ARFF Working Group Information Exchange Program
Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 6:30 pm-9:00 pm, Omni Hotel Severin Ballroom

The Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting (ARFF) Working Group will host an Information Exchange Program (IEP) in addition to its classroom sessions at the Convention Center (Wednesday-Friday). The ARFF Working Group's Information Exchange Program is designed to provide an opportunity for airport firefighters to participate in an exchange of information and ideas on aviation firefighting protection and safety. As in the past, aviation-related industry experts will be exhibiting new products and new developments in technology and training. Light food and beverage will be served.

NFAAA Meeting
Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 7:00 pm, Marriott Hotel, Marriott Ballroom 4

The National Fire Academy Alumni Association* will hold its annual membership meeting. There is a lot to discuss regarding the NFA and USFA, and the meeting will feature a guest speaker from the NFA/USFA, the financial secretary's report, and the administrator's report. Mingle with the NFAAA's main sponsors, Pennwell/Fire Engineering and Delmar Publishers. Bring a fellow alumnus! Refreshments will be served.

  • The NFAAA has 20,000 members and is comprised of fire and emergency services personnel from all over the country and beyond. Its mission is to support the National Fire Academy and the U.S. Fire Administration in their efforts to protect people from the ravages of fire and other hazards.

FAMA Presentation: "Modern Fire Apparatus and Emerging Technology"
Thursday, April 10, 2008, 1:30 pm-3:15 pm, Room 210

According to the US Fire Administration, more than half of America's fire apparatus are now more than 15 years old. This discussion, led by Jim Juneau, FAMA Legal Counsel, will review the significant advantages of function, durability, and safety designed into modern fire apparatus; will evaluate the emerging technologies that will be available on tomorrow's fire trucks; and will take a peek at the upcoming changes to the NFPA 1901 apparatus standard.

Command Center Roundtable
Thursday, April 10, 2008, 5:30 pm, Room 123-124

This is a true roundtable of Command Training Center users and administrators. Participants will share best practices, exchange ideas, and collaborate on the future of Command Training Centers. Chief (Ret.) Alan Brunacini, Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department, will moderate. All firefighters interested in learning how the use of simulations can enhance the tactical integration and improve the coordination of companies on the fireground should attend.

Fire Engineering Bookstore Events
Visit the Fire Engineering Bookstore for the latest books and DVDs, book signings, and more! Meet authors including Rick Lasky, Billy Goldfeder, Dave McGrail, Anthony Avillo, and more! While you're there, take advantage of our special show discount of 10% on all FEB&V titles!

FDIC Courage and Valor Fun Run
Friday, April 11, 2008, 8:00 am, White River State Park

Whether you are a runner, walker, or both, this 5K event is for all firefighters, families, and friends. Proceeds go to help fund the Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award/The Courage and Valor Foundation. This is a fun and healthy way to end your week at FDIC. The fast and flat course is on the beautiful White River State Park Canal; it is firefighter friendly?and no worries about traffic. Mile splits will be marked and called, and one water stop will be on the course. Your support will show that firefighters mean it when they say "We will never forget." Run or walk together to keep all our fallen brothers' and sisters' memories alive. Collectable Inaugural Courage and Valor T-shirts for all preregistrations (entry fee: $15) received before noon on Monday, April 7. To preregister online, go to Ken Long & Associates' Web site www.kenlongassoc.com. On-site registration is available at FDIC on Thursday, April 10, for $20, but shirts are not guaranteed. You can also register on race day until 7:45 am at the White River State Park Visitors Center. Awards will be presented to the first three male and female finishers.

Health and Safety Officer Certification Exam
Incident Safety Officer Certification Exam

Friday, April 11, 2008, 12:00 pm, Room 204

You must preregister 30 days in advance. Contact Bob Finley at (618) 344-2595.

NAFTD Meeting
Friday, April 11, 2008, 1:00 pm -5:00 pm, Room 206-207

The North American Fire Training Directors (NAFTD), comprised of the 50 states and the Canadian provinces and territorial training directors, will conduct its annual spring meeting. The meeting will be open to members only until 2:00 p.m., and Dr. Denis Onieal, superintendent of the National Fire Academy, has been invited to provide an update on the Federal Fire Programs and various committee reports. Typical agenda items include topics pertinent to the management of a state, provincial, or territorial training program. After 2:00 p.m., fire service publishers usually provide a quick update of their products.

