Risk Assessment

Pre-plan for your extinguishing system The third quarter 2016 issue of Fire Protection Engineering magazine discusses several fire protection systems that firefighters will more commonly encounter. This article, discusses some of the basics and what to expect when responding to buildings or equipment protected by these systems.  Water Mist/Hybrid Water mist systems are nothing new. It is a well-established fact that water mist absorbs heat better than other forms of water application. However, the mist must get into the fire or throughout the entire volume of the protected space. In large spaces, like large aircraft hangars, that has been problematic. New designs intended to get the mist into the fire are always being investigated. A recent example is using pop-up nozzles in hangars to get the mist to the floor, where the fuel fire exists. This will not be the same as the current U.S. Navy design which applies AFFF through...
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Focus on Hazmat

Innovation: Necessity, ingenuity and invention From the time of the first European incursion into the New World, Americans have been an inventive and innovative people. That this should be the case is due in large part to the accident of geography. North America was (and is) a long way from Europe and travel was extremely slow in those early days. Thus the first colonists often felt, and in fact were, very isolated and thus, for the most part, dependent on their own talents and resources to meet their needs. Consequently the underlying philosophy of the settlers was “if it is to be, it is up to me.” This applied to fire protection just like everything else. The man who established the first formally organized volunteer fire department in 1736 also invented bifocals, wrote and printed Poor Richard’s “Almanack,” studied electricity and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. His name was Benjamin...
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EMS Corner

A close family member recently entered a hospital with a cardiac illness. Within a few days, he contracted an infection called Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). MRSA is caused by a strain of staph bacteria resistant to antibiotics. It starts with a skin puncture, is highly contagious, and spreads through skin contact, which I now know was from the IV given to my family member.   History of EMS Infection Control  As a young paramedic in 1977, I learned that infection control consists of: (1) mopping the ambulance floor with the same mop used on the fire station floor, (2) practicing good hand washing and then (3) large doses of disinfectant sprayed into the ambulance.  Many times I watched with ungloved hands my patient’s blood circle down the hospital sink.  The possibility of an infection was not a consideration.  In 1979 to 1981, rare types of pneumonia, cancer, and other illnesses were...
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Recapping the 2016 IRECA conference   he 68th Annual International Rescue & Emergency Care Association Conference & Challenges was held the week of June 20, 2016 in Walnut Creek, CA. While the Basic Life Support challenge and the educational sessions were held at the conference headquarters, the Walnut Creek Marriott, the Technical Rescue Challenge event was held at the Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery in Rodeo, CA, and the First Response Rescue Challenge event was held at the Contra Costa County Fire Training Facility in nearby Concord, CA.   New this year to IRECA were teams from Phillips 66 Ferndale (WA) Refinery and a team of Latin American fire chiefs from the Fires Foundation competing in the various challenge eventsand as a result, the conference theme was declared “Bridging the Americas” as a banner to unite both the teams who have attended the conference in past years with the new attendees to this...
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Dave's Notes

  In the last issue of Industrial Fire World we covered a hazardous materials incident that shut down Canada’s Port Metro Vancouver, North America’s third largest port facility. Heat generated by chemical decomposition destroyed more than 22 tons of a caustic bleaching agent sealed in a shipping container that was blocked at both ends. Then there are the astounding photographs from the Port of Tianjin, China (see Page 10), showing crushed shipping containers piled into five- and six-story mounds after multiple explosions in August 2015. More than 140 people died in the disaster. Many others reported missing have yet to be found. Intermodial shipping containers range from 20 feet to more than 50 feet long. However, the basic design has changed very little since the 1950s. Heavy steel corner posts allow the containers to be stacked up to six containers high. Hinges are recessed to further facilitate stacking. Otherwise, shipping containers...
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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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