By Vince Lattanzio
For NBC Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Fire Department is beta-testing a new mobile application that gives crews vital information at a fire scene – information officials say can help save the lives of citizens and firefighters.
The Geographic Information System, or GIS for short, gives fire commanders access to thousands of data points on an interactive, satellite map — using a iPad like tablet.
“We know the size of the building, the dimensions, how many occupants (the building has the capacity to hold.) It lets us know how many resources we’re going to need to get those people to another location. Or do we make the decision to shelter employees? So, it helps us make real-time decisions,” says Deputy Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer.
Through the GIS, commanders can review many types of information — including calls coming into the 911 system, the current location of fire trucks and ambulances, licenses and inspections (L&I) data, where hazardous materials are stored, floor plans for large buildings and the location, size and working condition of fire hydrants.
“By knowing those hydrants that are out of service, we can actually deploy our resources to hydrants that we know are working, rather than having them go try to hook-up and realize, ‘Oh, they’re not working,’ and have to go to another location. That helps us get the service quicker,” Sawyer said.
Read the full article here.
By Weston Phippen
For the Tampa Bay Times
ST. PETERSBURG — The fire began about 5 a.m. on a Sunday in March. A man lit two burners to cook a meal, but fell asleep.
He awoke in his house at 4056 18th Ave. S to the choking pain of smoke. The fire had spread from the kitchen to the attic, and by the time firefighters arrived, the man was running outside as flames consumed his home.
South Pasadena fire Lt. Lawrence Wilson was on scene as part of mutual aid agreement with St. Petersburg. As they tried to put it out, Wilson was injured. He went to the hospital and missed work. He still suffers from pain. But his injury didn’t come from the fire or smoke or a hazard caused by the blaze. Instead, he slipped on a piece of tile.
From a new report by the NFPA.
The fire service and other emergency first responders are currently benefiting from enhanced-existing and newly-developed electronic technologies. Fire fighters are now operating in an ever increasing sensor rich environment that is creating vast amounts of potentially useful data. The “smart” fire fighter of tomorrow is envisioned as being able to fully exploit select data to perform work tasks in a highly effective and efficient manner.
By J.R. Dennison
of the Leatherhead Instructors
This is a question that really has endless possibilities, but one that many have never thought of. I have often heard folks say that they want to be a chief, captain, or other ranking officer within their career; they think that this is what makes you successful. People have often said that the more fires they fight, the more successful they will be. Do you have to save a life to be successful? Do you need to make it through your career without any injuries or damaging a piece of equipment to be successful? I think that these are all good thoughts, but I’m not so sure that any of them are required to be successful.
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 only burns to the face, but to the lungs, trachea and esophagus, as well. There was a case of a facepiece failure at a training tower in Pennsylvania in 2006; an instructor lighting the last fire in the burn tower for the day suffered major burns to the outside and inside of his facial and respiratory area. The lens of the facepiece had suddenly melted, exposing him to the superheated air in the burn room. This is one example of how a facepiece can fail. Other failures can involve debris falling onto the firefighter, either knocking away the facepiece or breaking its lens.
When this type of incident occurs, the RIT will be initiated to rescue the downed firefighter. RIT members will likely conduct a full nine-step assessment of the firefighter to determine his air-supply needs.
By Scott D. Kerwood
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 a daily basis without a healthy workforce. Regardless of whether we are a paid or volunteer organization, taking care of our personnel via an occupational safety and health program is the right thing to do and should be our No. 1 priority. Such a program can result in a reduction of injuries, which translates into reduction of pain and suffering for both the injured member and their family. But there’s another key point to an effective safety and health program that cannot be overlooked: An effective fireground injury prevention program has a significant financial savings for the organization.
Direct & Indirect Costs
If not properly managed, a firefighter’s injury can have substantial direct and indirect costs. In fact, indirect injury costs can be as high as 20 times that of direct costs for injuries.1 According to some sources, for every $1 spent on direct costs from injuries, approximately $2 to $4 is spent on indirect costs.2 These indirect costs include things such as additional staffing, training and recordkeeping, while direct costs include things such as the medical expenses, overtime, litigation and accident investigation.
