Tag Archives: fire officer

UCFA Graduation Keynote – What is past is prologue.

Union County Fire Academy 2016 Graduation Keynote Speech by Battalion Chief John Alston of the Jersey City Fire Department. Subject: “What is Past is Prologue”.

Special thanks to my Union County Academy Family for the invitation to address the graduates; my esteemed honor and privilege to do so.

Retired FDNY Capt. Vincent Julius Dies

The first time I met Captain Vincent Julius of the FDNY and Vulcan Society of New York was in Buffalo New York in 1986.
Vjulius
 I had only been a firefighter for 16 months. He made an instant impression on me; through his care for detail and organization; his love of the fire service; his love for our culture; and his unapologetic demeanor.
He was great friends with another of my mentors Fire Fighter Eddie Dawson of the Jersey city Fire Department. The two of them would pal around all of the time, on Vinnie’s boat.  Capt. Julius sailed on his boat the Red Martha to many of our conferences on the East Coast. He was a well educated man. A man of discipline and substance. He and I would quote the poem Invictus back and forth to each other and the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.
INVICTUS…

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley
He was a great friend and taught me much about our organization. He was steadfast to the end and he will be sorely missed.  
I will remember my friend every time I see the sun’s reflection on the water or a sailboat sway in the sunset.
Fair thee well, Fair thee well, fair thee well….

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE ARTICLE WRITTEN IN THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, BY GINGER OTIS ADAMS…
Retired FDNY Captain Vincent W. Julius, one of the department’s most high-profile African-American firefighters during the city’s “War Years,” died Sunday after a long illness. He was 88.

Julius, born in New York in 1927, was the younger brother of Reginald Julius, who also became a firefighter.

The two men, both WWII veterans who served overseas — Reginald in the Navy and Vincent in the Army — were among just a handful of black firefighters who served in the city’s outer boroughs during the unrest of the 1960s and ‘70s.

Julius became a captain of Ladder 112 in Bushwick in the late ‘70s, where fires bigger than three alarms were called a “Bushwick Sunrise.” He retired in Feb. 1985 after a distinguished career.

Brooklyn Tuskegee Airman who joined FDNY dies aged 95

Julius decided to become a city firefighter after receiving an honorable discharge from the Army as a Staff Sgt. in 1946.

He applied at a time when black firefighters were still scarce — numbering around 50 out of a force of more than 6,000.

Julius was profiled as part of a 2002 book, “So Others Might Live."

Julius was profiled as part of a 2002 book, “So Others Might Live.”

(BASIC BOOKS)

Julius joined the Vulcan Society, the association of black firefighters that exists today.

He fought for more inclusion for black firefighters — who at times were ostracized by colleagues to sleep in “black beds” in the firehouses.

Julius was profiled as part of a 2002 book, “So Others Might Live,” detailing the extensive history of the FDNY.

“It’s all about ordinary people who have found a calling over and above what the average person does,” Julius told author Terry Golway.

Former FDNY firefighter dies from 9/11-related cancer

“You go into a burning building, down a hallway, you see what we call the red demon, and that red demon’s fingers are reaching out for you, and they’re saying, ‘C’mon. C’mon. I’ve got something for you. C’mon.’ And you put your head down and you keep moving,” he said in the book.

FDNY Captain Vincent W. Julius helped draft this resolution with other members of the New York City Fire Department in 1963 that condemns actions by the Birmingham Fire Department during the children's marches. 

FDNY Captain Vincent W. Julius helped draft this resolution with other members of the New York City Fire Department in 1963 that condemns actions by the Birmingham Fire Department during the children’s marches.

(AMY SEDLIS / WBHM)

Julius lived his life as he fought fires — with an eye always turned toward progress.

He was an active and vocal member of the Vulcan Society and served as president of the organization in the 1970s, helping to buy its current headquarters, a brownstone on Eastern Parkway.

Julius was also a co-founder of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters in 1969. The group had its first conference in 1970.

