Archives for firefighter-safety-health
Analysis of Firetruck Crashes and Associated Firefighter Injuries in the United States
New study came out last month in the Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine entitled “Analysis of firetruck crashes and associated firefighter injuries in the United States.” The authors state that there are some 30,000 firetruck crashes each year and that it represents the second leading cause of death of on-duty firefighters. Their research indicates that much more emphasis is needed on improving seat belt use.
Take the time to read the report. Additionally, a timely video production on Company Officer Responsibilities, Shared responsibilities for Apparatus Engineer/Driver and the entire crew related to seat belt use, response mode, defensive driving and the need to arrive to make a difference…
Approximately 500 firefighters are involved in fatal firetruck crashes each year and 1 out of 100 of these occupants dies as a result of the crash. Despite changes in regulations that govern fire vehicle safety, the average fatality rate per year has remained relatively stagnant. Rollovers are the most common crashes that result in firefighter deaths (66% of all fatal firetruck crashes), and a majority of those fatalities were unrestrained occupants. Redesigning and improving firetruck restraint systems could reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that occur in firetruck crashes, but the restraint systems will only be effective if firefighters buckle them in while riding in the apparatus
Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for on-duty firefighters. Firetruck crashes, occurring at a rate of approximately 30,000 crashes per year, have potentially dire consequences for the vehicle occupants and for the community if the firetruck was traveling to provide emergency services. Data from the United States Fire Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that firefighters neglect to buckle their seatbelts while traveling in a fire apparatus, thus putting themselves at a high risk for injuries if the truck crashes, especially in rollover crashes. Despite national regulations and departmental guidelines aiming to improve safety on fire apparatuses, belt use among firefighters remains dangerously low. The results from this study indicate that further steps need to be taken to improve belt use. One promising solution would be to redesign firetruck seatbelts to improve the ease of buckling and to accommodate wider variations in firefighter sizes.
Each year, an average of 100 firefighters die and 100,000 firefighters are injured in the line of duty from a variety of causes including, but not limited to, extreme physical exertion, underlying medical conditions, and motor vehicle crashes (United States Fire Administration, 2011). The United States Fire Administration (USFA), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, cites motor vehicle crashes as the cause of death for between 20–25% of the annual line-of-duty fatalities. Motor vehicle crashes are the second highest cause of death for firefighters. The leading cause of death is stress and overexertion which accounts for approximately 50% of the fatalities. Other significant causes of death in the dataset include: caught/trapped (10%), fall (5%), collapse (3%) and other (7%) (United States Fire Administration, n.d.). Firetruck crashes, although rare in comparison to non-emergency vehicle crashes, tend to have grave consequences for firetruck occupants and for occupants in other vehicles involved in the crash. Despite revising national standards to improve firetruck safety and reduce firefighters’ risk of injury and fatality, the annual injury and fatality rate has remained essentially unchanged over the past decade.
The USFA has openly prioritized reducing firefighter risk as its number one goal (United States Fire Administration, 2010), intending to accomplish it through injury prevention and mitigation strategies to reduce the total number of line-of-duty injuries and fatalities.
This paper investigates the characteristics of fatal firetruck crashes and identifies some underlying issues that may lead to increased firefighter injury and fatality risk while riding in a fire emergency vehicle. The data presented comes from two different national databases with varying degrees of crash-level and occupant-level information.
Analysis of Firetruck Crashes and Associated Firefighter Injuries in the United States REPORT HERE
Raleigh Rollover: This video was shot by the Seattle Fire Department and created by Nuvelocity for training, educational and safety purposes for the annual Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indiana. We edited their footage into a dramatic and powerful story. http://www.seattle.gov/fire/ http://www.fdic.com/index.html
From the NFFF/EGH program: (HERE)
On Saturday, November 17, members of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Memorial Weekend Staff attended the Fireman’s Ball to present the Everyone Goes Home® Seal of Excellence to the department for its commitment to promoting firefighter safety.
“Under Chief John McGrath’s leadership, the Raleigh Fire Department has been a champion of firefighter safety and successfully has implemented the themes and concepts of the Life Safety Initiatives,” said Victor Stagnaro, director of fire service programs for the Foundation. “The department has focused on excellent customer service, professional service delivery and operational readiness through training and discipline. These characteristics epitomize the Seal of Excellence,” he explained.
A single incident reinforced the importance of fully embracing the tenets of the Initiatives. On July 10, 2009, Ladder 4, a tractor drawn aerial ladder, was involved in a single vehicle accident while responding to a report of a structure fire. Fortunately, there were no fatalities and all the members riding on the apparatus returned to work. Afterward, Chief McGrath and the members of the Raleigh Fire department committed themselves to preventing this type of incident from happening again.
The department sought out the best national training models to provide to its members. After researching the best practices related to apparatus driving, they joined forces with the Seattle Fire Department which was working on a comprehensive training program related to driving tractor-drawn fire apparatus. The result was an extensive training program for the apparatus drivers of the Raleigh Fire department and greater levels of protection and accountability within the organization. They also developed key points to remind all fire service members of the following:
- Safety is First
- Training is Essential
- Wear Your Seatbelt
- Control all Intersections
- Be In Control of Your Apparatus
- You Must Arrive to Make a Difference
The Raleigh Fire Department’s outreach did not stop there. In conjunction with the Seattle Fire Department, Raleigh chose to share the lessons learned and the heartfelt stories of the firefighters that were involved in the crash by developing a training video. Their willingness to openly discuss this close call took courage. But the lessons learned and the desire to prevent others from experiencing a similar event, perhaps one with a more tragic ending, took precedence. The Raleigh fire department pressed forward believing that the safety of firefighters is a crucial element in the culture of firefighting.
(Play from your Desktop – No Internet Connection Required)
» VFIS Online Training Center: Seat Belt Safety
Testimony Continues from 2011 LAFD LODD Fire at Luxury Hollywood Hills Home in Hearing for ArchitectNo comments
A veteran fire captain testified Wednesday that he was trapped in debris that fell from a ceiling during a February 2011 fire at a luxury home in the Hollywood Hills, where another longtime firefighter suffered fatal injuries.
Called to testify during a hearing to determine if an architect who designed and oversaw the construction of the home should stand trial for involuntary manslaughter, Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Edward Watters told Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan that he “heard a loud bang” and suddenly found himself lying on his back with a “lot of weight on my chest.”
Gerhard Albert Becker—a 48-year-old German national who owned, designed and built the home —is charged in connection with the death of firefighter Glenn Allen, 61.
Allen, a 36-year veteran of the LAFD, died two days after being struck by a portion of the ceiling during the Feb. 16, 2011, blaze.
More from the Hollywood Patch; HERE
Previous Posts from
Did Firefighter Glenn Allen Die Because of a Reality Show? HERE
A rapid and fast moving early morning fire in downtown Trenton, Ontario Canada resulted in the subsequent collapse of a three story mixed use commerical and apartment occupancy structure. Published media reports indicated the building was over 130 years of age and was in operation as an adult entertainment establishment on the lower level with multiple occupancy use apartments on the upper floors. The fire displaced 12 residents. The commercial portion of the building on the number one floor was not operating at the time of the alarm.
For a complete overview of the general fire, refer to the links below for the media links.
Two firefighters were nearly trapped while engaged in primary search and rescue operations as the fire conditions deteriorated and compromise and collapse conditions began to collapse the wood frame structure.
Pre-incident images clearly depict the typical building profile of a heritage type structure of the late 1880′s vintage with it’s sloping roof profile and window treatments that are evident on both the bravo and delta divisions (many with window mounted air conditioning units that constitute a collapse risk to operating companies on the ground perimeter) . As with many buildings in urban areas, the exterior envelope has been renovated in a manner that added an exterior metal clad panel system that is typically mechanically fastened directly to the facade or to a sub-assembly fastening system. This in effect covers the buildings originating facade, building materials and structural and cosmetic conditions.
Common to original building construction and layouts, the alpha division shows the manner in which the first floor wall has been modified with no indication of window locations and conditions in the upper floors. Common to this renovation technique is the placement of the metal facade directly over existing window openings and framing systems, resulting in either boarded and elimination of the window or the fames and glass still present within the interior room compartments compounding search and rescue assignments.
The metal exterior cladding masks the ability for arriving companies to identify if the structure is wood frame Type V, ordinary Type III or Brace Frame construction. The profile and charactoristics of this building profile suggests a buidling of Type III Ordinary construction ( Brick and jost) with load bearing masony construction. This is not the case in this structure as fireground photos further depicted. The various fireground photos suggest that this was a wood frame structure with wood exterior sheathing with some brick masonry features applied to the alpha division. The building envelope is encased in a sheet metal panel cladding system attached the perimeter facade.
Image above shows the degree of interior fire involvement and smoke density. The sheet metal cladding that was applied to the surface facade masks the ability to monitor wall degradation and compromise, retains heat within the building envelope and has independent collapse considerations based upon the manner it is atached to the outer facade further compounding the structural integrity of the buildings wall envelope. Photo by Step Crosier.
In incidents taht have building profiles such as this, conservative risk management, establishment of primary and secondary collapse perimeters along the various divisions is imperative for firefighter safety and apparatus operabilty.
The image above shows the extent of collapse. Look at the various construction features consisting of the original wood plank sheathing, brick facade work, wood framing system and the retrofitted metal paneling facade.
- How would you Read the Building based upon the pre incident photos shown at the being of this post?
- Would you assume the building was a type III or IV structure or a wood frame or brace frame structure?
- Does each building system have a different bearing on fireground operations, strategies, tactics and operational integrity and company and personnal safety?
- How much operatoinal time do you have for a primary search and rescue assignment or for deployment and effective location of a fire seat and application of hose streams before you developing compromising conditions with the interior compartments?
IAFC and NVFC Join Forces for 2012 Safety and Health Week Campaign reinforces the Rules You Can Live By on and off the fire ground
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) recently announced that Rules You Can Live By will be the theme for the 2012 International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week, to be held June 17-23.
The IAFC and NVFC encourage fire departments to suspend all non-emergency activity during Safety and Health Week to focus on safety and health training and education allowing all shifts and personnel to participate. An entire week is provided to ensure each shift and duty crew can spend at least one day focusing on these critical issues.
Safety and Health Week is a collaborative program embraced by more than 20 national and international fire and emergency-service organizations, with sponsorship provided by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Volunteer Fire Council. The event is coordinated by the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section (SHS) and the NVFC’s Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program.
Rules You Can Live By
This year’s effort will capture the importance of responders taking care of themselves both on and off the emergency incident scene. Fire and EMS personnel can utilize the tools and resources of two nationally acclaimed programs: the SHS Section’s Rules of Engagement and the NVFC’s Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program.
“Survival in the fire and emergency service is like a coin, with operational safety on one side and a healthy lifestyle on the other,” said IAFC President Al Gillespie. “This is one of those cases where one plus one equals more than two. By offering a dual concentration this year, our goal is to reinforce the relationship between health and safety and the exponential return the combination can provide.”
”Safety and health are two of the most critical issues facing firefighters and EMS personnel today, regardless of whether you are volunteer or career,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “The entire fire service community must join together to create a culture where health and safety are a priority every day. The NVFC is pleased to partner with the IAFC to work toward this goal and make it a reality.”
Participating departments are encouraged not just to follow the theme, but to contribute to its larger body of knowledge. The IAFC and NVFC will provide planning resources on the Safety and Health Week website and encourage the community to submit links to additional resources, articles and SOPs that can help other departments.
A New Look for 2012
International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week marks the unification of the IAFC’s Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week with the NVFC’s National Firefighter Health Week.
The most noticeable change for fire and EMS departments is a new, user-friendly website dedicated exclusively to Safety and Health Week: www.SafetyAndHealthWeek.org.
The partnership will also enable both programs to continue to build important discussions and create connections that can save lives, such as:
- Increased dialogue and sharing of best practices between career, combination and volunteer departments
- Inclusion of components to address command issues
- Increased outreach to the fire and emergency service community beyond North America
Begin your planning today. For more information visit Safety and Health Week online.
Download these posters and place them in your department to remind all personnel and incident commanders of the rules they should live by.
- Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival and Incident Commander’s Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Safety
- Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Health
- B.E.S.T. Practices for Firefighter Health and Safety
Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival and Incident Commander’s Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Safety
The International Association of Fire Chiefs developed these Rules of Engagement to provide best practice model procedures that departments can use as part of their standard operating procedures/guidelines and firefighter training programs.
The International Association of Fire Chief’s (IAFC) Safety, Health and Survival Section was established to provide a specific component within the IAFC to concentrate on policies and issues relating to the health and safety of firefighters.
The National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System is a voluntary, confidential, non-punitive, and secure reporting system with the goal of improving fire fighter safety. Submitted reports are reviewed by fire service professionals and identifying descriptions are removed to protect your identity. The report is then posted on this web site for other firefighters to use as a learning tool.
The NVFC has set forth their Firefighter Health and Safety Priorities in a series of B.E.S.T. Practices, which are divided into the four main categories of Behavior, Equipment, Standards and Codes, and Training. Learn the B.E.S.T. Practices and find resources for implementing them in your department.
The NVFC offers the S.T.O.P. (Safety Tops Our Priorities) training series on vehicle safety. The first course – Seatbelts Tops Our Priorities – is a 30-minute session that educates participants on the importance of using a seatbelt. The course examines how to encourage safety when responding to emergencies and how seatbelt use and safe vehicle operations can be enforced at the department level. The training is provided using an online platform from McNeil and Company’s Emergency Services Insurance Program (ESIP).
