hose line still in use in the picture above left)?
Did your members run out of pizza? Yea … PIZZA. Apparently, the Wytheville Fire Department has a VERY supportive Auxiliary. Several pizzas were delivered to the scene and consumed while the home continued to burn. Yea .. a house burning party in celebration of Chief King’s new X-box saving technique and it all happened in front of the residents!
Now, I’m all for salvage operations and firefighter rehab but COME ON…. pizza! Salvage is a vital part of our job but the best way to perform salvage is to extinguish the fire! Maybe then, these residents would have a TV to play their X-box on. Maybe they would have a home to put it in?
Apparently, Chief King is not a quick learner because he faced similar problems on the fire at 193 Chase Lane just a few days earlier on November 12th.
Once again, members ran out of water and there was a delay in requesting mutual aid tankers.
The use of small diameter hose lines was also reported.
The fire was said to have started “in the chimney” and the results were a total loss with damages estimated at over $70,000.
Smoke detectors alerted the residents of this home who all were able to escape without injury.
The Wytheville Fire Department protects approx. 13,400 residents.
They cover a response area of 91.14 square miles.
Their claim an average response time of 3-7 minutes to their approximately 200 calls per year.
The Town of Wytheville has an ISO rating of 6 while the County’s rating is 9.
Here are some of the members giving a “thumbs up” at the Chase Lane fire. I guess they’re thankful to be alive.
Note the clean dry gear, the lack of SCBA and the small diameter hose line.
We can only hope Wythe County Administrators get a quick handle on this situation before there is a LODD (Line Of Duty Death) or the loss of civilians.
They seemed to have handled their Felon problem as well as the Speedwell issues rather swiftly. I believe that some of the Council members are actually volunteers themselves (hopefully that gives them a better understanding of the severity of these issues). They should at least start by dispatching additional tankers (or more) on all reported structure fires.
I’ll keep ya updated on the situation as best possible. I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving Holiday and remembered to think about our Brothers and Sisters out there pulling a tour away from their families.
Yesterday, November 17, 2012; was my youngest daughter’s 24th birthday.
I can remember the morning she was born vividly. I got home just in time to rush Donna to the hospital. Within minutes after arriving, Rebecca Sue Wines became part of our lives.
There’s been a ton of stories and lessons learned over the last 24 years. Many say that she’s the spitting image of her father and, if true; could explain many of those stories.
Like in most families, I’d imagine; not all the stories are fairy tale like. At the ripe old age of 6 or 7, she had even decided to run away from home. She packed 20 pair of socks, 1 pair of underwear, an electric tooth brush and a TV remote control into a grocery bag (she was in for the “long haul”…LOL). She was going to live with her Paw-Paw.
Back then, it was humorous and almost “cute” (There was no way her little stinky butt would make it more than 1 day with only 1 pair of panties! LMAO ). Later in life, it’s not so funny. Our kids aren’t necessarily trying to “run away” anymore but, because we’ve raised them to be independent; they are trying to get out on their own and make their own way in life.
For me, that’s always been the hard part. Letting them go. I’d bet many of my Brother and Sister firefighters have the same problem.
We are protective in nature (as firefighters and parents). Maybe too much so. For me, it’s always boiled down to what I (we) do. Risking our lives, rescuing, providing comfort / care and shielding from harm people we don’t even know. If I do that for a complete stranger, shouldn’t I also do the same for my own daughters (and to a higher degree)?
Well to do so, I want them close by. Right beside me so I’m sure to be there when needed. Not so easy a task after they’ve grown up and forged lives of their own.
Maybe part of wanting to keep them close by is out of guilt (for me anyway). For so much of their young lives, I was off doing just that … watching over complete strangers. I was at the firehouse instead of by their side. I missed the school plays, dances etc.
I worked two and sometimes three jobs. I wanted to give them everything I thought they wanted or needed. I somehow had the idea that material things mattered and I was never home.
Too little, too late or a complete misunderstanding of what was really important? Maybe both…. either way, it’s on me.
Somewhere along the lines, it happened. My two little girls grew up. Despite my misgivings (and thanks to the best wife / mother in the world), they both grew into beautiful, strong, independent young women.
I spent all that time trying to provided for them and instead, they’ve given me the perfect gift.
