9-1-1 What Is Your Emergency?
By Lucia, Retired Dispatcher #160
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
244 Pages, multiple formats/price.
The author worked at the San Diego Police Communications Division for more than 25 years and has compiled into this volume the funny, the sad, and the ugly she encountered during that quarter century. Print-on-demand specialist AuthorHouse provides the book in paperback, hardback, and e-book versions; although its impressive 244-page length is slightly misleading as the book’s typeface is very large. At the same time, that makes the book very readable a chapter, or a paragraph, at a time; it’s a good book to pick up between 9-1-1 calls and not have lost your place after you’re done.
The book is primarily a compilation of short stories told in snippets of dialog between caller and dispatcher, largely directed to those not in the business. It’s not a thorough set of 9-1-1 dispatcher memoirs, which makes it ideal for on-the-go perusal, albeit mostly light reading and light hearted amusement. But it does mean that if you’re looking for a reasoned, biographical look at a dispatcher’s career, this isn’t that book. The author’s intention is rather to share brief glimpses into the kind of strange and unusual calls stand out from bedrock of the routine and the intensely critical that provides the foundation for the 9-1-1 dispatcher’s workday. Lucia provides insight into the life of a 9-1-1 dispatcher not through a painstaking narrative rendering of heart and soul, but rather through an entertaining glimpse into the human challenges on the opposite end of the telephone that make the dispatcher’s job as diversified as any in public service. The first chapter, which in three pages takes you through a sampling of seven very different calls handled during the first hour of a dispatcher’s shift, does exhibit a very concise example of the uniquely varied set of challenging tasks the 9-1-1 dispatcher is called to handle, often before the coffee is ready.
Lucia’s experiences are funny, bizarre, and sometimes sad – and thus an accurate assemblage of the kinds of calls 9-1-1 dispatchers take during a wild and crazy shift – or throughout a career. File under humor and you’ll find much to amuse and ponder (and, if you’re in the business, much to recognize and sympathize with as well). And, since every one of these calls came from the author’s direct experience, there’s a large kernel of truth that permeates all of these pages, so that after you’re done grinning you just may regard the dispatcher with a little more respect and appreciation.
By Kurt Kamm
MCM Publishing www.mcmpublishing.com, Sept. 2014
214 pages, paperback, $14.95
Kurt Kamm specializes in writing mystery novels from a public safety perspective – writing what he calls faction (fact-based fiction). Having gained an appreciation and an interest observing wildfire activities near his Malibu home, Kamm educated himself further by taking classes at a local Fire Academy and completed training sessions in arson investigation and hazmat response. Armed with this inside understanding in the tactics and technology of firefighter, Kamm has been able to imbue his novels with a public safety verisimilitude that gives them an edge over the average murder mystery thriller.
With his fifth book, Tunnel Visions, Kamm explores the world of homeland security and the very real threat of terrorism. Based on the real Sylmar Tunnel disaster which occurred in Los Angeles in 1971, Kamm has inserted a terrorist angle and come up with a gripping suspense thriller that is both fact-based and fast-paced. The story tells of a fictional, modern-day terrorist attack on Southern California’s water supply, and follows the activities of a Los Angeles County Fire Captain and an ATF Special Agent, mobilized by Homeland Security to face the threat and stop the terrorists before they can execute their explosive plans. In the process, Kamm also investigates the state’s contentious history of water wars while his protagonist faces up to a 40-year old mystery from his childhood.
Kamm’s writing style is fluid, evoking an almost cinematic pace that breezes along quickly, carried forward by the developing interaction of his characters and the progression of the plot, punctuated by not just a few dramatic twists and turns. His characters are well-drawn and true-to-life, and Kamm visualizes the locations in which their activities take place with recognizable precision. The story works out It’s the kind of book that will engross the reader from its start, while those with a background in public safety, fire service, and homeland security will recognize and enjoy the credibility with which Kamm portrays those aspects of the story.
Click here to read our exclusive interview with Kurt Kamm about the writing of his third novel, Code Blood.
And see further down this page for a review of his fourth novel, Hazardous Material.
For more information on the author and his books, see www.kurtkamm.com
UPDATE Nov 4: Author Kurt Kamm is giving 9-1-1 Magazine Readers an opportunity to purchase signed copies of his latest book, Tunnel Visions (see our review above) for only $10 ($8 for any of his earlier books), about 1/3 off the list price. Contact Ken directly at email@example.com for details.
E-book Details How GIS Technology Has Become The Newest Crime-Fighting Tool
Geographic Approach Helps Law Enforcement Reduce Crime & Protect Public Safety
American Sentinel University’s new e-book, GIS for Crime Analysis, Law Enforcement and Public Safety, profiles how geographic information systems (GIS) has become an effective new crime-fighting tool used by law enforcement agencies to uncover criminal patterns that would be otherwise impossible to identify. The complimentary e-book is available for download athttp://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2014/06/24/new-e-book-gis-for-crime-analysis-law-enforemcent-and-public-safety/
GIS technology merges and manages massive amounts of law enforcement data into geodatabases that instantly analyze, map and aggregate data and provide law enforcement agencies with actionable intelligence to fight crime.
The advanced spatial analysis of crime data continues to change the ways in which modern policing occurs. GIS provides the geographic advantage for law enforcement agencies to combat crime by using computers, analysis and programming skills to make predictions based on proprietary algorithms.
