Archive for February 23rd, 2019

Huntley FPD news

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When it comes to the skills needed to fight fires and rescue victims, preparedness is second only to the physical ability to get the job done. Both attributes are what teams of firefighters all over the world are preparing to showcase at this year’s Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge (SFCC), which was developed as a way to encourage firefighter fitness, and to demonstrate to the public the physical challenges associated with the job.

Firefighters form an elite core of public servants and some of them work tirelessly to develop on the job skills and physical dexterity to compete for national titles.

Among those top competitors is the 2018 Grand National Champion team from Huntley who is gearing up for the 2019 competitive season. Firefighters Josh Roddy, Scott Sundquist, Eric Rose, and Eric Blaser form a local team called Huntley Fire. They are the first Illinois team in history to win the Grand National title at the SFCC, dubbed by ESPN as the toughest two minutes in sports. All of the members of the Huntley team have completed the challenge in less than 100 seconds, which places each of them in the Lion’s Den, an elite category of the SFCC and the highest recognized achievement for individuals in the SFCC.

The sport entails competing against other teams in a series of seven events that represent tasks firefighters routinely face while on the job. These include climbing a 5-story tower wearing full gear, breathing apparatus, and a 42 lb. hose pack; hoisting a 42 lb. roll of hose up the five-story tower; descending the tower hitting every step; the Keiser sled in which competitors force a 165 lb. steel beam a distance of five feet using a 9 lb. shot mallet; running a slalom through cones in full gear; carrying a 200-lb charged hose 75 feet through saloon doors to spray a target; and finally carrying a 6-foot tall, 175 lb. mannequin 106 feet to the finish line.

A very family-focused sport, the SFCC offers a Kids Firefighter Challenge at many of the regional events, where kids of all ages are outfitted with size-appropriate helmets and turn out coats and compete in challenges designed to mimic the SFCC events.

The sport is open to any firefighter. Firefighters can compete as individuals or as teams of three to five people. There are also opportunities for relay teams and tandem teams at each event.  For firefighters interested in trying their hand at competition, registration is underway for the season kick-off during the FDIC in Indianapolis, IN, on April 11-13. Firefighters can register online at

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Chicago Fire TV show

Excerpts from

Each week, Chicago Fire delivers enough emotional twists and turns to make our heads spin. The show has been known to shock audiences with painful deaths and teary-eyed breakups but, as its name would suggest, it also showcases plenty of fires.

The members of the Firehouse 51 team have rescued countless pedestrians, responded to devastating car crashes, and ran into burning buildings. The high-stakes scenarios and the actors’s professionalism make it easy to forget that they’re not actually firefighters. Still, the cast of Chicago Fire isn’t just reading lines when the cameras start rolling—they’re acting based off of training they’ve done with the Chicago Fire Department.

The cast is put through training that mimics real-life scenarios faced by firefighters. The actors have worn all of the gear, knocked down doors, used the Jaws of Life to break into cars, and walked through rooms so filled with smoke that it’s impossible to see.

The idea behind these exercises is that each experience gives the cast a better idea of what being a firefighter is really like, so they can portray that to audiences. Based on the emotional reactions from fans after every episode, it’s safe to say they’re doing a good job.

thanks Martin


Mattoon Fire Department news

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Mattoon Fire Chief Tony Nichols has announced that he plans to retire after leading the department for nine years and serving in the department for 24 years after  joining the fire department in December 1994.

He said the budgets for the fire department and city have gotten tighter every year during the last decade which have made it tougher to operate the department. He said the council’s vote to eliminate the department’s ambulance service last summer was a factor in deciding it was time to retire. The fire department operated an advanced life support ambulance service from 2010 to 2018. City officials have said that the department’s ambulance service lost money and duplicated the work of private providers. Firefighters countered that their service generated needed city revenue and provided essential coverage for Mattoon.

Nichols, a Mattoon native, is a second generation Mattoon firefighter. His father, Gary, served with the fire department for 27 years and retired as captain more than a decade ago. Nichols joined the department after serving in the Navy and worked his way up to becoming chief in October 2009.

He is proud of fundraisers that firefighters have held for various community causes, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the firefighter’s Thanksgiving food basket program in addition to the more than $550,000 in grants that firefighters have obtained in recent years to help with the purchase of a rescue pumper and turnout gear.

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Chicago Fire Department history (more)

Photos taken by Warren Redick that were housed at Engine 53’s house in the Stockyards.

vintage Chicago FD IHC hi-pressure wagon

Warren Redick photo

vintage Chicago FD Mack L-Model pumper Engine 53

Warren Redick photo

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