Senior firefighters prove age is just a number

firefighter training

Senior firefighters prove age is just a number

Just because people have a desire to complete firefighter training and become professional rescue workers does not mean they always follow through on their goals. If these individuals ever feel like they do not have what it takes to succeed as a firefighter, they may want to turn to elderly firefighters who are not letting age stand in their way.

At a young age, now 68-year-old Vermont resident Andrea Peterson dreamed of one day becoming a firefighter, according to The Huffington Post. When she was just a child, Peterson was rescued from a burning building by firefighters.

“I remember standing there and saying, ‘I’m gonna be a fireman just like you,'” Peterson told the news source. “They laughed [and] said, ‘You’ll be a good mommy, you’ll be a good teacher, maybe you’ll be a nurse, but you can never be a fireman.'”

Of course, Peterson proved these firemen wrong and now works at her village’s fire department.

Then, there is Jack H. Dunkley, a 90-year-old Indiana resident who was recently named the state’s oldest active volunteer firefighter, the Tribune-Star reported. While Dunkley never thought he would still be volunteering at the age of 90, he has lived a good life with no regrets.


EMTs battle winter storm Nemo to help those in need

EMTs battle winter storm Nemo to help those in need

The winter storm known as Nemo may be long gone, but those who were in its path are unlikely to forget this nor’easter any time soon. Although weather warnings and driving bans kept many people safe throughout the blizzard, rescue workers did not have the luxury of staying indoors and watching the snow pile up outside.

According to USA Today, Nemo dumped more than 30 inches of snow in Portland, Maine, while areas like Hartford, Connecticut, Concord, New Hampshire, and Boston, Massachusetts, received at least 22 inches each. No matter what conditions they faced, many of the emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in the storm’s path likely found themselves drawing on their EMT training to do their job despite the dangerous weather. Here are a few examples of how these professionals overcame Nemo and provided assistance to those who needed it most:

EMTs help deliver blizzard babies
Most expecting mothers would probably prefer to give birth at a time that is most convenient for them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as evidenced by the babies who entered the world in the middle of the blizzard.

On February 9, two women in Ashland, Massachusetts, went into labor, WCVB NewsCenter5 reported. While emergency crews managed to get one of the women to the hospital in time for the birth of her child, the second woman gave birth in an ambulance en route to the hospital.

Of course, delivering a baby in an ambulance is far from ideal for both EMTs and mothers-to-be, but those who go through EMT training should be prepared for this type of scenario.

Rescue workers adopt a new mode of transportation
As snow piled up on the roadways of Connecticut, it became harder for rescue workers to do their jobs. For this reason, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed an emergency order that allowed emergency workers to use off-road vehicles, the Valley Independent Sentinel reported.

Thanks to the emergency order, emergency responders were able to use off-road vehicles like the 6×6 Polaris Ranger to get to people in need and bring them to the hospital.

“This is the first time we’ve had to hold back calls because of snow,” David Lenart, chief of Derby Storm Ambulance and Rescue, told the news source. “Usually we can coordinate with [the Department of Public Works] and the fire department. But this was different.”

Controversy surrounds law enforcement’s use of drones

Controversy surrounds law enforcement's use of drones

Controversy surrounds law enforcement’s use of drones

Although it depends on where individuals complete their law enforcement training and end up working, there is a chance they could serve and protect the public alongside robotic drones. While it may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, this scenario is already a reality in some parts of the country.

While drones are designed to enhance the work police do on a daily basis, there are those who are not entirely comfortable with these machines patrolling the skies.

Concerns over public safety and privacy
While those who hold law enforcement jobs may see the value in using police drones, many members of the general public are more skeptical. According to Fox News, police agencies have said the drones can be used during search-and-rescue operations, when conducting surveillance of suspects and collecting details on damage in the aftermath of natural disasters.

However, there are lawmakers who do not think people would be too pleased with drones collecting information on their lives without their permission.

“I do not think our citizens would want cameras to fly overhead and collect data on our lives,” Montana Senator Matthew Rosendale recently told a legislative panel, as quoted by the news source.

In Montana, lawmakers from both political parties are joining forces to restrict drone use in their state. Meanwhile, Virginia lawmakers recently approved a two-year moratorium on police and government agencies’ use of these machines.

“The use of drones across the country has become a great threat to our personal privacy,” Niki Zupanic, the policy director for ACLU of Montana, told the news outlet. “The door is wide open for intrusions into our personal private space.”

Fear of drones
If law enforcement chooses to use drones, they also need to realize that many people may actually be afraid of these machines and, as a result, the police as well. Based on the results of a recent Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll, more than a third of Americans have concerns over their privacy as long as police use drones, The Associated Press reported.

Furthermore, 35 percent of respondents said they were “extremely concerned” or “very concerned” that the use of police drones would cause them to lose their privacy. At the same time, almost as many people reported they were “not too concerned” or “not concerned at all.”

Firefighting is not just for men

firefighter training

Firefighting is not just for men

Some women may grow up with an interest in pursuing firefighter basic training so they can do their part in one day battling blazes and saving lives. However, if these individuals have ever watched a fire truck loaded with male firefighters speed by, they may abandon their dream, thinking that this profession is reserved for men. If they believe this, however, they are wrong.

Female firefighters do exist
Even if firefighting is a male-dominated line of work, there are women who tackle fires alongside men. In the U.S., around 6,200 women hold jobs as full-time, career firefighters and officers, according to the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services. The levels of firefighter training and titles vary among these women, but many of them serve as lieutenants, captains and district chiefs.

