Whenever firefighters enter a structure to fight fire, there is a chance that a firefighter – or two – will fall through the floor. Several factors contribute to the possibility of firefighters falling through the floor including an increase in fuel loads within buildings, an increase in the use of lightweight construction materials and methods, and failure by firefighters to check the floor in front of them.
There have been numerous incidents of firefighters falling through floors and into burning basements. Some of these incidents have had positive results with the firefighters being rescued, while other times firefighters have succumbed to their injuries.
One such fatal incident took place on July 25, 1987, at a three-alarm fire in Columbus, Ohio. Firefighter John Nance was killed in the line of duty when he fell through the floor into a burning basement; many rescue attempts had been made but failed.
The Nance Drill was developed and named after that firefighter as a way for crews to practise rescuing firefighters from a sub-grade or sub-level situation. This drill is now incorporated into RIT training as a means to a quick and effective resolution for this type of situation.
You make a choice. Chris Dunn is nobody’s philosopher, but isn’t that what this all comes down to, really? Isn’t that exactly what he’ll be doing Monday afternoon, when his weary legs are climbing up Hereford St. and he arrives at the corner of Boylston St., at the 26-mile mark of America’s most fabled road race?
When he looks to his right and sees not only Boston’s most historic and public firehouse, but his own firehouse, too — and tries to keep it together as he takes in the sight of the 20-foot-long banner that honors his fallen brothers from Engine 33, Ladder 15, Eddie Walsh and Mike Kennedy?
The banner has the logo of the Boston Fire Department in the corner, and the number 29384 in the middle. It is the number Mike Kennedy was going to wear Monday, for the most important and emotionally charged Boston Marathon in its 118-year history.
A year ago, Mike Kennedy and Frankie Flynn, a 28-year firefighter and the senior member of Engine 33, charged down Boylston St. a few minutes before 3 p.m., hurtling straight into the hell that ensued after the two bombs went off. Within moments they were helmet deep in death and devastation, grief and pain here, chaos and carnage there, the sidewalk strewn with limbs and soaked with blood. Joining an army of EMS workers, police and big-hearted civilians, they applied tourniquets, treated wounds and offered as much reassurance and comfort as they could summon. Read the full article here.
We respond to many incidents each year on the roadways across America, and each year many first responders are killed while mitigating problems and emergencies on these same roadways. We have taken many steps towards improving our personal and equipment visibility, but there is more that we can do. Mandating changes in our attire and the lighting/ visibility of our equipment is simply a small step in the big picture. Our attitudes and willingness to be proactive is literally a life or death choice.
A number of years ago it was mandated that we wear safety vests over our turnout coats while operating on roadway emergencies, and just like any change in the fire service; it met resistance. These vests have gained popularity across America because they have proven to be an effective tool in increasing the visibility of first responders. You will now find police, state troopers, construction workers, tow truck drivers, semi drivers, and virtually all persons working on the roadways wearing these. It has taken some time, but they are gaining acceptance!
Eligibility The Rolf H. Jensen Memorial Public Education Grant provides a $5,000 grant to one local fire department to support a community-wide fire and life safety education program or campaign. Funded by the RJA Group, the grant is open to any fire department (career or volunteer) located in the United States or Canada.
I learned a great deal about firefighting and the fire service from my father, who joined the fire department in 1938 and retired as fire chief in 1975, the year after I started as a career firefighter. However, one of the most relevant lessons for firefighting in the modern built environment I learned from my mother. During the fall and winter months in New England, she would frequently tell me, “Close the door! Were you born in a barn?” She didn’t know it at the time, but this would be useful advice for today’s firefighters.
The 5th edition of Fire Ventilation Practices, published in 1970, stated: “Proper ventilation cannot be accomplished haphazardly, and one cannot rely solely upon knowledge gained from practical experience in actual fire situations, since no two fires are alike. Ventilation, therefore, must be recognized as a technical subject and one much approach the study of ventilation theory and practices from this basic point of view. A fire officer equipped with an understanding of what has taken place in a building and what effect certain optional actions will produce, is much better prepared to assume the responsibility of ventilating a structure.”1
While true in the 1970s, this holds true today. Firefighters must understand the modern fire environment and the effect of firefighting tactics on fire dynamics.
The Modern Fire Environment
Even before current research conducted by the UL’s Firefighter Safety Research Institute and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), firefighters recognized that the fire environment was changing.
We were talking last night on the Weekly Firefighter Hangout about “words that we live by” in the fire service and I was a little surprised not to hear anyone bring up the usual complaints on NFPA and other consensus standards, which seem to get thrown into a big steaming pile together when someone wants to badmouth the fire service. As a participant in the standards process, I get a little frustrated when people complain about standards. Why, you may ask? Well, because while standards may seem to be prohibiting aspects of our jobs, the fact is, standards are necessary to help us define things, to establish our expectations in regard to a certain item, title, or discipline.
Fire fighting personal protective equipment (PPE) is an essential part of the gear used by fire fighters. Like all equipment, fire fighting PPE requires appropriate care and maintenance. The goal of this project was to provide a data collection summary of current practice and policies for fire service PPE care and maintenance, with resulting deliverables that help guide standards revisions as well as to support future research on this topic.
NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) — Two North Las Vegas firefighters are back on the job one day after falling through the roof of a burning home.
The City of North Las Vegas Fire Department responded to 3005 St. George Street Thursday afternoon for a reported house fire. The call came in at 2:58 p.m.
Mike Harris and Joe’l Adams are both veterans with the North Las Vegas Fire Department and have worked together about six years.
They were ventilating the fire at the four-plex near Civic Center and Cheyenne when the roof gave way. The men characterized what happened as “a bad day.”
That bad day that ended with a very good outcome, and both men are fine.
When they arrived, fire crews found a single story, multi-family dwelling with smoke visible around the roof. Once crews gained entry into the house they reported heavy smoke and flames in the attic. Read More
LION Fire Academy offers free video training for NFPA 1500 certified by Butler Tech that can count toward your Continuing Education credits. Choose from one of the training chapters watch and learn. After each chapter, you will be prompted to take an online test. After you submit your answers, you will be informed if you passed the test. If you didn’t pass, you may take it again. For successful completion of all 12 tests, you will receive a CEU certificate worth three hours of training by email in about a week.
For fire departments that require all members to take the training, please tell us. We can manage your roster for you or send certificates to your training officer.
When the horrible news out of Boston struck — “two men down in the line of duty” — firefighters across the state felt the pain.
Five who also lost fellow firefighters in the line of duty gave advice yesterday to those who hold the memories of Lt. Edward J. Walsh and firefighter Michael R. Kennedy close. Here are their stories as told to the Herald’s Bob McGovern:
Fire Chief Michael Hanson
The Lancaster fire chief remembers burying one of his own in 2003, firefighter Martin McNamara, who was killed after a series of explosions in a building.
“The biggest thing they can do is just stay in contact with each other, stay focused and just lean on each other. It’s what we did here in Lancaster. We talked about the good times we had with Marty and the kind of guy he was.
“We all take the job knowing the risk, and we all know that something could happen to any of us. We all just want our brothers and sisters to keep moving ahead if something does happen.
“We’re a very close group, and it’s hard to explain to people. You can travel all the way to California, stop by a fire station, and they’ll treat you like family. It’s like you’ve known each other forever. There’s a strong bond there, and we all carry it with us.” Read More