Found via this Discovery story. Might be old news.
Made in Finland. Here's the product page, and with a nifty diagram on the physics behind the thing. Don't tell anyone in the fire service. They might try to introduce a change!
As this prior posting notes, the Wake County Fire Commission meets on Thursday, to discuss the proposed FY15 budget for the Fire Tax District.
Though I was unable to attend any of the budget committee meetings, the agenda packet provides useful insight into the issues presently facing the fire commission and county fire service.
Here’s my summary and notes on what’s included in the document. Since I am playing connect-the-dots, feel free to advise corrections or contextual omissions. Lots of moving pieces here.
- A single-rate tax is collected and administered by Wake County, to fund fire protection for (a.) unincorporated areas of Wake County via contracts with private fire departments (Bay Leaf, Stony Hill, etc.) and municipal fire departments (Apex, Fuquay-Varina, etc.), (b.) some co-funded rural/municipal-serving departments (Garner, Rolesville, Wake Forest), and (c.) the Wendell Fire Department.
- Everyone living in (a.) unincorporated areas or (b.) the town of Wendell pays that tax.
- Wake County Commissioners approve the fire tax district allocations each budget year.
- Fire departments prepare budgets, and submit them to the Budget Committee of the Wake County Fire Commission.
- These budgets consist of operating costs, such as salaries and benefits for personnel, monthly operation expenses, fuel and utilities, etc.
- The Budget Committee works with both the fire chiefs and the county staff to create an overall Fire Tax District Budget that meets everyone’s needs.
- The budget is sent to the Fire Commission, for recommendation to the County Commissioners.
- County Commissioners are empowered to approve/deny/change the budget, beyond what the Budget Committee and/or Fire Commission recommends.
- There are really two budgets each fiscal year.
- Operating Budget, such as salaries and benefits, operating expenses, fuel and utilities, etc.
- Capital Improvement Projects (CIP), such as equipment, vehicles, and facilities.
- County Commissioners have set as priority that the annual Fire Tax District Budget be “balanced, sustainable,” and reflect current priorities of the county.
- Thus, budgeted expenditures are balanced against realistic assumptions of growth (and future revenues).
- But also including the money needed for capital improvement projects (equipment, vehicles, facilities), both for payment of debts and planned expenses.
- And without changes to the fire tax rate itself. E.g., no raising of fire tax rates.
Lack of Standards
- The current fiscal process doesn’t have a defined funding model.
- Missing are “standards of coverage” that can be applied to all districts, to all departments, for equalized/level decision-making.
- Thus, the budget committee and county staff are limited in their ability to make targeted decisions in cost containment.
- Thus, for this budget year, the budget committee declined to make line-item changes, and instead suggested per-department reductions in funding, with the department itself allowed to make the line-item/specific changes as needed.
The FY15 Budget Recommendations
- See page three and four of the PDF document, for introductory details. Plus the supplementary documents in the PDF packet.
The FY15 Capital Projects
- See page four of the PDF document, for details on what was defunded or moved.
- In FY2015, the county will lose about $240,000 in revenues. This is expected as one-time loss, due to vehicle property tax collection transferred to the state. This program is called “tax and tag.”
- Thus, the coming budget is based on lower revenues than the prior fiscal year’s budget.
What’s Needed for the Future?
- The current funding model can’t be sustained over coming years.
- Expenses continue to exceed revenue.
- Cost savings/cost containment is needed. (Well, that or raise taxes, which isn’t an option that’s willing to be considered. Or so has been repeatedly expressed.)
How to Contain Costs
Ideas for containing costs in the system of fire departments funded by the Fire Tax District:
- Identify the appropriate number of apparatus for the system, for regions, and for each department or station.
- Identify the appropriate specifications for those apparatus.
- Develop staffing standards for the system. E.g., the minimum (and maximum?) number of firefighters on each apparatus.
- Develop standards for operating expenses for the system.
- Evaluating options for pooling health insurance across multiple departments for better rates.
- Increase the buying of apparatus in bulk quantities on a competitive procurement basis.
- Perform “responsible, collaborative” planning for new fire station locations, and to minimize coverage gaps and overlap, which limits the overall expenses (capital, operating) associated with new stations.
- What’s missing, what’s confusing, what’s outright wrong?
