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									The RELAY
The e-mail Newsletter of the New Jersey State Fire Chiefs’ Association—a member benefit September 25, 2006 No. 2006-19

Chris Assenheimer President
Chris Assenheimer, former Chief of the Carlstadt Fire Department, was elected President for the State Fire Chiefs at the annual meeting held in the Wildwood Convention Center on September 14th. Glen Thorson advanced to First Vice President and Henry “Skip” Carr was elected Second Vice President. Jean Wypler was elected to another 3-year term as Northern Trustee. Kenneth Byrnes became Central Trustee for a 3year term and Bill Doherty fills a 1-year unexpired term as Southern Trustee. The officers were installed by Assemblyman Fred Scalera who is also Deputy Chief of the Nutley Fire Department. The memorial service was conducted by Chaplain Warren Light. Peg Stinger read the memorial list and Jerry Naylis sang Danny Boy. The Scholarships were presented as announced in the Journal. Mike Kaminski from the NIMS Integration Center gave an update on the National Incident Management System. Ken Anderson was named to the newly created position of President Emeritus. President Assenheimer made the presentation.

Cyanide Production in a Fire
Hydrogen cyanide is produced by the incomplete combustion of natural fibers and synthetic polymers widely used in insulation, cushioning, carpets, and other building materials. A NIST investigation of the well-documented fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, RI, shows cyanide more than likely played a role in the 100 deaths attributed to the fire. For the full article and other information, go to For the Report of the Investigating Committee into the Cyanide Poisonings of Providence Firefighters, go to sonings%20of%20providence%20firefighters%22

Vincent Neglia
On Saturday, September 9th, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Firefighter Vincent Neglia, working at Squad 2 in Union City, responded to an alarm of a blaze at a three-story building at 1813 Bergenline Avenue. Residents told firefighters the blaze was on the second and third floors, and that there were people still trapped in the building. The 45-year-old firefighter rushed into the building to search for anyone still in the building. He reached
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the second floor, but unknown to him, flames raced through the building's air shaft and into the space between the third-floor ceiling and the roof. Neglia was trapped when the fire rained down on him from above. His fellow firefighters managed to use a stream of water to pull him out of the blaze. The 18-year veteran was lowered to the ground through a rear window, where firefighters and paramedics worked to save his life as grown, brave men cried. Neglia, a Lyndhurst resident, was pronounced dead at St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken. For the full editorial, go to FeXk2OTkyMzk1JnlyaXJ5N2Y3MTdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5Mg For related articles, go to,,, and

Wildland Fire Training for Rural Fire Departments
In a National Association of State Foresters sponsored report to Congress, a recommendation was made to develop performance-based wildland fire training "delivery packages" that target volunteer and rural fire departments. One of the projects is Wildland Fire Training for Rural Fire Departments, a one-hour program that will be broadcast over the National Preparedness Network (PREPnet) on Wednesday, October 4th, at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. It can be viewed through both satellite and the Internet. This program will identify the necessary knowledge and skill-set that a structural firefighter would have in responding to a wildland fire incident and meets the standards identified in NFPA Standards 1001 and 1021. Rural, volunteer, and other local fire departments are the nation’s first line of defense against fires in the Wildland-Urban Interface and surrounding landscapes. The ability of local firefighters to contain a fire incident through quick and efficient initial response can dramatically reduce large-scale wildland impacts to the public and to the environment. For the full announcement and details on how to access the program, go to

Our 10 Greatest Natural Disasters
There is something uniquely chilling about a natural disaster, the uncontrolled, unpreventable fury of normally benign elements. In these moments nature proves its dominance, as if to remind us that there are some things in its arsenal before which we will always be powerless. To mark the first anniversary of Katrina, here is an assessment of the 10 deadliest natural disasters to strike the United States. Eight of these disasters occurred within a 50-year period, a fatal nexus in US history when the population had grown dense enough to be wiped out in large numbers by one localized event, but before modern meteorological tools, warning systems, and telecommunications could forecast storms and allow people ample time to flee or take cover. The one disaster that doesn’t fall in that period, of course, is Katrina. As horrifying as earthquakes and tornadoes are, history tells us that when disaster strikes America, it does its worst mixing wind and water. Six of the 10 deadliest American natural disasters were hurricanes, joined by one tornado, one flood, one earthquake, and one forest fire. Taken together, these events also show
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that disaster almost always hits hardest below the poverty line. So with no warning of impending doom and no way to escape, indigents have often been trapped in shacks that offered little protection. The poor have been disproportionately affected when nature turns ugly. For the full article, go to

Drill of the Week: Changing Blades and Chains
Trying to figure out how to change a wood cutting blade to a metal cutting blade on a rotary saw is not something you should be doing on the fireground. Changing cutting blades and chains requires an advanced knowledge of the equipment, tools, and procedures necessary to complete this task in a timely fashion. Routine maintenance procedures include inspection of safety equipment and any guards that are on the equipment. Review of department and manufacturer procedures for blade and chain use are required as part of this session. For the details of this drill, go to

