Category: Sirennet Blog

Product Post: Whelen Century Series Mini Lightbar

The Whelen Century Series Mini Lightbar is a low profile, mini lightbar that provides all the high performance LED warning and signaling benefits in a smaller size that fits all your special applications.

The four linear corner modules have 6 Super-LED in each module and the four inboard modules have 6 TIR style Super-LEDs in each module. Low profile design with polycarbonate dome outer lens and compression fit gasket for superior moisture resistance. The Whelen exclusive Clip-Lock system allows for easy removal of lightbar domes for service, without compromising the weather resistant seal.

Built on a Extruded aluminum platform, this mini lightbar is designed for long-life, reliable performance, ease of operation and serviceability.


Features:

  • Four linear corner modules have 6 Super-LED in each module.
  • Four inboard modules have 6 TIR style Super-LEDs in each module.
  • Standard current switching with 17 Scan-Lock flash patterns and pattern override.
  • Low profile design with polycarbonate dome outer lens and compression fit gasket for superior moisture resistance.
  • The module configuration provides 360° coverage for SAE J845 Class I certification.
  • Clip-Lock system allows for easy removal of lightbar domes for service, without compromising the weather resistant seal.
  • Extruded aluminum platform for rugged, long-life dependability.
  • Available in Amber, Blue, Red and some Split Color combinations.
  • Solid Amber, Blue and Red models available with matching color domes.
  • Some models available with a Clear dome.
  • Size: 16.5″ (420mm) L x 7.75″ (197mm) W x 2.375″ (61mm) H.

Stud mount version includes: Stud mount bracket and hardware.

Magnetic mount version includes:

  • 4 – 90 lb magnets.
  • A 10 foot cord and cigarette plug and on/off switch and momentary (pattern) switch.

An optional Vacuum/Magnetic Mounting Kit is available below.

Whelen Five Year HDP (Heavy-Duty Professional) Warranty on LEDs

WARNING: Under no circumstance should a magnetic mount light be used on a vehicle in motion. Doing so will violate all warranties and eliminate the possibility of returns or exchanges.

Product Post: Federal Signal Pro LED Beacon

The Pro LED Beacon provides an effective warning signal that meets SAE Class 1 (Amber, Blue, Red, White), Title CAC 13 (Amber, Blue, Red) and NFPA Upper (Amber and Red). Additionally, the Pro LED Beacon has FSLink™ syncing technology that will allow for Pro LED Beacons and other Federal Signal products with FSLink to sync or alternately flash patterns to create a unified look.

Each Pro LED Beacon has (25) built-in flash patterns, low power function, and two flashing modes. Select models are available with an auto-dimming function. Branch guards for both the tall and short dome versions are available as an accessory.

Features

  • SAE Class 1 (Amber, Blue, Red, White)
  • CAC Title 13 (Amber, Blue, Red)
  • NFPA Upper (Tall models; Amber and Red)

The Pro LED Beacon is a versatile warning beacon built for a variety of applications and is available in tall and short dome versions in single or dual color utilizing the following colors – Amber, Blue, Green, Red and White. The e-coated and powder painted metal base of the Pro LED Beacon has a built-in permanent/1-inch pipe mount that allows for flexibility when mounting. If you’re driving a work truck or fire engine, the Pro LED Beacon is an ideal warning solution for you.

Historic New York Fire Engine Receives Its Old Siren – 56 Years Later

By J.T. Messinger

At their monthly meeting Monday night, the Winchester Volunteer Company had a few special guests. Dan Meyer Jr. is the son of Dan Meyer Sr. who himself was the son of Frank Meyer, a World War 2 veteran and volunteer firefighter at Winchester for 49 years.

“His favorite part of volunteer firefighting wasn’t fighting the fires but the beer inside,” said Dan Meyer Jr. “Which I think you caught a picture of.”

When the company decommissioned and sold it’s fire engine back in 1963, Frank Meyer removed the truck’s siren and kept it. When he passed, the siren went to Dan Meyer Sr.

“My father…decided to take it to local ball games and events in the Winchester/West Seneca area and anytime someone would score would score a run they would crank it up,’ Dan Meyer Jr. said.

