IAFF Media Awards 2006

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IAFF 2006 Media Awards Contest


The International Association of Fire Fighters Media Awards Contest is conducted annually to honor reporting and photography that best portray the professional and dangerous work of fire fighters and emergency medical personnel in the United States and Canada.

In addition, these awards recognize outstanding work by IAFF affiliates in communicating with their members and generating public awareness for fire fighters in their respective communities.

More than 225 entries were submitted in the 2006 Media Awards Contest.



FIRST PLACE: “Deadly Delays: The Decline of Fire Response”

“Once a day on average in this country, someone dies when fire fighters arrive too late, an investigation of fire response times by the Globe has found. America’s fire departments are giving fire a longer headstart, arriving later each year, especially in the suburbs around Boston, Atlanta and other cities. Growth is brisk but fire staffing has been cut.”

“Deadly Delays” was published as a multi-part series in The Boston Globe. The articles discuss the decrease in the number of fire fighters and fire stations and examine the effect on public safety. On-time response rates of U.S. fire departments and, more specifically, Massachusetts cities and towns, are also included for reference.

The Boston Globe
Written by: Bill Dedman
Submitted by: Boston, MA Local 718

SECOND PLACE: “These Cuts Are Not Safe”

“These Cuts Are Not Safe” investigates the risk of Philadelphia fire department proposals to put eight fire companies out of service due to a $6.9 million budget cut. The reporter, the son of a retired New York City fire fighter, gives a strong argument against the closing of fire companies.

City Paper
Written by: Mike Newall
Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22


“Many Nursing Homes Run Risk of Catastrophic Fires”/ “Fire Risks Threaten Assisted Living”

Peter Eisler authored six stories on fire risks in nursing homes and the increasing number of senior deaths due to fire. Eisler used credible state and federal data to prove his powerful findings. The articles give detailed accounts of different fires in nursing homes and statistics concerning the number of nursing homes failing to protect their residents.

USA Today
Written by: Peter Eisler
Submitted by: Indianapolis, IN Local 416

“Firefighters win battle for cancer compensation”

This article informs the public about a bill to amend the Workers Compensation Act. It reports on the case of Captain Rick Stoyko, a fire fighter for more than 30 years, who, after being diagnosed with brain cancer, was relieved to have received compensation for his work-related illness.

Winnipeg Free Press
Written by: David Kuxhaus
Submitted by: Winnipeg, MB Local 867

Circulation Under 100,000

FIRST PLACE: “Will they stay or will they go?”

“This is not a new concern to me,” Gilbert said. “Anytime one of the larger agencies goes through a hiring process, I face the possibility of losing staff.”

This article addresses the issue of employee retention in the Key Biscayne Fire Department. Twelve Key Biscayne fire fighters applied to other larger fire agencies, threatening the numbers of fire fighters available per shift.

The Islander News
Written by: Kelly Josephsen
Submitted by: Key Biscayne, FL Local 3638

SECOND PLACE: “Children of Fire”

“I heard someone say you can’t help them all, but (to me) it’s all about helping in a small way,” says Pat Barker. “Who knows how this will empower these children. Who knows where it can lead each one of them.”

“Children of Fire” tells the story of four young burn survivors from Africa who were given a chance to experience the aquarium, toy store, the Canadian Rockies and a ride on an airplane, thanks to Pat Barker, a Richmond fire fighter and award-winning author of books for children with burns who has worked to help burn survivors for more than a year.

The Richmond News
Written by: Michelle Hopkins
Submitted by: Richmond, BC Local 1286

HONORABLE MENTION: “Harborview Marina Fire”

This article takes an in-depth view of a pier fire in Gig Harbor, Washington. The fire destroyed a 450-foot-long pier and about 50 boats. The article includes information on the cleanup process, commercial impact, personal stories and past fires in the city.

The Peninsula Gateway
Submitted by: Gig Harbor, WA Local 3390





“Captain Al Cruz uses his expertise as head of the Miami-Dade Fire Anti-Venom Unit to seize and control a python. Several pythons were taken to a nature park after they were found inhabiting areas around the Everglades.

Miami Herald
Photo by: Al Diaz
Submitted by: Metro-Dade, FL Local 1403

FIRST PLACE: “Scrambling Off Burning Roof”

“Scrambling Off Burning Roof” captures the severe conditions Billings, MT Local 521 fire fighters faced when battling a structure fire. The captain of Local 521 is seen removing his mask due to extremely low visibility and low air.

