All posts by John Alston

John Alston has been a member of the Jersey City Fire Department for 30 years. He is a published author and trainer, #fireofficertrust. Since the age of 4, John has wanted to be a Firefighter.

In the Jersey City Fire Department, John commands the First Battalion which covers the middle third of the City. This assignment includes the Holland Tunnel, the PATH Rail System, Ellis Island, Liberty Park, City Hall, 5 fire Stations, 10 Fire Companies, the Safety Officer; Mask Service Unit, the C.B.R.N.E. Fire Boat and the High-rise / Tunnel Unit, the Rescue Company and Squad 4.

Taking a Break…I Think

mojsidewrk

Just a quick note to let you know what’s going on…lol

Got a call from a dear friend who has been following my social media stuff for a while. She said, in essence, “Are you moving away from your usual altruistic love of the fire service / angst stuff??” To that I said, “What???” She then told me that it appeared I had posted a lot of things regarding a lot of things. …Not the Fire Officer Trust that she had come to know…..

I then said, “AH Ha”. I explained that we just made the move to this format: WORDPRESS at www.fireofficertrust.org and that we  needed to post something of interest for everyone…

Then I explained that I am studying for my DC Exam, at the end of the month and that I wasn’t my usual self…

She bought that. Thanx for noticing.

I’ll be back soon!

JCFD: Seidler Street Fire 2015

Homeowner, Firefighter Dead After Overnight House Fire

April 13, 2015, 7:34 AM by Brandon Van Westen
Updated: April 13, 2015, 8:43 AM

Homeowner, Firefighter Dead After Overnight House Fire
BRANDON, SD -A homeowner and firefighter died in a Monday morning house fire in Brandon.According to Brandon Police Chief David Kull, homeowner 47-year-old David Smith was transported to a Sioux Falls hospital where he was pronounced dead.At 10:41 p.m., firefighters were ordered to exit the home and at 11:01 p.m., a Valley Springs volunteer firefighter was reported missing. At 1:30 a.m., his body was located in the basement of the home.The identity of the firefighter has not been released at this time.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
The age of David Smith has been corrected after receiving revised information from authorities.

UPDATE: Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern

Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern
Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern

March 31–Fresno firefighter Pete Dern remains in serious condition and faces skin grafts and weeks of other intensive treatment for burns he suffered Sunday when a roof collapsed at a garage fire and he fell into an inferno, the medical director of the Leon S. Peters Burn Center said Monday afternoon.

“He remains stable but in very serious condition,” said Dr. William Dominic. “This is a very serious, certainly life-threatening burn.”

Dern, 49, had inhalation injuries as well as second- and third-degree burns to about 65% of his body, Dominic said. Dern was rushed Sunday afternoon to the burn center, which firefighters helped build in the 1970s.

Dern is on a ventilator to help him breathe. He has had one surgery and is looking at many more, with an operation scheduled for Wednesday to remove dead tissue and do temporary skin grafts. “This could be a very prolonged situation,” Dominic said.

Dern was leading several firefighters across the roof to provide ventilation for the safety of attack crews when the roof collapsed, the fire department said. A video posted on Facebook that captures Dern’s fall into the flames has received national attention.

After falling through the garage roof, Dern was rescued by fellow firefighters within minutes. That was critical to his survival, Dominic said. “No. 1 was getting him out … as quickly as possible,” Dominic said. And the protective firefighting clothing Dern was wearing reduced burning, he said. Without the protective gear: “It’s highly unlikely he would have been alive long enough for someone to help him out.”

Dern’s clothing and gear have been saved, Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis said. Members of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration are in Fresno to investigate the work injury, she said. But she also is bringing in an outside team of independent investigators, she said.

A firefighter first and foremost

Dern is a 25-year veteran of the department and has been a captain for 17 years. On Monday, dozens of fellow firefighters gathered at Community Regional Medical Center in support of their colleague. All of them described Dern as a leader.

Capt. Bob Van Tassel, who began his firefighting career with Dern, was chosen to speak for the captain’s family members. They want to thank the community for its support and hospital staff for its care, but they’re “sort of overwhelmed,” he said. “We’re hoping to get them some rest.”

Van Tassel said Dern “is a husband, a father, a firefighter and he’s our friend.” Dern has one daughter “that he’s very proud of,” he said. A firefighting family drove her to the hospital from the college she’s attending, he said.

He’s known Dern for years, and Van Tassel describes his friend as someone good at assessing situations, possibly a trait from his time as an Army Cobra helicopter pilot. But he also has an aesthetic eye. Dern built a house in Shaver, which he sold. He also took an old oak branch on the property and fashioned a mantel for a fireplace, Van Tassel said.

