Firefighter Health and Safety
Thirty-three Fire and Rescue Services (FRS), comprising over 33,500 firefighters, are now benefiting from the Local Authority Collaborative PPE Framework. Launched three years ago in June 2017, the Framework gives UK FRSs access to high quality PPE ensembles and volume discounts through a streamlined procurement process. The Framework was set up in response to calls from government and the industry for FRSs to work together to share best practice and deliver efficiencies. It is run by Kent FRS,...
The COVID-19 pandemic presents new economic challenges to county and municipal governments. Fire departments are likely to be impacted as local governments respond to the economic downturn with spending freezes, hiring freezes and spending cuts. Some local governments are hoping for help from the state and/or federal level. Although some governments have “rainy day funds” to address economic downturns, not all of them do. Furthermore, the extent of the current economic crisis may ex...
Accela, a renowned provider of cloud-based solutions for government, announced the launch of its Civic Application for Fire Prevention. The solution helps fire departments increase their capacity and effectiveness and ensure they are equipped in the case of emergencies, especially amid an evolving environmental and public safety landscape. It consists of a complete system for managing permitting and inspection processes, including a mobile application available both online and offline to keep f...
Aico celebrates a significant milestone in 2020 with finishing 30 years of renowned market presence in Fire and Carbon Monoxide (CO) protection solutions. Incorporated in 1990 in Oswestry, Shropshire, United Kingdom, Aico has rapidly grown from strength to strength over its 30-year history, with the growth being marked by the move to a new, bespoke head office. New Oswestry head office The new 7-acre site came as a necessity as Aico’s growth and success has seen significant expansion to...
First Priority Group, LLC, a globally renowned manufacturer, up fitter and service provider of emergency and specialty vehicles, is pleased to announce the introduction of two new product lines for law enforcement and fire vehicle conversions, the BlueTac and RedTac specialized vehicles. The new BlueTac product line will feature pre-configured mission specific vehicles for law enforcement specialty teams. Each BlueTac model is crafted around the core needs of the agencies expanding beyond routi...
Protests and riots spread throughout the United States in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman. Firefighters are on the front lines as rioters set fires and even attack firefighters seeking to do their jobs. In Richmond, Virginia, rioters blocked a fire truck from responding to a burning home. Protesters had intentionally set the fire at the home, and there was a child inside. In Philadelphia during a 24-hour period, the fire department responded to doze...
Cordico is proud to announce that they have entered into a strategic nationwide partnership with The Resiliency Project. The Resiliency Project is a non profit organization with a mission to end the silent suffering of the country’s first responders by providing peer support and funding for treatment, recovery and psychological services in an effort to treat posttraumatic stress, build resilience and end suicide. While The Resiliency Project supports the use of departmental peer support teams, it is understood that some first responders may be hesitant when seeking peer support from within their respective agencies. Therefore, The Resiliency Project will be providing confidential, 24-hour peer support, 7 days a week which is available as an added resource within the Cordico Wellness Apps. first responder mental health The Resiliency Project’s peer support team consists of active and retired law enforcement officers and fire personnel who, in addition to peer supporting first responders, also provide peer support to the spouses of first responders. Additionally, in an effort to destigmatize the subject of first responder mental health, The Resiliency Project will be developing ongoing video content and information that can be utilized by agencies that work with Cordico.
The Ontario government has taken additional steps to protect people and property during the wildland fire season, including an increase in base funding for emergency forest firefighting by $30.2 million, and ensuring safety measures are in place to protect Ontario's highly trained fire rangers from COVID-19. On May 16, 2020, Ontario is lifting the Restricted Fire Zone (RFZ) designation that was put in place last month across Ontario's fire region. The province will continue to assess forest fire hazard conditions and an RFZ designation may be reinstated in higher risk areas if conditions deteriorate. These restrictions are put in place in order to reduce the number of preventable human-caused fires and lower the risk of wildfires impacting the public. Chief Medical Officer of Health recommendations To help stop the spread of COVID-19 fire rangers will be required to follow the health and safety guidelines recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, such as physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and daily self-assessments by staff. "This is an extraordinary period. As we put measures in place to protect our staff and the public from the pandemic, we have been taking additional steps to prepare for the wildland fire season," said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. "Nothing is more important than protecting the safety of people and communities across the province. Although we want people to enjoy themselves, lifting the Restricted Fire Zone designation does not mean we can let our guard down when it comes to preventing human-caused forest fires." aggressive approach to fighting wildland fires The province has also implemented a more aggressive approach to fighting wildland fires this season with a focus on detecting fires early, combating them with full force and keeping them as small as possible. "Despite the challenges of these unprecedented times, Ontario's emergency management personnel have been proactively working with partners to prepare for potential evacuations due to the wildland fire season," said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. "Public safety remains our top priority and our Provincial Emergency Operations Centre will continue to monitor forest fire situations with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and be ready to coordinate a response if called upon for evacuation assistance."
