Firefighter Health and Safety
Dräger has launched a range of solutions for cleaning breathing apparatus, respiratory masks and PPE equipment that reduce the risk of carcinogen contamination within emergency teams as part of its Health for the Firefighter campaign. Dräger have worked in partnership with Harstra instruments, a Dutch manufacturer of cleaning and drying equipment. The launch follows a study undertaken by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which demonstrated a self-contai...
It makes perfect sense that a horrific wildfire season would come in the year 2020 on the heels of a pandemic. Dozens of major fires burned across North America in September, including 85 large uncontained fires and six contained fires across 12 states. Active fires have burned more than 3 million acres already, and 41,417 fires have burned almost 5 million acres year-to-date. The severity of the wildfire season is on track to surpass the 10-year average. Better understanding wildfires Globa...
Should firefighters and other first responders be exempt from requirements that they wear face masks to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? The City Council of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, seems to think so. They are proposing an amendment to exempt first responders from complying with the city’s face mask ordinance. Amendment to Exempt first responders from face mask rule Specifically, the proposed amendment states, “Exempted from the requirements of the ordinance r...
The biggest risk of property damage and injury from wildfires comes at the wildland-urban interface (WUI), which is defined as areas where structures and the built environment begin to intermingle with wildland vegetation. More and more such areas are being created as humans move near wildland areas to take advantage of their natural beauty and privacy. As a result, fire departments are fighting more fires along the interface, and there is a greater need for citizens living in these areas to be...
With more than two dozen major wildfires as well as over 12,000 emergency incidents, and over 1.1 million acres burned, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, a thick blanket of smoke continues to hang low in the skies in Northern California. NasalGuard® Airborne Particle Blocker responds to the devastating fires raging across Northern California with the launch of the ‘Breathe Easier Smoke Inhalation Donation’ program. NasalGuard® Airborne P...
Retention has long been a challenge for many volunteer and combination fire and EMS departments, yet little research has been done on the subject. volunteer fire service retention Thanks to support from a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has conducted a study to identify institutional drivers that cause volunteers to leave, the differing perceptions between leadership, current volunteers and former volunteers and what c...
DripDrop ORS (DripDrop Hydration), a globally renowned rehydration therapy company, announced partnering with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to provide the nation’s volunteer firefighters with dehydration relief. DripDrop Oral Rehydration Solution The company pledged to donate 100,000 sticks of DripDrop Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) this summer to assist volunteer firefighters during extreme heat, wildfire season, and the COVID-19 pandemic. When this donation was met within two days of the campaign’s launch, DripDrop increased the amount by an additional 100,000 sticks. “The speed with which the initial donation amount was reached proves how needed rehydration therapy is in volunteer fire departments across the U.S.,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chairman, Steve Hirsch. Rehydrating firefighters working in extreme conditions Firefighters work and train in extreme conditions, losing a significant amount of water" Steve adds, “Firefighters work and train in extreme conditions, losing a significant amount of water. The generous donation of 200,000 sticks of DripDrop ORS will help make sure these firefighters receive the relief they need so they don’t suffer the negative consequences of dehydration.” “No one is immune to dehydration and the effects it can have on our bodies, particularly those who work in extreme conditions like firefighters,” said Eduardo Dolhun, Managing Director and Founder of DripDrop ORS. Eduardo adds, “We are proud to partner with the NVFC and provide these brave heroes with DripDrop’s ORS to help them stay healthy and maintain proper hydration levels.” DripDrop – NVFC partnership The partnership between DripDrop and the NVFC coincided with the expansion of DripDrop’s popular ORS lineup to now include an 80-count, multi-flavor box of berry, lemon, watermelon, and orange flavors. This product is the latest in DripDrop’s arsenal aimed at combating dehydration, a condition affecting up to 75 percent of the U.S. population at any given time. DripDrop ORS improves on the World Health Organization standard for an ORS with medical-grade electrolytes, making it both the ideal rehydration therapy for the general population and a mission-critical tool for firefighters and other public safety and emergency workers.
The Travis Credit Union Foundation is immediately accepting donations to address urgent local needs due to the LNU Complex Fire, a large fire in California. With four more months of potential fire season to go, many of the community members have already been forced to evacuate or have lost their homes. The donations will bring immediate financial assistance to the victims, firefighters and communities that have been affected by the wildfires. Travis Credit Union is covering all administrative costs, so that 100 percent of all donations will go directly towards supporting recovery efforts in the local service area. Immediate disaster relief "The wildfires are taking a massive toll on our communities and residents of Solano, Yolo and Napa counties," said Barry Nelson, president and CEO of Travis Credit Union. "The generosity of those who wish to give will help as we continue to support the needs of the most affected." Donations will provide funding for those in need of shelter, food, clothing and cash for necessities. The TCU Foundation will support both immediate disaster relief as well as recovery efforts for the remainder of the wildfire season. "We are proud to be an organization that operates under the philosophy of 'people helping people,' and encourage all who are moved to contribute, to do so," said Nelson. "Our hearts go out to all who have experienced such devastation. We know their needs are great, and will continue to grow."
