The NVFC welcomes new Advocate Member DripDrop ORS (oral rehydration solution), producer of electrolyte powder sticks that provide dehydration relief fast. Invented by a doctor to save lives while serving on a humanitarian aid trip, it is used by medical professionals, elite athletes, firefighters, and every day people who suffer from dehydration due to heat exhaustion, illness, travel, and more.
NVFC Announces DripDrop ORS Producer Of Electrolyte Powder Sticks As New Corporate Member
23 Jun 2020
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A firefighter needs to evaporate about 1 liter of sweat per hour to be able to regulate the body temperature when exposed to extreme heat. The human body is designed to function within a very specific temperature range between 36.5 and 37.5 Celsius. However, fighting fires test these limits and can increase a firefighter’s body temperature to over 38 degrees. Selection Of PPE While there are many factors to consider to reduce the impact of heat stress on firefighters – such as hydration and heat acclimatization – a major component of heat stress control is the selection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Here, Reece Buchner, technical sales manager at FlamePro, a British specialist manufacturer of life-saving garments for firefighters, explains what to look for when specifying PPE, to reduce heat stress while fighting fires. Insulation – Friend Or Foe Insulation is an important part of any firefighter kit, as it keeps the extreme heat away from the wearer, however, it also keeps the body heat in. People are aware that sweating is the best way for one's bodies to regulate the temperature, however for sweating to be effective, the air should be dry and moving, like when it’s windy. When it’s humid, there is less capacity within the air for vapor to leave the body and that makes sweating less effective. An enclosed and insulated fire suit without airflow may therefore not promote the ideal perspiration environment. Moisture Barriers Moisture barrier regulates body heat as it allows as much moisture vapor out as possible Moisture barriers play a crucial role in reducing the chance of heat stress. A moisture barrier is a type of material that lets vapor through and in some cases liquid (unidirectionally), making a suit breathable. When it comes to fire suits, this moisture barrier plays an important role in regulating body heat as it allows as much moisture vapor out as possible. Types of Barriers There are three types of moisture barrier product technology used in firefighters’ protective garments: microporous, monolithic, or bi-component. Each of these barrier technologies has a different level of effectiveness: A microporous membrane contains small passages or holes, which allows for air permeability and offers water vapor transfer by air-diffusion. A monolithic membrane is a continuous polymer layer without any passages (holes), and, therefore, does not have any air permeability. However, breathable monolithic moisture barriers use hydrophilic polymers which allow water vapor transfer through molecular diffusion instead. A bi-component moisture barrier product uses a combination of microporous and monolithic technologies and allows no air permeability. Ensure Mobility It’s important that fire suits are designed to be wearer friendly, whilst providing optimum protection. When selecting PPE consider how easy the suits are to move in, and bear in mind the different requirements of the team depending on the job at hand. PPE that is designed to provide increased mobility helps to reduce muscular strain, improves air circulation, and in turn heat stress. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reducing the risk of heat stress amongst the fire brigade, these are all important factors to consider to ensure the team’s PPE is working to minimize the danger.
