Playlist for The Big One | Trouble in the Wind – Rising

There’s something rambling, shabby and just a little bit dangerous in the musings of Carlsbad, California-based alt folkies Trouble in the Wind.

Robby Gira plays acoustic guitar and provides the vocals.. although merely writing the word ‘vocals’ does nothing to describe the other-worldly hillbilly-esque sounds this man lays down with every track.

The whole band is strong yet not in an overpowering way – Larry Doran (drums), Kyle Merritt (banjo, accordion, piano), Trevor Mulvey (bass) all contribute in part and collectively to the unique sound of Trouble in the Wind.

The song ‘Rising’ is an amazing piece and it’s this evening’s add to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One. Find comfortable chair, ease down into it, put feet up, open cold beer and enjoy.

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Alberta | 32 probationary firefighters joins the ranks of the Calgary Fire Department

Calgary | 19 April 2012

As part of the Calgary Fire Department’s commitment to a sustainable fire service, 32 recruits graduated today into the ranks of probationary firefighters. As the first graduating class of 2012, these new firefighters will be instrumental in fulfilling the current and future fire service needs of our growing city and fire department.
 “I am pleased to welcome this class of 32 probationary firefighters to the Calgary Fire Department,” said Calgary Fire Chief Bruce Burrell. “I am confident that our newest members will continue our strong tradition of serving Calgarians well through our collective efforts in fire prevention, public education and fire suppression.”
Recruits are put through 13 weeks of intense training through which they must demonstrate technical competencies, strength and endurance. As probationary firefighters, these graduates will continue to broaden their skills on the job with coaching and mentorship from existing fire service members. All firefighters participate in ongoing training throughout their careers.
Recruits in Class 1 of 2012 have joined CFD from diverse backgrounds, including two who previously served as military firefighters, a child youth worker, a flight attendant and a peace officer.
Calgary Fire Department probationary firefighters, as with all CFD firefighters, are expected to live the Department’s values of teamwork, pride, professionalism and respect. All CFD members contribute to the Department’s long history of positive community involvement and leadership amongst fire services.
Currently, there are more than 1,350 firefighters serving in 37 fire stations across Calgary.

Oregon | Neighbors’ quick actions help save family pets in Portland house fire

2314 N Willamette Blvd | 18 April 2012

“It was a great day to sit out on my front porch with my dog,” said Joann Nomeland. “Then all of a sudden I heard a high pitched sound coming from somewhere around my house. After circling my front porch and yard, and finding nothing, I could still hear the noise. I realized the sound was coming from my neighbor’s house about 80 yards away. I didn’t want to be “nosey”, but it sounded like multiple smoke alarms. I quickly went to the door and I could smell smoke. I knocked on the door but no one was home – except for the two dogs that live there.”

With the 1909 home filling with smoke and the dogs frantically barking inside, Nomeland called 9-1-1 and another neighbor, Chris Heaps. Heaps arrived to find the dogs inside and all doors locked. According to Heaps, “I used what I had available to get them out – my foot.” Heaps broke down the front door and rescued Pica, a 40 pound mixed breed dog. After another attempt to rescue the second dog, Hana, Heaps recognized that the smoke was too thick and made a good decision to wait for Portland Fire & Rescue to arrive. Portland Fire & Rescue urges citizens never to enter a structure that is on fire.

At approximately 2:00 pm, firefighters from Portland Fire Station 24 (Overlook/Swan Island) arrived and were alerted that a dog was missing inside. Engine 24 firefighters quickly put on their air packs and searched the home for Hana, a 50 pound lab mix, who was hiding at the back of the house. They were able to quickly extinguish the fire, which was contained to the stovetop. Despite the fire’s small size, it produced a large amount of smoke.

“I was cooking hamburger on the stove when I got distracted and left the house with the stove on,” said homeowner Glenn Giere who returned a short time later. “I was shocked when I returned and found the neighbors and firefighters in front of my house. I’m lucky that the damage was not as bad as it could have been, and I’m thankful for my neighbors’ quick actions to call 9-1-1 and help my pets.”

Giere stated that his large, 103-year-old home has seven smoke alarms in it, which he credits for the early detection of this fire. Tonight, Giere is equally convinced of the power of knowing your neighbors. “It’s nice to know someone is watching out for your home, your family, and your pets. It pays to know your neighbors.”

At this time, both Hana and Pica are doing fine. A damage estimate from the fire is not available at this time.