"I wanted to create an improved accessory for extinguishing campfires to help prevent forest fires," said an inventor, from Flora Vista, New Mexico. "So I invented the Torian Forest Fire Prevention Blanket." The invention provides a quick and effective way to extinguish a campfire. In doing so, it offers an alternative to using water or covering the embers with dirt. As a result, it enhances safety and it could help to reduce the risk of forest or woodland fires and related damage. Portable and compact design The invention features a portable and compact design that is convenient and easy to use, so it is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, campers, hikers, etc. Additionally, it is producible in design variations and a prototype is available. The inventor described the invention design saying, "My design enables a campfire to be properly extinguished in an efficient manner." The original design was submitted to the National sales office of InventHelp. It is currently available for licensing or sale to manufacturers or marketers.
Carl Bryan, Managing Director WAGNER UK, offers CPD accredited training as part of the Fire Industry Association (FIA) online training on 10 September 2020. For one hour he will talk about the fire prevention solution with oxygen reduction. He will explain the technology behind and the advantages of using a hypoxic environment as a fire prevention solution. Participants will also be informed about the key considerations when specifying, designing and operating such systems. Interested parties should book the training course online on FIA’s official company website. The FIA offers industry-recognized courses and qualifications for fire safety professionals. According to their own admission, more than 35,000 professionals have increased their skills through FIA trainings. The learning courses cover all aspects of fire protection and cover Fundamental Qualification, Advanced Qualifications as well as trainings and courses.
The new BS 8629:2019 gives guidance on Evacuation Alert Systems installed in blocks of flats to assist the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) in evacuating part or all of a building in an emergency. C-TEC’s new EVAC-ALERT system can be customized to create a simple-to-use and cost-effective BS 8629-compliant solution in any high-rise residential building. Housed in a robust vandal-resistant locked cabinet accessible only by the FRS in an emergency, the control panel features an intuitive interface, bright LED indicators and easy-to-operate toggle switches for each evacuation zone. Evacuation alert systems Each panel can connect to an array of evacuation alert devices including sounders, visual alert devices and even vibrating devices and pagers to alert the deaf, hard of hearing or mobility impaired. Highly flexible, EVAC-ALERT is comprised of EN54-2/4 third-party certified components and can be used to create building-specific wired, wireless or hybrid evacuation alert systems in consultation with the relevant FRS. Andy Scott, Project Director at C-TEC said, “As a leading manufacturer of world-class life-safety systems, C-TEC has an enviable reputation for delivering high-quality standard-compliant solutions at a competitive price. We’ve utilized our time-tested technology and expertise to create EVAC-ALERT, a system specifically designed to meet the exact requirements of BS 8629 and one which is certain to be of interest to landlords, property managers and local authorities keen to ensure their buildings fully comply with this new standard.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic expanded earlier this year, there was an overwhelming demand for PPE to protect the brave workers battling on the front lines. To meet the growing need for critical protection and supplies for PPE, DuPont launched the #TyvekTogether program to partner with additional converters to increase the supply of Tyvek garments to the marketplace. In parallel, Ansell launched the #NetworkofHeroes program, offering support to non-PPE manufacturers with the capacities and necessary equipment, to produce coveralls or gowns for use against infective agents, such as COVID-19. And as Ansell was working - like DuPont - to facilitate the manufacturing of PPE but also maximize their own production across their portfolio to meet the huge increase in demand, they were facing a shortage of material for their gown production. existing converter network The commitment to safety and responding to the needs for protection for the frontline workers came first and DuPont and Ansell aligned to work together to help increase the availability of isolation gowns for the COVID-19 response for the North America market. “It’s vital we come together as an industry to help the front-line heroes get the PPE that they need to stay protected. We had maximized our production of PPE through our existing converter network, and we believed that working with other companies to convert their PPE production to Tyvek would be the fastest way to protect more people. We began producing a new style of Tyvek fabric, Tyvek 1222A, to help support the needs for additional Tyvek PPE, but we needed additional partners with converting capacity”, says David Domnisch, Global Business Leader of DuPont Personal Protection. soaring demand for PPE As a safety company, we are committed to protecting our communities and frontline workers" Through this collaboration, Ansell will be producing 600 000 isolation gowns made of Tyvek fabric. The gowns are supplied to front line workers via Henry Schein, a leading U.S. distributor to healthcare providers in the U.S. “As a safety company, we are committed to protecting our communities and frontline workers. We knew we could not meet the soaring demand for PPE alone. So, we naturally decided to combine our respective know-how in the unique AlphaTec gown with Tyvek fabric and protect North America frontline workers fighting COVID-19,” Paul Bryce, Ansell Chemical Solutions SBU VP & GM. protective glove portfolio Both DuPont and Ansell are committed to helping to protect those who protect others and the companies are proud to work together to make a difference and maximize the supply of PPE for the COVID-19 response. Ansell and DuPont have had a long-term relationship working together. DuPont supplies Ansell with DuPont Kevlar fiber and engineered yarns for many products in their protective glove portfolio. DuPont also is a customer of Ansell’s as they supply cut resistant gloves for many of our DuPont facilities. They are proud to come together to solve a humanitarian challenge by combining their own unique capabilities and capacities in what is typically a competitive space.
