"FAMILY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
September to December, 2001
||Several days ago Hickman sent a question regarding benefits in to
Cynthia Y. Simons, Benefits Specialist at the DOJ. He cc-ed us. Here is his
question and her reply.
----- Original Message -----
>>> " Hickman" 12/13/01 09:45PM >>>
I was reading a resent post in a fire forum about a firefighter who was
killed during a wildland fire operation in Idaho. His family was denied
benefits since he was under contract by a private contractor who hired him.
The contractor appeared to be working under a contract with the state or
forest service at the time of the incident. I guess my question would deal
with a possible situation similar to this: If a firefighter was working
under a contract with a company such as Rural Metro, which works under
contract with cities or fire districts to provide fire protection, would
their firefighters be covered under PSO benefits in case of death? If so
what would be the difference between the wildland firefighter and the Rural
Metro firefighter, since they both work under contract?
Thank you for your Information
From: "Cynthia Simons" <CINDYS@OJP.USDOJ.GOV>
Cc: "BJA ASK" <ASKBJA@OJP.USDOJ.GOV>; "Valerie
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2001 2:38 PM
Subject: Re: PSO benifits
Hi <snip> Hickman
The difference is whether the firefighter was being paid by the state,
forest service or contractor.
If the firefighter was paid by the contractor who was under contract with
the state or forest service when the line of duty death occurred, then his
survivors would not be eligible for the benefit. If the firefighter was
under contract, but was paid by the state or forest service then his
survivors would be eligible for the benefit, if it was a line of duty death.
I hope this helps.
If have any additional questions you can e-mail us again, or you can call
||I have a similar question as the one below about benefits... Please
somebody tell me...
Which specific death benefits go to the families of wildland firefighters?
Which still apply if they were on contract?
What percentage of firefighters are on contract?
Another widow trying to figure it all out,
||AB, ABBY, ABE, ABETTE, and so on,
This would be a good addition to the Links page:
And while you are in there, maybe you can correct the address to the OPM
site, you have: http://www3.opm.gov/oca/payrates/index.htm Somehow a
'3' sneeked in be hind the WWW.
I added the new link referencing family benefits available following a
LODD to the Links page under "federal
employees". Also made the other corrections. Always 'preciate
knowing about broken links. Thanks WP and Rhino. Ab.
||WP, regarding the pot of money available in line of duty deaths (LODD):
. Department of Justice,
PSOB Public Safety Officer's Benefits. The amount listed at $151,635 for
2001, I believe President Bush raised the amount after 9/11.
||I want to thank you for all the information. For people that don't know
what to do, my son received a book of letters that were sent from all
over the United States from Firefighters sending their condolences. He
then saw how many people really cared about his father and was filled
with sorrow, but also pride that his father was a hero and died saving
others lives. That is the concern no matter if you're contracted or not.
We are all one brotherhood, but not from a Federal or State point of
view. Please ask your organization what you can do to change this and
help the next family that loses a parent! My son will never be the same
but he knows that there are a ton of people out there that care about
him and his dad.
DRC, and others, take a look at the link below that k. sent in for
NWSA, a contract wildland firefighter association. I don't know anything
about it and I know this is too late for your family DRC, but others might
look into joining this organization. Ab.
President: Rick Dice
Phone: 541-746-7528 E-Mail: RDice@msn.com
Vice President: Mike Wheelock
Phone: 541-476-0033 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Try contacting the NWSA. Maybe they can point you in the correct
direction to help you . They deal specifically with contract crews. The
president ( if I remember correctly) is named Rick Dice. I hope this may
||Have to agree with fireronin and mellie, I too did not respond as I had no
useful information to offer, I was happy to see the first post from WAFF as
I thought it showed there was somebody who was knowledgeable about the
problem, I did not respond to the severe injury of the hotshot posts either
for much the same reason.
DRC, I do wish you and your child well and am sorry for your loss. As far
as better treatment for contractors, there are contract firefighting
associations out there. Perhaps you might be able to contact them. I doubt
there is much that can be done to directly help you at this point but they
might be able to put you in touch with people who are trying to change the
situation, to prevent this in the future. As Mellie said, California amended
their laws to include contractors working for government agencies in the
states benefits program. I hope you don't take the lack of posts as the
people here not caring. I'm sure most just didn't know what to say.
As to the contractor vs "government" firefighters, the
employing agency or company bears the responsibility for the bulk of the
employees protection. I did a quick search on the National Fallen
Firefighters Foundation. For the most part the benefits are moral support
groups, plaques and some undisclosed amounts of financial assistance
primarily aimed at allowing the families to travel when necessary in
relation to participating in the activities mentioned above. The college
tuition assistance paid for by the Government has only applied to Federal
firefighters since 1998 (and Federal Law Enforcement since 1996) and was
basically intended as a recruitment tool. Other benefits only apply to
members of the IAFF (which would exclude many federal firefighters), most
federal wildland firefighters (except members of the FWFSA I would assume as
well as volunteers and contractors).
A quick bit of math leaves me with this: if I were to die my family would
get approximately $150,000 from the life insurance (which I pay for although
at a lower government rate) plus tuition assistance of $404 per month
(roughly $20,000 over a 4 year degree program) and the Forest Service pays
an additional amount (2x my yearly salary? so say another $60,000) for a
line of duty death and Social Security benefits (which contractors should be
entitled to). So this is roughly $210,000 through the Forest Service,
$20,000 from the NFFF, and Social Security. As I said above, the bulk of
death benefits comes from the employer.
WAFF, if you want to discuss the contractor vs government employee issue
at a more appropriate time I'd be glad to discuss that in a constructive
fashion, I don't know all that much about it as I've never been on a
contract crew but I'd be willing to learn, you obviously have some issues on
your mind about that.
Many people who read here care about benefits for contractors and for
vollies as well as for fed and state employees. Now you can even SEARCH
back through the past theysaid posts to find all the discussions about
My friend Karen died when run over by her engine while fighting a fire in
Redding CA, fall of 1999. She was a volunteer. Immediately ALL the
firefighters in Denny Camp, not just the vollies, took up a collection for
her two girls. The outpouring was profound. Richard Blood, a contract bus
driver, was murdered at the Anderson CA Fairgrounds while rotating off the
Big Bar Complex, fall of 1999. Through an oversight and the fact that the
overhead teams were also in the process of wrapping it up and leaving, his
family was not even offered condolences from the fed fire community until
way later. (Correct me if I'm wrong on this, please.) While his children are
grown and not so in need of educational funds, the lack of support from a
high level was painful.