In 2001, the department was contacted by man who happened across the engine in a field in Pennsylvania and was going to scrap it, but looked up the name printed on the side of the vehicle and contacted the department. Instead of scrapping it, the engine was donated back to the department and restored in 2004, missing one specific piece. 

In January, Dan Meyer Sr. passed away and Dan Meyer Jr. came across the siren and decided to donate it back to the department, making the refurbished engine whole again for the first time in 56 years.

“It’s a cool connection with the town of West Seneca, with the local community,” Dan Meyer Jr. said. “It’s something that my father always wanted to do and we’re honoring him by giving it back in my grandfather, his father’s, name.”

“Life happens, but it’s cool that he kept a piece of memory never thinking that 20 years, 30 years after he passed away that the engine would come back to the town that he was originally from,” he said.

California Lawmakers Give Victims Chance to Confront Offenders in New Program

A new California program will give victims an opportunity to heal and offenders the opportunity to repent – but will it work?

A new diversion program that allows victims to confront their offenders will be put in place in a county with high offense rates and funded by $5 million for five years. The program will be open to offenders of any age, who can sign up for it before they are convicted. Those who complete the program will avoid having a criminal record.

This type of program has been tried before, mostly with juvenile offenders, but those in favor of the program believe direct dialogue between victim and offender can lead to healing on the victim’s part. It is also thought to reduce reoffending, as offenders who do not carry around a criminal record may be less likely to resort to crime in the future.

A similar program run in San Joaquin County processed 76 offenders in 3.5 years. Only 3 of the graduates went on to commit new crimes.

Joyce Tuhan, right, president of Victims of Violent Crimes of San Joaquin County, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 1999, discusses a restorative justice program that she participates in, during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, July 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Joyce Tuhan, right, is the president of Victims of Violent Crimes of San Joaquin County. She discusses the benefits of engaging in a restorative justice program, as her daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 1999 and working with the Victims of Violent Crimes of San Joaquin County program has helped her heal. Photo Courtesy of Rich Pedroncelli and AP

Senator Steve Glazer of Orinda helped campaign for the funding for the program. He believes the program will give victims the chance to move on with their lives, while offering the opportunity to offenders to make it right.

“The goal of restorative justice is to give victims a chance to receive true justice in a much more personal way than our current system allows,” said Senator Glazer, in an interview with AP’s Don Thompson. “At the same time, the program gives offenders a chance to make amends directly to the victim.”

Who is eligible to partake in the program? Officials will offer offenders with a fairly short criminal history who have committed serious crimes that involve a high degree of violence the chance to participate. Offenders charged with sex or murder crimes will not be able to join the program, though people charged with robbery, home burglary, or assault are invited to make amends to their victims.

The programs will be tailored to each specific case. The victim, offender, law enforcement, defense attorneys, and members of community groups will work together to draw up a program that benefits both victim and offender. These programs can include courses like job preparation and counseling, as well as substance abuse treatment if appropriate.

Victims can even ask for financial restitution, if the crime caused them to incur high hospital bills or miss work. Offenders are offered the chance to lessen their prison sentence, though the full sentence will be reinstated if they do not complete the program.

One of the biggest proponents for the program is Adnan Khan. Adnan Khan, the co-founder and co-executive director of Re:store Justice, inspired Senator Glazer to move forward with the project and seek funds to run the program. He believes restorative justice is the best way for victim and offender to move forward. Khan served 16 years of a life murder sentence at San Quentin State Prison.

“This will provide an opportunity for people to truly understand why they did what they did, so then they can be accountable, and so then they can continue making amends,” Khan said in an interview with AP’s Don Thompson.

Earthquakes Rock Californians as They Prepare for the Big One

Two of the biggest earthquakes to strike California in the last several decades have left residents determined to prepare for the big quake that scientists have predicted is imminent.

$16 million dollars have been allocated to fund earthquake sensors that will warn trains and utilities of an incoming quake with enough time for operators to power down and wait out the jolts.

