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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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"A Good Fireman Retires" - Capt Al Hagan-Beloved Fire Officer & Union Leader (The Secret List)

Monday, September 1, 2014  Hey,

An old friend (and one of the original TSL subscribers) Captain Al Hagan has retired from the FDNY. Al was also President of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association IAFF Local 854.
www.ufoa.orgMany of you will also know Al as a popular FDIC and Firehouse Expo Instructor-among many other classes and seminars-you are definitely fortunate to have spent time with Al .
He is absolutely one of a kind.

Al retires almost 41 years working as a Firefighter (E-36), Lieutenant (L-44) and Captain (L-43). He retired Saturday morning, August 30th, effective at 0900....Labor Day weekend. He is also retiring as President of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. In Al's words: "Collectively, it was a wonderful experience that I wouldn't trade for the world!  I'd like to thank all of you that were kind enough to help."

Take a moment to read and enjoy the below story from The Chief Leader.  
Even if you haven't met Al-take a look at the below for a great lesson in leadership-at the firehouse-and at the political level:


Alexander Hagan last week had already removed all of his personal photos from his office: the many snaps of his family, but also the one that captured himself in a very different time-in gym shorts as a young man who competed in five marathons when he wasn’t fighting fires.

As he got ready to retire on Aug. 30, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association President and Fire Captain, now 64, looked back fondly on a time when on nice days, he sometimes ran the 13 miles to work.

Smoke Took a Toll

Those days have slipped past, ended by a bum knee and the chronic bronchitis and cough that have plagued him for more than a decade. The lung problems recently sparked a diagnosis of reactive airway disease, a condition that can result from exposure to noxious substances and that has been called “occupational asthma.” Mr. Hagan said he might have gotten it even if he hadn’t spent months cleaning up at the World Trade Center site after Sept. 11.

‘My Fair Share of Feeds’

“In the Fire Department, when you get exposed to a lot of smoke, they call it ‘taking a feed,’’’ he said, noting that his 35 years in the field were spent in the South Bronx and Spanish Harlem, two of the city’s busiest areas for fire in the ’70s and ’80s. “I will tell you, I’ve been to many, many fires and I took more than my fair share of feeds. So a little bit of reactive lung disease is not that bad.”

He came on the job during what firefighters call the “war years”: a decade when 97 percent of the buildings in seven Bronx census tracts were lost to fire or abandonment.

Those conditions may be foreign to new Firefighters today, when the number of structural fires and the fatalities they cause are at all-time lows, but the department then was going through a similar period of diversification.

Started At Turbulent Time

In 1973, the year Mr. Hagan entered the firehouse, a Federal Judge had just declared that the entrance exam had an adverse impact on blacks and Latinos, was not job-related and needed to be revised. He implemented a three-to-one quota system under which one minority candidate had to be hired for every three white candidates appointed from the list. The percentage of African-Americans in the department was just 3 percent-roughly what it was three years ago when Judge Nicholas Garaufis made the same characterization and went a step further, declaring the FDNY to have intentionally discriminated against people of color for decades and appointing a Federal monitor to oversee hiring.

Hundreds of active and retired firefighters formally objected to Mr. Garaufis’s decision, in writing or in two-minute statements given in the courtroom, and many predicted that with the revision of the test, standards would plummet and the quality of the firefighting force would be compromised.

Doesn’t Fear for Future

Mr. Hagan said he’s a strong supporter of the merit system-he paraphrased George Washington Plunkitt, the flamboyant leader of the Tammany Hall political machine a century ago, a book of whose sayings Mr. Hagan is fond of handing out to colleagues and reporters as background on the importance of a strong civil service.

“I honestly believe that drink is the greatest curse of the day, except, of course, civil service, and that it has driven more young men to ruin than anything except civil-service examinations,” Mr. Plunkitt once said.

But despite the dire predictions by Judge Garaufis’s detractors who believe his ruling subverts the merit system, Mr. Hagan said of the new diversity effort, “I think that everything will be fine.”

‘Quality, Attitude Great’

“From what I’ve seen, the quality of the new people is high and the attitude is great, it’s terrific. They want to be firemen. They love the Fire Department as much as or more than anyone else. And that’s what you need.”

At his first firehouse, Engine 36 in East Harlem, hazing was still the few-holds-barred institution that was discouraged in later years and that former Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano formally banned in May 2013.

“They treated you like a scullery maid,” Mr. Hagan said, likening it to Mr. Miyagi’s treatment of Daniel at the beginning of the “Karate Kid” movie. Probies had to clean the whole firehouse-“they learn to wax on, wax off”-as well as the company’s tools, which Mr. Hagan said helped them identify them and remember where on a rig each piece is stored.

Pranks for the Memories

Mr. Cassano’s anti-hazing order called for “dignity and respect” for new members; he wrote that “there are no such things as pranks, because somebody may take something a different way than somebody else.”