Fire Safety Demos to be Held in NJ
On September 30th, the NJ Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board and Bergen County Fire Department will host this year's Public Safety Expo at the Bergen County Law and Public Safety Institute. The expo's theme of fire safety will be supported through ongoing demonstrations, including firefighter training exercises, the NJ Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board's Fire Sprinkler Burn Trailer, and Side-by-Side Fire Sprinkler Burn. The Bergen County Law and Public Safety Institute is located at 281 Campgaw Road, Mahwah. The September 30th event begins at 1:00 pm. For the full announcement, go to

Firefighters Moving to The Front Lines of Counter-Terror Effort
Firefighters are the natural first responders in any large-scale terrorist attack, and for the past five years the state has worked to bolster their life-saving training and equipment. State Fire Marshall Larry Petrillo said September 21st, "Fire inspectors can help recognize abnormal situations in the field and pass it along." "We have to harness all of these home-grown experts," said Homeland Security Director Richard Cañas. "They are the experts in their fields and we need to be able to integrate them into some systemic operation." State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes said the training of fire inspectors represents a shift in the state's counter-terrorism efforts toward preventing the next terrorist attack. While the use of firefighters in counter-terrorism is a relatively new idea in the United States, overseas authorities regularly rely on their expertise to gather information and spot potential terror activity, according to Gary Berntsen, a retired CIA agent. "In so many of the attacks and bombings, it's the firefighters who are the first responders," Berntsen said. "The more you do with your fire service is just brilliant."

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In addition to training fire inspectors, the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness has posted a representative of the state Division of Fire Safety at the Regional Operations Intelligence Center. For the full article, go to

Computer Game Will Train First Responders
A Maryland company has developed a computer game to train emergency responders who are forced to make life-and-death decisions in the blink of an eye. "Incident Commander" simulates crisis scenarios including a severe storm, a natural disaster, a school hostage situation and a terrorist attack. The game was developed for the Department of Justice as part of the National Incident Management System mandated after the September 11th attacks. As many as 16 players can train simultaneously on computers at work or from home, assuming the role of the commander or a member of the operations team. For the full article, go to Note: "Incident Commander" can be ordered by public safety organizations free of charge at:

Community Preparedness: The Unmet Needs and the Public's Role in Disasters
This daylong conference on Community Preparedness focuses on the unmet needs of disaster preparedness in the community setting and how the public can prepare for disasters. A variety of disasters will be discussed including: 9/11, Katrina, Wilma, tornadoes, pandemic flu, and the lessons learned from these events. By the end of the conference, participants will have learned about models of community preparedness, the role of the public in mitigating disasters, and how to ultimately survive. Date: Thursday, October 5th. Location: New Jersey Hospital Association, 760 Alexander Road, Princeton, NJ. Time: Registration 8:30 am, Conference 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. Cost: $25.00 (continental breakfast and lunch are provided) Contact Amelia Muccio at (609) 275 8886, X24 or for conference information. Contact Suzanne Geiger at (609) 275 8886, X15 or for brochure.

CPSC Blasted for Delay on Open-Flame Standards
The Citizens against Government Waste said the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has delayed a decision on a national standard for over a decade. The furniture industry, hoping to head off piecemeal legislation by individual states, backed a federal proposal two years ago to impose a flammability standard covering open-flame ignition sources such as lighters and candles, as well as cigarettes. The proposal had the support of the National Association of Fire Marshals and members of the American Furniture Manufacturers Association, now the American Home Furnishings Alliance. CPSC gave preliminary approval, but the legislation went into limbo when CPSC staffers made changes to it. Russ Batson, American Home Furnishings Alliance vice president for governmental affairs, said the CPSC "should go ahead and mandate the Upholstered Furniture Action Council (UFAC) program. Some of the goods coming in from overseas doesn't comply with UFAC. That would be a good way to minimize cigarette ignitions," responsible for 90% of upholstery fires.
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The proposed federal standard would cover, in addition to cigarettes, open-flame ignition sources such as lighters, matches, and candles. For the full article, go to

Congress Agrees on Expanding FEMA
The Federal Emergency Management Agency would be expanded within the Department of Homeland Security, and FEMA's chief could obtain direct access to the president in a crisis, under terms of a compromise overhaul of the troubled agency announced September 15th by congressional negotiators. The tentative deal would give the 2,500-worker agency more power to prepare for and respond to future disasters. But the pact does not clarify whether FEMA would get more money to implement the scores of changes recommended by several post-Katrina reviews. The compromise now moves to a House-Senate panel that this month is hammering out a must-pass $33 billion Homeland Security spending bill. For the full article, go to

National Memorial Service Satellite Coordinates
This year, you can view both major Memorial Weekend events live via satellite. The National Fallen Firefighter Foundation will broadcast the National Memorial Service live from the National Fire Academy campus on Sunday, October 8th. You are encouraged to contact your local cable provider and ask them to broadcast the National Memorial Service on one of the public access channels. The program is available on both C-Band and KU-Band Satellite, and the test begins at 9:30 a.m. The receive specifications are as follows: C-Band KU-Band Satellite: Transponder: Polarization: Channel Number: Downlink Frequency: Orbital Position: Audio Frequency: Telesat ANIK F-2 (C-Band) 12b Vertical 24 4180 MHz 111 degrees West Longitude 6.2/6.8 AMC - 5 (KU-Band) 14 Horizontal 14 12109 MHz 79 degrees West Longitude 6.2/6.8

Go to for this information, information about the Candlelight Service, and a Press Release.

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