- -Technology and Its Application
- -Types of Users
- -Training and Background
“As more law enforcement agencies embrace GIS, overall public safety can be enhanced through better crime prevention strategies, improved response times, interagency data sharing, cooperation and collaboration to ultimately see reduced crime rates through the community,” says Stephen A. McElroy, Ph.D., GIS program chair at American Sentinel University. “GIS has opened a world of new tools for law enforcement and given practitioners in the field a way to advance their careers while making a significant contribution to public safety and order.”
GIS for Crime Analysis, Law Enforcement and Public Safety is now available for download as a free PDF file. Click here
Canadian Policing in the 21st Century
By Robert Chrismas
McGill-Queen's University Press
312 pages, Sept. 2013.
How can police remain effective and vital in an era of unprecedented technological advances, access to information, and the global transformation of crime? Written by long-serving Winnipeg Police officer Robert Chrismas, Canadian Policing in the 21st Century offers a rare look at street-level police work and the hidden culture behind the badge.
Announced for publication in September 2013 from McGill-Queens University Press, author Robert Chrismas shares experiences from his years of service to highlight areas where police can more effectively enforce laws and improve relations with the communities they serve. He proposes tactics for addressing widespread social issues such as gang and domestic violence and strategies for cooperating in international networks tackling human trafficking, internet-based child exploitation, organized crime, and terrorism. Chrismas stresses how changing demographics related to age, gender and racial diversity, and increased dangers and demands, require intensified training and higher education in policing. He highlights the need for more effective collaborative relationships between police and local, provincial, and federal governments, non-government agencies, and their communities.
While the principles and goals of policing remain largely unchanged, police challenges, tools, and strategies have evolved dramatically. Chrismas's vantage point as an officer and a scholar provides an illuminating account of the Canadian justice system, and road-maps to future success.
By Kurt Kamm
MCM Publishing www.mcmpublishing.com, May, 2013.
218 pages, paperback, $14.95
Author Kurt Kamm specializes in public-safety related mystery thrillers, originally prompted by his experience in several devastating wildfires near his home in Malibu, California. Observing firefighters at their risky duty began to color the subject matter of Kamm’s writing. Kamm took some fire service courses and gained an association with such agencies as the Los Angeles County Fire Dept., CalFire, Ventura County Fire, and the ATC, educating himself in firefighting technology, operations, and investigation which have given his books a strong degree of verisimilitude and a unique true-to-public-safety outlook.
Through novels like One Foot in the Black, Red Flag Warning, and Code Blood, Kamm has developed an exciting gallery of mystery thrillers that are as subject-matter accurate as they are engrossing, conveyed with an informal narrative that is deceptively simple and yet potent enough to launch the reader irretrievably into the story, sharing the adventures and dangers of well-realized characters who really behave as if they’ve worn the uniforms and carried the badges through grueling experience.
Kamm’s fourth novel, Hazardous Materials, is perhaps his most compelling novel to date. A firefighter saddled with an addiction to painkillers joins up with a Sheriff’s Department search team to locate a dangerous meth lab in California’s Mojave Desert, while facing up to his own toxic past.
Kamm writes with the propulsive pacing of an action movie, taking as much attention to detail with his descriptions of drug labs, intra-agency public safety operations, and the dusty, desert environs of the Mojave much as would a set-designer in a major Hollywood blockbuster. Kamm’s opening chapter, in which a low-tech methamphetamine lab devises its covert business, culminates so explosively that the reader can feel the blasting heat of fire and taste the grain of its chemical-infused smoke. Into these realistic and breathable background steps, strides, and hurdles Kamm’s characters, facing danger with all the attitudes, behavior, and cynicism of real life.
As always, Kamm paints a true-to-life picture of the people, places, and things that occupy his fiction. Kamm’s characters are noble yet flawed, confronting their personal demons even while stepping up to their duty in public service, and thus they fit into our post-modern noir world, colored as it is in so many shades of grey. Hazardous Materials is a fast-paced action thriller with a terrific hard-to-put-down readability. Readers will find it to be absorbing and realistic novel, while public Safety professionals will enjoy the added bonus of its genuine credibility to what they do every day.
Click here to read our exclusive interview with Kurt Kamm about the writing of his third novel, Code Blood.
For more information on the author and his books, see www.kurtkamm.com
- Randall D. Larson/9-1-1magazine.com
Stress and the Emergency Dispatcher
By T.P. McAtamney
e-book (PDF), 172 pages.
Stress and the Emergency Dispatcher was written by former dispatcher, and stress management educator and consultant, T.P. McAtamney, the founder of Headsets911 - The 911 Dispatcher Stress Experts. The book provides a philosophical perspective, developed from personal experience, to help understand the nature and causes of stress, and offers stress management and coping strategies. The author has granted permission to freely copy the book for personal use, training, or as part of a CISM program. It may be freely distributed providing it is not modified in any way. Other use without the explicit permission of the author, including sale, or use for commercial purposes is prohibited.
Stress and the Emergency Dispatcher can be downloaded as a PDF file from Headsets911
Phoenix by A.J. Scudiere
Griffyn Ink, Oct. 2012
Paperback and eBook, 410 pages, $14.95
Writer A.J. Scudiere’s novels have explored the worlds of mutated and eliminated species, mafia and ninjas, and finally angels and demons. Her latest book, Phoenix, ventures into the day-to-day experiences of the everyday American hero – firefighters.
