Firefighter health and safety
Around 2,700 firefighters are working to stamp out the wildfires in Australia that have engulfed 24,000 square miles (about 15 million acres) and killed at least 28 people since the fire season began last July. About 3,000 homes have been destroyed since September, and hundreds more could be at imminent risk. More than 100 U.S. firefighters are among those at work in Australia. They include 59 from California who are assisting the Victoria Rural Fire Service, the largest in the Australian state...
In response to requests from forestry service fire departments, KIMTEK has introduced two new FIRELITE skid unit models featuring a removable and portable lightweight pump. FM-207 and FMH-208 skid units The FM-207 and FMH-208 join KIMTEK's line of versatile FIRELITE series skid units for use with UTVs and conveniently allow swift removal of the powerful yet lightweight pump for transport to locations even a UTV cannot reach. Each of the new units features a lightweight Mercedes Wi...
MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) provided 13 volunteer fire departments with needed personal protective equipment through MSA’s 2019 Globe Gear Giveaway. Each department received four sets of new, state-of-the-art turnout gear along with four helmets to better protect their members. This year marks over $1 million worth of gear that has been donated to volunteer fire departments in need since 2012. In total, 507 sets of turnout gear have been awarded to 108 depar...
Harken Industrial and CMC are proud to announce the launch of a new multi-purpose rope travel device, the CLUTCH (part number IN401). This single wearable tool has been designed for efficient hauling, controlled lowering, smooth personal descent, easy ascending and reliable progress capture. At launch, the CLUTCH will be available from both Harken Industrial and CMC. Single wearable tool Manufactured by Harken Industrial, the CLUTCH boasts an impressive range of benefits for those working in t...
3M today announced that it has completed the sale of the company’s advanced-ballistic protection business to Avon Rubber p.l.c. for $91 million, before closing and other adjustments. A further contingent consideration of up to $25 million is payable depending on the outcome of pending tenders. Avon Rubber is a provider of advanced chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear respiratory protection systems for military, law enforcement and fire customers. Ballistic Helmets The business...
An official passing out parade to welcome ten new wholetime firefighters to Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) took place at Rochester Fire Station. Attended by family and friends of the trainees, the occasion was held to welcome the firefighters and showcase their newly honed skills. Chosen from over 5,000 applicants, the trainees have just completed 15 weeks of intense training designed to equip them with the necessary skills and techniques required to become a firefighter. In order to reach...
Rosenbauer International AG, a company of the Rosenbauer Group, and Brandweer Amsterdam Amstelland will be working together on the ongoing development of a new range-extended electrical fire truck over the next two years. The aim of the innovation partnership is to subject the underlying approach of Rosenbauer’s Concept Fire Truck (CFT) to comprehensive practical testing and to analyze its performance in day-to-day operations on the narrow streets of the Dutch capital. Following an implementation phase, the project will begin with the handover of the pre-series vehicle based on the CFT as of the end of 2020. With Berlin, Amsterdam is therefore the second European capital whose fire department is preparing for the integration of a hybrid fire truck in practice. state of the art technology Only by testing equipment in tough circumstances, we will learn how they can fulfil our objectivism" According to its “Clean Air” action plan, Amsterdam has resolved a law that will ban trucks, buses and taxis with combustion engines from entering the municipal area from 2025. A similar ban on private cars with combustion engines will also come into effect in 2030. “This new fire truck might make the fire department of Amsterdam-Amstelland fit for the future. The new possibilities of this range-extended electrical vehicle are appealing. We not only will have state of the art technology and real time information at our disposal. We also contribute to a better environment, since an electrical fire truck is a first step towards an emission-free fire department, our collective goal for 2030”, said Tijs van Lieshout, commander of the Fire Department of Amsterdam-Amstelland. real-life operations “I look forward to this partnership. Only by testing equipment in tough circumstances, we will learn how they can fulfil our objectivism. Our professionals deserve the best equipment in order to conduct their important duties in the safest manner possible. I am delighted by the innovation partnership with the Amsterdam fire department. It is yet another gratifying confirmation of our intensive development work to date,” said Dieter Siegel, CEO of Rosenbauer International. “Working together, we are creating an optimal pre-series vehicle that will be thoroughly put through its paces, while at the same time acquiring practical knowledge of how to ideally integrate it into real-life operations. The city of Amsterdam, with its narrow streets and canals, is the ideal test environment for this.”
