Firefighter health and safety
Ultimately, it is the emotions, personal encounters and that feeling of common purpose that make INTERSCHUTZ so memorable. But it's also about the numbers, for INTERSCHUTZ is not just the industry's global networking hub; it is also the number one business platform for the world of protection and emergency services. It is the place where the latest innovations and product refinements are unveiled, where deals are done and where the groundwork is laid for new business. At the end of the day, a c...
His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge visited The Fire Fighters Charity’s Harcombe House center in Chudleigh, Devon, to find out how it supports members of the UK’s fire services community. The Duke met individuals and families who have been supported by the Charity and undertook a tour of the newly renovated centre, observing an art therapy session and activities in the Charity’s gym area. Supporting the wellbeing of fire community Working within the fire and rescue serv...
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has entered into an agreement with the Rapid Relief Team to support firefighters when they are attending prolonged incidents by providing food and refreshments. The Rapid Relief Team (RRT) is a non-profit charitable organization. Its volunteers are members of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church and their mission is to provide voluntary support to the emergency services at large scale incidents. The volunteers make themselves available to support emergen...
As the condition of aging bridges, roadways, transportation resources, and grids across the U.S. has increasingly become the focus of discussion, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has issued Renovations Needs of the U.S. Fire Service, a new report on the fire service’s aging infrastructure. Two key findings within the report show that more than 21,000 firehouses across the country are beyond 40 years of age with total replacement costs estimated to be in the $70-$100 billion...
Among the tools of the fire service, some of the most powerful are hand-held devices. These technologies provide information to firefighters than can direct their approaches to emergency situations and safe lives. Today, more powerful devices are available in smaller, hand-held form, sometimes taking the place of much larger and more expensive devices. For example, previously the Los Angeles Fire Department carried just one large thermal imaging camera (TIC) that cost upwards of $10,000 on eac...
Bars, restaurants and businesses along Ipswich’s Waterfront have attended awareness training in the event of anyone falling into water. As part of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service prevention work, these waterside businesses have been supplied with a safety throw line to keep at their premises. This is a small bag containing a floating line which can be deployed very quickly and easily in the event of someone falling into the water around the marina. Helping To Reduce Risk Staff were give...
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is pleased to announce that the next NVFC Training Summit will take place June 26-27, 2020, in Orlando, FL. Pre-register here to save your spot and get updates as event information becomes available. NVFC Training Summit 2020 Launched in 2014, the Training Summit provides an opportunity for first responders from across the country to participate in valuable classroom training as well as exchange ideas and best practices with their peers. The NVFC’s signature annual conference is open to all volunteer firefighters, EMS providers, department leadership, and other fire department personnel. General and breakout sessions will address critical issues in first responder health and safety, recruitment and retention, and fire prevention. More details, including a call for presentations, stipend program, travel information, and registration, will be available in the coming weeks.
Showcasing at the Emergency Services Show (NEC Birmingham, Stand C71, 18-19 September) are rugged innovative 360 degree rescue solutions from the UK’s leader, Vimpex, dedicated to delivering new levels of performance to emergency services teams at any incident. There will be lots of new and versatile products to see, including the new Pacific R6 Helmet range - helmets for Ambulance, Fire & Rescue and Police; an interactive area where visitors can trial the multi-featured next generation First Look 360 camera - the live streaming 360 degree technical rescue search camera, and the most comprehensive heavy lifting rapid extrication solution from Paratech. Pacific R6 Helmet These helmets provide the perfect combination of safety, balance and wearer comfortThe new Pacific R6 Helmet range offers the most up-to-date form of head protection. The Pacific R6 rescue helmet range represents the most versatile and configurable helmet of its type available, offering the most up-to-date and modern form of head protection in a very comfortable, lightweight and wearable package. Pacific helmets are tested in the most extreme conditions required for conformity to relevant clauses of the stringent EN 443 standard, unlike some of its competitors. Manufactured using a Kevlar® reinforced composite shell; these helmets provide the perfect combination of safety, balance and wearer comfort. The use of fibre-reinforced materials means that Pacific rescue helmets have less mass than those manufactured from thermo plastics, and with a very low centre of gravity so that all users can concentrate on their job rather than neck ache. Technical Rescue Search Camera Next generation FirstLook360 is the world’s first live streaming 360 degree technical rescue search camera that uses state-of-the-art, custom-built software to create a seamless 360 degree view that can be manipulated or shared on a mobile device. It is easy to use, reliable, rugged, has an intuitive interface and no mechanics It is easy to use, reliable, rugged, has an intuitive interface and no mechanics. The FL360’s digital streams broadcast in HD quality and are designed to transmit both wired and/or wirelessly to any Android powered mobile device. Heavy Rescue Tools Paratech Heavy Rescue tools and equipment comprise the most comprehensive heavy lifting kit available, utilizing the strength of HydraFusion Struts, lifting height and power of the MULTIFORCE in the Rapid Extrication Kit as well as the environmentally friendly sturdiness of recycled plastic cribbing and much more. This Kit can lift and stabilize any vehicle on the road, and all packed in four convenient, mobile cases.
MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have awarded new turnout gear to two additional departments through MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway. A total of 13 fire departments will each receive four new sets of state of the art turnouts in 2019 to help them increase the safety of their firefighters and safety personals. To be eligible to apply for MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway awards, fire departments had to fulfill the criteria of being all volunteer or mostly volunteer, serving a population of 25,000 or less, be legally organized in the U.S. or Canada, demonstrate a need for the gear, and be a member of the National Volunteer Fire Council. To help fire departments meet this last requirement, MSA sponsored NVFC memberships for the first 500 applicants. The latest recipients to receive the turnout gear are Salcha (AK) Fire & Rescue and Kenduskeag (ME) Fire Rescue. Salcha (AK) Fire & Rescue While all 35 of the fire department’s first responders have gear, it has been donated from other departments Salcha Fire & Rescue is located about 40 miles south of Fairbanks, AK, next to the Salcha and Tanana Rivers. The fire department prides itself in being ‘professionally staffed by volunteers since 1982’. Volunteers are trained at both Firefighter I and Emergency Medical Technician II, protecting approximately 2,400 people over 350 square miles. A tight budget, along with care and maintenance costs of hand me down equipment and gear, leaves no room to purchase new turnouts for its firefighter crew. While all 35 of the fire department’s first responders have gear, it has been donated from other departments, most of which are over 15 years old. Gear that is over 10 years old is considered non-compliant with recommended safety standards. The Salcha Fire & Rescue department uses this turnout gear for primary response. “Our goal is to provide safe gear for our volunteer responders so that their safety is guaranteed during fire incidents,” said Chief Ernest Misewicz. This donation will help them to achieve that goal. Kenduskeag (ME) Fire Rescue Kenduskeag Fire Rescue protects a population of 1,338 over nearly 17 miles in Penobscot County, ME. Its 11 active volunteers are trained at First Aid/CPR and Basic Firefighter and respond to an estimated 160 calls each year. The department has been striving to improve its operations, ensuring its fleet is equipped properly and operating safely, which leaves no funding to outfit their firefighters with compliant and efficient gear. Only three sets of their gear are less than 10 years old and meet national safety standards. The department strives to ensure the safety of its responders, particularly mitigating cancer risks The department strives to ensure the safety of its responders, particularly mitigating cancer risks by properly cleaning gear after each call. However, this often leaves the department out of service after a fire until the gear is again ready for response. Additionally, the department has had to turn potential recruits away because of the lack of gear and the inability to purchase new gear that will keep them safe on a call. 2019 Globe Gear Giveaway “These four sets of gear will go a long way to cement morale and make the best use of all who apply to our department, ergo creating a more safe and efficient public service,” said Deputy Chief Matthew Nadeau. Additional awards in MSA’s 2019 Globe Gear Giveaway will be made monthly through December. Stay tuned to the NVFC web site, Dispatch newsletter, and Facebook page, as well as the Globe Facebook page, for announcements. The program began in
Bullard, a pioneer in the personal protective equipment market, announces the acquisition of Switzerland-based Darix™, an award-winning spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne focusing on improving the situational awareness of professionals in critical environments. Darix, founded in 2017, is comprised of a team of specialists in image processing and software, user experience and design, micro-electronics and rapid prototyping, and is a frontrunner on smart-glasses for industrial and commercial safety and emergency responder applications. Safety-Related Challenges We are delighted to welcome the Darix team into the Bullard family to deliver new, innovative solutions" “Bullard is committed to bringing to market life-saving equipment that allow our customers to go home safely at the end of the day,” said Wells Bullard, Chief Executive Officer of Bullard. “We are delighted to welcome the Darix team into the Bullard family to deliver new, innovative solutions to advance human safety around the world.” Martijn Bosch, Chief Executive Officer of Darix, added, “Four years ago, we started with a simple mission to help firefighters save lives by allowing them to see through smoke. Today this dream has come a big step closer as we are joining a fantastic and like-minded team.” Darix, currently in Lausanne, Switzerland, will continue to reside there and become the Bullard Technology Center, focused on developing technology to enhance worker safety. Peter Lugo, President and Chief Operating Officer of Bullard, said, “We are excited to join forces with the amazing talent at Darix to leverage augmented technology that will power our core and new product solutions to continue to solve our customers’ most critical safety-related challenges.”
FIREX 2019 was a great success for ASL as the company welcomed clients, distribution partners and media at ExCeL London, renowned international convention center in London, UK for the duration of the exhibition. FIREX 2019 Head of Business Development at ASL, Neil Voce comments, “ We got the opportunity to discuss a number of new projects with existing clients and new prospects over the course of the exhibition, with visitors from the UK and overseas, so for ASL it was a great exhibition ”. Gemma Eastwood, Sales Support for ASL comments, “One of the biggest benefits, of attending and exhibiting at FIREX, is getting to meet customers face to face. I have a lot of correspondence with UK and non UK customers and FIREX was a great chance to develop these customer relationships further.” Fire safety exhibition Neil Voce concludes, “We really appreciate everyone taking the time to come and visit us at FIREX and look forward with catching up with everyone after the show too”. For those who couldn’t make it to FIREX 2019, there’s always next year. The 2020 edition of FIREX is scheduled to take place a little earlier in the year, from 19-21 May 2020 at the same venue, ExCel London.
Bullard, a global provider of personal protective equipment, is teaming with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) in their mission to aid firefighters and their families following a cancer diagnosis. At the Bullard booth (#511) at FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference) Wells Bullard, CEO of Bullard and Peter Lugo, President and COO of Bullard presented Lisa Raggio, Executive Director of FCSN, and Trey Kelson, CFO of FCSN, with a donation of $10,000. Bullard plans to continue its support of the FCSN throughout 2019 by donating a portion of all proceeds from the sale of their Bullard Care Kits and Decon Cloths, two products designed specifically to help protect firefighters from carcinogens. Responsibility to protect firefighters Education is key to helping firefighters reduce their cancer risk" “Firefighters put a lot of trust in us to protect them. We have a responsibility to further protect firefighters by helping to educate them about dangers they face daily on the job and encourage prevention efforts to keep them safer," said Wells Bullard. “We are proud to align with the FCSN to support their commitment to cancer prevention education and training to protect the lives of firefighters who risk their lives to protect us.” “Education is key to helping firefighters reduce their cancer risk,” added Peter Lugo. “That’s why we’ve chosen to team with the FCSN to combine our efforts to raise awareness of the cancer risks firefighters face.” Importance of cancer screenings According to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), cancer caused more than 60 percent of career firefighter line-of-duty deaths from January 1, 2002, to December 21, 2017. Cancer, today, is the most dangerous threat to a firefighter’s health and safety. FCSN educates firefighters about the importance of cancer screenings and early detection. “We’re so grateful for this generous donation from Bullard,” said Lisa Raggio. “This contribution makes a significant difference in delivering our Badge to Badge Mentorship program and toolboxes free of charge to firefighters coping with cancer. It also provides the resources necessary to provide cancer awareness and prevention training nationwide. We are so proud and happy to welcome Bullard to the FCSN family."
