Posted by mmierzejewski | Fire and Rescue, General
Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 2:05 pm

Why MedPro?

The variety of calls fire departments respond to creates the need for specialized personal protective garments. While fire departments are responding to more calls year over year, only 4% of the calls are fire related*.  A key finding in the NFPA study about Fire Loss in the United States During 2015 identifies that medical aid (ambulance, EMS, rescue) represents 64% of fire department responses. To support these calls, there are over 826,000 EMS professionals that annually transport an estimated 28 million people based upon 2011 data.

Many departments are considering application-specific protective ensembles and that includes emergency medical personnel. LION developed the MedPro, certified under NFPA 1999, to meet the demanding needs of today’s EMS professionals. LION’s MedPro EMS coat and pant combination features advanced construction and optional enhancements that ensure on-the-job comfort, safety and mobility. MedPro rescue wear provides protection against flash fires with its Westex® DH fire-resistant, breathable outer shell with a HydroPel Premier finish, as well as against blood, bodily fluids, and water with its CROSSTECH® EMS moisture barrier.

For more information on LION MedPro, click here.

*NFPA Fire Department Profile, 2015

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Posted by mmierzejewski | General, Health, Safety
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 2:03 pm

Not in Our House

Not in Our House, cancer awareness campaign, was launched within LION’s booth at the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference (FDIC).

Since 2002, more than 60% of career firefighters added to the IAFF memorial of LODD’s have died from cancer. Scientist equate the rise of cancer related deaths with firefighters to the synthetic materials now used in homes. These materials burn quicker, and release more cancer-causing carcinogens into the air.

Not in Our House asks firefighters to sign an online pledge of safety on the website,, and provides downloadable resources, awareness statistics, and an outlet to share personal firefighter cancer stories.

LION, in partnership with industry organizations such as the: NFFF First Responders Center for Excellence, Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN), and the National Volunteer Fire Council, are promoting Not in Our House to challenge industry ideals that lead to higher risks of cancer in firefighters, and make a lasting effect on the fire service.

To help launch the campaign, “Chicago Fire” television actors, Eamonn Walker (Battalion Chief Wallace Boden), and Dave Eigenberg (Christopher Herrmann), were present in the LION booth on Friday, April 28 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The actors provided a photo and signing opportunity for show attendees to support the Not in Our House Campaign, and raise money for the non-profit, Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN). Show attendees also had the opportunity to win a trip to the set of “Chicago Fire” during an actual film set shooting, and to win a leather helmet signed by the cast of “Chicago Fire,” as well as an opportunity to participate in a ‘Fill the Boot’ donation.

Thanks to the generosity  of the show attendees in raising money to support  non-profit FCSN, who works to help firefighters, and their families suffering from cancer.

The campaign will continue to grow and change with the needs of the fire service, but more information can be found online at the Not in Our House website,

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Posted by rprindle | Fire and Rescue, News
Thursday, May 28th, 2015 3:05 pm

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 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 help departments counter these trends and increase the number of volunteers, the NVFC was awarded a SAFER grant from FEMA to conduct a nationwide recruitment campaign. The first component of the Make Me a Firefighter campaign consists of a department portal where volunteer and combination fire departments can register for the campaign and post their volunteer opportunities. Starting August 1, the NVFC will launch a public web site allowing potential volunteers to search for opportunities and connect with their local department. Department resources including customizable recruitment materials, training, and tools to help department reach target audiences will also be available this summer.

Learn more about the Make Me a Firefighter campaign and the department portal by watching this video, and share it with others facing recruitment challenges:

Register with the recruitment campaign and post your opportunities now at

Posted by rprindle | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue, PPE
Monday, May 18th, 2015 5:05 pm

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.

Sunlight is considered to be the most important element in weathering. Energy that is emitted by the Sun at the UV and near-UV region is much higher than visible or infrared light. UV light interacts with virtually all organic polymers to cause irreversible photo-oxidative damage and chemical structure breakdown, resulting in visual color change, loss of strength, and reduction in durability. Because the most common elements of turnout gear include fibers, dyes, films and coatings that are made of organic polymers, they are all subject to UV degradation depending on the nature of their polymer, fabric weight and thickness, color, and exposure strength and duration. According to a study conducted by Lion, it is found that fabric that is more enriched with Kevlar® fiber maintained their strength better than fabrics with very little Kevlar®. To ensure the protective gear maintains its performance for its lifespan manufacturers often intentionally design and make fabrics that have strength at least 2X to 3X higher than the minimum requirements stated in NFPA 1971 standard to compensate for normal light exposure and common wear and tear.

