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A collection of articles and updates

History of the Fire Mark


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History of the Fire Mark
Fighting fire evolved after the Great Fire of London swept through the central parts of the city from Sunday, September 2nd to Thursday, September 6th, 1666. After this fire, London created an insurance system and fire companies. A fire mark is a metal plaque that was attached to the building after the property owner purchased fire insurance. The fire mark would identify not only which buildings were insured but by which company.


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Communication: Clear, Concise, and Complete


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Communication: Clear, Concise, and Complete
A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. It can be categorized into four types including verbal, non-verbal, visual and written. The answer? Communication. Firefighters are surrounded by all forms of communication and quality exchange of information can drastically change an outcome of a call. Just the same, miscommunication can have grave affects on the outcome of emergency situations. When picking up take-out food that was previously called in, it has become standard to check the order before leaving the restaurant as miscommunication during ordering is not uncommon. While this example is perhaps insignificant in the grand scheme, the same simple miscommunication of even one word between emergency personnel can be detrimental, causing events to spiral. For example, what could be the difference between hearing pop the door when the message was stop at the door. It should not be a goal to ensure quality communication on the fire-ground but should be viewed as a lifesaving necessity.


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Potatoes and Bagpipes


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Potatoes and Bagpipes
What do potatoes and bagpipes have in common?

It all began when the Irish fled to the New World escaping the Great Potato Famine in the 1840’s. The New World was predominantly populated by Anglo-Americans whom were less than accepting of the Irish; not surprising considering the friction between England and Ireland for centuries. Common in the storefronts and factories was a sign that read “NINA” or “No Irish Need Apply,” making it difficult for the Irish immigrants to obtain work. The toughest and most dangerous jobs were where Irishmen tended to be employed, essentially dominating the firehouses and police stations.


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Refurbishing Rigs


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Refurbishing Rigs
It’s incredible to think that there are many apparatuses that cost over one million dollars to build. The tariffs we are currently experiencing are sure to increase those price points, making it challenging for departments to keep their fleet up to speed. In 2009 when the economy was suffering, fire departments chose to refurbish apparatus as an alternative for purchasing new. Manufactures experienced a drastic decline in new truck sales, upwards of 40% and refurbishing rigs became popular again. While new truck sales are bouncing back, refurbishing is still a considerable option as departments are still monitoring their budgets closely.


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UNRUH Fire


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Established in 2003, Unruh Fire, located in Sedgwick Kansas, has been a leader in the fire apparatus industry building brush trucks, quick attach trucks, light rescue trucks, fire training trailers, skid units and rescue trailers. Our parent company, Unruh Fab, has been in business for 40 years and is considered a leader in the custom manufacturing of bulk glass transportation trailers, bodies and racks. 


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Volunteer Firefighters Continue to Decrease


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In the United States, the number of volunteer firefighters have continued to decrease since the early 1980’s. It wasn’t uncommon for a department to have a long waiting list, requiring someone to retire before you could join as a volunteer. Now and days, volunteer fire departments are responding to more calls with fewer volunteers. Volunteer departments continue to become increasingly short staffed, yet the need of the public continues to rise. As volunteer fire departments dwindle in size, many have been asked to do more with less. Additionally, as the district grows with residents and buildings, it creates more work, more alarms and a greater need.


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Sutphen Springfield


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Today, Sutphen is comprised of five factories. The main office of Sutphen Corporation is located in Dublin, OH. Sutphen Springfield is located 45 miles west of the main office and is the start of the Sutphen manufacturing line. Celebrating its tenth year, Sutphen invested nearly $2 million in new construction in 2008 to create the Chassis division in Springfield. Sutphen Custom Chassis are assembled here using name brand components. Everything from the frame rails to the drivable chassis is handled here. The Sutphen Chassis Division operates out of a 55,000 sf and employs more than 65. This plant also produces the Commercial line and our Guardian pumpers.



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Illinois Firefighter Peer Support


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We probably all remember our first day in the firehouse. You probably also remember the training program. Whether it was in-house training or a local academy, you no doubt learned the basics. As they should, they likely stressed the importance of how to safely enter a life-threatening atmosphere— fully encapsulated for your safety, remembering to keep your mask on through overhaul and keeping your hood up so that no skin is exposed.


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Human Tune-Up


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On every fire apparatus, there is a multitude of tools and equipment that must be used and maintained. If this equipment is not cleaned, serviced and cared for properly, it may fail or not last very long. The same goes for people. A firefighter deals with mental and physical fatigue nearly every shift and must regularly practice self-maintenance.


