It is that time of year again to sigh up for a rare opportunity to train on the most decorated Battleship in all of World War II, the USS North Carolina located in beautiful Wilmington North Carolina. While taking this program you will get a chance to put your skills to the test and have access to the areas that are off limits to the public. The battleship offers unique spaces that will be sure to challenge you. Its even said that the ship is haunted. You may get your chance to find out during the night operations training we have lined up for you.
Copy and Paste this link below to Register for the class.
During my recent trip to the S.C. Fire Academy for the 2013 Kill the Flashover research fires, I came away with one aspect as to the importance of thermal imaging and the fire attack that rocked my paradigm. It is referred as the GO..NO TEST. This is worthy of reading brothers so don’t stop here..
Typically, most fire service agencies train firefighters on Thermal Imaging Cameras (TIC) for a variety of uses related to fireground operations but few utilize the TIC for fire attack for gaining insight into the hostile environment you are preparing to engage upon.
Most TIC imagers have the capability to determine temperatures by placing a small cross-hair or “dot” onto a surface to determine temperatures. In a high temperature environment (greater than 500 degrees F) the TIC will indicate a red or orange color or numeric value for the surface being surveyed. (In this case, the ceiling)
Normally, this technique is used in overhaul operations but let’s discuss using the TIC in a fire attack mode as a life-saving…better yet.. a firefighter saving technique.
The “dot” or cross-hair on the TIC is aimed to the ceiling to gain a temperature reading of the surface of the ceiling and some particulate matter from combustion. It does not measure the temperature of the smoke.
The GO..or NO GO Test should be used by any fire attack, search, or vent team entering a working fire environment. It begins by the officer of the team directing the crew to prepare for the attack by gathering needed equipment. The officer and the crew should complete a 360 degree look at and into the structure using the TIC to determine hotspots (for possible fire locations), potential exits, other hazards, and close any doors that may be contributing towards fire development or creating a Air /Flow Path in order to slow fire progression and limit fire extension.
Upon completing the 360 walk-around, the officer quickly scans the exterior of the door prior to entry. This provides a quick look at temperatures of the door being used for entry. If a high temperature (above 500 degrees) is identified on the door from the exterior, chances are an eminent flashover is waiting for you on the other side once the doors is opened. This is a “NO GO” situation and the attack should be delayed until a hoseline is in place and can be discharged prior to entering the structure. Why you may ask?
If there are high heat signatures indicated on the exterior of entry point, most likely there are significant amounts of unburned gases (fuels) in the hallway that are too rich to burn. This is also known as a “plug”. When you open the door for entry the environment that was once too rich to burn has now been provided an exhaust point, for which, the environment has changed from a too rich environment into a flammable range and combined with the replenishment of oxygen into this environment and with an ignition source down the hallway can result in a flashover condition seconds into your search or fire attack.
So… back to the TIC…
Prior to opening the door, have the hose crew “condition/cool the door and surrounding area. I know… sounds crazy. This method of pre-wetting provides us with a safe area in the event our attack crew is met with a thermally aggressive fire coming at them and is forced to retreat.
Essentially, we “Wet to Protect”.
So, upon opening the door. Stop the nozzleman. What? Yes. Do another GO.. NO GO…. Entering into a known environment above 500 degrees in a heavily charged smoke condition is like climbing into the barrel of a gun. Why 500 degrees? If you think about it, what does our turnouts to protect us from? Radiant heat. Continuous exposures to thermal temperatures above 500 degrees erodes the protective elements of our turnout gear and limitations of our SCBA. In addition, many UL tests on SCBA’s and turnouts 500 degrees is used as a benchmark for protection for the wearer for only a short time before degradation or failure. So, if obtaining temperatures in a extreme fire condition (500 degrees+) at the door are found how long will crews be exposed to those temperatures while trying to make the hallway? See where I am going with this?
If extreme temperatures (500 degrees+) are encountered during your GO..NO GO test, order the hoseline opened to cool/ condition the environment you are about to enter. Perform another GO…NO GO Test. Temperatures should have dropped after the water application. If so, proceed in the attack. As the officer and crew make their way towards the fire area, slow the crew down and take intermittent GO.. NO GO test and cool and condition as you proceed towards the fire area. This also continues prior to climbing stairs, turning corners, entering adjacent rooms until reaching the fire area.
This GO…NO GO should be applied especially during Vent Enter Search Operations, as well.
A term utilize by thousands of brothers on the fireground during the size-up. Well if we truly know how to “Read Smoke” what do we know about it? Survey the members of your agency..ask them what the interior temperature conditions are during light smoke, moderate smoke and heavy smoke. What about grey smoke, brown smoke, black smoke. I bet you get a variety of opinions.
