Mark Your Calendar with These Important Events!
Fire Commission Meeting
July 8, 2008
Pinecroft-Sedgefield Fire Department
under OSFM Sections
Eastern Association Meeting
July 10, 2008
Location TBA (Robeson County)
Western Association Meeting
July 16, 2008
at 6:30 p.m.
International Association of Fire Chiefs-
Fire Rescue International
August 14-16, 2008
NC State Firemen's Association/
NC Association of Fire Chiefs
August 29-31, 2008
Winston Salem, NC
For more information, contact
October 1 - 4, 2008
Raleigh Convention Center
Eastern Association Meeting
October 9, 2008
Location TBA (Wilmington area)
Western Association Meeting
October 15, 2008
Balsam Willets Ochre Hill VFD
at 6:30 p.m.
Eastern Association Meeting
January 9, 2009
Clayton Fire Department
North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs
Mid Winter Conference
February 6-8, 2009
(golf tournament on February 5, 2008) Wrightsville Beach, NC
Fire and Life Safety Educators
February 8-12, 2009
Fire Prevention School
April 27-May 1, 2009
Kure Beach, NC
Eastern Association Meeting
April 9, 2009
Eastern Association Meeting
July 9, 2009
Residential Fire Sprinklers
by Chief David Douglas
Greensboro Fire Department
Despite the pronounced efforts by fire service leaders and many code officials, our efforts to have residential fire sprinklers become a part the North Carolina Residential Code continue to be rebutted by a majority of the Building Code Council. This majority however becomes a bit smaller with each new member that is appointed by Governor Easley and this should be seen as a success of the fire service becoming more involved in the code making process.
Our efforts to educate and inform the public and our own firefighters must continue in earnest despite the fact that our residential code does not require residential sprinklers; however, there is no prohibition on the voluntary installation of residential sprinklers. The great preponderance of civilian injuries, deaths, and firefighter injuries still occur in one and two family structures. If the commitment to reduce firefighter injuries and deaths is real, then we will advocate at every opportunity for residential fire sprinklers.
The International Code Council (ICC) Final Action Hearing will be held in Minneapolis beginning the week of September 15th. During these hearings, a vote to include residential fire sprinklers into the body of the Residential Building Code will be held. The IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition is working aggressively to insure the passage of the residential sprinkler proposal RB64-07/08. To this end, they have a limited amount of funding to provide for travel assistance to any ICC voting governmental member. If you are a member of the ICC, we encourage you to apply for this travel assistance by going to: www.ircfiresprinkler.org/Minneapolis.html and filling out the short application. In order to qualify for the travel assistance, you must be a member of the ICC. If you are not a member of the ICC, the cost to join is minimal and the benefits actually do outweigh the cost. In addition, you qualify for voting rights with the number of eligible votes being determined by your jurisdiction size. For more information on membership you can go to: www.iccsafe.org/membership/join.html.
If this proposal is accepted by ICC's voting governmental members, the residential sprinkler requirement will become a part of the 2009 edition of IRC and the 2012 edition of the North Carolina Building Code. Attendance in Minneapolis is critical because, to pass, this recommendation will require support by a two-thirds majority of voting governmental members present at the meeting. It is important for us to have a strong showing in Minneapolis for this vote. Last year the vote on this same proposal failed by 16 votes!
Why Enforce Seat Belt Policies?
By: Chief Mark Haraway and Lieutenant Robert Pascucci
Town of Apex Fire Department
On August 6th 2007, an incident reinforced why we have a mandatory seat belt policy in the Town of Apex. It was on that day that we were dispatched to a routine medical call at a "frequent flyer" nursing home; the time was 17:34 hours. We responded on Engine 1 down busy NC 55 in moderate traffic. Seemingly out of thin air, I noticed a vehicle swerve perpendicularly into our path. We had no time to react, no time to brace for the collision, no time to do much of anything except impact the Chevy S-10 pickup with our 43,000 pound engine. We hit the other vehicle squarely in the passenger door. As we pushed him about 50 feet down the road, I watched him bounce around the cab of his vehicle; he was unrestrained. When we stopped, I was sure that he was, at the very least, pinned and possibly killed in the collision. My engineer exited the apparatus to check on the driver of the other vehicle; the door on the officer's side was compressed by the impact, and I had to exit through the window. I called appropriate units to handle our initial call, and to respond to our incident. The driver of the S-10 was a fellow town employee. He is now permanently disabled and will probably never function as he once did. Two other vehicles were hit before our vehicle was struck. We were wearing our seatbelts, going the speed limit, and operating with due regard. We came out very shaken, but uninjured. I urge all of you to wear your seat belts. You would think that as firefighters, we would always wear them. How many people have you seen ejected over the years? How many have you seen killed from being unrestrained? What makes us untouchable? I will tell you that the extra second it takes to put that belt on, and take it off, is well worth it.