But foremost, Dern is a dedicated firefighter. He’s worked at the busiest fire department truck company for the last five years, Van Tassel said. He could have moved to a less “brutal location,” but chose to stay. Dern stepped out and put himself at risk hundreds of times, Van Tassel said.

A speech at a 1998 Exchange Club luncheon honoring Dern as the city’s firefighter of the year epitomized him: “Pete Dern is the kind of employee who sees a job that needs to be done and does it,” said Capt. Michael S. Gill. “He never complains, and never boasts about his deeds or accomplishments.”

On Monday, Donis said the captain is “a leader among leaders in this department. He’s probably trained every single one of us who have come through the ranks at some point.”

She also praised Dern’s team. The firefighters did everything right in a worst-case scenario, she said.

Donis said the fire likely started in the garage, but the cause is still under investigation. “We haven’t ruled out anything yet,” she said. “There are some avenues we’re pursuing.”

Van Tassel said the team broke the garage door down to get Dern out, got his clothes off, called for an ambulance and continued to fight the fire. “I’m very proud of them,” he said. “They all knew what had happened was very bad, and they feared he wouldn’t make it out alive.”

Firefighters have connection to burn unit

Donis said Dern was fortunate that the Leon S. Peters Burn Center is located at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno. “He needed immediate burn attention from the experts,” she said.

Fresno firefighters and the burn center have a long connection going back four decades.

“The center started in 1974 as a result of a Fresno firefighter who was injured,” said Sandra Yovino, the center’s clinical director. The firefighter had to be rushed to San Jose, the nearest burn center at that time, she said.

In the 1970s, burn centers were a new idea, Yovino said. There were only a few nationwide. But Fresno firefighters raised initial funds to help open one, she said. The 10-bed center now admits more than 200 burn patients a year and treats another 500 yearly as outpatients.

For years, the Fresno Firefighters Association has held “Fill the Boot” fundraisers for the center.

The burn center’s hyperbaric oxygen chambers to treat smoke inhalation and hard-to-heal wounds are thanks in large part to fund-raising efforts by Fresno firefighters, Yovino said. “One reason we maintain our hyberbaric department is for our firefighters,” she said.

In the past three years, the burn center has treated nine firefighters, Yovino said. Dern is the first Fresno firefighter among them, she said.

It’s a surprisingly low number of firefighters Dominic says he’s treated for burn injuries in 23 years at the center. “They do a very good job of working safely.”

 Contact Barbara Anderson: banderson@fresnobee.com, (559) 441-6310 or @beehealthwriter on Twitter.


Further Update:

Fresno Fire Capt. Pete Dern returned to surgery Friday morning to prepare his burn wounds for skin grafting.

Surgery once or twice a week is not unusual for patients such as Dern who have sustained major burns to a majority of the body, said Community Regional Medical Center staff.

Dern was burned over 70% of his body March 29 when he fell through a garage roof while fighting a house fire and was engulfed in flames.

Late Thursday afternoon, Dern worked with physical therapists to stand for a short time as part of a regimen important for maintaining muscle strength, said Sandra Yovino, clinical director of the Leon S. Burn Center at the hospital.

During the therapy session, Dern was able to enjoy a hug with his wife, Kelly.

Firefighters from Sacramento and Bakersfield visited the hospital Thursday to support Dern and Fresno firefighters.

Contact BoNhia Lee: blee@fresnobee.com, (559) 441-6495 or @bonhialee on Twitter.

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2015/04/10/4471309_burned-fresno-fire-capt-dern-hugs.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Copyright 2015 – The Fresno Bee

FDIC: THE SMOKE COALITION

smokecoalition

FDIC Promotions and Class Sessions

Every year the Coalition offers a “special” rate membership during FDIC.  This year the focus is on fire departments. After sending last month’s email, it became apparent that the offer needs to be extended outside of FDIC as so many department budgets have been cut that traveling to FDIC isn’t an option.  For that reason, between now and the end of FDIC, the following offer will apply to all fire departments that wish to join.  Simply download the forms and send to the Coalition.This year’s fire department membership can be purchased for $75.00 (one-time fee) and includes the following:

  • 6 individual memberships to www.FireSmoke.org for training staff
  • DVD that includes:
    • ​Virtual Smoke Symposium
    • To Hell and Back: Cyanide Poisoning training video
    • Out of Air training video
    • Aftermath training video
    • Generic power point instructor presentation

The second promotion is the individual lifetime membership for $20.00 and will only be offered during FDIC.