Like professional athletes, learning how to stay composed under pressure is key to performing your best in any situation. Whether it’s a dynamic incident you are commanding at work, an important staff or city council meeting, dealing with a difficult person or situations in your personal life, how you cope with pressure is one way you separate yourself from the pack. Learning how to stay composed under pressure is key to performing your best in any situation. We cannot allow our emotions to go through the roof every time we encounter stress or difficult situations. Situational Awareness can also be practiced as a "personal tool" when feeling stressed. Why is it some people thrive under the pressure? They go deeper in “the zone” while others get distracted and have a meltdown. How you interpret and deal with the pressure is what helps you succeed. Dealing with pressure Learning how to stay composed under pressure is key to performing your best in any situation Is your interpretation of pressure a challenge or a threat? Pressure comes from external sources, other's expectations, or your own expectations to perform well. They also come from our formative years and how we watched our parents handle them. You can view pressure situations in two ways: as a challenge that instills motivation or as a threat that instills anxiety. Here are a few techniques for staying composed when you start to feel the heat: Tap the Brakes Anxiety speeds up your behavior. When you feel tense, try to slow down. Be more deliberate without overanalyzing the situation. When you hurry you are prone to accidents. Breathe Deep Deep breathing is an excellent technique to reduce muscular tension and focus on something positive. Use abdominal breathing (breathe deeply through your abdominal cavity or stomach) to reduce tension. Be the Incident Commander (IC) of your emotions Anxiety increases when your self-talk is negative and self-defeating. An example of negative self-talk is, “I’m a choker, I can never perform well when I need to”, which increases anxiety and decreases self-confidence. Notice when your self-talk becomes negative and learn to switch your inner voice to positive self-talk. You are the IC, so give yourself some words of encouragement. Deep breathing is an excellent technique to reduce muscular tension and focus on something positive Change Your Tactics and Strategy Anxiety or feelings or threat make you focus internally on your pounding heart, rapid breathing, and sweaty palms, which further increases anxiety. Offensive strategy. This internal focus is not a good type of focus for execution. Defensive Strategy. Great execution flows from being focused externally on the environment and reacting to the situation. Shift your attention externally to what is in front of you. Focus on the process of execution instead of the fear of failing. Use it to Your Advantage The excitement or fear you experience when under pressure can help you if you interpret it as a friend and not a threat. Always remember, nothing lasts forever... You are the incident commander!
For those responsible for procuring and managing fire vehicle fleets, speed, driveability and reliability are paramount concerns. As well as the ability to accelerate, slow and stop rapidly and safely in city traffic, fire engines need to be highly manoeuvrable in tight spaces or on rough terrain. They are required to access many different types of environment at high speed, and, even more than other types of heavy-duty vehicles driven at slower speeds by professional lorry drivers, they need to be easy to operate. At the same time, vehicles are needed that are large and powerful enough to carry fire crews, heavy specialist equipment and large quantities of water or foam. They must also provide a smooth ride, for when crews are wearing bulky items such as masks and oxygen tanks. And they have to be extremely reliable, as breakdowns can cause loss of life. In recent years, manufacturers have generally preferred to specify fully automatic transmissions For all these reasons, fully automatic transmissions are now specified on most European fire vehicles, particularly in Germany, France, Spain and the UK. Compared to manuals, they can offer up to 35% quicker acceleration, with more torque at launch as well as no power interruption during gear changes upwards or downwards, enabling quick deceleration of the vehicle and bringing appliance to a complete stop when combined with an Allison Transmission retarder. That all adds up to faster response times and better manoeuvrability on crowded city streets. Automatics are also far more reliable and durable than manual or automated manual gear boxes, which are prone to wear and tear, particularly on the clutch. A key benefit that most automatics offer is a torque converter, which eliminates the need for a clutch altogether. automatic transmissions Compared to manuals, they [fully automatic transmissions] can offer up to 35% quicker acceleration This was the rationale for the specification of Allison automatic transmissions on London Fire Brigade’s latest Mercedes-Benz Atego and Scania trucks. “The Allison [automatic] transmission was specified partly because of its responsiveness and controllability, and partly because it has proven itself to be such a reliable solution for LFB’s operations,” Neil Corcoran, engineering and technical manager at Babcock International Group, which manages and maintains the LFB fleet, told us." We have seen for ourselves that the Allison has minimal maintenance requirements. And, of course, the dependability of equipment is essential in emergency services.” Allison has a dominant position in the European fire sector, where it has spent decades designing and building fully automatic transmissions that perform at their best in critical situations and offer vital benefits not provided by manual or automated manual transmissions (AMTs). This is particularly true in airport fleets, where vehicle response times are dictated by legislation. London Fire Brigade has a large number of Mercedes-Benz Atego fire trucks, all equipped with Allison transmissions Cleaner fuels In recent years, manufacturers have generally preferred to specify fully automatic transmissions. This continues to be true now when, in common with other commercial vehicle markets, they are looking at alternatives to diesel fuel, such as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG), to reduce emissions in the medium to long term, particularly in urban areas. Automatics are far more reliable and durable than manual or automated manual gear boxes, which are prone to wear and tear Automatics tend to be well suited to both compressed and liquefied natural gas engines because the torque interrupts that occur with manual and automated manual transmissions during gear shifts are more volatile and less predictable in the case of spark-ignited CNG and LPG engines. Automatics, by contrast, can provide a smooth transfer of power to the drive wheels and maximum efficiency between engine and transmission, resulting in better performance, manoeuvrability, safety and driver comfort, as well as a significant reduction in noise. In 2019, German fire engine manufacturer Magirus revealed the world's first compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered firefighting vehicle in series production. Part of the company’s 'Innovative Drive Line (iDL)' series, the (H) LF 10 fire engine has an Iveco Eurocargo 4x2 chassis with 420 litres of CNG and a fully automatic Allison transmission. It has a range of up to 300 km or pump operation of up to four hours. Speed and power for forest fire vehicles Automatic gears are also increasingly specified on 4x4 vehicles used to tackle forest fires as they outperform AMTs in extreme conditions. Forest firefighting vehicles need to be able to carry powerful, high-capacity pumps and canons as well as very large quantities of water or other extinguishing media. And they must be able to travel rapidly over large distances and very rough and steep terrain, in extreme heat. AMTs and manual transmissions cannot cope well with these conditions. An example of a newly launched automatic forest firefighting vehicle is the Spanish-made UROVESA K6 IS, which is equipped with the Allison 3000 Series™ transmission. It features a chassis with a maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 16 metric tonnes, excellent traction and extremely robust parts. According to UROVESA's President and CEO Justo Sierra, the automatic transmission, combined with an independent suspension system, affords greater guarantees of safety and efficiency than other vehicles and is in great demand for forest firefighting applications because it can travel at twice the speed of conventional 4x4 trucks. "These transmissions facilitate driving, prevent gear shift errors, enable both hands to be on the wheel at all times and enhance driver ergonomics and safety," explained Sierra. The UROVESA K6 IS forest firefighting vehicle, made in Spain, equipped with a fully automatic transmission. It can travel at twice the speed of conventional 4x4 trucks combating vehicle rollback There are a number of ways in which automatics help reduce accidents and improve driver awareness, comfort and safety, from combating vehicle rollback – a major concern with manual transmissions – to providing superior vehicle control and manoeuvrability at low speeds. Furthermore, because the engine’s responses are so closely related to what the driver asks of it, the vehicle’s start-up progress is more predictable to cyclists and pedestrians who might otherwise misinterpret a slow start as an intention to remain stationary. Electronic features like putting the transmission into neutral when leaving the cab or safety interlocking with body equipment further reduce the risk of accidents. Built to last Fire vehicles tend to be in use for only a few hours each week, with low mileage. Consequently, they can be operational for up to 25 or 30 years. So it's even more important for fleet buyers that they get specifications right, to ensure their vehicles will pass the test of time and provide the performance they need for decades. That's one more reason why so many continue to opt for Allison planetary automatics.
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.
The global pandemic presents complications for firefighters during what will likely be an active wildfire season. Firefighting manpower could be diminished by the pandemic; training sessions have been cancelled, postponed, or conducted remotely. And travel risks undermine the traditional approach of calling on firefighters from throughout the country or around the world to help fight the wildfires. Social distancing is at odds with the teamwork and camaraderie that characterize firefighting units. Communal basecamps where everyone eats and sleeps together are unworkable during the pandemic. Instead, smaller camps are the rule, and packaged meals are delivered to each camp. Smaller teams reduce the need for widespread quarantine if someone tests positive for the novel coronavirus. Daily wellness checks Daily wellness checks ensure everyone remains healthy. Temperature checks, enhanced cleaning schedules and more personal protective equipment (PPE) are the rule. The toll of wildfires on air quality is a negative health factor for anyone suffering from COVID-19, or anyone at risk. Possible spread of the disease complicates the logistics of sheltering evacuees. Health counseling is done remotely, and cots in shared quarters are spaced further apart. COVID-19 Wildfire Guidelines Medical experts, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have developed COVID-19 safety guidelines for wildfire operations and recommendations for firefighter screening, testing and social distancing.COVID-19 also presents some of the same respiratory symptoms as wildfire smoke exposure Exposure to air pollutants in wildfire smoke can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation, alter immune function and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, likely including COVID-19, according to the CDC. COVID-19 also presents some of the same respiratory symptoms as wildfire smoke exposure – dry cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing. The overall approach to fighting wildfires is being impacted by the pandemic. Since the early 2000s, the strategy has been to allow some wildfires to burn across large areas as a natural part of rejuvenating the forest. “Smokey Bear” Method Now, more fires will likely be extinguished quickly rather than risk them getting out of control when there may not be enough firefighters. Use of aerial firefighting will expand as a means to minimize the need for firefighters on the groundThis direct-suppression model – also known as the “Smokey Bear” method – keeps fires small enough to be managed by local resources rather than needing additional firefighters from other areas. Use of aerial firefighting will expand as a means to minimize the need for firefighters on the ground. The National Interagency Fire Center predicts that this year’s wildfire season, which extends from June to September, will see more wildfires than usual in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Because of coronavirus concerns, the U.S. Forest Service has suspended controlled burns, which are used to prevent larger wildfires. Dry weather this fall will make fires more likely to spread quickly. Wildfires in Urban/Suburban Neighborhoods Particularly of concern are wildfires in areas that border urban or suburban neighborhoods, the so-called wildland-urban interface. These situations are when homes (and lives) are most at risks. Fire officials and volunteers have historically helped homeowners address risks such as yards with dry brush, but this year the help is being offered remotely with video calls, which is a less effective approach. There is some optimism in the firefighting results at the Sawtooth Fire in Arizona in late May. In response to the first wildfire of the season, 399 firefighters were deployed. They practiced social distancing, wore masks, and slept in local hotels. Smaller teams of four to 20 firefighters helped to minimize physical interaction and virus transmissions. Zoom meetings helped with coordination. A medical officer was on site to ensure guidelines were followed. The final report judged the effectiveness of the protections and safety record as “remarkable.”
