The Full Scope of “Never Forget”

Today marks a very solemn day in the fire service, as we reflect on the tragic events of this day in 2001, where our country was attacked and numerous Americans from all walks of life rose to the occasion to help others.

It’s days like these that define an entire generation.  You will always remember where you were and what you were doing when everything went down.  Unfortunately, many monumental days like this, such as D-Day, Pearl Harbor, and the Kennedy Assassination, seem to fade away as time goes on.  To combat that, our generation has repeatedly used the phrase “Never Forget.”

However, as time passes, other events occur that place the attacks further in the rear view mirror.  Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, two wars, countless devastating wildfires, and multiple massive tornado outbreaks over the last decade have taken some of the spotlight off of what happened at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia, and on a field in Shanksville Pennsylvania on September 11th, 2001.  It is totally natural.  I understand.

Since we are going to use today to “Never Forget,” I wanted to really sit down and expand on the things we truly need to never forget.  You see…..while most of America has moved on, parts of it hasn’t.  And we should never forget that.

Without saying, we should never forget the 343 fire fighters who made the ultimate sacrifice that morning.  Facing insurmountable odds, these men charged straight into not one, but two towering infernos and did their job.  One can only wonder how staggering the death toll would have been had it not been for fire fighters continuing to press on in the gravest of situations.

But we should also never forget the thousands of fire fighters that were there and survived that day.  Many were in the towers and the surrounding area when they collapsed.  Their actions were no less heroic.  However, since 9/11, they have had to endure the lingering effects of the traumatization that accompanies an event of this magnitude, such as pulling dead friends from the rubble, attending hundreds of funerals of fallen brother fire fighters, and assisting the families of the deceased, all while many are suffering from the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder themselves.  Very few people, if any, will ever understand what these brave men and women have gone through since the attacks.

We should never forget the workers who, for months on end, responded to Ground Zero to search for victims and clear the rubble pile.  Day after day, week after week, month after month, people were pulling severed and crushed body parts out of the rubble and moving debris.  Many of these workers suffer from and/or have already died from respiratory diseases and rare cancers that have names I can’t even pronounce.

We should not forget the communities that have suffered through this ordeal.  Many neighborhoods have lost fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters who were also serving their communities as athletic coaches, scout troop leaders, church members, etc.  The  attacks of September 11th, 2001 has rocked many communities to its core, just about affecting every community organization in these neighborhoods in one way or another.

Most of all, we should never forget the families that have suffered through this tragedy.  Many fire fighter wives have become widows way too early.  A lot of their children will never truly know their father.  For the next generation, there will be many kids out there experiencing their first little league base hit, scoring their first touchdown or goal, attending prom, graduating high school, walking down the aisle, and having their own children, without their father present to cheer them on, with their only solace coming from someone saying “Your father would have been proud.”  To forget what they have endured over the first part of their lives would be a travesty.

I can go on and on about all the things we should never forget about this day.  However, it is most important that we “Never Forget” about the magnitude of the day, the heroic actions of many, and the lingering effects this event has and will have for our generation in the years to come.

3 Tips on Fire Resistant Places To Store Valuables and Paperwork

3 Tips on Fire Resistant Places To Store Valuables and Paperwork

Everyone has valuables and paperwork in their home. Many people keep money at home too. However, doing so means you risk losing such things to fire, should you be the victim of a home fire. This risk is can be minimized by finding the fire resistant locations to store such items.

Invest in a Fireproof Safe

A fireproof safe is a wise investment for any home. Designed to protect important papers, cash and valuables from fire, they are not a deterrent for thieves. In fact a smart burglar will take the entire thing and work on opening it later. For this reason, you should have a good hiding spot for your fireproof safe. Always invest in a waterproof safe, as any safe that survives a fire in your home or business will receive lots of water.

Location, Location, Location

Where you put your waterproof, fireproof safe can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring that you actually protect your valuables and important paperwork. In reality, even fireproof safes can melt if the temperature is high enough. Therefore, you need to give some thought to the placement of the safe.

Keeping your safe on the lowest level of your home is wise.  Fire typically moves upward and if your safe is located on the lowest part of your home, it is more likely to survive a fire. For homes with crawl spaces or basements, this is easy, but for most Floridians, there is no basement. There still may be a part of the house that is lower than the rest. This is an ideal location.

Consider the places in your home that are likely points of origin for a fire: the kitchen, major appliances, heating/cooling systems, overloaded electrical outlets. Be sure to place your safe far from any of these places. By distancing your safe from possible points of origin, you are likely to keep it out of the hottest part of the fire.

Consider the Unusual

Items stored in freezers have a better chance of surviving a fire, especially if that freezer is not in the kitchen where many fires start. Those who have a chest freezer in a garage or another area of the house are wise to package valuables and place them in the freezer. Often amongst the last things to burn in a fire, your valuables are much safer there than in a wall storage area or in many hiding places in your home.

You may also want to consider storing your safe in a hole in your back yard. While there are some risks to this, you will not have to worry about fire. Placing garden furniture over the buried safe will help you remember where it is and avoid accidental uncovering by kids or animals.

While there are many things to think about when it comes to the safety and security of your home, fire is the most irrevocable, consuming risk you face. Take a moment to consider the important papers, items and money in your home and how you can adequately keep them safe.

What Type Of City Do We Want This To Be?

As the pension issue limps on, you will hear lots of rhetoric from our local politicians about how they want to make sure they “protect those who protect us” and “make sure the pension deal is good for the employees and the taxpayer.”  And then of course there is the one old question politicians love to ask- “What type of city do we want this to be?”