Originally a scientist and schoolteacher, Scudiere’s motto - “It could happen. It wouldn’t. But it could.” – has informed her first three multi-award-winning novels, and grounds Phoenix in the cold ash of the reality of live in the fire service.
Phoenix revolves around Jason Mondy, a firefighter whose world is unraveling around him. He may be the town hero after saving two little boys from a house fire, but along with Jason's insistence that he was just doing his job, the incident brings up memories of another fire, a fire that almost killed him and - as his adoptive mother reveals - separated him from a brother that he doesn't even remember. As he starts to look for his lost brother, Jason soon discovers he is playing with fire and that not only him but everyone he cares about could get burned.
Scudiere is the editor and co-founder of Modern Psychological Studies, a quarterly research journal. She received two science degrees in her life, an Honors B.A. of Psychobiology from New College in Sarasota, and a M.S. of Physiological Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also worked in the medical and educational field for years. The writer has settled in a town outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
Houston Blue: The Story of the Houston Police Department
By Mitchel P. Roth & Tom Kennedy
University of North Texas Press (October, 2012)
496 pages, hardcover, $29.95
Houston Blue offers the first comprehensive history of one of the nation’s largest police forces, the Houston Police Department. Through extensive archival research and more than one hundred interviews with prominent Houston police figures, politicians, news reporters, attorneys, and others, authors Mitchel P. Roth and Tom Kennedy chronicle the development of policing in the Bayou City from its days as a grimy trading post in the 1830s to its current status as the nation’s fourth largest city. Combining the skills of historian, criminologist, and journalist, Roth and Kennedy reconstruct the history of a police force that has been both innovative and controversial.
Readers will be introduced to a colorful and unforgettable cast of police chiefs and officers who have made their mark on the department. Prominent historical figures who have brushed shoulders with Houston’s Finest over the past 175 years are also featured, including Houdini, Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, O. Henry, former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, hatchet wielding temperance leader Carrie Nation, the Hilton Siamese Twins, blues musician Leadbelly, oilman Silver Dollar Jim West, and many others.
The Houston Police Department has been at the cutting edge of police innovation. It was one of the first departments in the South to adopt fingerprinting as an identification system and use the polygraph test, and under the leadership of its first African American police chief, Lee Brown, put the theory of neighborhood oriented policing into practice in the 1980s. The force has been embroiled in controversy and high profile criminal cases as well. Among the cases chronicled in the book are the Dean Corll and Dr. John Hill murders; controversial cases involving the department’s crime lab; the killings of Randy Webster and Joe Campos Torres; and the Camp Logan, Texas Southern University, and Moody Park Riots.
Roth and Kennedy reveal that most of modern Houston’s issues and problems are rooted in many of the challenges that faced police officers in the nineteenth century. Anyone who drives in Houston will not be surprised that the city’s reputation for poor drivers was already cemented in the 1860s, when ordinances were passed to protect pedestrians from horse-drawn carriages. Likewise, the department’s efforts to overcome funding and manpower shortages, and political patronage, are a continuing battle that began a century ago. In the end it is a story about the men and women in blue and the role played by the Houston Police Officers Union in creating a modern 21st-century police force from its frontier roots.
Catch the Sky: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Police Helicopter Pilot
By Darryl J. Kimball & Allan T. Duffin
Duffin Creative, June 2012.
Softcover,352 pages, $24.95
eBook for Amazon Kindle, $9.99
Catch the Sky: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Police Helicopter Pilot, the first in-depth look at the life of a law enforcement officer who flies a helicopter, is now available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats, with 37 pages of photographs included.
Darryl Kimball always wanted to fly. Catch the Sky is the story of how he accomplished his dream. As a helicopter pilot with the elite air support unit of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Kimball has hunted for missing children, extracted captured drugs and other contraband out of cramped locations, medevac'd injured hikers from valleys thick with boulders and brush, directed deputies during gun battles, and tracked carjackers as they tried to escape pursuing officers through heavy freeway traffic.
Catch the Sky is the story of how a small town country boy found his way to California and eventually into the helicopter unit of one of the largest sheriff’s departments in the country. “In many ways it’s a success story,” says Kimball, “a story of perseverance—one that says when the odds seem to be stacked against you, or when your mind tells you that you’re not smart enough or good enough, or tells you to quit and go home, you don’t listen. You stick it out, you move forward . . . and you persevere.”
About the Authors
Darryl J. Kimball, a sergeant and helicopter pilot with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, came to California from his hometown of Oktaha, Oklahoma. After 15 years on the patrol beat, he joined the department’s air unit, ASTREA (Aerial Support to Regional Enforcement Agencies), in 2005. Darryl runs the popular blog policehelicopterpilot.com.
Allan T. Duffin is a writer/producer based in Los Angeles. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he is the author of History in Blue: 160 Years of Women Police, Sheriffs, Detectives, and State Troopers and co-author of The “12 O’Clock High” Logbook: The Unofficial History of the Novel, Motion Picture, and TV Series. His website is www.aduffin.com.