The California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has encouraged residents to plan escape routes and have emergency earthquake kits prepared for when the “Big One” strikes.

A fireman wades through the wreckage of a home that caught fire during the July 6 earthquake in Ridgecrest, California. Photo Courtesy of AP and Marcio Jose Sanchez

“It is a wake-up call for the rest of the state and other parts of the nation, frankly,” said Newsom at a Saturday news conference focused on efforts to aid areas worst hit by the two earthquakes.

Thursday saw a 6.4 magnitude earthquake followed by an earthquake of 7.1 magnitude on Friday. The vibrations were felt most strongly in a small town just 150 miles outside of Los Angeles called Ridgecrest.

Several houses caught fire in the town as gas lines split open from the jolts. Highways crumbled in some areas. Luckily no one was serious injured or killed by the quakes, as the town is remote and sparsely populated enough that a small number of people were affected.

“Any time that we can go through a 7-point earthquake and we do not report a fatality, a major injury, do not suffer structure damage that was significant, I want to say that that was a blessing and a miracle,” Kern County Fire Department spokesman Andrew Freeborn said Sunday to Associated Press reporters.

In a major city, seismologists hypothesize that a quake of a similar magnitude would have devastating effects. Bridges, highways, and buildings are at risk of collapse during earthquakes of magnitude 6 and higher.

“We’re going to have a magnitude 6, on average, somewhere in Southern California every few years. We’ve actually gone 20 years without one, so we have had the quietest 20 years in the history of Southern California,” said seismologist Lucy Jones of the California Institute of Technology in an interview with the Associated Press.

“That’s unlikely to continue on the long run,” she added. “Geology keeps on moving … and we should be expecting a higher rate. And when it happens near people, it is going to be a lot worse.”

As the “Big One” looms, residents are advised to pack non-perishable food and water, batteries and flashlights, and all other necessary items in case of an emergency. Develop and communicate an escape route to your family so that everyone is aware of what to do in the event of a major earthquake.

Firefighters Wanted for Winston-Salem, North Carolina Fire Department, Application Closes July 21, 2019

If you’re a North Carolina-based firefighter looking for work, or interested in becoming a firefighter, the Winston-Salem Fire and Rescue squad may be the right place for you. The North Carolina fire department is looking to hire firefighters, with an application deadline of July 21, 2019.

fire, fire department, truck, company, engine, job, career, paramedic, emt, firefighter, job posting, rescue

More about the Role:

Deadline to Apply: July 21, 2019

Salary: $37,590.00 Annually Annually

Job Description:

Under the immediate supervision of a company officer, works to minimize the effects of natural and manmade disasters by delivering community risk reduction programs and by responding to fire, medical, and technical rescue emergencies.. Examples of Duties:1. Actively participate in activities related to risk reduction programs and pre-incident analysis.
2. Respond to emergencies and work as part of team to bring various emergencies under control, including medical incidents, fires, hazardous materials incidents, and heavy/technical rescue situations.
3. Assist in maintaining facilities and grounds, fire apparatus, tools, and equipment.
4. Actively participate in training classes, drills, and continuing education.
5. Ensure operational readiness of tools, equipment, and apparatus.
6. Maintain physical fitness and mental toughness required to perform effectively as a firefighter.
7. Follow departmental and City policies.
8. Perform other duties, including some administrative, as directed.

Skills/Ability to:

1. Wear self-contained breathing apparatus and be comfortable with the resulting increased respiratory effort and decreased vision and range of motion.
2. Climb six or more flights of stairs while wearing or carrying 50 pounds of gear and tools/equipment.
3. Climb ladders and operate from heights of at least 100 feet.
4. Be comfortable operating in the dark and in confined spaces, in high or low temperatures, in inclement weather, and over uneven terrain.
5. Sit, stand, walk, run, crawl, jog, crouch, and kneel for short and long periods of time.
6. Hear and speak well enough to communicate via telephone, radio, and in person at distances up to 50 feet and over high background noise.
7. Stamina to meet physical and mental demands during an extended emergency.
8. Read and interpret various technical documents, manuals, and trade journals.
9. Communicate clearly and concisely, both in writing and speech.
10. Function as a team player with excellent interpersonal skills.
11. Amiably interact with members of the public, coworkers, and other emergency services agency members.
12. Work a rotating shift schedule including nights, weekends, and holidays.
13. Occasionally travel out of town or out of state for several days at a time.
14. Obtain and maintain a class “B” North Carolina Driver License
15. Pass a pre-employment and annual medical exam adhering to the standards contained in NFPA 1582: Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments and an annual physical fitness-for-duty test.

