Some news: I've been scheduled to conduct a workshop at the NC firefighter's conference in Greensboro in August. The subject: researching fire department histories. It'll be a Saturday morning session, early. Ninety minutes, starting at 8:30 a.m. More details at a later date.Brochure on RFD Historical Sites
While we're on the subject of old engine houses, here's a PDF-format brochure that I recently created on a whim: . The text and images are based on my former firehouses article; the marketing text is from the RFD web site.Mike on This Month's Fire Watch
Yours truly appears on this month's Fire Watch, the Raleigh Fire Department's community education television program hosted by Life Safety Educator Jan Parker. My five-minute segment appears about halfway through half-hour show. I speak on the subject of the old Capital hose house on West Morgan Street, the oldest fire station structure still standing in the Capital City. The program appears on Raleigh Television Network (RTN) Channel 11, which may only be available to cable subscribes in Raleigh. Here's their weekly schedule.Raleigh's New Haz-Mat Truck
Raleigh's new haz-mat truck was delivered today. The 2006 Freightliner / Hackney tractor-drawn apparatus is presently parked at the Support Services Center on New Bern Avenue. It should be in service within a month. The apparatus replaces a 1991 Simon-Duplex / E-One unit that will serve as a haz-mat support unit. Both will stationed at Station 2. Check the photo pages in a few for pictures.Does Raleigh Need More Aerial Trucks?
Does the Raleigh Fire Department need more aerial trucks? If yes-- or duh, yes-- then why? Recommendations or requirements from ISO, NFPA, etc.? Some type of mathematical coverage computation??
Here's an ISO-style map of the current coverage created by Yours Truly that's almost to scale: Click to View
And by way of comparison, here are some numbers from around the state (except where I couldn't figure out how to split the quints-as-engines in places like Wilmington and High Point): READ MORE
My latest (mini) historical project, as posted today to FireNews: http://www.firenews.net/contents/news/04252006z.htm.Budget Rumors
As the Raleigh Fire Department and probably everybody else is in the (final?) throes of budget planning for the next fiscal year, let me ask a meta-question: do blog discussions of budget rumors help, hinder, or have no effect on the budget process? Are postings and/or discussions in this public forum a blip on the radar of anyone who can or may have impact on the budget process? These blog postings and the comments therein are "out there" on the big, bad Internet, so any citizen, media person, city official, or fire official can Google them. Or just plain read them. I'm as interested as anyone on knowing what's being requested for the next budget year, but my conservative side compels me to refrain from posting insider knowledge and maybe even scuttlebutt. The most straightforward approach, I suppose, would be to attend the presumably open city budget planning meetings. Then report the results here. Does the N&O or any of its columnists even cover budget planning? Maybe they're closed meetings. Well, if nothing else, we'll know what we know in another month or so when the proposed 2007 budget is released.Monitoring Severe Storms
Reflecting on yesterday's madness, I believe the solution to monitoring multiple reported structure fires / working structure fires might be as follows. First, these instructions presume two scanners in operation, one VHF scanner monitoring the "alerts" and one trunked scanner monitoring the dispatch and ops channels. When multiple structure fires start being dispatched, use a notepad to record both the address AND the ops channel. Keep doing these for each structure fire as they're dispatched. Then, and at the same time, keep an eye on the trunked scanner. If the scanner stops on an op channel that is NOT being used for a structure fire, press "scan" to bypass. (You may have to keep looking at your notepad to tell which ops channel to watch for.) Ditto for obvious EMS traffic, unit status traffic, etc. If the structure fires really start coming, then stop watching the trunked scanner altogether and just keep pressing "scan" until you hear the words "working fire" or "pull a line" or just someone talking through their SCBA mask. Note the ops channel on the display, then check your notepad, and will now know which structure fire is a "working fire." As evident on Saturday, when there are too many calls and/or too many working fires happening at once, you cannot rely upon a "working fire" notification as it may not happen.New Holly Springs Fire Station
Holly Springs moves into their new headquarters fire station at 10400 Holly Springs Road today (4/21), relocating from their "temporary" station at 127 North Main Street. The new and renumbered Station #1 is a three-bay, approximately 12,000 square-foot, $3 million facility. The now-old Main Street station will be demolished by town Public Works staff in the next couple weeks. The town is considering or has perhaps decided to sell the property, along with the adjacent property that formerly housed the Public Safety department, for commercial development.
The town's second fire station, the original rural fire department facility at 1140 Avent Ferry Road, will be remodeled starting next month. Demolition of the training facilities behind the station should start in May, with work on the station building starting soon after that. The station should be closed for only a short period of time. Looking at the front of the building, the first bay door on the left will be removed and that area will be turned into a living area. The finished facility will have two-bays, two-deep. The exterior will be uniform with the new station.
From Jon's comment on another entry "Moving EMS to a single dispatch center is in the works… especially with AVL just around the corner. Stay tuned…" Is this the Wake EMS agency? The entire Wake EMS system? Would dedicated call-taking be handled as well, or just dispatch duties? Will the center still be part of ECC operations, or operating by another agency?Apparatus Updates
Raleigh's new engines and ladder truck, all Pierces, are due around the second week of May.
Wake Forest's new Pierce platform is due in mid-June.
Work looks to be proceeding at the Raleigh Fire Station 28 site on Forestville Road. Drilling equipment from a pipeline company is presently on the site. No tree- or brush-clearing has started, however.Strangest Dispatch Ever
Heard on County Fire at about 4:40 p.m. today: structure fire, Johnston County, Wake Forest Engine __, Zebulon Engine __. Now that's a run for Wake Forest! The fire unit was subsequently corrected to Wendell.Recent RFD Facility Improvements
Raleigh Fire Department facility improvements, since, say, 2004:
- new shop
- old shop now housing haz-mat apparatus
- new Bat 3 quarters at Station 8
- new Bat 2 office at Station 12
- new DC quarters at Station 8
- KTC tower demolition
- KTC tower construction
- KTC classroom trailer
- KTC lower lot improvements, post-USAR area addition
- Station 7 parking area for USAR (unpaved)
- Station 23 expansion
- new outbuildings at all stations, for supply and equipment storage
- new aprons at some stations
- Station 28 planning and design.
Lee keenly captured Monday evening's approaching storm at the fire on Trinity Commons Lane. This is why we have cameras: http://www.legeros.com/ralwake/photos/2006-04-03-rfd-trinity-village-ln-lw/.Storms, Part 2
With weather like this, the mind's eye turns back to November 1988. Some of my memories of the north Raleigh tornado: living at Wakefield Apartments and remembering the storm windows just shaking from the wind around bedtime. Unseasonably warm that night. Getting up about 5 a.m. for my traffic-reporting job, switching on the scanner and hearing all sorts of strange activity. Called the police desk and asked if a big fire was working somewhere. "No, just the tornado." Later, late morning, driving through the storm-struck sections of north Raleigh and smelling the strong scene of pine everywhere. Amazing.Storms, Part 1
So where's everyone's favorite storm-viewing spot? Other than from the jumpseat? Brentwood Road overlooking the Beltline, right at the ramps, provides pretty good stormy sights. I've also driven out Lake Wheeler Road, past Tryon Road, for sweeping night views of electrical activity.