Portable gas detection equipment needs to work faultlessly and in conjunction with safety best practice. Lives depend on it. But, faced with many daily demands on a safety manager’s time, maintaining compliance across a fleet of equipment is a constant challenge. Matt DeLorenzo, Business Director for Safety io (an MSA Safety Company subsidiary), explains how the Grid Fleet Manager – software service for managing fleets of portable gas detectors – helps to ensure compliance through a proactive safety approach. If there’s one pressure that unites every safety manager in the industry, it’s battling to keep multiple plates spinning – trying to maintain rigorous safety monitoring and enforce robust Standard Operating Procedures against a backdrop of interruptions throughout the day. One of the most important areas constantly vying for attention is the need to manage complex fleets of portable gas detectors. There is the need to monitor maintenance, calibration and testing for every detector, ensuring it is completely and accurately compliant. Gas detector fleets safety management The fleet portfolio may be diverse, spanning both single and multi-gas detection capabilities The administrative and management burden to ensure gas detector fleets are available, functioning correctly, ready for use and compliant cannot be underestimated. There are several obstacles to overcome. Organizations may well be using detectors in multiple locations, across multiple sites, and potentially in different countries. The fleet portfolio may be diverse, spanning both single and multi-gas detection capabilities. Devices will inevitably be acquired or replaced. All of which means that manually tracking inventory and usage and keeping maintenance accurate is a difficult task. Grid Fleet Manager System For this reason, Safety io developed the Grid Fleet Manager system to provide a single point of truth. By gathering and compiling data automatically, as devices are returned and docked after use and bump tested or calibrated before use, it simplifies the management of the fleet of portable gas detection. Fleet Manager focuses on prioritizing the most important information, prominently highlighting when and where urgent action is required. Each morning, the system sends an organization’s safety managers (and equipment maintenance partners if needed) a concise e-mail summarizing the status of the fleet at every operational location. If there are any concerns, e-mail links take users directly to view their Grid account. An intuitive fleet dashboard shows top-level, prioritized metrics and alerts, each of which can be expanded at a click to reveal granular-level detail on any device or event. Efficient sensor and alarms operation A common logistical challenge faced by safety managers is making sure that there is sufficient calibration gas available to both test devices and calibrate them accurately. To ensure correct sensor and alarm operation, best safety practice calls for every gas detector to be bump tested daily before use, and also calibrated monthly. If gas is unavailable, operatives cannot bump test equipment or carry out calibration, meaning that they are unable to work. To do so would breach safety compliance legislation as devices could potentially fail to work, exposing workers to non-identifiable gas leaks. Such downtime and risk is both costly and avoidable. In response, Fleet Manager alerts safety managers when gas stocks are becoming depleted, allowing partners to proactively re-supply gas as needed before supplies expire. Sensor alerts Fleet Manager provides alerts on sensors that require attention so that the equipment at risk can be replaced Over time, sensors in gas detection devices can degrade. Fleet Manager provides alerts on sensors that require attention so that the equipment at risk can either be maintained or replaced before it fails. In addition to providing safety managers with control over their fleet, they’re also able to see – for all device serial numbers in the fleet – when, where and by whom the device was last used, when it was last tested or checked, and whether any further tests are needed. Portable gas detection equipment Portable gas detection equipment has come a long way in recent years. As well as providing vital early warnings about leaks, today’s advanced, portable gas detectors also gather and store invaluable data – recording critical information both about incidents and also the working practices of operatives. This information, held locally on each device, can be downloaded when the device is docked and – ideally – properly analyzed for insights. By constantly pulling and storing data from all devices, Fleet Manager provides valuable insights to safety managers on non-safe behaviors. Standard Operating Procedures The system is also a key driver behind helping to achieve compliant operational practices. Whenever a gas detector issues an alarm, operatives must follow strict Standard Operating Procedures. They must acknowledge the alarm in the instrument and vacate the area. Unfortunately, real-world experience does not always reflect best practice. Some operatives may choose to ignore the alarm or even turn the device off. But with Fleet Manager, these occurrences are recorded and highlighted, allowing safety managers to identify those posing a risk, and swiftly move to re-educate or retrain them. When it comes to streamlining device maintenance and compliance, the technology behind Fleet Manager is liberating. Safety io Grid Fleet Manager allows for a proactive approach to gas detection safety programs, allowing customers the ability to minimize distractions and put their time toward higher safety priorities, becoming more efficient and better informed in the process. Cloud-based fleet management platform One of the major goals was to ensure that information delivery was carefully prioritized In the case of the latest solution platforms developed for gas detection by Safety io, they conducted many thousands of hours of customer interviews and prototype and interface testing to ensure the most meaningful and actionable value. One of the major goals was to ensure that information delivery was carefully prioritized and that customers received the critical information they needed when most relevant. It’s also about recognizing when data is useful, while gas levels in an area may not reach compliance thresholds, the detection of a low-level anomaly can indicate whether investigative work may be warranted. Safety io Grid Live Monitor The result was two complementary solutions - Safety io Grid Fleet Manager, a cloud-based fleet management platform for managing the health of fixed and portable gas detection devices; and Safety io Grid Live Monitor, a real-time alert and incident management tool that tracks operatives and their status as they work. One of the exciting opportunities MSA is embracing is the ways technology can enhance its wide safety equipment portfolio. In addition to portable gas protection devices and fixed gas and flame detection, MSA also offers Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, head protection, fall protection systems, PPE and more. The ability for technology to confer automation, intelligent reporting and data archival promises both to increase user safety and significantly reduce the current manual workload surrounding mandatory audits, reporting, compliance and inspections.
The London Fire Commissioner, Dany Cotton, has announced she will be stepping down from her position at London Fire Brigade on 31 December. The Commissioner had previously announced in June that she intended to retire from the fire and rescue service in April 2020, but in consultation with City Hall it has been agreed that Dany will bring that forward to the end of this year to enable a timely handover to the next Commissioner, as the Brigade works to urgently deliver the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry report and its plans for transformation. Interviews for the role of Fire Commissioner take place in December, allowing for a short handover period before Dany Cotton stands down after 32 years of dedicated service to the capital. The London Fire Commissioner, Dany Cotton, said: “When I joined the London Fire Brigade, I joined a service dedicated to helping people and protecting our capital city.” Prevent A terrible incident I feel honored to have served London and I will do all I can to assist the safe transition of my responsibilities" “Throughout my 32 years of service I am proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with the firefighters, control staff, officers and fire and rescue staff who have maintained that dedication and professionalism. I will never forget tragedies like the Clapham Junction rail disaster or the acts of terrorism that we have faced, but Grenfell Tower was without doubt the worst fire we had ever experienced." "The Brigade has and will keep making the changes it can make and continue its fight for all of the other changes that are needed, to prevent such a terrible incident and loss of life from happening again. I feel honored to have served London and I will do all I can to assist the safe transition of my responsibilities to the new London Fire Commissioner when they are appointed.” fire and rescue service The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I want to thank Dany Cotton for her 32 years of service at the London Fire Brigade. I believe this decision is the right one. I will be appointing a new Fire Commissioner shortly and it’s right that they can quickly take on the responsibility to drive forward the changes being made within the Brigade, and to deliver on the recommendations made in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry report." "Dany has worked her way through the ranks as a firefighter over three decades. She was London Fire Brigade’s first woman Commissioner, has helped to inspire people from all backgrounds into considering a role in the fire and rescue service and shown leadership on the mental health of her firefighters. I wish her all the best in her retirement.”
Cold Cut Systems announces that Bernie Higgins, Head of Cold Cut Academy and one of our UK staff, takes over as Chair of FIRESA Council. FIRESA Council is one of seven councils under the aegis of the Fire Industry Association, the largest fire protection and firefighting trade association in the UK with over 850 members. Bernie is a former Principal Officer in London Fire Brigade and brings his experience of the UK Fire and Rescue sector as well as his commercial knowledge to the role.
MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have awarded essential turnout gear to fire departments in Illinois and Ohio through MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway. This annual program began in 2012 and provides much-needed gear to volunteer fire departments in the U.S. and Canada. In 2019, a total of 13 departments will each receive four new sets of state-of-the-art turnouts to help them increase the safety of their firefighters. The first 500 applicants also received a complimentary membership to the NVFC, courtesy of MSA. The latest recipients of the turnout gear are the Witt (IL) Volunteer Fire Department and Canal Fulton (OH) Fire Department. Witt (IL) Volunteer Fire Department This gear will be well taken care of and serve these communities for years to come" Witt Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD) is comprised of 35 members and five explorers who respond to more than 225 calls per year over 142 miles of rural service area. The department serves 3,520 residents 24 hours a day on a volunteer basis. Volunteers have been relying primarily on gear that the department received 18 years ago, and it is showing signs of thermal breakdown and aging, which puts responders at risk. With an annual budget of $24,000, WVFD’s budget ranks in the bottom two percent of the state. The local government is operating on a month-to-month basis, and it cannot be counted on for monetary assistance. “This gear will be well taken care of and serve these communities for years to come,” explains Captain Daniel Rogers. Canal Fulton (OH) Fire Department Canal Fulton Fire Department (CFFD) has struggled to equip its firefighters with NFPA-compliant turnout gear. The department is currently comprised of 49 active firefighters; of these, 22 are borrowing coats, 22 are borrowing turnout pants, 26 are borrowing a pair of boots, and 25 are borrowing helmets from neighboring departments. As a volunteer department, CFFD has found it difficult to find the funding to purchase adequate turnout gear. This impacts the safety of their members as well as creates issues during the recruitment process. “The four sets of Globe turnout gear will have the most significant impact on those who have recently graduated from our Explorer program,” says Captain Shawn Yerian. “They will directly benefit by receiving NFPA-compliant personal protective equipment from MSA.” Additional MSA Globe Gear Giveaway awards will be made monthly throughout 2019.
LION Protects, globally renowned manufacturer of first responder personal protectiveres equipment (PPE) in the United States will host a grand opening of their newest TotalCare facility located at 735 Park North Boulevard, Suite 114, Clarkston, GA 30021 on November 8, 2019 (from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm). TotalCare fire gear maintenance TotalCare represents LION’s high-quality fire gear maintenance services, including PPE repair & retrofitting, advanced cleaning, decontamination, biohazard disinfection, and advanced PPE inspection. The event will include a presentation by official guest speaker Ron Siarnicki, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Executive Director sharing the mission and importance of taking precautions to avoid exposure to dangerous particulates, tours explaining and showcasing the gear cleaning & maintenance equipment and processes, as well as complimentary lunch. First responders can also check out additional safety equipment, such as NFPA-certified turnout gear Mobile Fire Experience LION’s Mobile Fire Experience will also be on-hand, providing a unique opportunity for firefighters to experience the latest training technology with hands-on live fire and digital fire demonstrations. First responders can also check out additional safety equipment, such as NFPA-certified turnout gear, while at the event and visit distributor partner NAFECO’s Store Open House at 715 Park North Blvd, Suite 120, Clarkston, GA 30021. “We are very proud of our work to address the issue of cancer in the fire service by increasing the protection of first responders against carcinogens and harmful particulates, as well as increasing awareness and advocating for their safety,” said Mark Smith, president of LION Americas. “This mission is at the core of everything we do.” Firefighters’ health and safety LION Vice President for TotalCare, Jim Baker “Our newest facility, providing the highest level of proper, verified ISP [Independent Service Provider] gear cleaning & repair demonstrates not only a commitment to the safety and health of firefighters, but also to the dedicated employees performing the work. Jim adds,“ As a leader in this industry it is our duty to take the necessary steps to protect all individuals who come in contact with ‘dirty gear’ and this facility, with state-of-the-art, chemical-free, highly specialized ozone generators, as well as forward-thinking containment processing procedures delivers on LION’s commitment to mitigate risks throughout the process.” Turnout gear cleaning and maintenance The new 13,000 square foot facility expands LION’s gear cleaning and maintenance services to cover Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
I gave a lot of thought to identifying the biggest challenge facing the American fire service in 2019. Many things came to mind: funding; fire prevention - if every building was sprinklered and all had working smoke alarms, it would solve a lot of other problems; political influences; initial, regular and ongoing training, and a bunch more. But the one constant that kept popping up is the people issue. Staffing. This obviously isn’t the first time you’ve heard that. Normally, when we talk about staffing, we talk about the number of firefighters on the apparatus. That is not exactly what I'm talking about. What I mean is, in 2019, we better figure out where our next group of recruits is coming from. Measurable Drop In Applicants If one fire department is paying more than another, members jump ship On the career side, numerous areas are reporting a measurable drop in applicants—in other words, they need people who want to be firefighters and medics. In some areas, it’s a bidding war. If one fire department is paying more than another, members jump ship. And who can blame them? They have families to take care of. But when the dust clears, there are still far fewer people interested in this job than we need. Some theories are that the new generation: Doesn’t like helping people Are self-focused Aren’t into doing physical things Are lazy Can make the same money without shift work Can make the same money without risk None of these theories gets us far in addressing the problem. The goal of any fire department is to deliver staffed, trained interior firefighters just a few minutes after someone dials 9-1-1 Big Picture Focus On the volunteer side, all you have to do is listen to a fire radio nearly anywhere in the U.S. (and Canada) and you will hear volunteer fire departments toning out... toning out... and toning out—with little response when members are responding from home or work. It, too, is a measurable problem. There are volunteer departments with little funding and others with plenty of funding. Regardless, there seems to be little “big picture” focus on solving the problem based upon what’s best for the people having the fire. Some say to simply hire career firefighters. Is it that simple? What are the pros? And are there any cons? There certainly are. Trained Interior Firefighters Some departments solve the problem by having their volunteers on duty, in quarters, ready to roll The old model of volunteers responding from home or work doesn’t work very well when you consider the proven fire spread in 2019 vs. fire spread even just 20 years ago. Some departments solve the problem by having their volunteers on duty, in quarters, ready to roll. That may be the least expensive option depending upon the local model. Some hire part-time firefighters. Some unfairly and regularly rely on mutual aid. Some have a fair and balanced mutual aid system. Some have their heads in the sand. The goal of any fire department is to deliver staffed, trained interior firefighters just a few minutes after someone dials 9-1-1. If we don’t have people knocking on the fire station doors to become career firefighters or to volunteer, that goal is in jeopardy. I simply can’t see a bigger, more immediate challenge for 2019 than the “people” issue.
