Our VISION is to improve career and volunteer emergency services in the state of Idaho through leadership, collaboration, education, safety, information and representation.
Our MISSION is to provide and enhance leadership to career and volunteer emergency services in Idaho.
Source: Lewiston Fire Department Press Release, August 19, 2014, for additional information please call 208-743-3554.
New Soda Springs Fire Station
Named for Norm Bjorkman
Fire Chief Eric King, Guest of Honor Norm Bjorkman and Fire Chief David Gates (front) & Fire Chief Dan Squires (back)
August, 9, 2014. Retiring Fire Chief Bjorkman was given Emeritus status and retired after 61-1/2 years with the Soda Springs Fire Department. IFCA President, David Gates, Pocatello Fire Department, and IFCA District Director, Eric King, Chubbuck Fire Department, were in attendance to present Chief Bjorkman with an IFCA Life Membership Award and a personalized brick at the Idaho Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial in Boise on behalf of the IFCA. Chief Bjorkman has been one of the longest standing members of the IFCA. We wish him well in his well deserved retirement.
The 2014 Idaho Fire Fighter License Plate grant award application period closed on June 27. There were a total of 57 grant applications received this year requesting $87,508. The FFLP Grant Review Committee (GRC) is completing the selection process. GRC Chairman Dean Ellis said his committee is reviewing all applications and are deciding on the grant awards. Grant award recipients should find out the results in early September and grant checks should be distributed by late September. Thanks to all who submitted grant applications this year and we wish everyone good luck as the process takes place.
Three Idaho Firefighters Receive
Idaho Medal of Honor
Three firefighters received the Idaho Medal of Honor for acts of bravery and heroism deemed above and beyond the call of duty. The firefighter's were honored at the annual Medal of Honor ceremony on Saturday, June 7th at the Idaho Fallen Firefighter Memorial Park in Boise. The recipients honored include:
Captain Stuart Eigler of the Sam Owen Fire District for a heroic water rescue at Lake Pend Oreille.
Firefighter John Ryan O'Hearn of the Pocatello Fire Department for saving the life of a wheelchair-bound individual during a residential structure fire.
Captain Jeff Piazza of the Clark Fork Fire Rescue Department for saving two dogs during a mobile home fire.
The IFCA proudly salutes these brave heroes!
For more details on the stories of the Medal of Honor Recipients and ceremony photos:
Farewell Cheryl Karnowski at SFMO
The IFCA has learned that Idaho Fire Incident Reporting System (IFIRS) Manager Cheryl Karnowski at the State Fire Marshal's Office in Boise is leaving after many years of service. The IFCA membership wishes Cheryl all the best and extends our sincere thanks for your outstanding efforts documenting fire activity and the work of Idaho's fire departments.
Wildfire Season Slows, Not as Bad as Last Year
Idaho has experienced numerous wildfires from one end of the state to the other this year but the size and intensity of these fires has been much less that the blitz of major fires and loss of structures experienced last year. Large fires continue to burn near Lewiston but several bursts of lightning sparked fires in south and central Idaho have been attacked swiftly. The weather has also been more cooperative this year making it easier to contain and control the fires. None-the-less it is still a busy fire season and summer is not quite over yet. Be safe!
NWCG Structural Guidelines Bulletin
The Northern Rockies Coordinating Group (NRCG) has re-issued the USFS structural protection policies document with supplemental information from the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL). With the arrival of wildland fire season this is a good document to review if your jurisdiction is proximal to any Federal or State lands.
Link: nrcg structure protection guidelines.pdf
SAFER Grant Wait Continues
SAFER grant awards are still being announced by the USFA but hopes that the IFCA SAFER grant will get funded this year are diminishing. The IFCA Board approved action to apply for a SAFER grant for an insurance program that could boost volunteer retention and recruitment in Idaho. The grant would be use to provide accidental death and dismemberment coverage as well as disability insurance to ALL volunteer firefighters in Idaho that meet some basic minimum standards. The grant application was officially accepted by FEMA and the grant application is being coordinated through Greg Redden of Adapt, LLC (formerly Redden & Associates). The IFCA Office has refreshed its Federal grant registrations to enable re-application, when and if necessary. The Board continues to hope that the grant for this year may yet get funded.