Randi-Jo is a graduate from Va Tech and Florida State. She holds several degrees including a Masters. She is a librarian in the City and is currently shopping to buy her first house.
Reba’s path was somewhat different. She finished school and started work but had gotten pregnant at an early age. As you can imagine, I was furious! I wanted more for her than what her mother and I had. I had hoped she (or Randi) wouldn’t have to face the same struggles. I had no idea what a blessing this pregnancy would be.
On April 17, 2008 the Buckaroo was born and my baby girl became a mother.
She’s a single mom bearing the responsibility in the absence of the father.
She’s worked hard and provided for the Buckaroo from the very beginning. A huge and daunting responsibility that she tackled head on.
As the Buckaroo has grown, so have we. I’ve become the kind of man as a grandfather that I should have been as a father (and know that I still have a long way to go). I don’t know that I would have learned some of the lessons I have otherwise.
Reba has matured as well. She was a good kid, she’s an even better mother.
She now understands what it means to sacrifice for your children…. to NEED and WANT to.
She understands responsibility and has accepted hers.
I think she’s seen and now understands everything her mother did to prepare her for the challenges of life. I think she also knows that one day, she too will face many of those same challenges.
I can’t put into words the feeling I have from watching her grow and mature. PRIDE isn’t even close to covering it.
She (as well as Randi and their mother) is amazing in everything she does.
The funny thing is that she still thinks I am.
About 2 years ago, Rhett and I were in Atlanta for Fire Rescue International and our 2nd 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. Reba sent me an e-mail that brought me to tears. I printed it out and carry it in my turnout coat. Here’s what she said …
“Dad , today after reading your most recent blog ” we are all climbing ” I wanted to tell you ….. Your the most amazing selfless person I know … You work so hard to save people you don’t know and at the same time are working hard to save all of us … You use your spare time to spread the word of your great job that in my opinion and yours you can’t call a ” job” it’s just something you were meant to do …. There is no one else in this world like you !!!! ( well the buckaroo and I – but we are exceptions bc we are only a mold ) …. Good luck on your climb I know you can do it ESP bc of the cause but also because I’ve never seen ANYTHING you can’t do !!!! ( well you might not be able to carry Rhett lol unless u had to ) ….. Anywho …. Just wanted to let you know your amazing in everything you do and the buckaroo and I love and miss you very much …. Be safe have fun , Love .. Reba and YOUR buckaroo ”
You can read the post that sparked her e-mail by using the link below. You can also find out exactly how the Atlanta trip went in the 2nd link provided …. check em out.
Maybe I did manage to do a little something right.
To see the woman she’s grown into over the last 24 years, to see how she’s raised the Buckaroo and all the lessons shes learning puts my mind at ease.
I think she understands at least a little of what it’s going to take and I have all the confidence that she’ll succeed.
It’s the perfect gift for a not so perfect father.
Again, the ironic thing here is that it’s HER birthday and I’m the one getting a gift (or at least that’s how I feel).
I hope she enjoyed #24 and can’t wait to know what she’s thinking on the Buckaroo’s 24th…. 20 years will go by in the blink of an eye (TRUST ME … the last 24 or hers and 4 of his did anyway).
So HAPPY 24th BIRTHDAY to my baby girl, Rebecca Sue Wines “Reba”!
I LOVE YOU more than I’ll ever be able to explain.
THANKS for all the “gifts” you’ve provided me over the last 24 years.
I hope you have all the blessings in life that you, Randi and the Buckaroo have provided your mother and me.
I hope you find everything in life and achieve every goal you reach for. I know you will.
Try to remember the good things I’ve tried to teach you (both of em …lol) and learn from the rest. If you manage that, you’ll be fine.
I’ll add this pic to remind you just how strong you are (and to embarrass ya a little more) … just look at those “muskles” .
And before the comments start rolling in …. just like with my sisters … the answer is NO! Settle down boys!
For all my loyal readers / followers, thanks for allowing me this personal post.
If you follow me on Face Book, you may know that I’m off injured. I had a small accident on the farm and thought I had broken my arm. The good news is that it’s not broken and healing well. I should be back to normal (my normal anyway) in a few days. Thanks for all the calls / messages etc. If you don’t follow me on Face Book, you need to! Click the link below and then “like” the page.
Not to confuse the two, Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.
Veterans day’s origins reach all the way back to 1918 with the German’s signing of the armistice, on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month; ending World War I.