- If nothing else, read the original agenda packet for more details, and more elaboration on what I’ve summarized above.
Registration is now open for the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo in Raleigh. This year's dates are earlier than last year's dates: July 23-26 for the conference, July 25-26 for the expo. (This year only. The show returns to August for 2015 and 2016.) Visit the registration site.
There are two web sites: one for attendees and one for vendors. The attendee site is optimized for both desktop computers and your tablets or phone. Super easy to use. Branding and an official graphic have also been released. Recognize those people shown below? Here's a clue: the number 14.
Also new this year is the fourth annual Raleigh's Finest 5K, now scheduled the same weekend as the expo.
Social Media Workshop
Yours Truly will be co-conducting a workshop on Friday, July 25. Here are those details:
The World Is Watching Your Department. Who Will Tell Your Story, You or Them?
Friday, July 25
3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Social media is everywhere, and everyone is a reporter. Camera phones are taking pictures and recording videos of your actions and activities. Facebook, Twitter, and news site submissions, etc. are putting your department on display.
Fighting this trend is futile, but you can take control of your story and guide the narrative to your department’s benefit. Join Wake County EMS Community Outreach Chief Jeffrey Hammerstein and Raleigh/Wake County fire blogger and photographer Mike Legeros for a discussion on how to make social media work for you and your department.
Big List of Everything
- Antique fire apparatus
- BBQ Throwdown
- Brotherhood Bash
- Corn hole
- Fire truck parade
- Firefighter competitions
- Golf tournament
- Memorial Service
- NC Brotherhood Pipes and Drums
- Raleigh's Finest 5K
- Unified Honor Guard
See you there!
Special Called Wake County Fire Commission Meeting - Thursday, April 24, 2014
The Wake County Fire Commission will have a special-called meeting on Thursday, April 24, at 7:00 p.m. The location is the Wake County EMS Training Facility, in the lower level of the Wake County Commons Building, 4011 Carya Drive.
The purpose of the special-called meeting is for the Fire Commission to receive and discuss the Budget Committee's recommended FY 2015 Fire Tax Budget.
Here's the document packet (PDF) for the meeting, including the agenda and budget information.The Curious Case of the Copied Patches
First was Burlington's design, which was copied by Raleigh in 1986. These were the first uniform patches for the Raleigh Fire Department. There was a committee that proposed and discussed designs, as the story goes. The Burlington patch was chosen, and not coincidentally due to the fact that new Fire Chief Sherman Pickard was a former member of BFD. (Pickard was appointed as Raleigh’s chief in 1986. He started his fire service career in Burlington. He was a member from 1949 to 1955 and left the department as Director of Training.)
Burlington has since adopted a new design. What year? And when their prior patch adopted? And did they copy from another department? (In the earlier decades of the fire service, there were generic patch designs that were used across numerous departments throughout the state, and probably the country.) Maybe readers can help.
Eight years after Raleigh adopted Burlington’s emblem, the Stony Hill Fire Department in Wake County followed suit. In 1992, the membership cast their votes for a design, also their first. Asst. Chief A.C. Rich, who was (and still is) a member of the Raleigh Fire Department, wasn’t at the meeting. He learned of the decision later, but only after the produced patches had been received. SHFD used the design until 2007. (Read a prior posting about their new patch.)
Archer Lodge Fire Department in Johnson County also copied the patch design, though they copied Raleigh's emblem. They adopted the patch in October 2000, and used the design for four years. The department proposed a new design in March 2004, and it was accepted in October 2004. (That's their current patch, and the design was credited to former Fire Chief Pete Barnes.)
The Raleigh Fire Department is still using their patch. The design also appears on apparatus, signage, and printed materials. The other three departments, as noted above, have adopted different designs.
And that’s the story of that.
Thanks to AC and Duane, for the historical assist. Click to enlarge:
April 18, 2014
Was teaching class last night on North Carolina firefighter history. While discussing the first fire hydrants installed in Raleigh, questions were made about the "Raleigh thread." What's the history there? Here's a blog post from 2009 that provides a bit of information.
I've been told that Raleigh's thread is the same that New York City uses. (Correct?) And I've seen historical references to Raleigh and Durham adapters, carried on each city's engines, for those mutual aid occasions. (Can recall a pair of instances when Durham sent engines to Raleigh, for fires at Dorothea Dix and at the Yarborough House in the 1920s.)