Tracking firefighters’ exposure to smoke and cancer-causing materials is important when it comes to assessing liability claims, workers compensation, and coverage for occupational health claims. In a broader sense, tracking exposure to carcinogens provides important data for research to evaluate exactly how these materials affect the health and safety of firefighters. Tracking and documenting exposure data for firefighters is easier than ever using the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) Exposure Tracker App, developed by the International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) as part of the NFORS Analytics Data System. The NFORS Mobile App, available in app stores, works on the iOS and Android platforms. The app helps firefighters, paramedics and officers create a personal and secure Career Diary, capable of logging both physical and mental exposures along with the incident details, in a private, encrypted, and secure online environment. The app enables firefighters to track their health exposure, on the go, prompted by questions that include the nature of an incident, the presence of smoke, fire and flames, soot, and other information, including the extent of on-scene decontamination and gear cleaning. simplifying documentation of exposure at fire scenes The app helps firefighters, paramedics and officers create a personal and secure Career Diary, capable of logging both physical and mental exposures It simplifies documentation of exposure at fire scenes after an incident response, and then maintains the information if verification for occupational cancer claims is needed later. Data is shared in the app indefinitely, and exposures are documented throughout a firefighting career. Every firefighter can even take his or her personal exposure database into retirement so that data are available if needed to document a cancer claim after they leave the job. The app was developed through a collaboration of the International Associations of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Urban Institute, and other fire service experts. The NFORS Exposure Tracker was funded by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program and the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation. The Arizona Municipal Risk Retention Pool (AMRRP) is providing the app to its members as a way to remove documentation hurdles fire service members face when seeking health coverage for occupational health claims. “With the app, member firefighters will be able to better assemble their exposure data for evaluation during any claim evaluation process,” says AMRRP President Rudy Rodriguez. The challenges of firefighter occupational cancer claims With the app, member firefighters will be able to better assemble their exposure data for evaluation during any claim evaluation process For municipal risk pools, there are two challenges when it comes to firefighter occupational cancer claims. One is the undue burden of out-of-pocket costs for the firefighter when a claim is denied; and another is firefighter documentation of exposures to support the claim. AMRRP is providing member firefighters access to the firefighter Exposure Tracking App for their phones. After AMRRP is notified of a claim, the primary focus of the claim evaluation process will be reviewing records. Each first responder submits his or her data, including medical information, any previously maintained documentation about the types of incidents in which the first responder had been involved, and the exposure data compiled and stored on the NFORS Firefighter Exposure Tracking App. The importance of preparedness “The hope is that this data is never used, but if the need arises, each firefighter will be better prepared,” says Brian Jefferies, President of Arizona Professional Firefighters and a cancer survivor. The International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) procures, assembles, analyzes and reports information from fire, rescue and law enforcement data. IPSDI provides live dashboards for local public safety agencies to ensure usable information about their operations.
