All posts by plamb

Cold Weather Operations – Some random thoughts

I probably should have put this one out earlier but with a bunch of serious fires here in Massachusetts and Rhode Island lately, and the single digit temperatures, I thought I would get it out now.

* Always, always circulate water in the pump during cold weather operations. Don’t forget quint apparatus either!

* Sand and speeding dri can be used at the front doors and entry points of working fires to prevent members from taking a tumble.

* Keep nozzles flowing to avoid freeze-ups

* Notify the water department so that hydrants that have been used can be drained down, or have anti freeze added.

* Dress in layers whenever you can. I never heard anyone complain about an extra pair of wool socks.

* Camping supply hand Warner’s and foot Warner’s can be used. (Don’t tell the crew they will call you sissy names, but at least you will be warm!)

* If hose and equipment is badly frozen, contact your local towing company and they will assist you with a flat bed so you are not twisting, folding and compressing hose and items that might cause damage.

* Chauffeurs should be extremely conscious of battery maintenance in the extreme cold. Also depending how cold the temps are tire pressures can fluctuate considerably.

* Check for excessive condensation in air brake systems and air ride suspension systems on ambulances.

* Keep your SCBA regulator inside your coat whenever you can due to condensation buildup during use, and temperature change from inside to out.

* Consider a plan for taking care of residents affected by the fire, keep them out of the elements when you can.

* Consider additional alarms sooner. Things will freeze, men will operate slower, and conditions dictate more manpower.

* Remember in single digit temperatures, smoke color may be lighter due to frozen water vapor, and may move slower, and this could affect size up and your initial read of the situation.

* Make sure hydrants, dry hydrants and water holes are cleared out as early as possible.

* Make sure access to boat ramps and ponds are cleared and not ignored, so you have access for ice rescues.

There are tons of these, so feel free to send along any others to info@petelamb.com

Stay safe…….and Stay Warm!

( This post is not intended for our readers in the warmer climates and does not apply to friends I have on the job I’m Florida who tell me it’s cold when it is 45 degrees either!)

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

The I Stair – The Green Maltese Website

This article crossed my desk yesterday and I won’t even paraphrase it or change it all, but will just provide the link.

This is a new construction technique that involves a pre fabricated staircase with multiple gusset plate connectors.

Please pass this important safety bulletin throughout your department.

The I Stair at Green Maltese Website

Also if you have not already heard about the Green Maltese or do not have their page bookmarked, please do so there is great information on their website!

Thanks and stay safe!

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem – Accident with Fire and Entrapment

This week we will look at a vehicle accident. There is 1 person pinned and trapped in the vehicle. This is an active roadway with traffic flowing.

1.) Based upon what you see here think about the manpower and resources you would need to call and list them on a sheet of paper with the tasks you would assign each company. (Think outside agencies also)

2.) What is in the truck? How could different potential cargo affect your decision making or resources?

3.) In most extrication scenarios we always have a charged line present. When was the last time you drilled while using the tool under a hand line protection (flowing water). (If you practice this use extreme caution due to reduced visibility and the tools being slippery)

4.) How familiar are you with the technique of using dry chemical extinguishers in conjunction with a hose stream for vehicle fires, tire fires etc? Try it and experiment with it when you have a live fire opportunity, you might be surprised.

5.) this case has no exposures. How would the scenario change if this were a “middle lane scenario” with vehicles on both sides?

Next time you are driving the highway, look around and play a little mental “what if” game. Hey at least I did not make it a tanker! (Well, not this week anyway)

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Ask not what your country can do……..

