Hose Cart

New intermediary step in hose retrieval Clint Baker of Baker Fabrication brings his creative designs to aid firefighters by ensuring the ease and efficiency of hose retrieval. His innovative retrieval system that drains, loads and flattens up to 1,000 feet of large-diameter fire hose in less than 15 minutes goes by an unpretentious moniker – “Hose Mule.”   Likewise, his latest invention, a 14-foot-long, five-foot wide motorized cart that allows a firefighter to singlehandedly collect up to 600 feet of five-inch to 7¼–inch diameter hose puts all its inspiration into the design, not some snazzy title. Baker has dubbed it the “Hose Cart.” “I just try to make it simple,” Baker said. Both the Hose Mule and Hose Cart address the fire service’s most aggravating chore. Whereas large diameter hose is the most efficient way to move big water at a fire scene, nobody enjoys draining and loading as much as...
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Ward Diesel

As if being a firefighter was not risky enough, a new five-year study of 30,000 firefighters conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health indicates that firefighters suffer higher rates of several types of cancers, and of all cancers combined, than the U.S. population in general.   Unfortunately, that cancer risk follows firefighters back to the station with the fire truck. Several studies cited by the American Cancer Society have found that long-term, heavy exposure to diesel exhaust can cause lung cancer in lab animals. “People are realizing that, definitely, diesel emissions are a big factor when it comes to cancer in the fire service,” said Scott Beecher, president of Ward Diesel Filter Systems. The Ward Diesel No Smoke 2 is an apparatus-mounted device that extracts particulate from diesel exhaust by means of a porous ceramic filter packed in a high-temperature cushion material and encased in stainless steel. Unlike...
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Seek Thermal

Personalized thermal imaging Remember when a personal video camera was something hauled around in a small suitcase. Today, that camera is compressed into a pocket-size device that also makes phones calls, looks up news articles and uses GPS to instantly pinpoint your location on the globe. “The smaller the better” is the natural evolution of modern technology. California-based Seek Thermal is applying that philosophy to what has become an essential to firefighters everywhere – the thermal imaging camera.       “We’re bringing extraordinary innovation to the fire service that our competitors don’t have yet,” said Seek Thermal’s head of public safety Jimmy Addison. “We believe that the fire service is going to change from the big handheld thermal imaging cameras now in use to personal units.” Also important, this new generation of thermal imaging cameras will be far more cost effective, he said. “We believe as a company that this...
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First Responder Decon

Decontamination is the process of removing or neutralizing contaminants that have accumulated on at risk personnel. Unfortunately, that definition covers a multitude of variations to which emergency responders must quickly adapt. Is the contaminant chemical, biological or even radioactive? How long has personnel been in contact with it? What was the concentration? Was it a vapor, liquid or solid? Does temperature present an issue? What is the molecular size as opposed to the permeability of available protective gear?   Not every hazmat incident involves mass contamination. Solutions designed to accommodate busloads of the contaminated may not easily adapt to a situation involving only a handful of people. What is the alternative to deploying massive modular units or trailers when that happens? 4th ALARM-RESC of Englishtown, NJ, offers what it describes as “the all-in-one decontamination solution” – the First Responder Decontamination System, manufactured by ZODIAC AEROSPACE, located in Wall Township, New Jersey....
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Life Guard

NFPA 1971 setting the minimum levels of protection expected from bunker gear is due for revision in 2017. Honeywell First Responder Products is focusing on a piece of protective apparel most likely to be affected – the fire hood. “When it comes to bunker gear, you wear your boots and monitor the air you’re breathing,” said James W. Strohecker, Honeywell’s senior global marketing manager. “Why aren’t you protecting your head and neck better?  Because that’s where you’re at your highest risk.” Honeywell’s new Life Guard particulate hood features an innovative, patent-pending design and proven fabrics that provide better blocking protection against hazardous materials when compared to traditional hoods. Replacing the standard “sock hood,” the Life Guard hood delivers new laboratory-proven levels of particulate-blocking protection with a lighter, roomier fit that integrates with self-contained breathing apparatus and turnout gear to ensure the highest level of comfort and safety. Cancer is the most...
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Seeing More With UAVs

Upon arriving at the scene of an incident, emergency responders are desperate to wrap their brains around the “situation.” Students taking an Initial Attack Incident Commander class are prompted to ask themselves, “What have I got? Where is it going?”  Successful incident management starts with a thorough and complete size up. One definition of size-up is, “The continuous mental evaluation of an incident with proper problem identification and those other factors related to situational awareness.” For many years, size-up has been conducted either by a “hot lap” around the incident on foot or a single dimensional view by the incident commander (IC). However, this often leaves questions about what exactly is happening. Is there a man down? Are there vessel impingements by fire? There are variables for which IC must make some assumptions while formulating and developing the Incident Action Plan (IAP) or tactical plan. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is...
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Magnum Opus

