Adam Neff, Battalion Chief, Nixa Fire Protection District, Nixa, MO

Neff CombHE’S EVERYWHERE. If you periodically survey fire service content on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some of Adam Neff’s “likes” and comments on posts by your favorite posters and bloggers. His interests are broad and deep. But, his active presence ranges well beyond the social media.  When it comes to fire service instruction, joining high profile classes, and promoting fire service causes, he seems to have his hands in just about everything, without leaving out his family– that’s some trick!

NIXA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT. Adam has grown up in the Nixa Fire Protection District (NFPD), located in Nixa, Missouri, directly south of Springfield and part of the Springfield Metropolitan Area.  The primarily rural service was organized as a fire district in 1986 with 15 volunteers. It now covers 45 square miles and a population of over 21,000 from 5 fire stations. Like many other suburban departments, NFPD has undergone remarkably rapid growth in the past 50 years. It has strong, goal-directed leadership.  Looking at photos of the department’s facilities and resources, and comparing them with the multi-station career-staffed operation of today, it is clear that the department has applied a great deal of planning, creativity, and dedication to the process.

SERVICE & GROWTH. Adam first came to our attention when he placed the first order for a Malven Hawk Tool after transfer of its production to MalvenWorks. Looking at his background, its clear that his career has closely paralleled the district’s growth, moving rapidly through the ranks to his current position of Battalion Chief. He has been a more-or-less continuous student of fire protection and public service. He is regularly enrolled in local, regional and national conferences, workshops and courses. He completed and was awarded the Commission on Professional Credentialing’s Chief Fire Officer certification. He is equally involved as a fire service instruction, himself, including his work as a member of the well-established Ozark Mountain F.O.O.L.S. group.

NFPD maintains a very active community outreach and fire prevention education program. Their definition of “community” obviously reaches far beyond its city limits and district boundaries. A good example is its work on behalf of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Adam had just joined the Nixa department when America experienced the 9/11 tragedy. Nevertheless, over a decade later, in 2014, he served as a principal coordinator for the Springfield area’s 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.  This event was facilitated by the Ozark Mountain F.O.O.L.S., LOCAL 152 of the International Association of Firefighters, and the Nixa Fire Protection District. It attracted 230 climbers and raised $8,000 for the foundation. 

ADAM.  Seem’s like he’s everywhere.

Adam Tendall, Future Assistant Chief, Nevada Community Fire Department, Nevada, IA

A CLOSER LOOK. Our own Nevada (Iowa) Community Fire Department is heavily saturated with Hawk tools. So, many, if not most, of its members are actually pretty experienced Hawk tool users. But, a note from one of our members made me aware that the department has some Hawk tool enthusiast that may be flying below our radar. One example is Adam Tendall, who’s currently a foot or two below the radar.  He’s the son of a multi-generational fire family and Adam could be headed in that direction, as well. We’ll let his dad, Brad’s nomination letter speak for itself:

Brad Tendall's Adam Action Shots
Love it when the troops choose the Hawk to equip their “action shots.” Adam’s ready for anything. In the lower right shot he’s got a good grip on one of my very favorite tools– the Ardis Tool II. I don’t go anywhere without an Ardis Tool.  Seriously, there is rarely a call that this super pocketable, versatile overhaul tool doesn’t come into play in some way or another (see video on YouTube or contact: Ardis Tool Company LLC in Newtown, CT – (203) 426-3315).  Oh, yea, and in the left shot, the future A/C rounds out his kit with a lap-full of Hawk tool.  A true veteran falconer.

ONE OF THOSE FIRE FAMILIES. Adam comes by his tool interests pretty naturally. Maybe genetically? As is obvious in the photos below, the entire family is hard-bitten fire types. Adam’s grandfather, Roger, spent several years as an Assistant Fire Chief in Nevada. His uncle, Jamie (top left in the top left photo) is an experienced fire apparatus driver-operator. His dad, Brad, is a fire captain  As they grew up, Chief Tendall’s family spent a LOT of time at the fire station. As kid’s, Jamie and Brad always knew where the newest tools were mounted and were ready to jump on a rig and go.  Similarly, today, as pictured below, when Adam’s dad and his mom, Jessica (a very active EMT), walk into the fire station, Adam and his brother Ty are already “geared up!!” In virtually every fire station in America, this long-standing tradition continues– the tools and rigs may differ from place-to-place, but the next generation is ready for action.

Here they come.

