I hit a milestone this week. The new VAFireNews.com went live. Check it out here: VAFireNews.com. Tonight, I added photos from the ladder ops class. Check out the story and photos here.

I have more stories and stuff for the blog in the future, I have been busy with a lot of stuff recently. If you have anything to share, send it in.
Six members from Roanoke City’s fire and police department and water authority are back after spending the last two weeks in Louisiana.

The crew went there to help with the clean up left behind from Hurricane Ike.

The volunteers were in Cameron Parish, which they say doesn’t get a lot of attention because it’s a small place with only 8,000 residents.(More)

The members of the Roanoke Deployment team are from right to left: Scott Agner (Water Authority), Audie Ferris (Fire-EMS), Alan Austin (Fire-EMS), Todd Reighley (Fire-EMS), Danny Brabham (Police), David Pope (Fire-EMS), and Paul Lynch (Fairfax Co. Building/Engineering) We are scheduled to return to Roanoke on October 19th.

Our team of 7 members is in Cameron Parish Louisiana,manning the Emergency Operations Center(EOC) for the Cameron Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness. We have been using the Emergency Support Function framework from FEMA (http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nrf/index.htm) to distribute responsibilities and manage the EOC. Our mission this time is different than during Hurricain Rita, who’s members filled a more operational role. We are working 12 hours a day in the Emergency Operations Center supporting the Parish’s recovery and we are housed on site. The EOC is located at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Cameron Prairie Wildlife Refugue’s Head Quarters.

Information Session

For the on-line


Tuesday, November 4, 2008 at 11:00 A.M.

in the

Anderson Building

Room A-330

These sessions are open to all who are interested in obtaining information on the Commonwealth (on-line)

Paramedic to RN Transition Nursing Program.


For additional information contact:

Barbara Laird (804) 622-8725 / blaird@jtcc.edu

Aretha Harris (804) 622-8727 / aharris@jtcc.edu

Kent McIlhany 540-537-9962

Some of you have expressed interest in having an open post to comment on the Fire Officer Seminar. Great idea. I thought the seminar was thought provoking and well worth the time. I know a lot of people put a lot of time in making it a success. I know a lot of guys/gals who were able to make it and was happy to see firefighters from all over the State of Virginia. I enjoyed myself and I look forward to the next one!
The Roanoke Valley Regional Fire Departments are hosting the 1st Annual Fire Officer Seminar in Roanoke. The event will be held on October 3rd and 4th. The Presentation will be the same for each day from 8am til 5pm. Dan Noonan (FDNY retired) and Michael Dugan (FDNY) will be speaking.

Visit www.roanokertc.org

To register:
Roanoke Valley Regional Fire/EMS Training Center
1220 Kessler Mill Road
Salem, Virginia 24153

emial: Teddy.Adkins@roanokeva.gov

The cost is $35 and includes lunch and break items.


I am looking for interested NREMT-P’s who would qualify for a paramedic to RN transition course that can be brought to the area. You must have the prerequisites prior to admission in the program. NO EXCEPTIONS! The course would possibly start in Jan 2010 and be finished in Dec. 2010(LESS THAN 1 YEAR). The classes would be a hybrid type with limited classroom time. There is a clinical component that must be completed as well. In order to secure a class in the area there has to be at least 8 people to be interested. LPN’s will be allowed as well so it should not be an issue. Please read the following requirements. If you already have these requirements or would be able to complete them by the admission process this would be a great opportunity for you.

Prerequisites (must be completed prior to application submission)

~ High school graduate or GED

~ High school or college algebra, biology, and chemistry with a grade of “C” or better

~ Any developmental courses identified as needed after placement tests

~ Preadmission nursing test with acceptable scores (NLN 45 or better in verbal and math;

NET 45 or better in reading and math; HESI 45 or better)

~ The following general education courses with a grade of “C” or better:

NAS 161 (BIO 141) – Human Anatomy & Physiology I 4 credits

ENG 111 – College Composition I 3 credits

PSY 230 – Developmental Psychology 3 credits

SDV 100 – College Success Skills 1 credit

ITE EEE – Information Technology Elective 3 credits

14 total credits

Kent McIlhany

Please contact me if you have questions or to express interest.

I will be forwarding the information on perspective students to the course director as soon as possible.