After Larry and Lars (contract AT firefighters) died in the mid-air
collision this summer, many responded with support, financial and emotional.
As the result of the hard work of a number of AT pilots' wives, a bill was
passed in CA. It entitles children of those who die while fighting fire (or
engaged in law enforcement) in CA to go to state colleges and universities
tuition-free. (I believe the legislature must vote to extend it in two
years, so your support to lobby that renewal may be called on at that time.)
The point is that the change in law came about because pilots, their wives
and the fire community spoke loudly about the inequities in contractor
benefits and pushed to get the change done. Such balancing of support
resources needs to happen across the nation.
As far as folks here not joining you in responding to DRC because they
don't care about contractors, you're wrong. Here's an alternative
explanation: People often don't know what to say when confronted with people
who have lost a loved one -- especially when the person feels like a
firefighter's child is not getting the support they need. Even I sometimes
don't know what to say. Frankly, I was glad you replied so wonderfully to
So I hope you continue to join us when you feel you have something to
contribute. But ultimately, it's your call.
||GOLLY, I am so GLAD that WAFF got all that off the chest!! Gosh, Ab, a
person could develop an ulcer feeling that snitty and not blowing it off
on your site.
All seriousness aside, I suspect the reason that dozens of people did
not pigpile all over the post about the benefits for a lost contractor
is that many of us have been dealing with that issue for ages and ages
and ages. What happens when contract tanker pilots die? Who provides
those benefits? It's an old issue, an ugly issue, and not one that will
go away anytime soon. This is not about how agency firefighters feel
about contract firefighters, and contract firefighters are nothing new.
Seems to me like WAFF oughta get a better grip on the issue before going
off and spitting on everyone in the assumption that no one cared.
||OK. Some one asked a question regarding benefits for a fallen FIREFIGHTER
that happened to be a contractor. Now, seeing I am the only one that
responded to her. I am concerned, well not too concerned, just disappointed.
Now I guarantee that if the firefighter would have been FED, BLM, or
whatever federal or state agency, everyone on this site would have been all
over that post trying to help her. But seeing that he was only a contractor,
I was the only one.
Personally I think that stinks. Its one thing to treat contractors
differently, kind of like hazing, but for gods sake, we're all firefighters.
We all deserve the same respect everyone else gets.
When are people going to realize that we're all risking our lives. We're all
working the same hours, we're all pounding the same ground. Until then,
unfortunately, we're going to have the segregation we have here.
Funny thing is, I used to be state. I never looked down upon contractors. I
treated them with respect as I would anyone else. But I had never
experienced what a contractor experiences every time they go into check in.
>From the look that they receive when they go into finance and get
( with a smug look ) to equipment time. To the introduction of a Div Sup
was ex hotshot and dealing with that.
Frankly people its getting old. Realize that you yourself are there to do a
job. That job is to put out a fire. NOT to haze or treat people
disrespectfully or even differently. I know there is a human resource
specialist in camp, but thing is, they're Fed too.
It has become a game of pretty much us and them. Weather people think it or
not. It is. And I write this here due to the fact it applies here. If ya
don't think so, how many replied to the fallen firefighter post???
Now, this is the last time I am going to post and the last time I am
visiting the site. Sorry AB. I am upset at the fact that this isn't the
first time it has happened. It happen about a year ago with that inmate that
was lost and he left a 10 yr old daughter. No one but myself responded to
that. I just cant believe that people are that ( for lack of a better word )
stuck up, that they segregate firefighters to that extent.
People might ask who I am and what right I have to speak like this. I am a 6
year wildfire veteran. I also have 4 1/2 years of structure experience. I
have played the game and because I love my job so much, I continue to play
the same game every summer. And as a firefighter who has seen both sides
( contractor and state ), I have every right to tell people to wake up and
leave the old ways behind. Accept the fact that contractors are here to stay
regardless of how much you may dislike it or how poorly you treat us. Wake
up to the fact that we are all risking our lives and we are all doing the
Unfortunately, I have a feeling that all who read this will be upset at the
fact that a contractor raised there opinion on how screwed things are and
take it out on contractors they meet next summer. Now I hope that doesn't
happen, but it probably will.
Everyone have a save summer next year. And to DRC, again I am terribly sorry
about the loss. I hope for a speedy recovery for the family.
Oh, my, WAFF, you're not the first person today to write in that
you'll never post here again. (And the others were not contractors.)
Wonder if there's a dissatisfaction virus going around... Hmmmmmm, if it
becomes an epidemic and no one posts, we might just have to shut 'er down.
(tongue firmly in cheek) Ab.
There was an issue similar to yours in the season of 2000. A prison crew
inmate was KIA and he left behind a 10 yr old girl I believe. The dept of
corrections is not required to hold insurance on the inmates that fight
fire. So to make a long story short, the girl was left with nothing.
Now being in the private sector myself, I know what you mean with the
whole segregation and being treated differently. As far as the benefits that
should be owed, I wouldnt bank on anything from the government. I would
check into the company he worked for. All companies are required to have
some sort of accidental death coverage. If they didnt, I would get a lawyer.
Hope it helped and sorry to hear about the loss.
||My 12-year-old's father was killed fighting fires in Idaho this summer. I
have spoken with the National Fallen Firefighters' Foundation about
future help with college and they said that because Doug was on contract,
they would not be able to help my son. I don't understand why there
is no help for families of contract firefighters. Is there anyone out there
has been through this before who can explain to me why there isn't a
Foundation for Fallen Wildland firefighters who are on contract? Why
does the government treat them so different?
||Fire season is over , the nomex is washed and the red pack is ready for
next season, but I still have web gear with a shelter and two canteens
hanging on the back of a kitchen chair. Every time I put it somewhere else
it ends up back on the chair! It's almost as if we have a magic fire fairy!
I'm glad to have him home safe.
Lil' green Tender, aka ole yeller
||Thanks DM, this must have been what I heard about. Maybe I can follow-up
with my Oregon relatives to see if we can help get this legislation passed.
We are all vulnerable if our neighboring state is vulnerable.