As memory serves, city engines in more recent decades carried adapters for "other hydrants." That a correct memory there? Would those have been county hydrants? (But there aren't such things, right?) Private hydrants, with different threads? Maybe I'm thinking of adapters for Cary or Wake Forest or...
September 14, 2009
Question of the day. When did Raleigh start using its own hose and hydrant threads? From this 1924 report, there were 464 hydrants in the city on May 31, 1924. All were Mathews pattern, except for 64 Columbia and one Glamorgan. What are or were those patterns? Don't know. Nothing found on Google (yet). Hose couplings sizes were listed in the below chart. And that chart is repeated in this 1931 report, which lists 557 public and 133 private hydrants in the city on February 28, 1931. By that time, the report added, adapters for Durham hose were carried on Raleigh's Engine 1.
Male Threads, Inches
|Raleigh Hose||2 1/2||3 21/64||6|
|Raleigh Hydrants||2 1/2
|Durham Hose||2 1/2||3||8|
|2 1/2||3 1/16||8|
|Henderson Hose||2 1/2||3 7/32||8|
|National Standard||2 1/2||3 1/16||7 1/2|
What does the above chart tell us? First, that Raleigh wasn't the only department with its own hose thread. In fact, none of the above departments list coupling specs that exactly match National Standard. When did Raleigh adopt their coupling size? Good question. The city's first fire hydrants were installed in 1887, with hand reels and sections of hose also purchased. Hose had appeared earlier, for the 1870 steamer, and possibly even earlier for the city's hand engines. But it was 1887 that hydrants appeared, and when far more hose was added to the fire department. Hose was subsequently standardized, and by 1924 at least. Alas, Sanborn Maps from the 1880s to the 1910s don't help. There's no information on hose or hydrant threads.
Even with the proliferation of camera phones and reader photos on news sites, it's reasonably rare that we see an arrival photo as dramatic as this image posted by FireNews.net. That's from Saturday's house fire in Wake Forest.
The photo is by Teresa Martens and appears in a story submitted by Wake Forest News Editor Steve Rhode. Arriving units found the front of the structure fully-involved at 417 Cottesbrook Drive. The two-story, single-family dwelling measured 2,485 square-feet and was built in 2010.
Read more about the fire from FireNews.net, including the list of Wake Forest and Rolesville units that responded. The Wake Forest News has also posted a trio of stories about the fire, the family's praise for the firefighters, and community efforst to raise money for the family: April 13 #1, April 13 #2, and April 16.
Teresa Martins/FireNews.net photo
Lee Wilson has posted photos from the April 2 event, that saw the uneviling of the Raleigh Police Department's new Ford, Chevy, and Dodge cruisers. This News & Observer story from after the event told me about the vehicles and the evaluation process.
Lee Wilson photo
Today's News & Observer has a story about Raleigh's new police cruisers. The city will unveil their new Ford Police Interceptor sport-utility vehicles at a media event today. (When? Where?) That's one of three new vehicles that'll replace the now-discontinued Ford Crown Victoria. (The other two vehicles are officially undisclosed, but we've talked about before. We won't spoil the secrecy, at least for today!) The city purchased some 70 of the remaining Crown Victorias after production ceased in 2011. They'll be patrolled for a few more years, as their service life is five to seven years. Then they'll the public auctions. You can get your own Bluesmobile. Read the story.
Corey Lowenstein/News & Observer photo
Seen last week in Indianapolis, a pair of Methodist Hospital vehicles. One is an ambulance with yellow lights (indicating convalescent unit only?), and one is apparanetly a former ambulance missing the body. Always wondered what a chassis looks like, once the "box" is gone. Click to enlarge these phone photos:
Have posted my photos from FDIC last week. Here are the links:
Still in processing are pictures from the IFD museum, twenty-eight historic or former firehouses, and one of the old training facilities.
Still to be posted are a few hundred mobile phone photos, that need sorting and parsing.
Last Week's Specialized Rescue in Carrboro
From a reader comes this photo from Carrboro, after a kid's toy was accidentally thrown to the roof of a park shelter on Friday. Firefighters came to the rescue from the station next door. The child was heard to say "This was the most exciting day ever!" Click to enlarge. Thanks, Scott!
