Hemorrhage control takes spotlight

Little has changed since my Boy Scout First Aid training in the 1970s about how we stop bleeding. Apply direct pressure. Elevate the wound. Remember the pressure points. But thanks in part to the military, a renewed focus on hemorrhage control is apparent in most trauma journals. A 2013 article in Military Times states that  25 percent of war deaths are “potentially survivable.” Trauma Surgeon Col. Brian Eastridge with the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research states that “uncontrolled blood loss was the leading cause of death in 90 percent of the potentially survivable battlefield cases.” Aggressive tourniquet use is recommended to reduce deaths due to blood loss from limb injuries.1 Think of the tourniquet, a small, at times improvised, medical device that has been around since the days of Napoleon and still making a tremendous difference today. Do we see battlefield injuries in our emergency calls? Data from the National...
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Focus on Hazmat: Halogens - modern blessing comes with a bite

The column was originally intended to run with a package of articles on the dangers of bromine poisoning that ran in the Spring 2017 issue of Industrial Fire World. The halogens are a group of five elements having similar chemical properties. These are (in order of atomic mass and atomic number) fluorine 9, chlorine 19, bromine 35 iodine 53. Two others, astatine 85 and ltennessine117, are known to exist but are radioactive and ltennessine 117 is a synthetic element. Compounds of Aastatine 85 have only been made in nanogram quantities. They have no significant use except in research.   The name “Halogen” translates to “salt former.” These are the elements that react to form compounds known as salts. Sodium Chloride (NaCl) or table salt is a classic example. Potassium Bromide (KBr) is another. The halogens are characterized by having seven electrons in the outer shell of their atoms, thus tending to...
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Training Day: Thinking Outside the Box About Ground Ladders

This article was inspired by an article, concerning alternative uses of ground ladders for rescue, in the Spring 2017 issue of Industrial Fire World magazine.  I read that article during the time period that I was conducting a training cycle, of several weeks, preparing several new FDNY Special Operations firefighters to attend their advanced firefighter (FF) rescue training. Several of the techniques taught in this course either involve the unconventional use of ladders or were inspired by techniques involving the unconventional use of ladders.      While normally used for access and egress there are other more unconventional ways that they can be used to accomplish these goals. In FDNY manuals there are techniques to use ladders to: bridge over alleyways (also used over excavations), to replace burnt out stairs, and to bridge over fences (utilizing two ladders lashed together). During operations at the World Trade Center ladders were laid out...
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Risk Assessment: Matching the right sprinklers to the job

In Part 1, we discussed that this article was inspired by two recent books. “Fastest Water” is a term cited in Billy Goldfeder’s new book Pass It On, The 2nd Alarm and Sun Tzu and the Art of Fire Service Leadership by Arron Johnson. Reading more in Goldfeder’s book, contributing author Skip Coleman cites Tom Brennan’ s observation that if you only have the resources to do one thing – “Put the fire out!”. This was in the context of a structural fire and Brennan was probably talking mostly about occupied apartments  and other residences, but there are many industrial parallels. In part 1, we addressed Boil-Over Prevention and attacking airport tank fires with ARFF apparatus. In part 2, we will address fastest sprinklers for warehouse fires, structural blitz attack, and, large industrial monitors.         Fastest Sprinklers for Warehouse Fires For their first hundred years of existence, sprinklers were intended...
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Henry Beare, 72, of Seminole, TX dead following fall at gas processing plant

Funeral services are pending for Henry Beare, 72, of Seminole, TX, recognized for establishing the New Mexico Firefighters Training Academy. He died Tuesday from injuries suffered June 15 in a fall at an oilfield gas processing plant near Seminole.   Arrangements are under the direction of Ratliff Funeral Home in Seminole. A vcteran memorial service will be scheduled at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe, NM, at a future date. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please direct donations to The National Fallen Firefighters Fund at https://www.firehero.org/donate.   A press release issued by the Gaines County Sheriff’s Office states that Beare died Tuesday at University Medical Center in Lubbock where he had been transported by medical helicopter after his fall from a height of 10-to-12 feet at the Hess Corp. Seminole Gas Processing Plant northwest of Seminole, the release states.   Born May 18, 1945, in Albuquerque, NM, Beare was a...
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Risk Assessment - Exterior insulation and finishing