Thanks to Everyone who wrote in with links to the laws and terrorist
websites and with reports of terrorist events in Oregon. Interesting to see
such acts aren't confined to extreme environmentalists but have also been
done by loggers.
What a great site for sharing info. I feel reassured, just knowing I can
get some answers.
Wife of NorCal Tom
You're welcome. Ab.
Use this link to get to an article that may answer your question. www.oregonlive.com/special/terror/etc
||re: terrorism in Oregon
Search Oregon law here: www.leg.state.or.us:8765/
What she's maybe thinking of is back in the early 1990s there were a couple
of incidents directed at the Forest Service in Oakridge and Detroit. Up till
then, the treesitters were a nuisance. Once you destroy federal property,
though, the FBI can investigate. I don't know about comparing Oregon law and
California law, but I do know the FBI has files on Oregon treesitter types.
||Wife of NorCal Tom
No I have never heard of that, neither has my Dad and we have lived in
Oregon all our lives.
||Ab and All,
In NorCal we get a lot of so-called "eco-terrorists" from
Oregon who mostly do a lot of tree sitting and holding up logging
operations, nothing really bad. At some time I remember reading on theysaid
some warnings of eco-terrorists from Oregon starting fires. I've looked in
the archives and haven't found that post, so I may be wrong.
I heard yesterday that there are laws in Oregon that go above and beyond
those of any other state that end up protecting terrorists of all sorts.
Does anyone know if this is true? If true, are citizens concerned? Is there
any movement to change these laws?
Ab, I know this strays from wildland fire. Given that our loved ones
might be called in on all-risk terrorist responses, I'd like some info. If
you post it and anyone replies with factual info, maybe you could send me
the contents of the responses and I could summarize them for familysaid
Wife of NorCal Tom
||I wish I could claim credit for this information, but I am just passing it
along to get the info out, squelch rumors, you name it. It comes from a very
knowledgeable and reliable source and hopefully will answer some questions
that have arisen.
Ab has posted the complete information at the link below:
FIRE SHELTER DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
||Here in the Northwest, The Job corp has forestry & firefighting o.j.t
(on the job training) Not only type2, but One type1 crew - WolfCreek
Hotshots. It's a Year-round program which pay's Ya to not only get the job
training but also schooling.
||AC, Sammi and Ab,
Thank you for giving me all this information. It has helped alot.
Minnesota has a summer program called the Minnesota Conservation Corps.
this is a summer program for youth and young adults that involves outdoor
service and firefighting. they live on site in the areas that they work at.
this is run by the Minnesota DNR forestry, i don't know if other states have
programs like this. the web site is www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/mcc/index.html.
i hope this helps you out-good luck
Good idea. The links to all the other state departments of natural
resources and forestry are on the links page under state.
You could browse them for similar programs. Ab.
Hope we are all settled in a bit and at least the shock of the past few
weeks is easing. It has been very hard for anyone to think or talk abt
anything but the disasters but, as with life, we have to move ahead even if
at a slower pace for a while.
I plan to start up the discussion on the shelters soon but I am sure the
terrorist took our steam away on that for a while.
The fire school our g'son went to is Bates Technical College in Tacoma,
Wash. They have a 3 mo program for high school seniors (he earned $450.00
and had a blast.) and then a two yr program for people wanting careers in
the Fire Service. Apparently it is a very successful program and has a high
placement rate. I recommend also starting out as a volunteer in a dept
locally and getting a part time job to support themselves. We called that
"cheap college" and have two kids that went on to full time
careers....one does wildland in season and structure in winter and the other
is full time structure. If you want to e-mail me that is fine...
||I do have a question. My son is 18 graduated last June. He is very
interested in becoming involved in firefighting. I have heard that there
is a place, like a firefightning camp of some sort where you can go and
get on the job training and get paid for it. I think its about 3 months or
something like that.. you stay there the whole time.. I don't know where
to look for that kind of on the job training program.
Have you any idea how to get into that kind of program?
Please let me know. Thank you very much.
Memorial Pin Update
I would like to thank everyone that has e-mailed me with an order or
reservation. So far I have orders for 270 pins out of 500. I forgot to add
that I would like to limit the pins to 25 maximum per person, but that
does not preclude someone from making a group order, just make sure I know
it's a group order.
Pins are $5.50 each which includes shipping. The pin is shaped like the
picture and is 1-1/4" high with an epoxy dome coating. E-mail your
reservations to email@example.com Also don't forget to put a return
address on your order and allow 4-5 weeks for delivery.
Make checks payable to: Jim Evans
and mail them to:
205 Starfield Pl
Hot Springs, AR 71913
After all of the pins are sold I will post the amount that was donated
and the cost of the pins so everyone knows I didn't skip out with the
||There seems to be some folks who don't have all the info about the
upcoming Wildfire Safety Summit in Missoula on November 6-8, 2001.
It the 5th Annual Safety Summit, sponsored by the International
Association of Wildland Fire; earlier Safety Summits were held in British
Columbia, Washington State, Sydney Australia, and Edmonton, Alberta.
The Safety Summit is truly international in scope: previous Summits
have had attendees from China, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia,
Canada and the U.S., as well as other countries.
Attendees include firefighters; former firefighters; wannabee
firefighters; fire managers; fire vendors; fire researchers; media
interested in wildfire; politicians interested in wildfire; literally,
anyone who wants to come is welcome!!
The Safety Summit is NOT about sitting and getting lectured to from a
podium: an important aspect of the previous 4 Safety Summits has been the
"breakout sesions" every afternoon when ALL attendees are
encouraged to meet and interact with presenters to discuss ways to remedy
fire safety problems.
Keep in mind: this is NOT just a U.S. Fire Safety Summit: while the
U.S. is a major player on the world fire scene, there are many nations
represented with a variety of situations to discuss.
This year's IAWF Wildfire Safety Summit in Missoula is co-sponsored by
the Interior West Fire Council, the NWCG Safety & Health Working Team,
and the USFS Fire Safety Group.
For specifics on the conference and registration information, look up www.umt.edu/ccesp/wfs/
||How do we get info on the Missoula seminar? and is it open to the public
or do you have to be a card carrying FF? I would really like to hear the
info on the shelters......
