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thomas fire

Thomas Fire Caps an Unprecedented Fire Season

The final California wildfire of the year, Thomas Fire has been decimating much of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties since early December, 2017. In terms of acreage, this final inferno is the largest in the history of the state. In terms of how the fire has spread and behaved, many veterans claim they’ve never seen anything like it. All up and down the state this season, battling one devastating blaze after another, California has just

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privatized firefighters

Privatized Firefighters Aid Insurance Companies

In the wake of the increase in wildfires throughout the American West, insurance companies are taking the proactive step of hiring and utilizing private fire crews to assist homeowners in more fire-prone areas. While the practice has been in place since the 1970s, these measures have understandably been taken more frequently as of late. Firms such as Pure Insurance and Chubbs Limited have implemented this service for their policyholders over the last decade, and given

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Firetruck Winterization Guide

Winterizing Your Fire Truck: Protecting your Apparatus from Harsh Winters

The winter weather for most people marks the time of the year that brings the holidays, skiing, slick roads, and a chance to hurl a snowball at a loved one or pesky neighbor.  As a firefighter the upcoming winter provides a separate set of challenges that must be recognized to ensure the equipment and personnel responsible for protecting the community are safe.  Historical evidence has shown the firefighting community that extended fire calls are more

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deputy fire chief

How to Become a Better Training Chief

The position of training chief is a unique one. It’s part administration, yet you’re still involved in the hands-on stuff because… well… that’s how you train firefighters. There are live burns in the morning and a data spreadsheet in the afternoon to keep up with who needs recertification in what. Somewhere in there, you have to either justify your budget or put something together to implement a new training program or endeavor. Meanwhile, you’re organizing

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northern california wildfire

Northern California Fire Crews Switch Focus from Blazes to Mudslides

Even though the wildfires that ravaged the North Bay region of California are now under control, there still looms the equally devastating threat of mudslides throughout the area. Many of the scorched hillsides have been reduced to ash and debris, just waiting for the rainy winter season that could turn them into deadly mudslides. The threat is real enough that some of the areas with steeper terrain have been ordered to evacuate. Daniel Berlant, assistant

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congress fire budget

Government Agencies and Lawmakers Butting Heads Over 2018 Fire Budget

A long-standing tug of war has existed between government agencies and the lawmakers sworn to act in the best interest of the people.  Congress represents the people of the United States. Members serve their constituents, the people who live in the district from which they are elected. Lawmakers must please their constituents if they want to stay in office, and every issue must therefore be considered from the perspectives of those constituents.  Government agencies for the most

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Health Safety Codes

The Nightclub Fire Tragedy that Influenced Health and Safety Codes Today

In November of 1942 as World War II persisted in Eastern Europe and President Franklin Roosevelt waited anxiously to hear about the progress of a Los Alamos nuclear lab, a group of revelers met on a cold Boston night to celebrate.  It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the mood was festive as an estimated thousand people crowded into a club in the Bay Village area of Boston called Cocoanut Grove.  At around 10:15, the

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holiday house fire hazards

Holidays are Lowest for Wildfires, but Prime Time for House Fires

As the weather in the United States starts to change with the onset of winter, so too do the causes of fires. Daily fire incidence is at its highest in the spring.  Spring in the US is characterized by an increase in outside fires due to the prevalence of recreational activities after winter.  As people emerge from the winter months there is also an increase in trees, grass, and brush that are susceptible to human

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firefighter turnouts and gear

Fire Chief Resigns Over Municipality’s Failure to Replace Unsafe Apparatus

As a company that has relationships with volunteer firefighters in various rural communities that always seem strapped for cash, we at BME found this story of particular interest. Many volunteer departments rely on annual funding drives to help supplement local funding, but that typically still only covers the more routine operational costs such as training, maintenance, and upkeep of the fire station. Anyone who has served, especially in fire districts with high call volume, knows

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southern california wildfire

Briefing: December 2017 Southern California Wildfires

December has been a hard month for the Golden State.  A series of 16 wildfires ignited throughout Southern California during the first week of December causing panic and widespread destruction of property. The rapidly moving fires that have forced thousands of Californians to evacuate their homes have been exacerbated by unusually powerful and unending Santa Ana winds. Winds, along with powerline malfunctions has facilitated the growth of fires by igniting vast amounts of dry vegetation.

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