Study highlights need to decontaminate gear after the fire is out

By Dr. Mallika Marshall For CBS Boston With every call, firefighters know they could be putting their lives on the line. “You know it’s a dangerous job,” explained Kevin McNiff, a 28-year veteran of the Boston Fire Department. “But you really don’t think about the silent killer, which is cancer,” he said. But now, McNiff is forced to think about it. At 53-years-old he is being treated for kidney cancer. “I have a battle ahead of me,” he said. It’s a battle more firefighters are facing. A study done by NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health looked…

Trouble in Mind: Behavioral health in the fire service

By Janet A. Wilmoth For NFPA Journal KYLE IENN WAS ONE OF THE NEW BREED OF FIRE CHIEFS. A 23-year member of the fire service, he led a progressive volunteer fire department in his hometown of Ralston, Nebraska, a suburb of Omaha. He was active on the state and national level with the Nebraska Fire Chiefs Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Volunteer Combination Officers Section. He served the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s “Everyone Goes Home®” program, an initiative to prevent firefighter line-of-duty deaths and injuries. As founder of the Nebraska Serious Injury & Line of Duty Death…

Boston firefighters offer advice on coping with tragedy

By Bob McGovern For The Boston Herald 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…

How to lead your department through a LODD

By Dennis Rubin For FireRescue1.com By the time a person has struggled to the top firefighter position, that member has managed a lot of issues. It is likely that the fire chief has experienced about everything under the sun. Whether managing a complicated administrative process or handling a complex emergency response, the hope is that the chief has been there and done that, at least once. According to NFPA figures, there were more than 370,000 structural fires in 2011. In addition to fires and rescues, each year career and volunteer fire chiefs oversee some type of budgetary and other administrative processes.…

Myth busting: When to establish rehab

By Jeffrey Lindsey For firerescue1.com I am teaching a fire course that is part of a university’s bachelor program. The students include current officers and those aspiring to become officers, particularly chief officers. The class discusses command and control at catastrophic incidents. One of the themes I am seeing in the responses to many of the assignments is when rehab should be established, if at all. As much as this should not be a surprise, rehab is still not taken with importance that it should. Quite frankly, rehab should not be only for the incident scene. Rehab is an ongoing…

Life-Saving Smart Shoes Track Firefighters

By Alyssa Danigelis For Discovery Billowing smoke increases the likelihood that a firefighter will get disoriented but some of the best GPS tech out there won’t survive leaping flames. A new sensor-laden shoe developed by Swedish researchers could provide firefighters with clear paths to safety. Despite extinguisher-lobbing robots and a way to zap out fires with electrical wands, firefighting remains a very dangerous human endeavor. Investigators piecing together what happened in the chaotic wildfire that killed 19 firefighters in Arizona last summer concluded that fatigue and poor communication were contributing factors. When other conditions are ideal, smoke and heat can still be too…

The Ultimate Challenge: Surviving the Firehouse Diet

By P. Jordan Steel For FireEngineering.com Every year firefighters die. It is the nature of the business, a job where one is expected to “risk a lot to save a lot.” Volumes have been written about the tragedy of the deaths that were avoidable, whether caused by excessive speed of an apparatus on the way to a call, lack of a proper size-up to identify hazards, or the lack of situational awareness of changing conditions. The unnecessary loss of a firefighter is always tragic.

NFPA Report: 2012 U.S. firefighter injuries

By Michael J. Karter, Jr. and Joseph Molis For NFPA  Journal Firefighters work in varied and complex environments that increase their risk of on-the-job death and injury. A better understanding of how these fatalities, injuries, and illnesses occur can help identify corrective actions, which could help minimize the inherent risks. In an effort to do just that, NFPA studies firefighter deaths and injuries annually to provide national statistics on their frequency, extent, and characteristics. Based on survey collected from fire departments during the NFPA Survey of Fire Departments for U.S. Fire Experience, NFPA estimates that 69,400 firefighter injuries occurred in…

RIT – facepiece changeovers

By Mark van der Feyst For Firefighting In Canada One of the most integral parts of the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is the facepiece. It protects the firefighter from inhaling the superheated air that is in the environment, and it protects the firefighter from debris coming into contact with his face. The SCBA facepiece is designed and tested to withstand harsh environments in hot and cold temperatures. With the new NFPA standards, the facepiece is required to withstand a set temperature over a period of time. When the facepiece fails, it produces catastrophic results for the firefighter. This involves not…

The Connection Between Physical and Financial Health in the Fire Department

By Scott D. Kerwood For FireRescue Every year, fireground injuries account for more than 50% of the total occupational injuries suffered by the American fire service. Whether fires, hazardous materials, rescues or medical emergencies, the firefighter’s occupational workplace is ripe with danger. Many of these injuries are the result of a hostile work environment that no other occupation or vocation is exposed to at work. However, most all of these injuries are preventable if an effective fireground injury program is in place. People Are the Priority Our personnel are our most valuable resource. We can’t do what we do on…