Blog Posts

Why Fires Today Give First Responders Less Time

Ask any firefighter, and they will tell you that house fires today and house fires 30 years ago are a completely different animal.  Newer, synthetic furniture fabrics and building materials, coupled with changes in modern construction techniques change not only the time it takes for a fire to grow, but also the intensity of the fire.  This has caused changes in the tactics with which firefighters battle a blaze.  It also means that depending on response time, a fire in a modern home may be at a much different point in its life cycle when they arrive, as opposed to…

NVFC Launches Volunteer Recruitment Portal for Fire Departments to Combat Declining Volunteerism

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has launched the department portal component of its new Make Me a Firefighter volunteer recruitment campaign. Departments can now sign up at http://portal.nvfc.org to join the campaign and showcase their volunteer opportunities. Volunteer firefighters make up 69 percent of the nation’s fire service, yet the number of volunteers has declined by about 12 percent since 1984. At the same time, call volume has nearly tripled. In addition, the average age of the volunteer fire service is increasing as departments are finding it difficult to reach millennials – those within the 18-34 age range. To…

Mitigate Turnout Gear from UV Over Exposure

By: DuPont, vendor partner of LION Firefighter turnout gear is designed to provide firefighters with protection from thermal, physical and liquid borne biological hazards while minimizing heat stress. The minimum performance requirements are outlined in NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural and Proximity Firefighting. In addition, NFPA 1851 outlines the selection, care and maintenance of the ensemble and recommends that all elements should be retired after 10 years from the date of manufacture. Any extraordinary wear and tear, prolonged exposure to weathering and heat, or mechanically repetitive impact can compromise gear physical properties and potentially reduce protective performance.…

Leatherhead Thursday: Physical fitness in the fire service

By Shane Wells of the Leatherhead Instructors Many departments across the United States require that new recruits pass a physical fitness or abilities test of some kind prior to their appointment to the position. So why aren’t more departments requiring their firefighters to keep up some type of physical fitness performance level? One reason might be a rejection from the local union. They may fear losing their job if unable to meet the fitness requirements. Many cities have or are implementing work place wellness programs that are voluntary. These programs are sometimes encouraged by workers compensation for lower rates. My question…

Leatherhead Thursday: The importance of precision

By James R. Dennison of the Leatherhead Instructors Saws, hand tools, ladders, hoses, nozzles, rescue equipment, and gas tools can be found on all fire trucks across America. There are many similarities between manufacturers of the equipment, but there are also many differences. The manufacturer of the equipment is unimportant, but the knowledge needed to use your departments’ equipment is absolutely monumental. The operations and abilities of the tools that we regularly use are second nature to us, but the stuff that seems to spend more time on the rig than in use may be far from familiar. The proper start…

Leatherhead Thursday: Firefighter injuries and physical fitness

By Shane Wells of the Leatherhead Instructors Firefighters are at increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries and cardiorespiratory illnesses compared to other occupations. Each year tens of thousands of firefighters are injured while fighting fires, rescuing people, responding to emergencies, and training incidences. Occupational injuries are the leading cause of disability and early retirement.  Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of work related death.  All of these injuries contribute to a significant human and financial toll. In addition departments suffer lost work hours, higher insurance premiums, increased overtime, disability and early retirement payments. Despite measures to prevent injuries such as improving…

LION partners with the IFRM to successfully set up a fire department

This past December John Granby, VP of Government Relations for LION, traveled with the International Fire Relief Mission (IFRM) to help establish a fire department in Barraterre on the island of Exuma, in the Bahamas. Previous to this humanitarian aid trip, Exuma did not have any fire or rescue services despite facing wildland and structural fire threats and having a steady stream of tourists. The people of Barraterre had to band together to raise money to build the fire station. Rick Markley, editor-in-chief at FireRescue1 said they, “organized a leadership structure without any fire service background. They recruited 25 volunteers…

Leatherhead Thursday: Training Props and Aids

By Shane Wells of the Leatherhead Instructors Firefighter educational services use training props or aids almost every time that we train. The costs range from free or inexpensive to multi-million dollar training towers or burn buildings, but they provide  a hands on experience. The training props and aids are a more interesting training method than a standard lecture, and they also allow us to test skills and gain an understanding of how the student is doing. There are many companies that manufacture training props, BullEx is one company that offers many options for professional and innovative training aids.  BullEx offers everything from…

Leatherhead Thursday: Holiday Season and Appreciation

By James R. Dennison of the Leatherhead Instructors As another holiday season rapidly approaches, we are faced with the challenges and unique calls that we may receive.  The way that we provide customer service this time of year really makes an impact on our “customers”.  The season presents us with emergencies that stem from the weather, large family gatherings, faulty Christmas decorations, and the increased use of heating due to the cold.  The compassion that we portray when dealing with our “customers” in their emergency is a subtle reminder that we truly care about our jobs. This season is also a…

Leatherhead Thursday:The nozzle person

By James R. Dennison of the Leatherhead Instructors It has been a long standing tradition within my organization and many others across the country to allow the senior person on the apparatus to be the “nozzle person”.  The concept of the most senior person being on the nozzle comes from the thought that this particular person is the most knowledgeable, experienced, and trained.  I agree that this person should be on the attack line, but I believe that they should be the backup or second in line. I bet we could teach a monkey to spray water on a fire, but…