October 29th Smoke Alarm Blitz



One of the easiest and most effective things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your belongings is to make sure that you have working smoke alarms installed in your home. This heartbreaking video shows the devastating consequences of one instance of a home with no working smoke alarms.

On October 29th, Decatur Fire and the American Red Cross have partnered to canvas an area of Decatur and install smoke alarms free of charge for anyone who needs them. Although each “blitz” focuses on a select area in order to eventually cover all of the city, you can have smoke alarms installed for free any time no matter where you live in the City of Decatur. Simply follow this link to an online request or email us at fire.inspector@decaturga.com.

If you’d like to volunteer to assist with installing or educating on this day, please email stephanie.harpring@decaturga.com. There will be a briefing at Station Two followed by installations from 9am to 1pm.

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New Anti-Bullying App and Facebook Page Offer Help for Victims and Parents


I’m sure lots of you look back at your time in school and remember witnessing at least one bullying incident that still bothers you to this day. Unfortunately, not only does the problem still exist, but now it’s got social media as a platform as well. Some very moving stories are found on the Facebook Page “Firefighters Against Bullies”, which you can visit by following this link.  Be sure to like their page to show your support (and ours at facebook.com/Decaturfireandrescue, of course!)

The following is information regarding a free app available to combat bullying from Michael Lissack, the Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence.

“Bullying is a pervasive problem in America which has plagued our children for decades. While there have been great efforts to spark change, bullying continues to affect between 25-33% of children across the country. Shockingly, 70-85% of bystanders do not take action. Relying on the goodwill of bystanders and teachers is not enough.More than 70% of all children will be bullied at least once during their K-12 years.
You can takes steps to reduce this scourge. Be sure to tell your students and parents about The-No-App™ — the only smartphone app which empowers the victims of bullying and their parents.The-No-App™ is the first anti-bullying app which immediately alerts parents to problem interactions AND creates a record of the person(s) bothering the child. This app helps create peace-of-mind for both the young user and his/her parents. It delivers a clear message to whomever is bothering the child, immediately alerts his/her parents that something may be wrong, and creates evidence of who was harassing the child. It is also a tool to give parents an excuse to talk to their children about staying safe.
See http://bullyingstops.org and http://empoweringvictims.org
Apple App Store https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-no-app/id985425348?mt=8
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…
More information at our website — http://thenoapp.org
Please tell your friends and associates and help us spread the word.
Empowering your child is an important step to their mastering the situation and moving past it. “

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Three Minutes…



“Three minutes. That’s how much time families have on average to get out of their homes after an alarm from a smoke detector.* However, those life-saving minutes only occur when detectors are fully powered and operational.”

These are the opening lines of an article from The International Association of Fire Chief’s website (a link to the entire article can be found here.) Smoke detectors have had a profound effect on reducing deaths from fire as you can see in these highlights from an NFPA study:

-Smoke alarms provide an early warning of a fire, giving people additional escape time. In 2009-2013, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.

-Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or no working smoke alarms (21%).

-The death rate per 100 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms (1.18 deaths vs. 0.53 deaths per 100 fires).

-In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.

-Dead batteries caused one-quarter (24%) of the smoke alarm failures.
Homes include one- or two-family homes and apartments or other multi-family housing.

It’s clear that very little effort on your part can have an enormous effect on the safety of you and your family. If you need smoke alarms installed or assistance with changing your batteries, Decatur Fire and Rescue is available to make sure you have functioning alarms in your homes. You can complete this simple request online and we will get back to you ASAP.

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Fire Prevention Week


National Fire Prevention Week is observed in the United States and Canada, during the week in which October 9 falls. In the United States, the first Presidential proclamation of Fire Prevention Week was made in 1925 by President Calvin Coolidge. The National Fire Protection Association continues to be the international sponsor of the week, http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/campaigns/fire-prevention-week. However, the City of Decatur Fire/Rescue applies fire prevention and education year round.