ISFSI meeting

ISFSI Membership Meeting
Friday, April 11, 2008, 1:00 p.m., Room 202-203

THE INSTRUCTORS ARE BACK! The Board and members of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors proudly invite you to attend the 2007 spring membership meeting. Come join the only international membership organization representing the interest of fire service instructors. This meeting is open to all firefighters, instructors, fire officers, and those aspiring to be. Networking social immediately following.

Pumper Pull Team Challenge
Friday, April 11, 2008

Teams of firefighters compete in a test of brawn and teamwork. Teams interested in competing should call Local 416 at (317) 262-5161 for more information. After the competition, stay for the Union Hall Open House, immediately to follow.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Firefighters' Open House
Friday, April 11, 2008, Union Hall, 748 Massachusetts Ave.

Come and renew acquaintances with the Indianapolis firefighters at the Union Hall. Plenty of great food and refreshments will be served. Transportation will be provided to and from the Convention Center beginning at 5:15 pm until 10:00 pm.

Harley Davidson FDIC 2008 Giveaway
Saturday, April 12, 2008, 2:30 pm

One Harley-Davidson motorcycle will be awarded to an entrant randomly selected by a drawing to be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Fire Engineering/PennWell booth. Drawing entries will be accepted during the Fire Department Instructors Conference beginning April 10, 2008. See official entry form for complete rules.

Fellowship of Christian Firefighters' Service
Saturday, April 12, 2008, 7:00 am-8:00 am, Room 202-203

Continental breakfast at 7:00 am, followed by Praise and Worship at 7:30 am. Everyone is invited to attend.

Masses at St. John's Church
Saturday, April 12, 2008, 5:30 pm
Sunday, April 13, 2008, 8:00 am & 11:00 am

National Fire Department Honor Guard Competition
Saturday, April 12, 2008, 8:00 am, Sagamore Ballroom

Each year, fire department honor guard teams from across the country compete in a national event that has become a regular part of the Saturday program at FDIC. Teams are judged on neatness, uniformity, cleanliness, and military bearing. Past teams have come from Birmingham, AL; Howard County, MD; Kokomo, IN; Lexington, KY; Columbia, MO; and St. Paul, NM; as well as teams from Indiana. Why not have your team represented this year? For more information, contact Mary McCormack at (508) 881-3543 or e-mail her at fdsoa@fdsoa.org.

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Firefighter Uniform Adapts To Cancer Risk, Active Shooter Threat
Firefighter Uniform Adapts To Cancer Risk, Active Shooter Threat

