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Florida Firefighters Save Manatees from Storm Drain

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

When manatees were found to be caught in a Satellite Beach storm drain, firefighters jumped into action to save the endangered animals. Working diligently into the night, Satellite Beach firefighters were able to save 19 manatees.

Manatees were Stranded in Central Florida’s Satellite Beach

Satellite Beach is a warm destination nestled uniquely between the Atlantic Ocean beaches and the Indian River Lagoon. Residents and tourists of the area are accustomed to seeing manatees, especially along the city’s canals and Banana River.

All Manatees Were Rescued and Alive

Although it took some strategic planning, the Satellite Beach Fire Department was able to save all 19 manatees from the storm drain. Early reports of the manatee’s situation stated that there were only 15 manatees in the storm drain, but the final count found there were actually 19 manatees rescued.

More About Manatees

Manatees are often called sea cows. These herbivorous marine mammals can measure as long as 13 feet and can weigh up to 1,300 lbs. Slow moving, gentle Manatees have paddle-like flippers and are endangered. On average, a manatee can live about 60 years, but the most common cause of manatee mortality is human-related. In the United States, it is illegal to hunt or harass a manatee.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Provided a Manatee-Rescue Team

While the Satellite Beach Fire Department worked to save the manatees, they were assisted by a manatee-rescue team from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Together, the two organizations, and Florida police officers helped to save the endangered marine animals. As part of the rescue, heavy earth-moving equipment was brought into a Satellite Beach neighborhood and placed on an Atlantic Ocean barrier island.

At 911 Signal USA, we salute the first responders efforts and success in saving the 19 manatees. 911 Signal USA is an online retailer of LED emergency vehicle lights for first responders. Our online store features everything from basic LED surface mount lights to sophisticated, stealthy full-size LED light bars.


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Ohio K-9 Officer Home After 60+ Days on the Run

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

Not many people can understand how close a K-9 and their handler are unless they have seen it firsthand. The folks in Wilmington, Ohio, recently rallied to help Karson, a K-9 officer and his handler Officer Jerry Popp reunite after Karson escaped from a boarding facility and couldn’t be found for more than six weeks.

Karson was Missing for 61 Days

Shortly before Christmas 2014, Officer Jerry Popp took his K9 to a Wilmington boarding facility while the human officer and his family visited relatives over the holidays. Karson escaped the facility and was on the run for 61 days. Popp credits social media efforts for helping get Karson home.

Karson was Found Near Interstate 71 Near Port William

Officer Popp created a Facebook page to help bring Karson home and a $2,000 reward was offered for the canine’s safe return. Through the page, Officer Popp would routinely get sightings and tips on Karson’s whereabouts. In addition to the Facebook page, volunteers showered the city with Missing posters, and a  professional search team arrived in Wilmington from New Jersey to aid in bringing the K9 officer home. On Sunday, around 1pm in the afternoon, Karson, a Belgian Malinois, was spotted near Interstate 71 and reunited with his handler shortly after.

Karson is Okay and Happy to Be Home

Immediately after being reunited with Karson, Officer Popp let Karson’s 24,000 followers on Facebook know that he had been found safe. With nighttime temperatures dipping into the subzero range, everyone was worried about Karson’s overall health. The K9 officer was immediately checked out at a Wilmington veterinary clinic and was found to be in good health. The K9 was mildly hydrated and had lost quite a bit of weight, about 14 lbs.

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Did LA Firefighters Cheat on Fire Entry Exam?

Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

Last year, many new firefighters to the department were well-known to existing members of the LA fire department. In fact, many of the new hires were actually family members or friends of LA firefighters. The huge number of new hires that were friends with or related to existing firefighters set off red flags and has led to allegations that LA firefighters may have cheated on the fire entry exam.

Audit Uncovers 17 Fire Department Officials Shared Testing Materials

After an audit was concluded, it was determined that many LA fire department officials had shared testing materials. In total, 17 officials have been named in the investigation including one battalion chief and 10 fire captains. The investigation alleges that the materials were shared and even sent to non-county emails.

