“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a firefighter The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the firefighter has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

-Chief Edward F. Croker FDNY circa 1910

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Boston Fire Union responds to NIOSH report on fatal 2014 fire

Boston Fire Union responds to NIOSH report on fatal 2014 fire

Boston Firefighters union president Rich Paris releases a response to the NIOSH investigation results of the 2014 fire that claimed the lives of Lt Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy.  The report cited lack of training, inadequate staffing and failure to adequately assess risk contributed to the deaths. 

To All Media Outlets:

I am writing in response to the recent coverage of the Board of Inquiry reports (Federal and City of Boston) regarding the 2014 Beacon Street Fire. These reports revealed what every Boston Firefighter already knew – Lt. Walsh and Michael Kennedy did nothing wrong. Both reports also revealed an enormous amount of data. Some scientific, some the result of budgetary restraints that I believe were placed on the Boston Fire Department as a result of a strained relationship with the previous administration. The Federal Board of Inquiry and The Boston Fire Department Board of Inquiry should be commended for the long hours of painful reconstruction of this tragedy. On behalf of Boston Firefighters, I would like to thank them respectively for their efforts. However, these reports did not reveal any solution(s) that would change the manner in which Boston Firefighters operate when they are called to duty. Boston Firefighters took an oath to protect life and property, sadly sometimes that oath is carried out with our members making the supreme sacrifice,  so others may live. This is an unfortunate reality of our profession. While the recent reports provide a detailed insight into the events of the Beacon Street Fire, they do not suggest any wrongdoing by Boston Firefighters, or point to any easier way to perform a difficult job. More importantly, they should not be viewed as a critical assessment of any of the firefighters that went to work on that fateful day.

Some media outlets have interpreted these reports as a criticism of Lt. Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy. Some media outlets have even used words like “scathing” and “wrongful” to describe the actions of the Boston Fire Department. As the President of Boston Firefighters Local 718, I am outraged at these assertions and heartbroken for the Walsh and Kennedy Families. Fire Commissioner Finn and I painstakingly reviewed both reports and drew the same conclusion, if the same circumstances presented today our members would do exactly the same thing.  Boston Firefighters have a dangerous job. Furthermore, while some factors at a fire can be predicted, and trained for many cannot.

It is my intention moving forward, that the Walsh and Kennedy Families are continually cared for and protected. The unnecessary scrutiny of Lt. Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy’s actions by some media outlets that have chosen to interpret the recent reports as something that they are not, is simply wrong. I am aware that the media has a job to do, but so do we. It is my sincere hope that the Walsh and Kennedy Families will be allowed to move forward and spared of any further criticism of the heroic actions that their loved ones exhibited on that terrible day.  I have been saying from the beginning, Lt. Walsh and FF Kennedy were involved in a mission with their brother and sister firefighters that day.  They saved people’s lives and unfortunately made the ultimate sacrifice.  Lt. Walsh & FF Kennedy are heroes in my book.  During interviews last week, I consistently reiterated those words, however they were never publicized.  Therefore, I respectfully request that my words are interpreted for what they are – a request for these families and the members of the Boston Fire Department to be afforded the opportunity to continue to heal.

Thank you.

Respectfully,

Rich Paris, President
Boston Firefighters
Local 718 AFL-CIO

Photo by; BRIAN SNYDER Reuters.

Related link: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/03/09/federal-investigators-cite-lack-training-and-inadequate-staffing-deaths-boston-firefighters/UDM4TQ7KbnPbwYMpXJOwfK/story.html

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NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade 2016

NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade 2016

Picture perfect day on 5th Avenue draws a sea of green to both march and watch the 2016 St. Patrick's Day Parade. As become a new tradition after September 11th, 2001, the FDNY remembered their 343  members who were no longer around to join in the march up 5th Avenue. This year was extra heart warming and special; the FDNY Emerald Society honored retired Firefighter Ray Pfeifer, Eng.40, as their Grand Marshal. For the past few years, Ray has faced off with 9/11 cancer numerous times. Each time, he fought and fought harder. In 2015, the Zadroga Act was set to expire, leaving a threat to hundreds who are fighting 9/11 illness to fend for themselves. With the help of The New York City Firefighters Brotherhood Foundation, John Feal and the Feal Good Foundation and Jon Stewart, Ray traveled to DC to lobby politicians to speak face to face with him. The sight alone of a battle-hardened firefighter in a motorized scooter was enough for some to sign on. Ultimately, the team returned to New York City with some victorious news that the Zadroga Act would be extended indefinately; providing care to those who spent countless hours searching for survivors and bringing closure to families that lost their loved ones at the World Trade Center. In January of 2016, Ray Pfeifer was honored by NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio and presented with the key to the city. Today, he led the Emerald Society as Grand Marshal.

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Fireboat McKean off to it's 2nd life

Fireboat McKean off to it's 2nd life

March 17th, 2016

Fireboat McKean (Marine 1) has been purchased and is off to begin it's 2nd life. In the Begining of March, 2016, Michael Kaphan and Edward Taylor purchased the fire boat from the City of New York at auction with plans to relocate it to Sleepy Hollow to be a part of their restaurant on the Hudson Harbor waterfront development. The new owners plan to keep the ship's name and honor it's history.