This got me thinking.  What type of city do we want Jacksonville to be?  Judging by recent media reports, It doesn’t appear anyone is willing to tackle the question being asked.

In mid June, I embarked on a little experiment and began tracking news articles from across the Jacksonville media landscape to see how much attention is paid to issues that lower the quality of life in our city.  Among the astonishing results:

5 Detained in Apparent Acid Bomb Attack
Woman Shot In Home Invasion Attempt
Two Charged in Meth Making That Closed The Main Street Bridge
1 Killed, 1 Injured After Multiple Robbery Shootings Near Avondale
2 Arrested in Jacksonville Crime Spree On Westside
Teens Found Overdosing At Huguenot Park
Business Owner Kills Customer, Police Say
Jacksonville Man Shot After Fight Over Friday Night Card Game
Suspect Who Battered Jacksonville Police Officer Is On The Loose
Naked Child Found Swimming In Jacksonville Beach Retention Pond
Man Shot And Killed Early Saturday Morning in Jacksonville
Two Killed In Shooting In Jacksonville Restaurant Parking Lot
Man Shot and Killed on Florida Avenue in Jacksonville
Woman, 72, Shot By Home Invader; Husband, 74, Returns Fire
Shooting Near Wacko’s Leaves One Person Injured
16 Year Old Raped Walking To Friend’s House on Jacksonville’s Westside
Four in Custody Following Northside Shooting, Robbery Attempt
Women Shot And Killed In Jacksonville Early Friday, Found On Driveway
Two Women Hospitalized After Fire/Shooting At Jacksonville Motel Six

This doesn’t include the gun shot, stabbing, and other assault victims that were responded to and didn’t warrant time in the paper or on the news.

There were also the tragic events surrounding Cherish Perrywinkle, the young girl kidnapped and murdered on the northside at the end of June or the events out in Jacksonville Beach on Memorial Day when a gang of thugs ran roughshod through a community event.  Both of these events sent shockwaves through our community.

During this same time, the local media landscape, especially the editorial board at 1 Riverside Avenue, has taken on the role of crusaders against the deadly police and fire pension fund, trying to make people believe this city will perish because of “those greedy fire fighters.”

During this pension attack, I haven’t seen one editorial piece dedicated to the quality of life in our city.  Not one pertaining to the above mentioned articles in an effort to openly debate where our city is really heading. No JCC or Jacksonville Chamber press releases. No “Blue Ribbon Panels.”  No polls.

Nothing.

None of these entities seem concerned that Arlington, once a picture perfect model for a city suburb, is full of crime.  How does a community that is home to a Mayor and three council members decline like that?  

In 2011, I conducted a scientific poll about issues in Jacksonville.  5% of the public at the time considered fire fighters and their pensions an issue.  The Times Union is harping on a subject that over 90% of the city doesn’t even see as an issue.  Now……..people concerned about being the victim of a violent crime?  I bet that would poll higher than 5%.

I understand that as Jacksonville continues to grow beyond the 1 million mark in population, you are going to undoubtedly have a growth in some crime.  I also understand that neighborhoods like Arlington will go through cycles.  Cities such as ours are going to have highs and lows.

But at the end of the day, the many entities who have their claws in city government and salivate and scheme to get their hands on $1.2 Billion in pension fund money must step up and have a constructive debate on where the quality of life in our great city is heading. Fire Fighters step up for this city every day.  So should they.

 

Jacksonville Fire Fighters Unveil 2013 Fireworks Safety Brochure

For over 235 years, Americans have celebrated their independence by grilling, boating, swimming, sports, and fireworks.  Of all the activities we partake in, fireworks still seem to injure the most people.

While this is a great time to celebrate freedoms no one else on this planet have, I would like to remind you to try to be as safe as possible. Every year, hundreds of Americans, including many children, are injured due to improper use of fireworks.

With that in mind, The Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters would like to share with everyone its 2013 Fireworks Safety Brochure.  It is packed with safety information on how to properly protect yourself while launching fireworks.  It also has a section for grilling safety.

This brochure is free to download.  It is our hope that you will share this with your friends, families, church groups, home owner associations, and anyone else you can think of.  Our goal is to help you celebrate safely.

Click here to view the 2013 Jacksonville Fire Fighters Fireworks Safety Brochure

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Welcome To Our New Blog

Hello, and welcome to Jacksonville’s Burning Issues, a new blog created by the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters to keep the public informed on issues regarding their public safety.

As fire fighters, issues affecting public safety would of course be our number one topic.  This will of course include discussions about levels of service being provided to communities, the budget, and of course pensions.  Providing commentary on this blog will be:

Larry Osborne.  Larry is the 12th District Vice-President for the International Association of Fire Fighters.  He is retired from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, where he was a Battalion Chief in the Rescue Division and even served a stint as the department’s Chief of Operations.  He brings 40 years of labor experience to the discussion.

Randy Wyse.  Randy is the President of the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters.  He was first elected in 2008 and has been re-elected by acclimation since.  Randy is 25 year veteran of the JFRD, having served as the District Chief of the JFRD Special Operations team, which encompasses the JFRD Hazardous Materials and Urban Search and Rescue Teams.  Of his 25 years on the department, 21 of those have been spent serving on the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters Executive Board.

Mark Treglio.  Mark is a 15 year veteran of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and the 1st Vice-President of the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters.  He has been handling Public Relations/Social Media for the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters since 2002.

Fire Fighters are truly immersed in the communities they live in and work in.  It is the hope of this blog, and its original authors, that we can expand beyond public safety issues and shed some light on other issues that are affecting our great city.  With that in mind, we will be opening up the blog to special guest bloggers from time to time.

Thank you in advance for your support of our new endeavor.

Mark Treglio