Firefighter of the Month

December 2022

Mary Catterlin

Why did you become a firefighter?

I thought about becoming a firefighter for years before finally going for it. I wasn’t sure I was strong enough or tough enough for what first responders face in their careers. Eventually, I witnessed my fiance go through fire academy and work as a Highland firefighter. Through this, I better understood the commitment and reward involved with firefighting, especially as a volunteer. With his encouragement and support, I began applying for career departments and reached out to Long Beach Firefighter, Megan Applegate. She invited me to train with the department and I was soon a member. LBFD was completely welcoming and I admired the members’ commitment to the town. Shortly after joining Long Beach FD, I was hired onto the Michigan City Fire Department. Becoming a career/volunteer firefighter has been the exact career I’ve been searching for my whole life. Purpose-driven work for the needs of others is incredibly rewarding and humbling. It’s also a great feeling to work alongside peers who are committed to answering the call for help, big or small.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

The trainings with the Long Beach FD have been so memorable. It’s been great learning from and working with such a friendly, motivated, group of men and women. I’ll never forget Firefighter Bill Busch making me a giant hotdog sandwich from firehouse leftovers as a recovery meal after a particularly rough day of hose advancement training. Not exactly edible, but it boosted morale with humor!

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

I strongly encourage people to shut their doors before sleeping at night. “Close before you doze” is a fire study that demonstrates the incredible difference a door can make in creating a survivable sanctuary for someone. It’s night and day. There’s a great video of it on YouTube.

November 2022

Tim Dry

Why did you become a firefighter?

My father was a volunteer fireman here in Long Beach for 50 plus years. When I was home, between universities or work, I helped my father in his duties at the firehouse.  Finally, after a session at the Grand Hotel Mackinaw Island, I returned to Long Beach and joined the fire department.  It was time to put an official stamp on my civic duties.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

Beyond a doubt my favorite memory of the fire department is working the Fourth of July’s ice cream event. There, I can occasionally see friends and neighbors of old. Friends return to Long Beach to drift through the memories of the old school, Ronnie’s store, an ice cream, and a dip in the lake.

October 2022

Christina Walsh

Why did you become a firefighter?

It’s a honor to say it’s the family business. It was only natural for me to become a firefighter. My grandfather and father were 30 year Chicago firefighters. In my teenage years I would spend weekends riding on the west side of Chicago with my dad. And I knew one day I would be running into burning buildings. I also have a brother a brother in law and my two sons that also are currently career firefighters. 

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

After spending thirty two years as a career firefighter/Paramedic, I find the dedication of all the volunteer members of the Long Beach fire Department very refreshing and rewarding.  From training on Monday nights to responding to all types of emergencies. I am honored to be accepted as one of its members.

The fully involved house fire on Lothair Way in July was truly an eye opening as to how hard working we all are as we worked together professionally until the job was done. 

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

I ask that everyone takes a look outside of their house at night and make sure that their address is clearly visible from the street. And also if you do have an emergency, and you are able, please turn on the porch light or open the front door to signal to us that this is the location of the emergency. Whether it is a fire call or a medical call seconds really matter, so please help us help you. 

September 2022

Steve Carson

Why did you become a firefighter?

As a child, I witnessed my neighbor’s home be gutted by a fire. I watched as the volunteer firefighters from the neighborhood set the perimeter and started the attack with garden hoses until the Engines arrived. Similarly, I witnessed how long it took my neighbors to recover from the total loss even with the help of the neighborhood. I learned how important for a community to come together and help one another however we can.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

This summer we had a structure fire call. When we arrived, there was no fire but the distinct smell of plastic burning. After inspection, we pulled an actively shorting GFCI from the wall, surely preventing a fire. While the call will not be remembered for the heroics involved in fighting a major fire, the LBFD really protected the homeowner and the community. 

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

Clean your dryer vents! We all love fluffy beach towels, but they like to clog your dryer screens and vents. Dryer vents should be cleaned at least annually. This is especially true of the longer runs when the dryer is not installed against an outside wall.

August 2022

Bill Busch

Why did you become a firefighter?