Here is what we were busy doing in September:
· We held a Trauma Resiliency Training to learn coping skills to broaden an individual’s resiliency spectrum to stress. This will help Decatur Fire employees with traumatic calls, personal events, and aid patients who are dealing with stress and trauma. Decatur Police personnel were invited and employees of the Federal Emergency Management Association attended.
· Beth Sanford graduated from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center and became a certified Georgia Firefighter. She also completed her Advanced EMT training.
· The department had MARTA training in the tunnel and station from 2-5am on a couple of occasions. The scenario was a fire and rescue of downed riders.
· The entire department received Fitbits and are listed under a City of Decatur Fire/Rescue Team. The competitions begin.
· Fire personnel were at the Decatur Book Festival and also used our Bike Team EMTs
· We extended a Life Save Award to a Decatur Recreation employee
· Completed walk through at the MARTA rail yard
· Attended MAFCA meetings
· Did many fire inspections and car seats
· Walked through Decatur High School’s new additions and reviewed fire related systems and locations
· Hired and began training our new Firefighter Benjamin Alexander
· Worked on several truck repairs
· Held our first annual 9/11 stair climb
· Pump Tested several units
· Prepared personnel and department for Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Driver’s promotional examinations
· CAPS meeting
· Strategic Planning meetings
· Continued with Interviews for 2 open positions
· Met with Burn Foundation Committee
· Hosted local Girl Scout Tour
· Performed Truck ID tests
· Held Meetings for specifications and design of a new mini pumper
· Participated in the Kaiser Permanente Corporate 5K race (and won for fastest female city employee)
· Began Annual Hose Testing
· Celebrated the Retirement of Captain James Meyers and 28 years of service

Ninetta Violante
Captain with City of Decatur Fire Departmentphoto

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Strategic Planning for an Evolving Profession


The City of Decatur Fire/Rescue department has its first ever Strategic Plan. It took a long time to create because we did not want to have one person sit down and make a plan “just to have one.” Several officers worked with a consultant to learn how to best develop a strategic plan. As the saying goes, we were not given fish, but taught how to fish and get them ourselves. It was an important learning experience as I tend to be impatient and want results quickly. I would have looked at the department and asked, “what do we need, what are we doing wrong, and what are we doing right?” I would have gotten the whole concept backwards. I would have been shortsighted regarding a rapidly changing department and rapidly changing occupation.

A table of officers were instructed to look at the question, “who do we serve?” We started with a mission and vision statement and kept the idea of those we serve in every decision made. The department considered the residents, the city government, and the personnel of the fire department with every step. It took longer than a lot of people expected but the process was done correctly. Now that we have a strategic plan written – the hard part, the implementation, -comes into play. And as we begin to meet with our groups and action item teams, something else occurs to me. The fire department is changing a lot and changing quickly. Some of the currents forcing that change are compensating for years of tradition and lagging behind, in some ways. The other forces are those of the nature of the world we live in today. I realized that if we had a strategic plan years ago it still would have been simpler and longer standing. However, today’s world, technology and communication changes so quickly that it makes for an increase in workload. It demands some of that work be accomplished in less time. While strategic plans are to be reviewed every 3 years, every day we are faced with the challenges of staying current. Blending a traditional and routine/para-military organization with modern technology and concepts into one of the most progressive cities in the nation is tough.

We test hose. We video tape it and upload it to a Facebook page. We change trucks when one engine needs work done. We begin implementing a tracking software system and train personnel how to use it. We go to first grade class rooms. We search YouTube.com for updated prevention and education to show the kids on a large screen. We fight fire. We use the electronic throttle component, the air pack level monitors, the thermal imaging camera, the gas monitor, and maybe a drone. As a department we need to stay trained in some basic skills but because the nature of fire fighting is changing with the times, we also have to learn so many new skills and the use of new technology. Things are changing quickly everywhere and I do not see it slowing down any time soon. Being a firefighter today is different than being a firefighter years ago, but the plan is still somewhat the same, to save lives and property.

Captain Ninetta Violante

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Dekalb County Fire Rescue Safety Festival

Saturday, October 1st, the Dekalb County Fire Rescue Department will be holding their14409846_890055487761027_8835846901679705878_o 14th annual Fire Safety Festival. The event will be held at the Gallery at South Dekalb (2801 Candler Rd.) from noon to 4 pm. Please bring your family out for face-painting, giveaways, fire trucks and lots of great safety information.

