Mon, 7 Dec 2009|
Chief Bobby Halton reviews the week's major fire news, including a FEMA grant to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute to develop a component for a firefighter monitoring system.
I am -- -- welcome to fire engineers week in review. This week's we -- review is being brought you by the courage of -- foundation sponsors of the ray -- award. This prestigious award is given every year FDIC's conference and carries with it -- 35000. Dollar cash prize. Nominations are still open so if you know someone who's deserving of the ray Downey courage and valor award. Go to FDIC dot com download the nomination -- you ward will be presented with a medal and a check for 35000 dollars. On April 21. During the opening ceremonies of FDIC. 2010. Remember go to FDIC dot com and register now as classes are filling up fast and -- program will probably sell out once again. And now to the news. Just -- -- institute has received one million dollar award from FEMA. To develop -- component of an integrated monitoring system designed to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries. By allowing just precisely track and locate firefighters inside of buildings in three dimensions. Additionally this new technology should display continuous monitoring. Firefighters vital signs toward an incident commanders of when we are at risk of stress related -- And other thoroughly effective medical conditions. If you want more about how -- affects us on -- download doctor Brown's report from partners dot com. Now this new system that would test -- Polytechnic institute is working on along with -- Is going to track toward -- temperature readings. These readings will give incident commanders ends up as to when -- possible hostile fire events might be beginning to happen. Working on tracking firefighters systems have been being conducted by several groups including -- good friends and an -- and others. This technology when available will provide much needed information in the event that a firefighters lost last called -- -- We'll keep you posted we find a system that's actually work. Philadelphia a charge of racism has been leveled against the Philadelphia firefighters union. And federal lawsuit filed by the black firefighters organization. The lawsuit contends that the union leadership is dominated by a group of white firefighters -- -- dedicated to ending a 25 year old federal consent decree. The lawsuit identifies the group as concerned American firefighters association. And claims that its agenda is pushing an end to this federal consent decree. The unions and the -- lawsuit notes that in the union's December bargaining proposal. Was included language that requested the elimination of any and all quota based hiring practices. According to Kenneth green president of the black firefighters group known as the valiants. They're using my union dues to do it and it's a slap in my face. According to the lawsuit. African Americans have no voice in the union. Among other remedies that called -- is asking for is a civil rights monitor to oversee the union. Until according to the lawsuit it is -- no longer racially hostile union. The union's president well of the of local 22. Contends that the allegation against the union is completely untrue. President -- who has not yet seen the lawsuit said in that it L he could not comment blank. That the unions that the lawsuit against the union had no merit and -- the union wants everyone to be on the same page in contract negotiations with the city. At the heart of the issue is a philosophical battle. Over the consent decree which began in 1984. Mandating the hiring of more black firefighters. And also replacing an entrance exam that was -- deemed to be discriminatory. Against black applicants. In 1974 a lawsuit was initially filed since then. That consent decree signed in 1984. Has spent an extended indefinitely by another federal decision in 1999. This year however the city of Philadelphia paid 275000. Dollars. In a settlement to five white fire fighters -- five white lieutenants. Said they were denied promotions. Because the results were skewed in favor of minorities. The president of concerned American firefighters might -- Said the proposal to limit quota based hiring. Was subsequently dropped in these negotiations. Because the arbitration panel has no standing on the rule. The proposal came from the membership according to -- It's a democratic process. And now the group has been allowed to intervene in -- federal court lawsuit to try to overturn the consent decree. Again according to Breslin. We view it as an antiquated system most of the guys getting skipped over weren't even born when the consent decree was enacted. -- related story a dozen white firefighters in Bridgeport Connecticut have prevailed in a reverse discrimination suit against the city of Bridgeport. Lawyers representing these white fire -- said the position was bolstered. By the US Supreme Court decision this summer the -- case which ended in the promotion of twenty New Haven firefighters this week. In the -- case twenty firefighters claim -- have been discriminated against the by the city of New Haven when their test results were changed in favor minorities. The subsequent Supreme Court decision stated that no one group can be adversely and acted in order to positively impact. Another group. Fire engineering is going to continue to follow these stories as the fire service continues to struggle with issues of diversity and quality. Fair labor practice and all the associated. Things in that context. And now to the final word. This week's final word like the talk a little bit about what's going on in terms of diversity. -- here in an awful lot since the -- a decision about title seven disparaging impact and the treatment of blacks whites. Hispanics. Other ethnic groups in the American fire service as regards to promotions hiring and firing. All of this is critical stuff things we have to pay attention to. And quite frankly they're tough topics. Our attorney general Eric Holder claim that the American fire service or claim that the Americans were cowards when it came to speaking about race and these issues. Quite frankly I disagree. I think if -- -- services currently engaged in very respectful. Dignified and very important discussion about race about equality. About how we should move forward and he's incredibly difficult topics. This year -- FDIC. Will be holding a panel on diversity with the president black professional firefighters on -- Cheryl what about from I went and frank Ritchie who was the point -- in the recent decision. And John Murphy -- an attorney who helped moderate the discussion. We're also gonna have a panel discussion on safety. -- -- McCormick. With. -- sorry -- the legal Fedor and John Simpson from Orlando Florida. These are two incredibly important topics diversity and -- -- safety. Now I'd like to speak to you today in the final word about a report that came out from the -- national association. Of women and fire and emergency services. The report released in April 2009. Is entitled the report card on women and firefighting Edwards -- services. This report is a must read for all firefighters. I strongly recommend that you go to the -- women web site. And the dot com and download a copy of this report. It is absolutely no longer acceptable that we have less than 3% of our firefighting force in America as being female. When most other industries like ours to include law enforcement mining. Another extremely high risk professions. Women account for almost 17%. Of their populations. Personally I don't think 17%. Is even a high enough number to shoot four. But it's certainly a goal that's readily attainable and highly worthy of every effort we can extend. Another important item to note is that the I would report -- women in general do not support quotas or affirmative action. As maneuvers to force the addition of women -- firefighting forces. But rather strongly advocated the support. Ways to educate create environments that are welcoming and acceptable mentoring programs outreach programs -- the community. And other ways to what let women know that they're welcome they're capable and they will make incredibly dynamic firefighters. If you were to with the firefighter who believes that we can't do the job in my opinion you working with a complete fool. I know several female firefighters. That I've had the pleasure to work with were twice the fire -- that I could ever hope to a bad. And I'm honored that they have chosen to join our perfection. In case you haven't noticed when -- make up about 50% of the population. My sons who have chosen the military for their careers fight alongside of some of the finest soldiers and some of the finest sailors in the world -- -- women. It's high time that the fire service created -- more aggressive recruitment program to bring women into our ranks. -- Bobby Holton. Merry Christmas and happy -- that's my final words and remember. Be careful.