Originally published in the May-June 2009 issue of Industrial Fire World. Reposted following the Grenfell Towers fire in London. To read part two of the column, CLICK HERE .   As a result of a few recent fires that have started on or involved the exterior of the building, a number of them have been blamed on the use of an exterior insulation and finishing systems (EIFS), a building technique to provide building insulation and architectural ornamentation. While the exact material ignited in the most recent casino fire has not been determined, chances are that a listed EIFS was not the cause of the extensive fire spread. This article will address this issue. EIFS was developed originally to insulate existing buildings without disrupting or losing interior space. The insulating material is installed over the exterior wall of the building, then covered with a finish coat material. EIFS were developed in Europe...
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Risk Assessment - Exterior insulation and finishing

Article originally published in the July-August 2009 issue of Industrial Fire World. Reposted in the wake of the Grenfell Towers disaster in London. To read part one of the series, CLICK HERE .   The first part of my article I went over some of the fires the systems were involved in, how the systems are fabricated, and the fire tests conducted on the systems. As discussed in previous articles, these systems may be used when industrial buildings need to blend in to the local community or when an attractive exterior is desired for freestanding office buildings at large industrial plants.     I would like to make an update in that article. I spoke with an investigator who visited the casino fire, who said that while the exact cause has not been determined, workers were welding a cat walk on the roof side of a parapet when the fire broke...
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CSB releases investigative update into catastrophic pressure vessel failure that killed 4

May 25, 2017, St. Louis, MO – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a “Factual Investigative Update” on the April 3, 2017, catastrophic rupture of a pressure vessel at the Loy Lange Box Company that killed four people and left another in critical condition.    The CSB’s ongoing examination of the incident has identified a history of leaks in the pressure vessel, which was part of a steam generation system. In 2012, the vessel was repaired when it was discovered that water was leaking from the bottom of its tank. In what was termed an “emergency repair,” a portion of the bottom of the tank was replaced with a custom made center section.    On Friday, March 31, 2017, employees again noticed a leak from the bottom of the vessel. Photos taken by the employees revealed leaks coming from at least two distinct sections of a 6-inch ring of original...
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Workplace safety and health regulation seeks to reduce risk of major incidents at California oil refineries

Oakland, CA - The  Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has approved new workplace safety and health regulations at oil refineries across the state intended to provide a framework for anticipating, preventing and responding to hazards at refineries. “This is the most protective regulation in the nation for the safety and health of refinery workers and surrounding communities,” said DIR Director Christine Baker. “This new regulation will ensure California’s oil refineries are operated with the highest levels of safety possible and with injury and illness prevention in mind.” The approved regulation introduces a new refinery safety order enforced by Cal/OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) Unit, adding section 5189.1 to Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations. The elements outlined in the regulation require refinery employers to: • Conduct Damage Mechanism Reviews for processes that result in equipment or material degradation. Physical degradation, such as corrosion...
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CSB releases safety bulletin on 2015 chemical release and flash fire at Delaware factory

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its findings and a safety bulletin entitled "Key Lessons for Preventing Incidents when Preparing Process Equipment for Maintenance" resulting from a hydrocarbon release and fire that injured one worker at the Delaware City Refining Company in Delaware City, DE. CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, "More than a third of the incidents investigated by the CSB occurred during maintenance activities, ultimately resulting in 86 fatalities and 410 injuries." On November 29, 2015, alkylation unit operators at the Delaware City Refining Company, or DCRC, were preparing equipment for maintenance. Prior to performing the work, operators had to first drain and isolate a section of piping scheduled to be replaced by closing valves to block the flow of hydrocarbons into the piping. However, the operators learned that a valve on one side of the pipe isolation was leaking and therefore would not seal properly, which led...
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Shell fire school keeps Brayton training field busy

