I got this email from Tom Bishop, David’s brother.

Don’t know if you talked with anyone today, but David and Tracey are progressing as expected. Tracey is in a lot of pain, but has been up walking. The doctor said today would probably be her worst.

David is feeling better and as expected is sore also. He is in isolation in intensive care to prevent any germs from finding their way in.

I know he will be glad to get back on his feet also.

Thanks to all the fellow firefighters for all their assistance during this ordeal. One thing I learned as a firefighter for 10 years is that when things are down you can always count on your brothers for a helping hand.

Update on the Charleston Firefighter Memorial:

5 guys from Roanoke County, 2 from Salem, and Jeremy Bennington and Jeff Oliver from the City will be in Charleston for the Memorial tomorrow. I know we all appreciate them representing us.

The names of the firefighters who died yesterday evening:

Capt. William “Billy” Hutchinson – 48 years old – 30 years of service
Capt. Mike Benke – 49 years old – 29 years of service
Engineer Louis Mulkey – 34 years old – 11 1/2 years of service
Engineer Mark Kelsey – 40 years-old – 12 1/2 years of service
Engineer Bradford “Brad” Baity – 37 years old – 9 years of service
Assistant Engineer Michael French – 27 years old – 1 1/2 years of service
Firefighter James “Earl” Drayton – 56 years old – 32 years of service
Firefighter Brandon Thompson – 27 years old – 4 years of service
Firefighter Melvin Champaign – 46 years old – 2 years of service

Information above from the STatter911 Blog.

There is a memorial fund set up for the Firefighters:

Anyone wanting to donate money to the firefighters’ families can make a donation at any Bank of America location or send money to: The City of Charleston Firemen’s Fund, P.O. Box 304, Charleston, SC, 29402.

Information above from Charleston.net.

If you want, start “passing the hat” for the firefighters. I will coordinate the effort, as several of you have already asked about donating for the firefighters. All you have to do is get the money or checks together and put them in an envelope and get them to me directly or get them to your Union VP (J.J. Price – A, Tom Mougin – B, and Steve McFaden – C) and they will get it to me. Do not put it in the departmental mail, please get it to one of us directly. Make sure checks are made out to: The City of Charleston Firemen’s Fund.

Thanks, if you have any questions let me know.

This is the least we can do.

If anyone wants to travel to Charleston to the upcoming funerals, let me know. I know of one who is already planning on going. I will post the funeral arrangements when they come in. More than likely the events will span several days.

God Bless, and Stay Safe.

Be sure to review the 2007 International Fire & EMS Safety Stand Down which is going on right now.

From IAFF.org

Fire fighters and police officers risk their lives every day to protect the public; they deserve the same right to discuss workplace issues with their employer that the federal government grants to most other workers.

Legislation granting fire fighters and police officers minimum collective bargaining rights was recently introduced in the House by Representatives Dale Kildee (D-MI) and John Duncan (R-TN) as H.R. 980, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, and will soon be reintroduced in the Senate by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA). The bills establish minimum standards for state collective bargaining laws.

Read More about this issue

The IAFF has made this issue its top priority. Be sure to follow along with the progress and contact your Senator and/or Representative to let them know you are interested in this issue. If you go to the new RFFA Local 1132 website, there is an area at the top for you to find your Senator/Representative. There is also a link on the IAFF page linked to above.

May I direct your attention to the new Local 1132 website (www.Local1132.org). I will be moving the files over to the new site and getting everything up and running. Until then bear with me as I get it rolling. If you want to help with the new site just let me know.

Please sign up on the new site under Member Home and follow the directions for new member registration. This will enable us to have your email address to contact you easier. ALSO, we all know that not everyone is computer savvy, so maybe some of you could help everyone else sign up at your station.


From the Roanoke Times:

Battalion Chief Bobbie Slayton remembered Fire-EMS Station No. 3 as one of the busiest of all the Roanoke stations.

“It was central in locations,” said Slayton, who had worked on and off at the station since 1965. “Some of the finest firefighters Roanoke had to offer have come through these doors, and the same ones have gone out.”

More than 150 firefighters gathered Sunday afternoon to share memories, laughs and celebrate the closing of the 98-year-old station on Sixth Street Southwest.