To prevent gear from being over-exposed to UV light, gear must be stored away from direct and indirect sunlight and fluorescent light when not in use. Gear should also be cleaned properly after a fire or when they are visibly soiled. They should then be dried and placed in area with good air ventilation but with no direct and indirect sunlight exposure.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | General, Health, Leatherhead Instructors, Performance, Safety
Thursday, March 19th, 2015 1:03 pm

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 is why aren’t more firefighters proactive in starting physical fitness programs in their own departments? Core training is gaining in popularity among firefighters.

The National Occupational Research Agenda has identified traumatic injury and intervention effectiveness as two of its priority research areas. Injuries are the leading cause of mortality and loss of potential years of life for working individuals. This study focused on a unique method of injury prediction and prevention in high risk workers using a functional movement screen and core strength intervention. Many workers must deal with physically demanding tasks that involve awkward positions and less than optimal ergonomics. Firefighting is a particular hazardous profession with exposure to a host of chemical, biological, and physical hazards including musculoskeletal trauma. Firefighters perform physically demanding tasks such as forcible entry and rescues that are injury prone because of maneuvers that compromise trunk stability and ergonomically hazardous conditions. Because of the nature of firefighting, these physical conditions are often difficult to control. There are over one million firefighters in the United States and the injury rates of firefighters are among the highest in all occupations. In 2006 U.S. firefighters sustained 88,500 injuries while on duty. Forty four percent of all U.S. firefighters have suffered from sprains and strains while on duty. It is important for firefighters to be fit because they work in physically unpredictable settings, and must maintain a high level of fitness for at least 20 years before they are eligible for retirement. Various strategies have been evaluated to decrease the occurrence and the severity of the firefighter’s injuries. These methods have focused on exercise, training, ergonomic coaching and flexibility improvements. A physical fitness intervention for firefighters was shown to effective in reducing injuries, but the scope of the study was limited to back disorders. A firefighter flexibility training program did not find improvement in injury incidence, though lost time, severity and costs improved. Workplace injuries are multi-factorial, especially in occupations where work events are unpredictable and task completion places rigorous demands on the body. Furthermore, many ergonomic interventions have limited applicability in certain firefighter tasks. For example, a firefighter who must crawl under wreckage and control his or her body to rapidly rescue a trapped individual has severe ergonomic challenges that are difficult to address with standard ergonomic suggestions such as “lift with your legs not with your back.” Although many firefighter exercise programs have focused on upper and lower body strength, they have paid less attention to core stability and strength and the other dimensions of movement that might decrease the chance of injury in the above scenario. Core stability is the ability of the lumbopelvic hip complex to prevent buckling and to return to equilibrium after perturbation. Although static elements (bone and soft tissue) contribute to some degree, core stability is predominately maintained by the dynamic function of muscular elements. There is clear relationship between trunk muscle activity and lower extremity movement. Current research suggests that decreased core strength may contribute to injuries of the back and extremities, that training may decrease musculoskeletal damage, and that core stability can be tested using functional movement methods. The study goes on to talk about how a group of 433 firefighters were ran through a battery of seven tests over a four week period in 2004. After that they were enrolled in a training program designed by multi-disciplinary team. Participants were all taught techniques to strengthen core muscles and to decrease mechanical load on the affected parts of their musculoskeletal system during these ergonomically challenging job tasks.

For one year following the training, information on the type and number of injury cases, cost of treatment, and the lost day’s due to injury were gathered by the organization’s worker’s comp department. Comparing the number of injuries pre and post-intervention of these 433 firefighters, lost time injuries were reduced by 62%, whereas total injuries were reduced by 44% compared to a historical control group. In my area there are several Cross Fit gyms that have continued to gain in popularity. Cross Fit is a core building focused workout program.

Reference: Peate, W. F., Bates, G., Lunda, K., Francis, S., & Bellamy, K. (2007). Core strength: a new model for injury prediction and prevention. J Occup Med Toxicol, 2(3), 1-9.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, Leatherhead Instructors, Performance, Safety, Training
Thursday, February 19th, 2015 3:02 pm

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 up procedures for your saws can make or break you in an emergency. Small engines can prove to be challenging in themselves due to their “cold blooded” nature, but knowing how to properly handle the equipment and how to overcome things such as a flooded engine or loose chain can keep you in the game.  Regular maintenance of the equipment is imperative to smooth operations, but can also provide an understanding of the more technical aspects of the saws.

