Ok, we’ve got a ton of news to catch up on. Roanoke’s Bravest had a busy night last night. I’m not sure what the actual temperature was (with or without the wind chill) but I can assure you, IT WAS COLD! The night ..or morning started with an apartment fire on the South-side. Around 3am, our Brothers and Sisters were called to a 3 story, 24 unit apartment building with heavy fire showing. The incident went to a 2nd alarm while some 45 residents were rescued / evacuated from the building. Roanoke’s Jakes made a quick attack and good stop on the blaze. No injuries to civilians or Fire personnel were reported. The Red Cross was put into action again and will aid 9 people with food, shelter and clothing. See our local news coverage HERE.
During the fire, Lucky #13 had to move up and cover Station #5. We didn’t have to stay long before they were cleared from the scene and returned to quarters. I’m thankful for no injuries and the fact that some of our members didn’t have to battle the cold for very long. We made our way home and nestled back into our beds (I could have named my price to “Boots” for my electric blanket … or at least for enough room for him to lay beside me LOL ). We weren’t there long before we were up again. This time, we were headed into Salem for a working fire. I don’t want to bring the “Vinton” issue back up but, I do have to say; this “mutual-aid” response ran very smoothly.
I had NO IDEA where we were heading so, my head was in the map book. Much like Engine #6 must have been going into Vinton, I was confused and “lost” from the start. We arrived to find Salem units on scene and going to work. A one and a half story residential structure (log cabin / home) with smoke showing from sides Alpha and Bravo. Command had been ESTABLISHED and assignments were being given. With a Salem response, I have a separate portable radio …. our city radios do not have the Salem channels to switch to. I still have to mark en route, arriving etc with our City dispatch though (to “capture” our times etc). I grabbed the Salem radio and called “Command”. He replied immediately. I advised that we were arriving and requested an assignment. He instructed me to stretch a 2nd line from Salem Engine #2, gain access to the attic and check for extension. He gave me a radio designation of “attack group 2”. I heard other assignments being made and knew what operations were being conducted by the radio traffic. This is how a fire is supposed to run.
We quickly made the attic, requested and received a TIC ( Thermal Imaging Camera ). We found no extension and gave command an “all clear”. We then moved down and joined “attack group 1′. Command acknowledged, changed our radio designation and confirmed that we were now PAR ( Personnel Accountability Report ) with 5. There, we requested and received saws and went to work on overhaul operations. SMOOTH. Everyone on the same page. Clear, concise communications. IMS in place and followed. Assignments made and completed. No “tool” measuring … everyone working for the same goal.
Another quick and good stop / knock down and an example of how two neighboring jurisdictions can work well together. I do wish we (Engine #13) had radios for each member (Salem supplies us with only 1). I’m not sure if every member in their Dept. carries a radio but I think it’s a MUST. Should something “happen” to the Officer, the other 2 members have no communication. If something should happen to one of my guys… get lost … fall etc. again they have no communication. Maybe I’m “nit picking” here but I’ll nit-pick for safety any day. Bottom line is that I’d like to say “Well Done” to the Salem Fire / EMS Department! Solid and professional work. See the Salem Fire / EMS web site HERE.
Ok, moving on with more good news … My “little buddy” Rhett Fleitz from over at FireCritic has achieved yet another level of fame (like his ego needed that). Rhett’s submission to the First Due Blog Carnival 6th Edition ( hosted by The Backstep Firefighter ) concerning Social Media; made its way to the IAFF site IAFF Frontline Blog. See their coverage HERE.
Ok, I gotta get out here a feed a few cows and horses but I’ll check back in later. As always, thanks for reading. Until I get back, stay safe and in house!