When I first moved to Long Beach several years ago, I noticed the First Responders that would appear periodically to assist a neighbor that was confined to a wheelchair and needed help to get up after falling to the floor. My father in his later years would also need assistance as he had limited mobility as well. But he was very reluctant to call 911 to ask for help as he didn’t want to either pay to have the paramedics and ambulance services show up or bother the first responders with what he would consider a “minor” fall. Sometimes he would lay on the floor for hours before my mother would be back from errands or book club meetings. I was always disappointed that I couldn’t be of more assistance during those times of need.

So, one day I approached Tom Yemc and asked whether LBFD would be interested in having me join as a Medical First Responder and Fire Fighter. He brought me in to meet the rest of the firehouse and have me sit in on training sessions. I was quickly hooked and signed up for my EMR Certification and started the fire fighter training. 

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

What continues to amaze me is the commitment and energy that all the active members of Long Beach FD bring to every call we receive and respond to. Their dedication to serving the residents of Long Beach continues to be my most memorable experience with LBFD.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

It’s all about the basics for every household. Make sure that your fire alarms also monitor for carbon monoxide and that you replace the batteries once per year. Also, have fire extinguishers in those areas in your house most likely to be problematic – the kitchen, garage, where your heater and AC units are installed. Most importantly – be sure your family and visitors also know where they are should they be needed. 

July 2022

Alex Pollock

Why did you become a firefighter?

I became a firefighter because my Dad and brothers were firefighters which gave me the opportunity to both grow-up and help out around the department for years. Also, as a member, there is nothing better than giving back to the community and helping people when they need it most. 

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

My most memorable moment was when I was part of a group that represented the department at the Firefighter Combat Challenge. 

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

My favorite safety tip is for families to start closing their bedroom doors when they go to sleep. People are always shocked how much difference a closed door can make during a fire.

June 2022

Tom Znavor

Why did you become a firefighter?

I took an EMT class while I was in college which led to paramedic school a few years later.  I was hired by the Chicago Fire Department, became cross-trained as a firefighter and had a challenging but very rewarding 30 year career as a firefighter/paramedic.  I retired from Chicago in 2018 and my wife Vicki and I moved to Long Beach. Shortly after, I had a chance meeting with LBFD member, Bart De La Barre and he told me the fire department was looking for volunteers. Coincidentally, I was looking for an opportunity to help my community, meet new people and remain active in the fire service.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

Several challenging medical / trauma calls come to mind.  Also, being the recipient of the department “Nut Cracker Award” after only my first full year with the department.  I’ll always cherish that special recognition. Lastly, the dedication and professionalism of the department members is commendable.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

I have two Long Beach – specific tips;

Respect Lake Michigan.  Lake conditions can change quickly.  Monitor kids who are wading, swimming or on floaties. 

Post your house address number in a prominent place.  We cant help you if we cant find you.

May 2022

Matt Weber

Why did you become a firefighter?

It made sense, for me. My dad was in public service and I was taught the importance of bettering your community however you are able. My wife, Lindsey, is from the area and two of her siblings are long-time department members. When I moved here in late 2016, it wasn’t long before I was encouraged to attend a meeting. It was clear this is a great group of dedicated and selfless individuals who care for their community. 

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

Thankfully, there have not been many complex fire calls I have been involved with since I’ve been on the department. So, most of my memories are from trainings. I’m always impressed by the wealth of knowledge on this department and the dedication that goes into making sure we’re ready if and when the time comes. Serving up and eating my fair share of ice cream every 4th of July is also always a treat.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

My brother and I deep-fry a turkey every Thanksgiving. Apart from being outdoors and away from structures, turn the burner off any time the lid is off. Keep a fire extinguisher on-hand and never leave it unattended.

April 2022

Brian McKee

Why did you become a firefighter?

Becoming a firefighter kind of just happened for me. My Father-in-Law, John Wall, had always been involved and when my wife, Brigid, and I moved to Long Beach to start our family, I just started showing up. I did not have any family or many friends in town and the department became a way for me to form some great relationships. One of my best friends is someone I started spending time with because of the department. It’s been great being a part of such a good group and being able to give back to a community that I love.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

Every fire is memorable, but I believe my first fire was the most memorable. It was the first time seeing what it takes to work together and apply the training we work so hard on each week. Being a part of such a selfless group of people made me feel so proud and I’ve carried that feeling with me any time I’ve represented the department in the last 15 years.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

Always have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Make it a habit to check often. Also, have an exit plan in your home and discuss it regularly. Especially if you have younger children.