I gave a lot of thought to identifying the biggest challenge facing the American fire service in 2019. Many things came to mind: funding; fire prevention - if every building was sprinklered and all had working smoke alarms, it would solve a lot of other problems; political influences; initial, regular and ongoing training, and a bunch more. But the one constant that kept popping up is the people issue. Staffing. This obviously isn’t the first time you’ve heard that. Normally, when we talk about staffing, we talk about the number of firefighters on the apparatus. That is not exactly what I'm talking about. What I mean is, in 2019, we better figure out where our next group of recruits is coming from. Measurable Drop In Applicants If one fire department is paying more than another, members jump ship On the career side, numerous areas are reporting a measurable drop in applicants—in other words, they need people who want to be firefighters and medics. In some areas, it’s a bidding war. If one fire department is paying more than another, members jump ship. And who can blame them? They have families to take care of. But when the dust clears, there are still far fewer people interested in this job than we need. Some theories are that the new generation: Doesn’t like helping people Are self-focused Aren’t into doing physical things Are lazy Can make the same money without shift work Can make the same money without risk None of these theories gets us far in addressing the problem. The goal of any fire department is to deliver staffed, trained interior firefighters just a few minutes after someone dials 9-1-1 Big Picture Focus On the volunteer side, all you have to do is listen to a fire radio nearly anywhere in the U.S. (and Canada) and you will hear volunteer fire departments toning out... toning out... and toning out—with little response when members are responding from home or work. It, too, is a measurable problem. There are volunteer departments with little funding and others with plenty of funding. Regardless, there seems to be little “big picture” focus on solving the problem based upon what’s best for the people having the fire. Some say to simply hire career firefighters. Is it that simple? What are the pros? And are there any cons? There certainly are. Trained Interior Firefighters Some departments solve the problem by having their volunteers on duty, in quarters, ready to roll The old model of volunteers responding from home or work doesn’t work very well when you consider the proven fire spread in 2019 vs. fire spread even just 20 years ago. Some departments solve the problem by having their volunteers on duty, in quarters, ready to roll. That may be the least expensive option depending upon the local model. Some hire part-time firefighters. Some unfairly and regularly rely on mutual aid. Some have a fair and balanced mutual aid system. Some have their heads in the sand. The goal of any fire department is to deliver staffed, trained interior firefighters just a few minutes after someone dials 9-1-1. If we don’t have people knocking on the fire station doors to become career firefighters or to volunteer, that goal is in jeopardy. I simply can’t see a bigger, more immediate challenge for 2019 than the “people” issue.
Firefighting is hot, hazardous, and let's face it, grueling work. But believe it or not, the job today has become even more challenging as firefighters must deal with increased heat loads, toxic substances and other physical challenges that make structural firefighting one of the most demanding professions on the planet. So, needless to say, being well-trained, physically fit, and safely equipped can make all the difference in the world. Evolving Technology The fact is, as heat loads and toxicity exposure risks increase due to modern synthetic construction, the ways in which fires are fought are changing as well. These shifts, combined with the revolution that’s taking place in firefighter protection technology, have led to new and exciting designs in firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE) offerings. Technology is providing firefighters with respiratory protection “systems” is which respiratory protection itself is just one of many benefits Take the tried and true SCBA for instance. Since the invention of the first breathing apparatus in the late 1910s, their primary function has been air delivery. But today, technology is providing firefighters with respiratory protection “systems” is which respiratory protection itself is just one of many benefits. Revolution Of Life-Changing Technology Consider this: the effects of technology today impact virtually every aspect of modern life. And the same is true for the fire service, as software, thermal imaging, and wireless communications capabilities become more mainstream on the fireground. In response to these new capabilities, the consensus organizations responsible for PPE performance standards (i.e. NFPA and EN) have increased standards by mandating certain electronic components for each firefighter. But performance of these components can be limited by the fact that only so many “parts” can be attached to an SCBA, or because some capabilities are simply out of reach from a budget perspective. Over time, these limitations create long-term implications when it comes to SCBA choice, because the breathing apparatus purchased today may have to be in use for the next 15 years or more. So, what are firefighters to do? Firefighters should view their SCBA as the “foundation” of a safety system that equips firefighters with the many new safety capabilities that technology offers—now and in the future It’s More Than Air Delivery Missed opportunities for more timely safety improvements – which keep up with the pace of technology – are rooted in a false assumption that all SCBA are comprised of separate, mechanical components – and that the SCBA function is only about respiratory protection. But air-delivery is not the issue because every SCBA meets the standards, and every SCBA delivers air well. Further, looking at the SCBA merely as a separate component for air diminishes its potential to serve as a revolutionary safety technology “platform.” Safety As A System Firefighters need more than the minimum performance from breathing apparatus To keep pace with the rapid improvements in firefighter safety, firefighters need more than the minimum performance from breathing apparatus. Instead, they should view their SCBA as the “foundation” of a safety system that equips firefighters with the many new safety capabilities that technology offers—now and in the future. I’m talking specifically about platform-type products that can be easily updated with the latest technology, as soon as it becomes available, to help protect them when their lives are on the line. Key Questions To Consider When Looking For An SCBA Include: Does the SCBA have features that allow you to see, hear, and react quickly to changing situations? Can the SCBA sizing be customized to best fit each firefighter? How many total batteries are needed for the SCBA, and how does that affect long-term costs? How well does it integrate with other systems, such as communication devices, portable instruments, etc.? Does the SCBA provide you, your team, and incident command with critical information to make effective, life-saving decisions? Can the SCBA be programmed to meet your standard operating procedures, such as audible and visual alarms at 50% remaining pressure? Is the facepiece reducing or adding to overall SCBA cost and complexity? How easily can the SCBA be updated to meet changing standards? How easily can integrated accessories or features, such as thermal imaging, be added as they are developed in the future? At MSA, we develop technologically-advanced safety equipment designed to help meet today's changing fireground dynamics. We’re committed to setting the pace for safety with continuous improvements and innovations in PPE. For today. For tomorrow. For the future.
