Health Tips...

by Admin 22. May 2012 04:04
Stay Equipped
Hey FireIce blog readers!!! There's a trend that's spreading through the Fire Service at an alarming rate.

That trend is Job Related Cancer!

Studies have shown that not wearing your SCBA's during fire ground operations or not having your turnout gear cleaned regularly increases your risk of cancer.

In a three-year study completed in 2005 by the University of Cincinnati, researchers concluded that firefighters face a 102% greater chance of contracting testicular cancer than any other type of worker, a 53% greater chance of multiple myeloma, a 51% greater chance of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a 39% greater chance of skin cancer, a 32% greater chance of brain cancer, a 28% greater chance of prostate cancer, a 22% greater chance of stomach cancer, and a 21% greater chance of colon cancer.

Stay Safe!
By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

FireIce Academy Is Back In Session...

by Admin 3. May 2012 04:17

Hey FireIce bloggers!!

Undoubtedly the vast majority of rescue incidents are vehicle extrications. Performing a good scene size up is essential to accomplishing a safe and efficient extrication operation.

It is imperative to assess the condition of the vehicle and before any extrication activities begin, Stabilize the vehicles involved.

Inexperienced rescuers must be trained to resist the temptation of pulling or pushing a vehicle while on its side or roof as a means of determining if the vehicle is stable or not.

Whether its Pneumatic air bags, ropes, chains, jacks, cribbing or webbing rescuers should use whatever means are available to stabilize the vehicle.

When using any stabilization method, rescuers must take great care to avoid placing any part of their bodies under the vehicle while placing devices.

Once the vehicles are stable then rescue operations and gaining access to victims can be achieved safely. Stay Safe!

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

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Categories: FireIce | GelTech Solutions

FireIce Academy is back in session FireIce Bloggers..

by Admin 11. April 2012 06:41

This fire has a huge head start on you and size up for this would be an ongoing process gathering current and expected weather conditions and observing the fire behavior as it occurs. Always know what the Watch Out Situations are and start implementing the protocols to prevent them. Classify the fire (What class of fire is it or how big is it) and get the additional support you need.

While life safety and protecting property is important to every firefighter as an officer it is YOUR responsibility to ensure the safety of your crew (Everyone Goes Home). Know and implement the Standard Fire Orders, if you don’t know what these are Google them… Also get out your copy of the Fireline Handbook by NWCG you’re going to need it as a reference. Always remember LCES (Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones)…

Utilize the knowledge you have of the area to do a pre-incident size up, think and plan for expected life hazards, immediate water supply, and access/egress routes, etc. Locate a safe area to establish command and staging for arriving personnel and equipment. Don’t just keep these things in your head write them down and communicate these things to your crew and dispatch. Communications is an essential key! Make sure every member of your crew and dispatch clearly understands what you are saying and have them repeat it back to you if necessary. Once support personnel begins to arrive transfer command over to a more experienced officer that can continue to manage the situation.

Stay Safe!

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

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Categories: FireIce | GelTech Solutions

Firefighter Safety Tips...

by Admin 4. April 2012 10:14

Protect those eyes!On average firefighters sustain approximately 660 eye injuries per year!!

Of which 535 are minor and 125 as classified as moderate to severe...

90% of eye injuries are Preventable... Stay Safe!

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

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Categories: FireIce | GelTech Solutions

Five questions to sharpen your firefighting skills...

by Admin 28. March 2012 09:53

Hey FireIce Bloggers! FireIce Academy is back in session…

Safe firefighting practices are passed down from Ole Salty Dog Veterans to the Rookies by setting good examples on the fire ground, talking about scenes and scenarios, and explaining to the Rookie the Do’s and Don’ts.

Firefighting techniques are universal and are the same regardless where you fight fires. SOP’s may vary, but technique, safety, and safe operating procedures on the fire ground are the same.

Here are 5 questions that may help sharpen your skills!