Check out Mellie's post on theysaid. She has made a page of fires,
2001 links --to this season's fires in CA, WA and OR. If you had
family members working on fires in those regions, you may find photos and
info about what they did.
Thank you for offering this logo. Be assured, the copyright info will
be retained. I, for one, concur with the decision to focus support to
other non-profit fund raiser organizations. The CA fire departments are
collecting cash donations, and the response on the part of the public has
been tremendous. These are difficult times for all following the horrific
terrorist attacks on our nation. I will continue to wear my Wildland
Firefighter Foundation pin, and support ALL in the firefighting community.
My thoughts and prayers are with those fighting wildland fires and with
all who are maintaining what needs to be done in addition to the recovery
efforts. Be Safe!
||Regarding our children and their perceptions of the terrorist attack,
for Basque and others I have several suggestions:
TV: My main concern is that many young children are seeing the
planes hitting the trade center over and over. And seeing the bodies
falling over and over. An early elementary age child does not have the
cognitive development to recognize that these are the same video clips
shown repeatedly. They see each showing as though it is a new and
independent event. This magnifies the horror of the event. In the last
days I have worked with all age school kids. A number of children in a
variety of kindergarden and first grade classes told me the morning after
that 8 (10 or 7) planes had hit buildings. They had counted them - to them
The other thing that horrifies them is the footage of people jumping
and bodies falling. (Horrifies me too.) They can't understand why someone
would choose to jump. I think fear of falling is universal. One of the
most innate perceptions that develops early on is a baby/toddler's
avoidance response of what appears to be an edge. Often bad dreams are
dreams of falling. We need to protect our children from these replayed TV
It's our nature to want company and more info when a tragedy befalls.
Just remember - providing too much info for children is stress producing.
If you have children in your house, don't leave the TV on even if it is a
kind of comfort to you. Take time to be with your children when they
watch. Ask them what they're thinking and feeling. Talk it over and
continue talking it over.
Questions: Answering their questions is hard as Basque said.
Young kids may just need to hear that there are "good guys" and
"bad guys". The bad guys did this and the good guys will catch
and punish them. If they're old enough, let them know we have a government
that is working on that. Tell them they don't need to worry, mom and/or
dad will care for them. Older kids may need more discussion. This may be a
good time to talk to older kids about discrimination and stereotyping.
Muslims are not bad people even though the terrorists who did this are.
The key is to see what they are thinking about and go from there.
Some children will need to be asked what they're thinking and feeling.
Some will talk to you nonstop.
Routines:All children need to feel that the adults in their life
have control. They need to feel safe. Departure from routines adds
uncertainty. Stick to routines as much as possible. I think being in
school right now is important. Schools in our area as in most areas are
working with psychologists to help kids deal with what's going on.
Emotion: As I'm sure you parents know, children pick up on your
unspoken emotion, so saying you're sad or angry when you are is the best
route. For those who have firefighters who are away from home, be
especially careful to let your kids know that the missing parent is
alright and thinking of them. Reassure them as to that parent's safety and
You know your children. We need a healthy generation to be growing up.
Please parents, curtail/monitor/discuss the TV watching.
Thank you for all you do. My prayers are for us all.
This is a pin or logo design that a number of our community members at
wildlandfire.com have created and have been working on today. This image
has emerged in record time. Last night Ab asked for image ideas on a
design with red, white and blue "ribbon" with the twin towers in
the middle. Jim put it together with flag, pentagon and a photo Hunter
sent Mellie of the New York skyline. Old Fire Guy made the suggestion
about raising the flag and added some comments about marketing and how to
do this big enough to make it a grand offering of support. Mike and Mellie
made some suggestions about reducing the size of the twin towers so as not
to obscure the flag. Bob said we needed to lighten the towers to tan. The
image you see has evolved over the course of the day under Jim's deft
This was a group effort of the best sort. Thanks everyone! It's
clear that this image is developing a life of its own. It seems that
people want a pin they can buy, the proceeds going to the ny firefighter's
We are exploring costs and funding and perhaps finding a celebrity to
participate. We'll continue to explore and see what comes of this.
Re: Artwork suggestion.
Beautiful. Maybe raise the flag so not obscurred by towers?.....or heck
leave it as is. Wish I had the artistic talent some of you have.
Want to make this a really BIG thing? Have 1 - 1 1/2" pins made.
Get civic organizations (lions, kiwanis, elk, eagles, vfw etc.) to
distribute on the street. $5 donation to victims fund. Get artwork and ask
every pin manufacturer to cut manufacture price by 1/2, expedite
production. Get the endorsement of Congressmen, celebrities. Show the
world that the previous benefit concerts, marches etc. were minor by
comparison. Pick a special day for distribution.....Columbus day?
Thanksgiving? Emphasize this as a united national effort with all
donations to the victims.
Old Fire Guy
||Sammie, and all my sisters and brothers in our community,
We have work to do, folks. Yes, the audacity and daring of these
perpetrators have shocked us into momentary inaction and disbelief. The
reality is that we live, and have always lived, in a dangerous world.
Our family members who fight fires know they face the possibility of
injury and death--even from the most benign situations--on a daily basis.
We cannot let down the fire fighters, nor those "civilians" who
fell in New York. Like fire fighters everywhere, we have to pick ourselves
up, tighten our cinches and march right back into the world. We do so with
open eyes, knowing that America with all its weaknesses and imperfections,
is our land. We make of it as we will--because we can--because we are
People walk hundreds of miles to our borders, risk their lives to cross
deserts on foot or cross vast oceans in unseaworthy boats to get here.
They struggle against unbelievable odds to come to a place where they
don't speak the language, where they know nothing of the laws, where they
face the unknown. They come because this place offers the opportunity to
shape their own destiny. We call this condition--freedom.
Our challenge, despite the events, is to hold tight to that freedom and
know that we shape our future and destiny now as we make decisions to
respond to this event. Don't shrink from our collective duty. We will not
succumb to fear and terror. We will not buckle to impotent rage. We will
go forward, accepting our responsibility to embrace and respond to our
world as we find it to the very best of our ability. In doing so, we will
adapt. We will build better shelters, better worlds, better peace and
Get busy, folks. Give blood if you can, volunteer with local aid
organizations, send money where appropriate, teach our children and
grandchildren tolerance--so that we do not replicate the horrors of our
enemies. Learn everything you can about how our government intends to
respond, and make your own wishes heard. If the seeds of this attack were
planted offshore, learn as much as you can about other religions and
cultures, for in learning we find understanding, in understanding we find
the tools we need to heal the schism that sparks such hatred.