An ardent supporter of Civil Rights, Julius played a critical role in getting the city’s fire unions to denounce the fire departments of southern cities who turned fire hoses on peaceful marchers and protestors.

FDNY vet pens emotional letter to woman who helped dying man

In 1963, Julius — by then an officer — asked the Uniformed Fire Officers Association to write a resolution condemning the use of hoses on civilians, especially children.

FDNY Captain Vincent W. Julius, a former Army Staff Sgt. during WWII, became captain of Ladder 112 in Bushwick in the late '70s.

FDNY Captain Vincent W. Julius, a former Army Staff Sgt. during WWII, became captain of Ladder 112 in Bushwick in the late ’70s.

(COURTESY OF THE VINCENT FAMILY)

The UFOA’s all-white executive board agreed — but when it presented the resolution to the membership, it was voted down, Julius said.

Even though he was one of the few black officers in the union — and a new member — Julius spoke up, and forced the board to pass the resolution anyway.

“I’m very proud of that,” Julius told Birmingham NPR station WBHM last year. “It was a good move, a tough move. I took some brick bats for it, but who the hell cares? Life is made to take adversaries.”

He was the first black firefighter appointed to the FDNY Honor Emergency Fund, which gave out financial assistance to needy families of fallen smoke eaters.

Boogie, the FDNY cat, has died

In the turbulent 1970s, part of the FDNY’s busiest stretch known as the “War Years,” he was the department’s community liaison to underserved neighborhoods — places where the fires burned highest and firefighters often found themselves pelted with rocks and garbage from tenement rooftops.

Julius joined the Vulcan Society, the association of black firefighters that exists today.

Julius joined the Vulcan Society, the association of black firefighters that exists today.

When women moved to join the all-male Bravest in the late 1970s, Julius was their most outspoken champion, said his longtime colleague and friend, James T. Lee.

“He was an organization man, he did a tremendous amount for every organization he joined,” said the 85-year-old retired FDNY firefighter.

“Vinnie always kept the fire burning for justice,” Lee said.

A viewing and funeral will be held Monday, May 16 at 10 a.m. at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, at 75 Pine Lakes Parkway South in Palm Coast, Florida.

Women Leading the Way in Service

From military service to public service, women have led the way. In this segment, a window into the life of Virginia Hall, the Maryland woman who helped the U.S. win World War II. And, we talk to some of the first women to join the ranks of the Baltimore City Fire Department.

FDIC2016: Kaizen & the 7 C’s

How do you improve on improvement? How do you make improvement part of an on-going process? This short clip is a session wrap up. It concludes with the theory of “Kaizen”; small incremental changes towards the greater good. Utilizing input from all areas.

‪#‎FDIC2016‬ Only 3 days before the largest Firefighter Conference in the world. (Over 30,000 FF’s and Instructors)

I hope you can attend but also hope you find time to stop by my workshop on Leadership. My session is April 19, 2016, 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm, Room 134-135 on the main floor. ‪#‎fireofficertrust‬

Unlocking the Chief…

Being Chief has nothing to do with your title. It has everything to do with your choices—those that bring out your best and the best in people around you. Anyone can be Chief.

Rick Miller is a confidant, author, and speaker who can help you unlock your potential and the potential of everyone in your organization. He has a track record of working with Chiefs of all levels doing just that.

Rick Miller describes how Chief titles are widely used today for people with power, but don’t accurately reflect what it means to be a Real Chief. Rick asserts that Being Chief is about making a choice rather than gaining a title. Learn how to unlock your power and be a Real Chief. www.BEINGCHIEF.com

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Great message by Rick Miller who gets it.  One of my firefighters sent this link to me and said that it reminded her of me, in some ways.  I am honored and wanted to share this link with others.  So many people have the title Chief and that’s all that they have.

I hope that I embody and represent some of the traits that Rick speaks of.

Enjoy

Ira Rubin Remembered

IraKiltI will miss my friend and Brother, “23”.

