Simpliest solution often the best

  This column is based on a collapse I responded to back on February 27th. As a disclaimer I will state that this account of events is based on the operations conducted by myself and the other members of Squad 1 (SQ-1). There were numerous units operating at this collapse and any particular operation, such as the placement of a ladder for shoring, probably involved the actions of individual members of many of those units.   I was the officer on duty working the day tour in SQ-1 and we were conducting a collapse drill constructing collapse shoring. We were finishing up a second type of shoring when the alarm went off and we received a ticket to respond to 467 Rutland Road in Brooklyn, NY, for reports of a building collapse with a worker trapped in the basement. During our response we received confirmation that we had units on scene...
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Psychological trauma ending in suicide

Our driver engineer Jim was an accomplished Paramedic.  Recently he seemed agitated after an incident where we responded to an major vehicle accident involving a mother and infant. The infant daughter died in Jim’s arms just as we extricated her from the vehicle. Jim feverishly did CPR while riding in the ambulance to the hospital.  After the incident he seemed withdrawn but we had responded to many incidences that were critical and we all bounced back with a little time. The thoughts were that Jim would bounce back too.    Jim had always been the life of the party at the fire station and was a picture of health.  Over the last few months since this incident Jim seemed irritable and short tempered.  He complained of palpitations and didn’t pitch in with station work, whereas before, he led with a dynamic personality that made work fun for all of us. Today,...
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A systematic approach to rescue ops

Amid the chaos and excitement of any rescue operation, there are often important aspects of incident that can be overlooked. Sometimes, the sequencing of tasks becomes disjointed. Though the outcome we all seek is the same, the way we get there can vary between rescue teams. The key to success is to create a systematic approach to perform functions that ensures that they will occur in proper sequence and in a timely manner. For example, we use the acronym P.A.S.S. when we use portable fire extinguishers. It stands for Pull – Aim – Squeeze – Sweep. These four steps must be performed in a certain sequence to be successful. In EMS, we use a variety of acronyms from ABC [Airway – Breathing – Circulation] to the SAMPLE history [Signs/Symptoms – Allergies – Medications – Previous history – Last intake – Events preceding]. Search and rescue teams have used L.A.S.T. [Locate –...
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Fire department connections revisited

      Many years ago, we wrote an article about the need to pre-plan fire department connections (FDCs) so that a sprinkler or a standpipe system can be properly supplied. In the case of standpipes, this is needed to either provide sustained flow or to supplement flow, and in the case of a dry standpipe, to provide all the water.  In the case of sprinkler systems guidelines are provided by NFPA 13 which is the standard that governs automatic sprinklers and intends that fire department connections are to supplement the water supply. This could be to boost pressure, boost flow, or increase the duration of the supply. They can also be used during a water supply outage to keep the sprinkler system in service. A recent fire at a tire warehouse offers a clear example for the need to support a sprinkler FDC. The sprinklers at the warehouse had controlled...
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Clear combustible wrapper

When it comes to a high pressure vapor release, the scary visuals, i.e., the billowing apparition rapidly enveloping the facility, is not as dangerous as what might already be much closer. An invisible killer surrounds the escaping fuel, a combustible wrapper that makes ignition and death possible. Visible clouds of vapor represent a region of relative safety. The richness of the fuel itself drives away the oxygen it needs to burn. You might suffocate but you will not incinerate. However, just beyond the vapor the leading edge of the release is mixing with the surrounding atmosphere, turning clear and flammable. Granted, with a multitude of ignition sources readily available, chances are the escaping vapor will touch off long before the ERT can do anything. The plant’s own fire pumps, automatically activated in such an emergency, could easily provide the devastating spark. But what if the gas continues to vent uninterrupted for...
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How a warehouse fire sparked company-wide innovation at Gap Inc.

At 10:30 p.m. on Monday, August 29, 2016, Jim Young had just gotten home after a long day on the factory floor when he received the call he had been dreading his entire life.     To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.
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Plan in place to burn off remaining chemical from Akron plant fire

The Akron (OH) Fire Department and Emerald Performance Materials have announced the plan to get rid of the remaining chemical that burned in a huge fire at the plant on July 18.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.   .
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Husky: $27M in damage, $53M in expenses, 2020 restart

Superior, WI - Following an explosion and fire in April, Husky Energy says its Superior refinery is not expected to resume normal operations until 2020.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.   .
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Ford 2Q earnings down nearly half due to supplier fire, China

Detroit, MI - Dinged by slumping China sales and a fire at a U.S. parts factory, Ford Motor Co.'s second-quarter net profit fell 48 percent from a year ago.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.   .
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Chevron fire protection engineers experience the enemy up close

  Vanessa Aguayo and Antoya Ellis ordinarily address the hottest of the hot button issues that besiege industrial fire protection using cold equations and sophisticated computer models. Chevron’s corporate fire school in May marked their first time wearing bunker gear and breathing apparatus. “I want to understand what firefighters actually go through, what they feel,” Aguayo said. “In that way we can design better fire protection systems for them.” Aguayo and Ellis, 11 and six-year Chevron employees, respectively, are Fire Protection Engineers working in Chevron’s Energy Technology Company in Houston.  They design fire protection systems including completing and verifying hydraulic calculations and transient analysis, fire and gas detector placement and conduct 3D mapping analysis. Their work protects the company’s refineries and upstream assets worldwide.   One project that Aguayo and Ellis have under their belt is developing specifications to implement full-surface and rim seal fire suppression for large-diameter flammable liquid storage...
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New management reopens fire training field in Beaumont, TX