Minimum Qualifications:

1. High school diploma or GED equivalent
2. State-issued Class “C” driver license
3. Must be at least 18 years of age on the first day of recruit school
4. Successfully complete all required pre-hire qualifications

Training and Certifications

Applicants who are successfully hired as a recruit firefighter/EMT must become a certified firefighter by the North Carolina Fire & Rescue Commission and as an emergency medical technician by the North Carolina Office of EMS. All training required to meet the necessary qualifications of a firefighter/EMT is provided by the Winston-Salem Fire Department and recruits receive salary and benefits during the approximate six-month training academy. One is not required to have any fire or emergency medical experience prior to submitting an application and no preference is given to applicants who do possess prior experience or are already certified. However, individuals who are certified at the time of hire may not have to complete the entire training program. An approximate six-week orientation and evaluation process will be conducted for those already certified and, if acceptable knowledge, skills, and abilities are demonstrated, these individuals may be exempted from the full training regimen. The State of North Carolina grants certification reciprocity for firefighter from both IFSAC and ProBoard states. For information on out-of-state EMT reciprocity, please visit https://www.ncems.org/

 Supplemental Information:1. Lift, carry or move objects up to 75 lbs.
2. Ability to drive departmental vehicles.
3. Physically fit enough to carry fire equipment as needed, walk over rough terrain, climb hills, load and unload vehicles, and work outdoors for long periods of time in all types of weather conditions and to safely wear and work in a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) without medical or physical restrictions.
4. Ability to pass an annual NFPA 1582-compliant physical and an annual fitness-for-duty test.

 
Firefighter Trainee Salary
No Degree —————–$37,590.00
Associates Degree ——–$39,469.50
Bachelor’s Degree———-$41,349.00
Certified Firefighter Salary
No Degree —————- $39,469.50
Associates Degree ——–$41,442.98
Bachelor’s Degree———-$43,416.45

How to Apply: The full job description and application can be found HERE.

Firefighters and Paramedics Wanted in Sheboygan Wisconsin, Job Deadline Dec. 31, 2019

Are you a firefighter or paramedic looking for work and are living in Wisconsin or willing to relocate? The City of Sheboygan, Wisconsin is looking to hire firefighters and paramedics with an application deadline of December 31, 2019.

fire, fire department, truck, company, engine, job, career, paramedic, emt, firefighter, job posting, rescue

Some specifics about the job:

Deadline to Apply: December 31, 2019

Salary: $48,751.56 Annually

Job Description:

Summary of Job

Under supervision and as part of a team, this position is responsible for saving lives and property by suppressing fires, mitigating hazardous materials incidents, providing emergency medical care and transportation to the sick and injured, educating the public with regard to safety as well as providing various rescue services. This position is responsible for rapidly and efficiently performing various duties under emergency conditions, frequently involving considerable hazard.  Persons holding this position must carry out the specific orders and directions of superior officers in firefighting, training, cleaning and   maintenance duties as well as in the delivery of emergency medical care. Considerable independence of judgment and action is also necessary in circumstances of extreme urgency where referral to a superior for instruction is not practicable.

Responsibilities

*As a member of a team, responds to fire, emergency medical, rescue and hazardous materials incidents.

*Works in hazardous environments while performing various tasks and while wearing a closed circuit, self-contained breathing apparatus as well as other protective equipment necessary for safe operations.

*Operates as a member of a team and utilizes the necessary tools in areas of specialty rescue, including, but not limited to, rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue and water/ice rescue.

*Performs general tasks related to fire suppression such as operating portable fire extinguishers, advancing, connecting, and handling fire supply hose lines, deploying salvage covers, ventilating buildings and operating various firefighting appliances.