Angloco Co. has announced partnering with Adaro Tecnologia to supply the Adalit range of professional safety torches. Adalit professional safety torches Designed for emergency services teams and other demanding professional applications where safety is critical, every Adalit torch features advanced optics, high quality engineering and has received ATEX approval. The Adalit range of professional safety torches include the L-10, the first re-chargeable flashlight to be specifically designed for firefighting helmets and the high-powered L-3000 which combines revolutionary optics with a large digital display. The versatile L5 and L5R Plus safety torches can be used both as a hand torch and on the helmet.
On the 8th June, 2020, the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service will be opening recruitment process for wholetime firefighters. Between now and then, the fire and rescue service wants to raise awareness of the role of modern day firefighters and encourage applications from all parts of the communities. Raise awareness on fire safety When the recruitment application window opens, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will be recruiting wholetime firefighters for the following fire stations: Day crewed fire stations (Ripon, Malton, Tadcaster, Selby and Whitby), Self-Roster fire stations (Northallerton and Richmond) and; Shift fire stations (Acomb, Huntington, York, Scarborough and Harrogate). Details about the different types of crewing for the stated fire stations can be found on the company website. Recruiting wholetime firefigthers We’ll soon be launching our recruitment window for wholetime firefighters again" North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Chief Fire Officer, Andrew Brodie said, “We’ll soon be launching our recruitment window for wholetime firefighters again, and it doesn’t get more exciting. Last year’s intake is embedded in their teams on our fire and rescue stations and helping communities to Be Safe and Feel Safe.” He adds, “The role of a modern-day firefighter is varied. It’s much more than just attending emergency incidents, so ignore any thoughts of simply having to fight fires and cut up cars. It’s more about educating communities, engaging with people, delivering activities and events, planning and forming partnerships, and being creative prevent, protect and creating community resilience.” Protecting and creating community resilience Andrew Brodie stated, “Response is a last resort. We need people who are caring, compassionate and inventive, who enjoy working as part of a team and who want to make a truly positive difference to people. Being a good firefighter isn’t about being good at fighting fires, that’s only a part of it. Being a good firefighter is about being good at everything that the role involves.” He further adds, “Such a varied role needs a varied firefighters’ workforce. We welcome applications from all parts of our communities. We need to improve our diversity to reflect our diverse communities, so we are particularly interested in people from groups that are currently under-represented in the Service.” Firefighting standards Andrew said, “But this isn’t about varying standards of entry into the service. Everyone goes through the same process and achieves the same minimum standards.” He adds, “Our message is simple; this is great opportunity to join a progressive and essential organization. So, if you’ve always dreamt of becoming a firefighter or you’ve never considered it before but think it could be the job for you now, we’d love to hear from you.” Firefighters’ eligibility and selection process Firefighters across North Yorkshire play a crucial role in keeping us safe and feeling safe" Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said, “Firefighters across North Yorkshire play a crucial role in keeping us safe and feeling safe, and I’m pleased that we are able to add to our wholetime team. I would encourage anyone interested in joining our brilliant team of men and women to consider applying for these important roles.” Anyone aged 18 or over can apply to become a firefighter; when the application window opens on the 8th of June, 2020. However, candidates will be required to meet all requirements of the role. There are various stages of the application process and the candidates must complete and be successful at each stage to progress to the next stage. The application process for recruitment to the fire service will be open to those who are aged 17 so long as they will have attained the age of 18, prior to commencing in their new role in April 2021.
