Fire Death in Philadelphia:Smoke Detectors the only answer?

On February 24th, 2013 at around 11:30 PM  Firefighters from the city of Philadelphia responded to an alarm in the Southwest part of the city.  They were met with heavy fire showing on the first floor of a row home.  As always they acted quickly to douse the flames and save anyone inside.  Tragically one man on the second floor died in the fire and two escaped with injuries.  Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers took to the airwaves to tell the story and predictably he came up with the most obvious answer.

If there had been smoke detectors this man would be alive today.  Bravo Commissioner for stating the obvious.  But what about the cause of the fire.  Before you can claim that a working smoke detector could have saved a life there were so many other factors that led up to this tragedy.

The home had been divided up into five separate apartments, described in the news video from NBC 10 as a boarding house. Was this compartmentalization legally done? If there a record of this being an apartment building?  Remember that potentially five or more people could have roomed here. The owner of this building also let the heater, which according to the news reports was an oil heater, stop working.  Another negative to the situation.

As reported by the news the electrical box was “a mess”.  So what we may have here is an overloaded electrical service device bought on by the renters having to use portable electric heaters.  Just one heater requires a 15 Amp breaker.  If all five tenants had one heater we are talking 75% of the total load on a 100 Amp box.  Unless this home was upgraded to a larger box to accommodate the multiple tenants the die was cast long before  the failure to put smoke detectors in each unit.

To make matters worse the Smoke detector system (actually Fire Detection) in an apartment building is required to be integrated to alert all residence.  Individual smoke alarms would not be enough or legal.

The Fire Commissioner should be talking about ensuring proper living conditions for residents and quit blaming the lack of smoke detectors.  The problems of the poor in the city go way beyond the presence of a device.

Eight fire deaths this year already.  The city is on it’s way to 48.  That would be tragic as is each untimely fire death.



Filed under Philadelphia Fire Department

Lloyd Ayers: The Philadelphia Fire Department Deception

I would like you to watch the worst testimony ever heard before a governing body.  The man you are about to watch is Lloyd Ayers he is reportedly the Commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire Department. I don’t think he is qualified to be a sewer cleaner.  No offense to the men and women in the city that actually do work in the city sewers.

Did you notice that he argued that familiarity with the run was not important?  The senior guy was unimportant.  The runs are preplanned.  But the learning curve for an entire fire local is not one year.  It may not even be two years.  But Lloyd being the bullshitter he is then says it is about familiarity with schools, businesses and  hospitals.  We  you don’t get familiar by moving people around.  One hospital is not the same as another but there are plenty of hospitals.  Who would you as a citizen want coming to your fire.  I guy who just got assigned with two other guys who might not be familiar with your home or office, or a team lead by a tenured firefighter who has been in the building numerous times and knows the layout like the back of their hand?

What Ayers is proposing is unprecedented in the fire service.  Transferring the most senior firefighters is a dangerous and frankly stupid thing to do.  Ayers looked like a fool in that video.   Now watch as a city council member just blows the commissioner out of the water.

Amazing isn’t it.  No former commissioner nor Fire Service leaders from other cities think this is a great idea.  If fact as the councilman is dumbfounded by the logic of this plan. Why you ask?  Because nothing in this plan is motivated to help the citizens of Philadelphia. Watch that first video again.  Listen as he chooses his words.  He is making it up as he goes along.  But what is really scary about Ayers and I guess his boss Michael Nutter (since Nutter keeps him in position) is they think they can drive fire from the city of Philadelphia.  No really they do.  Listen to Lloyd on the first video again,  Yes I know it is painful to watch the man talk but go back and listen to his logic about the partnership between citizen and the fire department.  He thinks he can drive the fire load to zero!  That line of thought alone give me reason to wonder about his ability to be a fire service administrator.

Fire is a random act.  A loose wire, a faulty switch or  a smoker who falls asleep.  You will never get the fire load to zero.  Lloyd KNOWS this but he pitches the lie that you can by education reduce the fire load to zero.  The reality is much of the really old housing stock in Philadelphia is burned out and since there are no new Highway projects (See the 1970’s and the second street corridor)  the fire load is down.  But to assume by moving firefighters around the city and doing more community outreach you can reduce the danger to the citizens is nothing short of foolhardy!

I once worked in the slowest section of Philadelphia when it came to fires.  Guess what area had the highest death rate?  Yep  the slow section of the city.

