In his own words- “About me” from his website- UnOfficial CFCRS Web Page

John

Yes! That little silhouette is me! I am getting ready to enter a training fire. If there is one thing I love to do (other than fight fire, of course) it is to take training. I love to learn. And we all know that Experience is nothing without the solid foundation provided by Training.

Here’s just some of the courses I’ve taken through the University of Maryland’s Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute.

  • Fire Essentials I-VI
  • Firefighter I (x2)
  • Firefighter II
  • Fire Officer I
  • Fire Officer II
  • Fire Command
  • Incident Command System
  • Methods of Instruction I
  • Methods of Instruction II
  • Rescue Technician
  • Rescue Technician – Revised (x2)
  • Rescue Specialist I
  • Rope Rescue I
  • Emergency Services Confined Space Entry & Rescue (x2)
  • Fire Company Operations I – Engine Company
  • Fire Company Operations II – Truck Company
  • Truck Company Operations
  • Hazardous Materials – Awareness (x2)
  • Hazardous Materials – Operations (x2)
  • Hazardous Materials – Technician
  • Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Awareness
  • Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Operations
  • Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Technician
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction Detection
  • Emergency Vehicle Driver
  • Fire Service Pumps
  • Protective Envelope and Foam
  • Aerial Apparatus Operator
  • Arson Awareness for the First Responder
  • Conducting Safe Live-Fire Training Evolutions (x2)
  • Fire Skills for Instructors

I‘ve also had training from other organizations in the following fields:

  • Support Personnel Training – Maryland State Police Aviation Division
  • Radiological Emergency Response Training – Philadelphia Electric Company
  • Motocarrier Emergency Response – Weavertown Environmental Group
  • Hazardous Materials Technician – Environmental Protection Agency
  • Emergency Response to Terrorism – National Fire Academy
  • Search Response Team Searcher – National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Forcible Entry – Robert Morris, Firehouse Expo
  • Implementing Effective Truck Company SOP’s – Mike Dugan, Firehouse Expo
  • Fireground Command Tactics – John Salka, Firehouse Expo
  • FEMA IS-100 – Introduction to the Incident Command System
  • FEMA IS-200 – Incident Command System, Basic
  • FEMA IS-302 – Modular Emergency Radiological Response Transportation Training
  • FEMA IS-700 – National Incident Management System
  • Computer Aided Management of Emergency Operations in WMD
  • Firefighter’s Scared Straight – Battalion Chief William Goldfeder
  • Customer Service Fundamentals – Anne Arundel Community College
  • Mercury Detection & Removal – Maryland Department of the Environment
  • RAZOR Pathogen Detection Device – Idaho Technology

I currently hold the following certifications:

  • Firefighter I
  • Firefighter II
  • Firefighter III
  • Fire Officer I
  • Fire Officer II
  • Fire Service Instructor III
  • Hazardous Materials- Technician
  • Hazardous Materials- Incident Commander
  • Emergency Medical Technician- Basic
  • Firefighter Journeyperson – Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council
  • Field Instructor – Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education
  • Fire Apparatus Driver Operator – Pump

But we also know that Training requires experience. I’ve had some of that too.

I‘m beginning my eighteenth year as a volunteer with the Community Fire Company. In that time I’ve been fairly active, but recently the time I have to devote to the company has been increasingly harder to come by. In 2006, I found myself in the position of not being able to ride the equipment for the first time since becoming a member. With the election of a new Chief I returned briefly as a Captain in 2007, but I never quite got back into the swing of things and returned to my hiatus at the end of the year.

I am proud of my volunteer service however, having served six years as a Lieutenant in 1997, 1999-2003 and three years as a Captain from 2004-2005, 2007. I was on the Rescue Committee, which was responsible for the specifications for a new unit to replace 871. I was one of four members on the Apparatus Committee responsible for replacing our aerial ladder and also served on the Engine Committee that spec’d our sub-station pumper, which is being used as the model for future apparatus replacements occurring in 2007 & 2008.