Not only do women hold jobs as firefighters in the U.S., but around the world as well. For example, in Great Britain, more than 200 women currently serve as career firefighters. Female firefighters can also be found in countries such as Canada, Japan, South Africa and Australia.

Many female firefighters are making history
Part of the reason why misconceptions about female firefighters exists is that in some areas, women suiting up and rushing into burning buildings is still unheard of. However, several women are making history and, in the process, helping eradicate these myths.

For example, Connecticut resident Kaitlyn Burrows recently became the Plainville Fire Department’s first female firefighter, The Plainville Citizen reported. Burrows’ gender has had zero impact on her performance as a firefighter, as she is known to be hardworking, does not complain and is always ready to learn.

“The first time I was on the truck with the lights and sirens going, it was a feeling like no other,” Burrows told the news source. “I knew this was for me. I knew this was what I was meant to do.”

Challenges women may face
Still, firefighting is not a career that any woman, or man, can excel in. Lt. Jeff Gauthier of the Milwaukee Fire Department told WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio that female cadets struggle more than men when it comes to developing certain firefighting skills. However, this does not mean they cannot master them over time.

“Typically with women, we find that it’s slightly less upper body strength, smaller biceps,” Gauthier said. “But once the students learn that if they use the techniques we teach them and follow the program that we put forth, if they’ve got the heart and the desire we can get them through the program.”

Snow: An unlikely police ally

Snow: An unlikely police ally

Snow: An unlikely police ally

When weather reports warn of an major snowstorm, many people stock up on supplies, hunker down and watch the snowflakes fall and accumulate. While schools may close their doors, and businesses may tell their employees to work from home, police officers cannot take the day off.

Those who hold law enforcement jobs in areas that tend to get a lot of winter storms are no doubt aware of all the trouble falling snow can bring. Whether motorists are skidding into one another on slick roadways, or criminals are choosing to engage in illegal activity in blizzard conditions, cops have their work cut out for them when wintry weather strikes.

However, there are also several cases in which freshly fallen snow can actually help law enforcement do their job, rather than hinder it.

For example, a construction site in Lehi, Utah, was recently the location of an attempted robbery, KSL TV reported. While patrolling the site, Sgt. Kenny Rose of the Lehi Police Department stumbled upon a parked vehicle and footprints in the snow at 2 a.m. in the morning. Rose followed the footprints until he came upon two men he suspected of criminal behavior. Rather than surrendering, they made a run for it.

A chase followed that lasted for 30 to 45 minutes. As parts of it took officers and the suspects through three feet of snow, all parties involved were exhausted. In fact, the deep snow tired out the suspects so much that they were willing to surrender.

Just as footprints led Rose to criminal activity, they can also help skilled police officers track down burglars who are not smart enough to cover their tracks. This was the case in Bristol Township, Pennsylvania, where a burglar recently tried to get away with robbing his neighbor’s home, the Courier Times reported.

When police arrived at the scene of the crime, they discovered a set of footprints that led from the side of the home to its front door. There was an additional set of footprints that began at the house’s rear door and continued for several blocks. This is exactly where police nabbed their suspect, who allegedly confessed to breaking into the home.

If anything, these two examples show that police need to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to think on their feet and sometimes use unconventional methods to solve a case – each of which they may be able to acquire through law enforcement training.

Firefighters use their skills for a good cause

Firefighters use their skills for a good cause

Firefighters use their skills for a good cause

There are many ways in which firefighters can save lives, from carrying someone out of a burning home to providing individuals with a ladder so they can climb out of a smoky high-rise apartment. However, these are not the only ways these rescue workers’ firefighter training can be used to help others. In some cases, firefighters can even have a little fun for a good cause.

Climbing with a purpose
Although it may seem like torture to some people, asking firefighters to compete in a stair climb race for a good cause is not uncommon. After all, those who are in this line of work have already completed enough firefighter training drills to know how to run up stairwells while suited up for the worst possible situations.

Art Weichbrodt of Washington’s Kent Fire Department is among the firefighters who will race up 69 flights of stairs inside Seattle’s Columbia Center, according to the Kent Reporter. He does not mind the fact that he will be decked out in full fire gear, including a self-contained breathing apparatus, on February 2, because he realizes what is at stake.

The firefighter, along with 13 of his peers from the Kent Fire Department, will participate in the 22nd annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb, which is designed to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. For Weichbrodt, this is a cause that hits close to home, as one of his friends lost a daughter to leukemia, and another friend has a child with the disease.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country in Massachusetts, firefighters from three Cape Ann communities are preparing for a stair climb of their own, the Gloucester Times reported. On February 2, rescue workers will converge on One Boston Place in Boston for the 2013 Fight for Air Climb, which is being organized by the American Lung Association. These professionals plan to race up 82 flights of stairs in honor of Michael Smith, a Gloucester firefighter, who lost his battle with lung cancer this past July.

Putting their stamina to the test
Whether firefighters are charging into burning buildings or dousing flames in unbearable temperatures, they need to have stamina. However, there is no rule that says their abilities can only be used when something is on fire. That is why rescue workers from New York’s Greenville Fire District will soon use their skills during the Cycle for Survival cycling event this March, with proceeds going toward the fight against cancer The Greenburgh Daily Voice reported.

Like many other firefighters who participate in fundraisers, Stuart Evans feels a personal responsibility to take part in this event. After all, he was a friend of the event’s co-founder Jennifer Linn, who succumbed to soft-tissue sarcoma, a rare type of cancer, two years ago.

“There are not many people nowadays that haven’t been affected by cancer some way or another,” Evans said. “People know their money is making a difference.”

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