Right or wrong, I look at Veteran’s Day in a little different light. I say that because in my thoughts and reflections of this day, I include Fire, Rescue and Police members. I do that because in a way, we too are Veterans. Meaning no disrespect to those who have served in our armed forces, we too have stood on the “front lines” here at home. We are often the first to respond and first on scene when terrorism strikes here at home. In each and every City and Town, we are the first line of defense.
The photo to the right is the Header from a web site I happened across.
“The goal of this effort is to create and strengthen the connection between those who serve in the military and those who serve in the fire service as a means of bolstering both their ranks, their morale and their respect for each other’s work. We have plenty in common.”
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” -Elmer Davis
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John Fitzgerald Kennedy
THANKS YOU … to all our Veterans. THANKS to all who have served, over seas or at home. May God bless and protect each and every one you. May he also comfort and watch over your families while you’re away.
(Use the link above for more Veteran’s Day quotes from the Huffington Post.)
Back on the job, it’s been BUSY, BUSY here in “the Noke”. Today is the last of the cycle for C-Shift and many have earned our upcoming 4-day break.
Last day, Friday; the Brothers and Sisters of the North Side were facing a series of suspected arsons. Actually, the South Side was affected as well seeing as how Engine #6 took in a fire in North East and ended up on the nozzle.
The incidents began around 11pm and lasted well into the morning.
There were several vehicle fires, one with extension to a structure; and a house fire (unoccupied).
I love the media coverage of these incidents (what little there was). If you didn’t know better, it sounds like PD handled the incidents. That could be really good news for Roanoke’s Bravest because if the Police Officers are going to handled the fires, maybe the firefighters will get guns !?! LMAO … who do ya think that would work out?
Speaking of Engine #6, I got to work on the SouthEast Express with the Brothers and Sisters of A-Shift yesterday.
I was paying back some time I owed to Brad Creasy ..aka “Bedford” (pronounced BED FUD).. LOL
I had the boys a bit worried. I had been off sick the day before and wasn’t 100%. I was uncharacteristically quiet and it had em on their toes.
We had a good shift and even got to get out and enjoy the day with the community.
I love working that section of town and out of that House. Dad spent the majority of his career there and it’s where I made Lieutenant. I have a ton of GREAT memories from my days there, working and/or visiting dad.
Away from the station, it’s been just as busy. So busy in fact, that Rhett even had to make a post on IronFiremen on my behalf.
Well, that’s kind of the truth. You see, a previous Volunteer Fire Chief from our area is back in the news. The charges against him keep getting worse and worse. This time, it’s RAPE.
It was recommended by a Judge that I refrain from posting on this upstanding citizen and I did. Rhett, however; was able to get the story out and keep you all updated on the latest.
There are several issues from this story that need attention. Several lessons to be learned. I think I can talk about them without making “Mr innocent” the center of attention. I’ll try to get those posts up soon. Meanwhile, check out the Fire Critic’s quest post on Ironfiremen.com by clicking the link below.
I think he did a good job with the article and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this story unfolds. Thanks for taking the time Brother!
I say thanks for taking the time because Rhett is just as busy, if not more; as I am lately.
He’s been slamming the posts out over on the Fire Critic web site.
This is his busiest time of year posting wise.
To begin with, this is the time of year when he announces his picks for the Top Ten Firefighter Calendars. He does the list for both Male and Female Firefighter Calendars. If ya missed that post, use the links below ….
The 2013 Top Ten Calendars as chosen by The Fire Critic…
This is also the time of year when Rhett puts out his Top Ten list for “Christmas Gifts for Firefighters”
This is my favorite list that he puts out all year. It’s always FULL of great gift ideas for the firefighter in your life. As much as I hate to mention it, Christmas is just a little over a month away. Get that shopping done early and allow for shipping time. He changed his format just a little this year and actually has several items in various categories. It’s a GREAT list … check it out below …
We’ve also been busy over on another one of our sites that you may find helpful here at Christmas.
Of course, this site is a good one for firefighters year round … not just at Christmas.
The site is unique in that we allow you … the reader and consumer to “rate” the product as well. This way, you’re not just getting our opinion … you’re getting those of Brothers and Sisters from all across the world.