The recruitment of firefighters is not cheap. While metrics and budgetary line items vary among the size of fire departments, the recruitment of one firefighter from the viewing of your recruitment materials on Day One through academy graduation to one full year on the job is very expensive. For a check up from the neck up, let's begin with two quizzes: The Ultimate Firefighter Recruitment & Retention Quiz Part 1: Is your department having difficulty recruiting qualified firefighters, possibly reaching near-crisis proportions? Have qualified candidates whom you want to hire declined your offer? Is the competition for qualified firefighter candidates in your area overly intense? Have you pondered thoughts of having to pay outlandish salaries, signing bonuses, premium fees to recruitment agencies, or even curtail hiring or raiding your competition? Does your recruitment and human resources departments need to learn how to recruit more strategically and creatively to solve your recruitment problems? Scoring: If you answered Yes to any of these questions, then your department may need to consider a paradigm shift of its recruitment efforts from the “same-old, same-old” to a comprehensive business model based on creative problem solving, aggressive marketing, and innovative thinking. Part 2: Is your recruitment and human resources staff… Armed with a dynamic interactive presentation that results in responses and interest by qualified applicants? Supported with a superior website, an online presence, and printed materials that actually get read? Regularly trained and exposed to new relationship and marketing strategies no matter how experienced they may be? Provided with one-on-one or small group marketing executive coaching? Mystery shopped or recorded as part of their performance appraisal? Scoring: If you answered No to any of these questions, then this is your first step to strategically and creatively improve your recruitment metrics.This unique marketing model may be up to an 180 degree reversal from what your department has been doing for decades No matter how good your recruitment and retention efforts may be, they could always be better. There is good news and bad news: The bad news is this unique marketing model may be up to an 180 degree reversal from what your department has been doing for decades. Your recruiters and human resources personnel are going to be reluctant to change. Warning The first words out of their mouths will be, “What! Are you crazy?” How receptive will your recruitment staff be to the task of having to unlearn the old recruitment techniques and replace them with a variety of new creative recruitment strategies based on the principles of behavioral psychology? As for the good news, the change is not painful, though it will feel uncomfortable…at first. More importantly, a shift in strategy will produce the positive qualitative and quantitative results and metrics you are seeking. Firefighter recruitment cost Question: What does it cost your department to recruit one firefighter? Begin with the basic costs incurred reengineering of your recruitment website and printed materials, online presence and social media, educational presentations, advertisements, job fairs, and processing of paperwork of your application materials.The fees associated with tests: drug, polygraph, criminal background, and psychological Next line item: the fees associated with tests: drug, polygraph, criminal background, and psychological. Compute the costs once formal training has begun: education, salaries, uniforms, etc., all the way through graduation. Has your cost for each recruit reached $100,000 yet? What is your reaction when a candidate drops out midway through the training academy, or after one or two years feels being a firefighter is not the career for him or her? The Solution The firefighter recruiter as Marketeer. Fact: If the applicant doesn’t like you, he or she won’t consider your department. Why? We tend to do business with people we like; people who listen and convey they understand our needs, versus people who “talk at” us with a robotic presentation. Few fire departments actually have a formal strategic marketing plan in writing for its recruitment efforts But, there is a major problem: In the corporate world, recruiters usually receive a base salary plus commission for its placements. As an employee of a city, county, or municipal fire department, your key recruitment employees fall under a different compensation structure. Your employees probably have not received the intensive training in sales and marketing. Few fire departments actually have a formal strategic marketing plan in writing for its recruitment efforts. Recruitment and marketing are among the many hats firefighter recruiters must wear…yet few wear it well. The approach to recruitment follows a “recruitment is marketing” training model based on the business concept of Omnichannelization. Your challenge is to market your department and sell yourself to create your position in the marketplace be it a department with 10 fire stations competing with the nearby department with 40 stations. Recruitment auditing Consider that many applicants have read the same book as you, the one containing hundreds of interview questions and the answers to each. Somewhere within the interview process the applicant is going to be asked, “Why do you want to be a firefighter?” Follow up that question with ones which reveal deeper information, and questions the applicant has never been asked such as, “What are you most afraid of in becoming a firefighter, your biggest fear?” Your challenge is to develop at least 10-12 of these types of questions testing the critical thinking skills of the applicant.Somewhere within the interview process the applicant is going to be asked, “Why do you want to be a firefighter?” The Recruitment Audit: Identify what you are doing right, what needs improvement, and what you are not doing at all. Strategize to overcome weaknesses Analyze what your department has been doing thus far. Identify and justify your department’s top three strategies to overcome its six weaknesses, ones of which you may be totally unaware. What’s involved? Most of your printed materials are not read. Why? Whether it is your brochure, public relations materials, they “talk at” the reader rather than come across conversationally. Take a magnifying glass to color, font and font size, and voice. Well-written copy functions as one of the best screening tools during the personal interview. Most application forms are a major turn-off with the voice of a drill sergeant. Ask your human resources people how many applications are submitted incomplete, missing required information. Motivation There is a psychology of firefighter recruitment that identifies the “real” forces that motivates the candidate to accept one department over another. Recruiters need to learn to develop several distinct strategies customized to its variety of vertical markets. One size does not fit all. A few final words Are you ready to reengineer your department’s recruitment efforts? It all begins by obtaining a total buy-in, involvement, and training from your entire staff to achieve its desired recruitment results.