Answers follow at the bottom…

1) Which one of the following is an incorrect answer?

A) When stretching a hose line to an upper floor of a building, do not pass a floor on fire unless a charged hoseline is in position on that floor.

B) Notify your officer when going above a fire to search for victims or vertical extension.

C) When climbing or descending a stairway between the fire floor and the floor above stay close to and face the stairwell. Heat, smoke, and flame rise vertically up the stairwell.

D) If you enter a smoke- and heat-filled room, hallway, or apartment above a fire and suspect flashover conditions behind you, locate a second exit, a window leading to a fire escape or portable ladder, before initiating the search.

2) Which one of the following is an incorrect answer?

A) At any collapse, stretch a hoseline and charge it to protect possible victims and rescuers from sudden explosion and flash fire.

B) Shut off all utilities-gas, electric, and water-immediately upon arrival at a building collapse. Do not wait for the utility company.

C) Heavy mechanical equipment, such as cranes and bulldozers, should be used to remove collapsed portions of a building while hand digging is being done nearby.

D) Parts of a structure that are in danger of collapsing during a rescue operation should be shored up, remove with a crane but never pulled down by firefighters below.

3) Which one of the following is the correct answer?

A. The firefighter's best protection against injury and death by a fall during overhaul is a properly charged flash-light.

B) The most potentially, dangerous area of local floor collapse inside a burned out residence building is the bathroom. The weight of a firefighter is enough to trigger the collapse of a fire damaged bathroom floor.

C) If flames are discovered still burning at a gas meter or broken pipe after a fire has been knocked down, extinguish the flame.

D) Full protective clothing-including mask face piece must be in place before a firefighter approaches a 20-pound propane cylinder to shut off the control valve when a small flame is burning at an outlet. There is a danger of the relief valve suddenly activating, creating a fireball that could engulf the firefighter.

4) True or False? When the wind frequently changes direction during a brushfire operation, the safest area from which to attack the fire is outside the blackened, burned-out area.

5) Arrange the priorities for removing a victim from a burning building, from best to least desired.

A) Fire Escape

B. Smoke Proof Tower

C) Aerial Platform

D) Aerial Ladder

E) Interior Enclosed Stairway
 
1) C – Is not a correct answer and will get you hurt or killed.

The correct answer is “When climbing or descending a stairway between the fire floor and the floor above, stay close to and face the WALL. Heat, smoke, and flame rise vertically up the stairwell.

2) C – Is not a correct answer and will get you hurt or killed.

The correct answer is ”Heavy mechanical equipment, such as cranes and bulldozers, should NOT be used to remove collapsed portions of a building while hand digging is being done nearby. Parts of a structure that are in danger of collapsing during a rescue operation should be shored up, remove with a crane but never pulled down by firefighters below or firefighters operating in the area.”

3) A – Is a correct answer a firefighter's best protection against injury and death by a fall during overhauling is a properly charged flash-light. No firefighter should respond to a fire without a personal light.

B - Is a correct answer the most potentially, dangerous area of local floor collapse inside a burned out residence building is the bathroom. The weight of a firefighter is enough to trigger the collapse of a fire damaged bathroom floor.

C – Is not a correct answer and will get you hurt or killed.

The correct answer is if flames are discovered still burning at a gas meter or broken pipe after a fire has been knocked down, do not extinguish the flame. Let the fire burn, protect the exposures with a hose stream, and alert command that the gas has to be shut off at a street control valve.

D – Is a correct answer and full protective clothing-including mask face piece must be in place before a firefighter approaches a 20-pound propane cylinder to shut off the control valve when a small flame is burning at an outlet. There is a danger of the relief valve suddenly activating, creating a fireball that could engulf the firefighter.

4) Is False and the correct answer is when the wind frequently changes direction during a brushfire operation, the safest area from which to attack the fire is the blackened, burned-out area.