We have several new reviews up and several more awaiting posting. If you have a product you’d like us to review, CLICK HERE . Check out our reviews through the link below …
Hey there readers…yeah, both of you. This is The Fire Critic guest posting on IronFiremen.com. In a recent court appearance, the Judge asked Captain Wines to refrain from posting about now former Buchanan VFD Chief Billy Joe Carter. Willie is well known as “by the book Wines” so I have put this post together to keep you up to speed.
You see, Willie’s arch enemy; Billy Joe Carter is back in the news. This time, he’s been arrested on charges of rape. He’s being held without bond in the Botetourt County jail. He’s scheduled for a hearing on November 14th.
If you follow Captain Wines (Ironfiremen.com) at all then you’ll know the history between the two.
Carter was injured on the scene of a Botetourt County fire in early January 2012. Something caught Willie’s eye and he dug into the situation a little deeper. I don’t think he expected to find everything he did.
What he uncovered was a mess. The sad thing was that it went deeper than Chief Billy Joe Carter. It was actually deeper than The Buchanan VFD and, deeper than Botetourt County’s Department of Emergency Services.
Billy Joe Carter is (and was at the time) a convicted felon. He’s not the only one operating in Botetourt County as an Emergency responder. Willie took a hard stance against convicted felons serving in fire and / or EMS agencies and sought input from his followers.
The Media caught on and it turned into quite the show. Billy Joe Carter was self destructing and looked as if he would take the BVFD with him. You wouldn’t believe some of the things Carter said and did. Willie summed it up fairly well in his postings, check the links below
It got so bad that one of our local newspapers even called for Chief Carter’s resignation. The Editorial said “An asbestos suit can’t protect Billy Joe Carter from self conflagration ignited by his heated rhetoric and actions.”
It also said “Buchanan’s fire chief can quell the department’s public relations crisis with one action: his resignation.”
It all culminated in these latest charges. It looks like Mr. Carter will be behind bars for a long time. He should be. It also appears Captain Wines was right. This is the exact behavior and outcome Willie warned about.
It was never 100% about Billy Joe Carter as far as Willie was concerned. It was more so about the liability that Botetourt County was accepting in allowing him to serve. The interesting thing is that Carter was not the only convicted Felon serving in Botetourt County. There are others serving throughout the County still today, some even as Chief.
Billy Joe Carter took care of himself and now, the Buchanan VFD has voted to relinquish their status as an independent origination and turn control of the Department over to Botetourt County. Boyd will appoint a Volunteer Captain who in turn will appoint 2 Lieutenants. There will no longer be a volunteer Chief’s position. “Botetourt County’s Department of Emergency Services will assume responsibility for managing the Buchanan department’s finances and operations”.
It will be interesting to see if Boyd and Botetourt County continue the clean up of their system beyond Buchanan or if they’ll allow the remaining convicted felons within their system to continue serving. Willie said it best when he said “It’s like letting a fox in the hen house”. What if Carter had been on a call when accused of and charged with rape? Was he “on duty” when he made those previous threats? If so, could Botetourt County be held liable?
How many more Billy Joe Carters can Botetourt County afford?
Well I think I have covered it pretty well. I better get back to FireCritic.com before my readers start thinking Willie and I are the same person
I guess I should catch ya up seeing as how I haven’t posted since Halloween.
Not only was Halloween a busy shift, it was a busy cycle. We worked Monday, Wednesday and Friday last week. I HATE that cycle. This time, I even managed to squeeze in Hurricane Sandy, her aftermath and Halloween into the mix. You can read my Halloween post HERE .
My “black cloud” followed me the entire cycle, Friday was no better than Monday or Wednesday.
We had two small fires, one on the North Side, the other South Side.
The common denominator with the two seemed to be Engine Company #4, They were first in on both incidents (Smoke and More … running 4 !).
The first was a report of smoke inside and apartment. Members arrived to find a moderate smoke condition inside a second floor apartment.
The trouble was, there was no fire. Their investigation continued to the floor below where they located the source of the smoke. With the assistance of Ladder 5, the fire was quickly knocked down and the structure ventilated. Nobody was displaced and damages were minimal.
Later in the evening, Engine 4 would arrive to a single story ranch, residential structure to find a chimney fire in progress.
It’s funny how at this time of year we always see something like this incident. October is Fire Safety Month and our Department does an excellent job of educating / reminding our citizens about smoke detectors, batteries, chimney inspections, E.D.I.T.H (Exit Drills In The Home), Having 2 ways out, Meeting places, Stop, Drop and Roll etc.
