Monthly Archives: November 2011

Honoring Heroes Website and Mission

I had a really nice meeting this morning with Bill Finegan, the driving force behind the Honoring Heroes website. Bill is former EMS from Philadelphia, and First Responder issues runs in his veins. I must say that I left that meeting wanting to really make a difference in the lives of First Responders.

I want to encourage (read that as “DO IT!”) all my friends who are First Responders or those of you who appreciate and support First Responders to take a look at this site. I want to highlight some things here that are truly just the tip of the iceberg for what this organization is doing.

First , if you’ve notices on my last few LODD posts, I have a link to their information on the Honoring Heroes website. I really like the format of the information about the hero, and how they take time to tell the story…THEIR story. You can find some real good information that you won’t find on USFA or ODMP. Another feature is that these stories are updated periodically as more information is found.

Second, the awards initiative. He wants to standardize awards given to First Responders. You can nominate someone for an award. There is a suggested donation of $20 per award. This leads into another really cool plan. Half of the donated money ($10 per medal) will be set aside in the Homeland Heroes Fund to provide for the needs of the surviving spouses of First Responders who have died in the line of duty.

See the FAQ page if you have any questions, or contact him.

There are lots of initiatives that they are trying to accomplish. So please, go take a look. Help if you can.

Oe other thing you can do to help. Check out the Danny Mac bill (House) and the Dale Long Act(Senate) and voice your support to your representatives.

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Disaster Preparedness

Since we all know that winter is approaching us (and since I missed posting in September,National Preparedness Month ), I thought I’d like to cover some ways to be prepared in the event of an emergency, or to prevent them from becoming worse that they need to be.

1. You should have smoke detectors and the batteries should be changed during the spring/fall time change.

2. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has set up a website to help individuals and groups be prepared. Visit http://www.ready.gov/ for details about how to build an “emergency kit”, and family evacuation plans. In times of crisis you go with your training.

3. FEMA also has a website of full of tutorials for professionals and those of us wanting to know how to better protect ourselves. To access the list of courses, go to http://training.fema.gov/IS/crslist.asp?page=all. It includes topics like “A Citizen’s Guide to Disaster Assistance”, “Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness ” and “Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness” among others. Take a look. Some of them can count as CEUs. This is for US RESIDENTS only.

4. If you have any questions, or need assistance, contact your local Emergency Management Office.

5. If you would like to be involved in your community tin the time of emergency, you might want to look into the Community Emergency Response Teams.

If you have any others, feel free to add them. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Please distribute to all Police, Paramedic and Fire personnel – Happy Thanksgiving

First, I again want to say thank you to all the Chiefs, Sheriffs, Officers and Administrators who have made it possible for me to distribute this message.

This marks the third year that I have been reaching out to you on the holidays. It’s my hope that you have been encouraged, helped, or supported in some way with these notes. For those of you just hearing from me for the first time, welcome. Last year I talked about adversity, but this year I want to talk about something a little less serious. Actually, a LOT less serious. Humor and joy.

I know that you work in a serious job, and quite literally, can be a “matter of life and death” at times. Some of you have seen some of the worst that life has to offer. I’ve heard or read some of the stories. I have a policy that I never ask. But I’ve been told some of them, and I just want to say that I would never want to make light of that.

During some of my reading I’ve came across this as a theme. From Bad days to PTSD, the experts say that one of the keys is keeping a sense of humor. A sense of humor is actually good for us.

Growing up in Eastern Kentucky, I remember watching the news and the Brad James weather forecast. If Brad said it, it was so. If he said it would rain, I was looking for the umbrella. He was also known to pull off a prank or two. He did an annual April Fool’s Day joke, one of which he told viewers of his trip to “The Thousand Islands”, home of the “famous salad dressing”.

I’m sure we all know someone like that, and likely we have been on the receiving end of a prank or two. But how does that help us? Studies show us a few things about humor:

1. Humor can portray a message is understandable ways that nothing else can.
2. Humor can decrease the feelings of rage and anger in those around us.
3. Humor is memorable. How many movie lines can you quote that made you laugh sometime?
4. Humor can be an “ice-breaker” in tense or unfamiliar situations.

There are numerous others that we could list. What better time to have such a tool than the holidays, a season that can be stressful or painful? But you could help improve it for you and others around you. So give it a try.

As I’ve noted before, the holidays can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, other supervisors, clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. I’ll make myself available to help you in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, or send an email. Reach out if you need to.

I’ve said it in every email, and every chance I get. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. I’ve said it to you on the parks and restaurants. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Why I believe the defeat of Issue 2 was a good thing.

I got alot of questions about my stance on Issue 2. It was made to seem like I wan’t a “good Republican” for voting NO. But I learned from my father who learned from his father. Sometimes your party has it right and sometimes it does not, and when it does not, you have to have the courage to stand up and say so.

The administration pitched this as a way to ensure that people were paying their fair share. But what about the volunteers who do it without getting paid? Or the ones who don’t have benefits? I’ve researched and contacted numerous police and fire departments throughout Ohio, so I think I have a little knowledge about what I’m talking about.

At least 50% of firefighters in Ohio are volunteer. We saw what Xenia tried to do even before SB5/Issue 2. “Maybe a fireman should have to buy his own turnout gear.” If Xenia could do that, what would follow? What are you going to tell those volunteers in those small towns all over Ohio? “That’s great that you want to be a firefighter! Please pay the city $2500, then pay for your training and upkeep. Then you have the privilege of risking your lives for strangers!”

There are numerous police departments where the only “full-time” officer is the Chief. They have a few “part-time” and numerous auxiliary officers. Do we get to tell them to buy their own vests? Or where does it stop? “Buy your own cars and the city will provide the lights and logos?” Some of these officers work for nothing and have NO benefits unless injured on the job. And don’t think that’s just South-East Ohio. There are departments right here in Montgomery county that has NO benefits.

Not to mention facts like they do pay percentages of their retirements and large percentages of their benefits.

Nor does this include the cities and villages where the officers have not gotten raises for 7-10 years. Or the FOP who has agreed for no raises in numerous places because of fiscal emergencies in cities all over Ohio.

It is a fairness issue. They wanted a place at the table and were told “No.” So they fought back. Good for them. And it most certainly IS a safety issue. You can talk about how it’s unions wanting to “line their own pockets” if you like. But I’ve been to 2 viewings and a funeral this year and I’d rather not have to go to another one because we as a state could not step up and say what is right.