Accident crushed firefighter’s body, not his spirit

By Brendan Milewski Special to CNN Editor’s note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle — injury, illness or other hardship — they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed. This week we introduce you to Brendan Milewski, who bravely served in the Detroit Fire Department for over a decade before one act of arson ended his career and changed his life forever. When people find out you’re a firefighter, the first question they ask is: “What made you join the fire service?” This is typically…

Battling Flames in Forests, With Prison as the Firehouse

By Fernanda Santos For The New York Times PRESCOTT, Ariz. — The men cluster in a tight pack, identities obscured by fire-resistant Nomex clothes, each one anonymous except for the color of his helmet: red for corrections officers, blue and yellow for inmates. When the air was hot and the woods were parched last summer, the peak of the wildfire season in the West, these trained wilderness firefighters fought 13 forest fires in Arizona, including the one in June that half-destroyed the nearby village of Yarnell and killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite team. On a crisp morning…

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…

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…

Silverado Volunteer Firefighter Concept Can Take the Heat

From General Motors With input from the National Volunteer Fire Council, Chevrolet developed the Silverado Z71 Volunteer Firefighter concept to honor the service of grassroots first responders and share a vision of how the all-new, more capable 2014 Silverado can be pressed into duty. The concept vehicle features a full complement of rescue equipment incorporated on a new Silverado Double Cab equipped with the Z71 Off Road suspension. “We wanted to pay tribute to these important men and women in communities everywhere,” said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. “They are the kind of hard-working Americans for whom we…

Study predicts wildfires to triple by 2050

By Mary Rose Roberts For Fire Chief By 2050, wildfire seasons will be about three weeks longer, twice as smoky and wider in area, according to environmental research scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), in collaboration with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. A study was commissioned by multiple federal agencies, the EPA, NASA, the NIH and other scientists who are “trying to bridge the gap between NASA satellite and models and policymakers,” said Loretta J. Mickley, a senior research fellow in atmospheric chemistry at SEAS. Mickley is co-author of the new study and has…

Experienced firefighters are more analytical under stress than novices, study finds

From medicalxpress.com Experienced firefighters take longer to make decisions under stress than novice firefighters, according to research conducted at Iowa State University. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After conducting dozens of virtual reality trials in which real firefighters with varying levels of experience responded to fire simulations, experts at Iowa State said this week that seasoned firefighters took a more analytical approach than their less experienced colleagues when making decisions. “The experienced firefighters put a heavier emphasis on enhancing their situational awareness and creating a mental map for themselves,” said Nir Keren, an associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering. Keren said experienced…

Boys With Firefighting Dreams, and Goodbyes That Turned Final

By JACK HEALY and IAN LOVETT For The New York Times “I’m going down to Yarnell for a fire that’s threatening homes. I think I will be down there for a while on this one.” It was 6:24 on Sunday morning, Andrew Ashcraft writing to his wife, Juliann. He was 29, a firefighter, a member of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew here, and he died alongside 18 of his teammates later in the day. “Have fun,” Juliann replied. “We’ll miss you.” “I miss you guys already,” Mr. Ashcraft wrote, not just to his wife, but to their four children, ages 1, 2,…

Ohio firefighters learn valuable lessons from Colorado wildfire

By Lot Tan For the Dayton Daily News Eight Butler County firefighters dispatched 10 days ago to help battle the raging Black Forest fire in Colorado have returned home with some valuable lessons and tactics they believe will benefit the area should a major disaster strike here. Firefighters representing Monroe and Middletown and Liberty, West Chester and Ross townships were sent to Colorado June 15 as part of The Butler County Incident Management Team. The team has been deployed to many natural disasters, including Hurricanes Irene and Sandy and the deadly tornado last year that devastated the small village of…

Firefighting robot paints 3-D thermal imaging picture for rescuers

From Phys.org Engineers in the Coordinated Robotics Lab at the University of California, San Diego, have developed new image processing techniques for rapid exploration and characterization of structural fires by small Segway-like robotic vehicles. A sophisticated on-board software system takes the thermal data recorded by the robot’s small infrared camera and maps it onto a 3D scene constructed from the images taken by a pair of stereo RGB cameras. This allows small mobile robotic vehicles to create a virtual reality picture that includes a 3D map and temperature data that can be used immediately by first responders as the robot…