Billings Gazette
Photo by: David Grubbs
Submitted by: Billings, MT Local 521

SECOND PLACE: “Cooling Off”

“Cooling Off” depicts a Philadelphia fire fighter cooling off after fighting a fire.

Daily News
Photo by: Jim MacMillan
Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22

SECOND PLACE: “Dog Rescued From Ice”

In “Dog Rescued From Ice,” the Kingston Fire and Rescue ice rescue crew saves a Walking Hound from the icy Cataraqui River.

Kingston Whig-Standard
Photo by: Ian MacAlpine
Submitted by: Kingston, ON Local 498

HONORABLE MENTION: “Huge Fire Guts Three Buildings”

“Huge Fire Guts Three Buildings” documents a violent fire that destroyed three buildings in Vancouver. Seventy-five fire fighters and 16 fire trucks were sent to fight the relentless fire that left many fire fighters inhaling deadly fumes.

The Province
Photo by: Jason Payne
Submitted by: Vancouver, BC Local 18


“Dog Rescue” is a heart-warming picture of Council Bluffs, Iowa fire fighter Tim Waller handing seven-year-old Cody Eccles one of three dogs rescued from a burning house.

Daily Nonpareil
Photo by: Ben DeVries
Submitted by: Council Bluffs, IA Local 15

HONORABLE MENTION: “Lions Gate Bridge Rescue”

“Lions Gate Bridge Rescue” illustrates the heroism of Vancouver fire fighter James Dalton as he lowers a harness to rescue a man under the Lions Gate Bridge. Suffering from hypothermia, the man was suspended from beneath the bridge on a 10-inch iron beam.

North Shore News
Photo by: Russ Samson
Submitted by: West Vancouver, BC Local 1525


In “Life Rescue,” Los Angeles, CA Local 112 members work together to save the lives of three women suffering from smoke inhalation and in full cardiac arrest after being pulled from their burning house.

Los Angeles Firefighter
Photo by: Martin Nate Rawner
Submitted by: Los Angeles City, CA Local 112

HONORABLE MENTION: “Fire Fighters Rescue Kittens”

“Fire Fighters Rescue Kittens” shows Winnipeg fire fighters rescuing a litter of black kittens from an apartment building fire.

Winnipeg Free Press
Photo by: Ken Gigliotti
Submitted by: Winnipeg, MB Local 867


“Blaze Guts Home” illustrates the bravery of a Central York, ON Local 2511 fire fighter as he attempts to put out a house fire. The fire was so fierce, it raised the possibility of evacuating nearby buildings.

Era-Banner Newspaper
Photo by: Bill Roberts
Submitted by: Central York, ON Local 2511

HONORABLE MENTION: “Calming Influence”

“Calming Influence” depicts Racine Fire Captain Mike Irish using a stuffed toy to help calm an 18-month-old child after a rollover car accident.

The Journal Times
Photo by: Timothy J. Stein
Submitted by: Racine, WI Local 321



FIRST PLACE: “Into the Heat”

“Into the Heat” depicts the intensity of a structure fire and the bravery of a Sierra Vista, AZ Local 4492 fire fighter as he attempts to extinguish a rekindled fire.

Photo by: Joshua D. Meeker
Submitted by: Sierra Vista, AZ Local 4492

SECOND PLACE: “Fighting Fire in Water”

“Fighting Fire in Water” captures members of New Orleans, LA Local 632 battling a commercial building fire in waist-deep water.

Photo by: Chris E. Mickal
Submitted by: New Orleans, LA Local 63


“Ladder One” depicts the intensity of a third alarm fire in downtown Jacksonville as it burns three two-story Queen Victorian style buildings.

Photo by: Steve Gerbert
Submitted by: Jacksonville, FL Local 122

HONORABLE MENTION: “Swift Water Rescue”

“Swift Water Rescue” captures the heroism of Los Angeles City Local 112 Fire Captain Al Hernandez Jr. as he rescues a 14-year-old boy from the Los Angeles River.

Photo by: Rick McCure
Submitted by: Los Angeles City, CA Local 112


“Plane Fire” depicts the teamwork of Robins AFB, GA Local F-107 when fighting an aircraft fire. The intense fire ignited at Air Force Base training.

Photo by: Russell G. Adams
Submitted by: Robins AFB, GA Local F107


This picture captures the emotion of members of Local 4071 as they say their final goodbye to a fellow fire fighter in Awendaw, South Carolina.

Photo by: Peter Rogers
Submitted by: Awendaw, SC Local 4071


FIRST PLACE: “Firefighters/Cancer”

This news feature reported the rising numbers of fire fighters who are diagnosed with cancer each year, and includes comparative cancer percentages, relevant interviews and the importance of fire fighters using their safety devices. The presumptive cancer legislation passed three weeks after this story aired.

Reported by: Jeremy Desel and Tom Empey
Submitted by: Houston, TX Local 341

SECOND PLACE: “The Mean Season”

“The Mean Season” is a 30-minute documentary of the 2004 hurricane season. It clearly explains the Emergency Operations Center and its setup, as well as the coordination of the rescue and relief efforts. Footage of fire fighters clearing out a nursing home shows how prepared the fire fighters were.

PBC-TV Channel 20
Reported by: Jack Norris, Derek Wiley and Sergio Ornelas
Submitted by: Palm Beach County, FL Local 2928


“Everything’s On Fire: Inside the Union County Fire Academy”

This informative television news feature documents fire fighters in training.

Scotch Plains Television
Reported by: William McKeekan Jr.
Submitted by: Elizabeth, NJ Local 2040

“Fully Involved”

“Fully Involved” is a 25-minute public relations video/documentary designed to inform the public about fire fighting. The feature included information on the Ocean City Fire Department, the sacrifices, commitment and dedication of the fire fighters and the department’s future plans.

Cox Communications
Reported by: Ryan Christen
Submitted by: Ocean City, FL Local 2879

“Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Recruitment Video”

This informative news feature was aired to encourage the public to become a Sioux Falls fire fighter. The feature emphasized the need to prepare for the CPAT.

Reported by: Rich Murphy
Submitted by: Sioux Falls, SD Local 814


FIRST PLACE: www.torontofirefighters.org 

Toronto, ON Local 3888 launched its new web site to improve communication to all members. The site delivers new, interesting and relevant information on a timely basis in an easily read and accessible format. Visitors and members, as well as children, are invited to enjoy music and games, and participate in surveys, polls and contests while learning more about the Toronto fire fighters.

Produced by: James Coones
Submitted by: Toronto, ON Local 3888

SECOND PLACE: www.local1132.org

Roanoke City, VA Local 1132 has developed an excellent resource for its members and visitors. The site includes a list of committee members, details of the apparatus used by the fire department and an impressive list of fire-related links. The site also provides a personal “blog” by Lieutenant Rhett Fleitz, a seven-year service member of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department, to keep members and visitors updated and informed.

Produced by: Roanoke Fire Fighters Association
Submitted by: Roanoke City, VA Local 1132


California Professional Firefighters offers an easy-to-navigate web site for fire service-related news and information. The web site is updated as breaking news or current events occur.

Produced by: Lou Paulson
Submitted by: California Professional Firefighters

HONORABLE MENTION: www.hamtramckfirefighters.com

Hamtramck, MI Local 750 has created an extremely personal and informational web site for its community and fire fighters. The history of Hamtramck Fire Department and a page dedicated to fire links are among the many interesting features the web site offers. Visitors are invited to learn more about the fire fighters on their personal web pages filled with information and photos. Pictures of community events are posted and a list of charities with contact information is available encouraging others to donate.

Produced by: John R. Dropchuk
Submitted by: Hamtramk, MI Local 750


FIRST PLACE: “Too Close for Comfort”

“Too Close for Comfort” documents an historic church fire that nearly killed 16-year veteran fire fighter Martinez Chapman. The television report includes footage of Chapman frantically waving from a window and climbing onto a ladder as he barely escapes the flames exploding behind him.

WFLD-TV Channel 32
Reported by: Lilia Chacon
Submitted by: Chicago, IL Local 2

SECOND PLACE: “Man on Fire”

“Man on Fire” is the story of Toronto fire fighters responding to a man who poured gasoline and lit himself on fire. A moving interview with the fire fighters who saved the man’s life follows the report.

CTV Toronto
Reported by: CTV Toronto
Submitted by: Toronto, ON Local 3888


“Avenue E” is the story of a tragic house fire in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The report is clear and focused and contains great vivid shots.

CTV Saksatoon
Reported by: Lindsey Hoemsen
Submitted by: Saskatoon, SK Local 80


FIRST PLACE: “Three Alarm Fire Tears Through Jacksonville’s Historic Springfield Neighborhood”

This story, about a fire that started in an abandoned house and spread to eventually destroy three houses and damage two, focuses on the 100 Jacksonville fire fighters who reported to the scene, several of whom were injured.

Written by: Mark Treglio
Submitted by: Jacksonville, FL Local 122

SECOND PLACE: “Residential Structure Fire in Bradford, Pennsylvania”

This is a story about the Bradford City Fire Department’s response to a burning three-story Victorian home.