When moving through brush during a fire, the firefighter should raise a tool or arm in front of his face as he moves forward to avoid injury by shrubbery, pointed needles, sharp leaves, or abrasive vines. Firefighters walking behind the lead firefighter should space themselves several feet apart to avoid whipping branches or leaves.

You should never enter cattails or brush that is over your head and reduces your vision. If the wind changes, you are in danger of being engulfed by fire in the brush.

Studies show that firefighters are most often killed and injured at small brushfires in isolated portions of larger fires. They are not killed by large timberland forest fires.

Firefighters are burned to death trying to outrun brush fires, or they are engulfed in flames when a brushfire suddenly flares up around them. Firefighters should attack a brushfire from the flanks-the sides of the fire area between the head, the edge along which the fire is advancing, and the rear.

The three most common injuries to firefighters during brush firefighting are eye injuries, falls, and heat exhaustion. Eye shields must be worn. Firefighters should walk on roads or well-traveled paths when possible.

5) The priorities for removing a victim from a burning building are, from highest to lowest, smoke proof tower, interior enclosed stairway, safe fire escape, aerial platform, aerial ladder or B-E-A-C-E.
We started off FireIce Academy by saying “Safe firefighting practices are passed down from Ole Salty Dog Veterans to the Rookies by setting good examples on the fire ground.”

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

Photo Courtesy of Paul Combs: http://www.artstudioseven.com/index.htm

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Categories: FireIce | GelTech Solutions

Switching To A Higher Gear

by Admin 22. March 2012 07:03

I have covered the major fire suppression agents in previous articles and have tried to be as neutral as possible in those presentations. However, I have to admit that I am quite partial to gel agents (particularly FireIce). Now, what I will not do is tell you that other products are terrible or ineffective. They have purpose and a place/time to be used. There is no disputing that fact. I do believe that there are some rather shoddy products out there that I would prefer not utilize (and frankly would rather use straight water than to waste time on those products). Will I tell you what they are? NO. I’m not here to bash anyone else’s product. What I am here to do is to educate Firefighters on how to properly deploy a gel agent and make it work for you.

Utilizing FireIce as a suppression agent is quite easy. Do you have to change how you fight fire? Absolutely not! Can you change how you fight fire? YES you can! As this article progresses, we will discuss how we can change what we are doing, when utilizing FireIce.

We have all been taught the infamous T, Z and O patterns for nozzle operation. Many have learned how to be effective with a solid stream, while others may not have had that opportunity. These methods do not necessarily have to change when adding FireIce to the operation. However, there are a few nuances that can be employed.

FireIce can be utilized with ANY stream pattern (fog, straight, or solid). We have found, in our own testing, that the straight or solid stream is the stream of choice. Fortunately, the fire service has begun its movement away from wide fog patterns within enclosed areas, opting for the decreased steam production of a tight stream. Wide-angle streams break down very rapidly in high-heat environments and create a LOT of steam (which generally tends to displace firefighters more than anything else). The formulation of FireIce allows us to use a narrow- angle fog pattern without creating the steam-bath that straight water or even foam streams produce. So, no matter what you are used to using (stream-wise), FireIce is just as effective.

How about those flow-rates?

Well, guess what? That doesn’t change either! You can utilize the nozzle, hose, and normal GPM, pump and nozzle pressures that you already utilize. That makes implementation of the product that much easier! We are not re-inventing the wheel. We’re just enhancing its performance!

We discussed in the last article (Changing Gears, part IV), how a gel product works, so I won’t duplicate that information here. What I will attempt to do is introduce you to the tactics of using FireIce gel and help you understand how it is slightly different than the norm.

I know what you are thinking: “You said we don’t have to change anything.” Well, you really

don’t have to. It’s a choice. However, if you want to get the “full” benefit of a gel, your tactics will have to change slightly.

Your stream application will be the same. The difference is…..you won’t have to use as much water to accomplish the same end result.

