Tag Archives: fire

The Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation

While attending the 2018 i-Women Conference, I had the most fortunate opportunity to sit down with Ms. Cindy Ell of the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation.

The Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation:

Working to Extinguish Fire Fighter Cancer

Firefighters dedicate their lives to the service of others. The Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation was established in 2004 to provide international outreach, support, and resource assistance programs for firefighters and family members that are stricken by cancer. 

The Foundation is creating state of the art programs for cancer education, awareness, research and prevention to ensure the quality of life and retirement of fire fighters around  the world.

Cindy is a wealth of information and showed us many of the products and information packs that they have developed to help educate Fire Fighters and their families.   We had the chance to talk about Cancer, as it relates to the work environment and the impact it has on first responders and our families. It was one of the most uplifting discussions I have had on this subject.  Cindy is a driven advocate for healthy Fire Fighters and their families.

There was such a wide range of topics and programs that we encourage you to visit their website at:  www.ffcancer.org

And then donate…

2018 CT Fire-EMS Caucus Regional Fire School Funding

Thank you to Connecticut State Representatives Pat Boyd and Brian Ohler for your Co-Leadership of the CT Fire-EMS Caucus.  Your valued support for the safety, operations and well-being of First Responders in the State of Connecticut has not gone unnoticed.

We had the chance to testify at the State Capitol to solicit support for the proper funding of the Regional Fire Schools.

Special thanx and shout out to the Connecticut State Fire and EMS Caucus for granting time to hear the concerns for adequate funding of the regional fire schools.  The Caucus was fully supported by the CT Career Fire Chiefs, the IAFF and our surrounding partners in Public Safety.

Training the New Firefighter

I haven’t been active on social media, blogs or podcasts, in over a year.  Some may know that I retired from the Jersey City Fire Department with 31 years.

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking to the Connecticut Fire Service Instructor’s Association. The topic was training the new firefighter.

It was an informal talk at their Annual Meeting.   The audio is what it is, due to the fact that I did not record the talk in my usual fashion. 🙂

We talked about the classic model of training:

Prepare

Present

Apply

Test

Follow-up

And if you want further information:

Hope it works for you!

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.

Warren County Junior Firefighter Competition

One might wonder how a Jersey City fire fighter ended up participating in  Junior Fire Fire Fighter Competition in Warren County, North Carolina.  No wonder at all.  My Dad was born 8 miles from there in Littleton, NC.  I was invited to speak at the African American Heritage Festival last year, when they honored Firefighters.  There I met some great folks….Fire Chief & Mayor Gardner, Chief Advisor John Franks, Chaplain Stith and J. Greene.  As firefighters do, we hit it of.  I told them about my years of coming back to North Carolina and about my love for our noble profession.

They shared the workings of the various departments and EMS.  Our friendship was formed.  Firefighters are the same, all over!

What an excellent couple of days spent with the Warren County (NC) Junior Firefighters, as they hosted the 2016 Junior Fire Fighter Competition.  I want to thank Chief Advisor, John Franks for his warm invitation and welcome to share with the Juniors.  We spent a great day with them and groups from West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and neighboring areas.  The spirit of competition and camaraderie, among the groups and supporters, was a true inspiration.  I particularly liked the fact that on several occasions faster team members completed their tasks and rather than run on to complete their “personal best time”, they stayed in the zone and helped their teammates complete their task…an example for us all.

Hoseline tug-of-war competition. This was an exhilarating battle between several young teen groups.  Their perseverance and attention to details won the battle for them.  Stellar examples of  situational awareness!DSC_4334

Learned a great lesson from these young people…don’t give up and rely on your training.  There were several times that it looked like the battle would go one way. These young crews dug in and moved the barrel. I over heard a few of the coaches relate these incidents to fire fighting.  Telling them how hold the line, work the nozzle and how to back each other up.

Here is a unique chance to see teamwork and team-building, from the host group Warrenton.

There were several other events.  I’ll post more when I’m back…

 

Flashover in Union County

Spotted this great video excerpt on the Flashover Simulator at the Union County Fire Academy where I use to teach….

Great explanation and narration by my friend, Instructor Emmit Gardner.

…I miss my guys and gals!

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.

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

Happy 65th Anniversary Gong Club

GongClub

2015 OFFICERS:
Chief Conni Spellman
Deputy Chief Pat Spellman
Treasurer Paul Schaetzle
Secretary Bob Scollan

gongclub@comcast.net

The Gong Club is a non-profit canteen unit that provides rehab to Jersey City firefighters and those in the surrounding towns of Hudson County.  The Gong Club has also been an integral part of providing refreshment and rehabilitation to the community and Emergency Management, during a variety of events.  Their selfless acts of service and dedication are greatly appreciated by our us.

Gong Club Members
Gong Club Members

Their members are all volunteers.  They are on-call 24 hours a day and year-round.

The Gong Club responds to fires in Jersey City which are 2nd alarms or larger.

They are also their lend a hand during firefighters funerals and memorial services.

Scan_Pic0007
Member of Rescue One

They also respond to larger fires throughout Hudson County.

DSC04379
JCFD Members “Rehabbing” at the Gong Wago. There are mutual aid agreements with canteen clubs in surrounding counties as well. They have responded to other towns when called.

Throughout the year they also assist at several community events, such as walk-a-thons and runs, including the March of Dimes, Juvenile Diabetes and the Carlos Negron Run. The past 2 years they have served riders during the Police Unity Tour.

They also respond when called out by the JCPD.

During this year’s recognition of their 65 years of service, Deputy Director of the United States Fire Administration, Dr. (Chief) Denis Onieal read and presented a Proclamation from the FEMA, recognizing the many contributions of the Jersey City Gong Club.  There was also a presentation for three members, recognizing them for 25 years of continuous service to the club and fire service.

The Gong Club is a member of the International Fire Buff Association (IFBA) and and the Fire Buff Association of New Jersey.

They have been in the same address, on Bay Street, for over 50 years, but have been around for 65 years! 

GongClubPrez

Congratulations Gong Club Chief Connie Spellman and members.

We celebrate and honor our friends in the Jersey City Gong Club!