The third promotion benefits the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN).   Thanks-a-Knot, a Phoenix-based business, brands professions and groups with knotted bracelets.  It’s mission is simple:  helping others.  As a kick-off for 2015, Thanks-a-Knot selected the fire service as its first profession to brand with red, black and gray Knots.  Stop by the booth to purchase your Firefighter Thanks-a-Knot for only $5.00 – $1.00 of which will be donated to FCSN.  The goal is to donate $1,000.00 – so please help us make the donation a reality.

Booth Number:  10042 (Maryland Street Corridor)

FDIC Classroom Sessions:

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 10:30 am:  Jason Krusen presents Smells, Bells & Spills

The focus is on the many concerns associated with everyday responses to natural gas emergencies, calls involving carbon monoxide, as well as fuel spills. Safety concerns are discussed along with how to address them and what to look for. Participants are given suggestions for leading by example on the calls and ways to change the behavior of companies operating on the scene. Participants are given ideas and guidelines for mitigating these incidents, as well as training tips for use in their departments. Recent calls involving these incidents are also discussed.

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 1:30 pm:  Rob Schnepp presents Fire Smoke:  The Impact of Inhalation, Ingestion and Absorption and Preventing the Exposure

This program unequivocally proves that if firefighters do not change personal behaviors, they can expect disease and illness to eventually rob them of a healthy life. Students gain information, including new research about personal protective equipment (PPE) and the need to prevent exposure to fire smoke because of its toxic impact on their lives. Many departments have instituted air-management protocols that will prevent exposure through inhalation, but not all understand that inhalation and absorption continue when the body is repeatedly exposed to toxic substances through PPE. Students see why carbon monoxide is not the only substance to fear on the fireground.

“Know Your Smoke” 2015 Training – New Venues!

  • April 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN; Register
  • May 15, 2015; Illinois Fire Services Institute; Register
  • May 18-24, 2015;  Tarrant County College; Register
  • May 16, 2015; Cincinnati Fire Academy; Register
  • June 5, 2015; Yonkers, NY;  Register
  • June 6, 2015; Dutchess County, NY; Register
  • July 18, 2015; Darlington, MD; Register
  • July 19, 2015; Long Island, NY; Register
  • August 14-15, 2015; Anchorage, AK; Register
  • September 27, 2015; Allegheny County, PA; Register;
  • October 2, 2015; Lakewood, CO; Register
  • November 13, 2015; Pasco Community College, Dade City, FL; Register
  • November 14, 2015; Camilla, GA (SOWEGA Fire Chiefs; Register
  • December 5, 2015; Glendale, AZ; Register

For those who have yet to attend “Know Your Smoke” – take a moment and listen to a few thoughts about the training.

Dix Hills, NY:  Four departments chip in to purchase Cyanokit and Save a Life!A 70 year-old man was spared death – and only because he received the Cyanokit.  The Coalition is well aware of the cost of the kit, but there is no other “antidote” approved by the FDA for cyanide poisoning in smoke inhalation.  There are other means of treatment, but not as effective as the antidote that directly counteracts the hydrogen cyanide poisoning.  In this particular case, four departments shared the cost of the Cyanokit.  According to Chief Robert Fling, Dix Hills Fire Department, “soot was visible in the man’s airway.”  Chances are he would not have survived without the antidote.  As Chief Fling so aptly stated, “The Cyanokit is the “Narcan” for smoke inhalation.” Sharing the cost of the Cyanokit may not be possible for all departments, but it’s obviously a life-saving plan worth sharing. All are to be commended and thanked for being progressive and resourceful.View the story as reported by Sophia Hall, WCBS.

Fire Smoke Coalition, Inc.

323 North Delaware  Street

Indianapolis, IN  46204

(317) 690-2542

Contact Executive Director: shawn@firesmoke.org

A Bad Day for a Great Officer.

This graphic video is not to second guess or “armchair quarterback” an incident.  It is, however, a brief snapshot into an evolving incident.  A snapshot that allows all of us, who “are of the cloth” (Blue), to say,there but for the Grace of God...”.

Our thoughts and prayers are extended to our Fresno Family.

There has been a lot of discussion and, as always, that is how we learn and hone our craft.

Anyone with further information…please, respectfully, post in the comment section.         Stay safe out there…

Know Your Enemy!!!

Learn all you can about fire behavior and fire dynamics!

 

The Big Move…

It’s really not a big move at all.

I am working in so many areas that it became apparent that I needed a media apparatus that could keep up with me.  WordPress was suggested a long time ago and as with most folks…change came slowly.

Let me know what you think.  I have been importing articles and posts from my other sites, so I apologize if you have “Seen that Before”… lol.

Maybe you’re like me and when you view something again…you see something you missed or never saw before…

At the very least, chalk it up to me trying to organize my thoughts in one place…

You try doing that and let me know how you make out….

Be well…