The prohibition may not include assigning extra work duties to probies-the Uniformed Firefighters Association at the time complained that its scope was unclear-but it certainly covers a classic prank described by Mr. Hagan in which a probie would be called to the bottom of the fire pole. When he looked up, his colleagues would drop a bucket of water, and then a bucket of flour.

During his stint at Engine 36 in the quota era, Mr. Hagan said one minority probie came in who was initially given “the same hard time they gave me,” only he took “maybe a little more” guff for being a quota hire.

He Grew on Them

Within weeks, he said, “Whatever initial resentment and trepidation there was melted in the heat. He was willing to be good at his job. He was willing to take the pain.”

Firefighting is a very experience-driven job, he added; no one understands the way a fire moves until she’s seen dozens of them. So for a newbie, “it’s all about heart and willingness.”

Hazing, whatever remnants persist after Mr. Cassano’s ban, can affect people differently when they come from a different neighborhood or gender or ethnicity and don’t have mentors like them who they see are no longer being singled out, Mr. Hagan acknowledged. He said it’s a Captain’s job to set the limits on what’s acceptable-and he believes that the era of surprise showers at the fire pole are over.

‘He’s a Unifier’

Captain Hagan may have been particularly suited to set such limits and have them be respected. Battalion Chief John Dunne, a former UFOA executive board member who served with Mr. Hagan and four other presidents, called him the kind of leader who “has the ability to get people on the same page that he is on...he always had us pointed in the right direction and you’d see that he was right and you’d get behind him.

“He had a united executive board,” he added. “And that’s not easy to do, nine guys pulling in the same direction.”

Mr. Hagan was elected by the membership as Captain’s representative in 2008, and then elected president of the 2,700-member union unanimously by his executive board five years in a row. Before he came on board, the union’s governing body was deeply divided, Mr. Dunne said, and part of the change was due to Mr. Hagan’s leadership style.

“We discussed everything,” and often made decisions together, he said. “It was very collaborative.”

Keeping his board informed was the first item Mr. Hagan cited when discussing how he operated as president, and he maintained that his missteps occurred on the occasions when he didn’t follow their advice.

Such modesty seemed to fit with Mr. Dunne’s depiction of him winning over people with his self-effacing nature.

“And he’s got a great way of articulating that is unique to him,” Mr. Dunne said. “He tells you just like it is, he doesn’t pull any punches.”

He later added, “I think even Bloomberg liked him, I mean personally.”

Weathered Mayor’s Cuts

Much of Mr. Hagan’s energy, of course, was concentrated on fighting the annual defunding of fire companies that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg in each of his last five years in office claimed was necessary due to budget cuts. (The money was restored each year by the City Council, after pressure by the f... [ more ]  




Remembering 2 Firefighters Killed in The Line of Duty (The Secret List)

Saturday, August 30, 2014 


2 Los Angeles County Firefighters gave their lives in the Line of Duty 5 years ago today when they were driven off the side of a road in heavy smoke and into heavy fire conditions in the Mt. Gleason area, south of Acton. Killed in the Line of Duty were FF Specialist Arnaldo "Arnie" Quinones, 35 and Captain Tedmund "Ted" Hall, 47. Captain Hall had been with the LA County FD for 26 years and Arnie Quinones had been with the department 8 years. RIP.

HERE is related video:

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 8-30-2014/1600 hrs





A Bad Job, A Good Job & "Emergency" (The Secret List)

Friday, August 29, 2014  Hey,

With the 13th Anniversary of the attacks and murders on our Country-9/11/01-here are three films well worthy of of your time-and the time of anyone else you can pass this on to. With the very recent threats and proven behaviors of the IS/ISIS group, we (and all of our North American leaders) better remember every aspect and the pre-warnings of 9/11/01.

(In case there are people in your lives that fail to remember-we have some reminders below)

Hopefully, by now, your department or company plans are set for honoring all those killed on 9/11. This year, 9/11 falls on a Thursday...two weeks from yesterday. 


Just days after September 11, 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency assured the public that there should be no concern about any health hazards associated with exposure to smoke and debris in lower Manhattan. They (the EPA and it's so called leadership) did a bad job...a


This disturbing documentary (link below) asks whether the EPA's pronouncement was based on science or politics. Now many of the Firefighters, Police Officers, EMT's and other first-responders who risked their lives within that toxic chemical soup are seriously ill or dying.

With the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks just around the corner, we urge to view this video narrated by former F.D.N.Y Firefighter - now actor Steve Buscemi. It's a sad reminder that all this time later, good people are still suffering with serious illnesses and dying everyday as a result of what terrorists did to us:



“A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY” produced by and featuring actor and former New York City Fireman Steve Buscemi will debut on Monday, September 8th on HBO.

