Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tennessee Firefighters Hurt

According to the Secret List two firefighters were hurt while wrapping up operations on a brush fire on I-40 last night.  Prayers go out to these brothers, and thanks to www.firefighterclosecalls.com for keeping us updated on their condition.  Please stay safe on the roads.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Asheville LODD

Jay Bettencourt from the Asheville, NC Fire Department has chosen to tell his story on Statter911.com.  This story is unbelieveable and should be read like storytime in every recruit class.  Words can't even begin to express the feelings that come just from reading part 1 of this story.

Read it here: Jay's Story

Monday, January 23, 2012

Truck Positioning

Well after seeing this video, it looks like I'll jump back on my truck positioning soapbox.

and here's another showing of some great drivers:

If you have worked any length of time on a fire apparatus you have had a close call or a car do something stupid at the scene of a roadway incident. People these days are distracted by IPODs, IPAD's, Twitter, Text, Word with Friends, and other things all while they are driving. And then insert a fire truck that isn't normally there parked in the lane they are traveling in, and well you know the rest. Therefore we must know that we have to protect ourselves.

As I mentioned in we have to protect ourselves. 45,000lbs in between me and an out of control car is better than nothing that's for sure. Too many of us fail to use our apparatus to protect our members. We were on scene of a an accident at my volunteer department two weeks ago and a dump truck's brakes failed and he came within inches of hitting a car head on at our scene which was well protected and well controlled (or so we thought). What I learned (or remembered) is that we can't control things like mechanical failure or distracted driving, we can only protect ourselves from it. I had positioned the truck so that the scene was protected from traffic, but I couldn't protect everyone from themselves.

I reality that day we should have had a truck hit, if he hadn't turned into oncoming traffic (which I see as the worse of the two options he had) he would have hit our Engine. I post again about this so that people remember that you need eyes in the back of your head on the road. People forget and don't care about us we are holding them up. Protect your firemen, protect your family, protect your department, use apparatus to shield a scene. Keep the second due apparatus on scene a little longer to keep your folks safer.

Thanks for reading, and Stay Safe and Stay trained.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Edmonton Mayday Audio

Here is the audio from a Mayday in Edmonton. It seems on the surface a well handled Mayday. Here is an exerpt from the Edmonton Journal:

"Firefighters were called to the building at 1815 111A St. at about 2:40 p.m. Clouds of smoke from the fire could be seen from several blocks away. The smell of smoke and burning debris was strong throughout the area. Tongues of fire leaped from the top floor of the four-storey building as firefighters aimed their water hoses at the north exterior of the building.

Fire department spokesman Tim Wilson said additional firefighters were called to the scene at about 3:10 p.m. Still more fire crews were called to the scene by about 7 p.m.

Darren Smith, who lives alone in a fourth-floor suite in the building, said the smoke in the hallways wasn’t too heavy when firefighters arrived, but the flames quickly spread.

“The end result — this building is done,” Smith said, looking at the smoke and flames spewing from the roof of his building. "

Seems as though this one went well, and all the brothers made it out.  Review your policies, and any IC's out there learn how to manage a mayday, it is an important skill.  Study up everyone.


Thursday, January 19, 2012


Thoughts and prayers go out to the Hopelawn Fire Department.  Another tragic day for the fire service.

Read the article about the incident here:


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gas Explosion in NY

As always, statter911.com has good coverage on this event. Listen to the audio and think about the complacency that most of us have on gas leaks. Where do you park your trucks, set up command etc. Two brothers were hurt so pray for them, but it could have been much worse. I like the command presence of the IC, never really hear any panic.

Friday, January 13, 2012


As you may or may not be aware, there has been a lot of attention brought to the face pieces that we wear recently.  There have been several close calls and LODDs that have resulted directly from a catastrophic failure of the facepiece the the firefighter was wearing while in an IDLH.   Now before you start throwing rocks, it has not been just one manufacturer, or one style of face piece.  There are documented failures across all brands.

If that doesn't scare you it should.  basically what they have found is that no face peice is immune from it, and there aren't really sure what heat is causing them to fail.  There are some additional studies going on right now about it, but the preliminary opinions that I have heard in various presentations are that our gear is too good.  Too good.....What the hell do you mean by that? you may ask.  I'm telling you, that the gear that is out there right now is far superior and safer to the canvas jackets and hip boots of old.  But if you ask an old head, how did you guys feel heat?  He would reply, well why don't you guess, you knew it was hot when your family jewels started to light up, then you knew it was time to go.  We don't have that luxury (not that is something I wish we had), so we wait until we feel heat through our gear, which much of the time never happens.  So then that heat attacks our whole ensembleand then the weakest link shows up, usually the facepiece.  Not exactly comforting, considering that if it fails we can't breath, not a good thing. 

In fact, in two of the four experiments that NIST conducted the facepieces failed, here is one of them:

and that happened at 536 Degrees as measured.  most of the gear we wear would shieldthis heat from our senses, thats for sure.All SCBA masks are subject to a test befoire they go on the street, but this study found that the testing isn't realistic in duration and heat flux that we (Engine Guys, because the ladder can't get hot on the roof)  experience at a working fire.

So you may ask is this article to scare you, make you go work in an office now, or quit volunteering......absolutely not.  The point of this article is to ensure that you don't feel that our gear will protect us from anything.  It is called an ensemble for a reason, because it must match together well.  Great pants and jacket and a pair of crappy gloves (Ask FDNY) don't make you safer.  proper specifications and matching of all components can make you safer but not invinsible.  Especially considering that since our very existence depends on breathing, and the mask is currently the weakest link.  Next time you go to "work" at a fire ensure you don't forget that basic skills can still save your life and recognition of deteriorating fire and structural conditions will do more to keepo you safe than any gear Globe, Fire Dex, or Janesville can make.  Gear doesn't make you invinsible, and you must train on how to use your gear in your department.  You need to figure out where it can and can't get you safely.  Gear will burn and facepieces will melt in the right conditions, so don't pout your self there. 

I will post a link to the NIST study on the facebook page, so if you want to read it, check it out there.  There will be more posts on this topic, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, stay safe and stay trained.