Why not verbally convey via the radio to the IC the temperature findings on the GO..NO GO test? This will give the IC and idea of the potential fire he/she is confronting and can alter the fire attack, vent, and other operations accordingly.
Verbalizing the thermal conditions to the fireground is a more tangible way of describing interior conditions than simply describing smoke color or volume don’t ya think?
I hope this is starting to make sense to you by now…
By verbalizing the GO..NO GO Test, arriving units knows how intense a fire you are encountering and should be making their own plans, as well.
I tried using the GO..NO GO test during my fire attacks and found old habits were hard to break. My mask blacked out and I resulted to Old School firefighting of using my senses to determine the temperature levels. Upon reviewing the thermal data from the test I quickly discovered the environment we were entering was a NO..GO as we had thermal conditions of 800 degrees over our head. Luckily, with the aid of a fire curtain behind us keeping us in a “too rich” area and the fire never flashed over us.
As with any new idea there must be training to get this technique down. Try it in your next live fire training event I think you’ll be surprised at what you will see prior to entering.
By Trey Smith
FRC Instructor / Captain Ladder 1 Charlotte Fire Department
First off let me start off by apologizing if this blog offends anyone. If you feel like you are easily offended , please do not read. Other than that, you have been warned. I decided to write this post in response to a Facebook post I saw just moments ago (I plan to keep this short and to the point). While being respectful I will keep the names of the fire department and station private. But it is on Facebook, so how much privacy is there really? So what I saw was a fire station looking for ideas to replace their traditional “Wetting down ceremony” of their new apparatus . The reason they were looking for new ideas was, they were told that promoting a Wetting down ceremony was a violation of church and state. Correct me if I’m wrong , It states that a Separation of Church and State is the distance in the relationship of organized religion and the nation state. How in the crap is promoting or participating in a wetting down ceremony a organized religion??? It”s no different from our own government smashing a champagne bottle across the bow of a new war ship. Its the same thing and still is a common practice with our government.
Has today fire service changed so much that people forgot where they came from? As soon as they get into an administrative role it sucks the life and common sense out of them. Firefighters need to stand up for them selves and their rights. In the world of budget cuts, budget short falls , and administrative pay increases. Tradition is all we have left to keep the brotherhood! Now they are trying to take that away from all of us. No matter if you are Union or not, we all need to stick together. Do not forget where you came from!!
Note: Wetting down a new fire apparatus started many years ago. It is a way christening a new apparatus very much like the government does to its Navy ships. To learn more about how wetting down the new apparatus got started, I suggest you do some research ( I do not give out free history lessons, you have to work to get something you want). By doing so, you can learn for your self and pass it down to the ones beside, below, and above you.
When the Lord was creating Firefighters, he was into his sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared and said, “Your doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”
And the Lord said “Have you read the specification on this person?
Firefighters have to be able to go for hours fighting fires or tending to a person that the usual every day person would never touch, while putting in the back of their mind the circumstances. They have to be able to move at a second’s notice and not think twice of what they are about to do, no matter what danger. They have to be in top physical condition at all times, running on half-eaten meals, and they must have six pairs of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands…no way.”
“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems, ” said the Lord, “it’s the three pairs of eyes a Firefighter has to have.”
That’s on the standard model? ” asked the angel.
The Lord nodded. ” One pair that sees through the fire and where they and their fellow Firefighters should fight the fire next. Another pair here in the side of the head to see their fellow Firefighters and keep them safe. And another pair of eyes in the front so that they can look for the victims caught in the fire that need their help.”
“Lord” said the angel, touching his sleeve, ” Rest and work on this tomorrow.”
“I can’t, said the Lord, “I already have a model that can carry a 250 pound man down a flight of stairs and to safety from a burning building, and can feed a family of five on a civil service paycheck.”
The angel circled the model of the Firefighter very slowly, “Can it think?”
“You bet,” said the Lord. It can tell you the elements of a hundred fires; and can recite procedures in their sleep that are needed to care for a person until they reach the hospital. And all the while they have to keep their wits about themselves. This Firefighter also has phenomenal personal control. They can deal with a scene full of pain and hurt, coaxing a child’s mother into letting go of the child so that they can care for the child in need. And still they rarely get the recognition for a job well done from anybody, other than from fellow Firefighters.”
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the Firefighter. “There’s a leak”, she pronounced.
“Lord, it’s a tear.”
“What’s the tear for?” asked the angel.
“It’s a tear from bottled-up emotions for fallen comrades. A tear for commitment to that funny piece of cloth called the American Flag. It’s a tear for all the pain and suffering they have encountered. And it’s a tear for their commitment to caring for and saving lives of their fellow man!”