Public Safety Telecommunicator, Florida Edition
By Ken Kincaid
Kincaid Performance Solutions, June 2012
390 pages, paperback, $48
On the heels of the curriculum framework created by the Florida Department of Health, Orlando based, KPS has published a textbook designed to meet Florida standards and objectives. Written specifically to meet the objectives of the State, this textbook contains almost 400 pages of text, color and black & white photographs, tables and charts. The book is fully referenced and professionally written.
Written by retired assistant chief Ken Kincaid, the book is designed to be used by instructors and students alike. With twenty chapters of information, the text covers everything from call taking to hazardous materials. Each chapter is preceded by a set of objectives which meet or exceed the State requirement for that particular body of knowledge.
Agencies looking to create a curriculum to meet State standards will find it easy based upon the structure of the book. Instructors will find more than enough material to teach from. The text deals with all the required subjects whether it is Stress management or responding to terrorist incidents.
This book was written both to fill the immediate need for training and study material. Whether you are currently a PST in Florida studying for the State test or you are building a training program for compliance to the state regulations, this book will meet your needs and more.
According to KPS, the near future will see PowerPoint for each chapter or lesson and a Leader’s Guide for instruction. KPS is also working on a generic version of the book as well as editions for other states.
The text is currently available for order by phone or by fax using a PO. Check the company website for information about ordering on line using Paypal or credit card.
"I just cannot care anymore!" when you carry the weight of the world! The results of this type of outlook are far reaching. unhealthy and damaging to the person and the workplace - there are solutions.
Available as a self survey FLIP eBook (flash-driven page flipping eBook) and bonus Powerpoint Trainer, Compassion Fatigue is a very real stress related issue for our Comm Centers. The results of CF can be job burn-out, apathy leading to poor work performance, shut down of feelings leading to illness and increase stress levels. What causes CF, how can you see it and what can you do about it.
The CF books from Professional Pride can be kept on hand for personal assessment when your trainers or supervisors or managers recognize the symptoms of burn out, apathy, fatigue. Have this information on hand.
For more information, see 911trainer.com
Virtualization for Dummies
Stratus is making its ebook “Virtualization for Dummies” available for free download to public safety agencies.
Shrinking budgets. Smaller IT staffs. Too many servers and applications to manage. These are among the many reasons virtualization has become one of the hottest technology trends in public safety today.
- But what exactly is virtualization?
- How does it work? What will it do for you?
Begin your virtualization education with Virtualization for Dummies, an ebook download from Stratus Technologies.
Download Virtualization for Dummies to learn:
- The basics of virtualization
- How agencies of all sizes can take advantage of virtualization
- How to ensure virtualized applications are always up and running
- The top ten things to consider when virtualizing Public Safety applications
Whether you are a novice or an expert, a decision maker or a curious onlooker, a technician or an executive, there is material in Virtualization for Dummies that will be informative and valuable to you.
Click here to download your copy.
Crack in the Armor
by Jimmy Bremner
Bremner Associates, 2012
Police officer Jimmy Bremner, assisted by writer Connie Adair, has written a book about his personal struggle with post traumatic stress disorder. Crack in the Armor is an inspiring and information packed book that has been getting great reviews from police and other first responders, as well as soldiers.
Crack in the Armor is Jimmy Bremner's true story of strength and courage as an officer who fought to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and won. Along with his inspiring story, the book includes:
- PTSD demystified by clinical psychologist Dr. Sean P. O'Brien
- PTSD signs and symptoms
- How to avoid PTSD
- How to reach out and help a friend
- A spouse's story
- A call for change by Canadian Critical Incident Inc. president Barney McNeilly
Crack in the Armor: A Police Officer's Guide to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is available for $24.95 through the Bremner Associates website.
By Gavin de Becker
Little, Brown and Company, 2002
Hardback/Paperback, 240 pages.
Review originally published in our March/April 2002 issue.
In his book, Fear Less, author Gavin de Becker writes about risk, safety, and security in the post-September 11th world. Much of his book is heartening and encouraging, even while examining considerations awesomely frightening. In his first book, The Gift of Fear, which, by the way, everyone in America ought to read for it holds some amazing truths about safety and personal security in a modern world containing human predators, de Becker talks about “instinct” – that feeling you get that you might not be able to exactly define but somehow tells you that something isn’t right. That feeling is fear; a primal trepidation spiraling out of an inborn instinct for survival sewn into our very soul, and it’s a feeling we should be paying attention to. It’s a man’s gut feeling, a woman’s intuition, a gnawing notion that may be barely decipherable in a logical sense, but is nonetheless clanging away deep in the recesses of our being, where we are unconscious of how constantly and compellingly our survival instinct acts on our behalf. It’s the unspoken feeling of danger that a person may feel when encountering an empty elevator occupied by a stranger, and it’s a feeling we all too often shrug off, saying “I’m sure I’m just being silly.” De Becker’s point is that such feelings should never be shrugged off, because they are there for a reason. Those intimate moments of fear may well be our instinctive survival mechanism warning us of a danger we are barely perceptive – we recognize it, because we get that feeling, but we all too rarely acknowledge and act upon that fear – waiting for the next elevator, in this example, and a better assurance of safety within its confines.