Hose loads and lays are never the same between two fire departments, and often are different between the trucks in your bays. The loads, lengths, and nozzles are typically set up for the area in which you respond and departmental preference. Understanding the proper way to deploy each type of load on your trucks can save time, property, and lives. Knowing your loads and lengths will enable you to quickly add sections when needed to reach the fire, ensure efficiency of deployment, and allow you to be an asset instead of liability to your company. Knowing and understanding the type of nozzle, its flow, operation, and pressure is also necessary to be successful on the job.

Routine care of your hand tools, personal equipment, and PPE will greatly reduce failure on the emergency scene. Keeping your hand tools clean, properly assembled, and sharpened is your responsibility; don’t rely on the previous crew or user to maintain them. You better know where and how to use the tools in your pockets if you are going to carry them; it is ignorant to have a mass pile of items on you that you have no idea how to use or where it is. Do you like to wear the same underwear several days in a row? I hope not! Treat your turnout gear the same way. If you use it, clean it! Proper maintenance of turnout gear can prevent you from absorbing carcinogens on a regular basis and allow the gear to effectively work when needed.

Keep in mind that even the simple things can be reviewed and a lot can be gained. Take five minutes and look at your hydraulic rescue tools; which way do you move the control to make the tool operate? How far does the hydraulic reel reach? What type of oil does the hydraulic reservoir use? Are the tools clean? I bet you can refresh your mind and maybe gain something you didn’t know in that five minutes!

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, Safety
Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 10:01 am

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 our protective clothing and changing health and safety regulations very little about individual factors influencing firefighter injuries are known. Certain literature has predicted things such as; equipment failure, protective equipment not being worn, lack of training, fitness, team work, and  human error, in addition to fatigue, weather, poor decision making and communication systems.  However, very little information about how individual lifestyle variables and obesity contribute to the risk of injuries among firefighters.

Obesity in adults has doubled in the past 15 years, and the rate of severe obesity has quadrupled. Today roughly 2/3 of adults are overweight and 1/3 is obese. It is also known that as BMI increases certain diseases increase as well, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Studies have shown ties between obesity and increased risk of occupational injuries. Research is scarce about the association between obesity and risk of occupational injuries among firefighters.

Posten and colleagues conducted a study of 433 firefighters that participated in the Promoting Healthy Lifestyles Alternative Models Effects (PHLAME) worksite wellness program. This program was implemented in fire departments in Oregon and Washington five years after that program was first introduced. These were the findings; of the 433 firefighters there were 184 injuries overall and 160 injured firefighters had at least one injury. Of the 184 injuries, 68 were injuries for which a worker’s compensation claim was filled (37%). About 35% of injuries involved the back which was twice as many as the next largest category which was knee and lower leg at 17%. Twenty five percent of firefighters were in the normal weight category. Fifty-six percent were in the overweight category. Nineteen percent were in the obese category. Firefighters that were in the overweight or obese categories had a higher percentage of injury prevalence for all types of physician’s visits. The body part injured the most was the back. There were also a higher percentage of firefighters in the obese category that required a visit to a specialist as compared to the 12.5 % of firefighters in the normal weight category.

Other studies also show a mismatch between fitness and health requirements of firefighting and the current profile of the fire service. Current standards recommend that firemen participate in a fitness program, but it is the responsibility of each individual department to decide whether or not to institute a program. The NFPA 1583 Standard recommends a program that is positive, non-punitive, and does not set fitness standards. Cardiovascular events are by far the leading cause of line of duty deaths among firefighters. Appropriate fitness programs can enhance overall health, improve performance, and lessen the risk of firefighter injury and fatality. Firefighters and the public they serve will benefit from more fitness programs in the Fire Service. Some different types of physical training include; aerobic training, Sprint Interval Training (SIT), and functional training. Aerobic training provides several health benefits, including improved body composition, serum lipids, glucose metabolism, and maximal aerobics capacity. SIT is a type of high-intensity interval training that is designed to improve endurance, increase anaerobic threshold, and improve maximal performance. Functional training targets movements that are necessary for everyday living. Functional training utilizes full-body, dynamic movements to increase muscular strength and endurance as well as aerobic capacity using equipment such as medicine balls, physioballs, and exercise bands to provide resistance. This type of exercise mimics the high-intensity demands of firefighting. CrossFit workouts have been gaining popularity in progressive departments across the country.