The term “a good job” means a really tough fire, according to one of the many NYC firefighters included in this documentary directed Liz Garbus (Bobby Fischer Against The World). The film goes inside the unique experience of being a fireman in New York City. Buscemi, who was part of the New York Fire Department at Engine Co. 55 in the early 80s, retraces his steps with the FDNY and talks to the men and women who risk their lives on a constant basis to keep the city and its people safe.

“A Good Job” adds to the interviews with rare fire scene footage and photos that capture the physical and mental costs of what it’s like to fight fires in the urban landscape of New York now and also in the 5 previous decades, showing how much the job has changed, but the camaraderie hasn’t.  The FDNY forms its own community of firefighters looking out for each other and the film discusses where that feeling of responsibility comes from for their fellow firemen and the city of New York.

“A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY” airs Monday, September 8th at 9 pm et on HBO.

More details HERE: 


This is a Discovery Channel film about the NYPD Emergency Services Unit members who gave their lives on 9/11. Known as "ESU" or "Emergency"-they are a unit unique to NYC and a few New York metro area communities. A one hour special about them: ‘9/11 E-Men Heroes’ Airs on Thursday, September 11 at 8PM ET/PT.

On the thirteenth anniversary of September 11th, Discovery tells the story of the heroism and sacrifice of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit (ESU) and the "E-Men" who were tasked with rescuing as many people as possible. Featuring previously unseen archive material and moving first-hand testimony, the story of the NYPD ESU cops will be told. 

NYPD's ESU is a unique institution in law enforcement made up of around 300 specialized officers trained in SWAT, jumpers, search and rescue, building collapse and heavy weapons and  hazardous materials containment. Of the 31 E-Men who rushed into the World Trade Center on that day, only 17 survived. The 14 E-Men who lost their lives were among 60 law-enforcement personnel who died on 9/11, the worst single day in US police and fire service history. 

9/11 E-MEN HEROES airs on Discovery Channel on Thursday, September 11th at 8 PM ET/PT.

NEVER FORGET REMINDERS: (FDNY Operating as 1st Plane Strikes) (FDNY initial radio traffic reports) (9/11 As It Happened) (Final Journey) (Air traffic audio)


Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 8/29/2013-0800 Hours





HELP NEEDED re: KY FF's Burned In Tower Ladder Incident (The Secret List)

Thursday, August 28, 2014   All,

The families of Campbellsville, Kentucky (FF's burned in tower ladder electric shock) Captain Tony Grider and Firefighter Alex Quinn want to express their appreciation for all the thoughts, prayers, calls, visits, messages of support, and department patches that have been received.  The outpouring of support has been more than overwhelming.

The patches have been placed in each firefighter’s room as visible signs of the support that has poured in.


Fire departments and fire/rescue/EMS companies wishing to send patches (two would be appreciated) can please send them to:

University of Louisville Hospital

c/o Burn Unit-Tony Grider and Alex Quinn

530 S. Jackson St

Louisville, KY 40202-1675

While other items have been offered, both families are asking that only patches be sent at this stage.


There is an effort is to gather pictures of firefighters standing in front of their quarters with a sign or message like: “We support Tony and Alex,” “Praying for Tony and Alex,” or something similar.  They can be posted to the facebook page “Prayers for Our Brothers” ( or emailed to to be included in a poster.

Thanks for your help.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 8-28-2014/1800 hrs





Medevac Crash-LODD, Catchphrase? Share The Load, 17,000 FF's (The Secret List)

The Secret List 
We regret to pass on that New Mexico authorities say all four people aboard a medical flight were killed when the plane crashed in Las Cruces.

New Mexico State Police say the twin-engine aircraft had just left the Las Cruces airport and was headed to Phoenix at a low altitude before it crashed and burst into flames Wednesday evening.

State Police identified the crew members killed as 29-year-old pilot Freddy Martinez, 27-year-old flight paramedic Tauren Summers and 35-year-old flight nurse Monica Chavez, all from El Paso, Texas. The patient who was killed was identified as 59-year-old Fredrick Green of Las Cruces.

According to State Police, the plane belonged to Amigos Aviation and was contracted by Elite Medical Transport. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash's cause. Our condolences to all affected. RIP.
According to this FD Company Officer:
"......The enemy has changed, and the enemy isn't playing fair. Many of the rules that applied to firefighting 50 years ago are no longer valid today. Firefighters are now operating in environments that are trying to kill them faster and more aggressively than ever before. Lightweight construction components and the increased use of synthetic materials have changed the game for the fire service. It may appear that the fireground has become safer for firefighters because of a reduction in the overall number of firefighter fatalities over the past 30 years, but during this same time frame, there has been an alarming 67 percent increase in firefighter fatalities from traumatic injuries. The fireground has become increasingly dangerous to firefighters everywhere. We are duty-bound to understand why this is happening......"
Behavioral health is really getting some traction in the fire/EMS service and we wanted to share some additional information...this one is about the NVFC’s initiative called “Share the Load”. 
Take time to check out and discuss the
training video:
Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.
The Secret List 8/28/2014-1400 Hours





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