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Christmas at St. Mary's Childrens HospitalChristmas at St. Mary's Childrens Hospital
Posted on December 30th , 2010
Three Helicopters Crash in One NightThree Helicopters Crash in One Night
Story by District Captain Craig Prusansky, photos by District Captains Ken Sehres and Craig Prusansky and Firefighter Paramedic Troy Dichard. Posted on December 15th , 2010
Early in the morning of December 8, 2010, Battalion 7 responded to three separate and unrelated incidents involving helicopters.  Some cold temperatures had moved into the area, and the various crop farmers employ the use of helicopters to keep the air moving around the crops, preventing frost from forming.  On this particular night, there were multiple helicopters and "cropduster" type fixed-wing aircraft performing this function over the crop fields.
The first incident was called in at about 2:00 am at the Pahokee Airport.  A helicopter was reported to have crashed at the airport.  Crew arrived to find the helicopter still upright, but the tail rotor had separated from the tail.  This helicopter had come to a rest right next to the fuel pumps.  Fortunately, the fuel pumps were not damaged and no one was injured.
The second incident was called in at about 5:45 am.  The caller reported that a helicopter went down in a corn field just adjacent to the Osceola Sugar Mill east of Pahokee.  The crews were brought back to the crash site by the farm staff.  The helicopter was heavily damaged but the pilot was not injured.
The third incident was called in at about 7:30 am.  The location of the crash was about 2 miles east of Sand Cut (about 18 miles northeast of the Pahokee Airport).  The pilot was injured and brought by another helicopter to Pahokee Airport where he was transferred to the care of the paramedics, and eventually brought to the Trauma Center.  This helicopter also sustained heavy damage.
The cause of all three of these incidents is being investigated by the FAA and other agencies.
Habitat for Humanity BuildHabitat for Humanity Build
Story and photos submitted by Jack Norris. Posted on December 15th , 2010

A cool breeze gently swayed the branches of the stoic cypress that stood over us like an umbrella over sun bathers at the beach. We were gathered for a team build day organized by Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and Local 2928 to support the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  Our mission was to install the roof shingles onto the first home Habitat has ever built in the Glades. After a safety breifing conducted by Donny Kula, the site superintendant, we were working the shingles across the span of the roof like an old fashioned typewriter working a sheet of paper.  

Thanks to a good turn out, there were enough of us to work on different sides of the roof at the same time. The on duty crews from Battalion 7 even stopped by to help out with ground clean up as the sound of pneumatic nail guns filled the air. The morning hours passed by quickly as we all worked together eventually reaching the peak of the home's roof just in time for lunch.  We all lined up for the Bar-B-Q lunch provided by Local 2928  which was expertly prepared by Hugo Matos. Grilled chicken, baked beans and potato salad gave us  the energy we needed to clean up the site and load up the tools for an early but well deserved "quittin" time.  

Before leaving I took a look back at the house with its new roof and felt a sence of accomplishment. When we arrived it was just tar paper and tin tabs. By the time we left the roof had a shiny new facade with which to face the elements. This roof would shelter the Hill family for many years to come. It's legacy will be that of protector over the family living under it. The volunteers that helped put the roof over the heads of Hill family will share that legacy. 