The NVFC and USFA created the Emergency Vehicle Safe Operations program to prevent firefighter deaths and injuries from vehicle accidents, which are historically the second leading cause of firefighter fatalities. This innovative educational program includes an emergency vehicle safety best practices self-assessment, standard operating guideline examples, and behavioral motivation techniques to enhance emergency vehicle safety.
International First Responder Seatbelt Pledge
Firefighters and emergency service personnel are encouraged to sign the Seatbelt Pledge in an effort to ensure the safety of all first responders driving or riding in fire department apparatus. This web site, administered through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Everyone Goes Home program, also includes public service announcements, videos, posters, training, and other resources for getting first responders to buckle up.
The Fireground; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
It will always still be about…..
- The Brotherhood
We have assumed that the routiness or successes of past operations and incident responses equates with predictability and diminished risk to our firefighting personnel
- Our current generation of buildings, construction and occupancies are not as predictable as past conventional construction,
- therefore risk assessment, strategies and tactics must change to address these new rules of combat structural fire engagement.
CJ Naum (2011)
2012 Les Lukert Conference Information
February 10-12, 2012
NEW FOR 2012
Based on student feedback from previous years, the 2012 Les Lukert Winter Conference will offer new opportunities to attend multiple courses.
Traditional 12-hour courses will be offered, but several four hour courses will repeat three times, giving students the opportunity to hear and network with a larger number of students and instructors. If you can’t get there first thing on Saturday, one 8-hour course will start at noon Saturday and finish at noon Sunday!
Mix and match as your schedule permits, but pay particular attention to this as you sign up. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! The NSFSI Education Committee hopes this new format makes the Conference even more useful to students and we look forward to your continued attendance and feedback as we plan future conferences!
Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center
110 Second Avenue, Kearney, NE 68847
855.444.5769 (toll free)
Conference Web Site: http://www.nsfsi.com/leslukertconference.asp
Here is our Facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/190362184363286/
Please invite any of your contacts who you think may want to attend.
Here is our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NeFireInstructors
Click on the class link below or scroll down to see a description of the classes being offered at the 2012 Les Lukert Conference.
Ten Traits of a Positive Fire Service Instructor (pre-conference instructor developement course)
Pride and Ownership: The Love for the Job
Avoiding Human Error on the Fireground
Lead With A Vision, Not a Tradition
Functional Fireground Accountability
Thriving on the Fireground
Adaptive Fireground Management for Command & Company Officer
Firefighter Rehab and Medical Monitoring
Fire Instructor I
The Company Officer- Leading, Learning and Laying In
Ten Traits of a Positive Fire Service Instructor
(**Pre-conference Instructor Development Course)
Friday February 10, 0900 – 1700
As an Instructor, it is essential to promote a positive and safe fire ground environment, and the preparation begins on the training ground. However, in some jurisdictions, the training ground has become anything but an environment that promotes positive and safe attitudes.
A number of fire service personnel will become instructors without any idea of how to teach a class. They are told that they have to be an instructor for promotion. They are thrown into the mix and told that they have to pull a rotation at the training academy. These are not the type of instructors that our future fire service leaders need. Face it; some people are just not built to teach. Our instructors are doomed from the beginning. They teach the minimum, and are closed to the change.
Look back over your career. Can you recall a fire instructor who influenced you positively? Negatively? What were the major differences between these instructors? Several attitudes, practices, and attributes distinguish the positive instructor from the negative one.
Pride and Ownership: The Love for the Job
Ignite Your Love for the Job. Pride and Ownership holds no punches. Chief Rick Lasky takes a hard look at the fire service and finds it short on the only element that makes it effective: passion. Chief Lasky gives an upfront and honest criticism about the need to reignite the love of the job on every level, from chiefs on down. Do you have what it takes? Not everyone is cut out for the fire service. It takes only the best to serve the public when people need help most. Pride and Ownership calls for men and women with honor and integrity to measure up to the task. There’s nothing else in the world like being a firefighter. Every day Chief Lasky remembers why his job is the best in the world and he brings that passion to Pride and Ownership. Chief Lasky revisits the proud history and tradition of the fire service and reflects on the family values and brotherhood that have made firefighting a truly family oriented vocation.
The Company Officer
Our Two Families
Sweating the Small Stuff
Changing Shirts-The Promotion
What September 11th Did To Us and For Us
Ceremonies That Stoke the Flames of Tradition
Marketing Your Fire Department
Making It All Happen and Taking Care of Number 1
Have You Forgotten?
Rick Lasky, a 30-year veteran of the fire service, is chief (ret.) of the Lewisville (TX) Fire Department. Rick began his career as a firefighter in the suburbs on the southwest side of Chicago and while in Illinois received the 1996 International Society of Fire Service Instructors “Innovator of the Year” award for his part in developing the “Saving Our Own” program. He served as the co-lead instructor for the H.O.T. Firefighter Survival program at FDIC for over 10 years, is an editorial advisory board member of Fire Engineering Magazine and also serves on the FDIC advisory board. Rick contributes monthly to Fire Engineering’s Roundtable column, is the author of both the “Pride and Ownership-A Firefighter’s Love of the Job” leadership series featured in Fire Engineering Magazine and the best-selling book published by PennWell Books, as well as the host for the radio show “Pride and Ownership” heard on Fire Engineering Radio.
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Avoiding Human Error on the Fireground
The Fire Service has recognized many of the fireground injuries and related LODD’s are directly related to poor decision making by personnel on the fireground. Findings show how a fatal chain of errors made by personnel, from the Incident Commander to the rookie firefighter, promulgate the problem in the American Fire Service. This course is designed to identify those specific factors associated with the error chain and establish corrective action models to reverse this dangerous trend.
Case reviews of LODD’s will be used to understand how this occurs and students will discuss the need for a heighten awareness for command and incident specific goals and objectives to reduce similar occurrences. This program is designed to open the “Minds Eye” and change the firefighter’s perspective and paradigm on routine fires. 3/6/14 are all you need to know to increase your rate of survival and decrease your chances of being injured to a point of retirement from the fire service.
Ed Hadfieldis a Division Chief with the City of Coronado Fire Department in San Diego, California. In his 25 years of professional experience, he has been recognized as a leader in Fireground Command Operations, Command Officer Succession Development, Truck Company Functions, and Fire Service Leadership. He holds a Bachelors’ Degree from Azusa Pacific University in Organizational Leadership, and is currently completing his Masters Degree in Leadership Studies at Azusa Pacific University and the EFO program through the National Fire Academy. He is a frequent speaker at fire service conferences and training programs nationwide, and provides leadership training to multiple corporate agencies as well.
Lead With A Vision, Not a Tradition
Looking to the future of the American Fire Service, we must have leadership in all aspects of the emergency services that are visionaries, with goals for their department and the Fire Officers and Firefighters. Plus be responsible to teach our next generation the Pride and Traditions of our culture.
K. Doc Patterson, Chief Creative Officer, K. J. Patterson Doc started his career as a volunteer firefighter to career Fire Officer in Monmouth, Illinois. Doc served as the Director of Education & Media Affairs in the Chicago area. Doc has over 37 years in the fire service. Doc has taught many aspects of the fire service, from basic firefighter skills, instructor and fire officer development and firefighter safety. His specialty includes Honor Guard Development, American Fire Service History and Emergency Team Motivation. Doc Patterson is known for his contagious excitement and enthusiasm. His interactive experience will ignite your Phoenix inside! If you help people grow…You will rise to a new level in you life. The key is to move with determination, sense of faith, achievement and self-respect.
Doc has made three national television appearances, worked with the Professional Athletes, and is a nationally known speaker across this great nation. The Heart and Mind of a champion is in every one of us! Go for the gold in all aspects of your life! “May Your Spirit Rise… like a Phoenix from the Ashes!” Doc Patterson has a Degree in Fire Science; serves with the Illinois Fire Service Institute and his own consulting firm K.J. Patterson, specializing in personal & professional development for teams and officers in all aspects of Emergency Services.
Functional Fireground Accountability
Fireground non-cardiac line of duty deaths that involve some level of accountability failure are in the majority. We can, and must do better. This course will utilize case studies to identify the issue of fireground accountability as an important contributing factor in many line of duty deaths and offer realistic solutions to fire departments, volunteer, combination and career on how they can begin to address this issue within their own fireground operations. Establishing and maintaining effective and functional fireground accountability with a strong command and control system, establishment of identifiable and cohesive crews and good communications is well within the grasp of every department regardless of size or make-up.
|An injured Los Angeles firefighter is taken for treatment following a house fire in July. His injuries were not life threatening. Photo courtesy firerescue1.com|
Identifying firefighters in distress, and verifying their identity when located, is absolutely critical to functional accountability. Finding a down firefighter does not mean that you found the one who called the mayday. Case studies will show how failure to identify the firefighter(s) in distress, and then verify who was found, has led to tragedy. Many fire departments are considering the purchase of socalled wireless accountability systems built into their SCBA or PASS devices. These are great tools for some things, however, they cannot replace heads-up attention to who is doing what, and where, on the fireground. We will explain the difference between these systems and functional accountability. We will show you limitations of these hightech tools in hands-on scenarios, and show you how you can use them to your advantage.
Tracking personnel can be difficult, especially when mutual aid is involved, or personally-owned-vehicles respond to the scene. Who is keeping track of you when you answer the call? We will discuss the challenges that you face, especially issues associated with keeping track of personnel from several different agencies and response styles, and leave you with tools to simplify this challenging process. Lastly, we will discuss personal responsibility. Each of us has a responsibility to let someone know where we are and what we are doing. We will explore how you and your crew can stay accountable while you work, no matter how big or small your department is, incorporating proven practices into your on-scene work habits.
Chris Langlois, Midwest Fire Training Group, has 23 years of volunteer and career fire service experience. Presently he serves as a Training Officer with the Omaha Fire Department. His national certifications include Firefighter I & II, Instructor I & II, Fire Officer I & II, Driver/Operator and Incident Safety Officer, as well as being a NREMT-Paramedic. He holds degrees in Public Fire Administration and Executive Fire Service Leadership.
Captain Dan Millerhas over 30 years of volunteer and career experience. He is a Training Officer with the Omaha Fire Department and an adjunct instructor with Metro Community College. He is NFPA Instructor-II certified. Dan is an instructor with Midwest Fire Training Group.
Thriving on the Fireground
Are you Combat Ready?
Are you prepared to THRIVE on the fireground?
The Ready Position is a condition where the capacity and capabilities of the Fire Service Warrior are in an ideal state of potential energy. Whether you are sitting in the firehouse at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee at hand, or in the recliner at home with the pager sitting on the table next to you, hopefully you are ready to spring into action if the alarm comes in. If you are in the Ready Position you have mastered the physical and mental skills of the Fire Service Warrior, you are able to be 100% present when called to battle, you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to thrive on the fireground, and you have prepared for the unfortunate in case your next alarm is your last one.
Chris Brennan is a 14 year fire service veteran who has taught and consulted for local, state, federal, and international responders. His articles have appeared in numerous publications including Fire Engineering and Fire Chief. Christopher Brennan is the author of The Combat Position: Achieving Firefighter Readiness and the website www.fireservicewarrior.com.
Adaptive Fireground Management for Command & Company Officer
This highly interactive program will present insights into emerging concepts and methodologies related to the unique challenges during combat structural fire engagement that require new strategic, tactical and operational modeling due to extreme fire behavior, building construction and occupancy risk. Predictive Risk Management, Command Compression, Tactical Patience and Five-Star Command™ theories will be presented though interactive scenarios and group activities. This program will address operational considerations for command and company officers and will focus on various department sizes and organizational profiles.
Christopher Naum is a 36-year fire service veteran and a highly regarded author, lecturer, national author and fire officer; he is a distinguished authority on building construction issues affecting the fire and emergency services. He is a nationally recognized authority on command and operational excellence and firefighter safety. An Adjunct Instructor with the National Fire Academy, he served on the Board of Directors, IAFC Safety, Health & Survival Section and is the second vice president of the ISFSI. A former architect and fire protection engineer, he was the 1987 ISFSI George D. Post National Fire Instructor of the Year, is a technical reviewer to the NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program and is the Chief of Training for the Command Institute, a Washington, DC based emergency management & training organization. He is the executive producer of Buildingsonfire.com
Firefighter Rehab and Medical Monitoring
Using the IAFC “Rehab and Medical Monitoring: An Intro to NFPA 1584” program, this presentation provides a realistic look at implementing rehab that increases available manpower, allows firefighters to work harder and longer with less injuries. Practical pointers for medical monitoring with examples of effective rehab programs will be provided.
Mike McEvoy, PhD, NRP, RN, CCRN, is the EMS Coordinator for Saratoga County, New York and EMS Director on the Board of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs. He is a Professor Emeritus in Critical Care Medicine at Albany Medical College in New York and continues to practice as a clinical nurse specialist in adult and pediatric cardiac surgery. Mike is a paramedic for Clifton Park-Halfmoon Ambulance, chief medical officer and firefighter/paramedic for West Crescent Fire Department. He is the FireEMS editor for Fire Engineering magazine, a widely published autheor and popular speaker at Fire, EMS, and medical conferences worldwide. In his free time, Mike is an avid hiker and winter mountain climber.
Things Every Firefighter & Officer Should Understand About Fireground Dynamics
This course will give an understanding of how fire effects both new and old style building construction and how it differs with the use of new and old building materials. The firegound personnel will have a better understanding what they are seeing in the fire environment. It wil be useful for the interior attack personnel, support personnel and Incident Commander regardless of their fireground experience.
