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, 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 www.IFRM2007.com.

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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, Training
Thursday, December 4th, 2014 10:12 am

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 the ability to monitor the ever changing conditions would be difficult at best.  I have heard a lot of things as to why the most senior person is on the nozzle: they have been doing this a long time, they are really good at attack, they have put the time in and should get to have the best job, etc.  These points have no validity in the progression of the department!  How do you think a new firefighter gets the experience so that when they are a senior member of the department they can teach new firefighters? They won’t if they are not put in the position to be taught.

The fire service is now starting to look at the concept of putting the junior person on the nozzle and placing the veteran member behind them.  This idea comes from a teaching position and the ability of the veteran member to monitor the changing conditions.  The veteran member can guide the nozzle person as to where to spray, how to spray, changing conditions to look for, what the fire is going to do, where the fire is going to go, etc.  This allows for the junior member to receive guidance, and the veteran the ability to effect the progression of the junior firefighter and the department.

The junior firefighter should be competent in methodically searching for the fire and monitoring the stability of the floor, but having the veteran firefighter right behind them will allow for guidance when there is a question.  This approach will allow for a positive experience for both firefighters, and strengthen the individuals on their weaknesses.  It is necessary for the veteran firefighter to understand why he or she is being told to be second in line; they need to know that their experience, knowledge, and training can help shape the future of the organization.

I encourage you to look at the information available on firefighter related articles, blogs, magazines, and websites to better understand this concept!

Stay safe and train hard!

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Events, Fire and Rescue, General, Health, News, Safety, Training
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 8:10 am

Fire service organizations send letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary amid ebola concerns


Representatives from the Congressional Fire Services Institute, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Volunteer Fire Council sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking for their support in protecting EMS personnel against the current Ebola outbreak.

These fire service organizations specifically requested the Health Department’s “commitment to ensuring EMS personnel have sufficient training and resources to respond to suspected cases of Ebola.”

Here an excerpt of the letter, focusing on preventative measures that can help protect First Responders.

It is highly likely that more individuals infected with Ebola will seek assistance from emergency response personnel in the coming months. As the vast majority of EMS in the United States is performed by firefighters who have been cross‐trained as emergency medical technicians and paramedics, it is crucial that we ensure such personnel are properly trained and equipped to respond to such a scenario.

At a minimum, responding departments must provide sufficient personal protective equipment for all responders, including fluid resistant or impermeable long‐sleeved gowns, double gloves, eye protection, leg coverings, disposable shoe covers, and N95 respirators. As we learn more about the disease, additional protections may also be required.

Departments must also provide specialized training to all responders to limit the spread of the disease and provide the highest quality care for patients. Responders must learn to recognize a potential Ebola infection, institute necessary precautions to limit the spread of the disease, and utilize proper disinfection procedures.

You can read the letter in its entirety here.

The IAFC has compiled thorough information and guidance on Ebola for EMS personnel here.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Leatherhead Instructors, Training
Thursday, August 14th, 2014 2:08 pm

Leatherhead Thursday: Lines Down

By J.R. Dennison
of the Leatherhead Instructors

The fire department is one of the first agencies that the public turns to when situations arise that pose any type of threat or emergency.  Fire departments across the country respond to countless calls involving downed utility lines and poles each year; the risk of injury or death is always there.  We are going to take a few different looks at how these calls can be handled and what our function should be once on scene.

Our job description varies, but at no point are we capable of determining if a downed line is energized or not.  Every line should be treated as if it was energized and our scene management should be accordingly.  A downed tree across utility lines can present a great danger in itself, because of the potential of transferred energy through that tree and any people in the immediate vicinity.  It is important to not only look at the downed utility lines as being energized, but the objects in which they are now touching.  Remember that you are the ground, and a direct route for that energy to ground.

Our primary function on the scene of downed lines is to provide safety for ourselves and the public.  Many times we respond to calls that involve lines down on a vehicle while occupants are still inside; it is best to keep these folks right where they are until the power company can de-energize the lines.  You limit the risk of grounding out the vehicle, the occupants, and the first responders when you wait.  One wrong move can be the difference of life and death!

Think about the operations and care that we take when using our aerial devices.  The platforms at the pump panel and aerial control area are not for comfort; they are keeping you from being a ground should the aerial device strike a live line.  This same concept should be viewed when operating at scenes involving downed lines.

Talk with your local power company about providing training for your department regarding utility lines.  Most providers will be glad to work with you to better educate about their profession and things to look for.  Awareness is absolutely the first step in helping yourself and others!

Stay safe and train hard!

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | PPE, Training
Friday, August 8th, 2014 3:08 pm

Fire Academy Friday: Structural PPE Construction, Features, and Functions

It’s Fire Academy Friday! LION Fire Academy provides fire department members with online training on PPE and Continuing Education Units for successful completion.  Fire instructors can incorporate PPE education into their classes and have their students earn credits.  If you are a fire student or contemplating a career in firefighting, you’ll find helpful quizzes, videos and links on PPE and other firefighting topics.

NFPA 1851 and NFPA 1500 training modules are valid for any brand of PPE.

What are the components of your PPE elements? What is the purpose and limitations of each element in your structural PPE? This week’s video covers these questions and more.

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Health, Training
Friday, July 25th, 2014 10:07 am

Fire Academy Friday: How firefighting affects the body


It’s Fire Academy Friday! LION Fire Academy provides fire department members with online training on PPE and Continuing Education Units for successful completion.  Fire instructors can incorporate PPE education into their classes and have their students earn credits.  If you are a fire student or contemplating a career in firefighting, you’ll find helpful quizzes, videos and links on PPE and other firefighting topics.

NFPA 1851 and NFPA 1500 training modules are valid for any brand of PPE.

This week’s video covers how your body is affected during firefighting operations, including:

  • Heat Stress
  • Ways to combat heat stress
  • On-scene rehabilitation
  • Rehydration
  • Active cooling
  • Medical monitoring
  • Effective physical fitness

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, PPE, Safety, Training
Friday, July 18th, 2014 9:07 am

Fire Academy Friday: Retirement of PPE


It’s Fire Academy Friday! LION Fire Academy provides fire department members with online training on PPE and Continuing Education Units for successful completion.  Fire instructors can incorporate PPE education into their classes and have their students earn credits.  If you are a fire student or contemplating a career in firefighting, you’ll find helpful quizzes, videos and links on PPE and other firefighting topics.

NFPA 1851 and NFPA 1500 training modules are valid for any brand of PPE.

This week’s video makes sure you know when your PPE has made its last run and how do to dispose of it.

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, PPE, Training
Friday, July 11th, 2014 10:07 am

Fire Academy Friday: Proper storage of PPE

LION Fire Academy provides fire department members with online training on PPE and Continuing Education Units for successful completion.  Fire instructors can incorporate PPE education into their classes and have their students earn credits.  If you are a fire student or contemplating a career in firefighting, you’ll find helpful quizzes, videos and links on PPE and other firefighting topics.

NFPA 1851 and NFPA 1500 training modules are valid for any brand of PPE.

This week’s video examines the negative impact of direct light on PPE and proper storage and transportation of your PPE.

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

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