After several years on a downswing, on-duty firefighter deaths were up in 2013. There were 101 on-duty firefighter fatalities last year, including eight classified as Hometown Heroes, according to statistics compiled by the USFA. During 2012, records show 83 firefighters died while serving their communities. There were 83 firefighter fatalities in 2011 as well, and 87 in 2010. The number is preliminary as state fire marshals throughout the country will be contacted to make sure all on-duty deaths are counted. Firefighters who suffer a heart attack or stroke within 24 hours of responding to an emergency are considered Hometown Heroes. There were four incidents in which multiple firefighters were killed – and three of those were in Texas. Two firefighters were killed in Bryan; 10 in West and four in Houston. A wildfire in Arizona left 19 hotshots dead. Of those who died, 42 were volunteers; 29 career; 22 wildland full-time; five wildland contract; one wildland part-time and one paid on call. Trauma was the top killer of firefighters last year with heart attacks dropping to third. However, 26 causes are still pending so those numbers are likely to change. The records also showed 45.5 percent of those who died were under 40. Also, 29 personnel died battling wildland fires, while 21 perished at structure fires. Fourteen died in collisions which includes aircraft crashes. The deadliest time for firefighters was 1700 to 1859 – when 30 firefighters perished; and 11 died between 1900 and 2059. June and April were the deadliest months, while the fewest occurred in January and September. Arizona had the most firefighter deaths – 20 – followed by Texas – 14, and Pennsylvania, six. A full report on the 2013 on-duty firefighter deaths will be published later this year by several sources.
Details on most fire service jobs in Idaho may be found at this link:
www.dailydispatch.com/Classifieds/Jobs.aspx and then
directly contact the agency that is offering the position.
|One of a few
Leadore mom leads town’s volunteer fire department
Not that the 45-year-old Leadore woman evaluates herself or others based on gender. In fact, the set of criteria she uses to assess performance and qualifications for any given task most entirely are linked to skills and actions.
“We place too much emphasis on the validity of ourselves as females and males,” Findley said. “One gender is not better than the other. What makes us stand out is when we – men and women – work together as a team. A team is undefeatable.”
Joining the department
Findley became a firefighter for the department in Leadore in 2005, as a natural extension of her work as an EMT. The two volunteer agencies long have shared members. Findley was two years into emergency services when she was persuaded by colleagues to help them as they battled fires.
A wife whose daughters range from 5 to 18 years old, Findley went on to serve as assistant chief under veteran chief Randel Snyder. She was elected chief in December after Snyder stepped down. A little more than two months later, Jim Playfair, a valued department engineer, unexpectedly died from a suspected pulmonary embolism.
It was a severe blow for his family and friends, as well as the community of Leadore, which counted on Playfair’s unstinting volunteerism and extensive firefighting training. For Findley, the loss lingers.
“He was great. All of my guys – and gals – are great,” she said.
Nearly two dozen volunteers make up the department.
One of a select few
Findley is one of four women heading one of the roughly 250 fire departments in the state that feature full-time paid firefighters, all volunteers or a combination of both, State Fire Marshal Mark Larson said.
In remote ranching communities such as Leadore, located about 46 miles south of Salmon, volunteers are vital to ensure the health and safety of neighbors, friends and families.
“The people involved in emergency services in small towns are strong, caring people,” Larson said. “No one is doing it as a career; no one is doing it for the power and the glory: it’s for the good of the community.”
Leadore firefighters encounter everything from structure fires ignited by faulty wiring to ditch burning that spirals out of control.
Whatever the cause, each fire demands the attention of well-equipped team members, whose frequent training and association creates a close-knit fraternity.
“Firefighters are a brotherhood,” Findley said. “No matter where you go, you are accepted by other firefighters and there is an understanding between you. It’s a special community.”
Plenty of built-in stress
It is a job that comes with plenty of built-in stress.
“Lives can be at stake, property in jeopardy,” Findley said. “That’s part of the bond between firefighters: the intensity of the job, the seriousness of it and the fact that you are fighting against something that is immense.”
The challenge for volunteer crews is to carve out enough time from work and home schedules to engage in training exercises. And money is scarce. The annual Fireman’s Ball fundraiser, set Sept. 27 at the Leadore Fire Station this year, and donations underwrite most of the department’s budget.
Returning the favor
Findley’s call to serve her community is linked to its service to her. When she was a young mother, her 3-year-old daughter fell from the attic to the ground floor during construction on the family’s Leadore home. The California native dialed 911 and was told to call someone in the area who was an EMT.
“I was from the city. I had no idea what that meant,” she said.
Findley drove at top speed to a local café, where she saw a Leadore store owner in the parking lot.
“He saw the look on my face and said, ‘What is wrong?’” Findley said.
A short time later, volunteer EMTs were at her home, where they loaded up the child and transported her to the hospital in Salmon. The toddler recovered from her injuries.
Everybody pulls together
“At a time of real crisis, EMTs and neighbors were there,” Findley said “And they will always be there. It doesn’t matter what time it is or what you’re doing: a fire or an emergency or an ambulance call, you go. Everybody pulls together here and gets it done.”
Lemhi County emergency services coordinator Janet Nelson credited Findley for bringing out the best in fellow volunteers.
“She doesn’t ask any more of the people she’s working with than she’s willing to do herself – and that’s a whole lot,” Nelson said. “She’s a great person, a wonderful citizen and Lemhi County is fortunate to have someone as dedicated as she is.”
Aleta Ries, vice president and training officer with the Leadore EMTs, said Findley stepped into the role of fire chief with skill and ease.
“If you talk to some of the firemen, they have no problem following her because she’s a woman. To them, she’s a person who has earned her leadership position,” Ries said.
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