Earl Rudolph has been providing EMS and fire service for 38 years. He began his career as a volunteer in Papillion in 1972 and retired as Training Officer for Fremont Fire Dept in 2010. He continues as a volunteer for Springfield Fire Department and part-time instructor for the State Fire Marshal Training Division. Earl became an EMS Instructor in 1975, opened his private EMS Training Agency in 1977 and has provided EMS and Fire training to many people throughout the years. Earl has been married for 36 years to his wonderful wife, Rita.
Eric Rasmussen began his volunteer fire service in 1968. He has served as Firefighter, Fire Chief, Training Officer and Board member for Southeast Rural Fire District. He is Firefighter II and Fire Instructor I certified. Eric worked for 32 years as the Training Specialist for the Nebraska Forest Service. In the mid 1970’s, he participated in the development of the Red Card certification system. Although he’s retired, Eric remains active at Southeast Rural, is on the Greenwood Rural Board and is active with NSVFA, Nebraska Fire Chief’s Ass’n and NSFSI. He’s also an advisor to the Southeast Community College Fire Protection program and is a part-time instructor for the SFMTD.
Russ Daly has been involved in the fire service since 1963, when he joined Ralston Volunteer Fire and Rescue. During his time at Ralston, he served as a fire fighter before becoming the Rescue Capt and later Fire Chief. In 1981, he began teaching with the Nebraska State Fire Service as a Full Time Instructor, and in 1986 became Director. He held this position until 1992. Russ is currently Board President of the Murray Rural Fire Protection District and serves as Fire Instructor for the Murray Fire and Rescue Department.
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Fire Instructor I
This course is designed to give the student the knowledge and ability to teach from prepared, predominately skills oriented, materials. Areas covered include: communication, learning concepts, human relations in the teaching-learning environment, teaching methods, organizing the learning environment, records and reports, testing and responsibilities, teaching techniques, and use of instructional materials. An additional weekend of class (March 2, 3 & 4, 2012) is required to complete Instructor I certification. The second weekend will be hosted at the Kearney Fire Department Training Center. The required textbook for this course, IFSTA Fire and Emergency Services Instructor (7th Edition), will be available for purchase at check-in. Class Limit – 26
Bill Pfeiferis a Training Specialist for the SFMTD serving the Northeast region. He has been a full time instructor since 2001 teaching classes in Extrication, Haz-mat and Fire and Emergency Services Instructor.
Rick Grauerholz has been an instructor with the SFMTD since 1984. He is a 27 year member of NSFSI and has taught numerous times at the Winter Conference. Rick has been a member of Ashland Fire Department since 1972.
Michael Lloyd began his fire service career in 1980, serving with a variety of career and volunteer departments. He is currently a Station Chief with Offutt AFB providing structural and aircraft fire suppression in addition to EMS, HAZMAT and technical rescue. Mike has been a part-time instructor with the SFMTD since 1997 teaching Incident Command, Building Construction and Fire Instructor courses.
Dennis Baber (not Pictured) is a Training Specialist with the SFMTD.
Brent Doring (not pictured) is a parttime instructor with the SFMTD.
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The Company Officer, Leading, Learning and Laying In
Leading, learning and laying in presents the three priorities of the company officer: leadership, training and critical decision making, using a “day in the life” format that can be applied the next day in the front seat of the rig and in life at the station.
This presentation is designed for both new company officers and the veteran looking for a recharge. The goal of this class is to distill these massive topics down and bring them together for immediate application. The result is a fast paced presentation of nuggets, plans and thought processes critical to success for motivating, training and working at the company level. The points shared were found both the hard way and given by those who inspire me. The program will be essentially divided into sub sections.
Leading – The first component of the class is leadership. When you step into the role of company officer your actions, words and associations are constantly being observed. If you are unaware, this will kill you. If you recognize this it will catapult you. I will show how to set the example by getting out of bed early to hit the gym to handling personnel issues with honesty and straight talk.
Learning- This section will provide training programs, lists of online and print resources, drill and lesson plans that are easy to plug into day to day operations. With the demands on today’s company officer it is difficult to do things right because so many administrative duties demand our attention right away. Training cannot suffer from this. This will save officers time by showing them ready made material for immediate use.
Laying In – There is too great of a focus on scene size up for the company officer and the lack of attention in scene set up. At some point you have to stop accumulating information and get to work. I present my scene set up thought process that “focuses on the firsts” First line, first search and first vent.
Lieutenant Brian Brush of Lakewood Colorado has 15 years experience in the fire service. Brian received his Fire Officer Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence in 2010. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Fire and Emergency Services and an Associate’s Degree in Paramedicine. He has written for Fire Engineering, presented at FDIC, and is a contributor for www.fireservicewarrior.com
Is your team prepared to be first on the scene to handle an ice emergency?
Dive Rescue International’s Ice Rescue certification course teaches:
How to avoid becoming a victim
How to recognize ice hazards
How to evaluate ice strength
This program allows you to practice multiple ice rescues with victims who have fallen through the ice.
Other program topics include:
Ice conditions and ice formation
Hypothermia & cold-water near-drowning
Equipment selection and rigging techniques
Operational planning and scene evaluation
Prerequisites – Member of a public safety agency and at least 18 years old. This program is designed for personnel who are physically fit. Participants are encouraged to participate after successfully completing the IADRS Watermanship Test or testing to a fitness level of 13 MET (Metabolic Equivalents) or greater. Participants with aerobic fitness questions or concerns should consult their physician prior to in-water training. Participants who have poor aerobic fitness may attend this program as surface support personnel with the approval of the instructor.
Ice Rescue requires the purchase of a student manual ($15). It may be purchased with your registration. Limited numbers will be available at the Conference. Also note, class is limited to 30 students. The class will be split in half for hands on work (Sat PM/Sun AM) to allow more hands on time. When you register, please select Ice Rescue AND a 4-hour class for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
Brad Thavenet is an 11 year veteran of Lincoln Fire Rescue. Currently Captain Thavenet is Water Rescue Commander for the department, member of NEFT-1, and an international instructor and author for Dive Rescue International. Captain Thavenet has presented at international conferences and has instructed classes to FDNY, Los Angeles City Fire, Canadian Fire Depts and many others.
Joe Vandenack has been a member of the Yutan Volunteer Fire Department for 13 years. During that time he has also been on the Emergency Response Dive Teams at Boystown, Ralston and Yutan, Nebraska. Joe has been teaching Dive Rescue International’s Ice Rescue Course since 2003.
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Modern incident demands on the fireground are unlike those of the recent past requiring incident commanders and commanding officers to have increased technical knowledge of building construction with a heightened sensitivity to fire behavior, a focus on operational structural stability and considerations related to occupancy risk versus the occupancy type.
Strategies and tactics must be based on occupancy risk, not occupancy type, and must have the combined adequacy of sufficient staffing, fire flow and tactical patience orchestrated in a manner that identifies with the fire profiling, predictability of the occupancy profile and accounts for presumptive fire behavior.
Building Knowledge = Fire Fighter Safety….where do you fit into this equation?
Christopher Naum, SFPE, 2011
As an officer, you need to stay abreast of operational issues and situations in order to be knowledgeable and conversant with the variables that may affect company deployments and subsequent operations. The National Fire Fighter Near Miss Reporting System (FFNMRS) has a vast collection of resources that are a few keystrokes and links away.
One of the most useful tools in the FFNMRS Tool Box of resources is the Near-Miss Report of the Week (ROTW). The direct link to the page is here.
Take some time to look over the content and subject matter available to you in the form of the weekly publication. The information provides insights and examples of situational near miss events and close calls that provide the lessons learned so that, when confronted with similar precursors or subtle indications, you may be able to draw from the ROTW and the from the lessons and insights of other Near Miss Reports that may prevent a similar close-call/near miss event or from escalating into a more serious event.
Take the time to review the ROTW, sign up for the weekly email delivery and most importantly- read the reports and integrate them into your training, drills, discussions, tabletops, chalk board or podcast talks. Get the FFNMRS reports embedded into your psyche.
Here’s what was sent out this week….
Multiple units responding to the same incident from different directions creates the potential for unscheduled arrivals at intersecting points. These points are most frequently intersections that are in one form or another controlled by devices ranging from stop signs to traffic lights. In this week’s ROTW, report 11-179, reminds us that a green light does not necessarily guarantee the way is safe to proceed.
[ ] Brackets denote reviewer de-identification.
“A municipal ALS equipped engine and a third service county ALS ambulance were dispatched by the same dispatch, on the same radio channel, to a local park for a trauma patient. While enroute, and less than two miles from our station, we approached a heavy traffic intersection, which is blind to the south side. Upon approach, the [brand deleted] signal preemption system (which both the engine and ambulance are equipped with) was delayed in capturing the light. The driver of the engine began to reduce speed and decelerate toward the intersection. As we approached the intersection we captured the light with the signal preemption system, giving us a GREEN light, but for whatever reason, the driver of the engine made a complete stop at the intersection. Just then the ambulance blew through the intersection, not stopping for the RED light. To our surprise, we didn’t hear or see this ambulance until they were in the intersection. Only because of the driver’s situational awareness and intuition (gut feeling) did we come to a complete stop to avoid a collision.”
Right of way rules, line of sight approaches, traffic light pre-emption devices and emergency response SOPs all support apparatus arriving at the scene of an emergency call. Despite all these efforts, human factor plays a role in the safe arrival of all units to their dispatched destination.
Once you have read the entire account of 11-179, and the related reports, consider the following with your colleagues.
- Many departments now have specific rules requiring units to stop at all red lights during emergency response. If your department has such rules in effect, are there any other recommendations for intersection travel to consider?
- The reporter states the driver’s “situational awareness and intuition” contributed to collision avoidance. How large of a role do you believe the two factors played? How do you promote/teach the effect of the “gut feeling” in your driver training sessions?
- How often do you encounter intersection situations with crossing emergency vehicle traffic? Given your estimate, what is your assessment of the likelihood of a collision based on the frequency?
- If your agency uses traffic pre-emptive signaling, how often is the system calibrated/fault-checked to ensure accuracy?
- How many “blind side” intersections exist in your response area? What is the significance of knowing where they are?
Emergency response ranges from high frequency, high risk to low frequency and high risk depending on how many calls for service a department receives. Reducing the risk associated, whether the frequency is high or low is an essential element of keeping our promise to the communities we serve. Doing your part by keeping your speed under control and being on the lookout for hazardous situations like intersections, will promote getting you to the scene quickly and returning for the next run.
Related Reports – Topical Relation: Driving: Intersections
Experience a near miss with another piece of apparatus while responding? Submit your report to www.firefighternearmiss.com today.
Note: The questions posed by the reviewers are designed to generate discussion and thought in the name of promoting firefighter safety. They are not intended to pass judgment on the actions and performance of individuals in the reports.
To Sign up to receive the Near-Miss Report of the Week by email, forward your request to email@example.com
Firefighternearmiss.com is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. Founding dollars were also provided by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. The project is managed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and supported by FireFighterCloseCalls.com in mutual dedication to firefighter safety and survival.
We’ve provided some direct links from the ROTW webpage here, but there is a lot more on the firefighternearmiss.com site.
FFNMR – Report of the Week Archives [Direct Link, HERE]
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||14.8 MB||Complete 2006 Report of the Week Library. ZIP File.|
||35 KB||FF becomes entangled in wires.|
||38 KB||Safety issues overlooked during emergency response.|
||36 KB||Sunshine fould driver’s vision.|
||49 KB||Fighting fire in a vacant structure, concerns addressed.|
||35 KB||Aerial stabilizer narrowly misses firefighter.|
||35 KB||Re-opening a roadway requires coordination.|
||37 KB||Wildland/urban interface fire reveals personnel/equipment needs.|
||37 KB||Apparatus electrified during test by contractor.|
||35 KB||Driver falls asleep on EMS call.|
||38 KB||Roof collapse ignites bedroom injuring firefighter.|
||28 KB||Engine contacts downed powerline at accident scene.|
||38 KB||Structure fire in concealed ceiling causes collapse, nearly trapping interior crews.|
||34 KB||Tire blows following apparatus check.|
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For some Program insights, check out the recent posting on CommandSafety.com: National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System; Untapped Resource
or go Directly to the Firefighternearmiss.com site, HERE
These are some of the Site File Categories;
- 2011 Calendar/Annual Report
- 2011 Calendar Modules
- 2010 Calendar / 2009 Annual Report
- 2009 Near-Miss Calendar
- Annual Reports
- Crew Resource Management
- Equipment Information
- Featured Reports
- Illustrated Case Studies
- Investigation Reports
- Media Center
- Near-Miss Matters eNewsletter
- Near-Miss Trainers
- Report of the Week Archives
- Reports for Training
- Sample Policies & Training Tools
- State Training Resources
- Table Top Training Exercises
National Firefighter Near Miss Reporting System on Facebook, HERE
For a direct point of contact at the NFFNMRS;
Captain Araguz, a 30 year old, 11-year veteran of the Wharton Volunteer Fire Department made Captain in 2009. He lost his life while battling a multiple alarm fire a the Maxim Egg Farm located at 3307 FM 442, Boling, Texas on July 3, 2010. The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office issued the Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Report, SFMO Case Number FY10-01 that provides a detailed examination of the incident, operations and yeilds findings and recommendations. A full version of the report is available at the Texas SFMO web site HERE.