Perimeter Solutions, globally renowned company in fire safety chemical solutions, has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Colorado-based LaderaTech, a biomaterials company with commercial technology in wildfire prevention and the delivery of agriculture chemicals. The acquisition includes LaderaTech's FORTIFY Fire Retardant technology and rights to associated intellectual property. FORTIFY Fire Retardant technology The addition of FORTIFY technology, which is used in ground-based applications, complements Perimeter Solution’s industry renowned PHOS-CHEK Fire Retardant aerial and ground technology. LaderaTech President & Chief Executive Officer, Wes Bolsen will be joining Perimeter Solutions as the Director of Wildfire Prevention in Perimeter's Fire Safety Solutions business. According to Edward Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Perimeter Solutions, the acquisition of LaderaTech and FORTIFY is consistent with Perimeter's to bring the world's renowned fire safety technology to the market. Developing effective fire safety products Developing and discovering new effective fire safety products and technology is a passion at Perimeter Solutions" "Developing and discovering new, more effective fire safety products and technology is a passion at Perimeter Solutions. We saw the FORTIFY technology as an opportunity for us to deploy superior fire prevention and protection performance and to expand the number of places we can put our solutions to work helping to prevent and fight wildfires," Edward said. He adds, "We are excited about the opportunity to have an entrepreneur with the expertise and experience of Wes Bolsen join our team – and continue our relationships with the other LaderaTech founders, Dr. Eric Appel, Jessa Acosta and Paul Franzia." Firefighting technology veterans LaderaTech was formed in 2018 and subsequently obtained global exclusive rights to patented firefighting technology developed by Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In early 2019, the company commercialized the FORTIFY Fire Retardant technology. It has seen widespread use in ground-based applications by public utilities, state and federal agencies and municipalities. Fire management solutions major Perimeter Solutions is recognized around the world for bringing the best technology to the fire management industry According to Wes Bolsen, the opportunity to work with Perimeter Solutions and the company's ability to help FORTIFY technology reach its commercial potential was a good fit. "Perimeter Solutions is recognized around the world for bringing the best technology to the fire management industry.” “With the addition of the FORTIFY technology, they will add a durable, season-long proactive wildfire solution, as well as a platform for the delivery of agricultural chemicals to their already impressive portfolio of products," he said. Fire-fighting chemicals producer In the Fire Safety market, Perimeter Solutions is a comprehensive supplier of fire safety and management products, equipment, personnel, logistics and services. Perimeter Solutions operates as one of the top global producer of fire-fighting chemicals with a broad product offering across fire retardant and fire suppressant foam applications. Perimeter Solutions is the only company with fire retardant products qualified for use by the USDA Forest Service (USFS). The company manufactures and markets major brands including PHOS-CHEK and FIRE-TROL retardant, foam and gel products; AUXQUIMIA foam products, SOLBERG foam products/systems hardware, and BIOGEMA extinguishing agents and retardants.
The safety innovators at Fire & Safety Specialists (FSS) have developed a unique solution to the dangers of missing handrail sections, open holes and stairways, turning a hazard zone into a safe work zone, while saving time and money. Temporary Barricade System More cost-effective and simpler than a custom job, the Temporary Barricade System is a no-weld solution with practically no downtime. What’s more, one person can safely install the barricade’s portable, reusable and strong design in just eight minutes. The system features nylon straps that are anchored by aluminum posts that have endured horizontal deflection testing to 980 lbs, sharply reducing the chance of injuries or infractions on the worksite. Certified to CFR 1910 and 1926 standards Available as horizontal straps only option, or a combination of horizontal and vertical straps, the system’s design exceeds CFR 1910 and 1926 standards. Each unit is expandable and retractable from 18 inches to 10 feet, and its compact size makes it perfect for transport by helicopter and storage under a bunk.
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.
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.
