Flashover: A firefighter’s story of safety and survival

By Marcus Haynes, Buckeye (AZ) Fire Department – for Lion Connects On Oct. 14, 2009, I almost lost my life. I was involved in a flashover that day while responding to a trailer fire in a mobile home park. There are two things I credit for saving me that fall day: training and my personal protective equipment (PPE). My engine company and I responded to a report of a working fire at a mobile home park on this morning. Upon arrival, we found active fire in the rear of the trailer. As I went in for a search and rescue…

NFPA 101: NFPA 1851 strives to reduce health and safety risks

Firefighting is a dirty, gritty job. Turnout gear that is exposed to fire ground contaminants, as well as bio-hazards (blood-borne pathogens), can be a danger to firefighters’ health. Also, burnt, torn and damaged gear can be a safety risk. Proper care and maintenance helps keep the protective performance of your gear intact. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated a standard to help keep turnout gear safer, longer. NFPA 1851, 2008 Ed. Standard on Selection, Care and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting.

Law enforcement and CBRN protection: Setting a new standard

Whether it is a meth lab, HAZMAT incident or act of terrorism, today’s law enforcement officers need to be prepared to respond to incidents that involve chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats.  Existing National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards address CBRN protection for many first responders, such as firefighters, HAZMAT teams, EMS, etc. But, unlike other first responding agencies, no formal standard exists solely to address the tactical, job-specific protection requirements of the law enforcement agencies that are oftentimes the ones responding to these incidents.

Safety ropes: Are they right for every department?

The State of New York Department of Labor is now issuing citations to fire departments that are in violation of the state’s 2008 “Rope Law”.  The statute: 12 NYCRR Section 800.7 requires all interior firefighters serving populations of less than one million in the state of New York working on a building’s second story or higher to be trained and furnished with self-rescue equipment (specifically rope and components). The intent of the law is to provide safe emergency egress in the event that a firefighter must escape from the upper stories of a building through an opening that is not designated…

The tightening of the belt – fire, police and EMS feeling the pinch

The days of public safety being spared cuts during difficult financial times appear to be over – and fire and police departments all over the United States are starting to feel the pinch. As tax revenues for municipalities decline, cities are tightening the belt on police, fire and emergency medical services. Read about some specific examples in this Wall Street Journal article and let us know what you think. Will cuts like these affect your department’s performance? Post a comment below and tell us what you think the impact will be to the general public if cities and municipalities continue to tighten the belt…

Why should I wear body armor?

By Ronald McBride, IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club — for LION Connects A compelling answer is contained in an FBI report of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted. The report concludes: “Based on an in-depth analysis of situations and circumstances surrounding assaults on police officers, the risk of sustaining a fatal injury for officers who do not routinely wear body armor is 14 times greater than for officers who do.” Body armor is effective in protecting police officers from a variety of threats. Of the documented saves, nearly half involve threats other than ballistic. Two cases illustrate this point.

Selecting the right CBRN ensemble for the threat

HAZMAT teams aren’t the only ones to handle chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear (CBRN) incidents anymore. To protect yourself, you need to get informed — knowing which CBRN ensemble best meets the stresses of a CBRN  incident. Hot zone. This is the worst-case level: An immediate threat involving a substance of unidentified and unknown concentration Exposure to gas or vapor close to the point of release Victims are unconscious or dead Above Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) levels In these instances, your stay in the hazard zone with be short and you will have to breathe via the SCBA. The CRBN ensemble…