On July 3, 2010, Wharton Volunteer Fire Department Captain Thomas Araguz III was fatally injured during firefighting operations at an egg production and processing facility. At 9:41 PM, Wharton County Sheriff’s Office 911 received a report of a fire at the Maxim Egg Farm located at 3307 FM 442, Boling, Texas. Boling Volunteer Fire Department and the Wharton Volunteer Fire Department responded first, arriving approximately 12 minutes after dispatch. Eventually, more than 30 departments with 100 apparatus and more than 150 personnel responded. Some departments came as far as 60 miles to assist in fighting the fire.
The fire involved the egg processing building, including the storage areas holding stacked pallets of foam, plastic, and cardboard egg cartons and boxes. It was a large windowless, limited access structure with large open areas totaling over 58,000 square feet. A mixed construction, it included a two-story business office, the egg processing plant, storage areas, coolers, and shipping docks. It was primarily metal frame construction with metal siding and roofing on a concrete slab foundation with some areas using wood framing for the roof structure.
Captain Araguz responded to the scene from the Wharton Fire Station, approximately 20 miles from the fire scene, arriving to the front, south side main entrance 20 minutes after dispatch. Captain Araguz, Captain Juan Cano, and Firefighter Paul Maldonado advanced a line through the main entrance and along the south, interior wall to doors leading to a storage area at the Southeast corner.
Maldonado fed hose at the entry door as Captains Araguz and Cano advanced through the processing room. Araguz and Cano became separated from the hose line and then each other. Captain Cano found an exterior wall and began kicking and hitting the wall as his air supply ran out. Firefighters cut through the exterior metal wall at the location of the knocking and pulled him out. Several attempts were made to locate Captain Araguz including entering the building through the hole and cutting an additional hole in the exterior wall where Cano believed Araguz was located. Fire conditions eventually drove the rescuers back and defensive firefighting operations were initiated.
Captain Cano was transported to the Gulf Coast Medical Center where he was treated and released. Captain Araguz was recovered at 7:40 AM, the following morning. Initially transported by ambulance to the Wharton Funeral Home then taken to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office in Austin, Texas for a post-mortem examination.
Building Structure and Systems
The fire incident building was located on the property of Maxim Egg Farm, located within an unincorporated area of Wharton County. The 911 address is 580 Maxim Drive, Boling, Texas 77420.
Wharton County has no adopted fire codes, or model construction codes, and no designated Fire Marshal on staff that conducts fire safety inspections within their jurisdiction.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 101, Life Safety Code, 2009 Edition, is adopted by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and is the applicable standard for fire and life safety inspections in the absence of an adopted fire code within unincorporated areas of a county by an applicable authority. All references regarding evaluation of the incident building in relation to minimum life safety requirements are based on NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, 2009 Edition.
Maxim Farm property includes 23 chicken coops known as layer barns that average 300 feet long and 50 feet wide holding between 15,000 to 25,000 chickens each. These layer barns inter-connect to a central processing building by a series of enclosed conveyor belts transporting over one million eggs daily.
- The property includes integrated feed silos, water tanks, and waste management facilities. Additional areas on the property include equipment barns, shipping offices, loading docks, coolers, storage areas, and business offices.
Overall Building Description
The main processing structure was an irregularly shaped mixed construction of metal, concrete block, and wood framing on a concrete slab foundation with approximately 58,000 square feet of space. Three dry-storage rooms connected by a wide hallway lined the east side of the plant. A concrete block (CMU) wall separated the egg processing area from the East Hallway and storage rooms. Coolers were located north of the processing room with the loading docks along the west side of the structure. The loading docks were accessible from the processing room, Cooler 3, and Cooler 2. Cooler 1 was located at the north end of Dry Storage 2. A two-story building housing the business office was attached to the main processing plant at the southwest corner.
The building construction was classified as an NFPA 220, Type II-000 construction with an occupancy classification by the Life Safety Code as Industrial with sub-classification as special-purpose use. The Life Safety Code imposes no minimum construction requirements for this type of occupancy.
The predominant use of the building was to process and package fresh eggs for shipment after arriving by automated conveyor directly from a laying house adjacent to the building. The general floor plan of the building consisted of a large egg processing room, with surrounding areas used for storage of packing materials and two large drive-in coolers for holding packaged eggs prior to shipping.
Building construction consisted of a combination of steel and wood framing with a sheet metal exterior siding and roofing over a low-pitch roof on a concrete slab foundation. Structural elements within the interior of the building were exposed and unprotected with no fire-resistance rated materials applied. The load bearing structural elements consisted of steel beams, and steel pipe columns, with steel open web trusses supporting the roof structure.
- Wood components were also used as part of the load bearing elements and wall framing.
- Perimeter walls of the cooler compartments were constructed of concrete masonry units (CMU).
- The building was not separated between other areas of use by fire-resistance rated assemblies.
- Ancillary facilities located within the building used for administrative offices and other incidental spaces were constructed of wood framing with a gypsum wallboard finish.
Detailed Construction Features
The front of the structure faced to the south where the main entrance to the processing room and business offices was located approximately 4 feet above the parking lot grade level and accessed by a series of steps. The business office was a two-story wood frame construction with a vinyl exterior siding under a metal roof on a concrete slab foundation. Additional separate, single-story, wood frame structures with offices located to the west of the main business office connected by covered walkways.
The egg processing room was 141 feet along the east and west walls and approximately 100 feet along the north and south walls. The processing room received the eggs transported from the layer barns on the conveyer belt system. The room contained the processing equipment and conveyor systems where eggs were cleaned, graded, packaged and moved to large coolers to await shipment. The construction of the processing room was sheet metal panels embedded into the concrete slab foundation supported by 8-inch wide metal studs. Sheet metal panels lined the exterior and interior sides of the south and west walls with fiberglass insulation sandwiched between.
The north wall separated the processing room from Cooler 3 and consisted mainly of interlocking insulated metal panels embedded into the slab locked at the top in metal channels. Their interior surface was polyurethane laminate.
The east wall was mainly of concrete block (CMU) construction. A USDA office and a mechanics room were accessed through doors in the east wall of the processing room. The northeast corner of the processing room extended into the north end of the east hallway, forming an 18 feet by 18 feet area with wood frame construction on a concrete stem wall with fiber cement board (Hardy board) and metal panel siding. A 6-feet wide opening between the processing and dry-storage areas with a vinyl strip door allowed unrestricted access.
Along the south wall of the processing room, a walkway between the processing equipment and exterior wall led to swinging double doors at the southeast corner to enter into Dry Storage 3. Conveyors carried the eggs from the north and south layer barns through openings in the walls of the extension of the processing room. The conveyors from the north and south layer barns entered the building suspended overhead. As the conveyors approached the entrance to the main processing room, they gradually descended to 3.5 feet above floor level and were supported by metal brackets attached to the floor. Electric drive motors attached to the conveyors at several points along their lengths to power their movement.
The roof consisted of steel columns and girders with metal panel roofing attached to metal purlins supported by steel rafters. Wire mesh supported fiberglass insulation under the roof deck. The roof gable was oriented north to south.
The plant included three dry-storage rooms along the eastern side of the building connected by an east hallway. Dry Storage 1 and Dry Storage 2 were located in the northeast corner of the plant under a common sloping metal roof. The dry-storage rooms held pallets of containers including polystyrene egg crates, foam egg cartons, pulp egg cartons, and cardboard boxes.
Dry Storage 1 was approximately 123 feet long and 50 feet wide and was 4 feet below the grade of the rest of the plant. It was added to the east side of Dry Storage 2 in 2008. Dry Storage 1 was a concrete slab and 4-feet high concrete half wall topped with wood framing and metal siding. The metal roof sloped from 11 feet high above the west side to 10 feet high above the east wall. The roof attached to 2 inch x 8 inch wood joists supported by two rows of steel support columns and steel girders. The two rows of seven columns were oriented in a north-south direction.
A concrete ramp at the south end facilitated access to the East Hallway and Dry Storage 2 and the main level of the processing room. A concrete ramp at the northeast corner of Dry Storage 1 provided access to the rear loading dock. The rear dock was secured on the interior at the top of the ramp by a wood frame and metal double door with a wooden cross member and a chain and padlock. An additional wood frame and screened double door secured on the interior.
The conveyor belt from the north layer barns ran the length of the west side of Dry Storage 1 where it turned to the west, crossing Dry Storage 2 and the East Hallway into the main processing room.
Dry Storage 1 contained 29 rows of pallets, seven to eight pallets deep, of mainly Styrofoam egg crates stacked between 7 and 10 feet high, depending on their location. Corridors between the rows were maintained to provide access to the pallets with an electric forklift. Fluorescent light fixtures attached to the wood rafters in rows north to south with their conductors in PVC conduit. Skylights spaced evenly above the west side allowed for natural light. Pallets of stock material were single stacked below the locations of the light fixtures to keep clearance and prevent damage.
Dry Storage 2, located west of and 4 feet above Dry Storage 1, stored pallets of flattened cardboard box stock. The room was approximately 81 feet long and 40 feet wide. The south wall was the processing room extension and was approximately 25 feet long. The east side of the room was open to Dry Storage 1 with 4 inch x 4 inch unprotected wood studs spaced unevenly from 4 feet to 9 feet, supporting the metal roof. The west wall was CMU construction and was the exterior wall of Cooler 3. The metal roof sloped from the top of the west wall approximately 12 feet high to approximately 11 feet above the east side.
The room was accessed from the south end at the top of the ramp leading down into Dry Storage 1. Pallets of folded cardboard boxes were stacked along the entire length of the west wall extending 16 to 20 feet to the east. The rows of pallets were without spacing for corridors. One row of six fluorescent light fixtures attached to wood rafters near the north-south centerline.
The East Hallway was approximately 118 feet long and 37 feet wide running along the length of the east side of the processing room. The East Hallway connected Dry Storages 1 and 2 with Dry Storage 3 by a corridor at the south end. The East Hallway allowed access between the storage room areas and into utility rooms including the Boiler Room at the north end and a mechanics room and small utility closet. Pallets of polystyrene egg crates were stored along the east wall in rows of three pallets each. Seven pallets of polystyrene egg crates were stored along the conveyors.
The west wall was concrete block construction (CMU) until it connected to the extension of the processing area constructed of wood frame covered by Hardy board and sheet metal. The east wall was sheet metal embedded in the concrete slab supported by 2 inch x 4 inch wood studs with Hardy board interior. The metal roof sloped from a height at 12 feet at the west wall to 10 feet high at the east wall, supported by 4 inch x 6 inch wood columns and 2 inch x 8 inch wood joists.
Two conveyors entered the south end of the east hallway from Dry Storage 3. The conveyors ran parallel for approximately 80 feet along the west wall and entered the processing room through openings in the extension at the north end of the east hallway. They were 6 feet from the west wall and gradually descended from a height of 9 feet at the south end to 3.5 feet at the north. Each conveyor was 31 inches wide and combined was approximately 7 feet wide. Two compressor machines and a pressure washer were located along the west wall near the south end.
The Boiler Room, located at the northeast corner of the East Hall, housed two propane fired boilers, a water treatment system and two vacuum pumps. It was wood frame construction with metal siding under a metal roof on a combination concrete slab and concrete pier and wood beam foundation. A small utility room with service panels was constructed of concrete block on a concrete slab under a metal roof and was also located along the west wall of the East Hallway. An approximately 10 feet wide corridor connected the East Hallway to Dry Storage 3.
Dry Storage 3 extended south from the main processing room and East Hallway to the south dock area where tractor-trailers parked to unload the pallets of supplies. Two parallel conveyors suspended 9 feet overhead from the roof extended along the length of the east wall where it passed through the south wall toward the south layer houses.
The plant’s main power conductors entered the west wall of Dry Storage 3 from load centers and transformers mounted to the slab outside approximately 15 feet south of the main processing room exterior wall. Stacks of wood pallets were stored in Dry Storage 3. Corridors wide enough for forklifts provided access to the south cargo dock area.
Fire Ground Operations and Tactics
Note: The following sequence of events was developed from radio transmissions and firefighter witness statements. Those events with known times are identified. Events without known times are approximated in the sequence of the events based on firefighter statements regarding their actions and/or observations. A detailed timeline of radio transmissions is included in the appendix.
On July 3, 2010, at 21:41:10, Wharton County Sheriff’s Office 911 received a report of a fire at the Maxim Egg Farm located on County Road 442, south of the city of Boling, Texas. The caller, immediately transferred to the Wharton Police Department Dispatch, advised there was a “big fire” in the warehouse where egg cartons were stored. Boling Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched and immediately requested aid from the Wharton Volunteer Fire Department. Wharton VFD became Command as is the usual practice for this county.
Wharton Assistant Chief Stewart (1102) was returning to the station having been out on a response to a vehicle accident assisting the Boling Volunteer Fire Department when the call came in for the fire. He responded immediately and at 21:50 reported seeing “heavy fire” coming from the roof at the northeast corner of the building as he approached the plant from the east on County Road 442. When he arrived he was eventually directed to the east side of the building (D side) to the rear loading dock. Asst. Chief Stewart worked for several minutes with facility employees to gain access to the fire building before being led to the northeast loading dock.
An employee directed him on the narrow caliche drive behind the layer barns and between the waste ponds to the loading dock. Wharton Engine 1134 followed 1102 to the east side and backed into the drive leading to the loading dock. Asst. Chief Stewart’s immediate actions included assessing the extent of the fire on the interior of the building by looking through the doors at the loading dock to Dry Storage 1. Unable to see the fire through the smoke at the doors of the loading dock, an attack was eventually accomplished by removing a metal panel from the east exterior wall of Dry Storage 1 and using one 1¾”-inch cross lay. After a few minutes, the deck gun on Engine 1134 was utilized, directing water to the roof above the seat of the fire near the south end of Dry Storage 1.
