September is always a busy month. As we all start cranking back up after the lazy days of summer, I went through my e-mails and checked-in on Facebook. I found happy and sad news about people in the industry.
This month, safety officers from across the U.S. will give a tip-of-the-helmet to Bob Finley, executive director of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association. Finley will retire after 20 years as certification coordinator for the FDSOA.
Finley started his fire-service career in 1970, working his way through the ranks in volunteer, combination and career departments. He also was an associate instructor at the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute and later became chief operating officer of the university’s emergency service system and employee and student fire-safety programs.
Finley’s experience with Missouri’s state certification and the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress were invaluable to the FDSOA as it developed its incident safety officer and the health and safety officer certification programs.
“Bob Finley was the only one that I thought of who could handle the certification program for FDSOA,” said Mary McCormack, the association’s former executive director. Finley stepped in as executive director when McCormack retired from the organization four years ago.
I interviewed Finley a couple years ago about the Incident Safety Officer and Health & Safety Officer certification programs and the advantages of certification programs.
“Everyone always wants to look at the big fire departments for an example of a good safety officer program, but bigger is not always better or smarter,” Finley said. “I see so many smaller fire departments that have some excellent safety programs.”
Congratulations on your retirement chief!
Don’t forget about the FDSOA’s Annual Safety Forum, Sept. 16-20 in Orlando, Fla. The forum will feature a two-day academy, a 16-hour incident safety officer and health and safety officer courses, as well as certification exams.
When a friend asks for help, we help. Chief Billy Goldfeder sent out a request for help for a Kentucky fire lieutenant who was critically burned last Friday. Fire Lt. Arlie "Pooh" Hill is at the University of Cincinnati Burn Center after he and his brother-in-law responded to a fire in a neighbor’s house.
Firefighters from Kentucky and Ohio are holding 24/7 vigil with Hill’s family at the hospital. There are three things you can do besides pray for Lt. Hill. First, click “Like” on the Prayers for Pooh Facebook page. You also can send a card, patch and more to the following:
Fire Lt. Arlie “Pooh” Hill
UC Medical Center
234 Goodman Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45219
Finally, make a donation to Hill’s family:
Attn: Fire Lt. Arlie Hill Fund
Bank of McCreary County
P.O. Box 160
Whitley City, KY 42653
We also heard last week of the passing of Richard Lamb, former fire chief of Wayne Township (Ind.) Fire Department. Lamb was a lion in the industry when it came to firefighter training and was instrumental in building one of the first cutting-edge training facilities near Indianapolis, which trained thousands of firefighters from across the U.S.
Finally, best wishes go out to one of my favorite retired fire chiefs, Charlie Dickinson, who is recovering from major surgery. Dickinson, former deputy U.S. fire administrator, also is the endless energy behind the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s fundraising golf tournaments. In 2012, the golf tournaments raised more than $250,000 for the NFFF. We hope to see Charlie on the links again soon.
Have a great week!