I served as chairman of the Grant Committee, which was responsible for locating and applying for alternate funding means. On February 6, 2004 our department was awarded a FY2003 Assistance to Firefighters grant for $335,700.00 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This grant allowed our department to outfit all of our response capable members with new structural firefighting gear, permitted the department to begin OSHA compliant respirator fit-testing for the first time, and provided for the purchase of Kidde’s mobile live-fire training trailer.

Then, on August 14, 2004 we were awarded a FY2004 grant in the amount of $231,030.00 which was used to completely replace our self contained breathing apparatus with MSA’s NFPA 1981 (2002 edition) compliant FireHawk air mask. The new units are equipped with a lightweight Airframe harness, RIC/UAC connection, Quick-Fill system, CBRN protection, wireless HUD, ClearCommand voice amplification, and the ICM Tx Integrated PASS device which is capable of being upgraded for use with MSA’s telemetric accountability system once it is released to market.

I have served on the following committees at one time or another:

  • Carnival Committee – 1992-1995
  • 75th Anniversary Committee – 1994
  • Membership Committee – 1999, 2001
  • Bylaws Committee – 1996
  • Rescue Committee – 2000-2002
  • Audit Committee – 2002
  • Engine Committee – 2003
  • Building Committee – 2002 (Conowingo Sub-Station)
  • Grant Committee – 2001-2005 (Chairman)
  • Truck Committee – 2002-2003
  • SCBA Committee – 2004-2005 (Chairman)
  • Board of Directors – 2005

I was a founding member of the fire department’s Slope and Vertical Emergency Rescue (SAVER) Team, and one of the original members of the Cecil County Department of Emergency Services’ Biohazard Team, a precursor of the current DES Haz-Mat Team.

I continue to work at the Annapolis (Maryland) Fire Department having begun my career there by accepting the position on Monday, June 26, 2000. I started the Anne Arundel County Fire Academy on August 3, 2000 and graduated February 2, 2001 at the top of my class with a 97.11% grade point average. For doing so, I received the Chief of the Department’s Scholastic Achievement Award.

I spent most of my first couple years assigned to Engine 35 located on Forest Drive. Engine 35 is the busiest Engine in the city and was ranked 150th in Firehouse magazine’s 2002 National Run Survey. While there, I participated in an auto extrication incident on September 29, 2002 for which I received the AFD Exemplary Performance Award and an Anne Arundel county fire department Unit Citation.

In addition to those awards, I have received the following commendations during my years as a volunteer & career firefighter:

  • CFCRS Top Fire Responder – 1990-2002
  • CFCRS Top EMS Responder – 1991, 2001
  • CFCRS Fire Fighter of the Year (nomination) – 1991, 1992
  • CFCRS Team Member of the Month – July 2001
  • Paratech Rescue Award – 1993
  • Maryland Governor’s Citation – 1998
  • Chief of the Department’s Scholastic Achievement Award – 2001
  • AFD Exemplary Performance Award – 2002, 2004
  • Anne Arundel County Fire Department Unit Citation – 2002
  • CFCRS Chief’s Award for Dedicated Service to the Company – 2004
  • AFD Award for Five Years of Service – 2005

Currently, I am assigned to Engine 38, at the Taylor Avenue Station (TAS), which is responsible to staff the Rescue Squad and Haz-Mat unit. TAS is located just outside the gates of the beautiful United States Naval Academy, and includes the Navy-Marine Corp Stadium, Maryland’s State House, Saint John’s College, downtown Annapolis, and historic Main Street within it’s first due area.

I obtained my Class B Non-Commercial driver’s license and, having completed the department’s qualification procedures, served my first shift as Driver/Operator on June 19, 2006. On Thursday, December 12, 2007 I was promoted to Firefighter First Class. Since then I have served several shifts as an Acting Lieutenant at both Engine 35 & Engine 36 in Eastport. I have been qualified on Tower 39, the 95′ aerial platform stationed at TAS, and with the promotion of the infamous Joe Crane, I have now taken over as the First Class assigned to Engine 38 on the Second Platoon.