“What a wonderful feature Lord, you’re a genius” said the angel.
The Lord looked somber and said “I didn’t put it there.”
Out of Air Emergency The Last Chance Rescue Filter
You are in a dark, heat, smoke filled room, and you are taking your last breath. You think to yourself “now what?”. Your mind quickly goes to a check list of things to do. During this check list, your family comes to mind. “Is this it?” “I’m never going to see them again”. The nervousness and anxiety is starting to overcome your thoughts. “Is it really time for this?”, “I never thought I would use this”. As you grab your pouch, you take a deep breath (your last from your SCBA supply) and tear open the bag and pull out your Last Chance Rescue Filter and exchange your regulator for it. Now you have given yourself a second chance, the last chance.
The Last Chance Rescue Filter is a device designed to give firefighters a last chance effort to escape a smoke filled environment when their air supply runs outs. You may tell yourself that you will never allow yourself to run out of air. I’m sure the past LODD involving out of air emergencies would have loved the chance to use this device in time of need. I personally teach on Out of Air Emergencies and a Firefighter Confidence and Survival course through Fire and Rescue Concepts. But that does not mean that I will never be in a situation where I will run out of air. I personally carry a Last Chance Rescue Filter with me while I’m on duty. I even carry one while I perform live fire training, whether it is an acquired structure or a burn building, because you never know when you may need it. I’d rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.
Where did the Last Chance Rescue Filter come from?
Eric George, a firefighter in Connecticut, invented a lifesaving concept for firefighters trapped in an out of air emergency. He licensed his technology to Brookdale (a DuPont company in Canada) to bring his idea to market. This was the birth of the” EVAC Pro”. The EVAC Pro was a big hit and highly looked at as a premier escape device. But It was discovered that Brookdale’s packaging design on the “Evac Pro” and related products was fatally flawed, which resulted in a total product recall; this was the end of Brookdale and the “Evac pro”. So if you currently have an Evac Pro, I suggest that you remove it from service immediately. With a huge void left in firefighter survival, Essex recognized the importance of keeping Eric George’s concept alive by giving firefighters a new plan for out of air emergencies. Essex Industries acquired Brookdale’s assets from DuPont along with the license to manufacture Eric George’s patented technology. Essex’s engineering team designed the Last Chance Rescue Filter® using materials that stand up to the rigors of fighting fires and successfully meet the EN403 standard through third party testing. Essex’s teamed up with Yale University to conduct a live burn in Hamden, CT to prove out the efficacy of the Last Chance and prove that there’s enough O2 in a structural fire to sustain life. Each day, firefighters are committing themselves to becoming leaders in the field by utilizing proven technology and solidifying their plan for out of air emergencies.
Is the Last Chance Rescue Filter compatible with my SCBA?
Currently the Last Chance Rescue Filter is compatible with the following
Contaminated air is drawn through the Last Chance Rescue Filters three main layers of protection:
• N95 pleated filter (Captures solid matter, soot and particulates)
• Activated Carbon Filter (Scrubs or absorbs the toxic gases)
• Manganese Dioxide/Copper Oxide (hopkalite) (Converts CO to Carbon Dioxide)
The makers of the Last Chance Rescue Filter certify their product to filter out the harmful particles and smoke for 15 minutes. This does not mean that you have an extra 15 minutes to allow you to stay in and work longer. But this means that the time needed for your escape or the incoming RIT team is there. Understand that the Last Chance Rescue Filter does not give you more 02. It only filters out the harmful particles in the atmosphere for short amount of time. Individuals wishing to use this product need to undergo training with the training unit in a non-smoke environment before In-service status the Last Chance Rescue Filter. The Last Chance Rescue Filter is encased in a vacuumed sealed moisture barrier and has a shelf life of 5 and ½ years from the date of manufacture. There is also a protective cover designed to carry and protect the filter. The protective cover can be attached to a SCBA waist belt or a bail out belt of some kind. Firefighters must understand that they need to take care of this piece of equipment just like any other piece used for life safety. I suggest that firefighters do a daily and after run check of the device to make sure the filter and or vacuum sealed moisture barrier has been damaged in any way shape or form. Once the filter has been used once or the moisture barrier has been breached, then the used of the filter is now void. Remember the main killer of the EVAC Pro was the fact that moisture was allowed to enter into the filter before use. The makers of the Last Chance Rescue Filter will replace any filter that is used in any firefighter escape in an actual incident.
When would you use it?
• A firefighter becomes lost and disoriented and is running out of air. There is not enough time to get out.