March 2022

John Ruszkowski

Why did you become a firefighter?

Mike Bardol introduced me to the Long Beach Fire Department. Being on the department has expanded my skills on what to do and how to respond during an emergency situation.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

There are many fire calls that were memorable, some good some bad. Training nights are also memorable events. Like putting yourself in a dark crawl space and having to wiggle yourself through with all your gear to simulate going through an attic. The good thing is, that it is training and safety is always the most important aspect.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and meeting location and then practice the plan.

February 2022

Chris Collins

Why did you become a firefighter?

My grandfather was on the Chicago Fire Department so I grew up wanting to become a firefighter. When my wife and I moved to Long Beach 10 years ago, it was just a matter of time before I joined. After a few years, my father in law John Wall asked if I would want to come out and watch the members train at the fire tower in Michigan City. I was really impressed with the training and wanted to join. I am extremely happy with that decision and very grateful to give back to the community.  

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

The first training I participated in was in Moon Valley discussing wildfires.  There was a downed tree on the path so a couple fellow firefighters and I decided to remove the obstacle.  Unfortunately, as I was helping to lift the tree a branch ripped a giant hole in my pants. So I had to finish the remainder of the training with my boxers showing, much to everyone’s amusement.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

If you are going to use a space heater when it gets cold this winter, make sure to keep it at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire. Also avoid placing it on carpet as it could tip over. 

January 2022

Larry Pollock

Why did you become a firefighter?

I became a firefighter when my friend and neighbor, Tim Rain, who I’ve known since grade school, asked if I would be interested in joining. It’s every kids dream to become a firefighter. That and there was free beer, at the time. 

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

There are many memorable experiences. Being with my son Chris in his first fire along with my son, Nick and going in with another friend and past member, Kevin Flemington. Hacienda fire ranks up there and also the Christmas Day fire on Lake Shore Drive.  

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

Keep and know how to use a fire extinguisher. 

December 2021

Kyle Flanigan

Why did you become a firefighter?

I became a volunteer fireman in January 2001 after watching my friends going on fire calls for another local volunteer fire dept. With having grown up and still residing in Long Beach I knew most of the members on LBFD at the time so I called Larry Wall and asked if the department could use a new member. He said they were always looking for new members and to come to the next meeting. So that’s exactly what I did.  It has been a great experience. Glad to be able to donate my time to the community. 

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

There are a few memorable experiences that come to mind. The first is the Town Garage fire, as it was my first structure fire. We all remember the Christmas Day fire. Probably one of the coldest fires I’ve been on with high winds off the lake made it miserable. Lastly was the Hacienda fire. This was probably the biggest fire I had personally been in. I remember walking in with  another member of the department and after being in there a few moments our hose line lost all pressure. We looked at each other and we’re like let’s get out of here. 

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

The only safety tip I can stress on is make sure you always have working smoke detectors 

November 2021

Blake Applegate

Why did you become a firefighter?

I became a volunteer firefighter after turning 18 years old, primarily due to Brian Wright pushing me to do it.  After attending the first business meeting as an applicant, it became apparent very quickly that the LBFD was a great group of people and I knew right then and there that I wanted to be part of this organization.  The bonus was that I could help the Long Beach community while working with a great group of individuals.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

My most memorable experience as a member of the LBFD was the Grand Beach fire that involved two homes and dune grasses.  It was a perfect storm of chaos with multiple departments trying to work together to keep the fires from spreading.  After the fact, investigators determined that the fire was caused by arson and it was believed that former Chicago mayor, Mayor Daley, was the target.  I never would have thought that the LBFD would be involved in such a high profile fire scene like this.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

As a fan of cooking, my top fire safety tip is to keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.  As simple as this sounds, a few months ago I was cooking and had a towel draped over my shoulder.  The end of the towel briefly caught fire after drooping too close to the stovetop flame and I immediately extinguished it before it got out of hand.  It was a great reminder that no one is immune to these types of accidents and good habits are the key to preventing them.

