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The Secret List

The Secret List is an independent newsletter produced since 1998 by Chief Billy Goldfeder in an effort to bring forward the issues involving injury and death to us...often issues that are ignored, quickly forgotten or just not talked about.

TSL is e-mailed at no charge and produced as time allows. With the attitude that in order for us to survive the dangers of the job, they must learn how we have had "Close Calls" and even been injured or killed, TSL brings forward issues in an effort to enforce that philosophy-and get us to refocus on "what's important."

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Boston FD: Taking Care Of Their FF's (The Secret List)

Monday, August 3, 2015   All,

The Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) announced today it is providing occupational cancer awareness and prevention training to the Boston Fire Department (BFD). Since Commissioner Joe Finn  took the reigns, among numerous leadership changes, CANCER and his IAFF Local 718 Firefighters have become a major priority. 

As you know, cancer is the leading cause of firefighter line-of-duty deaths in the United States. Cancer caused 60 percent of line-of-duty deaths for career firefighters between 2002-2014, according to International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) data. Naturally, volunteer and call Firefighters across North America even more so increase the overall numbers. 


Cancer has caused 67 (SIXTY SEVEN) percent of the Boston Fire Department's line-of-duty deaths for the same period....

"Boston firefighters develop cancer at a rate two-and-a-half times higher than other Boston residents," said BFD Commissioner Joseph Finn. "We have recognized cancer's effect on our firefighters, and FCSN's department-wide prevention training is an important part of our ongoing, comprehensive safety, health, and wellness program."

FCSN collaborated with Finn and leaders of IAFF Local 718 to bring its cancer-prevention training to Boston. "Since 1990, the Boston Fire Department has lost 160 members to cancer," said Richard Paris, president of IAFF Local 718. "It's a staggering number. We know that cancer is killing our members, and we're making a collaborative effort to save the lives of Boston firefighters. FCSN's training focuses on preventive measures the department and firefighters can take to reduce exposure to carcinogens and help avoid contracting this deadly disease."

FCSN President Bryan Frieders, a division chief with the San Gabriel (CA) Fire Department, praised Boston's collaborative, aggressive approach to reducing firefighters' occupational cancer risk. "Addressing the occupational cancer epidemic requires a cultural change for the fire service," Frieders said. "Joe Finn and Richie Paris are leading from the front. Their work together with FCSN illustrates how effective labor-management relationships can be to enhance the safety and well-being of firefighters."

FCSN's training for the Boston Fire Department's 1,400 members began in July. Russell Osgood, a firefighter with the Portsmouth (NH) Fire Department and an FCSN state director, is FCSN's lead instructor for the Boston training. The Boston training is part of an FCSN pilot program funded by a FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety grant. FCSN's firefighter cancer prevention pilot combines FCSN's proven awareness and prevention training with a new train-the-trainer component. The train-the-trainer component will help FCSN ensure consistent, accurate education delivered with highly personal interaction by fellow firefighters and other qualified instructors. Please direct inquiries about FCSN's firefighter cancer prevention pilot to Tim Elliott

FCSN's 2013 white paper, "Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service," provides lifesaving details about recognizing and reducing firefighters' cancer risks. An excerpt with 11 immediate actions firefighters should take to protect themselves, their families, and their fellow firefighters is available as a free download from The full white paper is available as a free download HERE:

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass it On.


The Secret List 8-3-2015-1445 hours 



TWITTER: @billygoldfeder






The Waldbaums Fire-BEWARE The Truss (The Secret List)

Sunday, August 2, 2015   All,

On August 2, 1978: 6 FDNY Firefighters were killed in the Line of Duty, and more than 35 injured, some seriously. Killed were covering Lt. James Cutillo 39, 33rd Battalion, Fr Charles Bouton 38, Ladder Co 156, Fr William O'Conner 29, Ladder Co 156, Fr James P McManus, 48, Ladder Co 153, Fr George Rice, 38, Ladder Co 153, Fr Harold F. Hastings, 40, Ladder Co 153. Story and VIDEO below.


While on the roof, with fire below, the roof collapsed, plunging 12 firefighters into the fire. The fire began in a hallway near the compressor room as crews were renovating the store, and quickly escalated to a fourth-alarm. Less than an hour after the fire was first reported, nearly 20 firefighters were on the roof when the central portion gave way.


Just prior to the collapse, Louise O'Conner, Wife of FF William O'Conner was at the scene of the fire with her 3 small children. While FF O'Conner was operating on the roof, he waved to his family, and then they waved back, then shortly thereafter the roof collapsed, taking her husbands, and the father of her children's life. Louis is an active member of the Fire Bell Club of FDNY.