All this work and effort yet we still see fires / incidents that could have been avoided.
Anyway, once again; the members on scene did a great job. Engine 4 was assisted by Ladder 7, Engine 1, Engine 8 and Medic 4, Battalion 1 and RS1. They got the fire out of the box (stove), used a dry chem, chimney bombs, PPV and chains to clear the flue. The better news is that they performed these operations without causing damage to the home (smoke etc) so once again, nobody was displaced.
While we’re talking about fires, I’ll back up to the small one I had Halloween evening. I managed to be first in with the Chief’s buggy and established command. All members on scene, as always; did a GREAT job. I have some of the audio from the fire and will share it with you. It’s nothing spectacular. I’m not sure it sounds as smooth as it ran because a lot of my orders etc were done face to face. Everyone seemed to arrive at the same time (which is a good thing). Again I’ll remind you that, in my Department; our Incident Command model works toward 3 Bench Marks … “All Clear” on Primary and Secondary Searches, “Under Control” and “Loss Stopped”. You hear use make all three in the audio below…
Again, the good news was that we had no major incidents over the cycle (Monday’s post found HERE). With that said, the calls seemed to keep coming in … one after the other. I managed to throw my helmet up on the dash and turn on my FD Cam during one of our runs, If you’re not familiar with FD Cams, check them out by CLICKING HERE.
It’s a GREAT camera! Rhett and I both have one and should have a review up very soon over at Fire Product Review.com . Take a short ride with me while responding in the Battalion buggy by watching the video below ….
So that was some of the work that went on last cycle but, there was also some fun squeezed in as well.
The North Battalion runs out of Station #5 and C-shift has a great crew, Three of the members were adopted from The Melrose Misfits so it’s almost like being home again when I work out of that house… ALMOST.
They’re a strong crew. They work and train hard but they also play hard. You never have trouble finding a good laugh around this bunch!
Since it was Halloween, the boys figured to get some candy for the Trick or Treaters. Of course, they had to get some of those super sour tarts for themselves as well.
It wasn’t long until the shenanigans began.
Who could eat the most of em at one time?
Who could tolerate them the longest?
Who would be the first to give in?
Of course the only thing funnier than watching Wheezy suffer through a mouth full of em was watching him convince Carlie that it wasn’t “that bad”…
LMAO … yep … She tried it!
Poor gal. Actually, the pictures don’t do it justice… you had to be there.
I do have to say that she took it like a Champ. Had I have been the Judge, Carlie would have been crowned the winner. She’s tougher than she looks … that is until the “Boogie Man Mask” comes out. Then she screams like a… well…. she SCREAMED! LMAO
The boys caught her heading to the bunk room. The put the Boogie Man Mask on and met her (unexpectedly) at the door. I think they took about 10 years off her life! LMAO … I know … they used to get me ALL THE TIME with that damn mask! Check it out…
Ok, the wind everything up, I’ll just add that between chores, the Buckaroo and I did get out and vote .
I’m not going to say which way I went, nor will I bitch or gloat about the results. I will say that I’m honored to live in a Country where I have that choice. My voice was heard, regardless of the results.
With that said, I hope to now be part of the solution … not the problem. I will support our government anyway I can in hopes of improving our way of life.
I hope you can find a way to do the same.
In closing, please continue to keep our Brothers and Sisters on the Northeastern Coast in your thoughts and prayers and they continue to recover and rebuild.
Stay SAFE and in House … I’ll check back in as soon as possible.
Yesterday was Halloween and I jinxed myself with my last post. I had hoped that like with Hurricane Sandy, we may be spared.
It wasn’t too bad (as bad as it could have been or as bad as others had it) but in our line of work, even one call is too many.
I’m riding “the car” as the acting Battalion for the North side and, that’s never good news for our Brothers and Sisters of C-Shift.
It was a typical tour until around 5pm…. then it started.
Our first notable call was for a possible house fire. I was first in with the Chief’s buggy to find smoke showing from the attic (sides Delta and Bravo) of a single story, wood framed, family dwelling. I gave the size up, marked it a working fire and established Command.
Engine #2 was close behind, pulled past and was assigned Division 1 (offensive attack).