Five of us were out of the country last week, training the South African Fire Department – near Durban South Africa, when we got the news of our dear friends passing.  I was in the middle of class when I got the text message.    After calling to confirm the report and hearing that Engine 19 took the job, I immediately thought of them and prayed for their peace.  I know what it’s like to work the job involving  a “loved one” and he was loved.  I knew that our department and others would never be the same.

I was devastated at the news and knowing that we could not be back in time to make his service; our schedule did not allow us time to grieve and the opportunities to mourn our loss were few and far between.  We ended every meal with a toast to  our friend and brother, but that was not enough.  He deserved more and he was bigger than that.

I pinned these few words to share my own memories:

“To my Friend, Brother and Comrade…Fare Thee Well!IraSmiling

Fare thee well to the one who loved us and loved the most noblest of all professions.

Fare thee well to the one that knew us…to the one that knew us, sometimes, better than we knew ourselves… whose humor, character and being “lived for the job”!

Fare thee well for the constant and immeasurable lives he saved through his words and deeds…he knew so much and shared all.

I will miss my friend of 40 years.  While growing up on Orient Avenue, our families met.  His family owned a local business.  He went to school with my sister Susan.  When it was time for my oldest son, John, to get his first haircut.  It was Uncle Ira that held him  and consoled him in the barber’s chair, because Cheryl couldn’t watch and of course I had to hold the camera.  When my son Malcolm came on the job, it was Uncle Ira who, proudly”, gave him his first badge, matching wallet and keychain.  We were friends, but it wasn’t until I joined the JCFD, when I “Got On The Job” that we became brothers.

It was then the team of “Blackman & Rubin” was formed.  For a short time I was the P.I.O. and caring for my ailing Mother-in-Law.  I would be concerned that I might be delayed in my responses to jobs, from time to time.  I shared that with my Brother Ira.  Without my asking, he gave me an extra radio, scanner for her house and put the Gong Club Frequency on them for me to monitor jobs.  He would give me a ” heads up” en route on the current jobs and incidents.  He knew “who was who in the zoo…”  He advised me on who I could trust and whom I should just leave alone.

He elevated the job and always had its best interests at heart.   He had the heart of a Fire Fighter.  He was a wealth of information.  He just knew things and we challenged each other constantly. (Him winning all the time.)  He saved so many JCFD “Jobs”  with the kindest reminders.

There will never be another “FJ” (Those that know the meaning of those initials knew him best).

Fare thee well…my mustachioed, cigar smoking, FD loving, kilted Bagpipe playing, US Marine (thank you for your service), Rescue 1 Chauffeuring (Oops- another Ira Rubin story), Jeopardy Champion, Fire Historian, Quartermaster, Plant Manager, Fire Buff Extraordinaire, Dispatcher of the highest order, Scholar, Brother, Friend and Comrade…

“23”,  you are already missed.  “23”, our hearts ache for your passing, yet our lives were made better for our knowing you.

Fare thee well “23”….See you on the other side!  

AAAhhhfirmative!

Your Brother from Another Mother…       (as you last said to me)…

CHIEF of the First Battalion, arriving on the scene, with the rest of the companies!”


IraSelling

FR. James Pagnotta wrote: The Jersey City Fire Department lost its “soul mate” with the Thursday morning untimely passing of Ira Rubin!

Ira was a fire buff extraordinaire, a main stay of the Jersey City Gong Club, bag piper “without portfolio,” an avid and accurate Fire Department Historian, and a friend to all.

Serving as Jersey City Fire Chaplain for the past 39 years, it was my honor and pleasure to both know and work with Ira. He was a “matzoh ball” in kilt who played more fire/police funerals in Catholic churches after the horrific 9/11 attack than people could ever imagine. An enthusiastic member of the Archdiocesan St. Florian mass committee, he traveled near and far to honor those who served and made the “supreme sacrifice”

As the Fire Department historian he forgot more fire history than some people could even imagine. He was a pleasure to work with when we established, with the assistance of the Fire Officers and Firefighters Unions, the “Wall of Honor and Eternal Flame of Bravery” at Jersey City’s Fire headquarters. He spent untold hours researching library and cemetery records to ensure all accuracy was present and proper honor was given to those who served and gave their lives.