Now….hold on a minute…don’t get the lynching mob together just yet! I know that you have had EVERY salesman of EVERY new product you have seen tell you the exact same thing. Right? Yeah, I’ve gotten those sales pitches too! Some of them are true…some…..not so much.

You have to remember how a gel works. Rather than the molecules of water being separated, decreasing the surface tension, as with a foam product (which means you will still have water rapidly evaporate into steam or just run off the burning material), FireIce binds the water molecules together into a gel form, making them stick to the burning material and absorb the heat. FireIce will “coat” the burning materials, as well as the other surfaces that are off- gassing and preparing to ignite. This action allows the product to absorb the heat at the source AND prevent further off-gassing of nearby materials (which will eventually lead to flashover). Therefore, once the agent has been applied to the burning area, you can shut off the nozzle!

The application/tactic is very simple. When advancing to the fire, if you encounter rolling flames, at the ceiling, simply coat the ceiling and upper walls. You will prevent them from off- gassing, as well as cool the overhead. Continue advancing to the seat of the fire. Once the seat is in stream-range, utilize whatever pattern you like on the burning materials in short burst. Look at it this way. Do a quick knock-down of the fire, shut off the nozzle, wait a second for your visibility to return and if you see more flames, re-apply the product in another short burst.

This is not an extreme change of tactics, however, it is slightly different than going in and discharging 125-150GPM like a wild-man and hoping for the best. I have seen that tactic used on hundreds of fires. Water will evaporate, run off or just never make it to the actual “seat” of the fire. Foam products will do the same thing (for the most part). Foam is slightly better than straight water but only slightly. FireIce actually enhances the properties that water inherently possesses, rather than break it down.

Generally speaking, we call this tactic “painting”. If you think of it in those terms, it may make more sense. If you are painting something, do you just go crazy with the paint? No. You “coat” the object you are painting with short, sweeping burst! Otherwise, you will have a mess on your hands and paint running everywhere. FireIce is utilized in the same fashion. We want to make short “painting” strokes with the stream and “coat” the materials that are burning. It’s just that simple.

You CAN use FireIce the same way you have always used water/foam but taking a different approach will actually save you time, effort AND water! That is the ultimate goal. This product does not take away the fun of the interior attack (as some folks have worried it will). But let’s face facts. The “fun” at a fire only last for about 10-15minutes. After that….it’s all just plain

WORK! None of us want to spend hours upon hours mopping up after a fire. We are tired, wet, sore and hungry. We want to get back to the house, clean up the rigs and tools, and call it a good day! Right? We can keep doing things the way we always have but…..we will never get more effective than we already are and we will continue to bust our humps doing the laborious task of overhaul for hours after a fire is declared out.

There is an old adage that goes: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got!”

Change is hard to take sometimes but when it makes sense, you have to go with it. Don’t let the future of firefighting pass you buy.

Be safe out there. Till next time………

Preplan a major incident in the WUI?

by Admin 13. March 2012 05:16

We are excited to publish another edition of FireIce Academy for our blog readers.

As we get prepared for fire season, we ask the question...  Can you preplan a major incident in the WUI(better known as the Wildland Urban Interface)?

The answer is absolutely!

We talk and train frequently on pre-planning of structures but how often do Engine Companies actually preplan for a Wildfire? Wildland Teams, HOTSHOTS, Forestry Divisions, etc. do this constantly but as the "First Responder" to this event are you really doing much more than putting the Wildland gear on the truck? WUI

How do you begin? This is not an exhaustive list and you have to tailor it to your region…

1) Begin at the station by preparing apparatus. Ensure that pumps work properly, tanks are full and extinguishment/retardant agents (FireIce) are ready to be deployed properly.

2) Check the Fire Weather Forecast for the day and print it out. It's good to keep a copy in the unit for later reference. It will also be of great benefit to be aware of any incoming weather fronts, which could drastically affect fire behavior.

3) Know your area! Know where homes are located including the most remote or isolated ones.