Arkansas | Dog in Yell County tests positive for rabies

Little Rock | 19 April 2012

For the first time in two years, a dog in the state has tested positive for rabies. The dog belonged to a resident of Yell County where it had been living in a pen near the owner’s home. A rabid skunk had gotten into the pen with the dog and subsequently died, presumably after a fight with the dog. The dog started to show symptoms of rabies and was euthanized.

Rabies symptoms in dogs may or may not include the frothing at the mouth commonly associated with the disease. This particular dog was unsteady on its feet, with a dry swollen tongue and an agitated look. There is no test for rabies in dogs other than examination of material taken from the animal’s brain, which means that they must be euthanized first. When animals are outside, even in a pen, they are at risk of exposure to rabies.

According to Susan Weinstein, DVM, state public health veterinarian, the message is that people need to have their dogs and cats vaccinated by a veterinarian. Vaccination is required by state law. It is also important to teach children to stay away from animals in the wild.

“Fences and pens cannot prevent a rabid skunk from coming into contact with family pets. The only sure way to protect your pets and your family is to have your pets vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian,” Weinstein said.

There have been 63 cases of rabies reported this year in the state, a larger number already than last year’s total of 60.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and spinal cord and is a fatal disease. It is most often seen in animals such as skunks, bats and foxes. Cats, dogs, ferrets and livestock can also develop rabies, especially if they are not vaccinated. The rabies virus lives in the saliva (spit) and nervous tissues of infected animals and is spread when they bite or scratch. The virus also may be spread if saliva from an infected animal touches broken skin, open wounds or the lining of the mouth, eyes or nose. Dogs, cats and other domesticated animals like horses and cattle can be infected through bites or scratches from rabid skunks. Vaccination of pets helps create a barrier between rabies in skunks and people.

The first sign of rabies in an animal is usually a change in behavior. Rabid animals may attack people or other animals for no reason, or they may lose their fear of people and seem unnaturally friendly. Staggering, convulsions, choking, frothing at the mouth and paralysis are often present. Skunks may be seen out in daylight, which is an unusual behavior for them, or they may get into a dog pen or under a house. Many animals have a marked change in voice pitch, such as a muted or off-key tone. An animal usually dies within one week of demonstrating signs of rabies. Not all rabid animals act in these ways, however, so you should avoid all wild animals – especially skunks, bats and stray cats and dogs.

If you think you have become exposed to an animal with rabies, wash your wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. Contact your physician and county health unit immediately and report the incident. The animal in question should be captured, if possible, without damaging its head or risking further human exposure.

All dogs and cats in Arkansas are required to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. This not only protects the animal, but also acts as a barrier between the wildlife exposures of rabies and people, as our pets are more likely to be exposed to a rabid skunk directly than we are. Children especially should be reminded not to touch wild animals and to stay away from stray pets. If an apparently healthy domesticated dog or cat bites a person, it must be captured, confined and observed daily for 10 days following the bite. If the animal remains healthy during this period of time, it did not transmit rabies at the time of the bite. The brain tissue of all wild animals must be tested for rabies if human exposure has occurred.

What can you do to protect yourselves against rabies?

    • Be sure your dogs, cats and ferrets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations


    • Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals


    • Keep family pets indoors at night


    • Bat-proof your home or summer camp in the fall or winter (The majority of human rabies cases are caused by bat bites.)


    • Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if any animal bites them


  • Teach children to avoid wildlife, strays and all other animals they do not know well

Do not let any animal escape that has possibly exposed someone to rabies. Depending
on the species, an animal can be observed or tested for rabies in order to avoid the need for rabies treatment.

Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to your local county health unit. For more information, visit our website at, or call 1-800-661-2000 or 1-800-462-0599.

Greater London | Covent Garden receives lifesaving gear and training

Covent Garden | 19 April 2012

Visitors to Covent Garden can now be assured of receiving the very best in service from the first aid team, following the installation of a defibrillator.

Defibrillators are machines that can deliver a shock to restart a patient’s heart should they suffer a cardiac arrest – when the heart stops pumping blood around the body.

The 14-strong security team at Covent Garden Market will now be on hand to deliver this lifesaving care if needed 24 hours a day.

The Service is responsible for over 750 public-access defibrillators around the capital, placed in tourist attractions, transport hubs, shopping centres and sports facilities.

Last year the scheme helped to save eight patients who had suffered a cardiac arrest to be discharged from hospital.

Community Resuscitation Training Officer Malcolm Ritchie said: “With a cardiac arrest every second counts in the delivery of first aid. When a person’s heart stops there is limited time in which to deliver a shock, and after that time has passed there is little chance of survival.

“The work of the team at Covent Garden Market is extremely important in helping more people to survive cardiac arrest, and we are delighted with the commitment they have shown.”