Lloyd Ayers is making up a false sense of fire safety by trying to tell you that he can reduce your chances of a fire to ZERO!  He is doing a head fake to get his way to punish the Firefighters for calling him on his poor leadership and absolute lack of knowledge.  Lloyd was not appointed because he was a great leader. He was appointed because he has influential friends and holds his position for the same SAD reason.


Filed under Firefighters, Government, Philadelphia Fire Department, Uncategorized

Lloyd Ayers has a great idea!

Well not really but for some reason he sure thought it was a good one.  It was also one he pulled before.  In December 2011 Ayers announced mass transfers of the Philadelphia Fire Department Medics.  Now the same misguided hatred of the members of Local 22 has extended to the Firefighters also.

On November 1 2012 Commissioner Lloyd Ayers Issued General Memorandum #12-134  Here is that GM.

GENERAL MEMORANDUM #12-134 November 1, 2012
TO : All Officers and Members
REF/AUTHORITY : Deputy Commissioner Operations / Fire Commissioner
The Department will initiate an annual Firefighter (FF) rotation process that will facilitate the reassignment of approximately 15-20% of FF’s annually. This process will result in most FF’s serving in any given assignment for approximately five years. This change will ensure that all FF’s have equal opportunity to work in various assignments and acquire diverse skills. Rotation of FF’s will enhance their ability to achieve greater opportunities to facilitate upward mobility through the ranks, if desired. Additionally, by ensuring that all FF’s serve at least one rotation in the busiest battalions during their career, the on-the-job training that results from experience is more likely to occur.
This year’s rotation will include: 156 FF’s who have been in their current assignment for 10 years or more, 57 FF’s of Classes #183 and #184 who are in the same assignment since graduation, and 40 members from each of the graduating classes #186 and #187. The 2013 rotation will encompass 293 members.
The following year will include FF’s who have been in their current assignment for 8 years or more, members of classes #185 and Alpha Class who are in the same assignment since graduation and the remaining 80 members of classes #186 and #187.
This process of opening up assignments by including groups of FF’s with 5 years of service in the same assignment and those with less than 5 years of service will provide a sustainable model that will ensure that the average assignment duration for all FF’s will last approximately 5 years. This will ensure that all members have equal access to the assignments that they deem most preferable to them. Additionally, the Department will benefit from a wider number of FF’s with diverse experiences and opportunities to impact on Fire Prevention, Community Risk Reduction, and participate in the time-tested on-the-job training that enhances personnel development.
All rotating members must submit a memorandum through channels to Car 2’s Office, listing five (5) separate company choices (members should not list the same assignment with a different platoon choice [if applicable] for their next assignment). Members may elect to list their current assignment as a choice but should realize that the purpose of this rotation is to open up assignment opportunities and making such a choice would be considered a low priority for this process. The lists of assignment choices for this rotation are attached. All new assignments will not take effect until after January 1, 2013.
It is the responsibility of all Company Officers/Unit Heads to ensure that all members under their command who are scheduled for rotation submit the required memorandum. Members are to list their five (5) choices in order of preference. Members will also list all previous assignments with the most recent listed first. All memos are due by 1700 hours, November 30, 2012. The Department will attempt to accommodate as many requests as possible with the goal of ensuring more members are afforded the opportunity to work in various areas of the city.

These lame arguments about training are the same ones used when the Medics got transferred.  Here was Deputy Commissioner Ernie Hargett in December 2011 in a CBS report. “We thought it was good employee development to allow people to move around and work in different parts of the city.”   Obviously the folks at 3rd and Spring garden have not been listening to the fire radio much.  There is not a medic in the city that has not been dispatched to the other end of the city.  That is if there are units available.  So why do this again?

Simple,  Commissioner Ayers is upset that the people he presumes to lead don’t like his style or manner.  In fact he was so upset about the members telling folks that they were being put in harm’s way by the Ayers/Nutter plan for the department that he issued a different memo banning them from saying on any social media other than LinkedIn that they were proud members of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

So whats the big deal?  Well first of all many members have worked for years to get to a station they really wanted.  Once there they stay and learn everything about the area they work.  Shortcuts, Dead Ends, and buildings too.  These firefighters earned the name “Senior” firefighter. This is an informal term used by the firefighters for the guy who is the informal teacher and leader of the company.  He is also the confidant to the officer.  The guy who give the officer the heads up on each member making the once every three-year transition to a new officer smoother for everybody.  His knowledge and experience is the basis of the training for any new firefighter that comes into the company.