Volunteer fire departments are ineligible to obtain funds from the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program because of their dependence on bingo games and raffles for fundraising. With the COVID-19 crisis destroying the ability of volunteer departments to raise funds, access to the EIDL program could provide needed assistance during a time of economic crisis. Under current rules, the assistance is unavailable. Economic Injury Disaster Loans program As the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) implements the EIDL program to support private entities reeling from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government agency has deemed that entities (such as volunteer fire departments) are ineligible for assistance if they receive more than one-third of their revenue from legal gaming, which the Internal Revenue Service interprets to include bingo games and raffles. “While this determination may not have been intended to preclude volunteer fire departments from receiving this critical assistance, many of the most acutely impacted private non-profit fire departments are unable to request the assistance that they desperately need,” according to the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). Financial funding for private non-profit fire departments In a letter, the IAFC has urged the SBA to adjust the EIDL assistance program in order to provide greater financial assistance to private non-profit fire departments. In effect, the association of fire chiefs is asking the agency to exempt volunteer fire departments, recognized under Section 501(C) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), from the limit on legal gaming revenue. “The unprecedented economic downturn and stay-at-home orders have decimated the ability of these agencies to meet their fundraising needs,” said the letter, adding “The IAFC urges the [SBA] to waive this requirement and support private nonprofit fire departments in their work to answer calls for emergency service.” Over-reliance on volunteer personnel According to the USFA, 70% of U.S. fire departments rely solely on volunteer personnel to respond to emergencies According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), 70% of U.S. fire departments rely solely on volunteer personnel to respond to emergencies. Located in rural communities with limited tax bases, these agencies rely upon community support to sustain their operations. The EIDL program is a mechanism to support private entities staggering from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In late April 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) published an interim rule to waive the cap on legal gaming revenues for public entities seeking assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program. However, this change does not impact fire departments that utilize volunteers and own their property outright. Economic Injury Disaster Loan facility “The IAFC fears that these private non-profit fire departments may be unable to maintain their emergency response operations if a similar exemption is not also made for the EIDL program,” the letter further adds. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners and organizations in all U.S. States, Washington D.C., and overseas US territories are able to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to US$ 10,000. This advance is designed to provide economic relief to organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
A huge new Amazon fulfillment center on the outskirts of Bristol has installed Vimpex Smart+Guard tough polycarbonate hinged protective covers to protect the building’s alarm call points from accidental or malicious activation, which could trigger costly building evacuations resulting in lost production and missed logistical connections. Life and fire protection system Amazon’s new 500,000 sq. feet fulfillment center at Severn Beach is designed to ensure that more people in the Bristol region receive next-day deliveries. When it is fully operational in September the center will employ around 1,000 people and will be equipped with advanced robotics technology to help lift and move products around the plant. Fire detection specialists AFS (AFS Holdings), engaged to engineer and install a whole life protection system at the fulfillment center site, fitted Vimpex Smart+Guard covers to all the relevant manual call points across the site to protect the system from malicious activation. Smart+Guard protective cover Smart+Guard, manufactured in the UK by Vimpex, is a tough hinged protective cover Smart+Guard, manufactured in the UK by Vimpex, is a tough hinged protective cover that can be easily installed over a range of emergency switches and other devices to provide protection from vandalism, accidental damage or misuse that can cause unwanted alarms. Misuse of manual call points or pull stations resulting in false or nuisance alarms is a costly and troublesome interruption to business continuity. BS 5839 – The British Standard for Fire Alarm Installations recommends the use of manual call point covers in vulnerable areas to mitigate against false alarms. Vimpex Limited’s Managing Director, James Jones, commented, “When we acquired the SmartGuard range of products and merged production of the range into our operations, we knew there was massive scope for developing the business. This is evidenced by the growing list of high-profile end users now specifying the product for use in their facilities.” Fire alarm and detection systems specialist James adds, “The recent news that Amazon has installed the product into their newest fulfillment center in Bristol is testament to our great levels of customer service and our willingness to go that extra mile for our customers.” Vimpex is Europe’s renowned independent manufacturer and distributor of high quality fire evacuation and alarm system products for installers, distributors and OEM manufacturers. The company is also a specialist in the supply of technical rescue and PPE equipment for UK fire, rescue, police, military and emergency services teams.
A network of fault-tolerant MxPro 5 fire panels from Advanced, have been installed at the UK headquarters of Computacenter. As an independent provider of IT infrastructure services, having robust fire protection measures in place at Computacenter’s UK logistics and distribution center is crucial to ensuring smooth operations. As part of a fire system upgrade and move towards a more open-style protocol, Advanced was selected as the preferred solution at Hertfordshire-based Computacenter’s headquarters which, at over 220,000 square feet, are some of Europe’s largest and most sophisticated purpose-built warehousing and operations facilities. Effective and reliable solution Advanced partner, Controlled Ltd., was responsible for the complete replacement of the fire system, including installation, configuration and commissioning of one 8-loop, one 5-loop and two 1-loop MxPro 5 panels that form the core of the site’s active fire protection. Controlled Ltd. integrated the new Advanced control panels alongside several third-party systems in the warehouse and operations building, including