public safety

Fire Chief Nick Sohyda and Commission President Kelly Fraasch honored Deputy Chief Rodger Ricciuti (above) as Fire Officer of the Year.


AWARDS There was lots to celebrate in public safety in early 2016. Two Mt. Lebanon police officers saved three lives, thanks to their training with Narcan, a medication that counteracts opioid overdoses from drugs such as heroin. Officer Tom Rutowski used the Narcan nasal spray on two victims and Lt. Dan Hyslop used it once. For their efforts, both officers received the department’s Life Saving Awards.

Volunteer Bill Dougherty is Firefighter of the Year.
Volunteer Bill Dougherty is Firefighter of the Year.

The Mt. Lebanon Fire Department presented Deputy Chief Rodger Ricciuti with the Fire Officer of the Year Award and honored volunteer Bill Dougherty with its Firefighter of the Year Award.

A 33-year career member of the fire company, Ricciuti responded to the highest number of off-duty calls, is a leader on the South Hills Area Council of Governments Technical Rescue Team and is a member of the Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue Strike Team. He is also an active community volunteer.

Dougherty is the volunteer firefighter who attended the most calls while off duty for the second year in a row, and serves as a role model “in a quiet way with a positive attitude,” says Fire Chief Nick Sohyda. The annual award recognizes a volunteer firefighter who demonstrates outstanding service in fire prevention, fire protection and suppression.

Lt. Dan Hyslop, left, and Ofc. Tom Rutowski were honored for saving lives of overdose victims by using Narcan nasal spray.
Lt. Dan Hyslop, left, and Ofc. Tom Rutowski were honored for saving lives of overdose victims by using Narcan nasal spray.

PROMOTIONS The police department promoted three officers to the rank of corporal, to fill vacancies left by other promotions within the department: Mike Smakosz, Josh Chops and Pat O’Brien.

NEW HIRES Medical Rescue Team South Authority (MRTSA) hired two new emergency medical technicians: Ken Picard and Dan Federico.

EDUCATION An article written by MRTSA paramedic John Gabrick, White Oak Circle, ran in the prestigious Journal of Emergency Medicine. The article discusses how medics can assess pain in patients who can’t express themselves. This is the second piece Gabrick has had published in the journal; the other was on analyzing electrocardiograms in elderly patients. Gabrick, a Carnegie Mellon graduate and the CEO of MindMatters Technologies,  also has written several books on business and software innovation that are available on  He has worked part-time with MRTSA since 2007.

TRAINING The police department will be continuing its community-wide ALICE training over the next few months with the 2,000 employees of St. Clair Hospital. ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, trains people on the best practices  to use in a situation involving an active shooter or violent intruder, says Police Chief Aaron Lauth.

Lauth  estimates that the department will have given about  40 classes to hospital staff by the time the training is completed  near the end of June. ALICE is also the protocol taught in Mt. Lebanon schools, with adaptations for age and maturity level. ALICE is different from traditional  lockdown and shelter in place drills in that it also allows for other tactics, such as fleeing or fighting back, in certain circumstances.

If your large group would like to consider ALICE training, call Cpl. James Hughes in the crime prevention unit, 412-343-4068.

Photos by Sam Oshlag

IN OUR ARCHIVES For more about how  ALICE is  used in the schools, read Merle Jantz’s story: