Category: Blog

For Sale: Fire Department Patch Collection

for-saleI was recently contacted by Gino Gill, who has been a volunteer firefighter from West Mifflin #1-Homeville for 36 years.

He has a collection of around 1200 fire department patches from all over the world that he is looking to sell.  Some of the patches are rare and are from departments no longer in business.

He is asking $2.50 a patch for approximately 1200 patches. That’s $3000.00 for the lot.

He also has some other collectables available such as metal fire helmets.

If you are interested, or know of anyone please contact Gino at

Never Forget

9-11-remembranceI will never forget the devastation and loss of life that occurred 12 years ago today.

2977 people lost their lives, including 412 emergency workers.

Please take a moment to reflect on all those that made the ultimate sacrifice, not just today, but every day.

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9 Negative Things You May See or Hear at an Emergency Incident in Western Pa (and beyond)


This article wasn’t created to bash any one, as every department has their weaknesses and faults.  I know this doesn’t just happen in western Pennsylvania.  I also know that there are many areas in western Pennsylvania that don’t really have a lot of these issues below.  The goal of this article is to bring awareness and get people to evaluate how they perform in certain instances, both as a department and as an individual.

As most people know, people are very resistant to change.  For whatever reason, it seems people in the emergency services fields are even more resistant to change than others.  “If its not broke, why fix it?” gets said a lot when discussing improving things.  The problem it, usually it is broken, so lets work on getting it fixed.  Not only for safety and better efficiency on emergency scenes, but to work on improving as a region, county, department, and as individuals.

So lets get to the list, feel free to add any I missed in the comments below the article.

1.  Squads and non-critical units tying up air waves during large incidents.
We’ve heard it and been part of it well too many times.  The beginning of a working incident with tons of radio traffic, between units being dispatched, acknowledging, calling en route, and getting updates from dispatch.  It gets even more hectic once units start getting on scene and the incident commander is trying to give orders.  With the exception of a squad performing as a RIT, there is nothing worse than hearing a squad or auxiliary unit tying up the air by calling in en route with 1 or 2 people while the beginning fire attack and water supply operations are in effect.  Go to the scene, park out of the way, and go to staging.

2.  Units told to respond at a reduced rate, yet when they acknowledge that message you still hear the sirens and air horns blowing away.
Not much to say about this one, this one falls into the unnecessary category, which it seems like a lot of things on the list fall into.

3.  Wearing structural turn out gear  in flood waters.
Every time a big storm hits and flooding breaks out we see Facebook and Twitter light up with messages like “Be safe in the floods” and “Don’t wear your turnout gear”.  However, as soon as you see media coverage, the first thing you usually see are guys in turnout gear.  Some pictures are deceiving, and guys may just be standing by near flooded roadways and not really near the water.  However, you have to cringe when you see pictures and video of firefighters knee to thigh deep in water.  The most common argument we hear, is that “We don’t have river rescue gear and turnout gear is the only thing our department has”.  There is a real easy solution for that, street clothes, boots, and a life jacket.  Yeah, you may get wet, but at least you aren’t wearing an anchor.

4.  Lack of using operations channels.
I believe this is more of an issue in Allegheny county than other areas, but I could be wrong.  I’m not sure why people have such a hard time switching over to their assigned operation channels around here.  Accidents do happen at times where your radio is on the wrong channel, but some departments just continuously need to be told to use the proper operations channel.

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A Special Thank You to New Kensington Area Responders

4-20-06 Freeport Rd MVA eHoopie World received an email the other day that we wanted to share with everyone regarding an accident on Freeport Road back in April of 2006.

The accident involved a motorcycle and a Ford Explorer and Stat Medevac was brought in for air medical transport.

Here is the original report of the accident:

Ford Explorer vs a motorcycle on Freeport Rd at the YMCA. 1 male patient flown to Pittsburgh via Stat. Citizens Hose Fire-Rescue-EMS, Harrison PD, and Harrison Hills responded.

The email was from the victim in the accident. We wanted to share, as there are many times that firefighters, police, and medics do not receive thanks for the jobs they do. Also, there are many times that first responders never find out if a patient pulls through or not.

In this case, it was a happy ending. The photos are by Chris Negley.

Here is the email I received:

Hey… I just googled to see if there was anything on the web about my accident back in 2006, and well here it is…

What it doesn’t report was that my 10 year old son was on the bike with me… He turned out okay…

I spent 21 days in the hospital, 10 of those in a coma, came close to dying a few times… Two weeks in rehab till they kicked me out for being too messed up to work on… Spent 4 months in a hospital bed at home…. Took a total of 6 months to get back to work…

Well, I can’t thank the responders enough for the help they provided me and my son… I can’t remember the face of the guy who talked to me. Sounded like Sam Elliot as I recall, and I think his name was Bill… Anyway, his voice was a REAL comfort to me…

Feel free to contact me if you need anything… If you guys do fund raisers, I could probably get you a band…

Blessings to all you do!!

Willy Franklin

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Patch Photo Galleries Have Been Updated

Two more categories in the Hoopie World Image Gallery have been updated.  They are the Fire/Rescue/EMS patch section and the Police patch section.

You will notice we have patches from all across the United States.  If you have any pictures of patches that you would like to add, please email them to or upload them via the upload button on the image gallery.

Fire Apparatus Gallery – Westmoreland County Pa

newstanton-rescueAs you probably know, we have been in the process of updating the image gallery on Hoopie World.  For now, we are trying to get at least one picture from every department from every county in western PA.  Once that collection is complete, we will continue on trying to complete the collection by getting a picture of every unit from every department.

We have just uploaded the pictures that we have from Westmoreland county.  The  Westmoreland county fire apparatus gallery can be seen by clicking on the link.

If you have a picture, please use the upload form on the image gallery, or email them to

We are still in need of pictures from the following departments:

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2013 Annual Pittsburgh Fire Muster


The 2013 Annual Pittsburgh Fire Muster will be held on Sunday, August 11th, 2013 at Pittsburgh North Shore near Heinz field starting at 9am.

Please see the attached flyer for all information.

Thanks to everyone that sent information regarding the fire muster.