In order to recruit and retain, you must change your mindset to that of a business. While we continue to scratch our heads on how to recruit and retain members among the ranks of our departments, we might want to take a look at ourselves. Sometimes looking in the mirror is a hard thing to do, as it may give us a clear view of who and what we are as an organization. For years, the volunteer fire service has had to overcome many obstacles such as funding, a not-so-friendly environment or poor leadership, to name a few. They may even have had to re-create themselves. Business Mindset And Reputation Whether you are in a rural, suburban or urban area, what drives us? Is it pride? Is it fulfilling a need to belong? Ultimately, it is the end user, the customer – the resident, the taxpayer. In order to target new membership, we must be able to sell ourselves as a good, a service and a product. Business models have been around for years and, if followed, yield positive results We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful. Businesses that are successful have a great reputation. People want to work for them and they easily retain and recruit top talent. Business models have been around for years and, if followed, yield positive results. Building Community Of Employees Let’s take Google for an example, a company with more than 64,000 employees with growth to the tune of billions of dollars each year. When looking at Google’s performance, it raises the question: what is Google’s success secret? How can a company amass $9.7 billion in revenues mostly from advertising? How can they keep great help and recruit? The answer is its leadership being innovative, actively advertising, creating a unique and rewarding work environment as well as creating and executing their business model daily. A business that goes above and beyond by treating their employees great will in return get motivated and loyal employees. Google allows their employees flexibility to work on passion projects and tap into their creativity. Google also encourages its employees to become teachers and coach one another to help build a more creative, satisfied and intimate community of employees. One needs to make fire departments attractive to potential recruits, there are small moments of observation that are then used to make bigger decisions are called “thin slices” Positive First Impressions In this day and age, we need to be ahead of the curve. People want to be informed and they want it now. They want a quality product and will shop around until they find it. They also want to be part of something big. They want to be recognized. Remember the statement, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? Well, it was the tagline for a Head & Shoulders shampoo ad campaign in the 1980s. Are we continuing to make our fire department attractive to potential recruits? How do we expect to garner new membership if we don’t make that “first impression” a positive one? These small moments of observation that are then used to make bigger decisions are called “thin slices.” Potential candidates for membership are constantly assessing us, slice by slice, as “recruiters". Business Model For Your Demographic We need to create a business model and execute it at all times Is the fire station in good shape? Is it clean and orderly? Is the organization structured? Is the leadership strong and decisive? Or are there cliques and groups that work against the common goal or the command? These are easily seen and quickly discovered by potential candidates. They are looking to see what we are offering them: why should I risk my life, my health, my safety – what’s in it for me? How do we take all of these “thin slices,” package them together and make them attractive for potential recruits? We need to create a business model and execute it at all times. In order to sell, we need to advertise. In order to advertise, we need the leaders of our departments, the innovators and recruiters, to all come together and develop a business plan that works. It should work for your demographic. It should pour information to the masses. It should build on a reputation that you are a place that you’d want to work for! We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful Utilizing Current Volunteer Membership We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful. So, what does this mean for “my fire department”? Simply put, it means that you need to rely on the staff you have in place; lean on them and their expertise. Your current membership may hold the keys to your success. Develop a mission statement that is creative and energetic Canvass your current membership for professionals who could be utilized. You may have trained CPAs, human resource professionals, CEOs of corporations, advertising and marketing experts or veterans already inside your organization. They may remain quiet as they are unsure that they are needed to assist. Ask for the help and utilize them! Learning From Shortcomings Do not hesitate to implement them into your business plans. Help them look at how to target demographics in your area. Remember that great leadership will work to identify an individual’s strongest points and work to utilize them for maximum effectiveness. When you create a plan, be sure that you set obtainable goals. Develop a mission statement that is creative and energetic. Don’t eat the elephant in one bite: set a timeline in your plan. Meet often with your team, as you will learn more from your shortcomings than from your successes.
After the World Trade Center attack, First Responders had difficulty communicating quickly and comprehensively. Other crises and emergency events such as the Sandy Hook School shootings, Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Parkland School shootings and many more have continued to validate the desperate need for interoperable communication among First Responders. First Responders, first line of defense In emergency situations, First Responders are the first line of defense for safety and rescue missions. They depend on digital and connected technologies to facilitate life-saving assistance, manage crisis situations, and to bring order to chaos. There is a lack of infrastructure for communications media (radio, video, mobile communications, sensory information, telephony, data files and chat) throughout disconnected silos in both vertical and horizontal environments. Universally, national interoperable communications solutions for emergency response have remained elusive, despite significant investments and determined efforts by many. The company supplies secured communications technologies that deliver speed, flexibility Providing a solution for interoperable communications is Agile, Bethesda, Md., formerly known as Agile Interoperable Solutions. The company supplies secured communications technologies that deliver speed, flexibility and a range of 4G, 5G and LTE coverage. Agile’s line of incident command products support both land and marine applications and do not require hardware changes or full replacement with each new generation. CORE system integration platform Each Agile technology is an extension of its flagship product, CORE (Common Operating Radio Engine). CORE integrates Landline, Cellular, Radio, Wi-Fi and Satellite communications in a portable, ruggedized enclosure supporting incident response and command and control functions. CORE provides interoperability and unified incident command for secure communications among multiple and disparate parties, agencies, vehicles and IoT-enabled devices under harsh conditions. In conjunction with CORE’s interoperable capabilities, Agile’s remote management and virtual SIM technologies provide flexibility and economies of both SIM utilization and hardware maintenance. The management server allows in-field units to be supported, updated, and reconfigured remotely. Virtualization allows SIMS to be loaded onto Agile’s cellular gateways from a central SIM library as needed to change or add cell carriers or a number of active LTE connections. Agile’s technologies provide voice, SMS, MMS, IMS and data over 4G, 5G and LTE up to gigabit coverage. Public and infrastructure safety First Responders should be first in line to this technology because their job is to save lives" “First Responders should be first in line to this technology because their job is to save lives,” says Vernon Guillermo, Agile’s Co-Chief Executive Officer/COO. “Emergencies are unpredictable, and the nature of risk dictates that one does not know who one needs to coordinate with, where that person is or what form of communications and information will be required to mitigate or manage the issues that arise.” First Responder workforces face the most demanding and often dangerous work environments, performing jobs that are critical to public safety and protecting infrastructure, delivering patients to hospitals, fighting fires, operating mass transit vehicles and maintaining the power grid. “These mission-critical workers cannot afford to be disconnected from dispatchers and operations – even for a few minutes. Agile’s technology, CORE, provides the solution for First Responders to achieve secured interoperable communications”, says Shehryar Wahid, Agile Co-Chief Executive Officer/CTO. Bridging communication gaps “During times when immediate and coordinated communication is tantamount, Agile can provide the bridge to close communications gaps and help keep First Responders connected and assist them in their efforts to save lives”, says Wahid. Agile’s technologies are being deployed by a major Southern Florida municipality’s First Responders and firefighters and are on the verge of being deployed by other governmental and non-governmental entities. The 9-11 Commission discovered that a lack of interoperable communications between fire and police was a serious problem that hampered evacuations and contributed to the deaths of personnel after the attacks on the World Trade Center buildings. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) defines “interoperability” as follows, “The ability of emergency responders to communicate among jurisdictions, disciplines, and levels of government, using a variety of frequency bands, as needed and as authorized.” CORE integrates landline, cellular, radio, WiFi and satellite communications Secured interoperable communications tools Wahid says Agile’s technologies help address this challenge by offering secure interoperable communications tools. Additionally, emergency environments are not static events; new primary, secondary and tertiary effects can emerge rapidly. Therefore, communications are needed with those both in immediate proximity and considerably more remote. “The individuals who are tasked with running these communication systems can themselves be bandwidth-challenged, given the increasing complexity of technology they are required to master while facing increasingly tighter budgets,” Wahid adds. Funding and implementation of technology in general can be challenging. In addition to direct purchasing of Agile products, Agile offers leasing options to ensure affordability to those with challenging budgets. All Agile’s products are solid-state and ruggedized to withstand severe and extreme weather conditions. Agile is the crucial tool and solution First Responders need to help them save lives. “Agile just provides First Responders the desperately needed secured interoperable communications tools,” Wahid says. “There is a misconception that interoperable communications have already been achieved,” says Guillermo. “Unfortunately, with unpredictable emergencies that arise all over the world, First Responders are reminded with each event about the critical need for integrative communications under the most rigorous of circumstances. Agile’s mission is to bring the complete solution to First Responders globally.”
When it comes to physical fitness, every fire department’s approach is different. Some have invested in a fitness initiative, others haven’t. Some struggle to create culture change and an environment where physical fitness is a priority and not an afterthought. Other departments don’t know where to begin, or they approach the issue of health and fitness randomly with approaches that may not be based on science. Firefighters physical health Worse, some departments embrace systems that are too strenuous or likely to cause injury. Using heavy weights can cause harm. Sometimes firefighters exercise beyond the point of fatigue. Basketball may be good exercise, but the risk of ankle sprains and other injuries outweighs the benefits. Any exercise program should be science-based and should “engineer out” the likelihood of injury" “Any exercise program should be science-based and should “engineer out” the likelihood of injury”, says Bryan Fass, Founder and President of Injury Prevention Systems and the Fit Responder. He works nationally with departments to reduce injuries and improve fitness for first responders. Need for a fitness policy at fire stations “Some departments have a ‘fitness policy’ that says firemen should work out whenever they can,” says Fass. “Others have no policy at all, and some have to deal with cities, command staff and unions – it’s hard to have a focused goal because everybody wants something different.” Some departments have built a centrally located fitness facility that crews from multiple firehouses can use on a rotating basis. Others may simply have an arrangement with a local health club that is agreeable to a fire truck being parked out front. A principal benefit of a physical fitness program is avoidance of on-the-job injuries Avoiding on-the-job physical injuries A principal benefit of a physical fitness program is avoidance of on-the-job injuries. The number one physical affliction for firefighters and EMTs is low-back injury. Firefighters also suffer shoulder injuries from pulling; or knee injuries from tripping, stepping in a hole, or climbing in and out of a truck. Injuries also tend to be less severe – and to heal more quickly – among physically fit patients. Fit firefighters are less likely to suffer from heart attacks in a high-stress/high-heat environment. Fitness also helps to offset fatigue. Research shows that a “fit but fatigued” firefighter will outperform, have less risk of injury and better cardiac health than an “unfit but fresh” firefighter in a high-stress/high-heat environment. In short, better fitness equates to better work capacity and fewer injuries. Addressing wide fitness level disparities When it comes to fitness, a concern is the wide disparity among fitness levels of firefighters When it comes to fitness, a concern is the wide disparity among fitness levels of firefighters. There are young firefighters who are relatively fit working out side-by-side with an aging workforce that isn’t equipped for the same level of activity. In the middle are some motivated souls who are more health-conscious. An approach that works for all three groups is to introduce activities with a low-risk-high-reward ratio. Regularly scheduled exercises should cater to the lowest-common-denominator participants. Exercise programs should be risk-averse. Importance of physical fitness programs A big need for fire departments is to have more structure in their physical fitness programs. “The need for structure is there, but every department is different,” says Fass. In fact, a misconception about firefighter fitness is that they have to train all the time. Rather, a balanced approach works best. When scheduling exercise routines for each shift, different kinds of workouts should be scheduled about two days apart. One day might be high intensity; another might be a mobility/recovery workout; a third might be primal lifting, squats and deadlifts; and a fourth might be stability/mild cardio (core training). The light schedule assumes that more fitness-conscious firefighters would work out more strenuously on their own time. A big need for fire departments is to have more structure in their physical fitness programs Incorporating high nutrition in firefighters’ diet Some departments embrace the concepts of good nutrition and how they can impact everything from a firefighter’s fatigue to their ability to survive on the fire ground; others revolt and won’t even listen. There are geographical differences, too: The West Coast is more health-conscious than the Northwest or South. Eliminating pain, increasing mobility and fighting fatigue are prerequisites for an exercise program Eliminating pain, increasing mobility and fighting fatigue are prerequisites for an exercise program. Participants should be taught to self-treat pain in the 16 “trigger points” around the body using therapeutic tools, such as a foam roller or tennis ball. There are tools to target each area of pain. Adopting a “mobility program” involves stretching for greater flexibility and mobility. And combatting fatigue means ensuring that firefighters get enough sleep. Incentives for fit firefighters Fears for their job security may be an unspoken but real concern among firemen presented with a new fitness program: “Get fit, or else….” Fitness programs should allow plenty of time for participants to get back into shape,” says Fass. Some departments offer incentives to employees who achieve better fitness, such as a cash award, gift card, or extra time off. Some offer incentives to do tests based on NFPA 1582, which outlines an occupational medical program to reduce risks and provide for the health, safety, and effectiveness of firefighters.