Firefighting is hot, hazardous, and let's face it, grueling work. But believe it or not, the job today has become even more challenging as firefighters must deal with increased heat loads, toxic substances and other physical challenges that make structural firefighting one of the most demanding professions on the planet. So, needless to say, being well-trained, physically fit, and safely equipped can make all the difference in the world. Evolving Technology The fact is, as heat loads and toxicity exposure risks increase due to modern synthetic construction, the ways in which fires are fought are changing as well. These shifts, combined with the revolution that’s taking place in firefighter protection technology, have led to new and exciting designs in firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE) offerings. Technology is providing firefighters with respiratory protection “systems” is which respiratory protection itself is just one of many benefits Take the tried and true SCBA for instance. Since the invention of the first breathing apparatus in the late 1910s, their primary function has been air delivery. But today, technology is providing firefighters with respiratory protection “systems” is which respiratory protection itself is just one of many benefits. Revolution Of Life-Changing Technology Consider this: the effects of technology today impact virtually every aspect of modern life. And the same is true for the fire service, as software, thermal imaging, and wireless communications capabilities become more mainstream on the fireground. In response to these new capabilities, the consensus organizations responsible for PPE performance standards (i.e. NFPA and EN) have increased standards by mandating certain electronic components for each firefighter. But performance of these components can be limited by the fact that only so many “parts” can be attached to an SCBA, or because some capabilities are simply out of reach from a budget perspective. Over time, these limitations create long-term implications when it comes to SCBA choice, because the breathing apparatus purchased today may have to be in use for the next 15 years or more. So, what are firefighters to do? Firefighters should view their SCBA as the “foundation” of a safety system that equips firefighters with the many new safety capabilities that technology offers—now and in the future It’s More Than Air Delivery Missed opportunities for more timely safety improvements – which keep up with the pace of technology – are rooted in a false assumption that all SCBA are comprised of separate, mechanical components – and that the SCBA function is only about respiratory protection. But air-delivery is not the issue because every SCBA meets the standards, and every SCBA delivers air well. Further, looking at the SCBA merely as a separate component for air diminishes its potential to serve as a revolutionary safety technology “platform.” Safety As A System Firefighters need more than the minimum performance from breathing apparatus To keep pace with the rapid improvements in firefighter safety, firefighters need more than the minimum performance from breathing apparatus. Instead, they should view their SCBA as the “foundation” of a safety system that equips firefighters with the many new safety capabilities that technology offers—now and in the future. I’m talking specifically about platform-type products that can be easily updated with the latest technology, as soon as it becomes available, to help protect them when their lives are on the line. Key Questions To Consider When Looking For An SCBA Include: Does the SCBA have features that allow you to see, hear, and react quickly to changing situations? Can the SCBA sizing be customized to best fit each firefighter? How many total batteries are needed for the SCBA, and how does that affect long-term costs? How well does it integrate with other systems, such as communication devices, portable instruments, etc.? Does the SCBA provide you, your team, and incident command with critical information to make effective, life-saving decisions? Can the SCBA be programmed to meet your standard operating procedures, such as audible and visual alarms at 50% remaining pressure? Is the facepiece reducing or adding to overall SCBA cost and complexity? How easily can the SCBA be updated to meet changing standards? How easily can integrated accessories or features, such as thermal imaging, be added as they are developed in the future? At MSA, we develop technologically-advanced safety equipment designed to help meet today's changing fireground dynamics. We’re committed to setting the pace for safety with continuous improvements and innovations in PPE. For today. For tomorrow. For the future.
In order to recruit and retain, you must change your mindset to that of a business. While we continue to scratch our heads on how to recruit and retain members among the ranks of our departments, we might want to take a look at ourselves. Sometimes looking in the mirror is a hard thing to do, as it may give us a clear view of who and what we are as an organization. For years, the volunteer fire service has had to overcome many obstacles such as funding, a not-so-friendly environment or poor leadership, to name a few. They may even have had to re-create themselves. Business Mindset And Reputation Whether you are in a rural, suburban or urban area, what drives us? Is it pride? Is it fulfilling a need to belong? Ultimately, it is the end user, the customer – the resident, the taxpayer. In order to target new membership, we must be able to sell ourselves as a good, a service and a product. Business models have been around for years and, if followed, yield positive results We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful. Businesses that are successful have a great reputation. People want to work for them and they easily retain and recruit top talent. Business models have been around for years and, if followed, yield positive results. Building Community Of Employees Let’s take Google for an example, a company with more than 64,000 employees with growth to the tune of billions of dollars each year. When looking at Google’s performance, it raises the question: what is Google’s success secret? How can a company amass $9.7 billion in revenues mostly from advertising? How can they keep great help and recruit? The answer is its leadership being innovative, actively advertising, creating a unique and rewarding work environment as well as creating and executing their business model daily. A business that goes above and beyond by treating their employees great will in return get motivated and loyal employees. Google allows their employees flexibility to work on passion projects and tap into their creativity. Google also encourages its employees to become teachers and coach one another to help build a more creative, satisfied and intimate community of employees. One needs to make fire departments attractive to potential recruits, there are small moments of observation that are then used to make bigger decisions are called “thin slices” Positive First Impressions In this day and age, we need to be ahead of the curve. People want to be informed and they want it now. They want a quality product and will shop around until they find it. They also want to be part of something big. They want to be recognized. Remember the statement, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? Well, it was the tagline for a Head & Shoulders shampoo ad campaign in the 1980s. Are we continuing to make our fire department attractive to potential recruits? How do we expect to garner new membership if we don’t make that “first impression” a positive one? These small moments of observation that are then used to make bigger decisions are called “thin slices.” Potential candidates for membership are constantly assessing us, slice by slice, as “recruiters". Business Model For Your Demographic We need to create a business model and execute it at all times Is the fire station in good shape? Is it clean and orderly? Is the organization structured? Is the leadership strong and decisive? Or are there cliques and groups that work against the common goal or the command? These are easily seen and quickly discovered by potential candidates. They are looking to see what we are offering them: why should I risk my life, my health, my safety – what’s in it for me? How do we take all of these “thin slices,” package them together and make them attractive for potential recruits? We need to create a business model and execute it at all times. In order to sell, we need to advertise. In order to advertise, we need the leaders of our departments, the innovators and recruiters, to all come together and develop a business plan that works. It should work for your demographic. It should pour information to the masses. It should build on a reputation that you are a place that you’d want to work for! We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful Utilizing Current Volunteer Membership We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful. So, what does this mean for “my fire department”? Simply put, it means that you need to rely on the staff you have in place; lean on them and their expertise. Your current membership may hold the keys to your success. Develop a mission statement that is creative and energetic Canvass your current membership for professionals who could be utilized. You may have trained CPAs, human resource professionals, CEOs of corporations, advertising and marketing experts or veterans already inside your organization. They may remain quiet as they are unsure that they are needed to assist. Ask for the help and utilize them! Learning From Shortcomings Do not hesitate to implement them into your business plans. Help them look at how to target demographics in your area. Remember that great leadership will work to identify an individual’s strongest points and work to utilize them for maximum effectiveness. When you create a plan, be sure that you set obtainable goals. Develop a mission statement that is creative and energetic. Don’t eat the elephant in one bite: set a timeline in your plan. Meet often with your team, as you will learn more from your shortcomings than from your successes.