This past spring, the department sent me to MFRI‘s Instructor Skills course, which is the fourth of six steps to becoming a MICRB certified fire service instructor. Once I complete 66 hours of Practice & Interim Student Teaching I will be eligible to be a Maryland State Emergency Services Instructor. I have also been selected to be one of the support instructors for the upcoming Annapolis Fire Academy Class #01 starting in July. It should be an exciting time!

I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on how things go…

See me in action!

  • Entering Darlington Training Fire

  • On the hose line at Springhouse Court

    Chocking the door at Springhouse Court

    Sweeping up at a Harrisville Accident

    Haz-Mat Technician training

    Entering a fire on Washington School House Road

Recipient of the Paratech Rescue Award

Heeling ladder on Theodore Road

Lieutenant 1997

After a good interior attack on Conowingo Road

Overhauling on Corn Cake Row

Ready to rappel as part of the SAVER Team

Working to extricate a trapped accident victim

Part of Anne Arundel County Recruit Class 37

Working a hose line on Weaver Meadows Road

In the aftermath of a propane gas explosion

Ventilating a Simpers Road house

Assisting with a rope rescue in Annapolis

Forcing entry to a Bay Country Estates mobile home

AFD Engine 38 & 35 during a fire Christmas night

Training with the AFD Hazardous Materials Team

Going to the roof with Charles Cameron

Getting off the roof with help from Oxford

Truck Committee 2003

After a successful auto extrication

At the scene of a motor vehicle collision

Making my way into an Annapolis house fire

Filling out reports at Station 8

Sans helmet at an accident scene

Training with my 2nd Platoon mates

With the Irons on Squad 38

Helping dress out a fellow glow-worm

Greeting Boulder firefighter Tim Case at RAAM finish

Oh Well, enough about me. I’ll let you get back to my Web Page….

Here’s the link to John’s “UnOfficial CFCRS Web Page”  Enjoy!

According to the website, the last update for the above article was July 4, 2008.

On a side note, I can’t get the links to specific articles or photos on John’s site to work.  I think I’ll leave them non-working and if I can figure them out then I can easily fix them.  Links to exterior sites like MFRI and the Naval Academy, etc work.  You can also view his AFD Exemplary Performance Award at it’s link.

The actual link to the page does work.  If you click on the firefighter above “Home” on the left hand side it will take you to the “About me” article quoted above.  The links on the web page do work.

I don’t know who to credit all of the photos to, but some are from the Rising Sun Herald and some are taken by Mary Ann Kyte aka Photodog.  There may one or two that were from the Cecil Whig or The Capital.

Man, this page brings back memories.  I find myself sitting here smiling, crying, smiling, and crying some more.  I miss John so much.  I remember how dedicated he was to CFCRS and remember so many of the events that he discussed.  I remember watching the new apparatus come in and the phone calls when he was in Wisconsin.  Heck, I remember so many nights when he was up late working on the website and taking photos for the website.  I remember going to the graduation from the academy.  So many fond memories.  I remember how proud he was to get his promotion at work.  I have no doubt that his cancer robbed him from making lieutenant in 2009.  He would have been so proud to be lieutenant at AFD.

Being a firefighter was John’s life… it was not only what he did, but who he was.

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About Mary K. Smith

I was widowed in July 2009, when I lost my beloved husband, John, to melanoma. Cancer SUCKS. We have a young son who was just a year old when his father died. I live on a small farm in Maryland which is home to horses, cats, and a dog. I started this blog as a way for me to heal, a way to remember my husband, and eventually I'd like to share it with our son so he can see the love that his father had for him, the love that we had for each other, what a great person his father was, and how hard his father fought to live.
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One Response to In his own words- “About me” from his website- UnOfficial CFCRS Web Page

  1. Shannon says:

    Wow! This is awesome! I had never seen/read/known all of this! How COOL! 😀

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