Monday, August 14, 2017

New Podcast and More to Come...

Welcome back to our blog. As I'm writing this, my other two arms are designing our new website. Once it's set, we'll be moving our main blog over there. Additionally, we now also have a page at "My Firefighter Nation," under our name, "Dalmatian Productions, Inc." We also hope to be able to host our podcasts on the new website as well. We'll keep you posted!

Today (8/14/2017) we launch our second season with a new podcast, "The PIO: The Who, When, Where & How." You can find it either at iTunes or at 5-Alarm Task Force - The PIO.
Most of us have numerous PIO's on scene or on a newscast. And more than one of us has probably thought, "That isn't so tough. I could do that job and better!" However, to make that assumption without all the facts might lead you down a disastrous path. 

Long-time Public Information Office, Life Member and Recording Secretary, Tom Mitten of the Elsmere Volunteer Fire Company in Delaware, also happens to be a dear friend and one of the four partners in Dalmatian Productions, Inc. Tom also has a very strong media and media production background and was instrumental in directing and producing the first pilots of our original reality show, "America's Heroes: The Men & Women of Fire Rescue."

In our discussion, Tom explains just what the job of the PIO demands. And those demands are a great deal more than being able to respond at the "drop of the hat," or "helmet," if you will. To be honest with you, Tom's explanation of the requirements were even more than I knew! Tom also addresses how the job has evolved from the days when you'd make a few notes and be the only one addressing the news outlets, to today's plethora of conduits via social media.

I hope you'll find this episode as fascinating to listen to as it was for me to hear, even though Tom and I have been close friends for nearly twenty years.

Until next time...Stay Safe and Let's Make Sure Every One Goes Home! 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

We're Back & "Loaded for Bear!"

Welcome back! We hope all of you and your families are enjoying a safe summer. We took our hiatus from this Blog and our podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force," to recharge our "inner" batteries and to almost "go back in time" to see some good friends.

Back in 1977-1981, we lived in the great area of Greensboro NC. Actually, our apartment was just outside the city line in Guilford County. At first, this didn't mean anything to me. My job was still just two miles away, using just one main street and little traffic. The synagogue who had hired me to be their educational and youth director, welcomed us warmly. Moreover, we found almost everyone we met in those first couple of weeks, wonderfully welcoming. This was a new experience for both my wife and me. Coming from two larger cities in the Northeast, this was something we were not used to.

A couple of weeks later, I was driving down a road that led to the interstate, when I passed a firehouse. It was only three-quarters of a mile from our apartment and on the same cross-street. The bay doors were open and I pulled in to look at the shiny, red apparatus. 

I called out and no one answered, so I just started to walk around. There was an older model tanker and utility squad, a new Tele-Squrt on a Pierce body, an older engine and then another that look like it has just been unwrapped. This too, was a Pierce. Then, I heard someone say, "Hello."  I turned and it was a "white shirt," that at first, I thought was the chief.

He came over to me and offered his hand. Then I could see he had the collar brass of a captain and a name badge that confirmed the rank. We introduced ourselves chatted a few minutes as he told me about the apparatus and their combination department. He had asked me if I was or had been a firefighter and I explained that coming from the suburban Boston area, there were hardly any opportunities to be a volunteer. Then he said, "Well, let's have you meet the Chief." I agreed and eventually walked out of that "meet & greet" with an application in my hand. That started me off at the Guilford College Fire Department.

This summer, we drove up to Greensboro and spent two weeks in the area. Besides the dear friend we stayed with in her lovely home and other friends, some we had known here in South Florida and other whom we have know since those "glory" days in the fire department, I had the privilege to sit down and chat with my former chief. We had not seen each other or been in touch since 1981, when we left Greensboro and headed north to Syracuse NY. It was a great two-and-a-half hours we spent talking about the old says and I'll write more about it in my next installment. If you want to read about those "glory days," it's all in my book, "Fish Out of Water: 2 Jewish Guys in a Deep South Firehouse," available on Amazon at "Fish Out of Water" 
All royalties from the sale of this book are being donated to the NFFF! Is it a "best-seller" soaring to the top of the charts? No. But to me, it's more important that whatever does come in can be better used taking care of the families of our comrades who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

As the heading for this entry says, we're back in the studio and office, ready to bring you a second season of "5-Alarm Task Force." And what a second season it will be. Here are but just a few of our guests for this season:
1. Chief Bobby Halton
2. Capt./Instructor John Dixon
3. Capt./Instructor Andy Starnes
4. Capt. (ret) Dennis Tucker
5. Lt./Instructor Ryan Pennington
6. Dept. Chief P J Norwood
7. Lt. Ray McCormack
...and many more. You will not want to miss a single episode of "5-Alarm Task Force!" And the answer is NO! We will not start charging your you to listen our podcast. We believe that what we do is important enough to make sure every firefighter and other first responders can listen to us without have to "reach into their pocket."
So, hold's going to be a great ride on 5-Alarm Task Force this season!

And one last note on the status of "CAUSE & ORIGIN." While away on vacation, I finished writing the first draft for a feature-length film adaption of the story. It was very difficult work that took me several months to do; never having written anything like that before. It's not in the hands of our L.A.-based partner and we'll soon start the re-write process. We'll keep you posted!

Stay Safe and Let's Make Sure Every One Goes Home!