Ayers misguided plan is to transfer every senior firefighter from every station in the city.  The guy who can guide the truck to your house faster.  The guy who steadies the ship. If you look at the memo you will see that same comment about training.  But let me demonstrate the stupidity of this plan.

I know a firefighter who has been at his company over 10 years.  He lives close to the firehouse and is nearing the end of his career.  His name appears on the list of members that Lloyd wants to transfer.  Now for the record he does not work in what is a busy station.  This of course is by design.  He is ready to retire and wants to go quietly.  But under Commissioner Ayers plan he will need to transfer and somebody else will be put in that spot for “training”.  I can tell you from first hand experience this is not the place to go if you want vast experience in firefighting.  The local is a complex one with many tricky roads and other obstacles.  The new guy won’t know this.  That beibng said many of these members don’t want to leave these stations  they are there because they want to be.  Obviously Lloyd Ayers doesn’t!

This plan puts the people of Philadelphia if more danger than they already are.  It will as Union President Bill Gault said about the similar medic transfers, increase response times.  Time you need in a fire situation.

Moral in the department might bottom out, but this author is sure that is the intent of Commissioner Ayers.  He cares nothing about his men only his soiled reputation.  No amount of transfers will ever raise Lloyd to the level of some of the best commissioners the Philadelphia Fire Department ever knew.  In fact  I am pretty sure he just locked up the worst fire commissioner in the country with this move.

Let’s call him and tell him he is wrong again  215-686-1300.


Filed under Philadelphia Fire Department, Uncategorized

An Honor for a Brave Act

It took the City Council of Philadelphia to do what the Fire Administration should have done in July.  On September 20th the City Council of Philadelphia proclaimed Fran Cheney and in an additional comment the entire city fire department heroes.

It is tragic, though, that the ineffectual leadership of the department could not see its way clear to give Fran Cheney a medal for the heroic act he performed.  In case you are not up to speed on the story.  Cheney and three other firefighters had a building fall on them.  Cheney and another firefighter were pulled from the rubble alive.  Two good men lost their lives in that warehouse fire.  To most people having a building fall on you might make you a bit gun-shy.  But not the vast majority of the Philadelphia Fire Department.  Just months later Engine 61 with Firefighter Cheney on board responded to a house fire.  Cheney and the team were informed that there were still people inside.   With no ladder on location yet Cheney ran into the building and up the steps to find a distraught and disoriented woman in a bedroom.  At this point we need to be clear about something.  Firefighters are taught to never give up their air supply.  But in the real world and in the face of a victim who might make it even harder to help due to panic, Cheney made a quick decision.  Just one flight of steps and the door.  He removed his mask and placed it on the woman and walked her out.  In the process Cheney did suffer from some effects of smoke in inhalation and was treated at a local hospital overnight.

As many of the PFD family know what happened in that emergency room was nothing short of a travesty.  A senior official of the department visited with the injured firefighter.  It has been customary for the fire commissioner to visit injured members and I knew of many who never failed at that.  But it seems that Fran Cheney wasn’t worth the commissioners time.  He sent his second to check on Cheney.  You would expect a slap on the back and great job, but that never happened.  What did was that the fire official told Cheney what he did was stupid.

To this day there has been no official recognition from the Philadelphia Fire Department of that July 4th event.  I am sure though they felt the heat from the citizens as Cheney was not transferred like other members who have been injured.  This being the form of punishment for going above and beyond that Lloyd Ayers and his team like to dole out.  So Cheney returned to his station and back to his job.

The woman he saved was a young mother and she wanted to personally thank the Firefighter who saved her and with news cameras rolling she came to the Firehouse and Castor and Kensington Avenues.  As she thanked Cheney he produced an envelope and gave it to the woman.  He told her she needed it more than  him.  Inside the envelope was his overtime payment for the day he saved her.  The mark of a good man is compassion, Cheney in that one moment showed he is a good man and the right guy to honor as the City Council of Philadelphia did on September 20th, 2012.  Here is the citation from Council