HERE is the story with photos from STEVE SPAK:
HERE is an excellent related video: 



The Secret List 8-2-2015 / 0700 Hours 






Sunday, August 2, 2015   All,

That Fire Captain killed at the wildfire in Northern California was scouting the area when he became trapped by the wind-stoked wildfire conditions.
U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Captain David Ruhl was driving down a Modoc National Forest road in a vehicle Thursday when the fire suddenly grew and trapped him as he was trying to develop a plan of attack.
Captain Ruhl, of Rapid City, South Dakota, had been on temporary assignment since June in California, where he was an assistant fire management officer for the Big Valley Ranger District of the Modoc National. He had volunteered for the California assignment.

While details are still incomplete, it appears that Captain Ruhl was one of several firefighters exploring the area when the small fire suddenly expanded. Crews fighting the now growing fire had lost communication with Ruhl on Thursday evening. His body was recovered yesterday.

The fire is now (Saturday) about 100 miles south of the Oregon border, had burned 2.8 square miles and was 5 percent contained. Erratic winds were challenging fire-containment efforts and moving the fire in all directions. Gusty winds are expected this evening, when lightning storms are also forecast,since 2011.
As stated yesterday, Ruhl was the engine Captain for the Mystic Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest, where he supervised a crew that would be responsible for sizing up and suppressing new wildfires. He also oversaw crews as they contained prescribed burns intentionally set to control forest and prairie growth.

More to follow as we mourn another horrible Line of Duty Death by fire.




Our condolences to all those impacted by the Line of Duty Death of Marlboro Co (SC) Deputy Sheriff Del Daniels, who today, succumbed to injuries sustained 11 days earlier when the patrol SUV he was a passenger in left the roadway and overturned in a ditch near McColl. It is believed that the vehicle may have struck standing water in the roadway during a period of heavy rain. Deputy Daniels was transported to a hospital in Florence where he remained on life support until succumbing to his injuries. 

Deputy Daniels had only served with the Marlboro County Sheriff's Office for one week when the crash occurred. He also served as a firefighter with the Bennettsville City Fire Department.
Take Care. Be Careful. Pass it On.


The Secret List 8-1-2015-1500 Hours 







The Secret List

We regret to advise you of the Line of Duty Death of a US Forest Service Firefighter who died in the Line of Duty yesterday while responding to the Frog Fire within the Modoc National Forest outside of Alturas, CA. The fallen is Fire Captain David “Dave” Ruhl of Rapid City, South Dakota.

Captain Ruhl was on temporary assignment to the Big Valley Ranger District of the Modoc National Forest in Adin, California, as an Assistant Fire Management Officer since June 14. Dave’s permanent position is Engine Captain on the Mystic Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest in Rapid City.

Dave, 38 years old, began his Forest Service career in 2001 as a seasonal forestry technician. Previously, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard and as a correctional officer with the state of South Dakota. He lived in Rapid City with his wife and two children.  

A search and rescue began late Thursday evening when contact could not be made with Ruhl. The search continued throughout the night until he was found deceased and identified the next morning. Further details will follow pending a Forest Service investigation. Our condolences to all those affected. RIP

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 7-31-2015-2200 hours 





A Letter From an Urban FF, Read, Re-Post, Pass This On (The Secret List)

Friday, July 31, 2015   (Check out this letter from Chief Sandy Davis, former Chief Officer from Shreveport, LA-protecting 200,000 people. If nothing else, see the yellow hi-lit area below. Our thanks and prayers to Sandy and FDSOA for passing this on-so that we can do the same)


Brother and Sisters,

I know many of you personally, as I spent 12 years on the Board of Directors for FDSOA and I have spoken at conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada for many years. I count several of you as close personal friends.  Although I officially retired from the fire service several years ago I will never really retire from my passion for firefighter health and safety.

I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer just over two years ago. More likely than not my cancer is job related as my life style is not conducive to cancer and there is no history of cancer in my family. Over the past two years I have spent way more time in doctor’s offices, hospitals and cancer centers than you can imagine. I have been through radiation therapy, surgery and chemo therapy. I have a permanent colostomy and will be on some type of chemo therapy for the remainder of my life. But do not feel sorry for me; I have been and will continue to be significant with my life.