In Fear Less, de Becker, who is widely considered to be America’s leading expert on predicting and managing violent behavior, and whose security consulting firm includes among its clients political leaders and celebrities in many countries, associates that “gift of fear” with life in a post-September 11th world, when all of us seem to be concerned, anxious, and downright frightened of air travel, skyscrapers, foreigners, terrorism. He describes a terrorist incident frighteningly similar to the September 11th attacks except that it occurred in 1942 on Long Island, and the perpetrators were Nazi submariners intending to launch a wave of terrorism on America’s east coast. The plot was foiled, not because of intensive surveillance and investigation my a legion of federal agents, but mostly because 21-year old Coast Guardsman named John Cullen paid attention to his “gift of fear” when he noticed something out of place – men acting suspiciously on a Long Island beach – and took it upon himself to notify the authorities, never suspecting his call would lead to the unraveling of an international terrorist plot on the United States.
De Becker describes another witness to those very same suspicious activities on the beach that cool 1942 evening: a young woman whose own instincts were roused the same way that John Cullen’s were, but who, upon the advice of her sensible and logical father, shrugged them off, assuming that her suspicions “must be nothing.” Fortunately for America, John Cullen did not shrug off his suspicions.
And what does this mean to America’s 9-1-1 dispatchers? We have our own “gift of fear” and it will be even more important that we recognize and act upon it in the post-September 11th era. Public safety dispatchers use our “gift of fear” daily in our response to the intonations and phrasing of 9-1-1 callers and field units on the radio, where the instinctive perceptions of more than one dispatcher has recognized that something wasn’t right in the way a caller answered our questions or a field unit spoke on the radio, prompting us to clarify, confirm, verbally investigate, or send extra help. Even more so than before, we’re also going to need to be more in tune with the “gift of fear” possessed by our 9-1-1 callers, who, more than ever, need to be vigilant and attentive and willing or courageous enough to place that call to 9-1-1 that might be the only call we get that winds up unraveling another international terrorist plot.
How many of us shrugged off the dozenth “suspicious white powder” call we received via 9-1-1 back in October? How many of us routinely shrug off reports of suspicious yet undefined behavior? How many of us truly embrace the “gift of fear” possessed by our 9-1-1 callers and treat every last one of them as if they were of vital importance? Yes, it’s true that most of them turn out to be absolutely nothing, and most of us may well feel embarrassed we had to waste an officer’s time to go investigate such nonsense. But the point I am making, as de Becker also makes it, is that we must take those instinctual warning signs seriously. Let us hope they all turn out to be absolutely nothing! But we must take them seriously, and we must reassure our callers that they did the right thing by reporting it, and we must encourage our callers to continue to be vigilant and willing to dial 9-1-1 to make a report when their instinct tells them that something’s not right, and we must treat them with respect and empathy and attentively when they make that call, because one of these days we’ll answer the phone and it will be a man like John Cullen reporting a group of suspicious people, just like we got twenty seven times this week, only this time it will be real. Let it not be a 9-1-1 dispatcher who shrugs off the call of a citizen reporting suspicious activity that turns out to be the next terrorist incident against our country or your community.
De Becker gives an apt example when he describes the most reliable security system of modern air travel as being, not x-ray machines or baggage checks, but the passengers on board the aircraft and their renewed acceptance of responsibility. Since September 11th, a couple hundred pairs of perceptive eyes and a couple hundred willing arms possessed by every passenger aboard every airline flight has made flying virtually safer than it’s ever been before. By the very same token, those eyes and ears and 9-1-1-dialing fingers of every member of your community are valuable and vital components of your community’s public safety system. Especially now, we must never shrug off even the silliest call or make the caller feel even the least bit foolish. Had a 9-1-1 dispatcher made John Cullen feel foolish some time before he made that fateful call in 1942, he might never have made that call from his beach house on Long Island. In these post-September 11th days, we need a vigilant and cooperative public, and it is our job, by taking their calls seriously and attentively, to recruit that public to be alert and willing to make the right call.
For more information, see https://www.gavindebecker.com
By Kurt Kamm
MCM Publishing www.mcmpublishing.com, January, 2012.
Paperback, 232 pages, $14.95
Author Kurt Kamm has experienced wildfire first hand, not as a firefighter but as a resident of Malibu, California, where his experience in several devastating local wildfires have colored the subject matter of his writing. By attended classes at the El Camino Fire Academy as well as training sessions in arson investigation and hazardous materials response, Kamm has educated himself in firefighting technology and operations which have given his books a strong degree of verisimilitude.
Kamm’s first novel was a wildland firefighter’s story called One Foot in the Black, a story about a helitack firefighter struggling to overcome traumatic stress. The book was quickly followed by Red Flag Warning, a mystery novel about a serial arsonist setting the parched Los Angeles hills aflame while LA County arson investigators struggle to find the fire-setter and stop the devastation. Kamm’s latest novel is Code Blood, an engrossing mystery about of a fire paramedic searching for a woman's foot, stolen after it was severed in an automobile accident. Moving from the rural wildlands to the urban world of downtown Los Angeles, Code Blood is an exciting noir mystery that immerses the reader in a world of emergency medicine, stem cell research, and the black market for body parts, a very intriguing canvas for this fast-paced story to spread across.
Kamm writes informally but grippingly, with a cinematic narrative style in which choice words and punctuation become the editing and focus of his literary camera. The book is a compelling mystery with the added bonus of a sense of credibility for the public safety professional reader. Enthusiastically recommended
Click here to read our exclusive interview with Kurt Kamm about the writing of Code Blood.