General Manager Simon Morrison from Covent Garden Market said: “Covent Garden attracts over 44 million visitors a year and we are really pleased to have this life-saving equipment now on site.

“The defibrillator will enable our staff to carry out lifesaving care in even the most extreme of situations and we are very grateful to be able to offer this service as a part of our ongoing mission to make Covent Garden both an enjoyable and safe destination.”

Gatwick | Follow-up on major trauma response at Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport | 18 April 2012

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) treated casualties with a range of injuries at Gatwick Airport after a plane was forced to make an emergency landing.

After passengers disembarked via the aircraft’s escape chutes, SECAmb clinicians, supported by specialist paramedic practitioners and duty officers at the airport’s North Terminal assessed and treated patients who had suffered injuries sustained while evacuating the plane.

Dr Jane Pateman, SECAmb Medical Director, said: “We received a call that a plane had experienced an in-flight emergency at 12:23pm today. We have a pre-planned response to such an incident which swung into action immediately. A number of crews and specialist hazardous area response teams (HART) were deployed to Gatwick airport’s North Terminal. They worked very closely with other 999 services, Gatwick Airport Authority and Virgin Atlantic staff to ensure that all passengers were rapidly assessed and treated.

“A total of 15 patients were transferred to hospital, 14 of which went to two major trauma centres, at St George’s Hospital and Royal Sussex County Hospital suffering from suspected fractures.

“Planned treatment of all patients with major injuries at designated specialist centres is a new system that was implemented across England on April 2 this year. This was the first time that the system had been tested with a significant incident of this nature.

“We are very pleased to say that the system worked extremely well and that we were able to maintain our normal service to members of the public whilst dealing with this incident and ensuring that all patients affected received appropriate treatment.”

In addition to the emergency ambulances sent to the airport the Trust has mobilised patient transport service (PTS) vehicles to transport those patients who were assessed as having minor injuries.

The Trust has maintained operational resilience across its network and is responding to 999 calls as normal. No major incident has been declared by the Trust.

Staffordshire | SFRS featured in Top 50 Employers for Women list

Becci Bryant, Peter Darftord and Diane Dunlevey

Staffordshire | 19 April 2012

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is celebrating after making it into The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list. The list features the top organisations nationally that are leading the way in gender equality in the workplace.

The list features well known international companies with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service being the only local authority to feature in the list.

The Service was required to provide examples of how it motivated women, the action it was taking to ensure the organisation was a top employer for women and what impact the work was having. Examples the Service provided included; the number of women in managerial positions, the proportion of female firefighters, the development of an equality and diversity strategy and plan and work within the local community promoting the opportunities for women in the fire and rescue service.

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Peter Dartford: “For a fire and rescue service to be recognised as leading the way nationally for gender equality in the workplace is a fantastic accolade and one that we are very proud of. The majority of organisations that feature in the list are top international companies so for us, as such a small organisation in comparison, this is a massive achievement which speaks volumes about the type of organisation we are.

“Unfortunately firefighting is still often seen as a male dominated profession but we’ve worked hard to dispel this myth and as a result we have one of the highest proportions of female firefighters in the country.”
The list and special supplement are produced in partnership with Opportunity Now, the gender campaign from Business in the Community.

Helen Wells, director of Opportunity Now, said: “Any organisation included in the Times Top 50 Employers for Women list has to be commended for its commitment to actively recruiting, retaining and progressing female talent. The high number of entries and incredibly high standard of work being done towards gender equality and inclusion meant the judging process was extremely competitive, but what stood out as a common attribute for all 2012 Top 50 Employers was a clear focus on integration, innovation and impact.

“Being included in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list demonstrates a focus on creating an inclusive and diverse workplace that utilises the skills and talent of men and women. It is a clear statement that senior leaders see this as a commercial imperative, not a women’s issue.”

Nottinghamshire | Top honour for bravery

Nottinghamshire | 19 April 2012

Nottinghamshire’s Chief Fire Officer Frank Swann has congratulated four of his firefighters on being awarded “one of the greatest honours it is possible for anyone to achieve”.

Andrew Alexander (38), Sanjeev Mohla (34), Daniel Wareham (28) and Matthew Willis (29) of Stockhill Fire Station have each been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. The medal, which is only one level below the George Medal, is awarded to civilians for acts of exemplary bravery.

The four men were nominated for the honour after responding to a major gas explosion at a house close to the fire station in June 2010 that left two people with dramatic life-changing injuries and destroyed the property.