Locate natural breaks; lakes, streams, roadways, cleared land, and so on. This will aid in planning for safe staging, back-burning, and resource allocation.

Get accustomed to viewing your area on a topographic map or satellite images (Google Earth). Being able to make the connection between drawings and what is in front of you will allow you to get a better perspective on what is really going on and where you trouble spots are.

Know your water sources and how to access them BEFORE you need them. Plan for possible deployment of portable pumps or performing drafting operations.

Know where you will likely need to apply retardants or suppression agents (FireIce) and where you will need to station apparatus, in the event of an Interface fire threatening homes.

4) Get to know your State/Federal Wildland responders. Build a relationship with them now and learn what to expect from each another. Show up to the party with a coordinated game-plan.

5) Plan for "worst case scenario"! Just like with Hazardous Materials Response, look ahead and have a game plan for the "what if" situation. Know what resources you have available and build a relationship with them "before" the "Big One".

6) Make certain that your Wildland Gear is in order, shelters are in good repair, snacks and hydration are readily available and all crew members understand LCES (and how to communicate). Always remember your Standard Firefighting Orders and know what common the denominators are of Fire Behavior from tragic fires.

There are a multitude of other things that can be done to "Pre-Plan" for a Wildland Incident; however, if you aren't doing anything then this is a good start. Remember to "look to the sky", as well, when responding. Don't let a beautiful, sunny day fool you into a sense of security. Pay attention to tell-tale cloud formation, wind speed/direction, time of day, approaching fronts and topography.

Please add any additional tips you may have to Preplan for a Wildfire… Stay Safe!

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

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Changing Gears (Part IV)

by Admin 7. March 2012 04:54

"Are you Gellin'?....I'm Gellin'."

 

Well, thus far in our pursuit of Fire Suppression perfection, we have been presented a “veritable pantheon” (to quote Alton Brown) of foams, wet chemicals, dry chemicals, nozzles, eductors and bears! Oh my!  (Sorry, got on a roll there.  But I’m sure you get the point.)  We have spent the last century trying to find the perfect product for fire suppression.

We have definitely not failed in our endeavors.  I am quite certain that old Benjamin Franklin would be quite proud of our efforts and many of the resulting products.  Our best and brightest have continued to develop products better than their predecessors for the better part of the last century.  Which may lead some to question, “where do we go from here?”.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the future of firefighting is HERE!  (and if you call right now, we’ll double your order and throw in a special gift for free!!!  Ha, ha ha!.....okay, well, not quite.)

In the last three parts of the “Changing Gears” column, we have looked at how water performs its job, how foam changed what water can do and how dry chemicals can either stand alone or be used in conjunction with the other two.  In all of our studies, trials, triumphs and failures we have to remember one key principle….FIRE has not changed!  We have tried everything to fight it more effectively and more efficiently but fire itself has not changed.  Of course the fuels we are combating now are different and create another variable to be considered, that goes without saying (although, I just said it anyway…)

Fire still has four basic components that allow it to grow and thrive:  Heat (from any one/more sources), Fuel (the reducing agent), Oxygen (often the catalyst) and an on-going Chemical Chain Reaction.  As firefighters, we are taught that the removal of any one of these individual components will cause flaming combustion to cease.  We have also learned that water is still the best, most plentiful resource by which this goal is accomplished.

Dry Chemicals may interrupt the chemical chain reaction or smother the product (excluding the oxygen).  Foams have cooling properties and for B-class fires, can blanket the fuel, thus cutting off the available oxygen supply (however, water is still the primary component of foam solutions, so IT is actually doing a lot of the work).  The primary function of foam (whether A or B concentrates) is to reduce the surface tension of the water, making it lighter so it will either float on a fuel surface or creep into the pores/crevasses of solid fuels.

Agents such as Inergen, Halon or Carbon Dioxide have been used as “flooding” agents to displace the oxygen in a given space, basically asphyxiating the fire.  These agents do not fare well out in the open but serve a great purpose in preserving electrical and computer equipment.