Self-Reliance during Natural Disasters and Civil Unrest, Revised & Updated Edition
By George R. Bradford
Paperback, 202 pages, 242 pictures, 41 illustrations.
Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 2011. $26.95
When a disaster or civil disturbance occurs, firefighters, police officers, and paramedics can quickly become overburdened with too many requests to handle simple emergencies – emergencies that most of us should be able to handle ourselves. During a major disaster, communities will have to be self-reliant, including the public safety community, since emergency responders will be unable to respond to every request for assistance. This newly updated and comprehensive book provides the knowledge to handle nine basic crises that typically follow a disaster and motivates readers to assist their families and neighbors should a large-scale catastrophe strike their community.
Originally published in 2007, the author, retired fire department captain George R. Bradford, has thoroughly upd
ated the book with additional tools and guidelines for the civilian “immediate responder” - ordinary citizens operating at their own homes or businesses who are willing and able to provide the most timely action during those critical first few moments following an emergency, before the availability of government public safety responders (which, during a major event, may be delayed).
Bradford, who is retired from the San Jose Fire Department, helped developed the agency’s incident dispatch team, is a long-time advocate of mutual aid training. The book is packed with hundreds of hands-on techniques and tips for disaster firefighting on your own, civilian search and rescue with light tools, vehicle rescue and firefighting, controlling utilities to prevent new problems, salvage and decontamination for home and business owners, and evacuation do’s and don’ts.
This is not just another book on stockpiling food and water. It is a crash course in the types of tasks normally handled by professional emergency-response personnel. Intended for a lay audience as well as emergency responders seeking to be self-sufficient when off the job and at home, Bradford shows readers how to evaluate each situation rationally and confidently and decide when to handle the emergency on their own and when to call the authorities for help. The new material added to this revised edition increases its value to civilians, neighborhood emergency service coordinators, emergency managers, and public safety personnel. New segments include instructions for sandbagging, guidelines for clearing rubble with chainsaws, protecting health during salvage operations, incorporating modern options into post-disaster communications plans, handling traumatic injuries without professional medical assistance, coordinating the longer-term efforts of citizen teams, police and firefighters, and government disaster-response personnel in the days and weeks following the event.
In these time of ongoing and potential disasters both natural and human-caused, it is becoming increasingly evident that, at the very least in the short-run, civilians will need to assume responsibility for the safety and welfare of their own homes and neighborhoods; public safety first responders are going to be stretched thin and will be forced to prioritize their emergency response. Thus, prepared citizens will need to be self-reliant in many areas of post-disaster mitigation and recovery. This book is the first step in educating the prepared and willing immediate responder. It is well-illustrated and easy to follow, both as an invaluable and across-the-board overview of personal, family, and community disaster preparedness, and an important reference to keep handy and refer to. Public safety personnel as well will find this a useful resource for the safety and proactive self-reliance of their families in times of disaster.
Also available as a companion booklet is a pocket-sized Emergency Action Guide, a condensed guide that serves as a checklist and/or reminder for the many key points needed to address the most common problems encountered following a everyday accident or a natural disaster. This 90 page (4”x 6”) guide is not intended to replace the full text of the book, but simply act as an easy to carry, quick reference checklist for the key points of typical operations. The covers are laminated to protect the booklet during harsh use.
The Emergency Action Guide is $19.00 each.
To order either or both, see: immediateresponder.org
Former police commander's memoir explores issues of race, age discrimination in Sacramento law enforcement system
Middle Aged White Boy
Create Space, 2011
394 pages, paperback, $19.95
In "Middle Aged White Boy Michael Shaw tackles the controversial subjects of race and age discrimination, and its evolution from the 1960s to today. Based on his own experiences, readers follow the former Sacramento police commander's adventures in the dangerous world of law enforcement during this tumultuous political period.
When Shaw started his law enforcement career on September 13, 1965, he had no idea how the rising tide of political change would affect his career. He explains his involvement in the violent protests for equal rights and how he, along with the entire Sacramento Police Department, worked extensively to keep peace in the community. He saw how heated discussions and demands for civil rights resulted in a rapid increase in crime and street rioting which injured both men and women and brought the entire community to its knees.
Shaw never thought that 28 years later he'd be fighting for his own rights and fair treatment from the department to which he had dedicated his life. He describes how as the result of an election for mayor in June of 1992, high-ranking politicians and city officials were replaced in the city of Sacramento. Under the guise of affirmative action, Shaw contends, ethics and fairness were destroyed by the new administration's attitude of ethnocentricity and unrealistic policies.
"Discriminatory practices and harassment were used in tactics that caused the replacement of older Caucasian male officers with younger officers and/or minorities. Any fairness," says Shaw, "was torn apart and the entire police department spiraled into chaos."
Amidst the growing darkness, the author's Christian faith and his wife Linda became his only safe harbor. With friends and family still working in the department, they turned to the courts to battle against the discrimination that had claimed Shaw's health and destroyed the upper management ranks of the department. Win or lose, they decided to take the issue all the way to federal court.
"Middle Aged White Boy" is available for purchase at Amazon.com and other channels.