auto conveyors, sprinklers, gas suppression, aspirator systems and fire doors and shutters. Advanced panels are easy to use for both installers and operators" Neil Bain, Director at Controlled Ltd., said: “In selecting new fire protection equipment for the upgrade to Computacenter’s headquarters, we chose Advanced because we were confident that it would offer the most flexible, effective and reliable solution for the job. Advanced panels are easy to use for both installers and operators and their technical support team is always efficient and informative.” Temporary wireless solution In order to introduce the open protocol Advanced fire system, Controlled Ltd. had to install a temporary wireless solution until they were ready to conduct a phased changeover of loops, wiring and installation of new devices. With the control and indicating equipment now in place, Computacenter have the option to install graphical mapping and front-end monitoring software to improve visibility of the status of the fire system across the site. Jim Brown, Building Services Supervisor at Computacenter, said: “As part of an extensive overhaul of the fire alarm system in our operations center, Controlled Ltd. installed a temporary fire alarm system to work alongside the existing alarm system which was being upgraded to Advanced. This has worked very well with little disruption as progressively each loop has come online. The fact that they have successfully undertaken this work in what is essentially a manned site twenty-four hours a day is impressive, as is their ability to offer workable solutions to problems encountered, on time and on budget.” Open installer network Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager, said: “Our panels are installed within commercial premises across the world, protecting people, prestigious properties and strategic assets. For Controlled Ltd, our MxPro 5 fire panels offered the versatility and ease of use required to ensure a painless upgrade to Computacenter’s fire system – this is an area where our products excel so it’s great to have been able to support them with the equipment required for this project.” Panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed The MxPro 5 is the unbeatable multiprotocol fire system. Approved to EN54-2, 4 & 13, it offers four protocols, Apollo, Argus, Hochiki and Nittan and a completely open installer network that benefits from free training and technical support. Panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed, 200-panel networks covering huge areas. MxPro 5 panels are backwardly compatible with existing MxPro 4 networks and include a host of features including AlarmCalm for complete false alarm management and reduction. Single-Panel installations Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 company Halma PLC, protects a wide range of prestigious and high-profile commercial and manufacturing sites across the globe – from eyewear manufacturer Luxottica in Milan, to Hitachi Rail Europe’s facility in County Durham and the £134million Condor House in London. Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Advanced’s reputation for performance, quality and ease of use see its products specified in locations around the world, from single-panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multiprotocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
Not only is Nepal home to the world's highest peaks, but it will also soon host some of the world's most powerful and modern ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting) vehicles. ARFF vehicles Globally renowned rescue and firefighting vehicles manufacturer, Rosenbauer will deliver four new PANTHER 6x6 ARFF vehicles to keep the new ‘Gautam Buddha’ International Airport on the border with India, safe and protected against any untoward incidents. Four new PANTHER 6x6 ARFF vehicles provide everything that is needed for greater security of the new international airport Nepal is a small country compared to its neighbors, India and China. And the infrastructure is still not very advanced in many regions. The new ‘Gautam Buddha’ airport, slated to open in 2021, on the border with India will be only the second international airport in Nepal. However, when it comes to equipping its airport with ARFF vehicles, Nepal is in no way inferior to its big neighbors. On the contrary, the four new PANTHER 6x6 ARFF vehicles provide everything that is needed for greater security of the new international airport. ‘Gateway to the World’ The reason for the expansion of a second airport to become an international airport is grounded in Nepal's recent history. The country's only major airport in the capital, Kathmandu, was badly damaged in the devastating 2015 earthquake. This made it incredibly difficult for international relief teams to reach the areas most affected by the crisis. And the many aid shipments that were sent to Nepal by plane all had to be processed through a single airport. The new ‘Gautam Buddha’ International Airport will act as an additional gateway to the world, and not only in times of crisis. PANTHER 6x6 ARFF vehicles The four PANTHER 6x6 ARFF vehicles that will be based at this new international airport will play a major role in enhancing its safety. The vehicles are already eye-catchers with their flashy yellow-green finish, but their technical equipment leaves nothing to be desired either. All of the vehicles are equipped with the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) driving safety system and Volvo EURO 5 engines with an impressive 700 hp to ensure that they have all the driving power required. Powerful extinguishing systems At the core of the extinguishing system lies the N80 pump, made of a light alloy At the core of the extinguishing system lies the N80 pump, made of a light alloy, which can pump 8,000 liters of water per minute at 10 bar pressure. A 12,000-liter water and 1,500-liter foam tank supply the extinguishing agent. The proportioning ratio can be set to 3%, 6% or 8% at the push of a button. The extinguishing agent can be applied in a variety of ways with one of the four new PANTHER 6x6 ARFF vehicles even equipped with a STINGER extinguishing arm, which features an RM65 water turret, piercing tool and a forward-looking infrared camera, and which can be extended up to 16.5 meters and is controlled from the driver's cab using a joystick. Fitted with a roof-mounted RM80 turret The other three vehicles are all fitted with a roof-mounted RM80 turret. All four vehicles are also capable of extinguishing with an RM15 bumper monitor. With ground-sweep nozzles, a dry powder unit and quick-action reels, the vehicles are well-equipped for a wide variety of operational scenarios. For night-time operations, a pneumatically extendable floodlight mast with eight rotating and swiveling LED floodlights provides the appropriate illumination. The opening of the new ‘Gautam Buddha’ International Airport marks another milestone in the development of the mountainous country of Nepal. And, here at Rosenbauer, the company is proud that the four new PANTHER 6x6 ARFF vehicles provided will make an important contribution to the long-term security of the airport.