The 129 foot boat was built in 1954 and nicknamed after Marine Engineer John D McKean. McKean worked in Engine 85(Fireboat James Duane), on September 17th, 1953, he was detailed to Engine 51(Fireboat George B McClellan) for a water display in the New York Harbor. The display was for a group of state senators and assemblymen. A condenser in the engine room blew it's top and scalded Engineer McKean. McKean succumbed to his injuries on September 24th, 1953. McKean was 43 years old, married and had 2 children.

At 129 feet, Fireboat John D McKean weighed 334.75 gross tons. It's height above water including the tower is 47 1/2 feet. She is propelled by 2 1,000 HP Enterprise direct reversible diesel engines that provide a speed of 16 MPH. 2 more 1,000 HP Enterprise engines drive 4 centrifugal pumps, with an output of 14,000 GPM.

On September 11th, 2001, Fireboat McKean responded to the World Trade Center. She arrived next to the sea wall and the crew loaded more than 200 civilians whom were then transported to the New Jersey side of the river where they recieved medical attention. She then served as a source of positive water supply to the site and lower Manhattan as the water grid was affected by the building collapsing. 

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2nd Annual NYC Firefighter Stair Climb 2016

2nd Annual NYC Firefighter Stair Climb 2016

Sunday March 13, 2016, the 2nd Annual NYC Firefighters Stair Climb was held at 4 World Trade Center. This is an event ran by firefighters for firefighters. The goal: to follow in the foot steps of those who lost their lives on 9/11/01. And, at every turn of the corner during this event, it was a constant reminder. 'Monumental Pride' Engine 76/Tower Ladder 22 really went above and beyond running this event. Pictures lined the stair case, family pictures of our lost brothers. If that wasn't motivation enough, when you reached the top, profile pictures displayed on the windows with the new World Trade Center in the background.

343 New York City Fire Department members reached the stairs on 9/11, in attempt to save as many lives as possible, 343 never made it out. In addition, retired Captain James Corrigan L-10, retired Firefighters Philip Hayes E-217 & William Wren L-166 all worked as Fire Safety Directors for the World Trade Center, had lost their lives. Most notable of their actions that day, was when they breached a wall of the 1st floor day care to evacuate the children because the exits were blocked by other evacuating civilians. Keith Roma of the New York Fire Patrol also lost his life responding that day.

A moment of silence was held at the Memorial Pool, followed by a group picture, then the climb. The event was extremely organized with the help of numerous volunteers at the sign up desk, on various floors handing out water and ofcourse at the top to help the arriving members doff their gear and cool down.

NYC Fire Wire staff were there photographing the event.

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City Hall, FDNY in talks over Ambulances

The Fire Department is in talks with City Hall over the best way to provide reliable ambulance service in the wake of the sudden shutdown of the private ambulance company TransCare last month, according to Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

TransCare was one of the private companies — besides the FDNY EMS — that sends ambulances to 911 emergency medical calls and serviced seven hospitals in Manhattan and the Bronx until it filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations.

“Twenty-seven ambulances were lost overnight when TransCare went out of business,” Nigro said at a City Council budget hearing on Thursday. He added, “That’s a dangerous situation, that so many ambulances were provided by one company that was obviously on shaky financial ground.”

Since the shutdown, the city has been using a mix of fire department overtime, volunteer and private hospital ambulances to cover the vacated shifts. TransCare’s shuttering translated into a ten percent cut in ambulance tours citywide.

The de Blasio administration has increased the budget for FDNY EMS in the past two years, adding 45 new ambulance tours and funding new EMS pilot programs. But TransCare’s shutdown eliminated 81 tours in just a matter of days.

The city’s reliance on private ambulance companies prompted Councilmember Rory Lancman to ask, “whether or not the department should be relying on these private operators?” He continued, “[or whether] the department should take responsibility for what it does better than any other department or private organization in the world and that is respond to these [emergency medical] calls?”

Nigro said those “exact discussions” are going on between the FDNY and City Hall right now.

Council scrutiny over the use of private ambulance companies as part of the city’s overall emergency medical response comes as both FDNY officials and Council members shared concerns over an uptick in response times to fires and medical emergencies.

Nigro said one cause for the increased response time was a surge in the number of emergencies the FDNY responded to last year. He testified that 2015 was the busiest year in the fire department’s 150 year history. Fire units responded to nearly 600,000 fire and medical emergencies, a 12 percent increase over the previous year. EMS units responded to more than 1.4 million calls, a 6 percent increase over 2014.

He also pointed to an ongoing lag in processing time for 911 calls, an issue the de Blasio administration committed to studying nearly two years ago.

In May 2014, Director of Operations Mindy Tarlow said the city would conduct a pilot to determine if it was more efficient for 911 call takers to ask “what” the emergency was or “where” the emergency was happening. That pilot has never happened.

Nigro said he believes that change will reduce response times and he’s optimistic that a permanent change will take place soon. He said in lieu of a pilot, the mayor’s office conducted “exhaustive research.”

“It took us a long time to get to this point so I don’t see anything standing in our way now,” said Nigro.

Asked if the delay was frustrating, Nigro replied, “I think one can’t be in government and be easily frustrated. I’m not. I’m optimistic.”

Report by WNYC.org

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