Water supply became an immediate concern and 1102 made efforts to get resources for resupply. Requests for mutual aid to provide water tankers were made to area communities. During the incident, re-supplying tankers included a gravity re-fill from the on-site water supply storage tanks and from fire hydrants in the City of Boling, 3 miles from the scene and the City of Wharton, nearly 11 miles. The City of Boling water tower was nearly emptied during the incident.
The radio recording indicates there were difficulties accessing the location of the fire as apparatus were led around the complex by multiple employees. Heavy rains during the previous week left many roadways muddy and partially covered with water, which added to problems with apparatus access. In addition, fire crews were not familiar with the layout of the facility and there are no records of pre-fire plans. Asst. Chief Stewart worked for several minutes with facility employees to gain access to the fire building before being led to the northeast loading dock.
Wharton Fire Chief Bobby Barnett (1101) arrived on scene at 21:56:14, and ordered incoming apparatus to stage until he could establish an area of operations at the front, south side of the plant (A side). Chief Barnett directed Engine 1130 to position approximately 50 feet from the front main entrance of the plant. At 22:09:16, Chief Barnett (1101) established a command post on A side and became the Incident Commander; 1101 directed radio communications for the fireground to be TAC 2 and called for mutual aid from the Hungerford and El Campo Fire Departments. Chief Barnett described the conditions on side A as smoky with no fire showing. Light winds were from the east, side D, pushing the smoke toward the area of the processing room, and the front, side A, of the building.
Maxim Egg Farm Manager David Copeland, a former Wharton VFD Chief, advised Command and firefighters that the fire was in the area of the Boiler Room and should be accessed by breaching an exterior wall in the employee break area. Chief Barnett ordered Wharton crews to the breach attempt. Captain Thomas Araguz III, Captain John Cano and Firefighter Paul Maldonado were involved with this operation. The crews working in this area were in full structural personnel protective clothing and SCBA.
At 22:10, Command ordered Engine 1130 and Tanker 1160 to set up at the front entrance using Tanker 1160 for portable dump tank operations for water re-supply.
On D side, difficulty accessing the fire from the exterior of the building was reported by Asst. Chief Stewart and the crews. Heavy doors, locked loading dock doors and steel exterior paneling, required the crews to spend extra time forcing entry.
At 22:17:23, Wharton County Chief Deputy Bill Copeland (3122), once a Wharton FD volunteer firefighter, notified Command that the fire was now through the roof over Dry Storage 1.
Chief Barnett noticed smoke conditions improving at the main plant doorway and ordered crews to advance lines into the processor room. Chief Barnett stated he assigned Captain Araguz, Captain Cano and Firefighter Maldonado because they were the most experienced and senior crews available.
Positive Pressure Ventilation (PPV) was in place at the main entry door when Captain Cano, Captain Araguz and Firefighter Maldonado entered the structure into the processing room. There are no radio transmissions to verify exact entry times.
Captain Cano stated that an employee had to assist fire crews with entry into the main plant through a door with keypad access. Captain Cano reported the door to processing was held open by a three-ring binder that he jammed under the door after entry. Cano stated there was low visibility and moderate heat overhead. Captain Cano and Captain Araguz made entry on a right-hand wall working their way around numerous obstacles. The line was not yet charged and they returned to the doorway and waited for water. Wharton Engine 1130’s driver reported in his interview that he had difficulty establishing a draft from the portable tank later determined to be a linkage failure on the priming pump. 1160 connected directly to 1130 and drafted from the folding tank.
As the crew entered into the structure through the main entry door, several plant employees began entering into the administration offices through the area of the main entry door to remove files and records. This was reported to Command at 22:23 and after several minutes Chief Barnett ordered employees to stay out of the building and requested assistance from the Sheriff’s Office to maintain scene security.
At 22:31, once the line was charged, the two captains continued into the processor on the right wall leaving Maldonado at the doorway to feed hose. Captain Cano was first with the nozzle and described making it 20 feet into the building.
Cano states in his interview that he advised Command over the radio that there was high heat and low visibility, although the transmission is not recorded. Cano also reported in his interview, he could not walk through the area and had to use a modified duck walk. Cano projected short streams of water towards the ceiling in a “penciling” motion and noted no change in heat or smoke conditions. They advanced until the heat became too great and they retreated towards the center of the processor. Cano stated that they discussed their next tactic and decided to try a left-handed advance.
At 22:33, Chief Barnett advised, “advancing hose streams in main building to try to block it.”
Captain Araguz took the nozzle and Captain Cano advanced with him holding onto Araguz’ bunker gear. The crew advanced along the south wall of the processing room toward the double doors to Dry Storage 3 and lost contact with the hose line.
The investigation found the couplings between the first and second sections of the hose lodged against a threaded floor anchor (see photo) preventing further advancement of the line. How the team lost the hose line remains uncertain.
Captain Cano stated in his interview that Captain Araguz told him to call a Mayday. Captain Cano stated that he was at first confused by the request, but after some time it became apparent they lost the hose line. Captain Cano reported calling Mayday on the radio but never received a reply. Captain Cano now believes he may have inadvertently switched channels at his previous transmission reporting interior conditions. Captain Araguz had a radio but it was too damaged to determine operability. There are no recorded transmissions from Captain Araguz.
At 22:37, Deputy Chief Copeland advised Command that the fire had breached a brick wall and was entering the main packing plant. Command responded that there was a hose team inside.
At 22:42:50, Command radioed “Command to hose team 1, Cano.” This was the first of several attempts to contact Captain Cano and Captain Araguz. At 22:47:17, Command ordered Engine 1130 to sound the evacuation horn. At 22:50:44, Command announced Mayday over the radio, stating “unlocated fireman in the building.”
- Captain Cano stated in his interview that they made several large circles in an attempt to locate the fire hose.
- Cano became entangled in wiring, requiring him to doff his SCBA.
- After re-donning his SCBA, Captain Cano noted he lost his radio, but found a flash light. He remembered that his low air warning was sounding as he and Araguz searched for the hose. Cano stated that they made it to an exterior wall and decided to attempt to breach the wall. Working in near zero visibility,
- Captain Cano reported losing contact with Captain Araguz while working on breaching the wall.
- Shortly after he lost contact, Captain Cano ran out of air and removed his mask. Captain Cano continued working to breach the exterior wall until he was exhausted.
At 22:54, crews working on the exterior of the building near the employee break area reported hearing tapping on the wall in the area of the employee break room.
- Crews mustered tools and began to cut additional holes through the building exterior.
- After making two openings, Captain Cano was located and removed from the building.
- Captain Cano reported that Captain Araguz was approximately 15 feet inside of the building ahead of him.
- Firefighters made entry through the exterior hole but were unsuccessful in locating Captain Araguz. Cano was escorted to the folding water tank and got into the tank to cool down.
Rapid Intervention Crews (RIC) were established using mutual aid members from the Hungerford and El Campo Fire Departments. The first entry made was at the main entry door where Firefighter Maldonado was located. Maldonado was relieved and escorted to the ambulance for rehab. An evacuation horn sounded and the first RIC abandoned the interior search and exited the building.
A rescue entry by a second RIC was through the breached wall of Dry Storage 3. After several minutes inside, the evacuation signal sounded due to the rapidly spreading fire and deteriorating conditions. Two additional RICs entered the structure through the loading dock doors of Dry Storage 3. Chief Barnett states that there were a total of four RICs that made entry after the Mayday. After approximately 45 minutes, all rescue attempts ceased.
As the fire extended south toward Dry Storage 3, smoke conditions became so debilitating that Chief Barnett ordered all crews staged near the front of the building on side A to move back and apparatus to relocate. Command assigned Chief Hafer of the Richmond Fire Department to “A” side operations and defensive operations were established. Captain Cano and Firefighter Maldonado were transported to Gulf Coast Medical Center and treated for smoke inhalation.
Fire ground operations continued through the night. Captain Araguz was recovered at approximately
07:40 AM. Command transferred to the Richmond Fire Department Chief Hafer at approximately
07:56 AM as 1101 and the Wharton units escorted Captain Araguz from the scene. All Wharton units cleared the scene at 08:02 AM.
Captain Araguz was transported to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy. The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office performed post mortem examinations on July 4, 2010. Captain Araguz died from thermal injuries and smoke inhalation.
Findings and Recommendations
- Recommendations are based upon nationally recognized consensus standards and safety practices for the fire service.
- All fire department personnel should know and understand nationally recognized consensus standards, and all fire departments should create and maintain SOGs and SOPs to ensure effective, efficient, and safe firefighting operations.
There were several factors that, when combined, may have contributed to the death of Captain Araguz. It is important that we honor him by learning from the incident.
- Water supply became an immediate concern.
- Although there are two water storage tanks on the facility with the combined capacity of nearly 44,000 gallons, refilling operations to tankers were slow, accomplished by gravity fill through a 5-inch connection.
- A fire department connection attached to the plant’s main water supply pump and plant personnel familiar with the system could have sped up the refilling process at the plant.
- Most tankers were sent to hydrants in the City of Boling 3 miles away, which in turn quickly depleted the city water supply.
- Other tanker refilling was accomplished at hydrants on the City of Wharton water system, as far as 15 miles away.
Fire protection systems are not required by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 101, Life Safety Code, 2009 Edition for this classification of facility. Fire sprinkler and smoke control systems may have contained the fire to one area, preventing the spread of fire throughout the plant.
Findings and recommendations from this investigation include:
There were no lives to save in the building. An inadequate water supply, lack of fire protection systems in the structure to assist in controlling the spread of the smoke and fire, and the heavy fire near the windward side facilitated smoke and fire spread further into the interior and toward “A” side operations. Along with the size of the building, the large fuel load, and the time period from fire discovery, interior firefighters were at increased risk.
Recommendation: Fire departments should develop Standard Operating Guidelines and conduct training involving risk management and risk benefit analysis during an incident according to Incident Management principles required by NFPA 1500 and 1561.
The concept of risk management shall be utilized on the basis of the following principles:
(a) Activities that present a significant risk to the safety of personnel shall be limited to situations where there is a potential to save endangered lives
(b) Activities that are routinely employed to protect property shall be recognized as inherent risks to the safety of personnel, and actions shall be taken to reduce or avoid these risks.
(c) No risk to the safety of personnel shall be acceptable where there is no possibility to save lives or property.
(d) In situations where the risk to fire department members is excessive, activities shall be limited to defensive operations. NFPA 1500 Chapter 8, 8.3.2
NFPA 1500 ‘Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program’, 2007 ed., and NFPA 1561’Standard on Emergency Services Incident Management System’, 2008 ed. Texas Commission on Fire Protection Standards Manual, Chapter 435, Section 435.15
(b) The Standard operating procedure shall:
(1) Specify an adequate number of personnel to safely conduct emergency scene operations;
(2) limit operations to those that can be safely performed by personnel at the scene;
Initial crews failed to perform a 360-degree scene size-up and did not secure the utilities before operations began.
Recommendation: Fire departments should develop Standard Operating Guidelines that require crews to perform a complete scene size-up before beginning operations. A thorough size up will provide a good base for deciding tactics and operations. It provides the IC and on-scene personnel with a general understanding of fire conditions, building construction, and other special considerations such as weather, utilities, and exposures. Without a complete and accurate scene size-up, departments will have difficulty coordinating firefighting efforts.
Fireground Support Operations 1st Edition, IFSTA, Chapter 10 Fundamentals of Firefighting Skills,
NFPA/IAFC, 2004, Chapter 2
The Incident Commander failed to maintain an adequate span of control for the type of incident. Safety, personnel accountability, staging of resources, and firefighting operations require additional supervision for the scope of incident. Radio recordings and interview statements indicate the IC performing several functions including: Command, Safety, Staging, Division A Operations, Interior Operations and Scene Security.
Recommendation: Incident Commanders should maintain an appropriate span of control and assign additional personnel to the command structure as needed. Supervisors must be able to adequately supervise and control their subordinates, as well as communicate with and manage all resources under their supervision. In ICS, the span of control of any individual with incident management supervisory responsibility should range from three to seven subordinates, with five being optimal. The type of incident, nature of the tasks, hazards and safety factors, and distances between personnel and resources all influence span-of-control considerations.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency Incident Command Systems http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/ICSpopup.htm#item5 NFPA 1500 Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program, Chapter 8, 2007 ed.
The interior fire team advanced into the building prior to the establishment of a rapid intervention crew (RIC).
Recommendation: Fire Departments should develop written procedures that comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Final Rule, 29 CFR Section 1910.134 (g) (4) requiring at least two fire protection personnel to remain located outside the IDLH (Immediate Danger to Life or Health) atmosphere to perform rescue of the fire protection personnel inside the IDLH atmosphere. One of the outside fire protection personnel must actively monitor the status of the inside fire protection personnel and not be assigned other duties. NFPA 1500 8.8.7 At least one dedicated RIC shall be standing by with equipment to provide for the rescue of members that are performing special operations or for members that are in positions that present an immediate danger of injury in the event of equipment failure or collapse.
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Respiratory Protection Standard, CFR 1910.134 (g) (4); Texas Commission on Fire Protection Standards §435.17 – Procedures for Interior Structure Fire Fighting (2-in/2-out rule) NFPA 1500 Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program, Chapter 8, 2007 ed. NFPA 1720 Standard on Organization and Deployment Fire Suppression Operations by Volunteer Fire Departments, 2004 ed.
