Fire Yenta 11/1/02

By Diane Feldman, Managing Editor

Old equipment making a comeback?
Thirty years ago, deodorizers were carried on rescue trucks. The firefighters would use them in homeowners’ closets after a fire to try to rid clothing of the smoke smell (perfume to firefighters’ noses; stink to civilians’ noses).

Actually, William Peters, battalion chief and apparatus supervisor for the Jersey City (NJ) Fire Department explains, such deodorizers are on the National Fire Protection Association’s list of recommended equipment to carry on a ladder truck (“deodorizer unit, power-operated”).

Some departments use them, but mainly cleaning services that specialize in after-fire cleanup use them. Wouldn’t that be a great customer service for your department to provide to the homeowner after their devastating life-changing event (if time, schedules, and staffing permit, of course)?

From the video shoot files
When we were shooting Bill Peters’ Factory Inspections of New Fire Apparatus video for Fire Engineering a few years ago (the Yenta served as producer on the video), we were off to a great start. The natural lighting the outdoors provided was perfect on that cool fall weekend morning, Peters was all gussied up in his crisp dress uniform to film his speaking parts, and the hosting fire department was graciously on time to let us onto the fire station premises.

We were on schedule and ready to shoot. All the equipment was set up-there were extra batteries and electrical cords, personnel were all in their places, Peters was positioned and fitted with a microphone … and then the videographer discovered he left the camera at home-40 minutes away!

Famous wine/whine: “I want to go to Miami”
Some Miami-Dade (FL) firefighters call a great majority of their EMS calls “V and D” calls-“V and D” stands for “veak and dizzy”-the common complaint among the elderly population!

On an unrelated note, the Yenta called a captain there on cell phone, and he was on the rig going to inspect hydrants. “What are you doing that for?” I asked, my civilian-ness showing. “In the very, very, very unlikely event we have a fire and in the very, very, very, very, very unlikely event that we have to hook up to a hydrant.” Think the EMS calls are outweighing the fire calls there?

What’s important to the engine guys?
What is the most important piece of equipment on the engine company? Spare socks. “Especially for firefighters who served in Vietnam,” Peter Hodge, fire officer and FDIC conference coordinator explains, “dry socks are most important.”

New scholarship available
The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) National Leadership Institute and the International Association of Fire Chiefs are co-sponsoring scholarship funds for leadership training. Scholarship recipients will participate in the Leadership Development Program(r), a weeklong seminar that will help participants develop coaching and mentoring skills. For more information, contact the UMUC Advancement Office at (240) 684-5100 or (800) 888-UMUC.

If you have a tidbit for the Fire Yenta, e-mail

For past Fire Yenta columns, click on the links below:


No posts to display