With all of that being known…what is next?........

………..enter Fire Suppression Gels to the market!

Gelling agents are not exactly new to the fire service.  We have been seeing that “red stuff” (PhosChek) dropped from C130 aircraft for a few decades now.  Barricade hit the market hard during the Florida Wildfires of 1998.  Other new gels have reached the market over the last couple of years as well (i.e. - Tetra KO, ThermoGel and FireIce).  The gel revolution is here!  Now! We are no longer waiting for the next advancement in Fire Suppression technology.

Traditionally, Gel Products have been utilized for structural protection (medium and long term) or as a fire retardant ahead of an active fire.  This is where we have seen the utilization of U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Air Force aircraft.  For the past 3 decades, there has been a push toward “green” products.  The environment has become a deeper concern to everyone and the impact of fire suppression and protection products has come under harsh scrutiny by several organizations, including the Department of Environmental Protection.

Although gels have been around for a bit, they have not gained much notoriety in the mainstream fire service. You will be hard-pressed to find a municipal fire department which routinely carries a gel product in their arsenal.  It’s time for change!

Finally, gels are making it into the arena of Fire Suppression rather than being relegated to protection.  FireIce Gel (a Geltech Solution) has bridged the gap between being a retardant and a suppressant.  When utilized in different mix ratios, the product can easily work for both applications.  

(Author’s note:  As a fire service member for 26yrs and having worked as a Company Officer and Fire Instructor, I have had the opportunity to utilize most of the products on the market in live situations.  While, my intent is not to “bash” other products, I have intimate knowledge of FireIce, have used it in live fire settings and can attest to its power and efficiency.  My intent is merely to educate the reader, utilizing my own experiences.)

What is FireIce and how does it work?  It’s very simple!  FireIce is a powder product that when introduced to water, absorbs 400x its own volume, thus forming a gel.  The components are very simple: Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Potassium.  It has been tested by the U.S. Forest Service (extensively) and is classified as safe for the environment.

FireIce is classified as a “water enhancer”.  Rather performing as a water “additive” with its own properties, FireIce enhances the properties that water already has.  By binding the water together into a gel form, the product has the ability to absorb more heat, more rapidly than straight water or even a foam solution.  In addition to the cooling effect, the product also adheres to the surface of combustible materials, excluding oxygen and preventing the off-gassing (pyrolysis) of the product any further.

It has been debated for years that the utilization of a straight or solid stream (which holds the water together longer, while reaching the seat of the fire) will produce less steam in the firefighter’s environment and make it the firefight more tenable.  It is a well-known fact that smaller droplets of water will vaporize more readily than larger droplets.  Due to the binding capability of the product and how the water molecules stay more intact while traveling to the fire, less water is lost on the way to the seat of the fire.  This translates into more water hitting the seat and absorbing the heat (while stopping further fire growth simultaneously).  This also means that less water can be used to extinguish the fire, due to the fact that we are not losing water to the atmosphere, prior to reaching the “real problem”.

Are there other “good” products on the market that will extinguish fire?  I would be a liar if I said there weren’t!  What I am saying is simple:  this argument can be likened to something we can all understand.  We all know things that are good but if we had our choice, we would choose something else that is better.  

Gels are still new to the mainstream Fire Service but they are getting around and being utilized by some departments, with great success.  The Fire Service is ever changing and WE don’t like change!  That is well understood.  I am part of the “traditional” Fire Service myself.  But, I have made this statement before, “I’m not telling you to throw out your Leather New Yorker or stop being aggressive firefighters”.  It’s simply time to open our minds (like our Father’s did) to new suppression technology.

There’s a NEW water in town……are you Gelling yet?

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Categories: FireIce | GelTech Solutions

L.C.E.S. Applying a Wildland Staple to All Incidents

by Admin 24. January 2012 07:37

With all of the wildland fires going on in the U.S. right now, I decided to take a break from the “Changing Gears” column and focus on something a little different.  I will be continuing with “Changing Gears” soon (with the next segment on Dry Chemicals).