Fire stations are unique environments with conditions that could be conducive to the spread of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19. Firefighters live in close quarters for 24-hour shifts, and then return home to their families. Reports about “hot” firehouses have helped to emphasize the need to follow best practices to avoid the spread of the disease. The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) has compiled a list of guidelines that departments can put into practice to reduce and/or avoid cross-contamination of on-duty staff. Shift Change Interaction Firefighters live in close quarters for 24-hour shifts. Reports about “hot” firehouses have helped to emphasize the need to follow best practices to avoid the spread of the diseaseStaff should use a designated entry point, and comply with requirements of a Self-Screening checklist, which includes factors such as fever, uncontrolled cough, prolonged sore throat, a flu-like illness, or diarrhea. Firefighters should remove and store their own PPE and personal items from the apparatus at shift change. Personal belongings (bags, bedding, etc.) should be moved to a privately owned vehicle early to facilitate expedited bunkroom/office transfer. Interaction between oncoming and leaving shifts should be limited. Roll call should be conducted in a large space, such as an apparatus bay, that facilitates a minimum of 6-foot distancing. Station Socializing While in quarters, firefighters should not congregate in small spaces (such as the watch office or kitchen) and should adhere to 6-foot minimum spacing. Fewer chairs should be located in common meeting spaces to deter people from gathering in the same space. Training should be conducted in a manner that maintains 6-foot minimum spacing. Off-duty members should not be allowed into the stations to work out or visit. Station Captains should develop a practice if a member needs to arrive the evening before his/her shift that will limit contact with others. Station Meals Eating should occur in shifts to reduce staff interaction, and eating locations should be varied to alternate places in the station to create spacing. Shared food containers and communal items should be disinfected, and stations should consider supporting local small businesses in the district by ordering takeout. Department Mail Department mail routing should be modified to minimize the potential for staff interaction. Mail pickup/dropoff should be moved to a location, such as an apparatus bay, that minimizes traffic flow through station living areas. Documents should be scanned and emailed whenever possible. When mail must be handled, it’s best to wear gloves and wash hands immediately thereafter. Department Facilities Visits to fire department facilities should be limited to urgent department business. The number of guests should be limited, and they should make appointments when possible. Battalion Chiefs should communicate with Battalion members via phone or video conference. If a Battalion Chief needs to go to a station, he or she Self-monitoring stations should be set up near designated staff entrances and should provide a self-screening checklist and thermometer screeningshould maintain social distancing. Bedding A washable base layer should be used on beds (e.g., sheet, blanket, etc.) to create an additional barrier between the bed and personal bedding. Base layers should be washed after each shift. Self-Monitoring Self-monitoring stations should be set up near designated staff entrances and should provide a self-screening checklist and thermometer screening.
Among volunteer fire departments, spring is a prime season for fundraising. But not in 2020. Concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus have ruled out the possibility of large public gatherings. A consequence of the coronavirus shutdown is cancellation of hundreds of volunteer fire department fundraisers across the United States – from fish fries to bingo to hog roasts to chicken barbecues. No more carnivals or spaghetti suppers or gun raffles. And departments are losing thousands of dollars. The resulting financial burden is a momentous and imminent threat to the operation of volunteer fire departments, some of which do not receive any government funding. With two months or more of fundraising lost forever, the economic stability of volunteer fire departments is called into doubt. Underlying the problem is another sobering reality: Fires don’t stop just because of coronavirus. However, overall calls are down for some departments, which provides some level of relief. Virtual And Online Fundraising Hope springs eternal that some variation of fundraising can resume if things get back to “normal” in June or later this summer. If not, in a worst-case scenario if stay-at-home orders remain in place for several more months, some volunteer departments could be forced to shut down. Raising money may not get any easier for months to come. Underlying the problem is a sobering reality: Fires don’t stop just because of coronavirus Some departments have experimented with virtual and online fundraisers, with mixed results, although the efforts are unlikely to replace the lost revenue from events canceled because of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Examples include Facebook Live raffles and various types of electronic donation collections. Some volunteer departments operate social halls and rent them out for a variety of public events. With those events cancelled, too, another possible source of revenue is eliminated, at least for the near term. Volunteer Fire Department Costs Some departments have experimented with virtual and online fundraisers, with mixed results Department costs are unrelenting – and varied. They have to pay basic utilities such as electricity, heat and internet, as well as buy fuel for their trucks. Some have loan payments on fire trucks and other equipment, and various maintenance costs, not to mention insurance on equipment and supplemental insurance for firefighters. Just as many households are reeling from the economic impact of the pandemic, many fire departments also find themselves suddenly thrust into uncertain times facing a downwardly spiraling budget and little way to make up the deficit. Rather than living paycheck-to-paycheck, they are accustomed to working fundraiser-to-fundraiser. In general, donations dwindle in a down economy. Some departments are having to slash up to half their spending, addressing the dilemma with a brutal reevaluation of their department’s finances. They are separating “needs” that can’t be ignored from “wants” that can be delayed or eliminated. For example, purchase of replacement equipment may need to be delayed for a period of time. Navigating Uncharted Waters Volunteer fire departments were already facing challenges such as recruitment and retention declines, and a dearth of funds aggravates the existing challenges. State and municipal governments provide funding to volunteer fire departments in some locales, but can those funds be counted on as governments face their own shortfalls? Tax support and municipal funds may not be a sure thing in the era of COVID-19. The fact is, we are all in uncharted territory.