One Los Angeles firefighter made $360,010 in overtime last year, and 18 employees of the department each earned more than $200,000 in overtime pay. In all, more than 90% of LAFD employees received overtime – an average of $27,737. Excessive overtime is an ongoing challenge at many fire departments around the United States, and the situation can often attract the attention of auditors and budget-conscious city managers, who may be concerned, or even suspicious, about the additional costs. There may be questions such as whether overtime hours are being allocated fairly. There are often calls for more oversight and regulation. Transparency is critical when tax dollars are being spent, and those who allocate the funding have to face voters. Working culture of long shifts For firefighters, overtime pay can provide a welcome boost to their household finances and make firefighting jobs more attractive. Working long shifts (and overtime) is a part of the culture of firefighters. But at what cost to departments? Is overtime pay the best use of resources? Is overtime pay the best use of resources? Might other employment models be more cost-effective? Extremely high overtime payments to a handful of individuals at least suggest a need for more balance in how overtime is distributed. Burgeoning overtime expenditures also may reflect other issues, such as inadequate staffing or recruitment challenges. For example, the Baltimore City Fire Department is paying overtime to fill nearly a third of its firefighter and medic shifts every day, according to The Baltimore Sun. The department is relying on volunteer “callbacks,” when a firefighter or medic who just finished a shift is asked to work another one. Montgomery Fire/Rescue $2 million over budget Last year, Montgomery, Ala., Fire/Rescue went $2 million over budget because of overtime pay needed in response to a multi-year worker shortage. In some cases, overtime is a temporary solution to an ongoing problem: recruitment and retention of firefighters. Another element of overtime is a department’s “constant staffing” model, which requires a fire station to be staffed 24/7 for fires, medical calls or other emergencies. There may also be a need to cover for employees who are on leave for health reasons, military service or for disciplinary issues. There are vacations to consider. Leave requests may occur with little prior notice, and overtime may be the only practical means of covering for the absences. Another element of overtime is a department’s “constant staffing” model, which requires a fire station to be staffed 24/7 for fires, medical calls or other emergencies Avoids hiring additional staff Some say paying additional overtime saves money in the long run by avoiding having to hire additional staff and pay their benefits. However, in some cases, reduced benefit expenditures – such as pension cutbacks – are changing the calculus. In the case of wildfires federal or state disaster funding may absorb the costsGiven the shifting variables, it may be less expensive in some cases to hire additional employees than to swallow the overtime costs. However, in a competitive employment environment, what are the chances that a new recruit may be lured away by another department despite a huge investment in training? In some cases, the costs of overtime may be reimbursed to local jurisdictions. In the case of wildfires, for example, federal or state disaster funding may absorb the costs. For special events, city employee overtime may be reimbursed by an event organizer or venue. Shifts not comparable to business world There is also an argument that how firefighters are scheduled requires that issues of overtime be examined through a different lens. A firefighter might work a 24-hour shift, three times as long as a typical eight-hour workday. A firefighter might work a 24-hour shift, three times as long as a typical eight-hour workdayTherefore, overtime issues are not equivalent, or comparable, to the business world. Assuming that’s true, it suggests a need for more education and explanation to city managers and the general public about the specific differences and how they impact the need and/or desirability of overtime. Large amounts of overtime also raise concerns about fatigue and morale. For example, a firefighter is likely less effective after working multiple long shifts. Given the life-and-death nature of firefighting and emergency medical care, employees should always be at their best. Overly tired firefighters could possibly put additional lives at risk.