 

Dean Tope, former Assistant Chief, Nevada Community Fire Department, Nevada, IA

“VETERAN ‘FALCONERS’?” “Falconry” is the ‘hunting of wild quarry, in its natural state, by means of a specially conditioned bird of prey’– generally a hawk, falcon or eagle. Since fire in a structure is pretty “wild quarry in its natural state,” we couldn’t resist the temptation to extend the falconer label to those who are hunting fire with a Hawk [tool], as well.

DEAN TOPE is certainly one of the longest-term MW Dean at Pump Panelusers of the Hawk Tool on the Nevada (IA) Community Fire Department (NCFD), where it was developed. Dean has been a volunteer with the department for over twenty years, including service, until recently, as the Assistant Chief responsible for EMS delivery.

He became a member of NCFD at a time when applicants frequently joined in clusters. These young, enthusiastic, firefighters tended to be exceptionally active in emergency responses and generally took all the training they could find.  They advanced quickly.  They regularly helped with preparations for local training. Dean set the pace for this pattern and was soon helping teach some of the field courses he had taken, and became one of the most active instructors in his Nevada department.

Dean was also one of the first members of the department to acquire and regularly carry his own personal fire tool, in his case one of the early Hawk tools like those carried on departmental apparatus (they were originally manufactured by Iowa American Fire Equipment, located in nearby Osceola, Iowa).

MW TOPE & LIEUTENANTS HAWK
Dean Tope (center) with his ever-present 36″ Hawk/Raptor combination on a fiberglass handle.  Fellow Lieutenants were Brett Hambly (left) and Chris Bardsley (right).

FIREGROUND SUPPORT OPERATIONS. Fireground Support Operations (FSO) is a regionally and nationally delivered course focused on “truck company operations for fire departments without a ladder truck.” Background on the course is summarized in the “LOVERS PLUS” blog on the Hook and Ladder University website: hookandladderuniversity.com. As some of the original instructors of that course, moved on to other ventures, members of the Nevada department gradually took over the majority its course deliveries.  Dean quickly specialized in vertical ventilation and made significant refinements in that section of the course.

A significant objective of the course is to introduce students to new truckwork-related tools and equipment; it offers them the opportunity for hands-on experience working with virtually every hand tool and small power tool on the market.  The last segment of the course is generally a real-time emergency scenario involving the entire class in simulated truck company assignments– the above photo of students laddering shows the roof operations segment of one of Dean’s roof ops classes.

PUBLIC FIRE EDUCATION. Much of Dean’s time as an Assistant Chief was spent directing the EMS arm of the department.  Keeping departmental and individual EMS training, protocols, and other documents records up-to-date is a never-ending job.  It requires a person with administrative skills, dedication, and responsibility– a chore that is seldom fully appreciated.  Dean did a good job with EMS but his original, day-to-day passion has long been fire prevention and safety education.  He has led his department’s school fire safety program, tirelessly, for over twenty years.  In that regard, he continues a tradition of department excellence in public fire education established by Gerald Mills, Nevada’s first career fire chief.  And, like Mills, Dean earned a Governor’s Award from Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack (left photo, below– later U.S. Secretary of Agriculture) for the consistent excellence of his programming.

DIVERSIFIED E.M.S.  Recently Dean stepped out of the Assistant Chief role and transitioned into a new, more diversified involvement in EMS– employment in the field.  He has become an unusually active EMS Instructor/Educator, joined a hospital-based ambulance service, is pursuing advanced professional EMS certification, and (in his “spare time”) works EMS with Mary Greeley Medical Center at Iowa State University sporting events.

Dean w: MGMC Crew
Dean and his wife, Tracy, along with other members of the Mary Greeley Medical Center crew, prepare for a game at Iowa State University’s Jack Trice Stadium

“VACATIONING” IN THE BACK SEAT.  While hospital-based EMS now takes a big bite out of Dean’s emergency service schedule, he still manages to squeeze in a little fun every once in a while– it’s always a pleasure to see him riding backward in a BRT, with a Hawk tool.

KNOW A VETERAN FALCONER? This series of posts recognizes firefighters who: 1) have had a good deal of firefighting and/or rescue experience, and 2) have lots of experience with, and at least a slight partiality to, the Malven Hawk tool.  If you know a person who fits our description of a veteran falconer, please email us photos and background information.  We’ll spotlight them in a future blog.  Contact Fred Malven:  malven@malvenworks.com.