City of Philadelphia
– 1 –
Council of the City of Philadelphia
Office of the Chief Clerk
Room 402, City Hall
(Resolution No. 120662)
Honoring the extraordinary, heroic efforts of Firefighter Francis Cheney of the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Ladder 10.
WHEREAS, In the morning hours of July 4, the crew of Engine 61 responded to a fire alarm at a burning rowhome in the neighborhood of Lawncrest. Firefighter Cheney entered the smoke-filled home and found a woman trapped on the second floor. When it was evident she was in distress, he ripped off his air mask and gave it to her before carrying her outside to safety. Cheney then spent the night at Temple University Hospital in order to receive treatment for smoke inhalation. He later donated his overtime pay to help the woman and her family rebuild their lives; and
WHEREAS, This heroic episode is not an isolated incident, but comes less than three months after Firefighter Cheney was injured in the five-alarm fire on April 9 at an abandoned warehouse in Kensington. Cheney was inspecting the furniture building adjacent to the warehouse when the wall and roof began to fall. He was buried in the rubble but managed to dig himself out. Firefighter Patrick Nally from Ladder 16, who was buried up to his waist, was also pulled from the rubble. Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter David Sweeney, also from Ladder 10, did not survive the incident; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, That Firefighter Francis Cheney is hereby recognized and honored for his extraordinary, heroic efforts as a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Ladder 10. With this resolution we also honor all our brave firefighters. This legislative body wants to show its appreciation to them during these difficult days of injury and loss.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That an Engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to Firefighter Francis Cheney as evidence of the sincere sentiments of this legislative body.
City of Philadelphia
RESOLUTION NO. 120662 continued
City of Philadelphia
– 2 –
CERTIFICATION: This is a true and correct copy of the original Resolution, Adopted by the Council of the City of Philadelphia on the thirteenth of September, 2012.
Darrell L. Clarke
Michael A. Decker
Introduced by:
Councilmembers Kenney, Squilla and O’Neill
Sponsored by:
Councilmembers Kenney, Squilla, O’Neill, Oh, Johnson, Quiñones Sánchez, Goode, Greenlee, O’Brien, Jones, Reynolds Brown, Henon and Tasco

Shame on the Administration presiding at 3rd and Spring Garden and good job to the men and women of the Philadelphia Fire Department who, in the face of a vindictive Commissioner and a Mayor who refuses to adhere to a binding arbitration award, continue to save lives and put out the fires.

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Regulations: When are they enough!

A story out of Corpus Christi Texas has just sent my mind reeling.   First I will credit Todd Starnes of Fox News for bringing this to my attention and say any quotes in this story are from his report on this incident.  Let’s begin with the insanity.

It seems a business owner in Corpus Christi like to keep the front of his restaurant clean.  One day he was washing bid poop off the sidewalk of his establishment.  What happened next borders on the ridiculous.

A restaurant owner in Corpus Christi, Texas is furious after city officials threatened him with a  $2,000 fine for using a garden hose to wash away bird droppings on the sidewalk in front of his business.

“They told me I can’t wash it off because I’m polluting,” said John Webb, general manager of Crawdaddy’s, a family-owned restaurant in downtown. “It’s like they want me to go out of business.”

Huh?  Washing bird droppings is polluting?  How is that possible.  Birds poop on the surface of the earth quite often and I have never heard of it being a pollutant.  So the business owner very wisely asked the city official for guidance.  What comes next is sublime.

“For the last 18 years we’ve just been washing it off with a water hose,” he said. “But a guy from the city came out here and told me if I washed my sidewalk off again I was going to get a fine.”

Webb said he was threatened with a $2,000 fine.

“He said ‘Well, you can’t wash it off because you’re polluting,’” he recalled.

The city official reportedly told Webb that he had two options – he could either hire a professional cleaning crew to remove the bird poop – or he could just let the rain wash it away. Webb said he was dumbfounded.

I was dumbfounded too.  Bear in mind this is Texas, one of the states with the least regulations on many things in the country.  So let’s break this conversation down.  If I hire a clean up crew to remove small splats of bird droppings from my sidewalk what would that do to my expense line?  How would that effect my work force? More importantly if I let the rain fall wash it away how effective will that be and where would the runoff go?  You got it the same place it will go if I wash it off.

The article cited the city official as saying this.

Webb said he was told that civilians cannot wash away bird droppings because it was “against city, state and federal law – I was polluting the bay.”

The environmental lunacy continues folks.  Time to stop them.

Here is a link to Todd’s Story.