Drones can help save lives by delivering rescue equipment to the site of a medical emergency minutes faster than the arrival of emergency personnel. A recent trial of the technology in Ontario, Canada, demonstrated its value while expanding the capabilities to longer distances at even faster times. Automated external defibrillators The trial in the county of Renfrew used 4G LTE cellular connectivity to enable beyond-visual-line-of-site (BVLOS) drones to deliver automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the scene of a cardiac arrest patient. The drones arrived more than 7 minutes before paramedic vehicles in each test flight. The trial in the county of Renfrew used 4G LTE cellular connectivity to enable BVLOS drones The American Heart Association estimates that more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside hospitals every year; some 70% occur in homes. Drones can deliver AEDs to private, residential and rural locations where static AEDs are almost never used. They can deliver to balconies or upper levels in high rise buildings. Drones equipped with cameras can help 911 dispatchers assess a victim’s condition and support bystander CPR and AED application. Multiple studies have shown that AEDs can significantly increase chances of survival. LTE-connected drones The trial in Ontario adds new elements to the scenario, including a greatly expanded range of flight. The LTE-connected drones can fly to locations in a 10-mile operating radius. The project is among the first to be granted permission for a BVLOS flight, which could expand the reach of emergency services. The project offers the potential to deliver life-saving AEDs to patients up to 80 miles away. The Ontario trial demonstrates a marked improvement: A study in Sweden previously demonstrated a median response time of more than 16 minutes. The trial also suggests the possibility of obtaining permission to fly rescue drones beyond the operator line-of-sight in the United States. The LTE-connected drones can fly to locations in a 10-mile operating radius Emergency responders “Given the large area and varied terrain that the county encompasses, it is often difficult to get paramedics to patients in a timely fashion,” explained County of Renfrew Paramedic Chief Michael Nolan. “We have been successfully using drones to support our emergency responders for several years, but until now, the operators have had line-of-sight of the situation. We will now have further reach than ever.” For the Ontario trial, InDro Robotics supplied unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Cradlepoint provided the NetCloud Service, including an on-board IoT router that enables LTE connectivity to control data and video between the vehicle and its pilot, using signals traveling over an LTE advanced cellular network. Ericsson provided 4G LTE equipment with carrier aggregation, cellular network design support, and drone research. Artificial Intelligence The drone flew over cellular to remote take-off points selected by GPS The drone flew over cellular to remote take-off points selected by GPS and landed successfully to deliver an AED to onsite researchers, who used the device to deliver required shocks to a mannequin. The drones could share images and video with operators and employ artificial intelligence to manage collision avoidance and other key functions. Looking ahead to additional deployment of drones to deliver AEDs and other equipment, the U.S. Fire Administration lists several implementation challenges: Where should drone launch sites be located? Where they can cover an entire region or where they are needed the most? How time-consuming and costly will drone maintenance be? How will recharge time or swap-out of AEDs factor into a system deployment? How long should the drone remain on the scene? Will drones be able to operate in poor weather such as icing, turbulence and extreme cold? Drone-delivered AEDs The County of Renfrew trial suggests new options for the technology. “What’s particularly innovative and exciting about this trial is the potential of drone-delivered AEDs to have a transformative impact on emergency care for patients suffering cardiac arrest,” said Nolan.
How can a building’s fire systems be integrated with access control and other security systems to ensure effective function of both? It can be a challenging and delicate endeavor. Integration of fire and security systems provides multiple benefits and some challenges to be addressed. It is useful to consider fire and security systems as part of the same overall mission to keep a building and its occupants safe, while also being attentive to the differing roles of the systems and how they can complement each other. integrating security and fire systems Integrating security and fire systems is becoming paramount to create improved efficiency “There’s a conflict between life safety and security systems,” says Karen Trigg, Business Development Manager, South East, for lock company Allegion (UK) Ltd. “We must secure buildings without impeding the flow of movement and hindering immediate escape should a fire incident occur. To do this, we must have a greater understanding of building requirements.” In today’s world, integrating security and fire systems is becoming paramount to create improved efficiency and effectiveness of a building’s safety technology — and this integration can provide monumental benefits, says Eric Widlitz, Vice President of Sales for North America for access control company Vanderbilt Industries. video management systems For example, in the event of a fire, an alarm from a fire system can trigger an access control system to release locks on fire escape doors, as well as generate muster reports to provide information on who is inside the building, says Widlitz. “Additionally, video management systems have the ability to provide access to real-time, remote video footage of the fire’s actual location, helping firefighters and other emergency personnel to assess the situation and respond with greater accuracy.” Many challenges and opportunities that facilities face when integrating systems relate to whether a building’s infrastructure is designed well enough to connect security and fire systems, says Julie Brown, Institutional Market Leader for Johnson Controls. By conducting a site assessment first, owners and managers can better determine where physical building updates may be needed. Integration Of Video Surveillance And Fire Alarms Adjusting design in this case can eventually help make the integration of video surveillance and fire alarms easier" For example, if video surveillance is obstructed in certain areas, owners need to identify if the cameras can be moved to a better location or if physical alterations to the building are needed. “Adjusting design in this case can eventually help make the integration of video surveillance and fire alarms easier,” says Brown. “In the event that a fire alarm sounds, owners can have peace of mind that their cameras have an unobstructed view and that they can be automatically alerted to provide visibility into the area affected and potential cause of the alarm. It is critical to occupant safety that building owners address any design hurdles. Budget is often an issue,” says Trigg. “Although a challenge, understanding budgets – not only for the system in place but also ongoing maintenance and upgrades – helps uncover the correct solution, showing that the ‘cheaper option’ may cost more in the long run for some.” thermal imaging cameras Joe Byron, Vice President for the Americas for MOBOTIX Corp, says integrating fire and security opens the door to a world of possibilities. “When specifically looking at industrial applications, these systems require an added layer of reliability in order to guarantee workplace safety and operational efficiency,” he says. This technology is tied into the fire-suppression system and can monitor the temperature of specified machines" Byron points to a specific deployment as an example: MOBOTIX’s work with KUHN RIKON, a world-renowned cookware manufacturer. In 2015, during mechanical pot polishing, an abrasive component spontaneously combusted causing a large-scale fire, leading to a dust explosion, says Byron. “While an unfortunate tragedy, this led to an opportunity to outfit the plant with thermal imaging cameras,” he adds. “This technology is tied into the fire-suppression system and can monitor the temperature of specified machines. With built-in logic, the cameras can alert technicians to heat warnings and, if not acted upon, can automatically shut-down the machinery and queue fire systems if required.” Fire And Security Systems A well-designed and integrated control room can help to organize, automate and streamline critical sensors by implementing workstations that transmit only the most critical information at any given time. “Additionally, operators are better equipped to make more educated and timely decision by leveraging audible alarms, visual LED indicators and video displays with built-in intelligence to change content based on triggers from third-party systems such as fire, building automation and access control,” says Dan Gundry, Director of National Control Room Sales for Vistacom. At the end of the day, fire and security systems are two elements of the same mission: To keep buildings and their occupants safe. However, the two systems often operate independently and may not be integrated. More integration offers benefits, but there are pitfalls to be avoided.