I had been met by the occupants, stating that the fire was in the kitchen but extending through the walls / ceiling. I relayed that info to Captain Graham (E2) as his crew made the stretch and I made a 360 degree walk around. My initial size-up held.
Engine #5 was next in and would lay a line from E2 to our closest hydrant just a block away. Ladder #2 took the address and was assigned “search” and “ventilation” and set portable ladders to sides Delta and Bravo at the gable vents.
Next in was E3 who made the stretch into the attic for extension, while Medic 2 established RIC (Rapid Intervention Crew). Medic Unit 101 was assigned as the Medical Division and Medic #5 was attached to interior crews.
Our EMS supervisor, RS1; was assigned Safety and took position on side Charlie. Engine #1 was held in staging while the South Battalion assisted me. All members on scene did a great job of bringing the fire under control very quickly.
In our system, Command (and the members) are working towards three bench marks. “All Clear” on the searches, Primary and Secondary. “Fire Under Control” and “Loss Stopped”.
This fire was small but had gotten into the walls and made its way to the attic.
The boys did a great job of getting above it, cutting it off and extinguishing it.
Walls had to be pulled both interior and exterior as well as some ceiling. Everything was wet down, checked and double checked with the TIC (Thermal Imaging Camera).
Crews had 3 lines off (all 1 3/4″). One on the first floor, another to the attic and the third on the exterior where they had to pull siding etc near the point of origin / extension.
Again, quick work and a job well done by all members on scene!
After this job, the calls continued to roll in. Just as we sat down for dinner, we were toned out for a commercial alarm a nursing home. This is one of our “regular” runs, 99% of the time a false alarm or system malfunction.
Dispatch called radioed me while en route to advise that employees had called 911 to confirm smoke from one of the rooms….. GEESH!
I marked another “working fire” before the first unit even arrived. I’d rather have em on the road and not need them than need them and have to wait. Especially at a nursing home.
As it turned out, most of the “smoke” was from where employees had discharged several dry chemical extinguishers. The incident was easily handled by 2 Engines and a Ladder so the assignment was downgraded.
The evening continued with MVAs (Motor Vehicle Accidents), Automated Alarms and Medical runs. Thankfully, we had no major losses and all our members went home this morning. All considered it was a good night.
There were plenty of Brothers and Sisters all across the Country who were not as fortunate.
There was both good and bad news out of Detroit.
The good news is that they didn’t see an increase in fires this year. The bad news is that they still had 93 fires over the 3 days they consider Halloween.
Rhett also has some raw video of fires in Detroit over on Fire Critic.com … CLICK HERE .
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There were also Brothers and Sisters up and down the Eastern seaboard still working in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Members in New York, New Jersey and many other States were still going door to door today looking for folks in need of assistance.
They found more than that. The death toll from Hurricane Sandy has now grown to over 80 across 9 states… 38 of those were in New York.
Gas mains are broken and burning, buildings are unstable and collapsing. Raw sewage is draining into water systems (the few remaining anyway). Electrical systems remain under water and cluttered with debris. Like I’ve said before, the situation my look better for the public, simply because the winds have died and the water receded; but for us the conditions are just as hazardous.
Fire stations were flooded and much of their equipment lost.
Members were working to save people they’ve never met while their own families and possessions were in danger.
Several members ended up fighting fires in their own homes and neighborhoods. Sandy was DEVASTATING to say the least.
These Brothers and Sisters represented our profession well. A true display of Tradition, Pride, Honor and Respect.
Now, they need our help … a show of BROTHERHOOD. How will these Departments rebuild? How long will it take? Where will the money come from? I want you to consider donating through the National Firefighters Endowment (NFE).
The NFE has set up a Relief Fund to provide immediate assistance. They have already received requests for an Engine and Ambulance and the NFE is close to filling the order.
If you can donate .. anything, use the link below. If your Department was affected by Sandy and needs immediate assistance for equipment replacement, use the link below. If you’re a company or business that would like to partner with us in our efforts, also use the link below.
Share and Post it to Face Book, Twitter and whatever Social Media you may use. Help get the word out and these Brothers and Sisters the equipment they need. ANYTHING you can do … ANYTHING you can send, we’ll take. If you’re not sure how to help or what you can do, call Shane Parkins, President of NFE @ (916) 572-1502.
TOGETHER, we can and will make a difference. BROTHERHOOD will prevail !