From the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department:

Roanoke Fire-EMS has been called upon by EMAC once again to deploy a Hurricane Recovery Team to St. Bernard’s Parrish, LA. This group of 8 Fire-EMS personnel will serve with the Incident Management Team in

The team consists of: Deputy Chief Ralph Tartaglia, Battalion Chief Jeff Beckner, Battalion Chief Teddy Adkins, Captain Werner Van Damme, Captain Chuck Swecker, 1st Lt. Tim Cady, FF/EMT-I Becky Smith and FF/EMT Jeff Oliver.

The crew departed from the Roanoke Valley Regional Fire-EMS Training Center at approximately 4:30 this afternoon. They will be traveling to Birmingham, AL tonight and will be staying at a Fire Station there. The team will be deployed for approximately 18 days – 4 days of travel and 14 days of working in Louisiana. They are to report to their post by 7am on Wednesday, September 3.

This is the fourth deployment that Roanoke Fire-EMS has been on since 2005. In 2005, three separate teams were deployed to assist Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Hurricane Gustav. Roanoke Fire-EMS is ready to assist the citizens of St. Bernard’s Parrish in any way that we can during this recovery period,” says Chief David Hoback.

Department Instructors presented a Water Supply Class in 18 four hour blocks for city firefighters.

The class covered “Relay Operations” and the fundamentals of LDH supply hose.

“It has been a successful class. A “Back to the Basics” class is always beneficial. The older Firefighters enjoy the practice, and we have so many new young people for which the experience is a first. It truly is a win-win situation.” – Lieutenant Jim Hylton

The lead instructors were: Captain Warner Van Damme, Lt. Jim Hylton, Captain Robert Perdue, Lt. Mark Brown,

Just the other day, I was explaining to our rookie some of the differences in residential building construction. We talked in depth on truss construction. I was trying to explain how we have more time inside a structure built of balloon frame as opposed to newer light-weight truss construction. Although balloon frame has other concerns, basically the construction is more solid. The light-weight construction is cheaper and has killed too many firefighters.

Then, Scott Fritz sent me a video that I had actually checked out a couple of months ago. Thanks for the idea Scott. It seems as though I come across a lot of things I should blog about but do not, only to revisit it later when someone sends it in. Which leads me to another point I will be blogging about soon – how to learn on a daily basis just by checking in on the various websites which offer news, training, incidents, etc. online.

Here is the video:

I will be out of town this week. I will try to update if anything is sent in.

Apparently there will be a groundbreaking event on January 25th for the new Station 3 on Williamson Rd. I wasn’t invited…I only heard about it through the comments on a previous post. If you were invited, maybe you could snap a few pictures of the dignitaries heaving the first scoop with their golden shovels.

On a Secretary/Treasurers note…the tickets for the banquet are $35 a piece. If you did not understand that and sent in $35 for a couple you still owe.

I had a busy day today on the way back from Richmond. I snapped a few pictures of a house fire in Prince Edward County here and later drove up on an accident that Bedford FD ran here. If you need me call me or email me. Otherwise, I will see you guys at the Hockey Game on the 26th.

By the way, Todd Reighley is back in town and should be back to work in March.

Stay Safe.

I couldn’t find the news story that I watched on tv, so here is the Roanoke Times version of the story. Read it here.

A contractor painting on the floor above Davidsons hit a sprinkler, sending an alarm to the fire station as an estimated 400 gallons of water went through the floor, soaking expensive suits, shirts, ties and socks in the showroom below.

I remember the fire back in 2006. The thing that really caught my attention was the praise for the firefighters by the owner. Thanks for the appreciation.

It is good to see the salvage operation. Salvage is often forgotten about before it is too late in some incidents. Good job guys.

Happy New Year everyone!

I wish everyone the best in the New Year. I have had a lot of fun this past year with the Roanoke Fire Blog. I am happy to see all the progress that the Roanoke Fire EMS Department and the Firefighters of Roanoke have made. We have seen a lot of progress this past year, as well as some minor set backs.

I must say that I truly love my job. I enjoy coming to work each and every day. I know a lot of Roanoke’s Firefighters share in my sentiment as well. I really enjoy the camaraderie that I share when I stop by fire houses throughout the City.

Keep the news coming in.