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Filed under Government Agencies

Worst Case Scenario

In this era you should expect a camera or two at any event.  But I have listened to what Romney said about the 47% and I have to tell you the media (lets just call them the left) has it dead wrong.  That sadly is to be expected as they sleep with President Obama more  than Monica Lewinsky shared a cigar with Bill Clinton in the Oval Office.

Romney in his discussion with potential donors was laying out a political strategy and what he said from my take was that in terms of votes you have to forget the 47% and write them off as Obama votes.  I don’t know about you folks but I call this a worst case scenario.  It appears to me that Mitt understood the potential to lose at least 47% of the vote based solely on Obama’s charisma and ability to lie to the masses about what he is doing.  So politically you write off those 47% and focus on the rest of the country.  Polls show this to be a close race and Romney is not stupid, he knows he needs to move that middle ground.

What he was laying out was a political strategy on winning an election.  Not an indictment of that 47%.  Many of whom are unwitting victims of the policies of Barack Obama.  Food Stamp payments are up, and while unemployment dropped it is mostly due to people giving up looking for jobs.  Apathy now rules the land and any candidate who does not acknowledge that is doomed.

The left will spin these comments the best they can because they can’t really tell you the truth about the record of Barack Obama, but the numbers don’t lie.  Highest Gas prices Ever!  Including a rise in price after labor day, which has historically never happened. Unemployment above 8 percent for the longest time in modern history.  The nationalization of a car company and the sale of another to a foreign entity.  And government control of both the healthcare and credit system.
Romney has a lot to talk about but who can he talk to?  He stated the worst case scenario hoping for the best.  How about you?  My worst case scenario is 4 more years of Barack Obama with a Senate controlled by Harry Reid.  Even if Romney gets elected without the Senate nothing will get done.  SO forget the chatter from the left.  Think about this.

Take back the country!  Ignore the distractions!


Filed under Elections, Politics

The Racist PB and J we eat!

You know what the cheapest and fastest sandwich my parents or even me as a parent could put together was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Kids love them!  Well actually only “privileged white kids” love them it seems.  This according to a Principal in Portland Oregon  that is a racist sandwich you are eating there.  Here is an excerpt from the Portland Tribune.

Verenice Gutierrez picks up on the subtle language of racism every day.

Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year.

“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” says Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, a diverse school of 500 students in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.

“Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”

Guitierrez, along with all of Portland Public Schools’ principals, will start the new school year off this week by drilling in on the language of “Courageous Conversations,” the district-wide equity training being implemented in every building in phases during the past few years.

Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.

Last Wednesday, the first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation — to examine a news article and discuss the “white privilege” it conveys.

Most of the staff are on board, but there is some opposition to a drum class being offered to middle school boys of color at Scott School.

Fifty percent of the students at Scott are Hispanic; another 15 percent are black and 9 percent are Asian. Eighty-five percent are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Chuck Barber, who also offers boys’ drum corps at Vernon and Faubion schools in Northeast Portland, approached Gutierrez last year to start up a lunch-time drum class for black and Latino boys once a week. This year, it’ll expand to two classes a week, to accommodate new boys as well as those with experience.

At least one parent has a problem with the the class, saying it amounts to “blatant discrimination and equity of women, Asians, whites and Native Americans.”

“This ‘club’ was approved by the administration, and any girls who complained were brushed off and it was not addressed,” the parent wrote anonymously.

Gutierrez denies that any students were turned away from the drum corps, and vehemently rejects any suggestion that it is discrimination to offer a club catering to minority boys.

“When white people do it, it is not a problem, but if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem?” says Gutierrez, 40, an El Paso, Texas, native whose parents were Mexican immigrants. “Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”

Okay you read it do you see it?  Who is really the racist here?  This woman is dangerous and she is being supported by her school district.   Even scarier is that she was trained to think this way by a California Based initiative.

A drum line of Hispanic and Black children, whoops BOYS, this group excludes the girls and every other race in the school.  But that is okay with Gutierrez.

Time to write the Portland School District and remove this hater from her position.  But I fear they took the same left leaning white guilt class she did.

One more point about the Portland Tribune and I will provide the link.  They misspelled her name within one paragraph of another mention.  Check it out

The paper and school district want to make this azzhole a hero but what she really does is hate.  She is not unifying she is dividing with the support of the press and the district.  oh and the published the word “the” back to back in the excerpt too.  I did not edit it.  Check for yourself.

A sad situation!

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