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Want to know an easy way to judge the quality of a fire department? Look at how much they train. Career, volunteer or combination, fire departments become successful through training. Yet all training is not equal. Focus too much on hands-on training (HOT) and you could be missing important legal and compliance updates. Lean heavily on web-based training and you may fail to identify shortcomings in skills proficiencies. Keep students confined to a classroom and you may lose their interest quickly. Not surprisingly, a balance of all three types of training is needed to produce competent, empowered firefighters. For this article, I was challenged to think about what’s missing from our current fire training programs. As I thought about the varied way we approach fire training, three issues jumped out at me. Base training on facts and statistics Take advantage of new technologies Incorporate policy into your training Your training program should also be strong in the types of calls you respond to most Base Training On Facts And Statistics If your department has a robust training program, outlined by a calendar of various topics and employing a mix of HOT, online and classroom training, you’re ahead of the curve. But even in departments with well-developed training programs, training is often based on preference or habit, not data. Think about the topics in your training program. Do you know why they’re included? Do they match your call make-up? Are they targeting specific skill shortcomings? (And yes, we all have them!)What’s missing from many fire department training programs is a detailed needs assessment What’s missing from many fire department training programs is a detailed needs assessment that in turn establishes a factual basis for the year’s training topics. The needs assessment should include: Surveying the members to determine the types of training they want or feel they need. Measuring firefighter proficiency on basic tasks, such as NFPA 1403 drills, NFPA 1710 drills and EMS patient assessment skills audits, to assess personnel by mandate or by industry best practice. This will identify skills deficiencies to address through training. Incorporating call volume statistics and details. A significant percentage of the calls fire departments respond to are EMS and vehicle extrication But I’d venture to guess the training programs of most departments don’t match those percentages. Yes, you need to train for the high-risk, low-frequency tasks. But your training program should also be strong in the types of calls you respond to most. Incorporating these “facts and stats” into your training program will help you keep it fresh, relevant and interesting. Firefighters can use their phones and tablets to access department training information and complete training assignments Take Advantage Of New Technologies There is something to be said for back-to-the-basics, keep-it-simple firefighter training. But it’s a mistake to ignore technological advances. From teaching safe apparatus backing procedures to practicing hoseline deployment and Vent/Enter/Isolate/Search (VEIS) tactics, instructors have more options than ever before. Some instructors regard simulators as second-rate to “the real thing.” Certainly, simulation and other forms of technology-driven instruction can’t replace the value of hands-on experience. But they can augment it in important ways. Driver simulators, for example, not only save money because apparatus don’t have to be taken out of service or sustain wear and tear; they also provide an environment where firefighters can learn without risk of injury. If sitting behind a computer isn’t your kind of thing, live-burn simulators, vehicle fire simulators and hazmat simulators are available—and they all significantly boost training efficiency.Technology will never replace hands-on instruction, but it can facilitate it But you don’t need fancy simulators to incorporate technology into your fire training program. Learning management systems (LMS) are another important tool that can increase training program efficiency. Although they’ve been around for a long time, LMS continue to improve. The ability to integrate with mobile devices is huge, allowing firefighters to use their phones and tablets to access department training information and complete training assignments. Leveraging this technology can allow you to more efficiently manage information, schedule training and free up valuable time needed for other important tasks. If you’ve attended some of the larger regional or national fire conferences recently, you may have had the opportunity to see audience response technology in action. By capturing the firefighters’ responses to questions in real-time, instructors can adjust the material to reflect students’ knowledge level. Audience response is also simply a great way to keep firefighters engaged. Technology will never replace hands-on instruction, but it can facilitate it. If you’re using training methods that haven’t changed in