One other note that I missed in December was that “Firefighting in Roanoke” is now a year old. I am not sure the exact count of books sold, but it is somewhere around 1600 – 2000. I have plans to begin another book this year, although I have not decided on the format I will choose.

One last note, E13 and M9 ran the first call of the New Year. We just got back from call number 1 which was toned out at 0001 hours. That probably will not happen for me again in my career.

Good luck in the New Year, God Bless, and Stay Safe.

I thought that this video clip was worthwhile. Check it out.

And this one from Chief Rick Lasky about Pride and Ownership.

I attended the RIT training today at the Troutville VFD RIT building. I must say that the evolutions were great. I love no bullshit, no nonsense, get in and get it done training. Especially with decent instructors who don’t have the “I am better than you” and “I will teach at a 2nd grade level” attitude.

The training today was proctored by Lt. Mark Brown, Captain Chuck Swecker, Captain Scott Mutter, Captain Matt Dewhirst, 1st Lt. Ellen Bender, and FF Jeff Oliver. They were very interested in the companies getting out of the training what they wanted. There wasn’t any hand holding or “Your Doing it Wrong” attitudes.

Instead, the training began with some classroom. Enough of an update to new understanding of RIT implementation, reasons for having an RIT, and when to call a MAYDAY.

Captain Mutter did some housekeeping of the utmost importance. He delved into what the hell happens when the orange emergency button is pressed on our portable radios. He went to dispatch to look at it at their end, and then reported his findings to the class participants. We learned a lot, and any day you learn something is a good day.

After the classroom, we had a series of 3 short “Firefighter Down” evolutions. The hands-off approach by the instructors was appreciated by myself, and it seemed as though no one else had issue with it. The hands off approach offered the opportunity for the companies to work through the incidents as they would if we had just hopped off the truck and were in a real situation.

The RIT disipline is very loose. Basically, as Captain Swecker explained (my interpretation and poor memory of exact word usage) you just have to be ready, competent, and willing to think outside the box. You never know what cards you will be dealt.

All in all, this was some of the best training I have had in a long time. A hell of a lot better than most certificate, resume padding, and poorly taught classes we have been accustomed to.

Special thanks to all involved.

If you haven’t had the training, be sure to make it. It is well worth it.

If you didn’t like it, you might rethink why you are a firefighter and hope that everyone else enjoyed it in case they have to save your ass.

Firefighters on C Shift Southside put on some HTR training. Click the image for more.
Also check out the new look of VAFireNews.com homepage.

Jeff Ponds and the rest of the crew over at VentEnterSearch.com have put together an excellent article on Vertical Roof Ventilation. I suggest everyone take a look at the article and maybe print it out to leave on the coffee table for everyone else to read.

Check it out here: VentEnterSearch.com.

Gish is coming back! This time I went to the source. He still has to have his physical, but he is scheduled to be back in about a week or two. I apologize for the premature notice of his return, although I thought I had a pretty decent source when I posted it.
From what I understand Gish is one of 11 who were hired. Congratulations to the others who were hired. Welcome to the Department.

I hope to have an update for you on Dave Bishop in the next day or so. If you have heard anything, leave a comment.

Here is a picture of E13 and L13 doing some pump training. Check out more pictures on VAFireNews.com.

If you have ever wondered how we clean the grill out at 13, check out FF Lynwood “Woody” English on the nozzle.

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to a hazardous materials incident on May 29, 2007 at 941 Industry Dr.

The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 9:02 p.m. The response of three Engines, two Ladder trucks, one Medic Unit, the EMS Captain, the Hazardous Materials Team and a Battalion Chief for a total of 22 personnel responded to the scene. The incident was under control at 9:32 p.m.

When crews arrived they found that a 1,000 lb. propane cylinder was leaking from the fill hose. The incident happened when a fork-lift was filling from the fill hose and ruptured the line. Fire crews responding to the scene arrived and evacuated the building. They then called the Hazardous Materials Team. The ruptured tank was on the exterior of the building.

When the Hazardous Materials Team arrived, a cold zone was established and the team began their investigation. They cut the tank off in order to stop the leak and monitored the area until it was deemed safe. The building was then turned over to the owner.

There were no injuries during this incident to civilians or Fire-EMS personnel.