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Monday, March 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Photos: City firefighters practice rescue skills in icy water at Dewitt

post by Howard Owens in batavia, City Fire, DeWitt Recreation Area

City firefighters were at Dewitt Recreation Area today for a round of ice and cold water rescue training.

Lt. Bob Fix, a certified ice and cold water rescue instructor, conducted the class.

The purpose of the course is to provide fire personnel with the skills and knowledge required to safely and effectively respond to incidents on our through ice.

There are 325 acres of open water within city limits. The Tonawanda Creek runs for 2.79 miles through the city.

Upon completion of the training, participants will be certified in ice rescue awareness, operations and technician levels for three years.

A seagull was more interested in the open water as a possible fishing hole than rescue training.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Donated buildings in the city provide invaluable training resource for fire department

post by Howard Owens in batavia, City Fire

The chance for city firefighters to train and practice in an actual structure in the city is invaluable to the department, Chief Jim Maxwell said today while discussing an opportunity to use to houses on West Main Street this week.

Since the houses are slated for demolition, firefighters can cut, chop and smoke up the place ("cold smoke," as it's called, since it's not heat generated).

"From the new firefighter to the 20-year veteran, it's very valuable," Maxwell said. "It's a controlled situation, but they get to go in and practice what they would do in a normal fire."

The houses are being provided to the department for training by the owners of Castilone Chrysler, Steve Castilone and Greg Strauss, and are located at 310 and 312 W. Main St., Batavia.

Castilone and Strauss are expanding their dealership (rather than move it out of the city) and they acquired the neighboring properties for that purpose.

Maxwell said having structures in the city for training really cuts down on overtime. Rather than requiring firefighters to come in during typical off-duty hours and train at the Fire Training Center on Bank Street Road, on-duty firefighters can train in the city so they're still available for calls as needed.

"We're able to get all of the platoons through without getting into an overtime situation, so it's very valuable to use," Maxwell said.

Training includes ventilation (cutting holes in the roofs), search and rescue (artificial smoke is generated). There will be more training over the next few days, weather permitting, and it will be squeezed in with hazmat training taking place this week at the fire station.

There won't, however, be any live fire training at the two houses, Maxwell said. It's just too risky to do in the city.

Photos submitted by Frank Capuano

Friday, February 14, 2014 at 9:35 pm

City fire testing iPad with apps to help manage emergency responses

post by Howard Owens in batavia, City Fire

Spock had his tri-corder, a device at his fingertips that could provide him with information quickly in any emergency situation.

City of Batavia firefighters now have an iPad and as the saying goes, "there's an app for that."

In this case, there's apps that can map their calls and tell firefighters where all the hydrants are in a neighborhood, and an app that tells them how the batteries are configured in hybrid cars, and an app to help them deal with hazmat situations.

Last week, Lt. Bob Fix installed a special iPad in Engine 11 as part of a pilot project to see if such a device can assist firefighters in emergency situation.

The iPad uses an app called Active911 that ties in with the county's emergency dispatch center (soon to be replaced by a new app tied into the new communications system). When City fire receives an alarm, all the details go to Active911 and the scene commander can have at his fingertips all of the information about which firefighters are responding (especially in a multiple alarm situation) and help him position trucks based on the location of hydrants.

The hybrid car app is useful in auto accidents, since hybrids have both areas that are reinforced and too hard to cut through and places pulsing with high voltage that a firefighter wouldn't want to cut. With the iPad, a commander can punch in make and model and get a copy of the schematics for the car.

The hazmat app, created by the Federal Government, lists 438 chemicals that are potentially hazardous. If a firefighter doesn't know the name of a chemical, he can punch in the characteristics and the app will help him identify the chemical. The app uses wind speed and direction to map an evacuation area and provides information on how to fight any related fires and how to treat any victims with possible exposure to the chemical.

Fix said if the trial goes well, iPads will be installed in the department's other emergency vehicles.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Vehicle capable of rescues on ice or in water demonstrated for firefighters

post by Howard Owens in batavia, City Fire, Le Roy

City fire hosted a demonstration today at Dewitt Recreation Area of a rescue vehicle designed to handle snow, ice and open water to rescue people who might be stranded in dangerous conditions.

The vehicle is made of a snowmobile and a foam-filled platform that can keep it floating on water. Propulsion is created by the snowmobile's chain drive.