Most folks can finish the famous quote by President Kennedy, and this week I am applying it to the fire service.
I get a variety of emails each week some are good and some are not so good but at least I am provoking some thought and hopefully doing what the website says and that is “Changing the fire service, one mind at a time”.
This week I am once again talking about a problem that is a symptom of our society. The problem is that it is spilled into the fire service and as emails would tell me it is wide spread. The subject is entitlement.
I should preface this commentary by saying that I have over 30 years in the service in a variety of capacities and I have been involved in three departments and a statewide agency.
Nobody owes me anything, nor do I believe that on a daily basis. I chose this service to do just that and provide service to others.
The problem that I am noticing is that some of our younger members believe there is some entitlement or rights that come with being on the job for four years. Chief Billy Goldfeder coined a term 6/22 meaning someone who had been on the job six months and acted like they had been on 22 years. I think we all have these members.
These are the members who suddenly become veterans once they have been on past their one year probation. I made a previous reference to the person or member who recounts a story like they were there and they were not even on the job when it happened.
Some of the things that have been reported to me via email might sound familiar…. A member with three years explaining to someone else why they should get the assignment, because they are senior!
The members who are first worried about when they ran out of sick days because they have been on for two years and have no sick time. They make these stupid statements in front of firefighters who have not used sick time in twenty years but yet they need their entitlement.
What about the members who suddenly put themselves on the same plane as those who were killed in the 9/11 attacks. These younger firefighters who think that their application and successful appointment allows them to claim some act of heroism or bravery as their own. There is no comparison to those 343 member that gave their lives that morning. Simple. We have never seen anything like that since Texas City and I hope that I shall never see it again in my lifetime.
There are those members who think that some number of years months or hours in grade entitle them to some form of respect.
What tips can we offer to make sure that folks understand earning something versus an entitlement? I am not sure I have a conclusive list but I will offer some tips.
Make sure all new members are taught basic fire service history. If they understand the aims and ideals of those who came before us then maybe they will be less likely to feel entitled.
Make sure all new members meet and review your own department’s history with previous members who have gone before them. Members who may have worked 72 and 96 hours to get the provisions in the current contract that you now enjoy.
Lead by example even if you are not an officer but are in fact a “real” senior member then do not look for any give me yourself but always set an example that what you have is earned.
Teach all new members that their reputation and any ” entitlement” that they have is being earned each day they are on the job. They are entitled to a fair shake from their brothers and sisters and the boss, but anything else they earn such as their own reputation is their own choosing.
At the fire department funeral for a Boston Firefighter Fire Commissioner Martin Pierce made a statement about …”in this world there are givers and takers”…”The takers are easier to spot because they are always in front,…but there are few givers” This phrase has always stuck with me and it meant something as I always wanted to be a giver. It seemed like a better thing to do.
Hey that is why there are choices in this world of give and take. Decide where you want to be in your department and fire service career.
Let’s try to show the takers what they truly have been missing because this business would be a lot better off with less folks that feel the fire service owes them some entitlement to either pay, benefits, respect, trust and much more.
Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem – Gasoline Tanker Delivery

Lets take a look at this problem found in almost every community.

1.) When was the last training you had dealing with the gasoline tank truck? How is it piped, what are the safety features?

2.) Will the stations canopy extinguishing system be effective on this fire? What is the coverage area? Have you ever witnessed one going off?

3.) What is the life hazard? Where is the driver? Where are the civilians in and around the pumps or convenience store?

4.) Where is this fuel going? Storm drain?

5.) What is your department’s capability to handle this emergency? How much alcohol resistant foam do you have? When was your last foam training?

Think about this one this week, and as you drive by a gas station with a tanker making a delivery, look around at the area and the people and the surroundings….then ask yourself…..what if?

Thanks and stay safe!

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem – Apartment Fire

This week we take a look at a fire in an apartment complex.

1.) Estimate what you believe to be the amount of interior involvement in this scenario. What do you determine by the black smoke along the eave line?

2.) This appears to be a daytime scenario. Do the old rules of maybe nobody home daytime apply? Many more people working from home, moms doing babysitting to raise additional money, people out of work?

3.) Looking at the layout, what room is that fire room most likely, and why?

4.) Does the construction of this building (and buildings like it) present any additional tactical considerations as related to fire spread and exposures?

5.) What is the definition of a “firewall”? Look up the definition, then check your building codes, then go out and actually take a look at 5/8 sheet rock on both sides that may or may not be staggered and properly taped, and that also has utility penetrations through it. Also consider the age of construction, is I full dimensional lumber on the roof or lightweight truss construction?

After using this scenario, go out and take a look in your response area and find a similar building and come up with a plan.

Stay safe!

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem – Haz Mat

This week the scenario is an unknown vapor cloud from an industrial facility.
As always you can pause the scenario to review before it expands.

Some thoughts:

1.) One would hope that at a facility of this size there would be some sort of planning document available, maybe even with a tactical or operational pre-plan.

2.) At a facility with a large number of tanks there could be a variety of substances on site. The first rule of Haz mat is to identify the substance. What steps and methods and sources of information will you use to identify the product?

3.) Haz mats come in solids liquids and gases. The most difficult to mange is probably a gas because of the large volume and area it might cover. Solids can be contained, leaks can be plugged and patched, dammed and diked. A vapor leak will tend to travel. Using your departments resources and mutual aid, what is your course of action in this incident?(After identification of course)

4 ) On a sheet of paper, identify the agencies that might be called or might be involved in this incident.

5.) Based upon the video, how long will you be operating at this event and what does that mean for additional resources that might have to be called in?

If you do not have an industrial facility such as this in your area do you have one in the mutual aid area? How much do you know about it in advance? Have you trained with mutual aid in a field exercise or even a tabletop drill?

Think about, today might be the day to plan and review basic Haz mat concepts.

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com