Roanoke Fire-EMS Lt. Rhett Fleitz said the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association just wanted to bring together former members of the station one last time.

“You never know what the city council is going to do; they could come and bulldoze it for all we know,” he said. “This has been a second home for so many guys in the department, and we just wanted them to come in and enjoy the tradition one last time.” Read More

I have to say that I really had a great time down at Fire Station 3 the other day. The food was great and the stories were better. Especially seeing Roadie Kelley slide down the pole, mind you he is around 70 years old. Special thanks to Chad Riddleberger, Nathan Foutz, and JJ Price for getting the event put together. Unfortunately, Chad was unable to attend due to an illness which put him in the hospital. I wish you a speedy recovery.

On another note:

The verdict is in. Ladder 1 will be moved to Fire Station 1. This isn’t a shock. The disturbing thing about the whole Station 1 mess is that they couldn’t come out and make a definite decision when they decided to continue with building the new station. Instead, firefighters have had to wait for a decision, one that finally came a mere week or two before the new station opens.

And then this:

Engine 7 will be taken out of service and replaced with a Medic truck. Station 7 will change from an Engine 7 (4 firefighters, minimum of 3) and Ladder 7 (4 firefighters, minimum of 3) per shift to Medic 7 (2 Firefighters, one being ALS Certified) and Quint 7 (6 firefighters, minimum of 4) per shift. Meanwhile, we still have 6 firefighters (3 Lieutenants and 3 ALS firefighters) stationed at Clearbrook Station 7 in Roanoke County.

I may never fully understand why the City still allows giving free manpower to the County when we have such huge budgetary issues in the City that we have to take an Engine out of Service. It appears there is some deep rooted City Council/Board of Supervisors back scratching going on.

I have hit on this before, and I will continue to do so in the future. Let us look at what is going on in the Northside. The rumblings on the street is that Roanoke County needs to justify more firefighters so they have had Medic 10 start running second in to Hollins area. Justification? What does Roanoke County need justification for? There department should be twice the size it is right now. What the hell are they waiting for? Maybe they are waiting for the senseless deaths of citizens in fires and medical emergencies while waiting for second or third due coverage. Roanoke County is beyond the capability of relying on firefighters responding at home. They need to have full coverage on all of their apparatus all the time. They need to run their own calls and only rely on mutual aid for what it was designed for. Currently, it seems as though Roanoke City has become the first in agency in a large part of Roanoke County. This should not be accepted by Roanoke City Citizens nor Roanoke City Council.

Engine 13 alone ran 4 calls in the County yesterday. County units were only seen on one of the calls. Don’t get me wrong, I love running calls. I have two years of running nothing to make up for. However, I can see the writing on the walls when City units are in the County covering for them and something BAD happens in there first due. I guess we will have to explain away….

Am I the only one who sees the Clearbrook deal as the worst business venture the City has done in a long time. We provide mutual aid into the County, hell most of it is automatic aid. Yet, instead of them providing the same to us, we have to staff their stations with our people. That is a blatant waste of resources.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA . . . At 6:02 this morning Fire and Rescue units were dispatched to a house fire at 15474 Marsh Overlook Drive in Woodbridge. When firefighters arrived on the scene the home was heavily involved in fire. Firefighters began immediate suppression efforts and a search for possible occupants. Read More

Rest in peace Kyle, and God Bless your Family and Brother and Sister Firefighters.
11 candidates spoke to the IAFF members at the 2008 Presidential Forum. I would like to point you in the right direction for information on the event and the candidates. I decided to leave my comments on each of the candidates off of the blog for now so that the IAFF Local 1132 members can decide for themselves and not feel that our Local or the IAFF is swaying one way or another. The IAFF will not likely make an endorsement for some time and it should reflect the view of the majority of IAFF members.

I suggest you look closely at the information and watch the videos. Jonathan Martin dissects some of the candidates on his blog The Politico, although he did not see the entire forum and speaks mostly on the Democrats.

The IAFF have done the searching for you on News articles on the Presidential Forum. Visit IAFF.org to view links to many of the articles. There are many links to articles which offer Democrat and Republican views.