The interior team and Incident Commander did not verify the correct operation of communications equipment before entering the IDLH atmosphere and subsequently did not maintain communications between the interior crew and Command. Although Chief Barnett stated he communicated with Captain Cano, there was no contact with Captain Araguz.
Recommendation: Fire Departments should develop written policies requiring the verification of the correct operations of communications equipment of each firefighter before crews enter an IDLH atmosphere. Fire Departments should also include training for their members on the operation of communications equipment in zero visibility conditions.
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Respiratory Protection Standard, CFR 1910.134(g)(3)(ii) NFPA 1500 Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program, Chapter 8, 2007 ed.
The interior operating crew did not practice effective air management techniques for the size and complexity of the structure. Interviews indicate the crew expended breathing air while attempting to breach an exterior wall for approximately 10 minutes, then advanced a hose line into a 15,000 square feet room without monitoring their air supply. During interviews Captain Cano estimated his consumption limit at 15 – 20 minutes on a 45 minute SCBA.
Recommendation: Crews operating in IDLH atmospheres must monitor their air consumption rates and allot for sufficient evacuation time. Known as the point of no return, it is that time at which the remaining operation time of the SCBA is equal to the time necessary to return safely to a non-hazardous atmosphere. The three basic elements to effective air management are:
- Know your point of no return (beyond 50 percent of the air supply of the team member with the lowest gauge reading).
- Know how much air you have at all times.
- Make a conscious decision to stay or leave when your air is down to 50 percent.
IFSTA . Essentials of Fire Fighting and Fire Department Operations, 5th ed., Chapter 5, Air Management, page 189 Fundamentals of Firefighter Skills, 2nd edition, NFPA and International Association of Fire Chiefs, Chapter 17, Fire Fighter Survival.
Captains Araguz and Cano became separated from their hoseline. While it is unclear as to the reason they became separated from the hose line, interviews with Captain Cano indicate that while he was finding an exterior wall and took actions to alert the exterior by banging and kicking the wall, he lost contact with Captain Araguz.
**Captain Cano credits his survival to the actions he learned from recent Mayday, Firefighter Safety training.
Recommendation: Maintaining contact with the hose line is critical. Losing contact with the hose line meant leaving the only lifeline and pathway to safety. Team integrity provides an increased chance for survival. All firefighters should become familiar with and receive training on techniques for survival and self-rescue.
United States Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy training course “Firefighter Safety: Calling the Mayday” Fundamentals of Firefighter Skills, 2nd edition, NFPA and International Association of Fire Chiefs, Chapter 17, Fire Fighter Survival.
Additional References Related to Surviving the Mayday and RIT operations from 2011 Safety Week at CommandSafety.com;
Day Eight Plus One: Mayday and Rapid Intervention Realities: The Phoenix Perspective
- Fire marshal finds mistakes made in fatal Wharton County egg farm fire
- Raw: Aerials over egg farm fire
- Raw: Fire captain killed battling 4-alarm blaze
- Egg farm fire that killed firefighter ruled accidental
- Video: KHOU: Wharton County fire captain killed battling 4-alarm blaze at …
- Wharton, Texas Fire Department
- Chronicle: Wharton firefighter killed in massive egg plant blaze
- ABC: Firefighter dies in four-alarm farm blaze
NFFF – A preview of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation film, Chicago Fire Department – Everyone Goes Home, directed by Rob Maloney. From the EGH website;
In 2008, the FDNY allowed an NFFF film crew unprecedented access to members of that legendary department. These brave men and women shared their commitment to safe practices and courageoulsy told the stories of how they escaped death but, in some cases, not severe injury. This film, the Courage to Be Safe®: FDNY, has been viewed by tens of thousands of firefghters in the interveneing years since its release. It has garnered awards both in and outside the fire service, including being honored at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.
In October, 2010, fire service film producer Rob Maloney took his crew to Chicago to begin a second film, Courage to Be Safe®: Chicago Fire Department. Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff, impressed with the FDNY piece, requested that the NFFF do a similar proejct for Chicago. While in the Windy City, Maloney’s team filmed dozens of Chicago Fire Deartment staff–all of whom tell their stories in a straight-forth and compelling manner.
This trailer is but a sample of the Courage to Be Safe®: Chicago video which is due to be completed late this summer.
The public release of the full video is expected around summer of 2012.
- LINKS: http://www.everyonegoeshome.com and http://www.firehero.org
- Advocate Program, HERE
- View: Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives Advocates (FLSIA) Expectations and Responsibilities
- Download: Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives Advocates Application (MS Word)
More details emerged Monday about last week’s fatal Diamond Heights blaze, as fire officials said an emergency alert accidentally went off on a nearby fire engine about the same time two firefighters’ personal alarms sounded inside the burning building according to published reports.
Lt. Vincent Perez, 48, and firefighter-paramedic Anthony Valerio, 53, of Engine Company 26 both died from injuries they suffered while battling a blaze at a four-story home at 133 Berkeley Way on Thursday morning.
While fighting the fire, one or both of Valerio and Perez’s personal alert safety system devices went off. Around the same time, a firefighter on Engine Company 20 — which had yet to arrive on the scene — had inadvertently hit the emergency button on the engine.
- Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2011/06/sffd-juggled-multiple-safety-alarms-day-fatal-diamond-heights-fire
- Memorial planned for fallen firefighters Friday: Link and Details HERE
A joint funeral for fire Lt. Vincent Perez and firefighter-paramedic Anthony Valerio will be held at 12:30 p.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1111 Gough St. in San Francisco. A vigil for the two men will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, also at St. Mary’s.
San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798 has established trust accounts at the San Francisco Fire Credit Union for the families of Perez and Valerio. Donations can be made to SFFCU, 3201 California St., San Francisco, CA 94118.
Condolence messages can be sent to Fire Station 26, 80 Digby St., San Francisco, CA 94131.
Join in on Tuesday May 17th at 9pm ET for another special and exciting program continuing our series discussion on the Emerging Tactical Renaissance in the Fire Service.
Christopher Brennan is a firefighter in the suburbs outside Chicago; a field instructor for the Illinois Fire Service Institute; and a consultant for local, state, and federal agencies.
He joined the fire service in 1997 as a paid-on-call member of the Calumet Park (IL) Fire Department.
During his career, Chris has worked for the Calumet Park Fire Department, part-time for the Darien-Woodridge (IL) Fire Protection District, and as a career firefighter and engineer with the Harvey (IL) Fire Department.Chris is an active instructor teaching for the Illinois Fire Service Institute, has taught terrorism response training overseas, and has been an instructor for FDIC.
He is a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Society of Fire Service Instructors, and the Illinois Society of Fire Service Instructors.
He is also the author of numerous articles for fire service magazines, including Fire Engineering.
Join in on what is certainly going to be an insightful look and discussion of the path of the fire service warrior.
Discussions on what is meant by embracing the philosophy of the fire service warrior, and striving for the ready position—the synthesis of physical and mental readiness that allows for suggested optimum fireground performance— and its potential application towards reducing firefighter injuries and fatalities
We’ll further explore how as Christopher Brennan states; “Today’s firefighter must be a warrior who will unflinchingly put his very life in harm’s way to accomplish a mission, but who is also fully informed about the path being chosen”.
- Surviving on the Fireground: Chris Brennan Talks Situational Awareness at FDIC 2011, HERE
- A Culture of Excellence – Christopher Brennan , HERE
- The Fire Service Warrior Blog, HERE
Firefighting is combat and should be viewed as a warrior’s calling.
Firefighters put themselves in harm’s way to protect others, a selflessness rooted in the same noble drive as the military warriors who defend our nation.
This book about combat is meant to be a guide for those who seek to follow a warrior’s path, the path of the fire service warrior.
Today’s firefighter must be a warrior who will unflinchingly put his very life in harm’s way to accomplish a mission, but who is also fully informed about the path being chosen.
Embracing the philosophy of the fire service warrior, and striving for the ready position—the synthesis of physical and mental readiness that allows for optimum fireground performance—can reduce firefighter injuries and fatalities.
The Combat Position: Achieving Firefighter Readiness will be an invaluable tool for firefighters, company officers, chief officers, and instructors.
Grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a special one hour program with Taking it to the Streets on FirefighterNetcast.com where we’ll be discussing developing concepts, methodologies and operational perspectives affecting today’s emerging and evolving fire ground operation with Christopher Naum and this emerging fire service leader.
Join in on the live open discussion with other fire service personnel from around the country.
Taking it to the StreetsTM is a monthly radio show featured on BlogTalk Radio and is hosted by nationally renowned fire service leader Christopher Naum, a 36-year fire service veteran and highly regarded national instructor, author, lecturer and fire officer and the distinguished leading national authority on building construction and fire ground operations. Taking it to the StreetsTM is a Buildingsonfire.com Series and FireFighternetcast.com Production, © 2011 All Rights Reserved
- Tune in to the Program Tuesday evening May 17th at 9:00 pm ET, HERE
- Firefighternetcast.com HERE
- Taking it to the Streets Radio Programs, HERE and HERE
- Buildingsonfire.com, HERE
When was the last time you looked at the Initiatives?
- Define and advocate the need for a cultural change within the fire service relating to safety; incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability and personal responsibility.
- Enhance the personal and organizational accountability for health and safety throughout the fire service.
- Focus greater attention on the integration of risk management with incident management at all levels, including strategic, tactical, and planning responsibilities.
- All firefighters must be empowered to stop unsafe practices.
- Develop and implement national standards for training, qualifications, and certification (including regular recertification) that are equally applicable to all firefighters based on the duties they are expected to perform.
- Develop and implement national medical and physical fitness standards that are equally applicable to all firefighters, based on the duties they are expected to perform.
- Create a national research agenda and data collection system that relates to the initiatives.
- Utilize available technology wherever it can produce higher levels of health and safety.
- Thoroughly investigate all firefighter fatalities, injuries, and near misses.
- Grant programs should support the implementation of safe practices and/or mandate safe practices as an eligibility requirement.
- National standards for emergency response policies and procedures should be developed and championed.
- National protocols for response to violent incidents should be developed and championed.
- Firefighters and their families must have access to counseling and psychological support.
- Public education must receive more resources and be championed as a critical fire and life safety program.
- Advocacy must be strengthened for the enforcement of codes and the installation of home fire sprinklers.
- Safety must be a primary consideration in the design of apparatus and equipment.
The Following links From the NFFF/Everyone Goes Home web site, HERE
Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives Resources
Watch Media Resources:
» Overview & Explanation: View | Download
» Initiative 1: Culture – View | Download
» Initiatives 1 – 4 – View | Download
» Initiatives 5 – 8 – View | Download
» Initiatives 9 – 12 – View | Download
» Initiatives 13 – 16 – View | Download
For Your Computer:
» 16 Initiatives Desktop Wallpaper
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) are pleased to announce the 2011 Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week (also known as Safety Week) to be held the week of June 19-25, 2011.
The message this year is: Surviving the Fire Ground – Fire Fighter, Fire Officer and Command Preparedness
Safety, Health and Survival Week (Safety Week) is a collaborative program sponsored by the IAFC and the IAFF, coordinated by the IAFC’s Safety, Health and Survival Section and the IAFF’s Division of Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine, in partnership with more than 20 national fire and emergency service organizations.
Fire departments are encouraged to suspend all non-emergency activity during Safety Week and instead focus entirely on survival training and education until all shifts and personnel have taken part. An entire week is provided to ensure each shift and duty crew can spend one day focusing on these critical issues.
With so many changes (budget cuts, staffing reductions, reduced training, etc.) in so many fire departments, it is critical for fire fighters to focus on their own survival on the fire ground. There is no other call more challenging to fire ground operations than a MAYDAY call — the unthinkable moment when a fire fighter’s personal safety is in imminent danger.
Fire fighter fatality data compiled by the United States Fire Administration have shown that fire fighters “becoming trapped and disoriented represent the largest portion of structural fire ground fatalities.” The incidents in which fire fighters have lost their lives, or lived to tell about it, have a consistent theme — inadequate situational awareness put them at risk.
Fire fighters don’t plan to be lost, disoriented, injured or trapped during a structure fire or emergency incident. But fires are unpredictable and volatile, and an unpredictable fire ground can cause even the most seasoned fire fighter to be overwhelmed in an instant.
This year’s Safety Week will focus on delivering the online IAFF Fire Ground Survival (FGS) awareness training course to all fire departments. The program is the most comprehensive survival skills and MAYDAY prevention program currently available and is open to all members of the fire service. Additional planning tools and resources will be available on the Safety Week website.
The IAFF Fire Ground Survival Program (FGS) is the most comprehensive survival-skills and mayday-prevention program currently available and is open to all members of the fire service. Incorporating federal regulations, proven incident-management best practices and survival techniques from leaders in the field, and real case studies from experienced fire fighters, FGS aims to educate all fire fighters to be prepared if the unfortunate happens.
The program will provide participating fire departments with the skills they need to improve situational awareness and prevent a mayday. Topics covered include:
- Preventing the Mayday: situational awareness, planning, size up, air management, fitness for survival, defensive operations.
- Being Ready for the Mayday: personal safety equipment, communications, accountability systems.
- Self-Survival Procedures: avoiding panic, mnemonic learning aid “GRAB LIVES”— actions a fire fighter must take to improve survivability, emergency breathing.