They had left the station and were en-route to another emergency call when the explosion happened in Stockhill Lane, just as they were passing. They stopped immediately and went into the crumbling property to attempt to rescue the occupants. Despite the dangers of further explosions and building collapse, they carried two critically injured adults clear of the property and delivered them into the hands of waiting paramedics.

“This was an extraordinary act of bravery,” said Frank Swann. “Firefighters potentially put their lives on the line every day of the week, but this crew displayed incredible bravery and selflessness by responding to a situation that happened, literally in front of their eyes. At that early stage of an explosion anything could have happened, but they put concerns for their own safety aside and focused completely on rescuing the injured.

“The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is only awarded in exceptional circumstances and I am so proud that four of my firefighters have been honoured in this way.”

The four Firefighters, Crew Manager Jonathan Wilson, Crew Manager Gary Hodgkins and Station Manager Chris Clark have already received the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation for their role in the team response to this incident.

The Government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser Sir Ken Knight said: “I wish to pass on my personal congratulations to these firefighters whose skill and professionalism upholds the best traditions of the Fire and Rescue Service.

“Firefighters Andrew Alexander, Sanjeev Mohla, Matthew Willis and Daniel Wareham demonstrated immense courage and professionalism to search for and rescue two seriously injured casualties in a partially collapsed building following a large gas explosion.”

Scotland | Tayside’s former Chief Fire Officer sounds off on move to single national service

Tayside | 19 April 2012

Tayside’s former chief fire officer Stephen Hunter says he ”respects” the decision that will end the service he led for the last 11 years.

Mr Hunter, who stood down last month, believes Tayside Fire and Rescue could have made the necessary financial cuts to have survived as a single service. Tayside Fire and Rescue will be absorbed into a single Scottish force next year along with seven other regional services.

Mr Hunter had a 33-year career with Tayside Fire and Rescue having held the service’s top job since 2001. He opposed the move while he was chief fire officer, but he now supports the Scottish Government’s plan for a single service.

”I respect the people who took the decision. Personally, having served for the last 33 years as a firefighter up to a chief fire officer, I think Tayside Fire and Rescue could have delivered the majority of the financial savings required while still delivering a high-quality service,” he said.

”The Chief Fire Officers Association had preferred a regional structure. However, we agreed that whatever the announcement was, we would support it. All the chiefs are committed to deliver a quality single service.”

Mr Hunter was encouraged by the large number of Tayside Fire and Rescue managers involved in the process of setting up the single service.

He said: ”I would like the single service to take an objective look at the recent reports of the eight Scottish services. If it takes the best of these reports — and in Tayside there will be a lot to take — the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be a world-class service.”

Mr Hunter said a combination of uncertainty over his future role in the single service and the financial benefit of his retiral to Tayside Fire and Rescue had led to his decision to stand down.

He said: ”Retiring next year could have been an option. But, after being chief for 11 years and achieving a massive amount within Tayside, I think it would have been strange to potentially be working to someone else’s agenda. I discussed retiring as a money-saving option and the board said it was one of the options they wanted to pursue.”

Mr Hunter’s decision was approved at a meeting of the Tayside Fire and Rescue Board two weeks ago. He said his proudest achievement as fire chief was ”working with a fantastic team”.

He added: ”Every single member is highly motivated and highly enthusiastic. We have carried out 40,000 home fire safety visits over the last three years. That surpasses every other service in Scotland by a massive amount.”

Mr Hunter said there had been ”no low points” in his tenure, which included his recommendation that Broughty Ferry’s Balmossie station be downgraded — a move he defends.

He said: ”As chief fire officer, I have to deal with facts and evidence. I had professional obligations to Tayside Fire and Rescue Board. As a public servant I realised I worked within a political environment. Balmossie is a classic example of what happens when you work within that environment.”

Scotland | Crews work through the night to make Kirkoswald scene safe

Souter Johnnie’s Inn, Kirkoswald | 19 April 2012

Firefighters are continuing dampening down operations this morning following a major blaze in at Souter Johnnie’s Inn in Kirkoswald.

Crews worked through the night to make the scene safe after extinguishing the fire last night and expect to be on the scene for a considerable part of today.

At its height, more than 30 firefighters and seven fire appliances tackled the blaze in the historic site which was once Robert Burns’ school house.

Crews were first called to the scene at around 12.10pm yesterday afternoon and due to the size of the blaze, which had engulfed much of the building’s thatched roof, mobilised extra resources. Crews used one of SFR’s aerial rescue pumps to tackle the fire from above and on the ground, firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building and fought the fire from the inside.

As firefighting operations continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening, relief crews were called to take over from firefighters who were at the scene.

A full investigation into the cause of the blaze in now under way.