*Performs examination of patients at the appropriate level of licensure to determine primary and secondary medical problems by using questioning, physical examination and use of diagnostic equipment.

*Drives, operates and assists in maintaining the fire apparatus, equipment and facilities of the department.

*Administers medications and medical interventions according to established protocols.

*Communicates accurately with emergency room staff regarding reports of patient’s history, physical condition and treatment both in person and via phone or radio system.

*Attends and participates in training programs delivered or sponsored by the department in areas deemed related to the job.

*Functions under an organized plan of medical control protocols and operating guidelines.

*Supervises other firefighters when qualified and acting as Lieutenant or other supervisory position in their absence.

*When qualified, assists with training of other department members in emergency medical care.

*Acts as paramedic preceptor while working with paramedic students from outside educational institutions.

*Performs inspections of businesses and other occupancies for fire and life safety as well as code compliance.

*Delivers public education programs on safety, medical, and fire prevention to members of the community.

Completes reports related to fire and medical response according to accepted industry best practices and the policies and procedures of the department.

Performs other related work as required.

*Essential Functions

Qualifications & Education

Minimum Requirements must be met at time of hire:

  • Minimum age:18 years old
  • High School diploma/GED
  • Firefighter I & II
  • EMT:Paramedic certificate licensed to practice in the state of Wisconsin
  • NIMS 100 & 200
  • Current CPAT certificate (Obtained less than 1 year from the time of application)
  • Valid Wisconsin Drivers License

Other Qualifications Required

  • Working knowledge of the operation of all apparatus and equipment as well as methods   used in fire prevention, fire suppression and rescue operations.
  • Considerable knowledge of pre-hospital emergency medical care.
  • Working  knowledge of rules and regulations of the Fire Department.
  • Working knowledge of the maintenance of equipment and buildings.
  • Working knowledge of building materials, building construction, and anticipated collapse patterns.
  • Working knowledge of water systems and water mains.
  • Ability to react quickly and remain calm under duress and strain.
  • Ability to understand and follow oral and written instructions.
  • Ability  to  learn new firefighting methods rapidly as new industrial and building materials are introduced.
  • Skill in the operation of all firefighting and rescue equipment including motor vehicles.
  • Working knowledge of hydraulics and ability to produce effective fire streams.
  • Interest and willingness to assist in community efforts.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
  • General computer aptitude for report writing, training and internal communications.
  • Ability to keep accurate records and make out reports.
  • Will complete and maintain appropriate minimum certifications and licensure necessary for the assigned position.

Job Knowledge and Skills

*As a member of a team, responds to fire, emergency medical, rescue and hazardous materials incidents.

*Works in hazardous environments while performing various tasks and while wearing a closed circuit, self-contained breathing apparatus as well as other protective equipment necessary for safe operations.

*Operates as a member of a team and utilizes the necessary tools in areas of specialty rescue, including, but not limited to, rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue and water/ice rescue.

*Performs general tasks related to fire suppression such as operating portable fire extinguishers, advancing, connecting, and handling fire supply hose lines, deploying salvage covers, ventilating buildings and operating various firefighting appliances.

*Performs examination of patients at the appropriate level of licensure to determine primary and secondary medical problems by using questioning, physical examination and use of diagnostic equipment.

*Drives, operates and assists in maintaining the fire apparatus, equipment and facilities of the department.

*Administers medications and medical interventions according to established protocols.

*Communicates accurately with emergency room staff regarding reports of patient’s history, physical condition and treatment both in person and via phone or radio system.

*Attends and participates in training programs delivered or sponsored by the department in areas deemed related to the job.

*Functions under an organized plan of medical control protocols and operating guidelines.

*Supervises other firefighters when qualified and acting as Lieutenant or other supervisory position in their absence.

*When qualified, assists with training of other department members in emergency medical care.

*Acts as paramedic preceptor while working with paramedic students from outside educational institutions.

*Performs inspections of businesses and other occupancies for fire and life safety as well as code compliance.

*Delivers public education programs on safety, medical, and fire prevention to members of the community.