I would like to share with you what is on my heart in reference to the Heath and Occupational Safety of the firefighters that we are responsible for as Safety Officers. The concept of Safety Officers is about thirty years old in our chosen vocation, having come to the forefront in the mid 1980’s. As the Safety Officer matures into an adult, if you think of the Discipline as if it were a human, so must the way we approach the responsibility of the position in a more mature manner.

When the Safety Officer position was young we thought of the simple things that impacted the health and safety of our members; and in most cases we have been successful in reducing accident, injury and fatalities that come from that low hanging fruit. In fact I truly believe that we have seen a change in the fire service to where we now embrace a culture of safety for the most part.

So where do we go from here as the discipline matures? I believe the answer to that is that we must--I repeat must--start to think about the bigger picture. What is that bigger picture you ask? The bigger picture is the overall health and welfare of our firefighters. We have successfully gotten them to wear seatbelts, we have them using spotters to assist in backing apparatus up, we have them wearing P.P.E. (for the most part, I will address that later in this letter) so now is the time that we begin to look at that bigger picture.

Brothers and Sisters, this will not be an easy task as it will require a totally new look at our safety culture. We won’t be addressing those issues that bring instant gratification, but those that may not show rewards for decades to come. We live in a society that has made us think in terms of what can happen for me instantly; we can get a four course meal from the driver’s seat of our car in ninety seconds, we can chat with a friend half way around the world in real time and we can get information on any subject at our fingertips instantly. With that capability we have become less interested in things that may take time to show results. I challenge you to take a few minutes to think about what I am about to share with you and ask yourself, do I want to be “Successful” or do I want to be “Significant.” Success may only last a lifetime, significant can and will go on for generations.

So how do we make a significant impact?  It will come when you embrace, as my good friend Janet Wilmoth (former Editor FIRE CHIEF Magazine) calls it, a “whole-listic” approach to our responsibilities as Safety Officers. We must start to address those things that have a long term impact of Firefighter Health and Welfare. This will not be easy but it will be rewarding--no instant gratification here, but the satisfaction of knowing you have been significant.

These things include, but are not limited to:

Tobacco Cessation- Tobacco use is down in the fire service but still much too prevalent; many of the cases of Heart/Lung Diseases and Cancer can be attributed to tobacco

Nutrition- The fire service may have some of the worst eating habits known to man; large volumes consumed as if it were our last meal. A more healthy approach to the way we prepare and cook our meals needs to be addressed.                                                                                                                
Regular Physical Examinations - Had I gone for a colonoscopy when my doctor recommended it I may have been able to catch my cancer early enough to have avoided the need for major intervention. Many of the diseases we experience in the fire service can be treated and controlled if we are able to catch them early; regular physical examinations are the answer.

Exercise - Even the slightest amount of exercise can make a huge difference in our firefighters’ health and welfare. You do not have to spend hours in the gym to get positive results from exercise.

Wearing Personal Protective Equipment - Every incident. EVERY INCIDENT.  Eye protection, gloves and mask where appropriate on EMS calls. Full bunker gear and SCBA until the fire is completely out, including overhaul operations.

I truly believe that if I had worn my P.P.E., particularly my SCBA, more diligently that I might have avoided my colorectal cancer.

P.P.E. may be uncomfortable and hot, however you do not want to wear the P.P.E. that I now have. My P.P.E. now involves sitting in a chair at the Cancer Center for six hours at a stretch connected to a cocktail of medicines that takes your body and slams it to the point that you can’t even get out of bed some days.

My other P.P.E. is a colostomy bag that I will wear 24/7 for the rest of my life. My cancer required the removal of my lower digestive system from my descending  colon to the “exit”; if you know what I mean.
Wear Your P.P.E.!!!!!!

Addressing and enforcing these won’t necessarily make you the most popular person on your department, however if you became a Safety Officer to win a popularity contest you might want to rethink your choice. 

Do not feel sorry for me because of my cancer instead go out and make a difference; and think about me when you do.

In closing I want to encourage you to attend the FDSOA Annual Safety Forum, September 21-25, at the Double Tree Suites in Fort Lauderdale Florida. This Forum not only gives you the opportunity to hear from some of the most recognized fire service Health and Safety Subject Matter Experts, but just as importantly to have the chance to network with the practitioners that are making a difference daily in the Health and Safety of our Brothers and Sister.
Sincerely, Sandy Davis, (Ret.) Chief Safety Officer, Shreveport, LA, Fire Department


THANKS to Sandy for this. Keep him in your prayers.

Take Care. Be Careful, Pass It On.


The Secret List 7/31/2015-0900 Hours





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