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Fire Inspector Ryan Taylor Honored

14449914_1153659818050253_8333445673705671253_n 14462789_1153659804716921_6792355218844587217_nThursday, September 22nd, the Fire/Rescue Department recognized the service and birthday of the late Inspector Ryan Taylor by presenting a plaque to his family in his memory. Inspector Taylor will always be a part of Decatur Fire.

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Parent-Teen Classes-Oct.22 From 11am-1pm at City Hall


The City of Decatur Fire/Rescue Department will be instructing another P.R.I.D.E. (Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error) class on October 22, 2016, at City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, from 11a.m.-1p.m. Georgia Teens Ride With P.R.I.D.E is a free, National Award Winning two-hour course designed to help parents and their soon-to-be or new drivers, ages 14-16 and older, learn what they need to do during the 40 hours of supervised practice driving time required by Georgia law.


  • Driver attitudes and behaviorsimages
  • Georgia Law
  • Eliminating risk factors
  • Advice for parents

P.R.I.D.E. provides measurable increases in knowledge about safe driving practices, risk factors, and Georgia law.


E-mail Captain Violante at Ninetta.violante@decaturga.com for a copy of the registration form. Call 404-947-0522 if you have any questions or concerns.

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Calling All Creative Community Members!

14232595_1138169599599275_8131813380534312541_nWe’re looking for volunteers to assist us with four projects. If you know anyone who would be good at any of these, please forward to them!

1. We need someone artistic to draw a really good firefighter image for a cutout for children to pose with. (sample pictured)

2. Again, we need someone artistic to draw some really nice images on cornhole game boards. Maybe our new fitness mascot?

3. We need someone good at creating professional flyer layouts
who can work with us to design a flyer that has all of the most important information we want to distribute to the public.14192631_1138170202932548_2857888387736733382_n

4. We will be creating an outdoor exercise gym at Station One for our personnel and for the community. If anyone is good at creating and building structures like calisthenics equipment for parks, please contact us!14202632_1138170596265842_2240950371720521300_n

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Looking Back on August

IMG_3313August was a busy month for City of Decatur Fire/Rescue. We did a lot of training, came up with new ideas, and are excited about doing even more in September. We had a number of firefighters attend classes. Firefighters Michael Soto and Garrett Range went to a heavy rescue class. Bernard Tarplin completed his paramedic class and will soon take the national registry test. Inspector Nathaniel Dansby is one of the first from our department to become a level 2 certified inspector, and Lieutenant Kevin Rice is attending class to become a Fire Inspector I. Gary Menard attended a class on using a Community Resiliency Model to reduce stress and the after effects of trauma, And Beth Sanford graduated the Georgia Public Safety Training Center last Thursday and became an official state certified firefighter.

We have many new firefighters at our stations and we just hired one more, welcoming Ben Alexander. This month crews practiced extrication on crumpled vehicles from S and Wext3 Towing, the shifts worked on the EMS skills doing practice IVs and EZIOs, and Out of Darkness, an organization that tries to stop sex trafficking came to Station 1 to do a presentation on how we can serve to help the organization. They stated we were one of the first fire departments to register and be trained by them. We expanded our concern by contacting Christian City to make the City of Decatur Fire Stations “Safe Places” for children and teens. We will get our signs for the buildings soon.

The firefighters have been working hard on improving their level of fitness. Every person was issued a Fitbit and can now compete with one another at work. To make fitness even harder, some of them are wearing BlastMasks during workouts to improve their VO2 max and wear their air masks more frequently. The first Decatur Fire/Rescue Fitness Team now exists. The first run was last week and several residents came and ran with the team.

Lastly, Fire CAPS (citizens assisting public safety) met to discuss how we can improve the program to better serve our community. The turnout was great and Fire CAPS future looks bright!

The department is now preparing for a few events in September. Captain James Meyers will be retiring, there will be more fire and EMS training and there will be several promotional tests- for Fire Apparatus Operator, Sergeant, and Lieutenant. There will be a special event at station one on September 11th. Personnel and residents are welcome to participate and complete as many of the 35 trips to the top of the training tower that they are comfortable with. The 35 trips up will represent the 2071 steps up the World Trade Center in honor of the firefighters who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks. Citizens Assisting Public Safety personnel will be present to help count the laps, hand out drinks, and keep the music going.

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