Completes reports related to fire and medical response according to accepted industry best practices and the policies and procedures of the department.

Performs other related work as required.

*Essential Functions

How to Apply: The full job description and application can be found HERE.

Product Post: Feniex Fusion Arrow Board

The Feniex Fusion Arrow Board features the innovative multi-color technology and is engineered on the Fusion platform. Combining the Fusion 800 and four Fusion 200 Light Sticks, the single color arrow board has 16 flash patterns available. Your choice of 40° optics for long range penetration or 180° optics for a wide light spread.

 The Fusion Arrow Board has built-in surface mount hardware, making for easy installation. The Feniex Fusion Arrow Board is the most advanced and cost effective arrow board in the market. Plus it’s made right here, in the United States of America.

Color options available are All Amber or Custom. Optics options are All 40° optics, All 180° optics, or Custom. If you choose Custom on either dropdown we will contact you for configuration.

Features

  • Choice of 180° or 40° light spread optics per module.
  • Available Colors: A, B, G, R, W.
  • 16 flash patterns for single color.
  • Rugged weather-resistant enclosure.
  • Encased in Rugged, aluminum extrusion.
  • Built in surface mount hardware.
  • Made in the USA

Capabilities: 

  • 1 programmable mode
  • Directional Patterns
  • Takedown or Work-Light

Specifications

  • Input Voltage: 12 VDC
  • Current Draw: 6 Amps
  • Single Color: 96 high power 4 Watt Cree LEDs
  • Certifications: SAE J595, CT13, SAE J1119
  • Dimensions: 15.05″ H x 42.55″ L x 2.7″ W.
  • Cable Harness length: 10 Feet

Feniex 5 Year Warranty

Research Shows Load-Bearing Vests Are Better than Traditional Duty Belts

By Judy Berthiaume / Reposted with permission from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

The Eau Claire Police Department is making a significant change to how officers carry their equipment after a UW-Eau Claire research team determined that load-bearing vests are a safe and healthier alternative to the traditional duty belt.

Deputy Chief of Police Matt Rokus (left) issues Eau Claire police officer Mark Vang his load-bearing vest. (Photo/University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
Deputy Chief of Police Matt Rokus (left) issues Eau Claire police officer Mark Vang his load-bearing vest. (Photo/University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)

Officers who carry most of their equipment – which often weighs close to 30 pounds – on vests rather than duty belts experience significantly less hip and lower-back pain, the study found.

“The findings are clear and they are significant,” said Dr. Jeff Janot, a professor of kinesiology and the faculty lead on a six-month study that involved UW-Eau Claire, ECPD and Mayo Clinic Health System. “While the vests weigh more, the weight is more evenly distributed so there is less strain on the hips and lower back.”

Researchers also determined that the vests do not limit the officers’ range of motion or create other issues that would be problematic for the officers from a safety standpoint, said Chantal Bougie, a senior kinesiology major from Oshkosh and the student lead on the research project.

“We didn’t find any unintended consequences from wearing the load-bearing vest that would cause health or safety issues for the officers,” Bougie said.

Given the study results, the ECPD already has begun to transition some of its 100 sworn officers from the duty belts to the load-bearing vests, said Matt Rokus, deputy chief of police for the ECPD.

“The health and well-being of our officers is our priority,” said Rokus, noting that lower-back pain is a significant health issue for law enforcement personnel everywhere. “This study shows empirically that transitioning to the load-bearing vests is the right thing to do for our officers and our community.”

ECPD officers still will wear duty belts, but they will hold only guns and TASERs. The radio, hand cuffs, flashlight and other gear officers always have on them will be carried on the vests instead, Rokus said.

Fifteen Eau Claire police officers volunteered to be part of the university’s study. For three months, some officers wore load-bearing vests, provided by The Vest Man company, while the others carried gear on the duty belts. The officers wearing belts then switched to vests, and those wearing vests went back to belts for three months.

After every shift, the officers self-reported and self-recorded any discomfort and rated the level of lower-back discomfort, giving researchers extensive data from a six-month period.

