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Week in Review: January 22, 2010

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Fri, 22 Jan 2010|

Chief Bobby Halton reviews the latest fire service news, including the resignation of the Houston (TX) Fire Chief.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Hello and welcome to fired hearings we can review. I'm your host Bobby Alton editor in chief of fire injuring magazine. And this week were brought to you by the FDNY foundation special operations symposium. The FDNY foundation will be holding a special operations symposium. Featuring some of the finest rescue technicians in the world. The conference will be held at -- the electric facility on Randall's island and will feature members of the -- the it was special operations division including. Retired chief -- La Familia -- chief -- to -- potentially Joe Downey currently deployed eighty. The -- chief Don aide deputy chief Joe Pfeiffer and battalion chiefs might -- Please register early as this symposium will go fast and it's undoubtedly going to sell out. Go to WW WFDNY. Foundation dot org and register now and now the point of view. -- three point of view witness the election of senator Scott Brown to the Senate seat formerly held by Senator Edward Kennedy. Regardless of one's political leanings the lessons for all of us firefighters is that politics is local to quote Tip O'Neill. Firefighters can take away several important points first we need to remain politically active at all levels of government. Not just federally. The local government is far more important terms of firefighting. Than any other political activity. Firefighting is largely a local issue. On the operational -- point of -- would like to point out -- state of firefighting operationally. Is also a very local issue. There are differences -- resources and staffing that make it important that local leaders have the ability. And the power and the legal authority to deploy those resources and personnel. In ways that best suit. That local fire department. Although point of view strongly endorses but he national policies and procedures best practices. We remain steadfastly committed to management of the fire ground. The local level. National standards except the best practice and guidelines should always be readily available. And research readily accessible to all firefighters. However those national standards and accept the best practicing guidelines are implemented on the fire ground. Clearly should be in the hands of those up close and personal with the fire. Point of view wishes to give senator brown the best of luck the best of success in the future remind firefighters everywhere that in 2010. Every house and congress -- -- programs. Make your voice -- heard. Let's elect people who represent our local concerns and not be swayed by the opportunity to be in the national spotlight. Get active. Stay active. Let's like people who are citizens first and recognize. That the role of government is to protect its citizens. And the protection is best served by having well staffed well trained and well led firefighters and law enforcement officers. In every community. In America. And now to the news. -- -- fire chief -- board -- is stepping aside effective Friday the 22. And returning to the fire house. Or ski who's been with the department for nearly three decades said his heart never left the fire station. -- -- who became emotional at times during Tuesday's news conference. Said that the department had come under particularly tremendous scrutiny last year for racial and sexual harassment. First when news was reported a fire station in February. That when problems between the -- -- at station 54 erupted during the summer. To female firefighters reported that racist and sections graffiti. Was scrawled -- their quarters and on their belongings. One of those women change -- court returned the station for the first time since the summer. And was met by -- -- his command staff psychologist. And a dozen coworkers. In what the chief called -- team building session. -- court said it turned into a demeaning confrontation. That included rumors and ramblings about her sanity. -- and -- parker said the episode so displayed poor judgment by chief or a ski and his senior staff. For -- last week said the purpose of the meeting was to lay down the expectations. Of treating people with respect and professionalism. And the transition of change coming back to work. City Hall spokesman Patrick -- and said the -- -- move back to the field was voluntary. Based on the comments of the mayor and the nature of the situation he had to make a decision tree said. Jeff canyon president of the used to professional firefighters. Said arrangements written statement -- -- But the rank and file generally respect she -- -- character. And his good intentions. The truth is chief for -- was a victim of his good nature and management style. Both of which -- him vulnerable to political attack -- said. For the past year opportunist politicians. Extreme activist and disgruntled city employees. Who recklessly stereotype local firefighters. Also treated the chief. Disrespectfully. Fire engineering wishes the -- the best of luck on his return to his field duties. In Tulsa Oklahoma. The newly elected Tulsa mayor is facing tremendous budget problems but he has now agreed to sit down with the firefighter union and try to find a way to save jobs. -- Dewey Bartlett. Has agreed to open formal negotiations with the firefighters union. About his budget cutting options. The fire union has shown to be to be of a mind set to discuss viable options Bartlett told the -- news papers locally. They understand the position that I am and an -- the reality that we have a serious financial problem. Time is of the yes a -- essence Bartlett said if there's nothing substantive that happens quickly layoffs are in -- Also firefighters local 176 president -- -- said that negotiations will give the union some back and forth with the administration. Rather then -- giving us ultimatums. Is negotiations he was being assembled for the process to start as soon as possible he said. Avoiding lay off of -- 130 firefighters. Bartlett has called firefighter union to consider an eight point 6% salary cut. And benefit concessions involving education bilingual. Emergency medical certification Hazmat response team pay. And a reduction in their longevity play. No fire union membership vote will take place until after the negotiation process according to union president day. What prince Haiti the New York rescue team -- through the wreckage in search of victims of last week's devastating earthquake. Many of those working for the New York urban search and rescue task force served at the World Trade Center disaster. And this event clearly reminded them of their other heroic -- tragic work. You can never forget the smell of death from New York -- -- -- -- -- year veteran of the New York City far apart. And I can smell it right now sniff the air that's it once it's in your. It doesn't come now. The firefighter. Part of an eighty person urban search and rescue team. That includes firefighters police officers and paramedics. All from New York. Shook his head as -- looked at the damage all around him. He had spent time at ground zero -- also -- Katrina. And he had responded to the Oklahoma City -- bombings in 1995. Porter -- the capital eighties was somewhat different though for this firefighter. To quote. At least at 9/11 you -- a place to go to get away from the hole he said. Preferring to speak anonymously. And discussing his personal feelings he said this is like 9/11. On the -- Manhattan island and there's nothing left. How are they going to come back after this this place needs to be -- none of -- receivable. Looking at all -- hungry people gather round and he said this is the last time I'll be throwing any food away at home. I'll be looking at things a lot differently when I get back. 26 year veteran of the -- Taking a break a collapsed school on Monday so they were the moments. When the specifics of that disaster fade away. When his mind and his attention -- narrow as the tunnel -- squeezing himself through. When you have your head in the -- you forget what you are he said you could be anywhere really. The person that you're looking for could be anywhere it's real simple. You wanna get them out alive. The New -- task force one is so far responsible. For rescuing. Seven people from the wreckage. It's rewarding to come thousands of miles and save a life said lieutenant Tom Donnelly. In a related story from Sacramento. Rescue teams are standing down as the Haiti priority shift from rescue to body recovery. The northern California rescue teams that have been waiting to -- the Caribbean nation say they probably will not be needed. Federal officials on Monday told the eighty member search and rescue team based out of Sacramento but they could stand down and go back to the normal duties. Although they would remain on -- two -- deployment notice for the rest of this week. Also told to stand down was the Oakland based team. Made -- of firefighters from throughout Alameda County. To search and rescue teams from Los Angeles county in Virginia. Have been in Haiti for almost five days they were joined there by other teams from new York city Florida and Virginia. The six American teams were among 43 brought in from around the world. Who together have rescued 71 people including some -- without food -- water for many days that's the news remember. Go to WW WFDNY foundation dot org and register today. I'll see you in New York on March 15 and sixteenth for the FDNY special operations symposium on Randall's island. And then hopefully we can all march together and Saint Patrick's Day on the seventeenth. -- -- -- And remember. Be careful.

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