decades, something’s missing from your training program. Without incorporating policy into your training, you’re only giving your firefighters half the equation Incorporate Policy Into Your Training I saved the biggest and best for last. When I work with fire departments across the country, I repeatedly discover the failure to incorporate policy into training. Think about it: Training curricula are almost always designed around procedures—the how of doing something. But isn’t the why just as important? And that’s what policy is all about. Without incorporating policy into your training, you’re only giving your firefighters half the equation.Inevitably firefighters will encounter times when following the procedure isn’t possible Inevitably firefighters will encounter times when following the procedure isn’t possible. That’s when policy training kicks in—firefighters understand the fundamental objective, and they can think on their feet about how to achieve it. Training on policy also helps departments address the issues that so often get firefighters into trouble. How many of your firefighters really understand your department’s social media policy? What about the rules surrounding sick time usage? These are things that trip up firefighters time and time again. If you’re not training on policies, it’s unlikely firefighters remember them. How many of your firefighters really understand your department’s social media policy? In addition, normalization of deviance is a risk to every organization. When personnel fail to follow policies and no negative repercussions result, it can quickly establish a new normal. Policy-based training resets the “normal” and makes sure that members of the organization comply with the policy and not what they think the policy says.Most line-of-duty death reports cite failure to comply with policy or lack of adequate policy Fire instructors often avoid training on policy because they regard it as boring or unrelated to what really matters—firefighter safety and survival. Yet most line-of-duty death reports cite failure to comply with policy or lack of adequate policy as contributing factors in the incident. If you’re worried that policy will make your training program dry and uninteresting, link it to real-world events. An online search provides lots of examples of when things went wrong and how adherence to policy might have produced a different outcome. And limit policy training to small chunks. Take out a 10-page policy and go through it line by line, and your students’ eyes will glaze over in seconds. Instead, look for ways to enrich your current training by bringing relevant pieces of policy into it. Your firefighters will be learning the department’s policies without even realizing it! Focus On Continuous Improvement Fire chiefs and fire instructors have a challenging job. Budgets are tight, and training is often one of the first things to be cut. Yet we need firefighters to be proficient in all-hazards response. Every department has a long training wish list. But if we focus on continuous quality improvement, we can get a little better each year. Looking for opportunities to incorporate statistics, technology and policy into our training is a good place to start.
Within traditional commercial and industrial firefighting systems, engineers have primarily focused on permanent installation designs rather than entertaining alternative or supplemental mobile firefighting systems. Permanent installation design is typically better understood, supported, and supplied throughout the fire protection engineering and manufacturing community. However, mobile firefighting systems provide unique solutions and advantages compared to their permanent installation cousins such as flexible deployment, simpler servicing, improved economy, and much higher performance availability. The combination of both systems is frequently the most strategic solution for the facility operator. Limitations of fixed installation systems Permanent installation (fixed) systems include everything from sprinklers, foam systems, primary watermain pumps, and the plethora of piping in between. A large refinery complex will need to address various hazard mitigation and control problems that span both hardware and personnel needs. In the event standard hazard mitigation safety procedures and equipment have failed, the facility immediately initiates a hazard control operation. Passive fixed systems automatically engage the hazard through an array of sensors, mechanical triggers, and control algorithms. A properly designed system with adequate hazard coverage, preplanning, preventative maintenance, and testing will successfully terminate the hazard, while firefighting personnel respond and ensure no further hazards develop. This conceptual approach relies on hardware and personnel all operating as planned…. Combining permanent and mobile apparatus “According to plan” would never have any failures or fires, but history has a different script. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard putting the entire response on human and mobile hardware resources. This would include but is not limited to firetrucks, mobile high-flow pumping systems, large mobile monitors, foam proportioning units, and large diameter layflat hose. This type of response escalates into a larger scale operation, sometimes involving agencies beyond the facility operator itself. Although a low probability event, the risk to life and property is significantly substantial. Fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage Reducing fire-related expenditureMore typical than the worst-case scenario, facilities experience both maintenance-related system downtimes and natural phenomena damage such as extreme weather and seismic events. In this case, fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage. In any of these situations, mobile fire apparatus may fill the gap requirements of the facility as their flexible storage and deployment would protect them from everything but the worst natural disasters. Their further benefit is that a smaller set of mobile apparatus resources may be used to protect a larger amount of infrastructure, especially while in use in a mutual-aid program between facilities and communities. According to the NFPA’s report “Total Cost of Fire in the United States”, fire-related damages and expenditures from 1980 to 2014 have risen from roughly $200B (adjusted for inflation to 2014) to nearly $330B. The greatest expenditure is in fire safety costs in building construction, amounting to $57.4B. Although the overall losses per year as a ratio to protection expenditures has dropped by roughly 70% over the past 30 years, petrochemical facility losses have continued to rise over the same time. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard Petrochemical facility challenges According to the NFPA, refineries or natural gas plants had reported an average of 228 fires or explosions per year through the 1990s. Furthering this data with Marsh’s “100 Largest Losses, 25th edition”, refinery losses have continually expanded throughout the last two decades with 11 of the top 20 largest losses of the past 40 years happening during or after the year 2000. Two primary drivers of this trend are the advanced age of petrochemical facilities and their staggering complexity. As oil margins fall, upstream operational businesses are detrimentally affected by reduced investment in everything to new equipment, maintenance and passive safety systems. There is an observable correlation between a major oil price drop followed by upstream facility fire losses. Even with reduced investment and oil throughput growth rates, US refinery utilisation at the end 2017 was at 96.7%, the highest since 2005 (Marsh, The Impact of the Price of Oil). The short story is that systems and personnel are being asked to do more with less with each passing year. Cost-effective mobile apparatus systems Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardised designs and application methodology. They can access open water sources by either drafting (when in close proximity to the water) or using floating source pumps (for variable level or difficult access water sources). Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardized designs and application methodology With this open water access, they can provide significantly more water (upwards of 10,000 GPM or more per system if necessary) than any typical fixed fire pumping solution. Moreover, as their primary benefit, they are easy to move and deploy. This benefit allows them to be utilised at the point of hazard as needed while being easily accessible for service. While fixed systems are installed at “every known” hazard and must be continually maintained to operate effectively, mobile systems may be used sitewide or across facilities. This flexibility reduces overall capital expenditure requirements and establishes a valuable primary and secondary firefighting system depending on the hazard and facility resources. Combining fixed and mobile systems Permanent installation fire suppression systems are a mainstay of modern day firefighting. They provide immediate passive response with little human intervention. However, as facility utilisation is pushed to maximum capacity while fixed systems continually age out without adequate replacement or maintenance, mobile systems will need to both fill the response gap and provide a final wall to total loss incidents. The reality is that both fixed and mobile systems need to work together to provide the safest possible operation. Service and training requirements need to also be maintained to manage an adequate, or even better, exemplary response to hazard control incidents. Managing major facility uptime requires continuous oversight and to drive hazard mitigation standards throughout the organisation, including executive management. A safe, reliable and fully-functional plant is also a profitable and cost-effective plant much like a healthy worker is a better worker. Protect your people and property and you will protecting your company’s future.