One innovation leads to another. The largest monitor in the Elkhart Brass product line, the new Magnum EXM, has already been adapted by one leading apparatus manufacturer to set record flow rates from a 100-foot aerial device. It weighs only 115 pounds, said Elkhart Brass product manager Keith Chard, but produces 5,000 gpm with only 38 psi of total static pressure drop. The 6-inch inlet and dual waterway design results in a lower inlet pressure requirement while still producing a reach of more than 370 feet. For IFW video coverage of the Magnum at work during the TEEX pump ops class, visit  http://tinyurl.com/znvsw9u .   “Specifically, this is intended for industrial apparatus manufacturers,” Chard said. “Generally, municipalities don’t have the water supply for this type of monitor.” The monitor played a key role in a recent pump operations demonstration during the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Services 2016 Industrial Fire School held...
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Getting Schooled

Victor DeLeon, a rookie with the volunteer fire brigade at Houston’s PVC Group, gave a candid response when asked why he attended the 54th Industrial Fire School in July at Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, TX. “It’s great experience,” he said. “Maybe one day I can teach for TEEX.” For IFW video coverage of the TEEX fire school, visit http://tinyurl.com/h4apvf5 DeLeon was among 654 fire brigade members or safety officers from 32 states and 10 nations attending this year’s four-day training regime conducted by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). By comparison, the 2015 industrial school drew 620 students.   Beside TEEX staff members, the industrial school students were taught by 249 guest instructors, most of whom are active or retired members of industrial fire brigades.  It is this elite group that DeLeon hopes to join someday. In the meantime, DeLeon and many of his fellow firefighters attended the...
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Inboard safety systems such as roll stability control that automatically intervene in hazardous driving situations is the best of three fundamental ways to reduce risk to emergency responders, said Ryan N. Pietzsch, director of education and training for insurance provider VFIS. “Driving an emergency vehicle is the most frequent and potentially most serious risk for first responders,” Pietzsch said. “VFIS strives to meet the challenges faced by emergency service drivers by identifying new technologies, methods and best practices to help manage risk with our inclusive training programs.”   VFIS, formerly known as Volunteer Fire Insurance Services, released the latest version of its Emergency Vehicle Driver Training program (EVDT) in June. It offers hands-on and knowledge-based updates to teach both new and experience drivers modern tactics and safety skills. Intersection incidents and rollovers are the leading causes of emergency vehicle crashes for ambulance and fire trucks. The VFIS EVDT course combines case...
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Hydraulic Victory

      The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has released a safety bulletin intended to inform industries that utilize anhydrous ammonia in bulk refrigeration operations on how to avoid a hazard referred to as hydraulic shock.  The safety lessons were derived from an investigation into a 2010 anhydrous ammonia release that occurred at Millard Refrigerated Services Inc., located in Theodore, Alabama. The accident occurred before 9:00 am on the morning of August 23, 2010. Two international ships were being loaded when the facility’s refrigeration system experienced “hydraulic shock” which is defined as a sudden, localized pressure surge in piping or equipment resulting from a rapid change in the velocity of a flowing liquid. The highest pressures often occur when vapor and liquid ammonia are present in a single line and are disturbed by a sudden change in volume. This abnormal transient condition results in a sharp pressure rise with the potential...
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Oxygenation - Hyperbaric Therapy Applications

  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) defines hyperbaric as a “facility, building, or structure used to house chambers and all auxiliary service equipment for medical applications and procedures at pressures above normal atmospheric pressures.”1 Additionally, they define hyperbaric oxygenation as “the application of pure oxygen or an oxygen-enriched gaseous mixture to a subject at an elevated pressure.”2 Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) “can actually signal the DNA in our cells to perform healing tasks that the body normally can’t do.”3 While most of us may be familiar with the use of a hyperbaric chamber with diving accidents and the treatment of the divers for decompression sickness (the bends), HBOT can be used to enhance the treatments of other illnesses and conditions also. The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) lists approved indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.4 The following indicators are listed:5 Air or gas embolism Carbon monoxide poisoning Carbon monoxide poisoning...
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Three Rivers Refinery Training

    Firefighters with the 100,000 barrels-a-day Valero refinery in Three Rivers, TX, will make the trip to the Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, TX, at least once a year, said new superintendent of emergency services J.T. Woodlee. “We have four shifts and I bring each shift up here once each year for a 16-hour refresher course,” he said. Woodlee brought 23 brigade members to Brayton in October. One hundred and nine members strong, the Three Rivers brigade is a combination of mandatory and volunteer responders. One objective of the refresher training is to give responders a better idea of the entire fire operation rather than just their role, Woodlee said. “We’ve slowed down our attack process to give the team a better overall understanding of what their roles on the fire field represent,” Woodlee said. Located an hour and a half from both San Antonio and Corpus Christi,...
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Storage Tank Fall Protection Liability of Tank Owners