By Mark van der Feyst
In either a career or volunteer fire department, there is an element of being ready to go at any moment. This involves everything from the apparatus to the firefighters themselves. This, of course, includes personal protective equipment. And just as much as the apparatus, it needs to be ready to go at any moment.
Being combat ready involves being in a ready state at all times. The firefighting gear needs to be readied so that firefighters can quickly don it. In a volunteer setting, a firefighter’s gear may not be at the truck ready to go, but in a locker along the wall.
Does it have all the required components needed such as the liners installed correctly, the pants and boots set up properly, gloves, flash hood, SCBA face piece if equipped with one, personal flashlight charged, and any other items that are needed? Are they in a readied state for quick and easy deployment?
Read the full article on FireRescue1.com.
By Tim Llewellyn
For Firefighting in Canada
As a fire instructor, I firmly believe that the fundamentals of firefighting operations should be mastered by each and every firefighter through a formal and recognized educational delivery system. After the essential skills are mastered, individuals can then broaden their skill sets by learning new techniques and adapting them to the realities they face on their actual day-to-day fire-ground environment. Such is the topic of this edition of Tim-Bits: ladders.
In our recruit schooling, we learn to place various sized ladders against buildings in teams of two, three or even four firefighters. We learn the beam raise and the flat raise, and how to identify and avoid aerial obstacles as we manoeuvre the ladders. All of these skills are taught with teamwork in mind – raise the ladder as a team, lower it as a team. This teamwork concept is great at instilling the basic mechanical steps of ladder placement; however, on an actual fire ground, there may not be enough firefighters to raise the ladder as a team. At every fire I have attended, there has never been enough boots on the ground to accomplish all of the tasks that need doing in the first 10 minutes of arrival. During those times of short staffing, firefighters must rely on their education and accomplish tasks safely and efficiently without unnecessarily taking firefighters away from other important fire-ground
With all single-firefighter ladder carries, it is important to consider one’s physical health and strength. Ladders are heavy – if you cannot lift a ladder or have difficulty lifting, carrying or raising a ladder with a two-firefighter technique, single-firefighter ladder raises are not for you.
By Nancy Schwartz
For NFPA Today
NFPA’s September 2013 report, Manufactured Home Fires shows that manufactured homes are as safe as so-called site-built homes.
The fire death rate per 100,000 occupied housing units was roughly the same as the rate for other one- or two-family homes. The 1976 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) construction standards which required smoke alarms, escape windows, and flame
resistant wall coverings were the principal driver in making these manufactured homes safer.
By Les Baker
For Firefighter Nation
As part of a kitchen table discussion, particularly for departments on a limited budget, responders commonly ask the question, “If you could only have several extrication-related tools, what would they be and why?” It would be wonderful to have a fully stocked heavy-rescue vehicle at every scene with any tool we could dream of at our disposal, but that’s certainly not possible most of the time. As such, keeping selections simple and mastering those tools allow responders to successfully mitigate most extrication scenes in a timely manner. As a responder, instructor and student, I developed a list of five essential tools for the extrication scene.
Cribbing is necessary to stabilize the vehicles that require tactics for the benefit of the patient and the safety of responders. Although it may come in a variety of materials, sizes, colors, weight classifications, etc., all cribbing serves the same purpose: to hold the vehicle in position during operations. Stabilization starts with chocking the wheels of a wheel-resting vehicle or wedging a side-resting or roof-resting vehicle. This prevents any initial movement while responders place cribbing in the appropriate positions to prevent movement during operations. Cribbing can also be used as a base for lift operations and can support hydraulic tool use in certain situations.
2. Strut System
A strut system, preferably one with the ability to lift, can serve multiple functions during extrication incidents. The obvious function is the stabilization of a side-resting vehicle. The inability to stabilize a side-resting vehicle that requires disentanglement tactics is risking excessive movement of the vehicle and compromising patient and responder safety. Strut systems can also be used to stabilize vehicles in a variety of positions, and to lift vehicles and objects. Taking into account the ratchet straps, clusters, chains and other components of a strut system, additional tactics not related to the struts themselves are possible.