Because the physical challenges take a toll, firefighters tend to retire at earlier ages than other occupations. There is also a greater likelihood of workplace disability. Firefighter pension plans are often more generous to offset a lack of Social Security eligibility for some public safety employees. Also, more years of retirement translate into an overall increase in medical care costs for fire service retirees. Therefore, pension benefits for public safety workers are more expensive than those for other government employees, according to an analysis by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE). Even so, retirement costs for firefighters and police officers represent only a small percentage of total expenditures for city, county and school district jurisdictions – around 2%. Even if you focus on jurisdictions in which public safety costs are most significant—the city and county levels – the burden is still small, averaging only 4.9% of aggregate spending for cities and 1.9% for counties. Pension Changes Could Impact Firefighter Recruitment Pension benefit generosity is about 25% greater for police and fire employees Any changes in retirement or medical care plans could negatively impact efforts to recruit enough firefighters, which are already a challenge. For example, shifting the retirement age would reduce total employee compensation, which could negatively affect retention. A wage increase to offset the change would maintain total compensation at previous levels. In 2016, the costs of pension benefits earned for police and fire personnel made up 15% of the payroll, compared with only 8% for non-public safety local employees. Annual retiree health care benefits made up 6% of payroll, compared to 4% for other employees. Analyzing Retirement Benefits Earlier retirement ages translate into longer retirement periods for these workers, which impact higher pension costs. Public safety employees are eligible for their benefits at younger ages than other groups, even though the average expected lifespans at retirement are similar. Pension benefit generosity is about 25% greater for police and fire employees, a difference that offsets the lack of Social Security coverage for some public safety employees. Any changes in retirement or medical care plans could negatively impact efforts to recruit enough firefighters, which are already a challenge “Local governments across the country are continually analyzing the retirement benefits provided to the public safety workforce, along with associated costs,” says Joshua Franzel, PhD., President and CEO of SLGE. “This research provides government leaders and policymakers with a national snapshot so they can make informed decisions.” Outdated Assumptions? Some evidence suggests that assumptions about earlier retirement ages for police and firefighters may be outdated. Despite the physical demands of the jobs, some local governments have sought to retain experienced employees using a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), which allows employees to claim pensions while continuing to work. Higher DROP participation rates – with some public safety employees working five years longer – suggest that employees may be able to stay on the job until later ages. Also, the U.S. Army (whose jobs can also be physically demanding) has raised its mandatory retirement age for active duty soldiers from 55 to 62. emphasizing employee health and fitness Use of technology can help to ease the physical burdens of public safety jobs, and an emphasis on employee health and fitness can also improve the picture. The analysis was conducted by CPR researchers Jean-Pierre Aubry, Associate Director of State and Local Research; and Kevin Wandrei, Research Associate. The research assesses the size of public safety retiree benefit costs using public safety employee data from the Public Plans Database, the U.S. Census Bureau, and government actuarial valuations.
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.”
Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, has announced that it has secured an order for eight custom pumpers from Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services based just south of Atlanta in Riverdale, Georgia. Sold through the exclusive Pierce dealer for Georgia and Florida, Ten-8 Fire Equipment, the order for eight Pierce Enforcer Pumpers is the largest in the department’s history and a continuation of Clayton County Fire & Emergency Services’ 2016 apparatus additions. Like the pumpers ordered in 2016, the new pumpers will also be built on the Enforcer custom chassis adding to the 100 percent Pierce fleet. Pierce Enforcer Pumpers “This purchase completes the initiative to create consistency by making our fleet of first-out pumpers, as well as our reserve fleet, all Pierce Apparatus,” said Landry Merkison, Fire Chief and Emergency Services Director for Clayton County Fire & Emergency Services. “Our firefighters will now have the unique ability to work between pumpers in the field, as well as our reserve fleet, with uniformity in each apparatus when it comes to layout and operations of the unit.” The eight new Pierce Enforcer Pumpers will feature: Hale 1,500 GPM pump Cummins L9 450 hp Allison 5th Generation Transmission 750-gallon booster tank Pierce rear camera system Low hose bed/crosslays 197-inch wheelbase Pierce Carcinogen Awareness & Reduction to Exposure (CARE) clean cab features Efficient fire apparatus equipment Our team is grateful to once again support the incredible work of Clayton County Fire & Emergency Services" “Our team is grateful to once again support the incredible work of Clayton County Fire & Emergency Services with the selection of fire apparatus that we know will best meet their needs,” said Jeff Amlong, Sales Consultant for Ten-8 Fire Equipment. Jeff adds, “Our team would also like to recognize the important role of Clayton County’s Board of Commissioners, Finance Department, and Central Services who were all instrumental in making the apparatus order a reality. It was a team effort across the board that had a lot of moving parts, and in the end, all parties worked together toward the common goal of putting the right apparatus in place to best serve the community.” Clayton County Fire & Emergency Services Clayton County Fire & Emergency Services is an all-hazards department with 14 fire stations covering a service area encompassing approximately 122 square miles and 259,000 residents. Given the department’s proximity to the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, as well as three major interstates that run through Clayton County, daily populations served can swell to over one million during peak hours. Tim Sweat, Assistant Fire Chief and Chief Financial Officer for Clayton County Fire & Emergency Services said, “The trust we have in Ten-8 Fire Equipment and Pierce to provide the durability, customer service after the sale, and unique support for the American Fire Service, gives us confidence that we will have optimal resources to offer the extraordinary level of fire protection that our community deserves.”
The office, cultural and commercial building ensemble on the Alter Wall in Hamburg (Germany) has been completely redesigned in recent years with due regard for the listed historical facades. The Kontorhaus, located directly next to the town hall with modern office space, conference rooms, lounge and storage areas, is now equipped with a high pressure water mist (HPWM) system from AQUASYS for protection in the event of fire. The high-quality stainless steel piping of the HPWM system from AQUASYS fits perfectly into the building structure. The pipelines are bent directly on site and can thus be adapted and installed with millimeter precision to the existing infrastructure. Due to the very low water requirement of an AQUASYS high-pressure water mist system, compared to conventional sprinkler systems, significantly smaller and lighter stainless steel pipes can be used. efficient installation process This allows them to be fixed to existing brick ceilings or to be accommodated in the false ceiling area. AQUASYS focuses on high functionality and quality for all partial components. Therefore, an efficient installation process can be ensured even when HPWM systems are retrofitted. The first of two construction phases at the Kontorhaus has already been completed. The HPWM system to protect the three top floors is already in operation. Now the plant extension in the lower floors (2nd basement to 2nd floor) follows. Mr. Michael Bindreiter can be contacted for further information on the protection of existing buildings.