More firemen die of suicide each year than are killed in the line of duty. For example, in 2017, at least 103 firefighters and/or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers in the United States committed suicide, but only 93 firefighters died in the line of duty. Mental Health Disorder Effects The grim statistic is a wakeup call to the tragic effects of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide on firefighters and EMS workers. Between 14.6 and 22% of firefighters experience PTSD, 11% suffer depression and almost half (46.8%) have had thoughts of suicide at least once. These insights into the mental health of firefighters and EMS workers are contained in a white paper commissioned by the Ruderman Foundation, and authored by Dr. Miriam Heyman, senior program officer. Increasing PTSD cases among firefighters PTSD results from constant exposure to death and destruction PTSD results from constant exposure to death and destruction. Experiencing PTSD is akin to persistently re-experiencing troubling events in the form of flashbacks or nightmares, trouble sleeping or concentrating, irritability and feelings of isolation and self-blame. Other findings highlighted in the white paper include: Paid firefighters are more likely to receive mental health service through their departments than their volunteer counterparts. PTSD and depression rates among firefighters have been found to be as much as 5 times higher than rates in the civilian population. Even when suicide doesn’t occur, untreated mental illness can lead to poor physical health and impaired decision-making. High rates of binge and hazardous drinking behavior have been reported; one study found the rate that respondents reported binge drinking in the previous month was 58%. Shame and stigma attached to mental illness discourage many firefighters from accessing necessary mental health services to help them cope with trauma. Improving mental health of first responders “First responders are heroes who run toward danger every day to save the lives of others, and their work exerts a toll on their mental health,” says Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “It is our obligation to support them in every way possible and make them feel welcome and able to access life-saving mental health care.” McKenna was shaken by the 2016 suicide of Fairfax County firefighter Nicole Mittendorff Furthermore, the general public remains largely unaware of the issues since the majority of first responder suicides are not covered by the media. Ruderman says departments should encourage or require first responders to access mental health services annually to identify issues early and get needed help. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline “Asking for help was not an option because I was [a] superhero,” says Chris McKenna, a volunteer firefighter and EMT for the Vigilant Hose Company in Emmitsburg, Md. “Nothing could hurt me, and I was afraid what my friends would think,” he told NBC Channel 4 in Washington. “There was one night that I almost committed suicide; I almost became a statistic.” McKenna was shaken by the 2016 suicide of Fairfax County firefighter Nicole Mittendorff. “I want people to know that mental health in the fire service is OK,” McKenna told the TV station. “There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. With the sights that we see every day, it’s OK to have nightmares about it. It’s normal. The brain isn’t going to be able to see something traumatic and just turn it off.” The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 provides a 24-hour crisis line connecting with a crisis worker or a confidential live chat online.
The Secaucus Fire Department, located in Hudson County, New Jersey, placed a 28-foot Lake Assault Boats firefighting and rescue craft into service earlier this summer. The department’s firefighting and emergency response area includes a large portion of the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers (and their 28 bridges) that empty into Newark Bay and the Hudson River. Firefighting and recue craft “We’re located in a somewhat landlocked part of the river system, so our new fireboat has to be versatile and self-sustaining in case of a major incident,” said Fire Chief Carl Leppin, a 22-year veteran of the department and chief since 2014. “With help from Lake Assault Boats, we were able to customize the design to meet our needs. And their response to requests, and overall excellent customer service, are very important to us.” The Secaucus Fire Department is a member of the New York and New Jersey Regional Fireboat Taskforce The Secaucus Fire Department is a member of the New York and New Jersey Regional Fireboat Taskforce, comprised of 12 fire departments, including FDNY and the U.S. Coast Guard. This is the first fireboat taskforce of its kind in the country, and its combined team protects over 50 miles of New Jersey shoreline containing transportation hubs, transfer facilities, manufacturing plants, and other critical infrastructure. Critical emergency response “We’re thrilled to have one of our craft serving with the Secaucus Fire Department on such a critically important waterway,” said Chad DuMars, Lake Assault Boats vice president of operations. “This custom engineered vessel features fast response combined with capabilities to address a wide range of emergency scenarios.” The boat’s landing craft style hull sports a 63-inch hydraulically operated bow door (with an integrated ladder for diver re-entry) and flat tread areas for ATV deployment. The boat also features a clear opening dive door, swimmer’s grab rails, a davit crane, and a floating stokes basket for faster patient retrieval from the water. It is powered by twin 350 hp outboards that enable the boat to reach 50 miles per hour in open water conditions. infrared FLIR video camera The full-width, fully enclosed pilothouse is located mid-ship with deck space both on the fore and shaft. The vessel is equipped with Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRNE) positive pressure defense capabilities. The helm station carries controls for both fire pump and monitor controls, as well as two 12-inch touchscreens with GPS, Sonar with SideVu and DownVu, chart plotting, and a roof-mounted forward looking infrared (FLIR) video camera. The new craft has greatly improved our response capabilities in our protection area" The boat’s draft is just 28 inches when the motor is trimmed up and 32 inches when trimmed down, an important consideration for the department. “The department’s previous boat needed a full five feet of draft to safely maneuver, so our new boat can reach much closer to shore in low tide situations – and that’s a huge benefit. Our team loves the new craft,” Chief Leppin added. warning lights and fire pump For its firefighting operations, the boat is outfitted with a 1500 gpm fire pump powered by a dedicated 350 hp marinized V-8 engine. The craft features deck and bow mounted monitors, a foam system, and a five-inch large diameter hose discharge to support ground based firefighting operations. Other notable features include a full complement of LED floodlights, warning lights, scene lights, and remote-controlled spotlights. “We applied for a Federal FEMA Port Security Grant three years in a row, and this year we were approved,” added Chief Leppin. “We received help from the Mayor Gonnelli, the Town Council, Congressman Pascrel, and the U.S. Coast Guard throughout the grant process, and are grateful for their support. The new craft has greatly improved our response capabilities in our protection area.”