Second Annual Achilles Freedom Team Lake Okeechobee BBQ and Airboat TripSecond Annual Achilles Freedom Team Lake Okeechobee BBQ and Airboat Trip
Story and photos submitted by Troy Dichard, FF/PM. Posted on December 7th , 2010
On Friday December 3, 2010, a group of disabled veterans and their families were treated to a BBQ and air boat excursion on Lake Okeechobee near Belle Glade.  This second annual event is put on by members of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and IAFF Local 2928, and is a way of showing our appreciation toward members of the Armed Forces.  The group is a part of the Achilles Freedom Team, in town to compete in the Palm Beach Marathon on December 5th.  The Achilles Freedom Team serves adults and children with physical disabilities, enabling opportunities to participate in mainstream athletics, with a focus on marathons nationwide. The Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Vets has a specific focus on racing as rehabilitation for our wounded military, primarily for those wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This year, with the help of local air boat operators who volunteered their time, the Vets were given the grand tour of scenic Lake Okeechobee and the surrounding everglades.  A few lucky people even had the opportunity to ride on PBCFR's Air Boat 73!  They were taken to Kramer Island, near Belle Glade, where a giant tree house is located.  During the trip many kept an eye out for wildlife, such as alligators, and that perfect photo opportunity.  This was a rare opportunity, since most were from out of state.  This event was quoted by one of the Vets to be "the highlight of the trip" and fun and laughs was had by all.
A special Thank-You to the following individuals:
  - D/O Hugo Matos and D/O Donnie How for cooking the delicious BBQ!
 - Paul Hart and the volunteers air boat operators from Glades area Buggy and Airboat Club!
 - Battalilion Chief Mike Arena
 - The crew of E73 and AB73 - C Shift
 - FF/PM Roy Griffith, Lt. Liz Cusell, Lt. Tim Lewis, Capt. Jennifer Johnson, and many more!
Florida Fallen Firefighter MemorialFlorida Fallen Firefighter Memorial
Story and photos submitted by Captain Steen Eriksson. Posted on December 3rd , 2010

Members of the Honor Guard and Pipe and Drum Corps represented Palm Beach County Fire Rescue in Ocala for the October 2010 Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service. The permanent memorial is situated in the center courtyard on the campus of the Florida State Fire College.

This year, 4 (four) Florida Firefighters were memorialized for Line-of-Duty deaths, and their names were added to the memorial.

This is similar to the ceremonies that take place at the National Fire Academy in Maryland, and at the IAFF Memorial in Colorado Springs

PBCFR Hosts Critical Incident TrainingPBCFR Hosts Critical Incident Training
Story and photos submitted by CAT Coordinator Alicia Kula. Posted on November 24th , 2010
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue hosted a Critical Incident Training provided by CIT of Palm Beach County to local law enforcement the week of November 1st.  Critical Incident Training, or CIT, is a comprehensive training that provides skills, knowledge, and perspective in dealing with critical events involving people with mental illness.  Many of our area's law enforcement officers have been through the program and are called CIT officers.  Even our own department personnel and Community Assistant Team members have attended the training.  At the graduation Chief Jerauld and Chief Deputy Gauger delivered  inspirational messages in support of the CIT program and our departmental partnership.
Battalion 7 Handles RolloverBattalion 7 Handles Rollover
Story and photos submitted by Curtis Rice. Posted on November 17th , 2010

On November 15th, at 0931hrs Station 73, C-shift along with PBSO responded to 911 calls about a motor vehicle accident north of Rardin Park on SR 715 between Belle Glade and Pahokee on the eastern rim of Lake Okeechobee. The callers said that a single vehicle had rolled over and the driver was trapped inside.  Due to the location and initial information, E72 and Trauma Hawk were requested.

The first unit on scene was a PBSO Deputy in a 4 wheel-drive pickup truck. The vehicle involved was off the roadway, on its side and unstable. The Driver was still trapped inside. The Deputies' truck was equipped with a winch, which was immediately attached to the undercarriage of the auto to stabilize it and keep it from rolling down the embankment onto its roof. Since DC7 has the ability to contact PBSO on their channel (interoperability) contact was made to determine the exact location, number and severity of injuries. The deputy advised only one person was trapped inside but is able to talk and answer question. R73, E73 and District 7 were the first FD units to arrive. Command was established and E73 was assigned to stabilize and determined the best way to remove the driver. It was determined that removing the windshield would allow us to remove the driver. R73's assessment of the driver found that the injuries we not life threatening. The driver was still being restrained and hanging by the seatbelt. E72 and the Trauma Hawk were canceled. The Driver was removed and transported to the hospital for further evaluation. Wearing the seatbelt helped keep the patient inside the vehicle and limited the injuries.