The 15 officers who participated in the study already have been issued their vests and began wearing them immediately. The research partners in the study – UW-Eau Claire, the city of Eau Claire and Mayo Clinic Health System – shared the costs of the 15 vests being used by the officers who volunteered to participate in the research. As funding allows, the ECPD will purchase additional vests so every officer will have one, Rokus said, noting that vests cost $300 each so it will take some time to purchase them all.

All officers go through extensive use-of-force training, which results in muscle memory that they rely on when accessing their equipment. As officers transition to the vests, they will be retrained to create that same reflexive response, Rokus said.

“This is a significant investment given the costs of the vests and the training,” Rokus said. “It’s an investment we will make because we have the information from UW-Eau Claire’s research to support our decision. We know this is good for the health of our officers.”

That’s good news for Cory Reeves, who said that after five years as an officer with the ECPD he’s already experiencing hip and lower-back pain from long hours of sitting in his squad car, walking his beat or apprehending suspects, all while carrying the heavy gear around his waist.

“As soon as I put the vest on, I noticed the difference,” said Reeves. “I wore the duty belt the first three months, and noticed an immediate difference when I put on the vest for the last three months. It’s a lot more comfortable. It was easier to spend long hours on the job when I was wearing the vest.”

Officer Breanna Montgomery said the vest allows her to sit up straight in her squad car, something that isn’t possible with the fully equipped belt. Since she spends many hours in her vehicle completing paperwork and other tasks, the awkward sitting position strains her back, she says.

“When I have the vest on, instead of sitting curved forward, I can sit up straight,” said Montgomery, who has been an Eau Claire police officer for more than three years. “Also, when I’m on calls, if I’m standing for a long time, I don’t have extra weight on my waist so it’s more comfortable and easier on my back.”

While it is impossible to eliminate all the health-related challenges that police officers face, the vest does address issues with lower-back pain, which is among the most common health problem reported by officers, especially patrol officers, Rokus said.

“Policing is a physically demanding profession,” said Rokus. “Officers spend a lot of time in their vehicles because they use them as their offices. They also often stand to talk to people or hold suspects, or chase a combative suspect, all while carrying 30 pounds of police equipment on their waists.”

As a result, many officers experience constant back pain, diminishing the quality of their lives, Rokus said. They also miss patrol shifts because of back issues, which leads to staffing shortages, overtime costs and worker comp claims, he said.

“The health improvement for our officers is important,” Rokus said of the vests. “But there also should be a reduction in health care cost and lost time due to injury, which is good for our community.”

Knowing the strain that the heavy belt puts onto officers’ backs during their 10-hour shifts, the researchers anticipated that their study would find that the vests would ease back pain, Bougie said.

“But we were surprised by just how big of a difference the vests made in how the officers rated their pain,” Bougie said. “When the officers went from the vest to the belt, there were really big jumps up in the levels of pain they reported.”

Other than a study in Sweden, Janot said he doesn’t know of any other research on this issue.

Given its importance and the limited research done, interest in UW-Eau Claire’s findings is significant and widespread among law enforcement agencies, Janot said.

“The vest-versus-belt issue sounds like a fairly simple question but it’s actually very complicated,” said Janot. “Law enforcement agencies all over want to know if the vests can help address officers’ back problems. Like in Eau Claire, they want data that will help them make an informed decision.”

Since the study was announced in the spring, Janot has been contacted by dozens of law enforcement agencies from across the country asking about the results.

This winter, the UW-Eau Claire research team will present its findings to top law enforcement officials from agencies across Wisconsin.

“It’s exciting to partner with our community, but it’s also exciting to know that our work may make a difference far beyond Eau Claire,” Janot said.

Bougie said it’s incredible to know that her work as a student researcher will make a positive difference in the quality of the lives of police officers here and elsewhere.

“Knowing I am helping these police officers who keep us safe is pretty special,” said Bougie, who plans to work as a physical therapist after graduate school. “It feels like I am giving them something in return for what they do for all of us. That’s an amazing feeling.”

