Putting Roanoke Fire-EMS on the Map

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Over the life of this blog, through the Maurice Wiseman Project, Local 1132′s website, submitting pictures to Firehouse.com and VAFireNews.com, assisting journalists with the Roanoke Times, “Firefighting in Roanoke”, and future exploits I have enjoyed giving Roanoke Fire-EMS and the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association a face among departments across the Nation and reaching around the Globe. To get hits from Countries I have never heard of is really neat. It has been journey learning about the tools which help propel a website to a well read website. There are so many interesting products which can help get readership. The Blog has served as a medium for so many to learn what the Roanoke Firefighters are all about; the good and the bad. The publicity that the book alone has given us has been overwhelming. In the next month I will be at another book signing and Blue Ridge Public Television wants to do an interview on the book and the Maurice Wiseman Project. However, the response from my brothers of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department has been the best. I really appreciate all the thanks I have received for putting the book together. Many of you would like to see a “sequel”. I can say that the possibility of doing a “Firefighting in Roanoke- the last 50 years” is pretty good. Just give me time to get some other things out of the way first. All you have to do is keep getting me photographs to copy and get back to you.

Today, a guy stopped by who you all might know. Battalion Chief Billy Obenchain stopped by to say hello to the guys at Station 13 and dropped off some interesting reading. Apparently he and another guy by the name of Shelor (sp?) put together a book on all the apparatus from the 1880′s to around 1980 as well as another book detailing key points in history from 1882-1982 about the Roanoke Fire Department. Much of the information I had already done the research for at the Library; looking through the microfiche of old newspapers. However, this was put together in chronological order and binded. It will be a great asset when I begin the complete history of the Department. Thanks Billy, it will be put to use. Of course, as with all the stuff I receive, it is property of the RFFA.

The thing that gets me is that we have so many great instructors, gurus of various fire/ems disciplines, and specialists who do not reach out to get their name recognized for the work they do and know in order to assist other firefighters. VentEnterSearch.com has contributing editors; you might be able to submit information to them. Firehouse.com has the nationally recognized firefighters who are common firehouse names. But there are other publications/websites that would be glad to publish your columns. WiththeCommand.com is a great site which looks for original content. VAFireNews.com has room for contributing editors, yes I know I have a personal stake in the site but the site has plenty of room for feature writers on training and the like. Just look at the previous post for more opportunities. All most of them are looking for is regular submissions.

Recently, the Roanoke Times had an article about seeking columnists for writing regular columns in the paper. I saw the article and thought about it for a minute. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a regular column in the paper which highlights the Roanoke Fire Department? The likeliness of them accepting that column is probably slim. However, what if the writer wrote about firefighting in the Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas. That is a concept which might work. Then I got a phone call from a Captain, he said I might do a good job with it. I explained that I might be a little to busy for a regular column. It would be neat. The idea is still up in the air.

It has also been told to me that the blog is probably pretty decent recruitment tool. I can say this; I get several emails a month about the department, when we are hiring, what the department is like, and what our department is all about. It is fun talking about the department with the prospective candidates. Some of them try to get hired, others I never hear from again. After all, it is just as hard to get this job as many other FD’s around.
Either way, the Blog will keep on ticking.

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