The Pierce high flow industrial apparatus features the first application of a Darley 2ZSM water pump Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, introduces the new Pierce High Flow Industrial Apparatus that is capable of flowing 5,500 gallons per minute when drafting, and up to 10,000 gallons per minute when drawing from a pressurised water source. This powerful and industry-leading vehicle will be on display at booth #2801 at Fire Rescue International (FRI) in Charlotte, NC on July 27-29. “In emergency scenarios, when an industrial pumper is called into action, maximum water and foam flow are the top priorities, and that’s exactly what we’ve accomplished with the new Pierce High Flow Industrial Apparatus – it’s numbers are off the charts, and set the new performance benchmark,” said Matt McLeish, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing of the Fire & Emergency segment. “Equally important, however, is the firefighting system’s endurance, reliability, and ease of operation. The new high-flow industrial apparatus delivers the dependability firefighters expect from Pierce.” Darley 2ZSM water pump The Pierce high flow industrial apparatus features the first application of a Darley 2ZSM water pump that delivers up to 10,000 gallons per minute flow rate from a pressurised water source, and additional reach to keep firefighters further away from harm. “We worked very closely with the Darley team to engineer and integrate the system’s components, which include a pair of Darley ZSM pumps that are coupled together on a common transmission to deliver uncommon performance,” said John Schultz, director of pumper and custom chassis products. “To say the least, it’s a pretty impressive firefighting system.” Pierce has been awarded five years of exclusivity on the Darley 2ZSM for industrial fire apparatus applications. Husky 450 foam system To complement the water pumping capabilities of the new Pierce High Flow Industrial Apparatus, Pierce expanded its renowned line of Husky foam systems. The new Husky 450 foam system delivers up to 450 gallons of foam concentrate per minute. “When flowing this much water, the foam system and other critical components need to keep pace, and that’s what we’ve been able to accomplish with this apparatus,” added Schultz. Simplicity of operation is another focus of Pierce’s product development team. One case in point is Pierce’s exclusive valve controllers that provide true valve position indication and an unprecedented level of control with the touch of a button. Moreover, the new patent-pending flow meters are an industry first, and provide accurate flow data across a broad range of flow rates. The Pierce High Flow Industrial Apparatus is available on either the Pierce Velocity or Pierce Arrow XT custom chassis, each featuring a 600 hp engine.
The aerial platform offers a 50-mph wind rating, a five-inch waterway, and a wide and roomy platform basket Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, has placed two Pierce Velocity pumpers and a Pierce 100-foot aerial platform into service with the Redmond Fire Department located in Redmond, Washington. Following the department’s ‘push in’ ceremony, Redmond Fire Department’s fleet is 100% Pierce apparatus. Fire suppression and emergency medical services “The Redmond Fire Department responds to a wide range of challenges—everything from fire suppression and emergency medical services to wildland firefighting—and relies upon its equipment to perform at a very high level,” said Matt McLeish, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing of the Fire & Emergency segment. “We’re excited that these powerful, versatile, and innovative Pierce Velocity apparatus are now on duty in the home city of Microsoft and Nintendo of America.” “Over the course of my 35-year career in heavy equipment industries of all types, I’ve learned that the price tag is only the beginning of the cost of ownership,” said Doug Jones, Redmond Fire Department’s Fleet Manager for the past decade, and someone who plays a significant role in vehicle purchases. “I’ve told my colleagues that the Pierce product is superior in terms of quality, reliability, and dealer support.” Pierce Velocity pumpers Mike Hilley is the Redmond Fire Department Medical Services Administrator, Health and Safety Officer, and Head of its EMS Division. “Our protection area is similar to other suburban departments, but it presents some unique challenges, including the wildland urban interface issue,” said Hilley. “The new Pierce Velocity engines will spend 90% of their time working the suburban neighbourhoods, but they will also support wildland response throughout the county. The aerial platform will serve the city’s urban and commercial areas, including the Microsoft and Nintendo of America campuses.” The pair of identical Pierce Velocity pumpers each feature a big block DD13 500 HP engine, TAK-4 independent front suspension, Command Zone advance electronics, and side roll and front impact protection systems. The vehicles offer seating for four firefighters (with a seatbelt monitoring system), a wide range of compartmentation for rescue tools and equipment, and an EMS cabinet inside the cab. Each vehicle’s firefighting system includes a 1500-GPM single-stage pump, a Husky 12 single agent foam system, and a 500-gallon water tank. “The IRT system will cut down on pollution, and it is so quiet that crews hardly realise it’s running” Pierce 100-foot aerial platform The Pierce 100-foot aerial platform, also built on the Velocity chassis, features the same big block DD13 500 HP engine, TAK-4 independent front suspension, Command Zone advance electronics, and side roll and front impact protection systems. The aerial platform offers a 50-mph wind rating, a five-inch waterway and 2000 gpm monitor, a wide and roomy platform basket, a Lyfe bracket rescue tool system, and LED rung lighting. Also on board is a portable compressed air foam system (in place of a full pump and tank) for quick response to car fires or similar emergencies. All three apparatus include idle reduction technology (IRT) to reduce engine emissions, prolong engine life, and improve air quality. “At an emergency scene, IRT allows us to shut down the main engine unless we’re in pump mode,” Hilley explained. “We’ll be able to run all vehicle systems with the IRT system while a small generator charges the vehicle’s batteries.” “Our entire community is on board with clean and green technologies,” Jones added. “The IRT system will cut down on pollution, and it is so quiet that crews hardly realise it’s running. Plus, when the little generator is running, the big expensive engine is not subject to wear. That’s another big benefit.”Pierce dealer, Hughes Fire Equipment, with headquarters in Springfield, Oregon, provides local service and support through a full-service facility in Tacoma, Washington.