Ira could light up one of his big cigars and entertain for hours with story after story of fires and fire fighters never missing a flame or act of bravery.

A devoted son, who attended an ailing mother with tender loving care and friend anyone could turn to for help with facts, badges, shields or needs.

Ira’s flame of life has now expired and but fire of his spirit shall live as long as the JCFD continues to serve this community.

Let us give thanks that Ira piped his tunes and tales, kept the records straight and made known the good and heroics deeds of so many.

Mazel tov Ira for a life well lived but oh too short!

REV. JAMES V. PAGNOTTA
CHAPLAIN JERSEY CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT
PASTOR, ST. JOSEPH CATHOLIC CHURCH

Link to news article:  Ira Rubin Remembered

The Fire Smoke Coalition

smokecoal

I joined the Fire Smoke Coalition years ago.  It was not until I got their information at FDIC (www.fdic.com) and reviewed it that I found a wealth of resources that can change firefighters lives.

The mission of the Fire Smoke Coalition is to focus the required attention and resources on the deadly and life-long consequences of breathing  fire smoke by teaching firefighters and first responders how to Prevent, Protect, Detect, Diagnose, and appropriately Treat the exposure if it occurs.  The Coalition is comprised of firefighters and the medical community – all who embrace the challenge of teaching firefighters how to stay alive – and prevent the disease, illness and death associated with today’s deadly fire smoke.

This post links you to an interview I had with the organizations Executive Director, Shawn Longerich.  Her candor and passion for firefighter safety permeates this discussion.

Please visit: www.firesmoke.org  for further information and resources.  Support the cause that is focused on firefighter safety and health.  We can do better!

Shawn Longerich, Executive Director

shawn@firesmoke.org
Fire Smoke Coalition
323 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
www.FireSmoke.org

Are You Still Thinking From The Jumpseat?

Some people say that the toughest change or transition for them is from firefighter to officer; it would be the same in any profession or industry, when you move from worker to supervisor. Just as in the private sector the move and transition is task, role and responsibility specific.  In some cases it is even physical…

In most professions, a promotion is seen as a reward.  In our industry it is more function specific.

You may go from driver to the other front seat with no controls; driving in a vehicle all alone or be driven by an aide. I have ridden in all of them.  Each has its place  and each has its own unique perspective.

In my profession people say that the toughest change or transition for them is from firefighter to officer

They may be right if:

 – You weren’t serious about the job or your responsibilities, to begin with.

– You didn’t make the investment in yourself to study and become proficient

– You don’t like people (the ones you serve or the ones you serve with)

– You are one of the guys/gals and can’t distinguish between leader / follower

– You lack the courage to change yourself and circumstances when needed.

I don’t want you to think that I am bashing anyone or being cruel. I’m not.  Some Officers are honest and tell me that they went for the higher rank, solely, for the higher pay.  (To me, that’s wrong… although not criminal…and now I’m off the soap box)

There are other reasons for this.  I have had the pleasure to work with and speak to hundreds of fire officers in the last thirty years.  Each of them brings something unique to the office and many bring the same thing.  I am finding more and more that they are tool and task focused, as opposed to the overall operation or mission.

When you make the change, there must also be a transition.

You must understand your role and responsibility.

So, if you are a person aspiring to be an officer or manager:

  • Learn your job well, first
  • Study and train for the position you seek
  • Network with incumbents who have been there, done that and have been successful
  • Select and establish rapport with a mentor or role-model
  • Focus your efforts with a positive attitude

If you are already that person and not sure:

  • Perform a self-audit:“Ask yourself, am I doing all that I can?”
  • Study and train to maintain your optimal level of proficiency and knowledge

Please be sure to sign up for our newsletter.  Just enter your email address in the space provided to the left of this article.  We will keep you informed of our classes and up to date information of interest.

 

9/11 Memorial Speech Oceana NAS 2014

Fire Service Cancer Epidemic

Great job Fire Engineering and especially PJ Norwood.  Stay safe!