Recent Twitter activity includes...
- Daily News from last week, NYPD institutes new procedures for cops responding to fires after officer’s death, http://tinyurl.com/oqasc6z
- The Compass, If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington [or other major city], what should you do?, http://tinyurl.com/ouprgoa
- FDIC vehicles, Legeros Fire Photos posted, more Indianapolis trip pics coming, http://tinyurl.com/mnt3hm8
- Antioch Fire Dept tanker shuttle drill, Lee Wilson photos posted, http://tinyurl.com/lb6zopj
- Wake Forest News, Youngsville Fire Department Fund Raiser a Hot Event, http://tinyurl.com/lsorowx
- Wake Forest News, two WFFD house fire stories, http://tinyurl.com/n6zulo2 and http://tinyurl.com/luutplw
- News & Observer, Cardio link eyed in race deaths at Rock ’n’ Roll half marathon, http://tinyurl.com/mxzu3yz
- Rock and Roll Marathon in Raleigh, EMS units include 20, 21, 25, 53, 67, D10, D9, Medic 59, Bike Teams 1-4, Cart 1,2, + WWFR ATV19 at PNC.
- Big marathon in Raleigh today. Run card or rundown of EMS units providing coverage?
- TriState Fire Alerts, neat Facebook page with incident info. around Chicago, IL, IN, WI. https://www.facebook.com/FireRescueChicago …
- CBS Boston, story behind Boston Fire hose-through-car photos that everyone shared, http://tinyurl.com/nbfwdyt Hard to miss one when parking.
- Indianapolis Fire history, Halloween night 1963, coliseum explosion at fairgrounds, 74 killed, nearly 400 injured. http://tinyurl.com/npsda6j
- Indianapolis Fire history, the Grant fire, Nov. 5, 1973, one of largest in city's history, http://tinyurl.com/7ocrfnq , IFD museum has display
- Indianapolis Fire Dept history, extensive doc on IFD site, including all past station locations, http://tinyurl.com/mzqp7py
From this FireNews.net posting, here's a video from YouTube user NC DashVids, of a van swerving to avoid an IMAP truck positioned ahead of two Raleigh engines on the ramp from southbound I-440 to westbound Highway 64. The vehicle swerves to the right of the truck, enters the shoulder, and returns to the roadway as it encounters the cones ahead of Engine 2. This happened on April 11.
This one made the rounds last week, an employee appreciation video created by the Wake County EMS Community Outreach office. They're dancing and lip-synching to the Pharrell Williams song "Happy", released in November 2013 on Back Lot Music. Or click here if the embed doesn't work.
Found for sale on eBay, a 35mm slide scan of Charlotte's Ladder 1, a 1984 Duplex-Grumman/Snorkel articulating platform. See our data from December on all snorkels that have served in our state, including four for Charlotte. Click to enlarge:
Left to right, top to bottom: American Emergency Vehicles for Stanly County EMS, Guilford County EMS, and Cherokee Tribal EMS; Hackney for Blowing Rock; Smeal for Charlotte; Ferrara for Wilson. Click to enlarge the collage:
Was a good day for buffing in Indianapolis today. Started with the second day of exhibits at FDIC, and ended with an extra-alarm fire at 1545 Van Buren Street (previously cited as 2009 Draper Street) east of downtown. (Been nice 'n' confused about this one. Called it three-alarms on Twitter, after seeing news reported. Posted here as two-alarms, as seen on the IFD feed. Now back to three-alarms, via Tri-State Fire Alerts FB page. Plus reader mail that says it went higher than three!)
Four aerial streams, three monitor nozzles, and four hand lines were used, reported @IFD_NEWS via Twitter. Plus multiple buffs and visiting firefighters. Building measured 250 by 300 feet. Defensive operations and wall collapses. One firefighter injured. First due companies were Engine 27, Engine 23, Ladder 14. Building was unburned section of extra alarm fire last fall.
Yours Truly was en route to the 2014 Firefighter Turnout when he saw the plume of smoke from some ten miles out. Couldn't possibly be a major working fire with so many firefighters in town? Well, yes it was.
See more pictures from Mike Legeros, posted to his Flickr page and also accessible from www.legeros.com/firepics. They start about forty-five minutes into the incident.