ZIEGLER has announced handing over its high-tech industrial vehicle with High Reach Extendable Turret (HRET) to the Zeeland Refinery in the Netherlands. The extinguishing vehicle built on a Volvo chassis has a 2,000 liter extinguishing water tank and a 5,000 liter foam tank. The ZIEGLER centrifugel fire pump FPN 10-10000-1H delivers enormous extinguishing power. Z-PF foam admixture system The ZIEGLER Z-PF foam admixture system allows the effective use of the foam compound. In addition to the 25 m HRET, two ALCO monitors are additionally installed in this vehicle. A roof turret is located on a lifting device inside the vehicle. The second turret is mounted on the HRET. The double fold-out foot steps are integrated into the wheel. Vehicles for large industrial plants, for example in the chemical or oil industry, mines or energy plants, usually have very special application profiles and are not subject to any standard. ZIEGLER has the global experience, competence and advanced technology to build vehicles that meet the custom requirements – in all sizes, with all types and quantities of extinguishing agents, with powerful pumps and mixing plants as well as with individual special equipment. Specialized pumping and fire extinguishing systems Within the framework of a close and intensive dialog with the customers, ZIEGLER designs vehicles that are tailor-made to the respective tasks and application requirements. ZIEGLER GmbH supplies vehicles for firefighting, civil protection and the police, as well as firefighting accessories and technology. The comprehensive product range includes clothing for the firefighting services to highly specialized pumping and fire extinguishing systems to all kinds of emergency vehicles.
Comelit Group’s fire detection solution has been installed at Gleavewood Care Home by KJ Fire Safety, for the ongoing safety and security of staff, residents and visitors. Cheshire-based, Gleavewood Care Home, part of the Minster Care Group, is a two storey care home, with 30 single rooms and a variety of communal areas, alongside an enclosed garden area and multiple facilities and visitor activities on site for residents to benefit. Risk assessment on fire detection systems KJ Fire Safety was called to the site following a risk assessment on fire detection systems KJ Fire Safety was called to the site following a risk assessment on fire detection systems. With recommendations made for a new install, Comelit’s Atena Easy two loop solution was fitted in just three weeks, working around the residents and staff. Ruth Field, Estates Director of Minster Care Group said “Mitigating the risk from fire is a fundamental duty of care in any care home, and an absolute priority across our property portfolio.” Ruth adds, “To ensure the safety of our continued staff and residents at Gleavewood, KJ Fire Safety worked by our side to install Comelit’s system as quickly as possible, whilst being sensitive to our residents and their daily routines. We are really impressed, not only with the fast paced installation, but also the finished Atena Easy control panel, which staff have been trained on, and its proven very user friendly.” Atena Easy system Comelit’s Atena Easy system has been installed as an addressable fire alarm, stylish panel with 2 loops, connected to 130 devices on a completely new cable scheme. The information for the system status is visualized on a graphic display and LED indication for zones and troubleshooting. Nigel Thomas, Managing Director at KJ Fire Safety Ltd added, “Care home owners need to review their fire risk assessments, with a proper understanding of how fire can travel and develop”. Fire detection system Nigel adds, “Good practice, as Minster Care Group demonstrates, is that this is done on a regular basis. When Gleavewood’s risk assessment highlighted critical action, we quickly and efficiently replaced the system with Comelit Atena Easy due to its ease of install and operation without re-using any element of the original system.” Mandy Bowden, Comelit Fire Business Development Manager (BDM) said, “Comelit’s Atena Easy system is simple to install, cost effective and user friendly 1 to 2 loop panel, designed with ease of use in mind”. Mandy adds, “For added assurance, it comes with the full training and support capability of a globally renowned fire systems manufacturer. This makes it perfect for care homes such as Gleavewood, where fire safety is of such critical importance, to ensure peace of mind for all who work, live and visit this site.”
A fire which appeared to have broken out in a CAD laser cutter (still under fire investigation) in a design classroom at the Bede Academy North in Blyth caused smoke detectors and break glass call points to activate, prior to the sprinkler system operating and containing the fire to the room of origin. Following the redirection of the sprinkler head access to the ground floor corridor was restricted to FRS and staff who were instigating clean-up operation. Approximately one hour after the fire, the school was returning to ‘normal’ business, with the ground floor corridor sprinkler area isolated and the remaining parts of the premises covered with fire sprinkler protection again. In the afternoon the sprinkler head had been repaired by a sprinkler engineer and the whole system was in operation again. fire alarm system The school utilized the Tannoy system to commence evacuation, as per procedures due to the built-in delay to the fire alarm system. Firefighting crews were involved in the placement of booms inside the building and redirecting the activated sprinkler head to the exterior of the premises to prevent any further water damage. A full fire investigation is being undertaken to confirm the cause of the fire.
Round table discussion
Equipment is an important element in fighting fires, and in keeping firefighters safe. But what new needs are driving the development of equipment? How can equipment expand its role in fighting fires, or in managing building occupancy and traffic flow for that matter? We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the new trends and opportunities in firefighting equipment?
Ensuring the health and wellness of firefighters is a burden shared among equipment manufacturers as well as the fire departments and individual firefighters. Thoughtful design of equipment and other products used in the fire service can be a positive factor as firefighters and other first responders face dangerous situations every day. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What steps can we take to better ensure firefighter health and wellness?