Large fires, ammunition finds, rescue operations, and searching for people: The scope of duties for the List Fire Department on the German island of Sylt is extremely broad. They are well prepared for these challenges with the new rescue firefighting group vehicle (HLF) 20 from Rosenbauer. Fire-Fighting Vehicles Almost 1,500 inhabitants live in List on Sylt, the northernmost municipality in Germany. Sand dunes, salt marshes, and the Wadden Sea characterize the unique environment on this island in the North Sea, which is especially famous for its wellness tourism. Its particular geographical location also poses special challenges for fire-fighting vehicles. The climate and the salt-laden air put more strain on the materials than in other regions. This makes it all the more important for Rosenbauer vehicles to use high-quality materials that are also manufactured with utmost precision. Numerous Rescue Operations In the optimally sorted equipment compartments there is space for additional hosesNot only is the climate itself a challenge for man and material, but also the various operations that the Fire Department of List on Sylt has to cope with. Last year they responded to 49 calls, including two major fires. The fire department was also called in when ammunition was found, as well as coping with numerous rescue operations, people searches, and smaller fire operations. The extensive equipment of the new HLF 20 mounted on a MAN chassis plays a decisive role in ensuring that it is optimally equipped for these different operations. The 2,000 liter water tank can be used to extinguish fires, and the vehicle is also equipped with a 180 liter foam compound tank. In the optimally sorted equipment compartments there is space for additional hoses, but also for the equipment required for rescue operations. The extendable LED light mast provides optimum illumination for night-time operations. Safety And Ease Of Use Before deciding to purchase the vehicle, they were able to put the HLF 20 through its paces. "It won us over right from the start. And not just us, but also the municipality representatives, who decide on the purchase," says Matthias Stahl from the List Fire Department on Sylt. The safety and ease of use of the new HLF 20 are of course also at an extremely high level Not just the equipment, but above all the outstanding manufacturing quality was a decisive argument. "The entire vehicle concept is very well thought out," says Matthias Stahl enthusiastically. The safety and ease of use of the new HLF 20 are of course also at an extremely high level. "You simply feel safe and comfortable on the way to operations or exercises", explains the Fire Chief of the List Fire Department. Tank Firefighting Vehicle The excellent cooperation between Rosenbauer and the List Fire Department during the procurement process and the very positive experience since the commissioning of the new HLF 20 have prompted the List Fire Department to choose Rosenbauer for the purchase of another new vehicle. The new tank firefighting vehicle (TLF) 4000 is due to arrive on the island of Sylt as early as spring. And it will increase the operational power and impact of the List Fire Department many times over.
Bryx, a globally renowned provider of first responder technology, has landed their first station alerting customer in Texas, bringing features such as color-changing lighting, heart-smart ramping tones, text-to-speech readouts, and full station automation. With the installation of the Bryx Station alerting system at West University Place Fire Department, firefighters are alerted faster and with more detailed information, helping them respond quicker and much more efficiently. Bryx platform for mobile and station alerting “We are highly impressed with our new Bryx system,” said Chief Aaron Taylor of West University Place Fire Department, Texas adding “Between the mobile app and the station alerting system, our members get notified faster and with more information than ever before. From sales to engineering and implementation, the Bryx team has been great to work with.” This expansion into the fire department in Texas further adds to the company’s growing list of agencies trusting the Bryx platform for mobile and station alerting. Bryx Station is a full-featured station alerting system that connects fire departments and EMS agencies Bryx Station Bryx Station is a full-featured station alerting system that connects fire departments and EMS agencies around the globe, providing immediate alerts, full station automation, and improving response times. When a call comes in, the Bryx Station Control Unit alerts the house with heart-smart ramping tones, color-changing lights, and text-to-speech audio readouts. The system can perform tasks such as turning off stoves, opening and closing bay doors, and securing the building, automating the tasks that first responders have little time to complete. Support with Bryx 911 mobile alerting app Full station automation allows first responders to focus on getting out the door and shaves off seconds that can mean life or death for those in need. The Bryx Station alerting system works hand-in-hand with the company’s free mobile alerting and messaging application, Bryx 911.
The National Fire Chiefs’ Council has called for all residential buildings with four floors or more to be installed with sprinkler systems after a huge fire tore through student flats in Bolton, United Kingdom last month. Fire sprinklers in Tall buildings But a Freedom of Information request from The Argus revealed 44 council-owned housing blocks in Brighton and Hove which are four storeys or taller do not have sprinklers installed. This is a worrying discovery as two of the 44 buildings had sprinklers systems approved last September. However, despite funding of £300,000 from Brighton and Hove City Council and East Sussex Fire and Rescue service, the installation of fire sprinklers has been delayed due to ‘feedback from residents’. Sprinkler installation program “For a sprinkler installation program to be successful, the residents must be consulted. Although, not all residents are in favor of installing a sprinkler system; despite sprinklers being paramount in preventing another tragic disaster similar to the Grenfell Tower fire,” says an East Sussex Fire Brigade Union Spokesman. Whilst firefighters on the frontline understand the importance of sprinkler systems in assisting to prevent the rapid growth of fires, sprinkler systems should not be viewed as a ‘golden bullet’. There is no replacement to a properly funded and resourced fire and rescue service.
Round table discussion
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?