More than an outfit. More thought than one leg at a time. Putting on the uniform is not just an ordinary daily task, but a habitual part of preparing for the unexpected. Yes, a firefighter’s uniform is more than an outfit. Think about who is wearing it and the risks they are exposed to on a daily basis. The firefighter comes from a long line of heroes, a brotherhood and sisterhood, with traditions to uphold and a reputation to maintain. Their uniform is no different. Its historical navy-blue threads. Classic, professional appearance. Tactical features. Technology-driven fabric. Over time, the uniform’s engineering has needed to adapt with new designs and react to worsened exposures and more dangerous rescue missions. The 21st Century firefighter’s uniform is unique and specific to the job with current trends fixating on the best user experience while future plans focus on preventative and safety measures due to increased societal and architectural risks. Comfortable firefighter uniform So, what does the 21st Century firefighter want? Comfort. Beyond Personal Protective Equipment, it is an overwhelming plea for a more comfortable uniform to wear. This includes garments that are easy “wash and wear” materials that do not require additional ironing. Firefighters do not want to lose the professional appearance or tactical functionality of the uniform The trend calls for lightweight, breathable, cool-weather wear that is less restrictive and offers more give and more stretch so firefighters can perform their job responsibilities more efficiently. However, they do not want to lose the professional appearance or tactical functionality of the uniform. “We need something that looks presentable every time,” said Chief Robert Burdette of Grand Blanc Fire Department, Michigan. Additionally, more firefighters are also starting to wear polo shirts or mesh T-shirts under their Turnout gear, for a lighter weight, more breathable option from the traditional uniform shirt. The trend calls for lightweight, breathable, cool-weather wear that is less restrictive Risk of cancer Unfortunately, comfort is not the only concern firefighters have when it comes to uniforms, or their safety in general. As risky and demanding of a profession the fire service can be, the fires have proven not to be the most hazardous or life threatening. According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, “Cancer is the most dangerous threat to firefighter health and safety today.” A study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) concluded that firefighters have a 9% increased chance of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14% increased chance to die from cancer compared to the general United States population. Chief Dennis Jenkerson of the St. Louis Fire Department in Missouri is one of many chiefs actively fighting these statistics. Responsible for 32 firehouses, Jenkerson has witnessed the reality of this threat with the loss of four of his own and understands the validity of the situation. For the last 18 months, the St. Louis Fire Department has made headway implementing a drastic culture change by evaluating everything from equipment, apparel, lifestyle and more.  Cancer affecting firefighters “It is so prevalent that everything we do anymore has to do with some emphasis on protecting firefighters from getting cancer,” said Chief Mike Ramm of Sylvania Township Fire Department, Ohio. “Cancer is the most dangerous threat to firefighter health and safety today” According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, the cancers that have mostly affected firefighters are respiratory (lung, mesothelioma), gastrointestinal (oral cavity, esophageal, large intestine) and kidney. “Testicular cancer is through the roof,” added Jenkerson, who has pushed his firefighters to get tested for cancers earlier than normally necessary. He also explained that the imagery of a firefighter drinking from a fire hydrant can no longer happen. He emphasized the importance of cleaning up instantly after every fire. Think of the simple act of removing grimy gloves after a call – at least one hand has been exposed to the cancerous contaminants if it was accidentally used to take off the other glove. If that unwashed, contaminated hand touches food that goes into the mouth of the firefighter, he/she is essentially eating what may cause esophageal, oral cavity or gastric cancers. Cancer is the most dangerous threat to firefighter health and safety today According to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) via the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, cancer caused 61% of the career firefighter line-of-duty deaths from January 1, 2002 to March 31, 2017. Additionally, 70% of the line-of-duty deaths for career firefighters were because of cancer in 2016. Unfortunately, this hazard is not going away any time soon. The new building materials and new house furnishings have become the culprit for this major concern. These materials are man-made and are not of natural resources. When burned, they create deadly carcinogens that the firefighters are getting exposed to firsthand. Immediate decontamination process Jenkerson’s implementation of a culture change includes an immediate decontamination process following a fire, which involves getting hosed with water, cleansing wipes for all soft tissue areas of the body and an immediate shower back at the station. “Any place you can get a five degree rise in skin temperature, the absorption level goes up 10 times,” Jenkerson warned. His firefighters are instructed to remove their bunker gear, uniform, helmet and all other equipment right away that get immediately washed once they have returned to the station. Hems, collars, cuffs and cargo pockets are areas of the uniform where toxins get caught He also restricts all firefighters and EMTs from going on a second run until they have showered and have put on a new, clean set of clothes, all the way down to their underwear. “There are no two-runs. We have to get this stuff off [of them].” Uniform manufacturers are tasked with finding a solution to help facilitate Jenkerson’s and other Fire Chiefs’ visions by designing a uniform with as little gaps and fold-over materials as possible. “Everything needs to be sealed tight,” Jenkerson explained. Hems, collars, cuffs and cargo pockets are all areas of the uniform where toxins get caught. A lightweight shirt option that offers a crew collar with a two to three button placket and a lightweight, ventilated hidden cargo pant could be the future of fire uniforms. “There isn’t another profession that has the thousands of dangers that we have every day,” Ramm explained. Additional and ongoing efforts currently underway according to the NFPA Journal, include those by the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, the Congressional Firefighter Cancer Registry, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the FPRF Campaign for Fire Service Contamination Control, and the International Association of Firefighters. Active shooter emergency response Firefighters and EMTs increasingly need to wear bullet proof vests with the surge in active shooter calls An additional and unfortunate trend that is also sweeping the nation is the need for firefighters and EMTs to wear bullet proof vests. Departments are trying their best to arm their men and women with this protection along with ballistic helmets in certain regions due to the surge in active shooter calls. “In areas that have a lot of gang-related activity, [bullet proof vests] would be beneficial,” said Jason Reyes of Allen Fire Department, Texas. “Sometimes you go on calls when the city doesn’t have enough police to respond to calls, which creates a situation that leaves firefighters unprotected and vulnerable.” Currently the market has ballistic vests available that can either be worn over or under a firefighter’s uniform and under their bunker gear. Uniform manufacturers also offer an external vest carrier option that is worn over a firefighter’s uniform to look like part of the uniform shirt to maintain a professional appearance. Distinguishing firefighters from law enforcement “Firefighters find themselves becoming targets more and more these days,” added Deputy Chief of Operations Dwayne Jamison of Bartow County Fire Department, Georgia. “Many departments, including my own, are looking to outfit their firefighters with bullet proof vests.” Although this trend has not affected every region, industry experts can see the need becoming more widespread if threats continue to increase the way they have been. Along the same lines, firefighters want to be identified as firefighters and not mistaken for law enforcement. “We don’t want to look like police,” Jenkerson said. “We want to be identified as firefighters. Even if it takes a different stripe.” When it comes to uniform trends for firefighters, it is clear there is more to focus on than the technical details. For many fire departments, future trends could serve as a tool to prevent deadly toxins from being absorbed and from lethal bullets puncturing unprotected firefighters and EMTs. The uniform is more than an outfit. With a larger purpose than to shield a body, the uniform goes beyond the navy-blue threads, professional appearance and tactical features to one day supporting what could be a lifesaving concept. Sources Firefighter Cancer Support Network, Preventing Cancer in the Fire Service National Fire Protection Association,  Firefighters and Cancer NFPA Journal, Fast Track: Some of the national efforts underway to fight cancer in the fire service; Roman, Jesse; 2017 