  David Michaels, the assistant labor secretary who heads the U.S Labor Department’s OSHA, emphasizes the importance of saving lives by planning, training employees and providing the right equipment for fall protection. He also states in his stand-down address that the “lack of fall protection” is the most frequently cited OSHA violation2. Employers are responsible for enforcing these regulations and water tank owners are no exception. Tank owners are required to maintain their tanks in accordance with all federal, state and local regulations that apply to each tank. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), American Water Works Association (AWWA) and OSHA have devised codes, timetables and standards that must be followed to help maintain tanks safely and prevent accidents. Maintain the Tank Tanks must be maintained in a safe and structurally sound condition to remain in compliance. Regulatory inspections, standard repairs and necessary upgrades are needed. Inspect tanks, structural attachments and...
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Shipboard Fire Fighting for Industrial Teams

    This is the second of a two part series on shipboard fire fighting. Part one (see Summer 2014) covers the basic shipboard environment and intends to identify the potential need for training. Part two is an overview of shipboard fire fighting operations. Size-Up and Establishing a Unified Command When initially responding to a shipboard fire, conduct a scene size-up and begin to establish a unified command. These actions go hand in hand as much of the required is obtained from those in the unified command, which generally begin with the ship’s Master and crew. They provide you with much needed information and expertise as well as determine if anyone is allowed to operate on their vessel.   An important part of the initial size-up is to obtain copies of the ship’s documents, most notably the fire control plan which is basically a floor plan of the ship. The plans...
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Proper Use of Elevated Platforms

      Risk Assessment Proper use of elevated master streams   By JOHN FRANK/XL Global Asset Protection Services The motivation for this article is a review by the author of recent major industrial building fires where sprinklers were either needed but not installed, failed due to being improperly shut off, or were not adequate for protecting the hazard. In these cases, proper use of elevated master streams helps contain the fire to the building of origin and prevents spread to attached or nearby buildings. Fundamental Concepts If sprinklers are struggling to control a fire, initial fire service water delivery should be devoted to augmenting the sprinkler system through the fire department connection or other connections to the system. This has been discussed at length in other articles. If sprinklers are not installed, or have failed such that a partial or complete building collapse has destroyed the sprinkler piping, consider the...
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Building An Appreciation BP Conducts Fire School in Texas

    Taking a hand at fire fighting during the semi-annual BP corporate fire school held at Texas A&M University’s Brayton Fire Training Field gave BP crises manager Alicia Matthews a new perspective on the people she supervises. “I’ve never done a training like this before in my life,” Matthews said. “I’ve always appreciated fire fighting, but now ... ” In Trinidad and Tobago, BP contracts for fire protection. Matthews works with industrial fire brigades to coordinate drills and exercises. Crises management personnel are required to attend the corporate fire school at least once to gain an understand of exactly what the fire fighters do, Matthews said. Randy Fletcher, BP’s Global Response Advisor, was on hand for the school held in October. Fifty students from as far away as Malaysia and Egypt attended the school. “This school represents our expectation to deliver minimum confidence and capabilities to any of our frontline...
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Fear The Heat

Fear the Heat Oxygen and fuel are readily available in hydrocarbon storage tanks. Only one more element is needed to complete the triangle of combustion. Everybody with good sense is cautious with gasoline. In open air it releases highly flammable vapor that quickly spreads over a wide area. Other hydrocarbon products such as motor oil, diesel or transmission fluid are nowhere near as volatile. Confine gasoline to a storage tank and everything changes. Think about the fire triangle – heat, fuel and an oxidizing agent such as oxygen. Because gasoline vaporizes so rapidly any space above the liquid is likely to be too rich to ignite -- too much fuel and too little oxygen. Split Second of Warning Before Oklahoma Tank Explosion Video From the Oklahoma Bullet Tank Explosion Other hydrocarbon products that vaporize at a slower rate pose a greater threat when stored. Each withdrawal sucks outside atmosphere into the...
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SIMULATED EXPLOSION SERVES AS EMERGENCY DRILL AT PROCTOR & GAMBLE IN LOUISIANA PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - A community awareness and emergency response drill was led Wednesday (Jan. 11, 2017) by P&G's site security leader Jerry Edwards. To read the entire article,  CLICK HERE .
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Henry D. Smith 1917 - 2017

Services set for Saturday, January 14 at First Baptist Church in Bryan, TX Henry D. Smith, 99, of Bryan, TX, who led Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s former fire protection training division from 1957 to 1986 and is credited with expanding the agency’s reputation internationally, passed away January 11, 2017 at Hospice Brazos Valley Inpatient Facility in Bryan. Services are set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 14 at First Baptist Church in Bryan with Mr. Ben Kennedy officiating. Burial will follow at College Station Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan. A reception will be held following the burial at the Brayton Fire Training Field in the Henry D. Smith Building, 1595 Nuclear Science, Bldg 25, College Station, Texas 77843. Henry was born in San Antonio, TX on March 3, 1917, and grew up in Kingsville, TX. Chief Smith was active in...
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