 

Tim Brozoskie, EVD, Baltimore City Fire Department, Baltimore, MD; Captain, Mount Carmel Area Rescue Squad, Mount Carmel, PA

TIM BROZOSKIE is an Emergency Vehicle Driver (EVD), Rescue 1, Baltimore City Fire Department, and Captain, Mt. Carmel (PA) Area Rescue Squad.  He strikes you as being an exceptionally dedicated firefighter and rescue technician.  He serves in both the career and volunteer ranks.  He’s an ardent fire service ambassador and advocate– on his RAGE Company (The Rapid Action Gear & Equipment Co.) website and his own Facebook page, he’s always among the first to recognize and give tribute to LODDs and other losses in the fire service ranks, honors, promotions and achievements of firefighters, retirements, job opportunities, forthcoming classes, etc.  He also hosts the classes of a number of nationally recognized instructors, and teaches a number of them himself.  Good guy.

Tim Brozoskie

Through the RAGE Company, and otherwise, Tim has been long been a strong promoter of fire and rescue tools and equipment designed and produced by firefighters. As an early field tester and advocate, he has helped launch the success of a number of now well known, innovative tools.  In particular, he’s been responsible for most of the visibility the Hawk has enjoyed in the Northeast– or anywhere else, for that matter. He’s been selling the Hawk longer than anyone else, and consistently has the best prices and the best, most informed service.  Tim’s certainly done everything possible to try to keep the Malven Hawk Tool off of the endangered species list!

It’s hard to imagine anyone having more working experience with the Hawk: 1) Rescue 1 ran 4724 calls in 2016 (they’re off to a good start in ’17), and 2) Rescue 1 has several Hawks onboard and the Hawk’s part of the toolbox on his rescue company in Mount Carmel, PA.  You don’t see too many photos of Tim that don’t include a Hawk Tool of some description (as you can see from the sampling of photos below, he’s also a real fan of The Pig).

KEEP AN EYE ON B.C.F.D. RESCUE 1.  If you’re interested in tracking the work of busy fire companies, check out Baltimore’s Rescue 1.  Baltimore gets plenty of action and R1 is often right in the middle of it, with lots of fire, challenging MVCs, and technical rescues of all types.  Obviously, different riding positions call for different equipping.  Still, most of R1’s crew members have had experience with the Hawk.  They’ve been the first to use several prototypes and currently have several different configurations onboard. Collectively, they’ve passed along lots of suggestions that have found their way into final production– a virtual R&D lab on wheels.  They’re well worth watching.  And, they’re a very hospitable bunch– if you’re ever in Baltimore a visit to the Big House, the Steadman station, is a must.

AND, KEEP R.A.G.E. IN MIND.  As owner and operator of The RAGE Company (The Rapid Action Gear & Equipment Co.), Tim has, by far, been selling the Malven Hawk Tool longer than anyone.  And, through his own personal experience, is most knowledgeable of its characteristics and use.  If you’re looking for fire tools designed and manufactured by firefighters, in the United States, we hope you’ll visit The RAGE Company web site frequently.  Move it to the top of your list when you’re looking at the most current thinking in the marketplace.

Jason Anderson, Captain, Pinch Volunteer Fire Department, Pinch, WV.

 

Jason Anderson
Jason Anderson, Captain, Pinch (WV) Volunteer Fire Department

JASON ANDERSON, a Captain with the Pinch Volunteer Fire Department, Pinch, West Virginia, was among those who came immediately to mind when thinking of veteran falconers.  Hawk tools aren’t particularly plentiful anywhere.  And, given their origins on the prairies of Iowa, mountainous West Virginia may seem like an unlikely place to start identifying experienced Hawk tool users.  But, Jason has been hunting fire with a Hawk [tool] for years.  He bought his own, at a fire expo, back when they were still manufactured by Iowa American Firefighting Equipment.  He first came to our attention when we ran across a review of the Hawk tool that he had posted on an equipment dealer’s website.  You have to really like a tool a lot (or dislike it a little) to take the time to bother writing such a review.  Nobody in our group had ever seen a review of the Hawk tool– anywhere– before Jason’s.  He did a nice write-up.  Thanks, Jason.

From phone discussions with him and the number of photos he returned with the Hawk tool prominently in evidence, it’s clear that Jason is a veteran Hawk user.

Mongo Pinch IMG950689
Hunting for fire with a Hawk, in Pinch, West Virginia.

PINCH is located along U.S. Highway 119, paralleling Interstate 79, East-Northeast of Charleston, WV.  It is a busy place.  Steep slopes and winding roads keep 3 engines and a truck (a Sutphen “Mini-Tower”) busy covering an exceptional load of structure fires and motor vehicle incidents.  Jason sent along a shot of a young truckie (top right, below) who must be a recruit in their special operations training program(?); “…you can never start ’em too early.”

It’s pretty clear from the photos above, there is no shortage of variety in Pinch’s call volume.  To get more of the flavor of their work, check them out at pinchfire.com or on Facebook, Pinch Volunteer Fire Department.