How Fire Departments Use Drones To Save Lives
How Fire Departments Use Drones To Save Lives

Cost justification of drones is easy if you compare the cost with operating a helicopter Drones are an important new tool for the fire service and have already proven their ability to save lives. Willingness to embrace drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs]) for fire applications varies widely by department, and it’s not just larger departments that are making the investment. Some smaller departments are investing in drones in a big way, even as some larger departments are reticent. Firefighting Drone Programs Departments may start with a small drone just to “try it out” and to prove its usefulness to upper management. Other departments start with a budgeted amount for their drone program and go from there. According to Matt Sloan, CEO of Skyfire Consulting, the average drone program is around $35,000 to $40,000, which provides drones, thermal imaging, cameras, operation costs – all of it. Drone programs are not covered by Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grants, however. As little as $1,500 can buy an “eye in the sky” drone (without thermal functionality).  Sloan says the top question he used to get asked by potential customers was “How do I use this thing?” Now the top question is “How do I sell it to my chief?” Sloan has done hundreds of demonstrations of drone technology to fire departments and has never heard anyone say “I don’t see how that would be useful.” In fact, cost justification of drones is easy if you compare the cost with operating a helicopter, the closest alternative to provide comparable information. Sloan says implementing a drone program is equivalent in cost to “between 40 and 50 hours” of operating a helicopter.  “There is still a misperception that drones are toys,” says Sloan. “But people’s lives are being saved so we’re past that stage.” He compares the reception to drones in the fire service to initial resistance to the use of thermal cameras. “Now everyone has one,” he says. A drone can provide a 360-degree view of a single-family house fire within seconds Effectiveness Of Drones In Fire Applications Education is an important element in spreading the word about the effectiveness of drones for fire applications, says Sloan. A fire department might choose to implement a drone program after they experience a situation in which a drone would have been a useful asset. Drones can be helpful for hazardous materials protection, search-and-rescue, and wildfire applications. The value of a drone boils down to providing better information for decision-making. In the case of a hazardous material spill, for example, a drone can provide information much faster than it would take personnel to don hazmat garments to approach an area safely; there is also no risk to life. A drone can provide a 360-degree view of a single-family house fire within seconds. A thermal imaging camera mounted on a drone can provide instant feedback on hot spots and where the fire is moving. Some drones can drop payloads; for example, they can drop a life jacket to a swimmer or a radio to someone who is trapped. Drones can also be helpful in training, providing high-level views to document activity for evaluation after the fact.  Communication with a drone is localized between the drone and the remote control. A smart phone or tablet can be plugged into the drone’s remote to communicate images across the Internet. The remote’s HDMI output also allows a drone’s image to be displayed on a TV monitor. How To Start A Drone Program Skyfire Consulting provides a “one-stop shop” for fire and police departments seeking to start a drone program. The company helps with choosing the right equipment, performs on-site training, guides the department to obtain the needed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorizations, and aids with developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and policies. Implementation of the average drone program takes three to six months. FAA authorization to fly drones comes in two varieties. Drones can be flown under Part 107 rules for commercial use and for video production. The authorization merely requires passing a 60-question written test with a 70 percent score. The certification is good for two years and allows an operator to fly drones up to 400 feet in line-of-site, and within Class G (uncontrolled) air space. A downside is that the permit assigns liability to the operator (and a waiver may or may not be granted). Departments are buying a variety of drones in combinations of large and small Obtaining A Certificate Of Authorization The second variety of FAA authorization is a COA (Certificate of Authorization), which assigns liability to the department operating the drones. It also allows the department to self-certify their operators, perform training, and operate in some controlled air space if a waiver is granted. Earning a COA is more complicated, but offers benefits, including the ability to train new operators in a department that has turnover. Line-of-site operation is a requirement for flying any drones. Line-of-site is typically three-fourths of a mile, and drones are equipped with bright lights and anti-collision lights (visible for three nautical miles). Sloan says the FAA is generally very positive about public safety uses of drones and works with departments to get their drone programs in place. Choosing Between Small And Large Drones A popular drone manufacturer is DJI Technology, which has a dominant share of the consumer drone market. A popular model is the DJI Phantom drones, which provide 35 minutes of flight time and a good camera. For other sensors, something larger is needed. Departments are buying a variety of drones in combinations of large and small. Small drones perform tactical missions and can fly through a window, while larger drones can be equipped with thermal and/or zoom cameras. The price tags on individual drones range from $500 to $30,000 or more. Larry Anderson Editor TheBigRedGuide.com