Technical Support Unit 1
The Raleigh Fire Department has placed its new rescue pumpers in service. The 2014 Pierce Arrow XT engines were activated on April 4 (Squad 15) and April 8 (Squad 14). Also, the reserve rescue at Station 14 has been designated Technical Support Unit 1.
The 2007 Pierce Enforcer, a sister to the truck operated by Rescue 1, is both a reserve unit and a second piece of equipment for Squad 14. (What does it carry? Readers, can you advise?) There's also a second unit staffed by Squad 15, a tractor-drawn trench rescue unit at Station 15.
Some Former Firehouses of Indianapolis
Reporting from the road and my first visit to FDIC. Awaiting the start of the "show" tomorrow, when the exhibit floors open at noon and 1:00 p.m. (Among the attractions are the unveiling of a new Pierce chassis.) Been here since Tuesday, and been busy crisscrossing the city. Locating and photographing former and historic firehouses, as usual. Also first time in Indianapolis. What an interesting city! Ample attractions for the urban explorer, plus a very vibrant downtown. Here are a couple of the engine houses found so far. Left to right, top to bottom:
- Station 15 / Station 11 at 1030 E. Washington Street (1896 to 1971) and current corporate headquarters of Angie's List (one of over a dozen buildings they use there).
- Station 12 at 339 Sherman Drive (1915 to 1996) and currently occupied by a IFD Medic Unit.
- Station 10 at 3809 E. 34th Street (1958 to 1997) and nearly unrecognizable in its current form.
- Station 22 at 2357 N. Carrolton Avenue (1902 to 1972).
- Station 7 at 301 E. New York Street (1914 to 1979), now office space.
- Station 2 / old Station 8 (1872 to 1932), presently occupied by Local 416. Houses their offices, meeting room(s), and their fire museum. They'll have their annual "pumper pull" on Friday. Visit their web site for more details.
In case you missed them as tweets, shown on the upper right side of this site, or via web on my Twitter page:
- News & Observer, Baseball card photog Bob Bartosz shot all the greats (and a few fires!) http://tinyurl.com/oogxhml
- http://tinyurl.com/m9pmh7m , Raleigh Fire performs difficult extrication, Legeros photo story from Mar. 17,
- Early Video of Mobile Home Fire in Kinston, found via http://tinyurl.com/p5h24y6 , Legeros Fire Blog,
- MVA w/injuries Person Street, Raleigh Fire, Wake EMS, photos posted, http://tinyurl.com/pytubws
- Raleigh Fire RIT drills at Council Building on Dix Campus, Fri. night, photos posted, http://tinyurl.com/nwffeh8
- Texas Observer, Hero Complex, Can dampening a culture of heroism keep firefighters safer? http://tinyurl.com/kglyj69 RT from @
- Great story. Worth asking all around: is "duty to die" an honorable/favorable/scalable framework?
- City of Raleigh press release, Raleigh’s Fallen Eight: Memorial to Their Sacrifice is April 25, http://tinyurl.com/ospr25d
Have a few details about this morning's postal facility fire at 1 Floretta Place, the main postal distribution center in Raleigh. The fire, reported after midnight, started in a package sorting area, in a package sorting cart. Witnesses said they heard a "pop" before the fire started. It was quickly extinguished, though several packages were destroyed. Officials are saying that it appears there was a chemical reaction in a package, perhaps from a battery or some type of chemical.
The incident was dispatched at 12:03 a.m. as an explosion and fire (with haz-mat assignments added later?). Engine 23 was first on scene at the one-story, concrete and steel building with 351,250 square-feet. Built 1994. They stretched a single line inside and extinguished the small fire. The building was briefly evacuated, with 155 workers inside at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported, though a number of employees were evaluated by EMS.
Fire units on scene included E23, E24, L6, B3, B4, C20, C401 (investigator), HM1 (staffed by E2), HM2 (staffed by E27), HM3 (recon unit staffed by E8), HM4 (decon unit staffed by L5), Durham Highway P1, R5. Medical units on scene included EMS 22, EMS 38, EMS 6, EMS 7, D4, D3, M91, T1. Other agencies included Raleigh PD, Wake County EM, and ATF. See a handful of photos from Jason Thompson, including the one below.
Jason Thompson photo