Son of a Fire Captain Hired – Emails Found Proving Clarification on Testing Materials

One of the cases found in the audit include the son of a fire captain emailing his father for clarification on a test question. It is believed that the son had received copies of interview questions and had also received the answers as well. Through the investigation, officials uncovered an email from the son asking his father for more details about the answer to a question. The son was fired by the department.

Department Officials Can’t Explain When or How Testing Materials Were Shared

When questioned about the sharing of testing materials, no LA fire department officials could explain how, why, or when testing materials would have been circulated or shared.

Fire Department Process is Designed to Select the Best Candidates for the Job

The audit sheds light on how the LA fire department selects candidates. In this area, firefighters can make upwards of six figures and 95% of applicants are turned away. By design, the testing requirements in place help officials choose the very best candidates through testing and interviews. However, when some candidates have prior knowledge of the questions and can even read pre-approved answers, the hiring process is unfair and biased, and also doesn’t guarantee the best candidate for the job are actually receiving it.

LA Fire Department Promises to Safeguard the Hiring Process

In lieu of the investigation, the LA fire department has promised to safeguard the hiring process. To do this, they will implement a policy on nepotism, and work with county officials to create safeguards that will guarantee the process stays fair and the best candidates for the job are receiving them.

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Understanding Courtesy Light Laws in the United States

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

As first responders, it is your responsibility to understand courtesy laws in the United States. Each state has statutes that govern what types of emergency lighting can be used in their state, and which courtesy lights can be used on personal vehicles. In this blog, we will help you understand courtesy light laws, and how they vary, across the United States.

What are Courtesy Lights?

Courtesy lights and emergency vehicle lights are the same units. For instance, a police fleet manager can order a dozen dash lights for their fleet, and a volunteer firefighter can order the same unit, but the way the law treats the lights and what colors can be used in a vehicle vary greatly from state to state. In most states, courtesy lights are used primarily to request a right-of way. Courtesy lights are used mostly by volunteer firefighter and EMTs to expedite their commute time to firehouses or bases in privately owned vehicles.

Rights Provided by Courtesy Lights

When a volunteer firefighter or EMT uses courtesy lights on the privately owned vehicle, in most states, it doesn’t grant the drive permission to disobey traffic laws. For instance, a volunteer traveling to the fire station can’t speed, run stop lights or stop signs when operating courtesy lights.

Difference Between Emergency Vehicle Lights and Courtesy Lights

As we mentioned above, courtesy lights and emergency vehicle lights can be the same unit. However, the difference comes down to the way the lights are used. When reading state statutes, emergency vehicle lights are usually referred to as lights that are used with an audible siren. Most often, emergency vehicle lights are found on police vehicle, fire apparatuses, and ambulances.

Warning Lights May be Used by Construction Vehicles, Tow Trucks, Snow Plows, and School Buses

Other vehicles that use warning lights include construction vehicles, tow trucks, snow plows, and school buses. Drivers of these vehicles use warning lights to increase awareness and visibility on the road. Usually, these vehicles make drive slower than the pace of traffic, make more stops, or are working in dangerous conditions. Vehicles that use warning lights, warning light colors are governed by state statutes, cannot disobey traffic laws.

Learn More About Courtesy Light Laws from 911 Signal USA

To make understanding courtesy light laws easy , we have created a courtesy light guide that breaks down what color color courtesy lights are permitted for use in each state. We have also added a link to the state statutes that give more detailed information about the type of lights that are permitted to be used in each state. This information has been provided for your reference, if more questions arise, you should consult local officials.

911 Signal USA is a leader in LED emergency vehicle lights for first responders and those that are allowed to use courtesy lights and warning lights in their state. Shop our online store today and you will find everything you need to stay bright at day or night.