Virtual Reality Emerging As A Training Tool In The Fire Service
Virtual Reality Emerging As A Training Tool In The Fire Service

Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging tool for training in the fire service The dangers of firefighting make it unfriendly to the concept of the learning curve. Before they put their lives on the line, firefighters should have knowledge and experience. But gaining knowledge and experience in the firefighting environment presents its own dangers. Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging tool for training in the fire service. Recreating the firefighting experience realistically in a virtual world is a useful – and safer – alternative to on-the-job training. It is also less expensive than some other training options, such as recreation of realistic fire rescue scenarios.  “For a situation when someone’s life would be in danger, a virtual reality experience can enable them to practice in the safety of their own environments,” says Michael Schreiner, Senior Director of Content for Target Solutions, which is developing VR training for firefighters. “In real life, the building would be on fire and they would have to make life-or-death decisions. With virtual reality, firefighters can make a mistake about how to attack a fire without putting themselves in danger.” Virtual Reality Firefighter Training Target Solutions, a brand of Vector Solutions, Tampa, Florida, has partnered with Pasco County (Fla.) Fire Rescue to develop a lifelike 360-degree VR “smoke reading” training course. Creating the course involved a 360-degree Virtual Reality video shoot using drone technology to film actual firefighters training in real-life simulations. The video was created with expert help from consultants and field insights from subject matter experts, fire service instructors, and paramedics. Learners using the course wear VR goggles and are immersed in a virtual environment where they will receive instruction on how to read smoke and to decide how to attack a fire based on what the smoke tells them. Reading smoke involves judging the color, volume, density and rate of rise. For example, the seat of a fire tends to produce smoke that is thick and dark and has a high rate of rise; in contrast, smoke elsewhere is a burning building might be light and wispy. Firefighters have to make split-second decisions based on the appearance of smoke, and deciding wrong can have dire consequences. Another benefit of virtual reality in training is lower costs Making Better Decisions The 12-minute-or-so smoke reading “micro-course” uses a story-based approach to emphasize the emotional elements of decision-making. Schreiner says people learn best when emotions are tied into the learning. Elements of the training scenario include exposition, rising action, a crisis and a resolution. Unrelenting “heartbeat” sounds promote a sense of urgency. The course then evaluates whether a learner made the right decision. The course can be practiced over and over. The idea is for firefighters to develop “muscle memory” to make better decisions under pressure in a real situation. Vector Solutions chose shooting a video for a real-world effect over computer-generated graphics, which are more expensive but less realistic. For the video training, smoke graphic effects were added in post-production. Lower Training Costs Another benefit of virtual reality in training is lower costs. The training session used to shoot the 360-degree video cost around $20,000, which is typical of similar training exercises. Mobilizing a ladder truck, two fire trucks, a fire rescue truck and commander’s vehicles are all part of the costs, as are the costs (including overtime) of 13 firefighters taking part in the exercise. VR is a relatively new learning tool, and Schreiner says feedback from the market will make it clear how effective it is. “We can immerse a person in a situation and it’s a safe environment, but we have to let our learners tell us how effective it is,” he says. “We will get feedback from learners and training administration. It’s another tool in the toolbox, but it will not totally replace real-life training.” VR Training For Dangerous Professions Schreiner says VR is a huge training opportunity for any type of dangerous profession, whether construction workers operating on scaffolding, or educators in an active shooter situation. “Where safety is a risk, VR will really start taking off,” he says. Almost 6,000 clients across the United States use Target Solutions training products, including courses that are specific to the fire service, such as "Cancer Related Risks of Firefighting."

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