• With the Last Chance Rescue Filter® , he would be able to take the last breath of supplied air, clip in the Last Chance Rescue Filter® , have 15 minutes to get out and/or continue to update RIT for rescue.
• Also, his mask remains ON, ready for RIT to replace the filter with supplied air versus RIT having to replace the firefighters mask.
• A firefighter’s air pack becomes trapped and he can’t get out of the jam.
• Only in the extreme case should a firefighter remove an air pack. Without the air pack, the firefighter has no PASS device, transfill , or buddy breathing hose.
• By donning the Last Chance Rescue Filter® the firefighter can escape without the air pack!
• A firefighter experiences a sudden SCBA failure and suddenly you’re out of air.
• Don the Last Chance Rescue Filter® and get out!
• RIT team is called in for multiple downed firefighters and there is not enough supplied air.
• Carry additional Last Chance Rescue Filter® in RIT bags for this circumstance.
I invite every firefighter to watch to video below and let us know if you have any question.
You can purchase the Last Chance Rescue Filter on our online store or contact Eric Stroud at email@example.com
We also have incorporated the Last Chance Rescue Filter with our Firefighter Confidence and Survival Training
As we approach another Christmas season, we need to always remember safety. During this time is prime for traffic accidents , fires, falls, and other traumatic incidents. But today we are going to focus on Christmas Tree Safety. It seems every year that the public is so excited that they rush the season by putting their tree in their homes earlier and earlier. I have even heard of people putting out their trees two weeks before the American Thanksgiving Holiday. We are going to cover the hazards of two types of Christmas Trees that are found in homes today, Real and Fake.
There is nothing like the joy and the smell of putting up a real Christmas Tree. According to FEMA real Christmas trees account for roughly 250 fires annually. That may seem like a small number, but out of the 250 fires , roughly 14 people die. Now that is 250 fires too many. Its not even worth one life. Not to mention the 14 million dollars of damage they cause to house holds. NFPA and FEMA offer suggestions when dealing with real trees.
What about FakeChristmasTrees?
There are many people that decide to buy a fake tree. Many reason are due to, budget, allergies, and etc. What ever the reason may be, over 10 million fake trees where sold world wide in 2003. Most fake trees that are imported to the United States are from China. Fake trees are typically made from plastic and other synthetic material when exposed to a heat or ignition will catch fire.
Below are some tips to help you during this Christmas Season when dealing with fake and real Christmas trees.
1st. Water your Tree!! ( a dry tree is a fire bomb waiting to explode ) all it needs is an ignition source to get it going. Make sure your real tree has a fresh cut of one to two inches, so that it may better absorb the water.
2nd. Never have lit candles near your tree. This provides a ignition source to all trees.
3rd. Placement of the tree is critical. Becareful about placing your tree around vents and fire places. They can dry out your tree faster and can be a ignition source for your tree.
4th. Check your lights. Make sure you are using the newest brand of lights that are on the market. Newer lights are manufactured to a standard of care than older lights were. If you have older lights, it may be time to replace them.
5th. Do not over load your circuits and outlets. Most lights allow you to plug multiple strands together. This it self may cause a short or a spark. Its best to use a power strip with a built in serge protector, drop cords are a no no. We have all seen the movie a Christmas Story, pay special attention to scene of when the old man gets his lamp and he attempts to plug it in to a overloaded outlet.
6th. When your real tree has dried out, it is time to get rid of it. The longer a dry tree stays in your home, the greater the chance you are taking.
"The video clip above from the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology illustrates what happens when fire touches a dry tree. Within three seconds of ignition, the dry Scotch pine is completely ablaze. At five seconds, the fire extends up the tree and black smoke with searing gases streaks across the ceiling. Fresh air near the floor feeds the fire. The sofa, coffee table and the carpet ignite prior to any flame contact. Within 40 seconds "flashover" occurs – that's when an entire room erupts into flames, oxygen is depleted and dense, deadly toxic smoke engulfs the scene." Quoted from FEMA
DISCLAIMER: This post is for informational purposes only. Information and research was taken from NFPA, FEMA, and the Nation Christmas Tree Safety Association. This post was short and to the point. We suggest that everyone to reaserch the dangers of Christmas Trees, real or fake. We help that everyone have a safe and Merry Christmas!!
With the current economic crisis in the country and other countries, fire departments are cutting cost where the can. Normally the training budget is first to go and then comes the equipment budget. There are various companies that have premanufactured tri-pod systems for example, DBI, Skedco, Arizona Vortex, and the SMC/PMI TerrAdaptor to name just a few. Now, these are all great products and they have their place in the rescue environment. But not every department can come up with the funds to purchase such equipment. So that means we need to go back to the basics of rigging. In this second part of The Fundamentals of Timber Rigging, we are going to go over the process of constructing the Timber Tri-Pod.
