Posted by Nick Hrkman | General, Performance
Monday, January 27th, 2014 9:01 am

Dubai’s turning drones into firefighters

By Adam Clark Estes
For Gizmodo

It makes perfect sense. Burning buildings are very dangerous places for people to enter, so when there’s a fire that needs to be put out, why not recruit robots to do the dirty work?

That’s exactly what Dubai Civil Defense is doing this year. The emergency management organization just bought 15 quadcopters that it plans to use for patrolling high-risk areas like industrial zones for fires. In the event of a fire, Civil Defense plans to deploy the drones to inspect the scene so that they can assess how best to handle the situation. They’ll also use three drones while fighting the fire—one to do reconnaissance, one to assist firefighters, and one to take pictures for the media.

“If a firefighter isn’t going to do that, then let a robot do it. Once there is demand for this, it will revolutionise the industry,” says Folmer Kamminga, managing director of the Dutch drone developer Geoborn who makes the Knight Hawk, a drone with heat sensors and a navigation system. Some day, the Knight Hawk could be able to fight fires autonomously. “By the time my grandchild enters this industry, maybe all they’ll need to do is to press a button and robots will completely extinguish a fire.”

Read more on Gizmodo.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, News, Performance, Safety
Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 10:01 am

USFA: 2013 on-duty firefighter deaths jump to 5-year high

By Sarah Calams

For FireRescue1

Last year saw the highest recorded number of on-duty firefighter deaths since 2008. According to preliminary statistics compiled by the U.S. Fire Administration, there were 101 on-duty firefighter fatalities last year.

A full report is due out later this year.

The administration first started collating the figures in 1977. A total of 83 firefighter fatalities were recorded in both 2012 and 2011, 87 deaths in 2010, 93 in 2009 and a total of 118 in 2008.

This year’s total marks the first year of increase for on-duty deaths.

Being caught or trapped was the leading cause of firefighter deaths, accounting for 23.8 percent of fatal injuries. Stress and overexertion was the second-highest cause of fatal injury — 21.8 percent.

Trauma was the leading type of fatal injury this year, claiming 32.1 percent of the deaths. Heart attacks continue to be a concern, causing 19 percent of the fatal injuries.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, News, Performance, Safety
Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 11:12 am

Virtual reality brings new tool to firefighting

By Jim Drury

For Reuters

A head-mounted virtual reality system to be worn by fire-fighters could revolutionise fire safety, according to its developers at the Vienna University of Technology. The prototype ProFiTex system is designed to provide first-responders with an unprecedented view into the layout and temperature of burning buildings, giving them a better chance of saving lives.

Its creators say this prototype helmet could revolutionise fire-fighting and help save the lives of people trapped inside burning buildings. Part of the ProFiTex system, it was designed by a team at the Vienna University of Technology, to help fire-fighters penetrate thick, blinding smoke. Infrared sensors on the helmet project real-time, colour-coded surface temperatures onto a head-mounted display, allowing first-responders to judge whether a room is safe to enter. The outline of people trapped inside would also appear on-screen via thermal imagery technology.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, News, People, Performance
Monday, December 23rd, 2013 11:12 am

Firefighter develops award winning mobile app

By Chris Arnold

NBC News

Firefighters across the country deal with the daily struggle of responding to the scene of a fire. For smaller or volunteer departments, that challenge is amplified. However, a fire captain in Hesston has found a way around this obstacle.

Captain Stephen Owens and his partner, Carlos Fernandez Jr. developed a mobile app called Page-Out.

The app took about a year and a half to develop and was launched in September.

Owens says the app serves a practical purpose.

“You can now know in a moments notice exactly who is available and who is not available,” said Owens.

This allows for response times to be almost cut in half. The average response time for a volunteer fire department is between 6 to 12 minutes. Owens says the use of Page-Out would cut response times by the same amount of time for any additional resource dispatched to a fire scene.

“Without Page-Out, you just had to go through the process, you had to go to the scene, you had to assess your needs and whether you needed other resources,” said Owens.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, News, Performance, Safety
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 9:11 am

New App Gives Firefighters Full-View at Fire Scenes

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.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Performance
Monday, November 25th, 2013 9:11 am

Firefighter sues homeowner after responding to blaze, slipping on porch

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.


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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, General, PPE, Performance
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 9:11 am

Developing a research roadmap for the smart firefighter of the future

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.


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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Performance
Thursday, November 7th, 2013 9:11 am

Leatherhead Thursday: What makes you successful in your career?

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.


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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, Performance, Safety, Training
Thursday, October 31st, 2013 9:10 am

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 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.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, Performance, Safety
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 9:10 am

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 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.

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