Peterborough firefighters were buzzing to help a local project to enhance the environment for bees. Last week on Monday the firefighters from Green Watch at Dogsthorpe Fire Station attended an environmental initiative called Jimmy’s Bee’s at the newly built Connect Park in Millfield, Peterborough. Building Relationships With Local Residents The crew joined volunteers from the community to dig the grass up, sew and plant wildflower seeds in order to create a fantastic haven for bees. The project was commissioned by Channel 4 due to the third of Britain’s bee species declining since 1980. Planting the wildflower seeds allows bees and other insects to pollinate. Station Commander Matt Murdoch, the officer in charge of Dogsthorpe Fire Station, said: “A key part of being a firefighter is to be an active part of the local community. This allows us to ensure we are reaching the most vulnerable people to help keep them safe. Projects like this are a great way for our crews to pitch in and help the community, as well as make useful links and build relationships with local residents.”
The Secaucus Fire Department, located in Hudson County, New Jersey, placed a 28-foot Lake Assault Boats firefighting and rescue craft into service earlier this summer. The department’s firefighting and emergency response area includes a large portion of the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers (and their 28 bridges) that empty into Newark Bay and the Hudson River. Firefighting and recue craft “We’re located in a somewhat landlocked part of the river system, so our new fireboat has to be versatile and self-sustaining in case of a major incident,” said Fire Chief Carl Leppin, a 22-year veteran of the department and chief since 2014. “With help from Lake Assault Boats, we were able to customize the design to meet our needs. And their response to requests, and overall excellent customer service, are very important to us.” The Secaucus Fire Department is a member of the New York and New Jersey Regional Fireboat Taskforce The Secaucus Fire Department is a member of the New York and New Jersey Regional Fireboat Taskforce, comprised of 12 fire departments, including FDNY and the U.S. Coast Guard. This is the first fireboat taskforce of its kind in the country, and its combined team protects over 50 miles of New Jersey shoreline containing transportation hubs, transfer facilities, manufacturing plants, and other critical infrastructure. Critical emergency response “We’re thrilled to have one of our craft serving with the Secaucus Fire Department on such a critically important waterway,” said Chad DuMars, Lake Assault Boats vice president of operations. “This custom engineered vessel features fast response combined with capabilities to address a wide range of emergency scenarios.” The boat’s landing craft style hull sports a 63-inch hydraulically operated bow door (with an integrated ladder for diver re-entry) and flat tread areas for ATV deployment. The boat also features a clear opening dive door, swimmer’s grab rails, a davit crane, and a floating stokes basket for faster patient retrieval from the water. It is powered by twin 350 hp outboards that enable the boat to reach 50 miles per hour in open water conditions. infrared FLIR video camera The full-width, fully enclosed pilothouse is located mid-ship with deck space both on the fore and shaft. The vessel is equipped with Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRNE) positive pressure defense capabilities. The helm station carries controls for both fire pump and monitor controls, as well as two 12-inch touchscreens with GPS, Sonar with SideVu and DownVu, chart plotting, and a roof-mounted forward looking infrared (FLIR) video camera. The new craft has greatly improved our response capabilities in our protection area" The boat’s draft is just 28 inches when the motor is trimmed up and 32 inches when trimmed down, an important consideration for the department. “The department’s previous boat needed a full five feet of draft to safely maneuver, so our new boat can reach much closer to shore in low tide situations – and that’s a huge benefit. Our team loves the new craft,” Chief Leppin added. warning lights and fire pump For its firefighting operations, the boat is outfitted with a 1500 gpm fire pump powered by a dedicated 350 hp marinized V-8 engine. The craft features deck and bow mounted monitors, a foam system, and a five-inch large diameter hose discharge to support ground based firefighting operations. Other notable features include a full complement of LED floodlights, warning lights, scene lights, and remote-controlled spotlights. “We applied for a Federal FEMA Port Security Grant three years in a row, and this year we were approved,” added Chief Leppin. “We received help from the Mayor Gonnelli, the Town Council, Congressman Pascrel, and the U.S. Coast Guard throughout the grant process, and are grateful for their support. The new craft has greatly improved our response capabilities in our protection area.”
The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office, located in Hudson, Wisconsin, took delivery of a custom-built Lake Assault Boats rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) in time to serve during this summer’s active July 4th holiday weekend. The new craft enhances the Office’s patrol capabilities and water-based emergency rescue operations on a 27-mile stretch of the St. Croix River, a National Scenic Riverway. “Our stretch of the St. Croix River is a heavily used recreational area, with many cabin cruisers, houseboats, and all types of pleasure craft while, further north, the National Park we cover is very popular with kayakers and other silent sports enthusiasts,” said Deputy Chase DuRand of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office. Innovative Bow-To-Beach Access Door “There are lots of islands and beaches, and ten marinas, as well as many full-time residents who live along this portion of the river.” The Lake Assault Boats 24-foot craft features an overall height less than 13-feet 6-inches and a person and cargo capacity of 3,000 lbs., and is able to operate in as little as 21-inches of water for easier access to shallow areas. The fold down bow door will make deploying officers onto islands much more efficient" The boat is outfitted with an innovative bow-to-beach access door and ladder located at the front ‘V’ of the bow. “The fold down bow door will make deploying officers onto islands much more efficient,” said DuRand. “It’s an idea we brought to Lake Assault and they were very willing to accommodate our request.” The vessel will be in high demand throughout the boating season. Far Better Work Platform “We conduct patrols, enforce recreational boating laws, and respond to accidents, disturbances, medical emergencies, and disabled boats,” DuRand stated. “We also operate joint patrols and assist other agencies – including the Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs – and Minnesota’s Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Moreover, because this craft is larger and has a far better work platform than the boat it replaced, we can deploy our entire Emergency Response Unit in the event of higher threat situations.” The hull is protected by a full protective collar around the gunwales, and also features a T-top pilothouse with 76-inches of headroom. The dash console provides ample room for electronics, and includes a 16-inch touchscreen that integrates a forward looking infrared (FLIR) system, GPS, maps, chart plotter, and sonar with structure and side scan. The purchase process of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office in acquiring the custom-built RHIB involved a two-year search culminating in Lake Assault Boats being awarded the contract.
