Month: November 2017

How Fire Departments can Circumvent Proposed Fire Budget Cuts for Fiscal Year 2018

circumvent fire department budget cuts

Just as the record breaking 2017 fire season came to a close, fiscal year 2018 began. Although the new fiscal year began on October 1st, Congress was unable to agree on a budget.  To avoid a government shutdown, Congress and the President signed and passed a continuing resolution (CR) on September 8th to allow funding for federal agencies to remain at similar levels to what was enacted for fiscal year 2017.  While operations continue as normal, agencies have been instructed not to start new projects under the newly minted CR. As US lawmakers mull over the proposed 2018 budget, a planned spending reduction in firefighting efforts is drawing criticism from both sides of the isle.

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California Pushes for New and Improved Utility Safety Rules Following Major Wildfires

california utility safety

In the aftermath of Northern California’s most recent wildfires, which torched roughly 250,000 acres of wine country and other locations, Californian utility company PG&E has come under intense scrutiny. Concerns have arisen about the company’s possible negligence, namely downed power lines and sloppy upkeep of foliage near their equipment in some areas, may have caused or contributed to the blaze and exacerbated the disaster.  

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Studies Show PTSD and Suicides are Increasing Among Firefighters

Each year, over 800,000 individuals die by suicide worldwide. 40,000 of those individuals are citizens of the United States. Among the figures compiled by the World Health Organization a subset of individuals within the group of people taking their own life is emerging: first responders.  

Over the past decade, there’s been an acknowledgement within America’s first responders community that suicide and attempted suicide has become more prevalent.  As the numbers of those at-risk individuals continue to grow, so too does the concern to quickly understand why this phenomenon is occurring.  This alarming trend of suicides among first responders has been has been attributed to several causes, mainly post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Remembering Al Brunacini: Pioneer of the Fire Industry

The Phoenix Fire Department and the firefighting community lost an invaluable member on October 15th, 2017.  The family of former Phoenix Fire Chief Alan Brunacini announced his passing on Sunday.  As news of Al’s passing spread through firehouses and halls an outpouring of praise came from industry leaders across the country whom Al provided guidance and inspiration. Fire Engineering Editor in Chief and FDIC International Education Director Bobby Halton said, “One of the most incredible lights that ever burned in the fire service has gone out forever. A totally unique and one-of-a kind giant, innovator, and spiritual leader has left us better and stronger than we ever could have been without him. He changed the face of the fire service forever, and we loved him and will miss him.”

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Assessing the Damage: The Destruction of the 2017 Northern California Wildfires

The 2017 fire season has been one of the worst in US history, especially for California.  During the most intense period beginning in early October and continuing until the end of the month, eight counties in Northern California were hit by a devastating outbreak of wildfires which led to over 40 fatalities, nearly 250,000 scorched acres and nearly 9,000 structures destroyed.  The blazes burned through communities, literally turning homes and businesses into dust. The estimated 20,000 Northern Californian residents who evacuated towns and cities told stories of narrow escapes from fires that erupted and forced them to flee even before text messages and other alerts were sent out by emergency warning systems.  Those that were lucky enough to escape returned to what is left of their homes, businesses, and farms.

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