Tylosand is one of Sweden’s most popular beaches and during the summer there can be more than 40,000 visitors on the beach every day. They were the first beach in Sweden to have lifeguards patrolling its shores as early as 1958. While most visitors enjoy their summer on the beach, at times guests may find themselves in a difficult situation. The lifeguard’s on Tylosand beach operate on a completely voluntary basis, patrolling the beaches daily throughout Summer ensuring the public’s safety. Their aim is simple: to have zero drownings each year. Patrolling the beaches in tough conditions The lifeguards at Tylosand have six life-saving areas which are guarded by eight lifeguards and a life-saving manager The lifeguards at Tylosand patrol the beaches every day during summer whether it’s windy, rainy or sunny. Conditions often change during the day as the Swedish weather is quite unpredictable, and this can be when people get into difficulty. The lifeguards are often painters, fire fighters or students in their day-to-day lives and in return for volunteering their time in summer, they are provided food and accommodation for their efforts. The lifeguards at Tylosand have six life-saving areas which are simultaneously guarded by eight lifeguards and a life-saving manager (CH). In the lifeguard tower, they store healthcare equipment as well as other lifeguard equipment including binoculars, life jackets, shovels and a water tank. They also run the Life Saving School – the only school in Sweden that offers sea life rescue training. Easy to use radio equipment The communications system for lifeguards needs to be robust, reliable and secure, as these critical situations are a matter of life or death. A key factor for Tylosand lifeguards choosing a radio to use was ease of use; with lifeguards working only a few weeks a year, it is mandatory that the equipment implemented is easy to understand and use. The communication devices from Sepura provide the lifeguards with exactly that. The lifeguards have implemented Sepura SRG mobile terminals into their vehicles alongside STP9000 hand-portable radios The Tylosand lifeguards have implemented Sepura SRG mobile terminals into their vehicles alongside STP9000 hand-portable radios to deliver a robust, easy to use communications system for protecting the shores. The common user interface makes it easy to train new lifeguards and run shorter refresh training with returning lifeguards. Once users have learnt to use one Sepura radio, they can easily use other Sepura devices. Withstanding the challenging environment Sophia Arlsan, a lifeguard with Tylosand, said “The Sepura equipment has over the years proved that they withstand the tough environment with sand and salty waters in an excellent way. Last summer, 24 people were saved from rip currents and many more have been saved through the thousands of proactive discussions Tylosand lifesavers have had with beach visitors during their patrols.” Thanks to the Sepura radios delivered by Swedish Radio Supply, Tylosand Lifeguards are prepared for the next busy summer.
Motorola Solutions has completed the rollout of a new mobility managed service to Victoria Police, enabling increased situational awareness, safety and productivity on the front line. Officers across the state have received 9,398 mobile devices loaded with smart applications to give them a technological edge to protect community safety. Mobility managed service Motorola Solutions’ complete, end-to-end managed service enables Victoria Police members to focus on core policing activities rather than managing the technology. The service includes device management, support, repair and replacement services. Motorola Solutions’ end-to-end managed service enables Victoria Police members to focus on core policing activities The technology delivers immediate operational information to police in the field while helping to preserve mission-critical radio communications for when they are needed most. Connecting police and community With the rollout now complete, the solution enables Victoria Police to meet a major goal within its BlueConnect program, “Connecting police and the community through technology.” The holistic managed service will run for a minimum of five years with the potential to extend to 11 years and is valued at more than AUD $50 million. The solution includes a mobile application developed by Gridstone, the application development firm Motorola Solutions acquired in 2016. Data security Motorola Solutions Vice President and Managing Director, Steve Crutchfield said the rollout of the technology was completed two months ahead of schedule. “Victoria Police’s frontline officers now have access to data when and where they need it most and can manage their essential daily tasks more safely and efficiently,” Crutchfield said. Victoria Police are also deploying Motorola Solutions’ cloud-based Automatic Number Plate Recognition “For example, the application can provide vital information to officers before they enter a potentially dangerous situation. In the future, the application will also free up officers’ time, enabling them to complete crime reporting and administrative tasks in the field instead of back at the station,” he said. Cloud ANPR technology Victoria Police are also deploying Motorola Solutions’ high-resolution, cloud-based Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology for 220 of its highway patrol vehicles. Motorola Solutions also manages the networks that provide Victoria Police with mission-critical radio communications and narrowband data services.
Motorola Solutions’ local partner in Romania, ASTI International, has been selected in a tender by the General Inspectorate for the Romanian Police to equip its police officers with state-of-the art Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) two-way digital radios. TETRA digital two-way radios Motorola Solutions will deliver 10,000 TETRA digital two-way radios to the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police. The 18-month framework contract covers the supply of 10,000 MTP3550 TETRA portable radios from Motorola Solutions. The MTP3000 series radios are packed with features that are essential for safeguarding frontline police officers and ensuring effective operations. The state-of-the-art digital radios provide significant improvements including coverage performance at extreme range and inside buildings, as well as enhanced connectivity and ruggedness that provide the best possible audio during mission-critical operations. In addition, the ‘man down’ functionality enhances officer safety by automatically alerting the command center when an officer is in need of help. Digital radio solutions Motorola Solutions has been a trusted partner for public safety organizations in Romania for over 25 years Motorola Solutions has been a trusted partner for public safety organizations in Romania for over 25 years, providing highly reliable and secure TETRA digital radio solutions. In times of growing crime rates and global threats, mission-critical law enforcement solutions that help first responders work effectively and efficiently are more important than ever before. “We are extremely proud that the Romanian Police continues to see us as a trusted partner, and we remain committed to help keep Romanians citizens and first responders safe,” said Michael Kaae, vice president for Nordics, Russia and Eastern Europe at Motorola Solutions. Mission-critical communications Motorola Solutions is a global renowned mission-critical communications solutions provider. Their technology platforms in communications, command center software, services and video security and analytics make cities safer and help communities and businesses thrive. At Motorola Solutions, advanced technologies are ushering in a new era in public safety and security.