HM [Hotshot's mom]
||Cross-posted from theysaid
What a great job on the New York Ribbon. I am no computer expert so is
there a possibility that the memorial pic that Jim and Hunter did such a
great job on can be placed on the wallpaper page so it can be downloaded
to and forwarded to all the people we possibly know. To Sammi I would say,
Sammi we are Americans. We are the greatest nation ever known to
mankind. We as Americans will never be defeated. We will always STAND TALL
and bow down to NO ONE. The Japanese commanders in WWII stated that
"I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant".
Well,"THE GIANT HAS AWAKENED ONCE MORE". America will come
through this just fine. Although this did happen during our generation,
Americans have suffered much worse in the past. I don't think that any of
those that have any responsibility for these acts of war against Americans
will come through so well. Americans are generally a people of big hearts
as you are. But now the hearts are broken and the American people are mad.
"Hell has no wrath compared to that of pissed off Americans" .
The Americans are now "REALLY" pissed off. Those that have done
this will have nowhere to hide. Sammi, I have full faith in our President
in this matter. Those that have even the slightest involvement will pay
dearly. No matter what he President decides to do, we can no longer allow
our families and children to die at the hands of madmen. America will
continue to stand tall and be the greatest nation on earth. It is the
people of America that make it that way. There are no greater people. Fly
the Flag and be proud to be an American.
We have lost some of our brothers in Fire and Law Enforcement. Lets
keep them in our hearts as we do all New Yorkers at this time. To all the
families of those firemen, we cry with you and you have our love and
support. As the one Fireman said on CNN, "WE WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY
||Like the whole world we have been watching the terrible destruction in
our country. It is so unbelievable that people can do this awful thing and
then rejoice. I feel so sad for all the families who are now missing loved
Tonight as I was watching the coverage they interviewed a lady that was
running for her life down the stairwell of the tower and she said as she
was running down the firefighters were passing her running up....she said
"they were so young, so strong, vibrant and handsome". Well, I
can't watch anymore. It is just too close and too awful.
I don't know where we go as a country after this......right now I just
can't conceive of us ever trusting again.
You will trust again Sammi. We all will get through this. Please be
strong. We need to keep on for our families, our country, and the world.
Don't loose your heart. You have a wonderful big one.
Family, please read theysaid. We're trying to figure out what kind of
tribute to do. We need your input.
||Did I really read that some of the fire camps are not having tables and
chairs to use for eating? They expect the FF to stand and eat and that way
they do not get lazy? EXCUSE ME!!!!!!! Should we add a PS to our shelter
On a lighter note and totally off any subject we have been on....I
propose we send ALL 7 yr old boys to Marine Boot Camp or the fire service.
Why you ask? Because then they would stop that "picky eating
syndrome" they all go thru. Our 22 came home this morning and he used
to be the absolute pickiest eater on the planet. Now he will eat ANYTHING
that looks like food and tons of it. He has snarfed down a meat loaf with
rolls and a bowl of mashed potatoes as a snack this afternoon. That kid
would not have eaten meat loaf a few months ago if I had paid him. And he
hated potatoes.....he would never eat French fries...he would say
yucky!!!! (when he was 3). my goodness I thought his brother was just a
miracle when he came home from boot camp because he would eat anything,
now it has happened to Ben. I am serious we need to send them off at 6 or
7 to fight fires(or the marines)think of all the food arguments we would
not have to live thru.....just call me the happy chief cook and bottle
washer of the happy kitchen service.....
||Just a couple of thoughts:
Training: Undoubtedly, excellent training is a must, but as Firefighter
Jane said, every crew may receive training that's just a bit different
from the others, and the ratio of veteran versus new hires varies from
crew to crew as well. I want our son to have the best training, but I also
want him - and all of you - to have the very best safety equipment
available. Thanks, Northzone, for the tip about following the
money...there's so much to know, and I'm just learning.
Aussies: Interestingly enough, as I understand it, the Australians
helped to test Jim Roth's shelter, but the Aussies themselves don't carry
any shelter - our current, Jim Roth's or any other.
We've organized to write letters about the need to approve a new
shelter -- with the list of priorities that Mellie posted, why can't we
mobilize for the other things that were a "higher" priority,
especially since they apparently came from FFs themselves. I'm not saying
to stop about the shelter, but to become more vocal for whatever our guys
and gals need.
Learning about Fire Behavior: Did you guys see the info about the Fire
Service using a GPS type system to then relay fire info to the folks
making decisions on any given fire?
Take care - thanks for all the words of wisdom.
||To Douglas from NC - your comments, I hope, have introduced more food
for thought - whether it be the person on the fire line, or the
Kelly - TY for elaborating on the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
Mellie - once again, you spoke eloquently; glad you posted that quote.
Mom & Colorado Mom, et al - re follow the money: remember many federal
agencies are involved with wildland fire supression. The main players are
USFS is Food & Agriculture; BLM, BIA, NPS are Dept of the Interior.
To those on the line: BE SAFE!
||PINS: I bought some of the memorial pins and they are really very
well done. They are about 1 inch high. I wear mine on my denim jacket and
my guys wear theirs on their dept caps.
Boots: my husband wears Westco, but he is not out tromping thru
hill and dale.One son wears Nicks Hotshot and swears he will never wear
anything else, he started with Wesco, then Whites and settled on
Nicks........I wear NIKE!!!!!!!!
Packs: Does anyone have any comments on the new Eagle pack 4002.
Are they really worth the $$$$$?
Shelters: No doubt training is the best line of defense when it
comes to safety.......We all took drivers ed and or we are well aware of
the safety procedures for driving a car and we all do our best to avoid
accidents but we still put the little ones in car seats, "just in
case". Well, just in case ff ever need one they deserve the absolute
best shelter we can offer.