Tylosand is one of Sweden’s most popular beaches and during the summer there can be more than 40,000 visitors on the beach every day. They were the first beach in Sweden to have lifeguards patrolling its shores as early as 1958. While most visitors enjoy their summer on the beach, at times guests may find themselves in a difficult situation. The lifeguard’s on Tylosand beach operate on a completely voluntary basis, patrolling the beaches daily throughout Summer ensuring the public’s safety. Their aim is simple: to have zero drownings each year. Patrolling the beaches in tough conditions The lifeguards at Tylosand have six life-saving areas which are guarded by eight lifeguards and a life-saving manager The lifeguards at Tylosand patrol the beaches every day during summer whether it’s windy, rainy or sunny. Conditions often change during the day as the Swedish weather is quite unpredictable, and this can be when people get into difficulty. The lifeguards are often painters, fire fighters or students in their day-to-day lives and in return for volunteering their time in summer, they are provided food and accommodation for their efforts. The lifeguards at Tylosand have six life-saving areas which are simultaneously guarded by eight lifeguards and a life-saving manager (CH). In the lifeguard tower, they store healthcare equipment as well as other lifeguard equipment including binoculars, life jackets, shovels and a water tank. They also run the Life Saving School – the only school in Sweden that offers sea life rescue training. Easy to use radio equipment The communications system for lifeguards needs to be robust, reliable and secure, as these critical situations are a matter of life or death. A key factor for Tylosand lifeguards choosing a radio to use was ease of use; with lifeguards working only a few weeks a year, it is mandatory that the equipment implemented is easy to understand and use. The communication devices from Sepura provide the lifeguards with exactly that. The lifeguards have implemented Sepura SRG mobile terminals into their vehicles alongside STP9000 hand-portable radios The Tylosand lifeguards have implemented Sepura SRG mobile terminals into their vehicles alongside STP9000 hand-portable radios to deliver a robust, easy to use communications system for protecting the shores. The common user interface makes it easy to train new lifeguards and run shorter refresh training with returning lifeguards. Once users have learnt to use one Sepura radio, they can easily use other Sepura devices. Withstanding the challenging environment Sophia Arlsan, a lifeguard with Tylosand, said “The Sepura equipment has over the years proved that they withstand the tough environment with sand and salty waters in an excellent way. Last summer, 24 people were saved from rip currents and many more have been saved through the thousands of proactive discussions Tylosand lifesavers have had with beach visitors during their patrols.” Thanks to the Sepura radios delivered by Swedish Radio Supply, Tylosand Lifeguards are prepared for the next busy summer.
Motorola Solutions has completed the rollout of a new mobility managed service to Victoria Police, enabling increased situational awareness, safety and productivity on the front line. Officers across the state have received 9,398 mobile devices loaded with smart applications to give them a technological edge to protect community safety. Mobility managed service Motorola Solutions’ complete, end-to-end managed service enables Victoria Police members to focus on core policing activities rather than managing the technology. The service includes device management, support, repair and replacement services. Motorola Solutions’ end-to-end managed service enables Victoria Police members to focus on core policing activities The technology delivers immediate operational information to police in the field while helping to preserve mission-critical radio communications for when they are needed most. Connecting police and community With the rollout now complete, the solution enables Victoria Police to meet a major goal within its BlueConnect program, “Connecting police and the community through technology.” The holistic managed service will run for a minimum of five years with the potential to extend to 11 years and is valued at more than AUD $50 million. The solution includes a mobile application developed by Gridstone, the application development firm Motorola Solutions acquired in 2016. Data security Motorola Solutions Vice President and Managing Director, Steve Crutchfield said the rollout of the technology was completed two months ahead of schedule. “Victoria Police’s frontline officers now have access to data when and where they need it most and can manage their essential daily tasks more safely and efficiently,” Crutchfield said. Victoria Police are also deploying Motorola Solutions’ cloud-based Automatic Number Plate Recognition “For example, the application can provide vital information to officers before they enter a potentially dangerous situation. In the future, the application will also free up officers’ time, enabling them to complete crime reporting and administrative tasks in the field instead of back at the station,” he said. Cloud ANPR technology Victoria Police are also deploying Motorola Solutions’ high-resolution, cloud-based Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology for 220 of its highway patrol vehicles. Motorola Solutions also manages the networks that provide Victoria Police with mission-critical radio communications and narrowband data services.
Motorola Solutions’ local partner in Romania, ASTI International, has been selected in a tender by the General Inspectorate for the Romanian Police to equip its police officers with state-of-the art Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) two-way digital radios. TETRA digital two-way radios Motorola Solutions will deliver 10,000 TETRA digital two-way radios to the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police. The 18-month framework contract covers the supply of 10,000 MTP3550 TETRA portable radios from Motorola Solutions. The MTP3000 series radios are packed with features that are essential for safeguarding frontline police officers and ensuring effective operations. The state-of-the-art digital radios provide significant improvements including coverage performance at extreme range and inside buildings, as well as enhanced connectivity and ruggedness that provide the best possible audio during mission-critical operations. In addition, the ‘man down’ functionality enhances officer safety by automatically alerting the command center when an officer is in need of help. Digital radio solutions Motorola Solutions has been a trusted partner for public safety organizations in Romania for over 25 years Motorola Solutions has been a trusted partner for public safety organizations in Romania for over 25 years, providing highly reliable and secure TETRA digital radio solutions. In times of growing crime rates and global threats, mission-critical law enforcement solutions that help first responders work effectively and efficiently are more important than ever before. “We are extremely proud that the Romanian Police continues to see us as a trusted partner, and we remain committed to help keep Romanians citizens and first responders safe,” said Michael Kaae, vice president for Nordics, Russia and Eastern Europe at Motorola Solutions. Mission-critical communications Motorola Solutions is a global renowned mission-critical communications solutions provider. Their technology platforms in communications, command center software, services and video security and analytics make cities safer and help communities and businesses thrive. At Motorola Solutions, advanced technologies are ushering in a new era in public safety and security.