- Self-Survival Skills: SCBA familiarization, emergency procedures, disentanglement, upper floor escape techniques.
- Fire Fighter Expectations of Command: command-level mayday training, pre-mayday, mayday and rescue, post-rescue, expanding the incident-command system, communications.
Remember to visit the SHS Section’s website for more information on health and safety issues and the IAFF’s Health, Safety and Medicine’s website for more information on health, wellness and safety programs.
Additionally, look for a comprehensive series of articles, activities, insights, downloads, podcasts, video clips and resources that will be posted each day of Safety, Health and Survival Week here on Commandsafety.com, Thecompanyofficer.com and Buildingsonfire.com.
Announcements and campaign materials will begin posting in Mid-May.
We will be offering a special series of live shows nightly on Taking it to the Streets on Firefighternetcast.com and blogtalkradio during the week of June 19-25, 2011 addressing key issues with a stellar line-up of fire service leaders.
This will be an exceptional opportunity to listen in, call in and participate actively in the week’ theme of Surviving the Fire Ground – Fire Fighter, Fire Officer and Command Preparedness.
These shows will be mission critical. Stay Tuned for more upcoming information.
Start making your plans for Safety, Health and Survival Week 2011…..
The Consciences Observer or Activist
The operative question going forward will be this: What will you personally commit to for Safety, Health and Survival week, or your department chose to do; participate in, contribute, join in, share, lead, promote, instruct, present, facilitate, help, assist, aid, or neglect, disregard, undermine, abuse, challenge, demoralize, undercut, damage, torpedo, circumvent, or avoid?
The award recognizes Executive Fire Officer Program students for exceptional research projects.
Capt. Marsar’s project, titled Can They Be Saved? Utilizing Civilian Survivability Profiling to Enhance Size-Up and Reduce Firefighter Fatalities in the Fire Department, City of New York, was selected as the Executive Leadership Course award winner. The National Fire Academy said it was chosen from among the more than 60 Applied Research Projects submitted this year, the highest number in the program’s 26-year history.
The Executive Fire Officer Program provides senior fire officers with information and education on various facets of fire administration. After a four-year course of study, participants are required to complete an applied research project that attempts to resolve a problem in their own organization.
View Capt. Marsar’s project: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/pdf/efop/efo44310.pdf
Grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a special one hour program with Taking it to the Streets on FirefighterNetcast.com where we’ll be discussing the concept, research and application of Survivability Profiling with Captain Marsar and the manner in which it might be implemented in today’s emerging and evolving fire ground operational methodologies with Christopher Naum and this outstanding fire service leader.
STEPHEN MARSAR is a captain in the Fire Department of New York, covering in Engine Company 8 in Manhattan. He has previously served in Engine Company 16 and Ladder Companies 7 and 11. An ex-commissioner in the Bellmore (NY) Fire Department, he has certifications as a national and New York State fire instructor, NY instructor coordinator, and NY State Department of Health regional faculty member.
He serves on the adjunct faculty for the Nassau Community College, NY Fire Science Degree Program, and teaches for the FDNY and Nassau County, Long Island, Fire and EMS academies. He has a bachelor’s degree in fire science and emergency services administration and is enrolled in the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy.
Taking it to the StreetsTM is a monthly radio show featured on BlogTalk Radio and is hosted by Christopher Naum and is a Buildingsonfire.com Series and FireFighternetcast.com Production, © 2011 All Rights Reserved
Join in on the live open discussion with other fire service personnel from around the country. Check out the latest downloads of recent programs in the archives by visiting Taking it to the Street’s webpage on Firefighternetcast.com or for program insights at CommandSafety.com.
Manage-Time & Elements
Assessment & Fluid Analysis
Fire Behavior & Effects
Evaluate & Execute
There is an acute corollary of technical knowledge and inter reliance on occupancies, construction, strategy, tactics, risk, safety, physics, engineering and fire suppression theory…FACT!
There are Fundamental Domains that can be applied.
It’s no longer just brute force and sheer physical determination that define structural fire suppression operations.
- Aggressive firefighting must be redefined and aligned to the built environment and associated with goal oriented tactical operations that are defined by
- risk assessed and analyzed tasks that are executed under battle plans that promote the best in safety practices and survivability within know hostile structural fire environments,
- while maintaining the values and tradition that defines the fire service.
- Tactical Fire Ground Patience
- Responsive Tactical Deployment Modeling-RTD
- Predictive Strategic Process-PSP
- Command Resiliency
A New Fire Service Training Seminar Series for National Delivery from Two Nationally Recognized Fire Service Leaders and Highly Acclaimed Fire Service Instructors, Authors and Fire Officers; Tactical Operations and the Rules of Combat Fire Engagement 2011.
- The New Rules of Engagement
- Occupancy Profiling
- The New Fireground
- Extreme Fire Behavior
- Building Construction & Engineered Systems
- The Company and Command Officer in 2011 and Beyond
- Tactical Entertainment & Firefighter Safety
- Tactical Patience & Operational Excellence
- Command Risk Management
- Battle Ready
- Redefining Tactical Readiness and much more
A Buildingsonfire.com Series and Command Institute Production
Taking it to the Streets: Near Miss Reporting and One Captain’s Close Call
On Your Street, In Your City, Across the Country, Around the WorldTM
The line-up of Scheduled guests includes,
- Lt. Steve Mormino, FDNY (ret),
- Captain CJ Haberkorn Denver (CO) Fire Department and
- Special Guest Captain Michael Long, Camp Taylor (KY) Fire Protection District.
Grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a special two part, two hour program with Taking it to the Streets on Firefighernetcast.com where we’ll be discussing the National Near-Miss Reporting System and the untapped resources that the program and system provides with Christopher Naum and this outstanding group of fire service leaders.
The second part of the program will dedicated to the personal account of Captain Long’s Close Call event from July 25, 2010 (NMR #10-1072) when a catastrophic floor collapse at a residential occupancy plunged him into a fire involved basement.
Join in on the live open discussion with other fire service personnel from around the country. Check out the latest downloads of recent programs in the archives by visiting Taking it to the Street’s webpage on Firefighternetcast.com or for program insights at CommandSafety.com.
- Tune in to the Program Wednesday evening March 16th at 9:00 pm ET, HERE
- Firefighternetcast.com HERE
- Taking it to the Streets Radio Programs, HERE and HERE
- National Near Miss Reporting System, HERE
- National Near Miss Reporting System Resources, HERE
- National Near Miss Reporting System, 2011 Calendar and Annual Report, HERE
- One Captain’s Personal Near Miss Event, HERE
- Incident Posting from Commandsafety.com from 2010, HERE
© 2011 All Rights Reserved
Have you heard about the National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System (NMRS)? Have you used the NMRS Reports, or submitted a near miss event? Did you know there is a wealth of resources available on the NMRS web site or that there is a Report of the week that is published weekly?
If not, this is a great opportunity to learn about this national fire service program.
The National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System is a voluntary, confidential, non-punitive and secure reporting system with the goal of improving fire fighter safety.
Submitted reports will be reviewed by fire service professionals. Identifying descriptions are removed to protect your identity. The report is then posted on this web site for other fire fighters to use as a learning tool.
The reporting system is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The program was originally funded by DHS and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company.
There are three main goals:
1. To give firefighters the opportunity to learn from each other through real-life experiences;
2. To help formulate strategies to reduce the frequency of firefighter injuries and fatalities; and
3. To enhance the safety culture of the fire and emergency service.
Fire fighters can use submitted reports as educational tools. Analyzed data will be used to identify trends which can assist in formulating strategies to reduce fire fighter injuries and fatalities. Depending on the urgency, information will be presented to the fire service community via program reports, press releases and e-mail alerts.
Why should I submit a near-miss report? A near miss experienced by a firefighter can improve the knowledge, skills and abilities of everyone who is made aware of it. Reporting your near-miss event to www.firefighternearmiss.com will help prevent an injury or fatality of a firefighter. Near-miss reporting has worked effectively in other industries, especially aviation, since team members have more knowledge. Industries using near-miss reporting systems have lower injury rates and fewer worker fatalities.
- Near-Miss Reporting Form example, HERE
- NFFNMRS Facebook Page, HERE
- Report of the Week
- ROTW 021711: “I guess it was more than the block could take” 11-073 (Snow Chains)
- ROTW 021011: “That is somebody’s loved one.” 05-435 (Rookies/Probies)
- ROTW 020311: “Board on the side of safety” 10-1279 (Roadway Safety)
- Past Report of the Week Library, HERE
- 2011 Calendar and Annual Report, HERE
Click on the button for a direct link to the NFNMRS here
- What is a near-miss event?
- Why should I submit a near-miss report?
- What is the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System?
- Who is on the program’s Advisory Board?
- Who is funding/supporting the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System?
- How can I contact the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System?
- What are the main goals of this reporting system?
- What is going to be done with the information?
- If I elect to give my contact information, how will it be used?
- What kinds of questions are on the report?
- Who can submit a report?
- How do I submit a report?
- How long will it take me to submit a report?
- What types of events should be reported?
- Should I only submit current near-miss events?
- What happens to the report once it is submitted?
- Do I have to give my name when I submit a report?
- Who will have access to read my report?
- How is my identity protected when I submit a report?
- Can I read sample reports?
- Does this system replace any other reporting systems?
- SECTION 1: REPORTER INFORMATION
- SECTION 2: EVENT INFORMATION
- SECTION 3: EVENT DESCRIPTION
- SECTION 4: LESSONS LEARNED
- SECTION 5: CONTACT INFORMATION (OPTIONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL)
Mark your calendars for Wednesday March 16th at 9:00pm ET for a new edition of Taking it to the Streets, where we’ll be discussing the National Near Miss Reporting System and program with Chief Steve Mormino, NMRS Program Advisor past Chief with South Farmingdale (NY) Fire Department and retired Lieutenant , FDNY. Tune in for an exceptional program.
Dont’t forget to visit the National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System booth at FDIC next month
Near Miss Reporting System Advisory Board
- Dennis Smith, Chairman, First Responders Financial Co. (Chair of Advisory Board)
- Jim Brinkley, Director of Occupational Health and Safety, International Association of Fire Fighters.
- Alan Brunacini, Fire Chief
- Linda Connell, Director, NASA/Aviation Safety Reporting System
- I. David Daniels, Fire Chief/CEO, Woodinville Fire and Rescue (WA)
- Gordon Graham, Graham Research Consultants
- William Goldfeder, Deputy Chief, Loveland-Symmes Fire Dept. (OH)
- Manuel Gomez, Chief, City of Hobbs Fire Dept. (NM)
- Bill Halmich, Fire Chief, Washington Fire Dept. (MO)
- Christopher Hart, Vice Chair, National Transportation Safety Board
- Mark Light, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, International Association of Fire Chiefs
- Ed Mann, State Fire Commissioner, Office of the PA State Fire Commissioner
Take a look at the NMRS Partners, HERE
Authority is the right to command and expend resources.
A leader is one who can generate effective individual and group action to accomplish agency goals.
The fire service is a dynamic profession that is richly steeped in tradition, noble in deeds and calling. We know the fire service to be constant – yet ever changing in today’s society. We have built this profession upon man and machinery in opposition with an uncontrolled force known as fire. The last fifteen years has shown a shift from traditional fire service missions to encompass a wide scope of service deliveries that is ever expanding. We are challenged daily on the way we do business.
These changes have affected not only the fire service as a whole but also each level
within. The importance of competencies for fire officers in skills, knowledge and training is of the essence in today’s fire service. Fire officer cultural and attitudinal changes are the crucial links that will ultimately determine the future of our business.
Each year the American fire service experiences an average of over 100 line of duty deaths each year. Further we know that the amount of working fires are down approximately 66% of what they were in the mid 1970’s. So what is the score card saying? Why do we continue to know the causes of line of duty deaths and do nothing to change? Summed up it is nothing more than attitudes. We need to change our attitudes. There is no where in the corporate world that you could come in and give an annual report that stated we had a good year, we only lost 100 employees that you would not be escorted out the door before you could get your personal items in a box. Ron Siarnicki of the national Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation (NFFF) made this statement in one of there program. Guess what…HE IS CORRECT! Why do we as leaders in this business continue to allow these issues to occur? Why do we continue to deem it an honor to die in the line of duty? Why are we so resistant to change? We call it tradition! Well as a fire chief and a fire service member I have to say, “GET OVER OLD and BAD TRADITIONS, START A SAFE NEW ONE!” Ok, if I stepped on some toes here, GOOD, they probably needed it. We cannot afford to continue allowing the same mistakes over and over again to occur. At some point we have to start saying it is not acceptable to have injuries and Line of Duty Deaths (LODD). We must change this culture and the time is now and it starts with YOU!
I recently was shuttled to the airport following a conference. I was able to spend that time talking with a young foriegn exchange fire science student who was asking many questions about the culture of the fire service. I asked me how many people get hurt or are killed doing this job as he had seen T-Shirts this week about this. I was ashamed to say we usually have an average of more than 100 firefighters a year. He then asked why. Boy did this hit home! We know why and how firefighters die in the line of duty but what are we doing to prevent them? In 2010 we had eighty five(85) line of duty deaths. My question is just how many of these could have been prevented? One area that we know we can control the environment and have good chances of not having a line of duty death is training. But in 2010 we had 7 line of duty deaths in training. This equates to 8.2% of the total line of duty deaths for that year. Secondly responding to and returning from alarms accounted for 16 line of duty deaths or 18.8%. Deaths in crashes continue to account for a significant portion of the annual fatalities. How many of these could have been prevented? How many were not wearing their seat belts? How many was speed a contributing factor? To answer the last two questions is far too many. This can be corrected with an attitude adjustment.