The purchase includes Pierce custom pumpers, aerial tillers, tankers, rescues and wildland units Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, recently announced an order for 15 Pierce fire and emergency apparatus from Clackamas Fire District #1 in Oregon. The purchase includes six Pierce® Dash® CF custom pumpers, two Pierce Arrow XT™ aerial tillers, three Pierce 3,000-gallon tankers, two Pierce Type 3 wildland apparatus, one Pierce Arrow XT heavy-duty rescue, and one Pierce air-light heavy-duty rescue. Once the new vehicles are delivered, Clackamas FD #1 will be a 100% frontline Pierce fleet, and the six new Dash CF pumpers will join two others already in service with the department. “Pierce builds fire and emergency apparatus of all types and capabilities to help our customers achieve the highest level of performance, and then we back them up with unmatched service and support,” said Jim Johnson, Oshkosh Corporation Executive Vice President and President of the Fire & Emergency segment and Pierce Manufacturing. “It’s especially gratifying to see this very busy and highly regarded department become a 100% front line Pierce fleet, centred around the game-changing Dash CF apparatus.” “Having these new apparatus join our department is very good for both our community and our firefighters,” said Ryan Hari, Deputy Chief at Clackamas County FD #1. “They will enhance our response capabilities, and are a real morale booster – demonstrating to our employees that the community is investing not only in them but in the equipment they use to do their jobs.” Pierce Dash CF pumpers The six Pierce Dash CF pumpers each feature a Detroit Diesel DD13 470 HP engine, TAK-4® independent front suspension, and the PUC pump configuration. “We’ll soon have eight frontline Dash CF PUC pumpers,” said Chief Hari. “The outward visibility is unlike any other apparatus, and, being lower to the ground, the Dash CF offers excellent ergonomics and easy access. Pierce has done quite a bit to make these vehicles user-friendly and safer for firefighters.” Pierce Arrow XT 100-ft aerial tillers The two Pierce Arrow XT 100-ft aerial tillers are designed to navigate the many narrow roads in the district’s older communities as well as the roundabouts and cul-de-sacs found in many of the newer communities. These apparatus feature TAK-4 independent suspension, Command Zone advanced electronics, a 300-gallon water tank, a full complement of ground ladders, and blue LED lighting along the entire length of the aerial device. Other vehicles on order include a Pierce Arrow XT heavy-duty rescue with a Detroit DD13 525 hp engine, TAK-4 independent front suspension and TAK-4 T3 independent suspension on the tandem rear axles for enhanced maneuverability and greater ride comfort. A second heavy-duty rescue vehicle is a Pierce non walk-in configuration that will refill SCBA air bottles on scene and also provide rehab for firefighters. It features a breathing air compressor, fill system, and high pressure reel, as well as an electric awning and a lavatory. Pierce Type 3 wildland apparatus The pair of Pierce Type 3 wildland apparatus are built on a Freightliner M2 chassis with 4 X 4 all-wheel drive, seating for four firefighters, a 500-gpm two-stage pump, and a Pierce Husky® 3 single agent foam system. Finally, three Pierce tankers will support firefighting operations throughout the districts’ many rural areas.