Firemom, thx for the offer of the MRE's. Are they the individual
meals or the complete meals, like main course, dessert, etc in one
package? How much do you want for them? (and shipping)
||I have been reading this page for a while now and couldn't help but put
my 2 cents in on the shelter talk. Now before anyone bites my head off, I
do think that the current fire shelters could/should be improved and any
loss of life on a fire ground is a tragedy, those are points that are
With that said, I do want to bring up a few things. From what I have
been able to gather, current shelters don't typically fail (in and of
themselves), there is normally some sort of user error. God forgive me,
but the four who died in Washington this summer (which is what appears to
have sparked the shelter issue), died because of poor choice in deployment
area (over the rocky area vs. the "road") which allowed for
super heated gases to get in the shelters. Something I think that we have
really failed to comprehend was that the shelters performed just fine for
the rest of the crew who did deploy on the "road." The four who
died were not the only ones over run in that fire.
The other thing I want to toss out is that I am primarily a structural
firefighter. And like most, when I gear up in full turn out gear (air pack
included) I feel invincible, untouchable by fire. Unfortunately most don't
realize that they are not until they have been burned, melted a helmet or
set their gear on fire. Once they do that the fact that fire is an
awesome, powerful and unpredictable force dawns on then. When the 3 FDNY
firefighters died on Father's Day no one questioned their gear or claimed
that if their air packs had more air in them (so they could last for an
hour and not 30 minutes) those three may not have died. Those deaths are a
tragic example of how dangerous all aspects of firefighting are and that
sometimes no matter what, the fire will get the best of you. Basically
what I am trying to say is that modern turn out gear protects much better
then the gear of the past and due to that, today's firefighters
(structural) go deeper and get in hotter places then they should be
because they feel untouchable. Likewise a new and improved shelter (which
is probably need) could lead people into less safe and more hazardous
areas because they feel better protected than they really are. Just
something to think about guys and girls.
To all those on and off the lines, take care and be safe.
Douglas from NC
Welcome to the site Douglas. Ab.
||All of us in the firefighting community share a major sense of family,
and we all grieve when one of our own goes down. We've lost quite a few
this year, and the season's far from over.
I just about lose it every time I hear about another fatality. Right
after the grief comes this terrible frustration, this sense that I can't
do a damn thing for the loved ones left behind.
The Wildland Firefighter
Foundation is an all-volunteer group of fire people who raise money
for two major projects: the monument at NIFC and the firefighter family
fund. From this fund, replicas of the monument bronzes are sent to the
family of each firefighter who is killed. Checks are cut and emergency
financial assistance is sent to the survivors.
I can't send a couple thousand dollars to the family of a firefighter
who dies on the line. What I found I can do, however, is contribute to
this family fund. Here's two ways to do it. Go to the Foundation page at www.wffoundation.org/Merch/pin.htm
and buy yourself some of the new memorial pins. I just ordered ten, and
I'll bet you have friends and family who might wear them, too. The entire
five bucks per pin goes to the families -- there is no
"administrative overhead" with this foundation.
The other thing you can do is hike yourself to the nearest U.S. Bank
and make a donation to account number 153351069551 for the Wildland
Firefighter Foundation "Firefighters Help Fund."
Do it today.
||Here's a picture of the memorial
ribbon (pin), sent in by a reader for familysaid.
i have a case of mres i can sell to you and then ship
also try some army surplus stores, or i think galls might sell them, not
sure i will check around
if some one can come up with a list of comparison on the shelters that
would be great
||Ya all, hope you are reading ALL the posts in They Said; it would also
be beneficial if you stopped in Fire Chat some nite after 1900 hrs PDT;
you can lurk or jump in. There have been some good debates you might find
||It's very clear from firechat discussions that firefighters who have
many years of experience do not think having a better fireshelter is the
issue. They believe that just having one may put inexperienced (or
gung-ho) firefighters at risk by creating a mindset that they are
protected, when in fact they are not. Such FF may stay in risky situations
for longer than they would without it, or they may push the envelope
intentionally because the shelter has reinforced a culture of
invencibility that is sometimes evident in young inexperienced people.
Being trained in how to stay safe, including knowledge of fire
behavior and experience with it seems to be as important as or more
important than the fire shelter. As several ff said, "If a
fireshelter is deployed, someone has seriously screwed up -- misread the
fire behavior or failed to communicate about it."
Perhaps some energy should be put toward figuring out how to fasttrack
fire behavior training in our large number of new folks.
||WOW !!!!! We are just awesome........I have heard from two TV stations
and 2 newspapers. One is the Washington Post so we are definitely doing
something right.....I would suggest you keep an eye out for reporters
names and e-mail addresses. Fire off as many letters as possible.....never
know two of us may end up on Good Morning America...we need to have
someone do a FAQ sheet on the shelters, the old ones and the new ones.
Sort of a side by side comparison that we could all have a copy of. We
could all contribute we just need an organized complier. Any volunteers?
Firefighter Jane...maybe you could help us compile a list of stats on the
shelters or send us in the right direction. Also I have a reporter that
would love to do an interview, interested? MRE"S: does anyone know
where to by MRE'S? The store we have been getting them at is
closed....mail order would be ok for a simple fix now but I need someplace
around Spokane or South Seattle.........thx Sammi
||If you will look at "Wildland News Page" via they
said....there is an article 'Ready Aim Forest Fire" by Gabe Goldberg.
His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org he works for the Washington Post and I
think it might be beneficial if a few of us wrote to him of our concerns
about the fire shelters. keep up the good work guys we are definitely
Family and friends are lining up to send letters and emails. We are
planning a targeted September 14th blitz.
Congressional pressure takes the form of money. Follow the money and we
should be able to hit the pressure points. I would be interested in
knowing which congressional committee oversees the funding of USFS, the
size of MTDC's budget, and the role of NFPA in all of this. Who are the
members of those committees and especially the Chairs? The congressional
committees can stop a lot of action by killing an item in committee.
Congress is setting its agenda for the coming year now. So it seems to me
it's important to know more about who actually makes those decisions--then
go after them.
For those of you who have friends and family interested in joining this
effort but who do not know how to reach their Congressional reps, this
site is useful: Click here:
Congress.Org -- Write to Congress and State Legislators
There are many things I don't know, so educate me folks. I'm jumping
into this fray--hotshot mom
||I've received several emails from family and friends wanting to join our
writing campaign to support the approval of a better fire shelter. Several
have asked which Senate and House committees oversee the Forest Service;
they would write those people as well as their own senators and
representatives. The best I can come up with is the Senate Agriculture,
Nutrition and Forestry Committee and the House Committee on Agriculture.
