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...
Continue reading
286 Hits

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...
Continue reading
357 Hits

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...
Continue reading
237 Hits

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...
Continue reading
332 Hits

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...
Continue reading
150 Hits

February fire school keeps Brayton 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 for the...
Continue reading
342 Hits

A new generation of "snake oil" fire foam products

When I joined the fire service in 1966, it was easy to tell the difference between ‘pretenders’ and ‘performers.’ Pretenders, because they knew they would fail a real performance test, would use what I call ‘snake oil sales’ tactics to move their product. Popular among the ‘pretender’ testing tactics include small test pits with thin-skinned fuel loads (just enough fuel to last until the start of foam application), or overwhelming application rates for the liquid surface of the test area. I learned early on in my career to stay away from these so called tests. The worst thing a supplier of products that need to perform could do was let his customers believe that these results really meant something. The pretender foam supplier would claim his product worked as well as real perfromers. At the end of such a test, victory would be proclaimed with ‘high fives for all, free hot...
Continue reading
351 Hits

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...
Continue reading
336 Hits

CSB issues final report on Feb. 2015 refinery explosion in Torrance, CA

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its final report into the February 18, 2015, explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, California. The blast caused serious property damage to the refinery and scattered catalyst dust up to a mile away from the facility into the nearby community. The incident caused the refinery to be run at limited capacity for over a year, raising gas prices in California and costing drivers in the state an estimated $2.4 billion.   The explosion occurred in the refinery’s fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit, where a variety of products, mainly gasoline, are produced. A reaction between hydrocarbons and catalyst takes place in what is known as the “hydrocarbon side” of the FCC unit. The remainder of the FCC unit is comprised of a portion of the reaction process and a series of pollution control equipment that uses air and is known as the “air side”...
Continue reading
390 Hits

CSB releases final report into 2016 Nitrous Oxide explosion in Florida

April 20, 2017, Pensacola, FL, -- Today, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its final report into the August 28, 2016, nitrous oxide explosion at the Airgas manufacturing facility in Cantonment, Florida. The blast killed the only Airgas employee working at the facility that day and heavily damaged the plant, halting its manufacturing of nitrous oxide indefinitely. The CSB investigation found that federal regulations require some chemical facilities that manufacture hazardous substances to have process safety management systems in place to protect their workforce and the public.  The CSB discovered, however, that a majority of these specialized rules are not required for nitrous oxide facilities.   Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “Nitrous oxide is a hazardous substance – facilities should have good safety management systems to mitigate the risks that exist.  Safety management systems standards are critical to identify, evaluate, and control process safety hazards. This tragedy in Cantonment should...
Continue reading
335 Hits

Series of mistakes led to fatal Kansas plant explosion in October

Preliminary findings from its ongoing investigation of the toxic chemical release that occurred at the MGPI Processing plant in Atchison, Kansas, on October 21, 2016 have been released by the Chemical Safety Board. The CSB’s investigation into the release has identified several shortcomings in the design and labeling of loading stations, as well as adherence to chemical unloading procedures. The MGPI facility produces distilled spirits and specialty wheat proteins and starches. The chemical release occurred when sulfuric acid was inadvertently unloaded from a tanker truck into a fixed sodium hypochlorite tank at the plant. The two materials combined to produce chlorine gas that sent over 140 individuals, both workers and members of the public, to area hospitals and resulted in shelter-in-place and evacuation orders for thousands of local residents.     Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “This type of accident is preventable. Our investigation demonstrates all too clearly that complacency with...
Continue reading
395 Hits

CSB releases preliminary findings into chemical release at Kansas plant

Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board released preliminary findings from its ongoing investigation of the toxic chemical release that occurred at the MGPI Processing plant in Atchison, Kansas, on October 21, 2016. The CSB’s investigation into the release has identified several shortcomings in the design and labeling of loading stations, as well as adherence to chemical unloading procedures. The MGPI facility produces distilled spirits and specialty wheat proteins and starches. The chemical release occurred when sulfuric acid was inadvertently unloaded from a tanker truck into a fixed sodium hypochlorite tank at the plant. The two materials combined to produce chlorine gas that sent over 140 individuals, both workers and members of the public, to area hospitals and resulted in shelter-in-place and evacuation orders for thousands of local residents. Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “This type of accident is preventable. Our investigation demonstrates all too clearly that complacency with routine practices and...
Continue reading
260 Hits