There must be a cultural change within the U.S Fire Service in order to improve fitness and decrease injuries and cardiac events. Fit firefighters have increased mobility, energy, and endurance, allowing them to better perform job duties efficiently and safely.  Fit firefighters also are less likely to jeopardize the safety of their fellow firefighters or the public they serve.


Kuehl, K. S., Kisbu-Sakarya, Y., Elliot, D. L., Moe, E. L., DeFrancesco, C. A., MacKinnon, D. P. & Kuehl, H. E. (2012). Body mass index is a predictor of fire fighter injury and worker compensation claims. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 54(5), 579.

Smith, D. L. (2011). Firefighter fitness: improving performance and preventing injuries and fatalities. Current sports medicine reports, 10(3), 167-172.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, News, PPE, Training
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 10:01 am

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 with no promise of compensation — three of which are women.

Others gave in whatever way they could. Some provided sweat equity at the fire station. The older women in the community landscaped the fire station, cooked meals for the firefighters during training and volunteered for a community response team (think part rehab, part Red Cross, part CERT).”

The IFRM helped provide guidance and needs assessment for the fire station, as well as donating firefighting equipment and a rig. They also brought in experts to help train them from the ground up on firefighting.

John Granby provided his expertise in fire science, PPE and how to fight fires. He helped conduct a physical baseline for volunteers, sized them for gear, and left educational material that they can continue to study and use to train others.

LION’s involvement goes beyond just this trip, we have entered a partnership with the IFRM to help them continue to provide gear, tools and training to firefighters and emergency personnel in under served communities around the world. In addition to donating turnout gear, we manage and house 20,000 sq ft of donated equipment at one of our facilities. LION staff sorts and inventories all brands of used gear, gloves, helmets, SCBA, hose and tools and packs them in shipping containers for future use.

The International Fire Relief Mission is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is a nonprofit, nonreligious, nonpolitical group dedicated to saving firefighter and civilian lives. IFRM members do not draw a salary and all of the money raised is used to fulfilling the group’s mission. For more information, please visit its website at

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Leatherhead Instructors, Safety, Training
Thursday, January 8th, 2015 11:01 am

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 smoke generators to training towers and aircraft simulators. They not only provide props for the fire service, but they also offer props for public education, workplace safety training, and fire brigades. Some of the props pertain to forcible entry, roof simulators, window props, and lock cutting stations.  However, not all departments and facilities can afford to purchase props; they simply build their own. They key to building props for your department or organization is safety.

The internet provides many resources for building the props or aids that your department or organization may need or want. VentEnterSearch is one website that offers weekly training prop ideas, ranging from basic to complex. My department has historically built our own props varying from a forcible entry door to a confidence maze that has been set up in a training house. Our most utilized training prop is a shipping container that acts as a burn building, the container has a ventilation hole cut in the roof that has a hinged cover that can be controlled from the ground. We have submitted a grant for a training tower that can serve multiple departments in our county.

A training prop can be as basic as a kids puzzle from the store that acts as a training prop for dexterity when wearing a level A hazmat suit. Don’t allow budget constraints hamper your training, there is always a way to make your training better with or without a large training budget.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Leatherhead Instructors
Thursday, December 18th, 2014 10:12 am

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 time for us to reflect on what the job means to us and how we got here.  As our careers progress we sometimes lose sight of why we do this, and what it meant to take the job.  The years and years of time that some of us have on the job has taken its toll and a rejuvenation is important if we want to continue being part of the progression of the service.  The attitudes that we carry at the station, around our brothers and sisters, and to our “customers” is what we build ourselves on.

Take a look at the “new guy” on the department; I bet he or she is full of excitement and is headed in every direction because they cannot get enough.  I bet that each of us can look back and reflect on the days that we were the same way.  Spend some time looking at what your career has meant to you and how you may or may not have arrived at your present attitude.  What things can you change?  What things can you not change?  I bet there are some simple things that you could do to improve your attitude and vision.

This season is about giving and appreciation.  I think that the holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our individual strengths and weaknesses, and the time to make changes.  Set some achievable goals for 2015; maybe there is a class that you want to take, or something within the department that you want to be part of.  Start 2015 with a fresh slate and a rekindled fire within yourself; be part of the solution!

Take the time to talk to people when you are on calls, your kindness will go a long way.  You never know just how much a “customer” will remember when you go the extra mile; this is why we should be doing the job!  We are the fortunate ones, not everybody has a job that they love!  Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Stay safe and train hard!

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