One fire training simulation at Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas in particular seemed to divide responders attending the Shell Oil Products and Motiva Enterprises corporate fire school held in February at the Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas. That simulation, designated as prop 50, is the structural burn complex fire, also known as the smokehouse. Hay bales are burned in a darkened metal building to simulate heat and reduced visibility. “They either love it or love to hate it,” said Shane Stuntz, emergency response coordinator for Motiva Enterprises in Convent, LA. “It seems like the group we have this time have had a lot of experience as interior firefighters in the past.” ​ ​ More than 150 industrial firefighters protecting Shell Oil Products and Motiva Enterprises oil and chemical production facilities gathered in College Station, TX, for the joint corporate fire training school. The Motiva Convent facility brought 20 students...
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E-One's factory keeps America stocked in fire apparatus

Sparks shoot as an aerial ladder is welded at E-ONE’s manufacturing facility in Ocala, FL. The welder is disguised beneath the sparks and the base which the ladder stands. The surrounding production floor booms with the sound of assembly as Terry Planck, Industrial Sales Specialist for E-One, leads us across the factory to the multiple production lines, custom pumpers, industrial rescues, commercial pumpers, and aerials all assembled in a systematic flow across the floor. The usual tour of E-ONE’s Florida industrial campus takes at least three hours. The E-ONE employs more than 800 people manufacturing everything from ARFF vehicles, to highly customized pumpers and aerials.   E- ONE was founded in 1974 by Bob Wormser, an engineer who believed that aluminum was the material of choice to stop corrosion in fire trucks. From that radical thought, the first modular all-aluminum body for fire apparatus was born. “When E-ONE introduced aluminum bodies...
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Mission Driven - Adaptability and resilience under pressure

This is part one of a three part series on mission driven culture, a leadership development program being tested by the International Association of Fire Chiefs. A tsunami of fire closes in on a casino resort in the foothills east of San Diego. A CalFire Battalion Chief, scouting as a field observer with a sheriff’s deputy, arrives on scene to unfolding catastrophe: people are panicking and attempting to evacuate on a narrow, winding road; scorched horses, still burning and smoking, are running loose inside the casino.  In the BC’s judgment, the 2500 people around the casino will face certain death in their struggle to escape the flames.  He orders everyone inside and directs management to lock the doors.  When the flame front passes, the BC asks the deputy to go door to door and evacuate to as many homes as possible in the fire’s path.   Post-event investigations all agree that...
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Risk Assessment - Sprinklers - The fastest way to get water

This article is inspired by two recent books. “Fastest Water” is a term cited in Billy Goldfeder’s new book Pass It On, The 2nd Alarm. The term itself comes from the National Fire Sprinkler Association’s work toward providing sprinklers in private dwellings. The idea is that the fastest way to get water on dwelling fires is residential sprinklers. And of course making sure sprinklers are properly designed, maintained, and are not defeated by the fire service is the overall objective of this column.    The second is Sun Tzu and the Art of Fire Service Leadership by Arron Johnson, an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) trained firefighter. It’s all about preplanning, knowing the enemy, and knowing your own strengths and weaknesses.    This two-part article will address five topics: 1) Boil-Over Prevention, 2) Attacking airport tank fires with ARFF apparatus, 3) Fastest sprinklers for warehouse fires, 4) Structural blitz attack, and...
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Training Day - Conducting an emergency scene size-up