During the Expo Seguridad 2019 (Safety Expo 2019), Motorola Solutions announced that its mission-critical device, LEX L11, has been certified by Altán Redes, the developer of the Red Compartida, to operate on the 4.5G-LTE broadband network that already covers more than 40 million people in 14 cities. LEX L11 mission-critical device The LEX L11 is a rugged and durable mission-critical LTE-device created for public safety users who need efficient, instant and secure communications. It enables officers to communicate clearly and easily thanks to its dedicated push-to-talk button, advanced audio features, such as noise cancellation and feedback suppression. Multiple levels of security protect the mission critical device, data, and communications Multiple levels of security protect the mission critical device, data, and communications. These include: a secure boot, integrity monitoring, malware blocking (malicious software), and policy based controls. The LEX L11 also provides support for secure device management based on industry standards, with over-the-air monitoring and control capability including: remote configuration, remote firmware and software upgrades, application whitelisting and over-the-air wipe and lock capability. WAVE PTX for Public Safety In addition, before the end of 2019, WAVE PTX for Public Safety will be a first for the Mexican market, and will allow interoperability with P25 and all Motorola Solutions' systems, as well as with the external systems that public safety agencies already have. WAVE PTX, which will be offered as a service, is the ideal application for public safety users who use the LEX platform, as both solutions have been designed with specific features, such as easy access and dedicated emergency and push-to-talk buttons, to meet the needs of public safety users, namely, to respond effectively and immediately to emergencies. Altán Redes, the operator of this innovative 4.5G LTE shared broadband network in Mexico, provides Motorola Solutions with the opportunity to deliver comprehensive and innovative security solutions in order to bring about a positive change in public safety, in line with the company’s interest in contributing to building safer cities. Enhanced public safety The LEX L11, and its value proposition with WAVE PTX, will enable public safety officers to experience broadband" “This certification is a major step in our firm commitment to Mexico and our interest in establishing ourselves as a strategic partner of the public safety forces, bringing our latest innovations to the country. The LEX L11, and its value proposition with WAVE PTX, will enable public safety officers to experience the benefits of broadband for instant, reliable and interoperable communication. This is just the beginning, we will continue bringing innovation to make Mexico a more connected, safer and smarter place,” said Janet Fernandez, vice president for North of Latin America at Motorola Solutions. With the WAVE PTX instant communication service for Public Safety and the LEX L11 device, as well as its international standards systems and portfolio of mission-critical, specialized solutions, Motorola Solutions seeks to continue increasing its cooperation, keeping everyone connected with optimized interoperability between agencies, systems and databases, enhancing situational awareness and transforming voice, video and data into real-time intelligence for a more effective response in emergency situations.
In a fire, a safe, reliable source of power is of paramount importance. Tasked with supplying emergency firefighting power for Victorian mill conversions, Newburn Power Rental’s expertise and commitment to health and safety made them the perfect partner for power safety - instilling confidence should the worst happen. The client, who are converting mills into luxury apartments – initially in and around Leeds, Halifax and Manchester, the centres of Victorian industry – gave Newburn a two-fold job. Providing emergency power to the lifts in the event of a mains failure was one element, with a critical requirement to ensure power for lifts and smoke extraction fans for the emergency services in the event of a fire. Emergency Communication Systems The vital importance of firefighter access and safety is recognised and legislated through numerous Standards and Regulations, and inadequacy or non-adherence can have devastating effects. As LEIA (the trade association and advisory body for the lift and escalator industry) note, the development of British and European Standards has been central to lowering accident rates – both to people using lifts, escalators and lifting platforms, and to those working on them. For firefighting lifts, the requirements are covered by Standard EN 81-72:2105 For firefighting lifts, the requirements are covered by Standard EN 81-72:2105, which replaced the 2003 version and includes changes to the physical structures of firefighter lift systems as well as amendments to requirements for emergency communication systems. The critical element of a firefighting lift is that, unlike a normal lift, it should be designed to operate for a long as is practicable in the event of a fire. Firefighting Equipment In the UK, it is a requirement that buildings with a floor more than 18 metres above or more than 10 metres below fire service vehicle access have a firefighting lift, helping firefighters to move more quickly and more easily through the building and allowing for the transportation of firefighting equipment across multiple floors. The lift installation includes the lift car itself, the lift well and machinery area, along with the control and communications systems. While the Standard EN 81-72:2015 covers all aspects of firefighting lift design, e.g. minimum load; minimum lift car dimensions; speed of travel and specific design, there are also a range of factors that Newburn needed to consider when specifying the power generators for emergency use: robust and reliable back-up (secondary) power supply and the potential for water ingress. Electrical Installations In terms of building structure and power safety, the issue of water ingress needs to be addressed at the design stage In terms of building structure and power safety, the issue of water ingress needs to be addressed at the design stage, including measures such as drainage channels at each landing entrance; ramping up of the floor at the lift’s entrance; as well as methods of prevention of water build-up such as drains or draining pumps permanently installed and fitted outside the lift shaft. There have been instances where water from hose lines has entered a lift well, causing malfunction to electrical installations such as door locks, lift car controls and communications systems, hence it is vital to both reduce the potential for water ingress in the first instance as well as to minimise the effects of water on lift operations to avoid hampering firefighting and evacuation procedures. Fire-Protected Areas Newburn Power Rental’s power supplies, following the Standard, were specified and installed to the appropriate IP rating, to protect the electrical equipment against water ingress. Their generators, which varied from 20kVA up to 60kVA (dependent upon the lift motor sizes) are all installed in fire-protected areas, with fire-protected power cabling. Reliability of power supply – both the mains and the secondary sources – is clearly critical to the safe use of firefighting lifts and this, too, is referenced in the Standard. Mark Henstock, managing director at Newburn Power Rental, comments on this project, “We were approached to undertake this contract based on Newburn’s reputation for reliability and for the weight we place on health and safety at all times.” Reliable Power Supply The importance of secure and reliable power supply in an emergency can’t be over-emphasised" “The importance of secure and reliable power supply in an emergency can’t be over-emphasised. We’ve worked on projects in the past where water ingress is an issue, so have a great deal of experience with managing pumping solutions and circuitry, as well as emergency backup supplies for a whole range of sectors.” “We have a committed workforce – in sales and specification for generators and ancilliaries, as well as in the service and maintenance team. Clearly, both aspects are vital to ensuring that the correct equipment is installed in the first instance, and to making sure that it works efficiently and reliably, should it ever be needed. Since the first installation for this client, we have gone on to work with them on buildings in cities and towns across the North and we look forward to continuing this relationship.”