October 2021

Dave Albers

Why did you become a firefighter?

I became a LBFD firefighter for several reasons. To give back to the Community and help our neighbors in a time of need. As a kid growing in LB, I was impressed with the volunteers for everything they did.  In 1981, my dad suffered a heart attack in the yard and was in full arrest. Through the efforts of the LBFD Medical Responders my dad was able to live for another 3 months so we could have closure.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

Three events come to mind, the 2002 Christmas Day fire on a Lakeshore Drive with 45 mph winds out of the North and freezing temps. That day we lost two houses. There were charred embers found at Notre Dame church. The weather conditions made it a horrific incident to conquer. 

In September 2005 the pager tones went off to notify us of a structure fire at Hacienda Restaurant. Our new Engine was in the shop having accessories installed so we only had Engine 1 and a trailer pulled by a pick-up with hose and equipment pulled from the fire station. There were 4 different agencies providing mutual aid to us. It was an eye-opening event where we learned to use the lapel method of command. Just ask Chief John Wall how much fun he had that night!

Lastly, our department being part of the Miracle on Mount Baldy incident. The MCFD fire called me to request additional manpower for the search of a small boy who had been buried alive in sand while on the slope of Mount Baldy. It was a miracle that he was found and is alive today.  

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

On a personal basis, always, spring, summer, fall, and winter make certain you are wearing socks when placing your feet into those lovely comfortable fire boots! I learned the hard and painful way at the Hacienda fire. We need to continue encouraging our community to have a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in the home and to change the batteries. As a side note, be careful about storing golf carts in attached garages to the house. They can create hazardous health conditions.

September 2021

Kurt Earnst

Why did you become a firefighter?

My dad and my grandpa were both volunteer firefighters where I grew up. I spent many a night at the station when my dad was watching me and had a call to go on. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a firefighter. A year and a half after I moved here I met Jim King playing basketball. He said I could join Long Beach.  This department gave me the opportunity to realize a boyhood dream. To serve with the men and women of this Department these past twenty-three years has been the greatest honor of my life.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

Being first on the scene of a full arrest and being all alone as everyone else was at another call. The man looked like something out of a Halloween scary movie. Panic was replaced by training and I went to work. Others got there soon thereafter and we were convinced he did not make it when we put him in the ambulance. Going to training the next day I was still depressed convinced we had not been able to save him. To my surprise, Dave Albers greeted me saying “there is the hero” letting me know the guy made it. It confirmed to me that we truly do  make a difference doing what we do for this Department.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

Always have an escape plan for your family in the event of a fire or emergency.

August 2021

Dan Sells

Why did you become a firefighter?

  1. A cliché but true…to give back to the community.


Long Beach is where my wife’s family settled, she grew up and her Mom still resides today. Long Beach is such a great town with so much to offer that I thought why not return the favor to all that it has given me.  

2. The earth and I just circled the sun for the 40th time so I couldn’t think of a better time to live out a childhood dream.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

Having the opportunity to assist the State Fire Marshall in determining the origin of a suspect house fire.  

The task to unravel, restore and to examine a fire scene post-fire was an exhausting but rewarding experience that I’ll never forget. Who knew that a fire could leave behind so much information thru its own behavior that one can determine its point of origin and how it spread.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

 can’t reiterate this enough…  please purchase and install a Carbon Monoxide detector.
CO is such a silent killer that shouldn’t be ignored.

These days, you can easily purchase a “dual” detector that monitors for both – CO and smoke.

So what’s stopping you to get one?

July 2021

Larry Wall

Why did you become a firefighter?

37 years ago I was driving to pick up a pizza in a violent rainstorm.  As I came up over the hill on Chastleton and Oriole Trail I saw my brother John and numerous other firemen out in the torrential downpour responding to a fire call of down power lines on Oriole Trail.  I knew most of the people on the scene having grown up here.  I couldn’t believe their dedication and service to the community.  I called my brother and asked him if I could join.  Although he told me they had a strict rule against allowing numbskulls to become members, they made an exception.  I signed up and never looked back.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

In 37 years, I’ve had too many memorable experiences to count.  One of the most eerie was what we call “The Doll House Fire”.  There was a significant fire at a house on LaSalle Trail.  The owner had a huge doll collection-> I’m talking about hundreds of dolls from small dolls to darn near life size dolls all around the house.  We put the fire out and then went in for salvage and overhaul.  When we went into the house there were hundreds of dolls with melted faces and features were staring us down.  Quite an experience.  If any of you get a chance, ask my Brother John about our dear friend and fellow firefighter Joe Casey and the dog he saved at the fire.