For more information, www.middleagedwhiteboy.com
About the Author: Michael Shaw is a retired police commander who worked for nearly 30 years in Sacramento, California. Throughout his career, he held the positions of officer, sergeant, homicide supervisor, SWAT lieutenant, narcotics division captain and commander of one half of the department's patrol forces. He was involved in keeping the peace in the city during the civil rights movement, and throughout the rest of his career working in many capacities with all segments of the Sacramento community. He worked primarily with victims on the streets of the city. He is now retired and lives with his wife, Linda, and dog, Mr. Murphy, near Placerville, California.
- Books/9-1-1magazine.com (via Michael Shaw, 10/5/11)
Emergency Responder Communication Skills Handbook
How Your Words and Actions Affect People in Medical Distress
By Brian E. Walsh, PhD
Victoria, BC: Walsh Seminars, 2010.
Paperback, 80 pages. $14.95
Brian E. Walsh, PhD of WalshSeminars.com has produced a valuable handbook designed to help emergency response professionals sharpen their professional communication skills.
Professional emergency responders well trained to handle an extensive array of crises. Their intense and stressful work environment can cause depersonalization of casualties and victims, with potentially negative consequences. During an emergency, rescue training can save lives. An often unrecognized element is one of the most powerful: the responder’s interpersonal communication skills.
The public safety responder’s words have a much greater influence on the welfare of patients and other public contacts than they may ever realize. What is said and how it is said can either help or hinder your patients’ recovery.
With Walsh’s book, emergency responders will:
- Discover words and actions that support victim recovery, and others that can intentionally hinder it.
- Learn how the surroundings can upset casualties, and how a first responder can easily calm their distress.
- Explore powerful communication models for use in every facet of life - at work, at home, and at play.
The book is a short and easy read, which makes it ideal for quick reference and review. It’s focused on EMS issues but much of what he says can be applied to other aspects of emergency response and field incident management. Walsh’s advice is equally of value to those members of the response community for whom words is especially essential: the responders’ 9-1-1 telecommunicatiors and radio dispatchers.
By Kelly R. Rasmussen, MS, ENP
Charlotte, NC: OMNI Book Publishing, 2009
Paperback, 140 pages, $18.95.
Involved with the 9-1-1 industry since 1986, Kelly R. Rasmussen rose through the ranks from 9-1-1 dispatcher to director and is now an international speaker and author and CEO of Success Communications, Inc., a notable provider of 9-1-1 related training courses. 9-1-1, Who Will Answer the Call takes Kelly’s two decade’s worth of experience behind the 9-1-1 console, as a 9-1-1 Center manager, and as a 9-1-1 trainer and boils it down into 140 pages of entertaining, educational, and often inspiring reading. Public safety telecommunicators will surely recognize the types of calls Kelly relates while gaining insight into communication skills, which are shared through anecdotes, training exercises, and examples of calls both hypothetical and real. The names of Rasmussen’s chapters give an idea of the book’s format and the type of communication skills she feels are most important: Courage, Compassion, Resolve, Endurance, Companionship, Empathy, Fear, Hope, and the like. The book exemplifies the types of calls dispatchers answer and gives readers an overall view of the career of the 9-1-1 dispatcher while also outlining advancements in 9-1-1 call-taking technology. It’s both a funny and heartwarming recollection for the veteran and an inspiring and instructional guidebook for the recruit and the advancing dispatcher – and their managers.
By Anthony DePalma
Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press, 2010
340 pages, hardcover, $25.99
Of the many books focusing on the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center (the attack on the Pentagon, BTW, being neglected to just one or two books), this new volume from New York Times reporter Anthony DePalma is the first to fully account of the environmental disaster that flew in on the wake of those hijacked airplanes. Beginning with the respiratory impact the massive clouds of dust did as they lingered through the weeks of search and rescue in the immediate aftermath of the towers’ collapse, DePalma focuses on health issues (“Even with the most advanced science, we do not yet know what the wicked concoction of dust, ash, and toxic materials did when it landed deep inside the heaving lungs of responders…” he writes in his introduction) and, perhaps more significantly, local and federal government decisions made to minimize the potential danger in order to restore New York City to full operation (“a long sequence of individual decisions – some made in haste, some made with arrogance – favored the recovery of the city over the recovery of its people.”). By seeming necessity, recovery was put ahead of precaution in order to restore New York City and resume a sense of normalcy, with "no time for the great city to dwell on what the long-term impact of the dust might be."
This scientific, medical, political, and legal scope of the 9/11 disaster in NYC has not hitherto been examined in this amount of comprehensive detail. DaPalma shares the personal experiences of responders and local New Yorkers alike whose lives and health have been affected by the dust ever since that bright Tuesday morning. From a public safety standpoint, the hundreds of local and federally-activated responders who poured into Ground Zero after the attacks to attempt rescue and recovery are still dealing with potentially long-term health effects of their service, and the term “World Trade Center cough” has, sadly, fallen into the public safety vernacular, making DePalma’s book, and its suggestions for change when it happens again, especially relevant.
From The Ashes: Surviving the Station Nightclub Fire
By Gina Russo with Paul Lonardo
West Conshohocken, PA: Infinity Publishing, 2010.