Gulfstream Goodwill Academy Visits Station 42Gulfstream Goodwill Academy Visits Station 42
Story and photo submitted by Captain James Peterson. Posted on November 17th , 2010

Station 42 hosted a station and apparatus tour for the Gulfstream Goodwill Academy in which approximately 35 mentally challenged people visited the fire station. The academy students got to see the day and the life of a firefighter. All participants got a tour of the entire station and all assigned vehicles. The tour ended whith everyone spraying the fire hose. All the students and teachers were thrilled of there experience. Everyone departed with a big smile on there faces.

House Fire on Orange Grove BlvdHouse Fire on Orange Grove Blvd
Story and photos submitted by Fire Investigator Thomas Fucci. Posted on November 10th , 2010
PBCFR units in Battalion 2 responded to 11514 Orange Grove Blvd on October 30, 2010 at 0455 hrs to fight a residential structure fire. The crews had a very difficult time with several issues with water supply and water sources. Tenders 14 and 21 had to respond to assist after a draft site to the south could not provide a sufficient amount of water. Subsequently, the structure was a total loss. The family that occupied the structure was not at home at the time of the fire. The fire was determined to be a unspecified malfunction in the air handler unit mounted in the attic. The home was a wood frame 2-story structure with stucco finish.
Hugo Matos, 2010 Belle Glade Firefighter of the YearHugo Matos, 2010 Belle Glade Firefighter of the Year
Story and photos submitted by Battalion Chief Michael Arena. Posted on November 4th , 2010

From Battalion Chief Michael Arena's Speech:

Good evening everyone, on behalf of Chief Steve Jerauld it indeed an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to recognize the achievements of one of our top personnel this evening.

This individual is an exceptional and dedicated employee and he has a sincere commitment to the city of Belle Glade, Palm Beach County, the Glades region and the people who live and work here. We are very proud to offer this remarkable firefighter as the 2010 Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce firefighter of the year.

Hugo also worked for the city of Belle Glade fire department for many years and has always done what is in the best interest of the citizens of the community. Hugo is one of those people who continue to work until the job is done. Hugo loves coming to work and doing the best
possible job he can. I have had the pleasure of working with Hugo for nearly 5 years and he is one of the most dedicated employees I have met.

The Belle Glade Fire Department had an extremely valuable asset in Hugo Matos and Palm Beach County Fire rescue is extremely fortunate to have him on our team and more importantly right here in Belle Glade. He has done an tremendous job and we are all extremely excited about awarding Drive Operator Hugo Matos the Firefighter of the year award for  2010.

Engine 37 Attends Palm Beach School for Autism Fall Festival Engine 37 Attends Palm Beach School for Autism Fall Festival
Story and photos submitted by Captain Neil Isler. Posted on November 2nd , 2010
Engine 37 crew attended The Palm Beach School for Autism Fall Festival on October 30 2010.  The crew spent the day entertaining the children and parents with Fire Engine tours and spraying fire hoses.  The children really enjoyed the fire engine it was definately the big hit of the festival.  The crew was Captain Neil Isler, Driver Engineer Joe Crespi and Fire Medic Jimmy Hotchkiss.  the crew not only had a great time with kids but they learned quite a bit about the disease of Autism and the effects it can have on these children and there families.  One bit of information is worth sharing, alot of these children are drawn to water, anything that vibrates, and spinning things.  this information was shared by one of the parents.   The parent wanted to let us know that if we ever ran a call with a child of Autism that we could use this information to calm them.  Keep this in mind if you ever face a situation where you need to try to calm an autistic child, water dripping from an IV bag or a pen spinning on a table use whatever you can but the principles are water, vibrations and spinning things.  I hope that we have the privelage of attending this event in years to come it was a great event and a fun afternoon for all that attended.

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