While the vests-versus-belts question is at the center of their project, the researchers also built a biometric profile of more than three dozen active-duty police officers, giving the ECPD a look at the overall health status of its officers, Janot said.

The biometric screenings tested things like the officers’ flexibility, spinal mobility, core endurance, aerobic fitness, upper-body endurance and lower-body strength.

These screenings give the ECPD a baseline that they can use to identify strategies to improve the overall health, well-being and readiness of their officers, and to identify possible underlying issues that contribute to officers’ health issues, Janot said.

“Having the answers to a lot of small questions can be used to make a big difference,” Janot said.

The information gained from the screenings will be used as part of the ECPD’s ongoing wellness programming, Rokus said.

By expanding its research to include the biometric screenings, researchers provided the ECPD with important information about the health of its officers, and UW-Eau Claire students gained valuable experience using high-end equipment as part of a real-world study, Janot said.

Given the success of the project with the ECPD, Janot hopes to continue to work with the department and to partner with other local agencies to help them solve problems.

“We have the students, cutting-edge technology and expertise to gather the information the ECPD and other agencies need to address a variety of problems,” Janot said. “We’ve shared our data with the ECPD, but we’re not done yet. Interest in this study is extremely high so we will share what we learned, but also are looking for ways to build on it.”

UW-Eau Claire faculty involved in the vest research include Janot; Dr. Nick Beltz, assistant professor; Dr. Saori Braun, assistant professor; and Dr. Marquell Johnson, associate professor. Student researchers include Bougie, Anna Kohler, Sierra Freid, Maddy Downing, Jessica Nagel and Lindsey Opelt. Dr. Andrew Floren of Mayo Clinic Health System helped UW-Eau Claire researchers design the study.

For more information about the police vest research, contact Dr. Jeff Janot, professor of kinesiology, at 715-836-5333 or janotjm@uwec.edu, or Matt Rokus, deputy chief of police, at 715-839-4979 or Matt.Rokus@eauclairewi.gov.


About the author
Judy Berthiaume is the IMC’s chief storyteller, sharing stories about the many exceptional people that make UW-Eau Claire such a phenomenal place. She talks with students, faculty, staff and alumni to find and to share their successes, initiatives, challenges and dreams with the campus community and the world beyond.

Chicago boosts police presence to tamp down July 4 violence

By Don Babwin
Associated Press

CHICAGO — Chicago’s police department is following a familiar playbook for the July 4 holiday by flooding the street with officers and arresting dozens of people on drugs and weapons charges in the hopes of keeping them locked up during what is typically one of the most violent weekends of the year.

On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that more than 1,500 extra officers will hit the streets, parks and lakefront.

Fireworks explode over Lake Michigan in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Fireworks explode over Lake Michigan in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The department said uniformed and undercover officers will be assigned to the lakefront and Navy Pier during the annual fireworks show that’s expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people, and they’ll be working known crime hotspots in the city for the entire weekend.

At a news conference Wednesday, police talked about three separate operations over the past 30 days that resulted in a total of 170 arrests on gun and narcotics charges, the seizure of 38 guns and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs. They said the most recent effort, called “Operation Independence,” ended Tuesday with the arrests of 77 people — 34 of whom are convicted felons.

The department has conducted similar operations ahead of the three warm weather holidays — Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day — in previous years, and they make no secret of the timing; they try to net as many people who are disproportionately involved in violent crime either as suspects or victim on days when the crowds in the city’s parks, tourist areas and streets are historically the largest.

“That’s always the goal,” First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio said Wednesday. “If we can take them out of play for that whole time or part of that time, it’s going to make those communities a safer place.”

Police have added 1,000 more regular officers in recent years and expanded the use of gunshot detection technology and other high tech crime fighting equipment, resulting in a drop in violent crime. Just this week, the department announced there were fewer homicides and shootings in the first six months of 2019 than during the same period in each of the previous three years.

At the same time, in a city that continues to have far more homicides than New York and Los Angeles, there continues to be eruptions of violence. Last weekend, 50 people were shot. And despite the deployment of an extra 1,200 officers in the city, at least 43 people were shot over Memorial Day weekend, seven of them fatally.

Associated Press

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