Written by: Jay K. Bradish
Submitted by: Bradford, PA Local 655


FIRST PLACE: “Jacksonville Firefighter Forum”

The “Jacksonville Firefighter Forum,” a weekly radio show that aired for 13 weeks, featured fire fighter-endorsed candidates and information about fire fighter charity work. Publicity from the number-one news radio station helped call attention to candidates and aid in their victory.

News/Talk WOTV 690AM
Reported by: Mark Treglio
Submitted by: Jacksonville, FL Local 122

SECOND PLACE: “Mother and Child Rescue”

“Mother and Child Rescue” brings extensive coverage on the rescue of an infant by Toronto fire fighters. The reporter followed the story as it developed and expanded on the roles of IAFF members at the scene.

Reported by: Bob Komsic
Submitted by: Toronto, ON Local 3888


FIRST PLACE: “Lessons in How to Live”

“Charlie has a brain tumor, an “anaplastic astrocytoma.” The long-term chances for survival were bleak. Charlie figured it was due to all those years of breathing in toxic fumes, and he went looking for a kind of courage beyond even what he needed to crawl through a burning house.” This is the story of Charlie Legg, a Richmond fire fighter known for his bravery who had to stop working when a tumor was found in his brain. The author is successful in expressing the emotion in the story.

The Post-Standard
Written by: Sean Kirst
Submitted by: Syracuse, NY Local 280

SECOND PLACE: “Victoria recognizes cancer as job hazard for firefighters”

This report on the law that the British Columbia government passed to change the Workers Compensation Act describes how the bill makes it easier for a fire fighter with cancer to receive compensation benefits. The author educates readers about the increasing number of fire fighters who develop cancer due to their routine exposure to toxic fumes.

The Vancouver Sun
Written by: Dirk Meissner
Submitted by: Vancouver, BC Local 18


FIRST PLACE: “No Retreat… No Surrender”

CPF designed this campaign to defeat Prop 75 and Prop 76, which threatened pensions, local safety dollars and the system of checks and balances.

Produced by: Lou Paulson
Submitted by: California Professional Firefighters

SECOND PLACE: “The Truth About the World Trade Center Memorial”

The Uniformed Firefighter Association developed a campaign to shutdown support and public contributions for building a performing arts center on the World Trade Center site. Within six weeks, the campaign drew support from members of Congress, the governor and mayor of New York City and even some members of the Memorial Foundation board.

Produced by: Tom Butler, Jim Spollen and Mike Loughran
Submitted by: Uniformed Firefighter Association Local 94

HONORABLE MENTION:“2005 Burnaby Fire Fighters Public Relations Campaign”

Burnaby, BC Local 323 promoted and conducted a “Fire Prevention Weekend” for members of the community, featuring a fire prevention display area, family and children’s live entertainment and a “Firefighter Challenge” in which Local 323 President Michael Hurley dared Mayor Derek Corrigan to participate in a rescue relay, bucket brigade and tug of war. The loser was required to spend a day as a rookie at the fire station or as the mayor’s assistant at City Hall.

Produced and Submitted by: Burnaby, BC Local 323

HONORABLE MENTION: “Trip to the North Pole”

Jacksonville fire fighters helped more than 100 children from the Children’s Miracle Network and the Jacksonville Guardians Ad Litem Program “visit” the North Pole. The children boarded an airplane and “landed” at the North Pole where they met Santa Claus. The event was covered by the media and brought positive exposure to Jacksonville, FL Local 122.

Produced by: Kevin Sadler
Submitted by: Jacksonville, FL Local 122

HONORABLE MENTION: “Public Safety Bond”

This “Public Safety Bond” campaign started as an idea from the fire chief, financial department and members of Coeur d’Alene, ID Local 1494 to replace dated equipment and facilities within the fire department. The campaign also effectively communicated the need for an increase in fire fighter and police staffing. Less than half a year after the start of the campaign, a 74 percent approval was shown at the voting booths.

Produced and Submitted by: Coeur d’Alene, ID Local 1494




FIRST PLACE: “Toronto Fire Watch”

“Toronto Fire Watch” effectively enhances communication across the Local 3888 membership and generates revenue through advertising. This high-quality publication includes a wide variety of interesting articles for members and is delivered on a quarterly basis.

Produced by: James Coones and Frank Ramagnano
Submitted by: Toronto, ON Local 3888

FIRST PLACE: “Ashkicker”

“Ashkicker” is designed and published by the members of Middletown, OH Local 336 four times per year. The publication includes local information in an easy-to-read format.