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Mississippi Volunteer Firefighters Charged with Arson

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

Recently, a former firefighter in Hancock County was arrested and charged with arson. This is the sixth person arrested for a rash of fires in the area and not the only firefighter suspected of arson in the investigation. Officials and media in the area are referring to the group, which includes several volunteer firefighters as a “fire cult.”

Suspected Arsonist was a Member of Clermont Volunteer Fire Department

The suspected arsonist, Michael Spencer Smith, has been charged with one charge of arson of woods/marsh. Smith was a member of the Clermont Harbor Volunteer Fire Department.

Mississippi Forestry Commission working with County Sheriff

The Mississippi Forestry Commission is in charge of the case, but the county Sheriff is making arrests. The Forestry Commission has taken charge of the investigation because it involves arson of public land. One of the burnt areas that the Mississippi fire cult is suspected of causing is the fire that burned a Logtown community wooded area on January 9, 2015.

Fire Cult Leader is a Former Volunteer Firefighter

Another former Clermont Harbor volunteer firefighter was also recently arrested in the case. Marie Estella Gill, 27, is the suspected ringleader of the Mississippi fire cult. According to investigators, Gill was responsible for gathering people to get involved in fires. To date, Gill has 8 felonies filed against her; including five charges of arson of woods/marsh. Other charges against Gill include one count of tampering with evidence, one count of arson of a dwelling, and one count of conspiracy to commit arson.

Four Volunteer Firefighters Suspected of Arson

Smith and Gill are not the only Mississippi volunteer firefighters to be suspected members of the fire cult. Crystal Mooneyhan, 27, and Orenthial “OJ” Smith, 33, also worked with the Clermonth Harbor volunteer fire department when the alleged arsons occurred. Leslie Cheramie, 39, and Korri-Don Jones, 29, were members of the West Hancock volunteer fire department when the arsons occurred.

911 Signal USA is an online retailer of LED firefighter lights. We keep our LED warning lights priced low so firefighters can equip their POVs and emergency vehicles with better visibility in daytime and nighttime hours.


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Theft of Firefighter Gear Prompts Warning to Public

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

A Poulsbo Fire Department volunteer recently had his firefighter gear stolen from his personal vehicle. As a result, a warning and reminder has been issued to the public to be aware of imposters trying to gain access to your home or other private areas. While the theft was from the Poulsbo Fire Department, the advice the fire department gave about the threat of firefighter imposters can be applied in any town across the United States.

Firefighter Jackets and Hats Were Stolen

Two firefighter jackets and two firefighter hats were stolen from a Poulsbo Fire Department volunteers personal vehicle. The vehicle was parked just outside his home in Kitsap County. Inside the jacket pockets were two winter hats that bare fire department logos.

Fire Department is Concerned Over Stolen Items

The Poulsbo Fire Department is concerned over the recent theft of firefighter gear. The biggest concern is that whoever stole the firefighter jacket and hats will try to access homes or hospitals. Another fear is that the thief will wear the stolen volunteer firefighter jacket and try to trick people into donating money to the fire department.

Department Warns Against Letting Anyone Into Your Home – Unless You Called Them

To help protect yourself from someone pretending to be a firefighter, the Polusbo Fire Department encourages people to be careful when allowing someone access to your home. The fire department’s best advice is to not let anyone into your home – unless you called them. Additionally, firefighters encourage neighbors to be leery of anyone that says they’re at your home to inspect or asking for entry. If it were a true emergency, you wouldn’t have one firefighter showing up at your door with just a coat on. In a true emergency, it would be evident that something was going on.

Check for the Entire Uniform

In addition to being leery of letting someone in your home that you didn’t expect, firefighters encourage everyone to look for the entire uniform. A firefighter wouldn’t just have a firefighter coat. In most situations, you would be able to recognize a firefighters’ pants, uniform boots, shirt, and most likely at least one other person.

911 Signal USA is an online retailer of police and fire lights. Shop our online store for the very best LED warning lights on the market.


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