You can watch the videos of all the candidates individually. If you have ever wondered what these candidates think about Firefighters issues you need to check them out. If you would like to know more about what went on let me know.

IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger

This is what it looked like from my seat on the front row just off to the left. It was like a feeding frenzy for the photographers.

Former U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-NC)

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore (R-VA)

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) with Duane Dixon

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) with our President Rodney Jordan

U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)

U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT)

U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)

Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM)

U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) with Duane Dixon

First off, today you can watch the IAFF Presidential Forum via Webcast on the IAFF website (http://www.iaff.org/). If you get a chance, I suggest that you tune in for it.

IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger talks to the IAFF members about Legislation.

On Monday we heard speakers about many issues and were taught the ins and outs of the legislation we are pushing or opposing this year. Here are some of the speakers:

House Republican Leader, Representative John Boehner (R-OH)
Homeland Security Chairman Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD)

Representative Lois Capps (D-CA)

Representative John Larson (D-CT)

John Buckley, U.S. House Ways and Means Committee staff member

David Price (D-NC), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security

Yesterday, we were on Capitol Hill lobbying for several key legislative issues including a National Collective Bargaining Bill, SAFER funding, Presumptive laws for Federal Firefighters, and other legislation that I will have information for you soon.

Last night we enjoyed a reception with Senators and Representatives.

Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, was present and spoke to the Firefighters.

Senator Hillary Clinton was at the reception and will also be speaking at the Presidential Forum today.

Rodney Jordan, Mike Hanks, Duane Dixon, and I are in D.C. for the IAFF Legislative Conference this week. I will have plenty to report on in a couple of days and I hope to update the Local 1132 site soon, although I am having issues with some software which is preventing me from updating it right now.

Today, we will learn the various Legislation that affects our jobs as Firefighters and EMT’s. The big ticket item this year is

On Tuesday we will meet with our Representatives and Lobby for the Legislation.

On Wednesday, we will attend a Presidential Forum like no other.

From IAFF.org:

The Presidential Forum is part of the process of deciding which candidate deserves the IAFF’s support. Because of the value candidates see from the strong, loyal and very effective IAFF signature black and gold, prospective White House candidates are pursuing its support.

“This is the first bi-partisan Presidential Forum of the 2008 election cycle,” notes IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “No other union – and very few organizations – has the credibility and respect to attract top-tier candidates from both political parties. The lineup of speakers who have agreed to participate is truly a testament to our great union and to the reputation we have built as a powerful political force and a coveted endorsement.”

Confirmed speakers include:

● U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE)
● U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
● U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
● Former U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-NC)
● Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore (R-VA)
● U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
● U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
● U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
● U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)
● Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM)

This Presidential Forum will be Webcast on www.IAFF.org. You will be able to find a link to the exact URL on the site on Wednesday. The Forum will run from 8-5.

Bargaining Bill Introduced in House

February 12, 2007 – The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Dale Kildee (D-MI) and John Duncan (R-TN). IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger has identified the Cooperation Act, HR 980, as the IAFF’s highest legislative priority.

“This new congress offers the best opportunity we’ve ever had to finally achieve our long-awaited goal of ensuring basic collective bargaining rights for every fire fighter in the nation,” Schaitberger says. “Today I call on every IAFF local to help make HR 980 a reality. We need fire fighters in every community in America to contact their member of Congress to urge them to co-sponsor this historic legislation.”

A Senate version of the legislation is also expected to be introduced in the coming weeks, sponsored by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA). Both the House and Senate bill will be featured at the upcoming IAFF Legislative Conference in March.

To read a copy of the legislation, click here. For more information about the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, click here.
Guns N’ Hoses 4 will be on January 13th at the Roanoke Civic Center. The annual event benefits the MDA and pits Roanoke Valley Firefighters against Roanoke Valley Police Officers in a friendly game of hockey. More information can be found here.
This is an account of what firefighters were faced with in the hours during and following Hurricane Rita. I saw this guy speak at the IAFF Convention in Toronto. His account tells of the problems the firefighters had to cope with and the fact that they were all alone in dealing with the catastrophic event. This is well worth listening to.