There are many daily risks faced by buildings and their managers, with electrical fires being one of the most common and dangerous. Commercial fires impact occupant health, property and the business itself – with 25% of businesses who suffer a fire never reopening. Given the often-unpredictable nature of electrical fires, businesses must invest in the latest technologies to prevent irreparable damage. It is the responsibility of the consultant engineer to show leadership and initiative in improving safety to protect the business, its employees and its most valuable assets. Engineers must look beyond simply tackling overloads and short circuits and examine a range of connected solutions that can stop a fire before it even has a chance to begin. This drastically reduces the cost of damages and repairs, while giving building operators unrivalled visibility. Connected protection is crucial at every level of the circuit, from the switchboard to distribution. A centralized system for equipment monitoring and detection provides building managers with all the information they need to keep fire risk under control, and therefore protect staff, property and business. Electrical fire risk awareness During the design and implementation phase, the consultant engineer’s role is traditionally to respect and master the local standards. They should ensure all components and parts of the circuit comply with the latest wiring rules, electrical and building codes. Yet for enhanced safety they should also be willing to look beyond the standards of the day. Given the often-unpredictable nature of electrical fires, businesses must invest in the latest technologies to prevent irreparable damage Today’s regulations do a good job of protecting buildings from the dangers of short circuits and overloads, mostly by mandating the use of circuit breakers. However, consultant engineers should also be aware of the risks posed by circuit deterioration and mistakes made during the installation. Loose cabling and faulty insulation or connections – even something as small as an untightened screw – can significantly increase a circuit’s fire risk. It’s up to consultant engineers to know their market and provide solutions that go beyond the minimum to detect and prevent electrical fires. Why electrical engineers must go the extra mile A stitch in time saves nine. While tackling overloads and short circuits is crucial, engineers must go further, examining a range of connected solutions that can stop a fire before it even has a chance to begin. Acting pre-emptively can drastically reduce the cost of damages and repairs and provide building operators with unrivalled visibility of their facility. Connected protection is crucial at every level of the circuit, from the switchboard to distribution. A centralized system for equipment monitoring and detection will provide the building manager with all the information they need to keep fire risk under control. Connected protection is crucial at every level of the circuit For optimal protection, organisations should employ smart, connected solutions that detect fire and the risk of fire at every level. This means additional protection for the switchboard and the circuit at all levels of the electrical installation, underpinned by a centralised system for monitoring and pro-active action. Using Residual Current Devices (RCDs) against insulation faults triggered by earth leakage currents exceeding 300mA, is a familiar solution. Engineers now have access to more effective earth leakage protection solutions with the same footprint as a classical overload and short-circuit protection. Products can now also offer permanent earth leakage current measurement which, when connected to a monitoring system, allows pre-alarming and monitoring during the time of any drift in the insulation. Identify switchboard vulnerabilities Unprotected electrical switchboards are especially vulnerable to fire risk. The equipment is susceptible to rodent infestation and internal overheating, issues that can often go unnoticed until it is too late. The IEC 61439-2 Low-voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies – Part 2: Power switchgear and control gear assembly’s standard addresses these risks, making compliance a must. However, fulfilling these design and manufacturing rules for switchboards does not eliminate the risk of connection failure. A critical sequence of events can occur. First, increasing electrical contact resistance accelerates further deterioration. This increased resistance induces a rise in temperature – high temperatures deteriorate the connection surface even more. The more deteriorated surface leads to a further increase in contact resistance, and the resulting thermal runaway will cause complete connection failure. Fire, flash-over and explosions become a real risk. Enhanced electrical fire prevention Moreover, final circuits should be protected by an arc fault detection device (AFDD) for enhanced fire prevention. Final circuits should be protected by an arc fault detection device (AFDD) Circuits age unevenly and unpredictably, so persistent monitoring and predictive maintenance are key to limiting fire risk. Cloud analytics can help provide asset health analytics to interpret the status and history of your most critical assets, with preventive notifications and 24/7 support. Fire prevention must be a top priority when assessing all the safety and risk-management of a building. In the case of electrical fires, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, establishing the right approach before crisis strikes will be invaluable. Connected solutions across the entire circuit are an effective solution for consultant engineers to defend buildings from the often-underestimated dangers of faulty installation and ageing components. In short, smart electrical fire prevention provides peace of mind for engineers, facility owners and occupants alike.
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