Archive for June 15th, 2015

Coal City FPD gets search-and-rescue dog

Excerpts from the

Last year, Rikki, a 6-month-old German shepherd, was adopted from a rescue in Wisconsin. Now a year older, she’s working as a search-and-rescue dog for the Coal City Fire Protection District with her handler, Lt. Nick Doerfler. She has had more than 200 training hours to become a search-and-rescue dog and is undergoing additional training to become a cadaver dog.

“What brought it on was we had several drownings last year, and dogs had to be brought in to assist,” Doerfler said. “In addition to that, we have several children with autism in our area who have wandering tendencies. Rikki will be able to help find them.”

Doerfler said in her initial water training for human remains detection from a boat, she was able to alert to 1 millimeter of a scent that was 3 feet under water. He said a dog trained in water detection can pinpoint an area within a couple feet for each foot below the surface the body is. If a body is trapped 10 feet under water, the dog will give a 20-foot area to search with sonar or divers, narrowing the search on a large body of water.

As a MABAS 15 asset, she will be available to assist other fire protection districts as needed. Unlike the typical police dog, Rikki will not be used in any criminal cases.

Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District Chief Tracey Steffes said while police agencies in the area have tracking dogs, having another one available is a great idea. With no other agency in Grundy County having a cadaver dog, Rikki will be valuable to the county.

Rikki, like other working dogs, will work only for her handler and is not trained to bite or attack. Doerfler takes care of Rikki, and she goes home with him where she is part of the family. When he brought the idea to the fire district, he had no idea if officials would let the program move forward or if they would let him be the handler. But he felt it was something the area truly needed. The district not only agreed to buy the dog for $375, but also agreed to let Doerfler be her handler and train with her.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , ,

Cancer message for firefighters

Excerpts from

Fire Chief W. Kyd Dieterich with the Hagerstown Fire Department  doesn’t have a sense of smell, has difficulty talking and has trouble getting ready in the morning.

“I had squamous cell carcinoma in my larynx, so laryngeal cancer,” Dieterich said.

Kyd has worked in the City of Hagerstown for 35 years and was diagnosed with the cancer in 2012. He says over the past ten years it has been discovered that firefighters have been exposed to a high level of carcinogens on a continual basis.

“The mentality used to be that dirty, filthy turnout gear was a badge of honor, that you got in there and you got the job done. When in fact, we’re killing ourselves because cancer rates among firefighters are much higher than the rest of the population,” he said.

Kyd says the European fire service is way ahead of Americans when it comes to cancer prevention. He added they have decontamination stations on the fire trucks, and places like Hagerstown don’t.

“We need to change the culture of the way we think, the way we look at it from day one. The first day on the job, as far as I’m concerned, the very first lesson should be cancer prevention. That’s the only way we’re going to stop it,” Dieterich said.

Kyd joined a firefighter cancer support network in California to be a mentor to others diagnosed with similar types of cancer to what he has. He has simple advice to give to other firefighters.

“Wash your gear, wash your gear, wash your gear. When you’ve been exposed to smoke, carcinogens, things like that, get a shower, get it off your skin as fast as you can. Change your clothes as soon as you can. Mitigate the exposure as much as possible,” Dieterich said.

Chief Dieterich will be retiring at the end of the month.

Tags: , ,

Chicago Fire Department Haz Mat Level I, 6-14-15

This from Eric Haak:

The outbound lanes of the Bishop Ford Freeway (I94) were closed at 137th Street for nearly three hours due to a semi that crashed into the median and damaged the saddle tank.  One other vehicle was involved in the incident.  The accident happened on the incline leading up to the Steel Bridge which caused the diesel fuel to roll downhill towards the shoulder.  Engine 80 and Truck 62 were first up and dropped one line and began diking the spill.  Engine 75 took a position on the off ramp to Beaubien Woods and dropped a second line.  The wreck occurred at about 4:55 and companies remained on the scene until 7:45 when the State Police finally reopened the expressway.

tow truck cleans spill from semi on highway

Eric Haak photo

tow truck with semi on highway

Eric Haak photo

fireman pulls hose line wearing safety vest

Eric Haak photo

firefighters at haz mat scene on highway

Eric Haak photo

fireman with hose line on a highway

Eric Haak photo

fire engine off highway ramp

Eric Haak photo

Chicago FD Squad 5

Eric Haak photo

Tags: , , ,