Does anyone know for sure?
Thanks for the help.
||LOL......what my bro, Cap19, didn't tell ya all was that in that '31
days of firefighting in northzone.', he wrote his wife 3 letters. In those
3 letters, he not once told her where and what fire he was on!...LOL.
That he saved until his phone call, 5 days before he came home. He did
say that someone had told him that there was a request on his engine's
whereabouts posted to TheySaid. Bet he's sorry he gave me the addy for
Love ya Bro and glad you and the crew are back safe and sound, PC
PS Everyone take care out there. By the way Ab, can I ride Little Joe's
By yerself? Do ya have the redcard?
My posting of Aug 8th regarding the fire shelter, in addition to others
that have posted, seems to have created a movement. I want to thank you
for this site! The ability to raise issues here that otherwise have fallen
on deaf ears is truly amazing. Great job!!
Sammi, Colorado Mom, Mellie and others – all of us out there thank
you for your work and support! Sammi, I'd be more than willing to help you
with information on the fire shelter. I can be reached at email@example.com.
You're right about Pendleton's response to Jim Roth's phone call. It's
typical of what we've heard from MTDC and others. No personal attacks
here. Like I said in an earlier post - while tech and dev is developing
testing parameters, Mr. Roth has developed a superior shelter (which has
been published for 6+ years!!).
I agree 100% with you on the elements that you identified in your
message. There seems to be a break down in recognizing the transition from
a passive fire to an aggressive fire. The warning signs were there.
I've been thinking a lot about this since Storm King, and unfortunately
now again after the 30 Mile Incident. The best way to do this would be
increased fire experience for crewbosses, but with the sudden increase in
hiring, and with our leadership and experienced folks spread thin, how do
we do this? I believe the only way to address this is through training for
all levels, maybe part of the mandatory training we provide each year.
A training session that would teach firefighters to identify when fire
transitions, what are the elements of a fire transitioning, what is
extreme fire behavior, what does extreme fire behavior look like, what are
appropriate defense modes and offense modes, etc (just a few thoughts). We
have the experience base still working and/or available in retirement to
design and instruct such a class. Anyone out there have any thoughts?
Just got back from several fires in CA. Lots of potential still out
there. Take care and be safe!
||Sorry but I have to take back my offer to share the c-span tapes with
the list....the feds showed up last night and confiscated all my Disney
and c-span videos. They even took my beloved copy of
"Always"...(kidding). Anyone that would like to come visit and
have a cup of cocoa and watch them is welcome. (not kidding).
Ab, I want to audition for the Hop-sing (the Chinese cook).......except
the food would be old fashion Southern....beans, corn bread, biscuits
& gravy - that kind of big cholesterol stuff......tell me when to be
there for the try outs....
We'll let you know Sammi. (The comments about the Chinese cook are
references to a mini-dialog going on on theysaid.) Ab.
We are back. 31 days of firefighting in northzone. Did manage to get
some pic's and uploaded all.
||I just got our Memory Pins in the mail yesterday they are very nice and
will fit on a cap or a jacket. About 1 inch high. I bought ours from a
catalog but with the paperwork delivered with the pins is the following
Wildland FF Foundation
( The money the catalogs make from the pins also goes to the foundation,
so either way, probably quicker going directly to the foundation.)
P.O. Box 3665
Boise, Idaho 83703
Does anyone know if it is legal to copy the FF program on c-span and
then pass the tapes on to other people? I have the complete copy and am
willing to share but would'nt want to go to jail.
Ab sez: C-span holds the copyright, so it is illegal to copy and
disseminate the show. I don't know if they'd consider it illegal to loan
the video to a friend for viewing, though. We wouldn't want you to go to
jail, either, Sammi.
is where you can link to order the video from c-span. I searched on
wildfire. Cost is $49.95.
Here C-SPAN FAQ
are some frequently asked questions, which include info on copying/sharing
The Wildland Firefighters Memorial is selling the purple ribbon with a
flame pins for $5 each. Lets support the memorial and not buy from a third
How can I contact you to get a copy of the CSPAN wildfire story? And
about how much are the tapes costing you?
||Shelter recall?????? What's this about?
OLD FIRE GUY!!!!! Are you still active in the FF service? Would you be
interested in a TV or newspaper interview abt the shelters and the safety
||Sammi - please post the site for ordering the honoring ribbons for
BB, thanks for the link to post messages to those on the Star.
(unfortunately I was unable to post)
TO ALL: if you were unable to catch the CSpan special, get a copy! View
it TWICE. Although it provides a good overview of the wildland fire scene,
not many western fire camps, except at a major complex provide all those
COMMENTS: by-passing Mr Pendleton & Mr Hamilton (good panel): lots
of clean faces & new nomex on camera at the Green Knoll.
1) of major concern to me, was the amount of jewelry worn by those fire
fighters - if ya can't have steel in the boots, why would anyone want to
have metal ANYWHERE on the body?
2) I was very disappointed by the political non-speak of Rep Peterson's
3) did anyone notice how the "kids" on the line could not
explain their desire to be willdland firefighters - it's indescribable!
Otis Root (Sho Ban shots) probably expressed it most eloquently.
(personally, I especially liked the interview with Ricky Dann)
4) pay close attention to the interview with Mr Carvelho - he has been
around for a long time & didn't gain his reputation easily. Pray that
when he retires someone equally competent can fill his shoes.
5) won't comment on the callers................. nor the short cut off on
the part of the moderator.
north zone R5
would love to get one of those pins
please post where
||To all of those with loved ones on the Star fire, they're conducting a
major burnout operations today. And our thoughts and prayers go out to all
of them. I found a website where we can send a message to them and it will
be posted at camp daily. http://www.yubanet.com/hell_hole_fire.shtml
FYI, this is not an official federal message site. (But then,
neither are we.) Ab.
||Hey guys.....just a note to let ya know I am still here. My husband and
I took a trip up to Canada this week-end. Scenery was awesome and the
weather was wonderful, for us, not the fires. We went up to the Banff
National Park then around to Glacier and back down thru the park.