CSB investigators deploying to fatal explosion at a Missouri box plant

April 6, 2117 - A three-person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of an incident that killed three people and injured four others on April 3 at a box plant in St. Louis, MO.   According to initial reports, the incident took place when a boiler exploded at the plant, where one worker was killed. The force of the explosion launched the boiler into the air where it flew approximately 500 feet before landing on a nearby laundry facility, killing two members of the public.   CSB Chairperson Vanessa Sutherland said, “The CSB’s mission is to investigate and issue recommendations that promote safety at industrial facilities as well as for nearby communities.  As a result of Monday’s explosion, our team will be examining what if any safeguards were in place to protect the workers at the Loy-Lange Box Company, as well as for...
Continue reading
422 Hits

Pasadena, TX industrial complex so vast it needs two fire chiefs

LyondellBasell’s manufacturing holdings in Pasadena, Texas, is so vast an enterprise that the single corporate fire brigade covering the three separate plant sites requires two fire chiefs to operate.    One of the two chiefs, or emergency response coordinators, serving LyondellBasell’s Bayport Complex in Pasadena is Co Deborde. The nickname “Co” stands for Cecil O’Neal. A 27-year employee at Bayport Complex, Deborde began as an operator serving on the fire brigade.   “We were all trained in ERT response,” he said. In addition, Deborde became a volunteer with the local municipal department, serving 17 years before retiring.    Deborde is responsible for the Bayport Choate plant, a 280-acre plant that produces propylene oxide, tertiary butyl alcohol, propylene glycol, propylene glycol ethers and tertiary butyl hyderoperoxide. His authority also covers the adjacent plant, Bayport Polymers, which manufactures material used in consumer products such as food containers, medical syringes and carpeting. The site...
Continue reading
360 Hits

Carhartt to introduce eight new women's flame-resistant style

DEARBORN, Michigan – (March 20, 2017) – Carhartt, America’s premium workwear brand since 1889, today announced it is adding eight new women’s styles to its flame resistant (FR) line. The new assortment – which includes a jacket, a denim pant and canvas pant, a coverall, a woven shirt, and three knit shirts – focuses on fabric and fit, while mirroring the sizing of Carhartt’s non-FR women’s styles.   Purpose-built for women working in the electric utilities and oil and gas industries, these functional products will change the way women dress anywhere FR products are necessary.   “During the process of creating this new line, we took into account the severe lack of variety in the women’s FR space,” said Melinda Fabry, merchandiser at Carhartt, overseeing the women’s FR line. “Many current women’s FR product offerings are simply loose adaptations of the men’s versions, but these styles were created specifically with hardworking...
Continue reading
278 Hits

Korean contractor takes responsibility for power plant explosion in southern Vietnam

Vietnam's state-owned power provider, EVN said chimney welders caused the explosion that severely injured them both.  
248 Hits

Off-gases caused paper plant explosion

A major paper producer released preliminary findings from the explosion that caused $50 million worth of damages to its Florida plant in January.  
260 Hits

Car parts firm admits causing Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak AND charges over explosion at plant

BOLDON, ENGLAND - A Boldon company has admitted charges relating to an outbreak of potentially deadly Legionnaires’ Disease and an explosion at its premises. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.      
335 Hits

Firefighters' Bazaar - Saudi Arabian Fire Protection Conference

For decades, innovation in flammable liquid fire fighting has struggled to match the ambitions of the engineers designing ever expanding storage tanks. Today, the size of tanks being built in the Middle East far outstrips the ability of firefighters to protect them.   David White, a fire protection expert and president of Industrial Fire World, addressed the topic as a keynote speaker at the 4th annual Society of Fire Protection Engineers – Saudi Arabian Chapter Conference and Exhibition in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, in November.   “The evolution of fire fighting equipment has not kept pace with the challenge of how big the tanks are, how much product they contain and what the consequences of a fire can be,” White said.   In the beginning, the word crude applied to the contents and the tanks themselves, White said. Slowly, refineries transitioned from wooden tanks to the steel ones. “And they were small,”...
Continue reading
211 Hits

Dave's Notes HARD CHOICES ON THE FIRE GROUND

  Once upon a time, the tough guys in the movies were content just to dodge arrows and bullets with superhuman ability. Thanks to the wonders of computer generated images, big screen action heroes today routinely outrun massive, billowing fireballs, usually in slow motion.   Not to be a killjoy, but anybody that close to a roiling pressure fire would be cooked by the radiant heat in an instant. Unfortunately, real life firefighters seem to be losing sight of that reality. Modern fire gear is so good at insulating against the harsh environment that instead of hugging the floor responders stroll through it like a warm day at the beach.   In the last quarter century fires have changed in some incredibly dangerous ways. Remember the good old days when fires smoldered and creeped instead of racing out of control almost immediately. The window of time in which firefighters can take...
Continue reading
172 Hits

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST FOR NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS, PRODUCTS, & MORE

Go to top