Tactical Fire Problem – Refrigeration Leak

Not really a fire problem this week, sort of a Haz mat or medical emergency.
You receive a medical call for your local supermarket for someone feeling weak and dizzy. While EMS is enroute you begin receiving additional calls.

1.) What are your initial actions?

2.) What are the additional resources you would call for?

3.) Do you know what refrigerant is used in these coolers, and what does the system schematic look like?

4.) Is the product toxic? Does it just displace oxygen? Is there any odor to the product? Is it a huge refrigeration system that uses ammonia?These are all things that you might be able to determine through pre planning ahead of time. We often pre plan the building but we should take a look at all systems that introduce products inside of a building through pipes, vents, conduits.

5.) On a crowded Saturday morning, how many people are actually exposed or contaminated, versus the folks that might have “sympathy” sickness from watching this incident. Triage will be a major consideration. Because this is a grocery store, are there any other considerations or agencies to be called after the incident is stabilized?

Stay Safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Firefighter Roundtable Discussion Using Google HANGOUTS

The weekly firefighter Roundtable discussion will be held Sunday June 16, 2013 at 8:00 PM eastern time.

If you have a free gmail account or a google+ account or both you are welcome to join in. A mic and webcam obviously make this very interactive.

Topic is open right now, review of everyone’s organization and ops, one screen sharing fire problem at least and whatever else we get into!

Send an email to pete@petelamb.com if you are interested and I will send a link at 8;01 PM on Sunday evening, click the link to join in.

Hope you can make it. Currently limited to the first nine folks for now, once we are done beta testing the concept we have more in store!

Stay tuned!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Weekly Firefighting Roundtable Chat

Sunday June 9, 2013 at 8:00 PM Eastern time we will be holding the weekly firefighting Roundtable chat using Google HANGOUTS video calling. If you have a gmail address, webcam and microphone you can join in.
Send an email to pete@petelamb.com and I will send you a link at 800pm Sunday that you can click and join in. Last week we had Massachusetts, Florida, and Pennsylvania represented.
No real agenda this week, a fire problem, everyone’s respective department, and just a general sharing of ideas.
I hope you can join in!
Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Educational “Freelancing”

I had an opportunity this week to have a conversation with some of my peers. During this conversation I had a thought that came up and I choose to share that with you this week.

We all know we claim that freelancing is not allowed in our fire scenes and we are well aware of the problem. Frankly that is all BS and we continue to do it each and every day and it has become acceptable. We all have a hundred reasons why it is allowed…but that is not the point of my commentary this week.

Is there a small group of firefighters or members of your organization that are always training, always reading trade journals, always trying to learn more. I submit to you there are one or two members and they may well be in a minority.

These members are on the correct path and they should continue on this path at all costs, but there should be one word of caution to be passed along.

Their training and methods of operation can be so contrary to the actual or perceived operations of the department, that they could become hurt or injured easily.

Think about the following…a new recruit is taught to wear all their gear, use PASS device, and understands nozzle operation and fire behavior…as they begin to attack an interior fire they are being supported folks wearing half their gear, not versed in hydraulics and water delivery, and who may or may not understand what they are looking at. What danger is our newly trained firefighter in? Will the line be pumped properly, can his backup team get in to assist?

This was the first time that I actually thought about a well trained firefighter getting into trouble in this manner.

Think about your department and your culture and think about circumstances where the “training gap” of knowledge between the new and the old could create a safety hazard.

The answer to this is obvious (everyone should be at the same level) but in a realistic view of the world in practice it will be more difficult.

Do everything you can within your power to raise the level of training to that of your most “aggressive student”. This is much easier said than done. The second task is to make sure that your “aggressive students” are always aware of the level of training of those that are supporting them.

I have looked at this as a peer to peer educational free-lancing situation, but it does not take any imagination or thought to determine how dangerous this becomes when it is a firefighter and an officer. The knowledge deficit of an officer, or chief managing an aggressively trained firefighter can become catastrophic.

Be aware of your personal level of training and be sure to operate within the boundaries of departmental SOPS or accepted practices…if you do not you could be an educational or training free-lancer yourself.

Take a look around your department and try to close this knowledge safety and training gap.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Rubbish Truck On A Crowded Street

This week something a little different, but still a challenge.

1.) This is a bad location. Are there any alternative solutions?

2.) In addition to the hazard of the mixed, unknown, compacted load, what are the truck related hazards?

3.) What is the appropriate extinguishing operation for this incident?

4.) How long will this incident last?

5.) List some firefighter hazards.

Send your responses via email to pete@petelamb.com if you would like feedback and discussion, or just speak your responses into the send voicemail tab on the side and you will also get feedback if you wish.

Stay safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Firefighter Training Podcast – Houston LODD – RECEOVS


Acknowledgement of the Houston LODD at the Southwest INN Fire

Captain EMT Matthew Renaud Age 35 – Engine 51

Engineer EMT Operator Robert BeBee Age 41 – Engine 51

Firefighter EMT Robert Garner, Age 29 – Engine 68

Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan, Age 24 – Engine 68

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the additional 13 members injured including the Captain of Engine 68 still hospitalized in critical condition as of this episode.

A subject that was requested from a listener on Fireground operations.


Rescue , Exposures, Confinement, Extinguishment, Overhaul, Ventilation, Salvage.

Ventilation belongs somewhere between confinement and extinguishment and if you follow those steps in order you will have a more successful fireground operation.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Fires in Ductwork Systems

This week some considerations in fighting fires in ductwork systems.

There are not an awful lot of commercial ductwork fires as there used to be in the early manufacturing days but this week we will take a look at some of the considerations for handling these in-frequent emergencies.

First and foremost you should identify buildings in your response area that have large runs of duct.

The second issue is to determine what the use is for the duct. Some common uses are handling cooking vapors, sawdust collection, plastic pellet collection, lint collection, and simply forced hot air for heating.

Obviously if there is any product handling in the ductwork the potential for fire spread is great, and this will create a significant problem.

While looking at the various potential duct in your response are, determine what, if any protection or detection might exist. This could include and should include a minimum of heat detection, self closing dampers to limit smoke spread, (Not always flame spread) and may even include sprinkler protection.

Some techniques or possible tactics.

Investigate the incident and do a good size up and locate the fire within the ductwork. This might be indicated by: No visible fire, paint blistering, fire showing from a roof or outside area at the vent outlet, but often the interior signs may be limited. There are also times where smoke from another source is being drawn into the duct.

Upon arrival and make the determination the fire is in the ductwork.

Get a line in position at the base of the ductwork and areas of vertical or horizontal exposure within the building.

Use the Thermal imaging camera or multiple cameras to determine the extent and travel.

Shut down any blower system if it has not already automatically been shut.

Ventilate area as needed.

Look for any clean out or service openings for the duct and remove any access panels with lines in place.

Consider the use of dry chemical extinguishers. (These are great for this type of fire but the configuration and dampers can prevent the agent from reaching the fire sometimes)

Assign companies to the roof.

Open up ceilings and side walls as necessary to determine if there has been any extension.

These fires require much effort in locating and final extinguishment. They should be treated as fires in void spaces and concealed spaces.

Bring in tools for opening the ductwork and for all of you new folks ask some of the older members about the “tin roof cutter” they used to carry!

Stay safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

"Changing the fire service, one mind at a time"