Despite being given up for dead by its previous lessee, the Beaumont (TX) Fire/Rescue Training Center is on track to reopen in late July, nearly a year since heavy flooding during Hurricane Harvey forced its closure. The Beaumont City Council voted unanimously in April to grant a 20-year lease on the 45-acre city-owned facility to Industrial Rescue Instruction Systems, Inc., a Beaumont-based company specializing in training for industrial emergency responders. IRIS owner David Owens said the reopened school will now operate under the name Industrial Rescue Fire Training Field. “This is an opportunity we’ve been looking for,” Owens said. “The city offered the school to us in 2002 but we weren’t big enough at the time.” Owens, who plans to invest $1.5 million in reopening the school, said the project was largely a matter of “sentimental value” to him. He became familiar with the complex as a student and instructor before...
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Shrapnel from explosion sets stage for huge Husky refinery fire in April

Rather than race to the scene, Superior, WI Fire Chief Steve Panger went straight to fire department headquarters when an April 26 refinery explosion rocked the community. Planning for an emergency response on the scale required that day had long been in place, he said.  “I knew we’d have callback crews of off-duty personnel reporting immediately,” Panger said. “My immediate job was to manage those crews and cover the fire stations emptied by the initial response to the blast.”  As the incident progressed and the stations were backfilled, Panger would move to the command post already set up by Husky Energy personnel. The explosion in a fluid catalytic cracking unit triggered an ongoing fire at the 38,000 bpd refinery that burned for the next eight hours, forcing an evacuation of Superior, population 27,000. Those residents were not allowed to return until the following morning. At the time of the blast, the...
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Chevron fire captain struggles with cancer diagnosis

Hearing the words, “You have cancer,” once in your life is terrible enough. Robert Taylor, captain with the Chevron El Segundo ERT, has heard it twice in the last eight years. At the Chevron corporate fire school in April and May Robert’s wife Jill gave his colleagues a complete update on his progress via Skype. Robert normally serves as chief of operations for the three Chevron schools held annually at Brayton Fire Training Field. Unfortunately Robert was too sick to participate. But by email he made it clear he intends to return to his fire school duties. “If a miracle happens, I do plan to return to the corporate fire school in 2019, yet I know Tonnie (Hopson) and the guys are doing a great job of running things in my absence,” Robert writes. Robert, featured in the Summer 2017 issue of Industrial Fire World, also plays a prominent role in...
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2018 Red Adair Award for industrial firefighting to be presented at FRI

The 2018 Red Adair Award for leadership in industrial firefighting will be presented by Industrial Fire World magazine April 10 during the Fire-Rescue International conference in Dallas.   “The greatest aspect of this award is its tie to Red,” IFW publisher David   White said. “I presented the first Red Adair Award to Red himself in 1991.”   Adair, who died in August 2004 at age 89, was a highly respected leader in the specialized field of oil well fire fighting. His lengthy career was capped in 1991 when he took a lead role in extinguishing the many oil well fires in Kuwait set by the retreating Iraqi army after the Gulf War.   White, a former instructor at the Texas A&M Fire School, is the owner of Fire & Safety Specialists, a training and consulting firm that has done work in China, India, Libya, South Africa and other foreign countries....
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Nylon 6/6 shortage looking worse: Ascend declares force majeure following plant fire

Nylon 6/6 customers need to pull in their belts another notch as markets for the engineering plastic just got tighter.     To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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Russell Leavitt honored with a Special Achievement Award

  PHOENIX (July 10, 2018)— Russell B. Leavitt, Executive Chairman of Telgian Holdings, Inc., a worldwide provider of comprehensive fire, security, life safety consulting and engineering/design services, was recently recognized with a Special Achievement Award by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).   The award, which was presented during the Technical Committee Session, celebrates the significant contribution of a committee member to a single project that has enhanced the NFPA Standards Development Process. “The NFPA Standards Development process is a consensus process that encourages participation of all facets of industry, trades, government, enforcers, and anyone interested in improving safety and reducing fire loss,” says Kerry Bell, Standards Council Chair. “Through this process, countless volunteers share their expertise and time to ensure that NFPA standards are developed and updated/revised to address safety concerns and technologies.”   Leavitt’s active role as Chair of the NFPA 13 Restructuring Task Group for the 2019 Edition...
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Local firefighters get hands-on hazmat training on CSX’s Safety Train

  Columbus, OH - Central Ohio firefighters and first responders learned Wednesday how to handle railroad emergencies involving hazardous materials using CSX’s Safety Train, a rolling classroom.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.
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Turnarounds at CO2 plants in Europe affects frozen foods, carbonated drinks

  Coca-Cola says it has "temporarily paused" some production because of the shortage of CO2 gas.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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Utility seeks rate hike following April refinery fire in Wisconsin

  Superior, WI - Superior Water, Light & Power's loss of net income due to the explosion at the Husky Energy refinery in April is being factored into a rate request the utility filed last week with the Public Service Commission.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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UK company prosecuted after worker killed

RRS London Waste Papers Ltd have been sentenced after health and safety breaches resulted in the death of one of their workers.   Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how a RRS London Waste Papers Ltd worker was found dead inside the compaction chamber of a baling machine. The worker had suffered fatal crush injuries.   An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on 27 March 2017, found the worker had fallen down the loading hopper into the compaction chamber of a baling machine. He was most likely attempting to clear a blockage and falling into the chamber initiated the compaction sequence.   The investigation found that this could have been prevented had RRS London Waste Papers Ltd devised and instructed workers on a safe method for clearing machine blockages. Climbing up the baler to clear machine blockages exposed workers to the risk of falling a...
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