"It gives stability and a safety factor to firefighters that simply doesn't exist in any other vehicle," said Roger Bailey, CEO of WISE Technology, which is based in New Hampshire. 

This was the first demonstration of the vehicle in WNY.

The demonstration was set up by Bob Valvo of LVA Sales, a manufacturers' rep company with offices on Harverster Avenue.

The city has no immediate plans to purchase the vehicle.

Le Roy fire was also on hand for the demo.

Video by Alecia Kaus, Video News Service.

Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 7:50 am

Firefighters donate coats to children at Agri-Business Child Development Center

City firefighters gave out 25 brand-new, American-made coats to children at the Agri-Business Child Development Center on Brooklyn Avenue yesterday. This is the first year City fire participated in this national program, which is part of Operation Warm and Firefighters Coats for Kids.

Information and photos submitted by Adam Palumbo.

Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 11:53 pm

City fire putting new extrication tools into service

post by Howard Owens in batavia, City Fire

City firefighters got their hands on new extrication tools tonight that were acquired with a FEMA grant the department received in January.

The tools are manufactured by Holmatro and include a cutter, a spreader and two rams along with rocker panel support.

The grant was for $60,000 and the money as also used to purchase struts for building and vehicle supports.

Tonight's training was conducted by Tim Norris, a rep for Holmatro.

Capt. Craig Williams said the department reviewed equipment from six different companies and invited four of them in for a head-to-head competition.

What he likes about the Holmatro products, he said, is the tools are the only one on the market that cut and spread in three stages. When there's no pressure on the blades, they move easily. As they feel pressure, they clap down harder, and in the third stage, when extra pressure is needed to finish the cut, the tool delivers maximum pressure.

Also, Williams said, the tools can be hot swapped from their hydraulic lines, meaning the line doesn't need to be drained of pressure before trading out a tool for a particular job.

Shifts of firefighters will be training with the new tools over the next few days.

Holmatro rep Tim Norris, center, conducting training.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 9:58 am

Photo: Fire safety poster contest winner gets ride to school in Engine 11

post by Howard Owens in batavia, City Fire, St. Joe's School

Eight-year-old Amelia McCulley was also a first-place winner in the City Fire Department's fire safety poster contest and this morning it was her turn to ride in Engine 11 to school.

All of her classmates at St. Joe's turned out to see her arrive at school after she was driven around the city a bit in the truck.

Chief Jim Maxwell, Colin, 9, Matthew, 3, Amelia, their mother Amanda. and firefighter Mike Dorgan.

Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Photos: City firefighters pitch in to help with restortation of Habitat house

City firefighters, members of IAFF Local 896, have been volunteering their time to help with the revitalization of a house on Harvester Avenue by Habitat for Humanity.

Joining in the tasks today were Dave Adams, Tim Stengel, Chuck Hammon, Mike Dorgan, Adam Palumbo, Nathan Kinne, Mark Mikolajczyk and Christina Marinaccio.

Top photo, Kinne and Palumbo. Bottom, Marinaccio and Stengel.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm

City firefighters will try to 'Fill the Boot' for MDA on June 7

post by Howard Owens in batavia, City Fire, Fill the Boot, IAFF Local 896

City firefighters, members of the International Association of Firefighters Local 896, will once again ask motorists at in the Court, Ellicott and Main street areas to "fill the boot" with donations to help fight Muscular Dystrophy.

The donations benefit MDA charities in WNY.

The "Fill the Boot" campaign is June 7.

Last year, the campaign collected $7,500 for MDA, which was a record for the annual campaign.

"We had a very successful boot drive in 2012," said Local 896 President Greg Ireland. "The guys are looking forward to hitting the streets again in an attempt to top last year’s total. We really appreciate the generosity of those that can give, whether it be their spare change, a dollar or even more."

Monday, March 25, 2013 at 2:29 pm

City Fire Department to host child seat safety check

post by Howard Owens in batavia, City Fire

Press release:

On Friday, March 29 (Good Friday), the City of Batavia Fire & Police Departments will hold a free Child Safety Seat Check Event at Fire Headquarters (18 Evans St.) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., rain or shine.

Nationally certified technicians will be on hand to answer questions, check recalls, and assist with making sure all seats are installed correctly. Parents should remember to bring both the car seat and the child so that proper instruction/installation can be done.

Did you know three out of four car seats aren’t used correctly? Surprised? Stop down this Friday, March 29 to our event and ensure your children are traveling safely.

For more information contact City Fire Headquarters at 345-6375.

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