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Monday, October 28, 2013

The Rescue on the Range: “It Was Close”

The fire spread quickly from the porch to the house.
Once again, a dramatic rescue starts with an observant citizen. This time it was 10-year-old Lauren Devich who was riding in a car with her grandmother, Cindy Forseen. They were on 5th Ave South in the city of Virginia, which is located on the Mesabi Iron Range. Lauren spotted a fire on the front porch of a house. That is an area of Virginia where the homes are on small lots and very close together.

Lauren alerted her grandmother, and Forseen called 911. As the call arrived at the Saint Louis County Communication Center, the fire was spreading to the wooden house.  A total of seven 911 communications specialists worked as a team to page out fire-rescue and dispatch the police department while keeping Cindy on the phone for updates on the intensifying fire.

Three Virginia police officers were first on the scene and found that the front of the house was completely engulfed. The officers went to the back door and entered. They found a disoriented woman on the main floor and began to assist her out of the house. She initially said she was alone. Two officers headed up to the second floor as the woman suddenly remembered her daughter was upstairs.

The entire team received awards at a St. Louis
County board meeting
The officers on the second floor forced open a locked door and found a frightened three-year-old child. They carried her down the stairs and got her outside. As the fire continued to grow, the woman abruptly told the officers there was one more child in the house—an infant. With the help of the woman, the officers found the infant and got her outside as well.

The Virginia Fire Department was on the scene in three minutes and aggressively attacked the fire, containing it to only the one house. The victims were treated and examined by Virginia Fire-Rescue. “It was close,” said fire chief Dan L’allier. Speaking of the police officers’ actions, he said, “They risked a lot to save a lot,” and then he added: “The real hero is Lauren.”

Sheriff Ross Litman recognized the entire team at a County Board meeting last month. He presented “911 Life Saver Awards” to the 911 center staff, the police officers and firefighters, Cindy Forseen, and last but not least…sharp-eyed 10-year-old Lauren Devich.


                                                 Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…More Updates

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2013 Fall Police Workshops

Randy Means answers an officer's question.
The evaluations said “Very well done, A+.” “This was an excellent course for sergeants and up.” “Groups discussions were good, and the time was well spent.”

We want to thank all of you who attended the 2013 Police Workshops with Randy Means last week. This year we offered a one-day class in the original format in Fergus Falls. We also offered a two-day class that allowed for more group discussion and problem solving in Shakopee and White Bear Lake. 

It was interesting to watch as Means led the classes through a review of their priorities for officer safety. Interpersonal communication skills almost always came out on the top of the list, and firearms proficiency was toward the bottom of list. Police officer physical and mental fitness also was ranked near the top of the list every time.

Reviewing the risk management continuum.
Mr. Means addressed some familiar themes, including “minor misconduct unchecked leads to major misconduct” and “how to complain up the chain of command but not down.”  He instructed officers to review 4th amendment complaints with a focus on constitutional law, and stressed the importance of reviewing the “core transaction” that preceded the frisk, detention, or use of force. He teased the class with the question: “How much force can you use in a house that you are not legally inside?”

All of the classes filled, and we apologize to the officers on the waiting lists who were not able to attend. We anticipate bringing Randy Means back next fall.

Again, we thank all who attended and look forward to our 2014 Spring Loss Control Workshops this coming March and April.


                                                Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…The Rescue on the Range

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

ALIVE: Free, Effective Online Fire Training

ALIVE featured multimedia, online training
It is fast-paced, interactive, tactical, realistic fire training—and it’s online. This training is the result of research at New York University (NYU) Polytechnic Institute, in conjunction with the fire departments of New York and Chicago, as well as Bloomington, Eagan, and Eden Prairie. What? Yup…New York, Chicago, and three paid-on-call fire departments from Minnesota. Oh, and one more thing….it’s free!

ALIVE presents cutting-edge firefighting tactics directly to the firefighters. These tactics can be implemented immediately, and will reduce the risk of firefighter injury and death. This training, based on research conducted by NYU, will greatly enhance your knowledge of structure fires and their contents.

The online multimedia course is so good that the firefighters who take the class online have a higher level of retention and understanding than the firefighters who took the class in a traditional classroom setting. These courses will hold your interest.

Learning to fight fire in the modern way
ALIVE currently offers two courses: “Wind Driven High Rise Fires” and “Fires in Lightweight Residential Construction.” If you are thinking that fighting a high rise fire is not likely in your community, take the course anyway. Wind driven fires can happen anywhere, and this course lays the foundation for the research and for an understanding of what is happening when a building burns.

The module “Fires in Lightweight Residential Construction” uses NYU and Underwriter’s Laboratory research to demonstrate why these buildings burn so much faster. This course will frame a timeline for your fire attack and fire ground decision-making, including whether to position firefighters above the fire. A third module on Fire Dynamics is also in development.

The link for more information on the training and to enroll free can be found at: NYU can set up a portal for your department to facilitate your team getting the most out of the training.


                                         Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…A Report From the Road: The Police Workshop Series with Randy Means

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.