The most tragic? Finding a deceased woman at a house fire at Stop 16 many years ago.

All and all the most memorable experience has been fighting fires alongside some of the most talented and dedicated people on earth.  This I can tell you has been my “most memorable experience.”

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

Smoke alarms on every floor and outside of bedrooms save lives. One of the first things I do during Size up is listen to hear a smoke detector…unfortunately many homes either don’t have them or don’t maintain them. From a firefighter standpoint my “tip” would be use and maintain your personal gear, it’s what separates you from life or death.

June 2021

Megan Applegate

Why did you become a firefighter?

It’s a natural instinct to drop what I’m doing to help those in need regardless of the day or time. 

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

It was right after the 4th of July parade and I had someone tap my shoulder to grab my attention. It was someone we had a medical call for a few months back that took the time to thank me and our department for all we do.  

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

Have an escape plan in the event of a fire. Go over that plan with your kids and other family members.  Where will you all meet if you have to leave the house immediately?  Window rope ladders for two story homes can save a life and are important to have.

May 2021

Rick Dziak

Why did you become a firefighter?

The politically correct answer is to give back to the community and the desire to help my friends and neighbors.  But let’s be real,  I joined the Fire Department for the same reason everyone else did.  You get to ride on a big red truck.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

Several years ago we had a fire on Oriole Trail.  The Fire was in a second story bedroom.  We made entry encountering heavy smoke and flashover conditions. Our training kicked in and we made a text book knock down of the fire.  This prevented further damage to the home.  I realized then the reason why we train and the importance of training.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

My favorite tip is to get into the habit of sleeping with your bedroom door closed.  Studies have shown that if a fire breaks out somewhere else in the home.  Having the door closed can give you time to escape or be rescued.

April 2021

John Kearney

Why did you become a firefighter?

Eleven years ago my wife and I decided to relocate to Long Beach from Lincoln Park as full time residents.  Shortly there after I was introduced to the LBFD by a friend Jeff Bartlett.  For me, the membership to the LBFD provided a way to serve our community while gaining both fire fighting and medical skill sets that will last me a life time. As a bonus, serving Long Beach with a fantastic group of like minded professionals.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

July of 2013 LBFD, under the leadership of Dave Albers, was called upon by the Michigan City Fire Department and the Mayor of Michigan City to help in the body recovery of a six year old boy who had disappeared into a  deep sink hole that had formed on a sand dune on Mount Baldy at the  shore of Lake Michigan.  Our LBFD responded to help multiple local, state and civilian organizations dig/search for the young boys body.  After four and a half hours, the limp body of the boy was found and carefully removed from the massive excavation site.  After a very solemn drive back to our station to reflect on this tragic event we were soon informed by LaPorte Dispatch that faint vital signs were discovered and the Boy was expected to survive and make a good recovery, much to our amazement!  This remarkable story of survival is now known as the “Miracle on Mount Baldy”  An event I can never forget.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

On both fire and medical calls it is paramount that all responding personnel exercise personal and scene safety. We owe it to ourselves, our Families, fellow members and the victims/patients we are serving.  We are fortunate at LBFD that through rigorous training, strong leadership, proper PPE and mutual care and respect for our fellow members we can continue to experience safe call response outcomes.

March 2021

Tom Yemc

Why did you become a firefighter?

Years ago, I was looking to expand my community involvement.  One night in 2004, there was a grass fire across the street from my house.  I went out and watched the LBFD extinguish the fire.  A few months later I joined the LBFD to give back like those that fought the fire that evening.  It was a great decision as I have discovered a passion in life I never knew I had.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

There have been many memorable experiences helping our community during a medical/fire crisis.  Early in my LBFD career, I was part of the team that worked the Hacienda restaurant fire.  This turned out to be a 12+ hour event with multiple fire departments.  I learned to use most of the equipment on the fire truck that evening and built skills that prepared me for many future fires in the community which I have fought. 