The preceding article was written by Lieutenant Robert Pascucci of the Apex Fire Department. It has been the policy of the Apex Fire Department to enforce the use of seatbelts for several years. Seat belts save lives! This was evident in this unfortunate incident. However, I wanted to give you an idea of the nature of the impact and just what you can expect. The apparatus involved in this accident was a 2001 HME Ahrens-Fox engine with an 800 gallon water tank. At the point of impact it was determined that the engine was traveling at 45 mph. The impact buckled the extended front bumper along with the engine chassis. It also separated every weld joint in the cab of the apparatus and jammed both front doors to a point that the firefighters had to extricate themselves through a rear window. The force then traveled through the apparatus breaking loose the plumbing running from the tank to the pump housing and breaking two welds in the poly tank. The pictures in this article reflect the damage done in the accident. As a Fire Chief, I would encourage all department administrators to stand firm on the seatbelt policies by enforcing these injury prevention and life saving polices. In Apex, we were fortunate to have a policy and to have personnel adhering to those policies on the day of this accident. It is well worth the time to "buckle up".
A Message from the President
Chief Bill Walker
As I write the last message of my tenure, I have been reflecting on everything that has happened this year. It seems like last week that we were in Winston Salem for the Annual Conference.
I remember going into our fall retreat with our new Executive Director with a renewed feeling about the Association. Ken provided guidance, gave us a fresh look at the Association and questioned what we wanted to provide our membership and the fire service of North Carolina. When we met to update our strategic plan, we made some great changes in planning for the Association's future.
We worked very hard to have the largest Mid Winter Conference we have ever had. Over the next couple of years, the Board has some great challenges to meet in deciding where we are going with the Mid Winter. This is your Conference, so we value your input and suggestions for future conferences.
The Association is moving forward and continuing to grow. I hope everyone will work together to help continue the growth and make this the best Fire Chiefs Association in the nation.
When I was blessed with the office of President of this great Association, I tried to think what I could do to make a difference for the fire service. As I looked at the Charleston incident, as well as other responses, both locally and nationally, I realized we preach how we are supposed to operate under the Incident Command System, however, the more I heard it preached the more it appeared we were not listening to the message. I challenged the Board to take a stand on this and Chief Randy Godwin wrote a great position statement highlighting the need for everyone to operate under ICS. It just makes good sense.
I see emergency apparatus rolling over with our people being ejected because they are not wearing their seat belts. I ask myself, "Why are we letting this happen?" That's when I thought of the slogan, "Safety Starts at the Top".
I have attended a number of meetings over the past year. In each of these meetings, I made it a point to bring up "Safety Starts at the Top". If we, as chief officers, do not stand up, take charge and make our personnel (both paid and volunteer) abide by the safety rules, then we should be replaced. We all struggle with staffing and cannot afford to lose anyone, but if we do not make them operate safely, what are we going to do when they get hurt? How are we going to explain it to their families that we failed to enforce safety rules? I truly believe each and every one of us, working together, can make a difference.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as your President. God Bless each of you!
A Message from the Executive Director
Kenneth G. Mullen
Please remember the Verona Fire Department and the Pine Level Fire Department as they heal from recent LODD's. Assistant Chief Eugene Thomas and an Onslow County deputy were killed when a tractor trailer ran through an accident scene that emergency services personnel were working. Pine Level Chief George Crocker, who was also a Raleigh Fire Department Lieutenant, was found deceased at his home after responding to a number of calls during the days just prior to his death.
Condolences to members of our fire service families at the Navassa Volunteer Fire Department on the death of Retired Chief Clarence Brown who was a founding father at Navassa; Former Chief and Reelsboro Firefighter Rufus Brinson, Jr. who died while participating at a live fire training exercise; to the Rocky Mount Fire Department on the death of Firefighter Clayton Earl Marrow; to the Shine VFD on the passing of Chief Tully Layden, and to the Elizabeth City Fire Department on the death of Captain Jeffrey E. Vaughn. We express our sympathy, as well, to our Association President Bill Walker on the death of his mother, Muriel and our Association Treasurer Donald Whitaker on the loss of his brother, Gordon. All of you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Congratulations to our own Chief David Taylor of High Point who was installed as President of the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs during the 80th Annual Leadership Conference held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, June 19-22, 2008. Chief Taylor continues the tradition of outstanding leadership from North Carolina in the Southeastern and International Chiefs Associations.