Let’s look at how we can reduce these numbers. We need to first address our culture and make attitude changes. These changes need to be at all levels. We can begin this change today without problems by changing the thought process as new firefighters enter the academies across the United States. We can further push with the existing firefighters. We have to hit the dinosaurs hard because they take the new recruits freshly in the field and create dinosaur eggs that then develop into dinosaurs themselves. The year 2009 we saw a reduction in the line of duty deaths to below 100 again. Are we lucky or are we truly focusing on what the issues are. Thus the culture revolves in a vicious cycle. Ok there is the start but what do we do to impact the fire service?
We need to develop and require Comprehensive Health and Wellness Programs. These programs need to include physical conditioning, medical evaluations, and mental conditioning. With more and more firefighters perishing due to heart attacks and strokes ( 56.4%) we need to make sure that we are in the physical condition to do this job. I further think that the statistics are some what skewed. When we see LODDs of fire service personnel 65 years old or older who die after responses who did not engage in suppression activities it is being question as to where or not these individuals would have had a heart attack even if they were not on scene within that 24 hours. How many departments are providing and requiring comprehensive medical evaluations (NFPA 1582) for all of their members? If you are not, you need to look for a way to make this happen. So many times I hear of how certain medical evaluations have found members of the fire service with health issues they never knew existed. These physicals need to be annually. I recently was running a portion of a department’s physical conditioning program which was a job performance physical agility test. I found one of our more experience personnel to be hypertensive (elevated blood pressure). I refused to let him test and the department sent him for medical evaluation. Guess what…he is alive today and has begun taking on life style changes and has medication to assist in controlling this issue. He had no symptoms of this condition and was at the potential levels for major problems. Simply as your grandmother would say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Further we need to evaluate and support physical conditioning (NFPA 1583). These need to set personal goals as each individual is different, department goals and standards as to show everyone who performs must be able to perform at a set level. Lastly, we must have qualitative and quantitative testing of physical conditioning. Not as punishment but as a teaching tool. How many of your members can tell you exactly how long an SCBA will last when they are working at full capacity. As command officers this is important information as we work on scenes and strive to complete accountability of our personnel. More importantly it will keep our personnel safer.
We know this is one of the most stressful jobs anywhere you could travel. So just how well do we condition our folks mentally. Have you ever heard “suck it up it’s your job?” Sitting and talking with some professionals from an FDNY Engine Company they talked about and exhibited significant signs of Critical Incident Stress. This, I am sure, is compounded several times over from the events that affect the lives of these firefighters, but hey lets face facts here. These brothers are hurting and hurting bad. But have we addressed any of this, how about there families? I bet they are hurting too! So what do we do to help this problem? We must provide good Critical Incident Stress (CIS) education and coping techniques not only to the firefighters but also for their families. I know that I have done multiple programs on the east coast about this same issue, addressing firefighters and families together both the firehouse family and our true families all at the table together. This program is titled “Hearts and Sirens” and it explores CIS as it affects both the emergency services working and the family we leave at home when duty calls. My wife tells here heart felt stories of the situations she has had to live through and what helped. Basically we provide education, coping techniques and skills to deal with CIS for families. Let’s face it tough guys, even the hard core folks, struggle with all we face in this job at some point. As they face repetitive issues it becomes cumulative and eventually the levels will build up to the eruption point. This can be prevented and enhance our quality of life with just a little education and swallowing of pride on our part. Face it we are not super human, as much as we wish we were.
Training is the paramount. We must continue to enhance our training in every aspect. This includes going back to the basics. We often see in NIOSH reports where basic and routine components of our job are not performed or are contributing factors to LODD and injuries. So why can’t we do the basics? We have the mentality of hey I been there done that, I don’t need to do that anymore, I have got that down. Ok are you sure? If so show me! If you got it should not be hard or lengthy. Next we need to focus on realism. What are we truly going to face. I deal with the mentality of that wouldn’t happen to us or that’s the big city stuff it’s not going to happen here. Well, last time I checked fire did not discriminate. It does matter who you are or where you are from. Reality check… who would have thought that an aircraft with terrorists on board would crash in rural Pennsylvania. That should prove this point with enough said. We must train hard, train realistically and train often. By doing this we stoke our tool boxes with the right tools for the job.
As we train, we as leaders and trainers must make every effort to pull out the stops. We must not accept or condone any type of training environment or attitude that compromises the safety of any firefighter. We must cease pushing the envelope with cowboy tactics that only prove that you can show boat. If this is you I have a message…Your Dangerous and you need to change. We do not need to hurt or kill firefighters to have good quality training. In fact good quality training starts with no injuries and especially no deaths. In research of training line of duty deaths almost every incident could have been prevented.
In closing we must have to courage to say NO and the courage to be safe. It often is not a popular personality folks want to see, but again is it worth dieing for…Most times not! Come on folks, let’s face it, we are not doing everything correct here. We need to change and we need to change NOW!!! Do your self, your firefighters and their families a favor. Help prevent a line of duty death, change the attitudes and culture in your departments and have the courage to be safe! The families at home depend on you to be a leader and an officer. If you are not willing to do as much as possible to help with the change of the culture, do the fire service a favor, RETIRE or QUIT or RESIGN BEING AN OFFICER because you are part of the problem not part of the solution. Help us support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the fire service quest of “EVERYONE GOES HOME”.
As I was preparing my New Year’s message for 2011 I ran across my posting from Commandsafety.com that I had posted at the start of 2010. After looking it over, I got to thinking about what I had set out to accomplish this past year; what did I intend to do; what did I accomplish, what difference did I make-if any in what I worked at in 2010; did I give back to the fire service, did I support, promote and advocate, did I learn, grow and better myself, did the year have meaning?
I wondered how many line items from this 2010 list did any of my readers hit the mark on, or was this list laidd by the way side, forgotten; but certainly attempted-with good faith. I started putting another list of what needed to be addressed in 2011, but I kept coming back to common themes and similar important issues affecting the fire service as reflected in the previous list. It became readily apparent that this is THE list, with some minor additions and updates. So instead of developing a “new” list, here is the “new” list of “old” issues-that are just as important in twenty eleven.
Take a minute to look it over, think about whateach of these line items can do for you, your organization and the fire service in 2011. Don’t sacrifice or forego on these mission critical areas when so much is at stake in the domain of combat structural fire suppression. Understand the predictability of performance in the buildings and occupancies not only in your jurisdiction, first or second-due areas, but also in those areas that you may be called upon to respond to for greater alarms or mutual aid. Remember Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety.
Twenty Eleven (2011)
Here are twenty-one (21) Suggested activities or initiatives for you to consider in 2011….
Above all, be safe in all your endeavors, assignments and incident tasks.
- Regardless of my years of experience, I will increase my understanding of the basic principles of Building Construction, because; Building Knowledge=Firefighter Safety.
- Identify eleven (11) buildings within your first-due or response district and complete a pre-fire plan and present this to my company of organization.
- Identify an area where new residential construction is underway and follow the construction process from foundation through completion to gain an understanding of operational issues.
- I will complete the UL Structural stability of engineered lumber in fire conditions online course AND the new UL Fire Behavior course and implement the lessons learned in my strategic and tactical operations.
- I will not take any building or occupancy for granted, and shall take all precautions to ensure crew integrity and safety during my task assignments.
- Complete a 360 assessment of all buildings upon arrival (or delegate), when ever feasible to gain reconnaissance information on the building and incident risks and implement this info into my strategic, tactical plans or company task assignments.
- Research the issues affecting; Engineered Structural Systems (ESS), Fire Behavior/Fire Dynamics or Fire Suppression Management/Fire Loading and develop a training drill to share the lessons learned.
- Select a new or previous published fire service text book and read up on a subject area that I may have neglected or ignored to increase my skill set.
- Implement an objective approach towards effective risk assessment and profiling of all buildings and occupancies during incident operations and implement balanced tactical deployment with aggressive/measured assignments; recognizing that my company and I are not invincible.
- During demanding Combat Structural Fire Engagements, I will; Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reasons and will not practice Tactical Entertainment.
- Read the Report of the Week (ROTW) on the National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System web site and share the operating experience (OE) lessons with my company or department, to reduce the likelihood of a similar or more serious event.
- I will read Eleven (11) NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports and present the lessons learned in a discussion, table top, drill or training program.
- I will attend a regional or national training conference to increase my perspective and awareness of other firefighting, safety or operational methodologies, process or practices to increase firefighter safety in my home organization.
- I will increase my understanding of the NFFF Everyone Goes Home Program initiatives, including the Sixteen Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives, Safety Thru Leadership and the Courage to Be Safe Programs and other new program initiatives and advocate and promote enhanced safety measures in my organization.
- I will advocate and promote safe and defensive apparatus operations during emergency responses and will always buckle-up my seat belt and ensure my crew is always belted-in, not placing my company at risk and obeying traffic signals and postings.
- I will implement the New Rules of Engagement during combat structural fire operations; while monitoring and reacting to on-going building performance and fire behavior.
- I will increase my understanding of the Predictability of Building Performance and base my operational deployments on Occupancy Risk not Occupancy Type.
- I will become a mentor to a new or less experienced firefighter and promote the traditions, honor and duty of our fire service profession, tempered with an emphasis on firefighter safety, survival and wellness.
- I will take NO emergency incident responses as being routine in nature, due to frequency , regularity or past performance, demands or outcomes, nor will I take any building for granted; Company, Team and personal safety and integrity is paramount and I will not be complacent, but remain vigilant based upon my training, skills and experience.
- I will be an aggressive firefighter; operating smarter, working within the parameters of my Department’s protocols, regulations and expectations while employing Tactical Patience and NOT underestimate the fireground
- I will not settle for status quo; but strive to achieve my highest potential as a firefighter, company officer or commander; and remember I am a brother/sister (firefighter) to everyone in this great profession
Ensure you’re glancing occasionally in your rear view mirror to monitor where you’ve been, while driving your initiatives, programs, processes and actions forward. Above all, maintain the courage to be safe.
Keep an eye in the rear view mirror; learning from the wisdom and knowledge from where you’ve been, what you’ve done and all your past experiences and practice; but at the same time focusing on the road before you with keen attentiveness on situational awareness, anticipating error-likely conditions and balanced risk assessment and operational management in both your strategic and tactical deployments.
Download and Listen in on an insightful look back at 2010 and forward into 2011 with a stellar line-up of fire service leaders. The lineup of scheduled guests on the program included, Deputy Coordinator Tiger Schmittendorf (NY), Chief Glenn Usdin (PA), Captain Willie Wines (VA), Bill Carey (MD), Chief Doug Cline (NC), Lt. Rhett Fleitz (VA), Lt. John Mitchell (IL), and a few others on the invite list who just drop in on us.
Grab a cup of coffee and sit down for this special two part, two hour program with Taking it to the Streets on Firefighernetcast.com where we were Looking Forward Through the Rear View Mirror with Christopher Naum and this outstanding group of fire officers, fire service leaders and visionaries.
- Looking Forward Through the Rear View Mirror: A review back into the year 2010 Part I Download the program HERE
- Looking Forward Through the Rear View Mirror: A discusison of what we might look forward to in 2011 Part II Download the program HERE
Join in on the live open discussion with fire service personnel from around the country. Check out the latest downloads of recent programs in the archives by visiting Taking it to the Street’s webpage on Firefighternetcast.com or for program insights at CommandSafety.com.
- Tune in to the Program, HERE
- Firefighternetcast.com HERE
- Taking it to the Streets Radio Programs, HERE and HERE
- Look back at Twenty Ten, for 2010, HERE
Taking it to the StreetsTM is a monthly radio show featured on BlogTalk Radio and is hosted by Christopher Naum and is a Buildingsonfire.com Series and FireFighternetcast.com Production, © 2010 All Rights Reserved
Taking it to the Streets: Looking Forward Through the Rear View Mirror
On Your Street, In Your City, Across the Country, Around the WorldTM
Join us on Wednesday night December 15th at 9:00 pm EST for an insightful look back at 2010 and forward into 2011 and beyond with a stellar line-up of fire service leaders.
The lineup of Scheduled guests include, Deputy Coordinator Tiger Schmittendorf (NY), Chief Glenn Usdin (PA), Captain Willie Wines (VA), Bill Carey (MD), Chief Doug Cline (NC), Lt. Rhett Fleitz (VA), Lt. John Mitchell (IL), and a few others on the invite list who might just drop in on us.
Grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a special two part, two hour program with Taking it to the Streets on Firefighernetcast.com where we’ll be Looking Forward Through the Rear View Mirror with Christopher Naum and this outstanding group of fire officers, fire service leaders and visionaries.
Join in on the live open discussion with fire service personnel from around the country. Check out the latest downloads of recent programs in the archives by visiting Taking it to the Street’s webpage on Firefighternetcast.com or for program insights at CommandSafety.com.
- Tune in to the Program Wednesday evening December 15th at 9:00 pm EST, HERE
- Firefighternetcast.com HERE
- Taking it to the Streets Radio Programs, HERE and HERE
- Look back at Twenty Ten, for 2010, HERE
Taking it to the StreetsTM is a monthly radio show featured on BlogTalk Radio and is hosted by Christopher Naum and is a Buildingsonfire.com Series and FireFighternetcast.com Production, © 2010 All Rights Reserved QNBA6H4AS9BB