This column is the second in a two part series discussing the importance of the scene size-up and how to train to perform this vital function. The first column offered an overview of the13-point size-up and specifics on some of the points. This column will finish discussing the individual points of the COAL WAS WEALTH size-up (so far the COAL points have been covered leaving us with WAS WEALTH) and finish with some ideas on how to utilize and conduct training on it.   WEATHER There are numerous weather conditions to consider. Temperature extremes of both hot and cold can be debilitating to operating personnel as well as victims. In addition, snow and ice can hinder both response and operations, possibly freezing potential water supplies. Temperature can have a major impact on the effects of a chemical release (e.g. a chemical may have a low volatility at low temperatures but develop...
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Focus on Hazmat - The evolution in personal protective equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is equipment intended to be worn or carried by personnel working in proximity to a perceived hazard. It is designed to mitigate or prevent injury in the event of contact. In the days of horse drawn steam pumps, PPE was intended to protect fire fighters and their draft animals from severe cold, water spray in freezing weather and, to some extent, radiant heat. In large cities this was no small matter. It is still common to find photographs of fire apparatus in use at major winter conflagrations while completely shrouded in ice. The common practice before motorized fire gear was to unhitch the teams and remove them from harm’s way. This left the apparatus without means of movement. The only alternative was to cover the animals with blankets to protect against the cold and flying embers. The PPE for the firefighters usually took the form of a...
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IRECA - Improvising a rescue by ground ladder

I was preparing a lesson plan for my technical rescue students when I came across the rules for a rescue competition event they were going to attend. I looked at the various skills they would need to be proficient at performing. There were ropes and rigging, lowering, belaying and hauling skills. Patient packaging and patient care were also being evaluated. But then I came to a section on ground ladder rescues, and it made me stop to ask myself, “When would I ever need to perform a rescue like that?” During my career as a firefighter/EMT I attended many training events and rescue schools. As far back as the mid-1970’s, when I took my first Civil Defense Heavy Rescue course, I remember being shown the various ways in which a rescue squad could improvise rescues by the use of fire service ground ladders. These were always challenging activities that required a...
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EMS Corner - Bromine emergency medical response

My back injury required physical therapy.  My doctor prescribed pool therapy which included doing specific exercises to build the strength of back muscles. When entering the indoor pool area, I noticed a pungent bleach-like odor. The therapist told me the pool had just been cleaned and everything was fine.  I entered, exercised and departed as instructed. Getting out of the pool, I suddenly seemed to lack coordination and had to be assisted. Within a few hours, I began having shortness of breath and a rash appeared on my skin. Within days it spread to a large part of my body. Submitted by a reader According to the Center for Disease Control, Bromine is a naturally occurring element that is liquid at room temperature. It has a brownish-red color and a bleach-like odor and dissolves in water. History of Bromine Bromide is a chemical used for many applications - flame retardant, industrial...
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Flat extinguisher keeps construction costs low

Bill Gough installs and inspects fire extinguishers for a living in Bryan, TX. He ranks the Oval Brand Fire Products extinguisher as comparable to any other 10-pound ABC or dry chemical extinguisher on the market. “I think it performs very well,” Gough said. “It performs like it’s a fast flow and fast flows are very expensive extinguishers that are not normal in everyday use. This one really gets out there a good 12 to 15 feet I’d say. It gives you an opportunity to put the fire out without getting so close to it.” For video of the test, check the IFW YouTube channel -- IFWfireworld. The big difference between Oval and traditional fire extinguishers is the shape. Traditional extinguishers are cylindrical, measuring roughly five inches in diameter. The Oval design is flat, measuring from three to 3½-inches deep and 9 to 11 inches wide.   Gough, owner of Shield Fire...
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The next generation in SCBA

In the world of personal protective equipment (PPE), all things being equal, there’d be just one type of helmet, respirator, eye protection, gloves, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), and so on. And, presumably, none of it would ever become outdated. The truth is, though, that from those donning the equipment, to increasingly hazardous environments, to the availability of emerging technologies, all things are not created equal. Far from it, in fact. For one thing, ever-changing standards have a huge impact on PPE design and manufacture, especially when it comes to SCBA. For another, emerging technologies are helping to advance personal protection at extraordinary speed and unprecedented levels. Tomorrow’s SCBA -- Today “As soon as a new computer is released, it’s virtually obsolete the minute it is unboxed. While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, it’s not unlike SCBA,” says Dennis Capizzi, Fire Service Marketing Manager for MSA, The Safety Company. “With every...
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