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

It is important to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your house.  Check batteries often and replace these units (CO detectors have a 5-7 year lifespan; smoke detectors have an 8-10 year lifespan) as these devices can save your life and those of your loved ones.   

February 2021

Michael Martinez

Why did you become a firefighter?

I wanted to give back to the community and help others in need that may not be able to help themselves. I just wanted to be part of the greater good.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

My most memorable experience was helping extinguish the structure fire on Oriole Trail back in September 2020. We were able to apply all the training we work on every Monday night but also working as a team was a great scene to witness.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

We should always sleep with our bedroom door closed. A closed-door can slow down the spread of flames, improve oxygen levels, reduce toxic smoke and decrease temperature if a fire breaks out in your home.

January 2021

Mike Szczepaniak

Why did you become a firefighter?

In 1991 at a school function with my children, I was approached by a Captain on the Fire Dept. and he asked me if I wanted to join. I had no idea what he was talking about.  Being from a family that always promoted helping other people, I decided I would join. It was the one of the best decisions of my life. The training, learning, and friendship is a great example of Long Beach Community.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

As a member of the Department, the Christmas Day fire (years ago) on Lake Shore Drive was my most memorable experience. The people in the house were burning Christmas wrapping paper in the fireplace. With the extreme cold and strong wind off the Lake, everyone was covered with snow and ice. It was a long slow process to put out the fire. The main house was lost, and it damaged the house to the east of it. The damaged house had to be torn down later.   

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

Beware of long slender candles being lit, and not watched. They can be very unstable and fall over from vibration, a door slammed, or the wind. Never leave long slender candles alone, and not monitored. They are really a fire hazard.   

December 2020

Chris Pollock

Why did you become a firefighter?

I thought I was  joining the fire department so I could drive the fire truck!  Little did I know I would be part of so much more. The opportunity to serve the community with my family and all the friendships I’ve gained over the years has been fulfilling.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

I feel my most memorable moment was going into my first structure fire scared out of mind but having my dad go in with me was reassuring.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

Not to take away from the importance of smoke/CO detectors as they are very important for everyone to have. I always had my daughters use a fire extinguisher every year so in case they ever needed to use one in an emergency they would be prepared. 

November 2020

Brian Wright

Why did you become a firefighter?

I became a firefighter to help serve the community that I grew up in. I love having the chance to be there for someone during their time of need and interacting with the people of the community.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

Being able to share friendships with the people on this department that have the same passion for helping their community, along with the training opportunities I have been able to take part in.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

Change your smoke detector batteries when you change your clocks, don’t play with matches, and only you can prevent forest fires!

October 2020

Bart De La Barre

Why did you become a firefighter?

I became a LBFD firefighter because I think everyone should do something for the community they live in. 

              

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

My most memorable experience is actually most memorable experiences.  Those are the Firefighter I/II certifications I have seen our members earn.  The time and effort they put in during our classes makes their achievement special to me.

              

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

The best fire safety tip I can think of is to have a WORKING smoke detector outside every bedroom and at the top of stairways.

September 2020

John Wall

Why did you become a firefighter?

Back in 1979, George Kassal, a Long Beach Firefighter walked into the yard of a house we were renting at Stop 29 on Loma Portal.  He was soliciting for the annual fund raiser and asked if I’d be interested in becoming a firefighter.  I went to the next meeting and was hooked.  I’d say the opportunity to help people during difficult situations was the motivation to become a firefighter.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of LBFD?

There are many memories that compete for the top spot.  Humorous ones like when a fellow firefighter was leaning over a bathtub in a house where a dog had succumbed in a fire and I goosed him, which sent him flying.  Other more serious ones like the time a small child had a seizure at the beach, and I held him all the way to the hospital in the ambulance.  He made it OK, but it was a little hairy to say the least.  I received a very nice letter with a picture of the child fully recovered from the family.

What is your favorite fire safety tip?

I don’t think there is any more sage advice for homeowners than to have and maintain smoke detectors in their homes.  Change the batteries every year like clockwork; they really do save lives!