190 pages, paperback, $14.95
The fire at The Station, a flam metal night club in West Warwick, Rhode Island, that occurred on February 20, 2003, is considered the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in American history, killing 100 people and pyrotechnics set off by the performing band’s tour manager ignited flammable materials. Gina Russo was there that night, and was one of the lucky ones in the crowded club to escape with her life. Joined by writer Paul Lonardo, their book describes the events of that night in a riveting narrative that makes the book both a quick read and an exciting true-life drama. While 100 people lost their lives, including the band’s lead guitarist, many more were physically or emotionally scarred by the flames; Russo and Lonardo examine what happened from a tactical standpoint, as Russo saw it, which is perhaps the book’s most interesting angle for the public safety community; but by personalizing the victims – both deceased and surviving – From The Ashes honors the dead and becomes Russo’s personal story of tragedy and triumph as she seeks to find some meaning within the events of that February night. It’s a moving and powerful journal.
By Mike Smith
Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group LLC, 2010.
312 pages, hardcover/paperback, $24.95
Author Mike Smith, a pioneering meteorologist and the CEO of Weather-Data Services, Inc. (see his story on “Storm Spotting” in our Sept/Oct 2008 issue, and his new article on “The Importance of Storm Spotting” posted on our Web Portal), traces the evolution of weather forecasting and advanced warning systems, illuminating the scientists whose breakthroughs have led to such technological advances and measuring systems such as the Fujita Scale for tornados. The book takes a journey into the hearts and minds of those who – like Smith – have dedicated lives and careers to the study and understanding of storm spotting and methods to predict and
From early attempts to forecast and develop means to warn communities of potential tornados in the 1930s and 1940s to the latest forms of satellite radar and intricate computer storm analysis that have been employed for Hurricane Katrina and since, Smith delineates the confluence of technology and training that make up the modern storm spotter. Understanding makes a thing less threatening, so by understanding weather’s capacity for fury, Smith is able to accommodate insights into keeping meteorology and public safety alike one step ahead of the deadly winds, and allow science and safety to keep communities protected. Smith is a masterful storyteller and his narrative is both readable and gripping; Warnings is a perfect storm of history, insight, and advice as interesting for the meteorologist as for the first responder and emergency manager.
By Janice Hudson
Updated & Expanded Edition
Richmond Hill, Ontario: Firefly Books Ltd.
272 pages, paperback, $19.95
Emergency flight nursing is said to be one of the most gruesome and emotionally draining jobs in the world, but the adrenalin rush of being in the air, racing to an emergency, the exhilaration of saving a life are the highs of the job; while the emotional lows of seeing a life slip through your fingers are among its lowest lows. The men and women who gravitate to this kind of work, like other species of public safety and emergency response, call themselves “trauma junkies” because they thrive on danger and stress, and they do their best in the midst of chaotic, critical, and high-pressure environments. Janice Hudson has spent a career in these kinds of environments, ten years as a flight nurse with CALSTAR (California Shock/Trauma Air Rescue), one of the nation’s leading medevac services; even longer as an ER nurse. In this expanded version of her original 2001 edition, Russo brings the reader along in her shoes for a ride-along in the trauma ward and the jump seat of the CALSTAR helicopter, experiencing the job first hand from the author’s recollections; it’s both her personal story into and (eventually, due to her own battle with multiple sclerosis) out of the life of a trauma junkie, and an examination of the team environment that, with military precision, keeps emergency rooms and medevac flights saving lives.
By Bryan Conner
Central Milton Keyes, UK: Authorhouse, 2010.
326 pages, paperback, $17.66.
Soon-to-be retired police officer Bryan Connor recounts a successful thirty year career with the British Police Service in this entertaining and insightful novel, providing a fascinating look at the day to day life of a British copper, based on selected extracts from the more interesting and humorous stories he noted down following his tours of duty. While police work is police work, Britain has had a unique history of law enforcement which is vividly relayed in this journal-based narrative. Connor, in a very informal and fireside chat-style of writing, relates some of the tricky situations, embarrassing moments and uncomfortable episodes that quite often arise when locals and visitors alike in the busy Borough of Sandwell in the West Midlands of England decided to breach the laws laid down by Her Majesties Government. Through hearty humor tinged with just a hint of sarcasm and infused with a wealth of peculiar characters, Conner extracts some of the more notable episodes in his past, letting readers in on some of the more unique incidents that he and his British colleagues have had to deal with over the years.
By Mike Kinkaid
Fairbanks/Coeur d’Alene: Adventurous Books, 2009.
260 pages, paperback, $17.50
A former state trooper with the Alaska Department of Public Safety, Mike Kinkaid brings the insight of his experience into this exciting detective novel taking place on his home frontier. Second in a series of adventure-mysteries build around his character of Alaska Trooper Jack Blake (the first was 2007’s Alaska Justice), Kinkaid expands his Alaskan horizons to parlay a murder mystery beyond our 50th State’s boundaries while focusing on what makes law enforcement so unique in Alaska. Kinkaid maintains an informal, easy-going writing style that takes off with the speed of a 1930’s movie serial and all the plot twists and turns that such storytelling would imply. Alaska & Beyond captures a whirlwind cinematic pacing and the personal experience of a real Alaskan law enforcement officer to make sure the adventures of Trooper Blake ring true. Equal parts investigation and action, Alaska & Beyond is tons of fun – an exciting ride and a compelling mystery.