Congratulations to Greensboro Fire Chief Johnny Teeters and Wilmington Fire Chief Sam Hill on their respective retirements. These two chiefs served a combined 94 years in the fire service of North Carolina. Thanks for your commitment of public service. Enjoy your retirement!!
Overwhelmed is a word that we often see used in a context that expresses shock or surprise in either a positive or negative light. I wanted to share with you how overwhelmed I am with the lack of response we have received when we asked our chiefs to sign a safety declaration that promotes safety principles and includes a seat belt pledge. To date, June 21, 2008, we have received 53 signed pledges as a result of our plea in the April newsletter. No, that's not a typing error. Fifty-three declarations of commitment to safety have been signed and returned. So, if there are more than 1400 fire departments in North Carolina the lack of response is overwhelmingly embarrassing. You can view those departments who have signed the commitment here.
This declaration is the cornerstone for the 25 in 5 program that was initiated three years ago. Initially, there were approximately 42 pledges signed, so collectively, there are less than 100 departments who have signed. A number of the pledges are signed by Associations and fire service agencies that are not fire departments, so the number is depressingly low. We are working to get all the pledges in one place, but have asked that we have a "redo", so even if you think you might have signed one, go the website to see if your department is listed and if not, print one off, sign it and return it to NCAFC, P.O. Box 7893, Rocky Mount, NC 27804 or fax it to me at 252-200-4425. You can also email it to me at email@example.com.
Now, we've provided everything you need except a stamp and somebody to lick the envelope, but the most important thing is for you to sign the form. What message do you want to send to your firefighters? Safety Starts at the Top!!
Spotlight on Innovation
By: Division Chief W. E. Jones
City of Rocky Mount Fire Department
In the summer of 2007, the Rocky Mount Fire Department's entry-level training and Senior Firefighter training programs were approved by the North Carolina Department of Labor as a nationally recognized Firefighter Apprenticeship Program.
The RMFD Division of Support Services applied to the NC Department of Labor for this certification as a new incentive in recruiting firefighters. Our established protocols for on the job training met the state's criteria. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, participants receive certificates from both the US Department of Labor and the NC Department of Labor.
Because of this recognition, veterans of the United States Armed Forces may receive their Montgomery GI Bill benefits while transitioning to a new career as a firefighter. During the first three years of employment, any veteran who meets the training requirements set forth by the Firefighter Apprenticeship Program may choose to receive monthly compensation from their GI Training benefit in addition to their regular salary. This benefit can be as much as $800 per month of additional income for the employee who has served in the military.
"Over the course of the three year program, this apprenticeship accounts for a minimum of 3,000 hours of on the job training," said Division Chief W.E. Jones, who initiated the Department's application process through the NC Department of Labor.
This recognition is rare for municipal departments, and it demonstrates the exceptional quality of the Rocky Mount Fire Department's training program.
Contact Chief Jones by email at
for additional information or contact Apprenticeship and Training Bureau N.C., Department of Labor at 1-800-625-2267 or at www.nclabor.com.
Sixth Annual Members Breakfast
The NC Association of Fire chief Executive Board is proud to invite the NCAFC members to the Sixth Annual Members Breakfast to be held at the Annual Conference in Winston-Salem, August 28-30, 2008. The breakfast will be held on Thursday, August 28, 2008, at 7:00 a.m. in the Hearn Room CD at the Marriott Hotel. The breakfast is complementary and is open to all NCAFC members; however, pre-registration is required. To insure your participation, the registration form must be received in the NCAFC office no later than Monday, August 25, 2008. Please join your Executive Board for a time of fellowship as we begin this year's Annual Conference.
The Board of Directors of the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs is recommending changes/amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws. Changes can be reviewed at www.ncafc.com.
Vote on changes at the Annual Conference during the business session on Thursday, August 28, 2008.
South Atlantic Fire Expo
Joint Conference of the North Carolina State Firemen's Association and the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs
August 28-30, 2008
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Registration and Conference Motel Information available at www.ncsfa.com.
Golf Tournament, August 26th and 27th at Oak Valley Golf Club