Produced by: Chad Wells
Submitted by: Middletown, OH Local 336

SECOND PLACE: “California Professional Firefighters”

“California Professional Firefighters” is an excellent source of news and information for CPF members. The paper is distributed quarterly and includes a balance of pictures and articles. Special Edition newspapers are published and delivered with urgent information.

Produced by: Lou Paulson
Submitted by: California Professional Firefighters

SECOND PLACE: “The Dispatch”

“The Dispatch” is published for the information and promotion of Fort Wayne, IN Local 124 fire fighters. This bi-monthly newspaper is an excellent source regarding key issues of importance to local members.

Produced by: The Dispatch
Submitted by: Fort Wayne, IN Local 124

HONORABLE MENTION: “Boston Firefighters Digest”

“Boston Firefighters Digest” newsletter is dedicated to the advancement of moral, economic and social standing of its members. It is published three to five times per year and provides members with local news and useful information.

Produced by: Boston Firefighters Digest
Submitted by: Boston, MA Local 718

HONORABLE MENTION: “Burn Fund Link-Special Edition”

The “Burn Fund Link-Special Edition” reviews new laboratory research funded by the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

Produced by: British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund
Submitted by: BCPFFA

HONORABLE MENTION: “The Los Angeles Firefighter”

“The Los Angeles Firefighter” engages members with local-related news and event information. The bi-monthly publication provides members with an effective communication resource.

Produced by: Jim Perry
Submitted by: Los Angeles City, CA Local 112


“Backdraft” is distributed three times per year for the purpose of providing the Salt Lake City Valley Firefighter Association an effective method of communicating between its members and the residents and businesses of Salt Lake City. The magazine is created mainly by Salt Lake City, UT Local 1645 and Local 1696 fire fighters and others connected to the fire service.

Produced by: Salt Lake City, UT Local 1645 and Local 1696
Submitted by: Salt Lake City, UT Local 1645


FIRST PLACE: “California Firefighters Milk & Cookies Calendar”

This high-quality calendar, featuring members of the California Professional Firefighters, includes 12 cookie recipes. Proceeds benefit California Fire Foundation and California Firefighters Memorial.

Produced by: Lou Paulson
Submitted by: California Professional Firefighters

SECOND PLACE: “Local 385 Annual Calendar”

Omaha, NE Local 385’s calendar keeps members informed of union meetings and fire station shifts and includes a list of Omaha fire station addresses and phone numbers.

Produced and Submitted by: Omaha, NE Local 385

HONORABLE MENTION: “Cincinnati Fire Fighters Local 48 2006 Calendar”

Cincinnati, OH Local 385’s annual calendar includes photos of members at work, as well as important dates, including holidays, union meetings and special events. Important phone numbers are listed on the back for reference.

Produced by: Joe Arnold and Doug Stern
Submitted by: Cincinnati, OH Local 385


FIRST PLACE: “BC Children’s Hospital Colouring Book”

Fire fighters from Richmond, BC Local 1286 have published an annual activity/colouring book for children with burns at BC Children’s Hospital Program. The book won the “Excellence in Teaching” award at the hospital in 2005.

Produced by: Patricia Barker, Alison Swallwell-Franks and Shelley Kellner
Submitted by: Richmond, BC Local 1286


Toronto, ON Local 3888 fire fighters recorded and produced a CD of fire-related songs to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC). The fire fighters who took part in the production of the CD have performed live at a number of venues in Toronto and have raised more than $12,000.

Produced by: Chris Burrell
Submitted by: Toronto, ON Local 3888

HONORABLE MENTION: “California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony 2005”

California Professional Firefighters holds an annual memorial in Capitol Park where citizens of California honor the lives of nearly 1,000 fire fighters who have died since 1850. The book pays respect to the fire fighters who have died in the past year.

Produced and Submitted by: California Professional Firefighters


Philadelphia, PA Local 22 produced a video for its arbitration hearings.

Produced by: Dave Kearney and Tim McShea
Submitted by: Philadelphia, PA Local 22


HONORABLE MENTION: “Century of Service”

Orange City fire fighters created a full size billboard to congratulate the Orange City Fire Department’s 100-year celebration.

Produced by: Greg Lewin
Submitted by: Orange City, CA Local 2384


The Michigan City Fire Department Centennial Book is an historical publication for retirees and current members of Local 475.

Produced and Submitted by: Michigan City, IN Local 475