We saw two of the big fires going up there, the Pritchard on the west
side of Banff and then the Moose Fire at Lake McDonald west of Glacier. We
were able to watch the Moose fire Sunday pm as we traveled west, it
started as a smokey haze and the closer we got it started obviously
building until it was making it's own weather clouds.....awesome. Hope the
pictures turn out. If so I will share with the list....
We watched the special last night, taped it if anyone needs
copies.....I am getting together infor for the news interview abt the
shelters.....we are so sorry to hear abt the pilots getting killed and
then another death of one of the FF on the ground. It's been a very sad,
worrisome year. There is a beautiful pin from one of the catalogs that
shows purple ribbons with flames that is in memory of the fallen FF, if
anyone is interested let me know and I will post the address. Got to get
busy on the interview stuff....keep in touch and let us know the news when
you hear it from your FF.....
my husband called tonite wanting me to get on here and find something
about the fire shelter recall that happened a while back and
see where i could get specific info like model numbers, anything,
they may have some bad ones and need to know
he also wants to know if anyone knows the requirements for helmets for
next year yet??
any help would be great
he is in no mans land and needs info
||For family members really interested in the safety topic, the Tri-Data
study reports are mandatory reading:
Hear, hear. I cross posted this from theysaid. These reports are
key. They show the complexity of the issues relating to firefighter
safety. Reading and understanding them can be a bit daunting, but should
be done for breadth of background in wildland firefighter safety issues.
Also, please keep reading theysaid. Firefighters are responding to the
fire shelter priorities post by Blaze. Ab.
I certainly hope by the time this posts you will have heard from your
family member currently assigned to the Star fire. As Clover said, when
you get that call, it will be short. Star Fire camp is in an extremely
remote area; there is no bank of telephones and the line of folks waiting
their turn is long. (see my posts of 8/29 & 30 for additional
To all - be sure to watch the CSpan special A
Tour of NICC scheduled for today; it should give you a general
overview of national wildland fire management.
Remember, usually no news is good news.
All the fire fighters, especially the wildland IA are ever in our thoughts
||I am writing from the State of Virginia. We have a couple of folks on
the Star Fire. They called last night for the first time in a week from a
satelite phone and talked for about one minute because of the large line
waiting to use the phone. It has been interesting reading the local papers
and following the firefighting progress on the web. Also our southern
coordination center out of Atlanta, Ga. has a good daily crew report. We
are interested in hearing from others involved with the Star Fire.
||Read Blaze's post on theysaid if you want to see where on the
priority list the fire shelter is.
||Any word on folks on the Star fire in Ca.? I know phone lines are down
and no cell coverage is working. Just getting antsy.
Maybe the fire shelter currently in use isn't the best or latest
available, but it is the ONLY "last ditch" shelter this season.
Remember, it all comes down to good training, use of tools, common sense,
and keeping a good watch for unanticipated wind/fire changes, not to
mention the overhead decisions about fire management. Each incident is a
different senario; terrain, temperature and RH must be considered.
Did you know that the jumpers practice shelter depoyment behind the
exhaust of an airplane? Jumpers certainly can't cut line wearing those
bulky kevlar jump suits!
I agree, that there are major problems in the entire wildland fire
fighting system; writing to our elected officials is a good start. I
certainly have no desire to poll the folks on the line for their thoughts
on the subject at this point in time. And, I'd want to analyze the pros
& cons of any shelter before going off without all the facts/tools to
||Here's a point I think should be made.
A while back on TheySaid, someone posted a complaint that the MSNBC
piece about the shelters showed it being deployed in heavy fuel. The
anonymous person complained that no one that knows anything about
deployment would ever deploy in that kind of fuel. That the ground must be
However, I saw the piece and I think that any shelter that performed
that well in the heavy fuel that was shown, is a far better product then
the old shelters could ever be!!! And, in my mind it shows how good the
Storm King shelters are.
Hope that all made sense....LOL....told ya I don't speak well......LOL.
||wow what do you say to a woman who has lost her husband while pregnant
i am so sorry for your loss and
remember no matter what an agency tells you
he was a hero, protecting your land and homes.
my sincere sympathy to all the families that have lost a loved one this
and prayers that no one else will have to die this season,
keep it safe FF and remember we are proud of you always
||I'm sputtering with anger following CNN's news report last night! I
can't believe the statement that those who lost their lives in the tragic
helicopter crash in MT "weren't firefighters" - doesn't anyone
proofread the news blurbs before some newscaster says the words? What did
the writer think that helo was doing in MT - logging?!
Last nights doozie must have been written by the same uneducated fool
who wrote last weeks blurb about a fire being controlled with no estimate
||So sad to hear about this pregnant widow - unthinkable grief...
Since I'm an aerial firefighter (tanker) widow, I don't know much about
ground crew's firefighting lives. Please tell me how it goes for ground
crew families when their loved one dies on a fire - what kind of
emotional, financial help would you get from the government? Do the crews
stick together and hang in with the families? Is there agroup of fallen
wildland firefighters families? Would you all get full benefits? What
happens to the temporary firefighters?
I've been trying to get up to speed on your fire shelter issue - is it
that better shelters exist than you are supplied? (my tanker-pilot late
husband was annoyed he was going to have to buy his own parachute.)
||I am encouraged by the discussion of issues concerning people. It is
good to know that you still realize that this is our country and
politicians are our employees. "We the People, of the United States
in Order to form a more perfect Union......"
My family is on the Fridley fire in Montana, our own backyard. I agree
with 'cdfbc' that we need to be concerned with who is training our FF and
fighting fires in familiar country. I want my people confident and SAFE.
Glacier National Park (Moose Fire) has awesome and intimidating terrain.
At Fridley fire the FF also have to keep any eye on the substantial
rattlesnake population. I am proud of our Governor, Judy Martz, for going
to the fire camp and seeing things first hand and giving everyone words of
encouragement. I am proud of FF (especially mine!) and proud of people who
stand up for what they believe in.
In today's news it is reported of the 3 men in the helicopter crash at
the Fridley fire that 2 were single and 1 leaves behind a child and
pregnant wife. God bless and comfort these families.
||My sincere condolences to the family, friends, and the entire fire
fighting community following the tradegedy in MT today. Time out for
personal squabbles & agendas: take 5 in respect to those who have lost
their lives this season and previous.
Once again, BE SAFE out there in the smokes!
||For prior posts, go to the Aug-01 Archive. The link is at the top of the