Most of the Fire Service is very familiar with the acronym “L.C.E.S.”, which represents: Lookouts, Communication, Escape Routes and Safety Zones. 

Lookouts Communications, Escape Routes, Safety Zones

It has been driven in to the minds of Wildland firefighters for a number of years and is a staple of Firefighter Safety in the wildland and Urban Interface.  While working on some other training post, I began to see how LCES could be applied to all aspects of our job.  That’s right, it’s not just for the woods anymore!  

We are constantly trying to re-enforce safety to our new and seasoned firefighters.  The training community is always looking for some way to get the safety message across and keep it in the forefront of the Firefighters’ mind during operations.  Well, why not use what they already know and teach them how to apply it in different aspects of the job?  

Let’s take a look at an example:

Structural Fires
Lookouts- Are they needed for something that is not moving?  Absolutely!  Walls come down, roofs collapse, smoke/fire conditions change, etc., etc., etc……..Being a lookout is the primary job of the Incident Safety Officer, however, EVERYBODY on the fire-ground is a “lookout”.  This is a crucial function that must be performed at all incidents.

Communication- Well, I shouldn’t have to even mention this one but….. yeah, I will anyway.  Communication is key to safety, incident management, logistics, and interagency cooperation.  The basis of the Incident Command System is proper communication flow, which is essential to the mitigation of any type of emergency.  A radio in the hands of a Firefighter, is his lifeline to help when in trouble or his/her notification of impending disaster.  Maintaining communication with crews operating out of the line-of-sight will provide a higher level of safety for those crews and better situational awareness for the Ops Chief or IC, in regards to what he/she cannot see. This is essential!

Escape Routes- We don’t normally see this as an issue at structural fires but it most definitely is.  Interior crews are constantly on the lookout for a way out.  You must be aware of where to go when things go bad.  Where are windows or doors located?  How about the exterior crew?  Do you have a plan for where to go if a wall collapse begins?  Is there an alternate route to safety? These (and others) are questions that should be considered at your next structural fire.  The fire may not be leaving the building but the building can “misbehave” very badly, in a number of ways.  Know what route to take to safety!

Safety Zones- This is another of those actions that we subconsciously take every time we pull up to an incident.  Where are we going to position the apparatus?  Where are our collapse zones?  What is a safe location for the ICP?  Where will EMS be placed?  These should all be considered Safety Zones!  Firefighters should be aware of places that are NOT a good place to retreat for safety, in the event of a catastrophic event.  They should learn how to identify safe locations for getting clear of collapse zones, changing SCBA bottles, etc.  

If we train our Firefighters to think this way, they will ultimately become safer workers and have a better understanding of what “full” situational awareness is.

Obviously, I only touched the surface of how LCES can be applied to something other than a wildland fire.  It is up to the individual, the officer, the instructor and the Chief to find other ways to employ a safety measure that we ALL already know.  LCES!  Use it your way!  Use it for LIFE!

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Categories: FireIce | GelTech Solutions

Wind Driven Fires should not be taken lightly...

by Admin 18. January 2012 06:41

Hey FireIce Blog Readers! FireIce Academy is back in session!

In today's FireIce Academy we are going to try and illustrate the fire condition of a wind driven fire. A photo is just a small snap shot of time and it is sometimes difficult to determine what is going on. Wind driven fires kill firefighters and should not be taken lightly.

Wind Driven Fires

Tests and studies have been done by many departments and NIST, but historically there isn’t anything as far as a live fire training program until now.

Please review the attached link which covers the history of WDF, studies that have been conducted by FDNY and NIST. You will also find how to build a prop and simulate a wind driven fire.

The author of the paper, Chief Ray Altman, is a well respected educator/training officer and is a good friend of FireIce.

History of WDF

Stay Safe!

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Categories: FireIce | GelTech Solutions