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Dalmatians to the Rescue


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Dalmatians to the Rescue
These days, dalmatians mainly serve as mascots for fire departments, even friendly companions but more than a century ago, they had a very important job to do. When the alarm would sound at the firehouse informing the firefighters of a call, the house dalmatians would race to the front and notify the bystanders to make a path as the wagon would soon come roaring out of the garage. The dalmatians would flank the wagon, close to the horses and guide them all the way to the fire chasing off anything in the street that could hold up the crew, whether it be people or animals along the road. Upon arrival, the dalmatians would stand near the horses, keeping them calm from the startling blaze and protecting the equipment and belongings of the firefighters. It’s clear dalmatians played a monumental role in early firefighting practices. It was no mistake that this spotted breed became the firehouse canine. Dating back to when people used horse-drawn carriages, dalmatians would run alongside the horses, keeping pace for long distances. The dogs would even defend the horses from other animals that may spook the horses. The concept ultimately became a social status. As early as the 1700s, English aristocrats would use them to accompany their stage coach; the more dalmatians, the higher standing.

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AR-15: As American as Apple Pie; a deep look into mass shootings.


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AR-15: As American as Apple Pie; a deep look into mass shootings.

We debate the reason for mass shootings after each tragedy occurs and those reasons vary depending on one’s personal and political beliefs. Arguments about gun violence, mental health and how firearms should be regulated are the main discussions following a tragedy. The fact is, there is no single reason for why someone goes on a rampage, yet the rate of occurrences has continued to increase in the United States. There is significant research on mass shootings, both profiling the shooter and evaluating events to create an evolving toolbox. One difficulty in assessing the research is how a mass shooting is defined and the methodologies of the group collecting the data. There isn’t one widely accepted definition of mass shooting as people tend to restrict or broaden definitions to reinforce their position, usually based on gun control. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service definition of a mass public shooting is “a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms in at least one or more public locations, including schools.”


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Rainy Day Training Idea’s that are Fun and Don’t Break the Bank


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While community safety is a high priority for residents, elected officials and first responders, the allocated funding doesn’t always meet the needs for adequate training. Developing continued education and training at minimal cost and equipment is imperative, especially for departments comprised of volunteers. It’s a growing issue for departments whether large or small, how to train firefighters without incurring cost which could be associated with travel expenses when sending staff to train or conferences.


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Homer Township Fire District Builds New Tanker


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Homer Township Fire District Builds New Tanker
Homer Township Fire District (IL) is excited to be building a new tanker —a Sutphen tanker—working with Legacy Fire Apparatus as their dealer. A recent visit to the Sutphen East facility, now in Lake Ariel, PA., provided Homer Township's build committee members with a view of their hard work of planning and design beginning to come to fruition. This new pumper/tanker will replace a 1995 GMC Top Kick/ S&S Tanker that was unexpectedly removed from service due to a catastrophic tank failure. Chief Chris Locacius stated "40% of the fire district is unhydranted so having a tanker is extremely important."


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Sutphen East Facility


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Sutphen East Facility
Sutphen is comprised of five facilities and in 2017, the East Facility moved to Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania - formerly located in Monticello, New York. The new location is close to major highways, City of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport; which allows better travel opportunity and amenities for customers. The area also provides a larger number of services available to Sutphen, including vendors. Most importantly, the new location is a much larger plot of land providing Sutphen with space to grow.


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Building Fire Trucks to Protect Firefighters from Carcinogens; the Clean Cab Initiative


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According to the Center for Disease Control, the leading cause of death for Americans is heart disease but that is not the case for firefighters anymore. Running towards a burning building is the risk that comes to mind when thinking about the daily activities for firefighters but the true risk of the job could appear years later. The International Association of Firefighters reports the leading cause of death is cancer. In fact, firefighters have higher rates of cancer than the rest of us, upwards of 68% higher than the general population for some types of the disease and accounts for double the reported cases of mesothelioma, a cancer which targets the thin tissue that covers internal organs. The reported statistics vary based on the study, source and type of cancer which was concerning to Robert D. Daniels, PhD. CHP. who lead the largest study of U.S. Firefighters in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in 2010.


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Robots to the Rescue


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Robots to the Rescue
Drones may have been marketed as toys, but they have quickly developed into important tools, especially for emergency responders. They have been successfully used by firefighters to save lives in emergency situations. Drones can provide new perspectives, travel where boots cannot and some even have the ability to see in harsh conditions. Overall, drones can reduce the risk of human life, significantly.


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