The amount of equipment needed to achieve this maybe more that the average pre built commercial tri-pod system. First of you need to decide what size of timbers are going to be needed. Most timbers for the tri-pod are going to be 4x4x12’. You can go with 6×6’s or 8×8’s, but they can be heavy and are normally used in lifting heavy objects during a structural collapse. We are going to be rigging up a Timber tri-pod for use in a confined space environment used to lower or raise rescuers and or victims. Next you will need 30’ of ½ inch life safety, 12’ of 2” webbing, and assortment of carabiners and tech cord, all rated for life safety.
To assemble the legs of the timbers, you need to make sure the tip is elevated to allow you to lash the timbers together (normally this is done with saw horse or the back of the apparatus) using the 30’ section of ½ life safety rope. You start off by placing all 3 4x4s side by side leaving a 1.5” or 2” space in between the timbers (normally with using 2x4x2’ slats to achieve this) to allow the lashing to pass through. Next, you would want to make sure the corners are smooth down (this is done by rubbing the corners with a rod or beating the corners with a 3lb hammer) so as there is no damage done to the rope in the assembly process. Once the corners are smooth down, you need to measure down 36” from the top of the shortest pole. This will be your starting point. (Keep in mind timbers shorter than 12’ will reduce the amount of height need to raise or lower your rescuer/victims). Next take your 30’ lashing and start with a clove hitch on one of the outside legs. Next take the rope over and under the three timbers in a figure-of-eight fashion. Make at least six turns, working upward. (This is called figure of eight lashing). Once the six turns have been completed, then make two frapping turns between the first and second timber, and two frapping turns between the second and third timber. After the frapping turns have been completed, secure the lashing with a clove hitch on the opposing leg from where you started and below the lashing. (If you have excess rope after your lashing is complete, you may coil it and tie it off to one of the legs).
Note: You must make sure your lashing is tight. If not, it could cause failure of the tri pod system.
After completing the entire lashing we can then raise the tripod by raising the center timber and crossing the outer timbers forming an equilateral triangle. Once the tripod is in its upright positions you may begin to attach your web sling. To attach the web sling you start by placing the sling over the outside timbers at the top. Next you take a bight of the sling down through one side of the center timber above the lashing and pull a bight up through the other side of the center timber above the lashing. After this you need to attach your system of choice to both bights of the web sling.
After you have completed this step, something you need to consider is the legs of the tripod can and will kick out or lift up may causing it to tip over. You can choose to picket and lash in place or use a tieback system to make sure the legs are secure. If you chose to lash in place you can also use that leg as a snatch block sling for a COD in your haul/lower system. Keep in mind the setup is best done as close to the incident as possible, timbers can be quite heavy. Once the setup is complete a safety officer needs to monitor the Timber tri-pod in case of sudden failure.
DISCLAIMER: Fire and Rescue Concepts suggest extensive hands on training be completed on Timber rigging before performing these techniques out on the field. This four part series is for informational purposes only. If Departments wish more training on Timber Rigging please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
My fiance and I were at our local hardware store looking for ideals for our new kitchen to be, when suddenly out of now where came two superheroes. Being that it was Halloween, it was not an uncommon thing to see. The two superhero’s happen to be twin 7 year old boys who where disguised as Superman and Batman. Catherine and I talked to the little Superheroes and laughed along with their parents. I was amazed by their bravery by coming up to us ready to fight crime. They were more than willing to show us their muscle and let us know that they had no fear. After there departure, I reflected on the two little superheroes. and I asked myself “would these two little boys have came up to us ( total strangers ) if there true identity had been revealed?” I even took my thoughts one step further. “How often do firefighters have this same mentality?” How many firefighters believe that with all of their protective gear they are invincible much like a superhero? What I’m getting at is, how often do firefighters get tunnel vision when they put on their PPE and believe that they will not get hurt? There is no doubt any firefighter wouldn’t hesitate helping out if they came up on a house fire while being off duty. But how many would think twice about going in without PPE? But, lets just say what if ( I know!! ) we happen to have all of our PPE, would most of us think twice about going in to preform a rescue before FD arrives? How many of us firefighters have gotten hurt by thinking they can’t be harm because of our PPE? We often think ( myself included ) that we can’t be harm, or the thought of being harm is not a priority on our list of thoughts during fire ground operations. We all need to remember, that just because our gear allows to do travel deeper into a fire, smoke, and heat doesn’t mean that we are immune to injury.