http://localhost:4503/content/fe/en/blogs/blognetwork/ron-kanterman.html2015-12-17T03:30:30.513ZFE Blog Network - Ron KantermanAdobe Experience ManagerJournal Entry 18: Smash the Tactical Boxnoemail@noemail.orgPennwell Blogs Administrator<div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center; margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">&quot;We have fire in another mini tank farm&quot;</span></div> <div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center; margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">By Ron Kanterman (7/5/2012</span></div> <div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center; margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">)</span></div> <div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center; margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Hope you summer is going well. On the LODD front, we’re not doing great. In my last Journal Entry (#17), we talked about seatbelts, speed and intersections. This is just one cog in the safety wheel. Hopefully you and your team mates have all recommitted to safety during the International Fire &amp; EMS Safety week in June.</div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As I write this journal entry, I can’t help but have my thoughts with the brothers out west who are getting their proverbial asses kicked in the wild land. I was out in Colorado the third week in June teaching a class and was probably in the only town that wasn’t on fire, but you can bet all of those guys ended up traveling to a fire location. Hell, even guys from Delaware flew west. My “Back Step Boys” radio partner Tom Aurnhammer was teaching at the NFA for two weeks and in the true spirit of the American Fire Service, told me on the phone the day before he headed home to Colorado, “I’m chomping at the bit to get back and dig in.” Others not in our business are driving away from it. Tom was flying home to get in to it. Pray for rain and that all come home safely. Pray for those who haven’t come home, particularly the four National Guardsmen who perished in their C-130 transport.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let’s briefly talk about <a href="http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/2012/07/new-fire-loads-new-tactics-smashing-the-tactical-box.html?sponsored=firedynamics">smashing the tactical box</a>. For one moment, let’s not get out of the box, let’s take it apart violently and with vigor. As most of you have seen by now, the FDNY is doing some tactical testing by lighting fires in acquired structures to study the heat release rate of materials and how to attack the hydrocarbon laden fires we have today. Those of us who have the opportunity to teach (and preach) have been discussing the new fires and the new fire loads for a year or three. I tell young firefighters in my classes, that they’re not going to my fires anymore. The heat release rate of the materials, the speed of flame propagation and the toxic by-products are all very fast and very new. The Smoke Coalition (www.firesmoke.org) has published papers and DVD’s entitled “The Toxic Twins” meaning Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN). That’s a pretty good reason to wear your mask during a structure fire and right through overhaul, isn’t it?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Food for thought:</b></p> <p>Knowing what we know, we may be bringing a pea shooter to a gun fight. Hey, we evolved albeit slowly and went from 1 ½” line to 1 ¾” line. Some even use 2” attack lines as well. With fires in “mini tank farms” (that would be today’s home or business full of hydrocarbon materials, e.g. plastics and like) should we be thinking 2 ½” for a few rooms of fire in a house? In terms of transitional attack, how about a shot of dry chemical in a window for knock down? How about a shot of foam (Class A or B) in the window for knock down. Stay tuned in to what New York is doing. To read more tactical tips on smashing the box at your next mini tank farm fire--I mean structure fire--<b><a href="http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/2012/07/new-fire-loads-new-tactics-smashing-the-tactical-box.html?sponsored=firedynamics">CLICK HERE</a></b>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Be safe,</p> <p>Ronnie K</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">PS-Just want to wish much good luck to Bob Colameta who left the Everyone Goes Home Program. Bob was the web site, resource administrator and “backbone” of the EGH program and a George D. Post Instructor of the Year for the work he did on the program. I’m sure we haven’t heard or seen the last of him. God speed big guy! &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br> </div> tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-8589273288952290492012-07-05T19:52:00.002Z2012-08-07T18:13:03.941ZJournal Entry 17 -- Seat belts, Speed, and Intersectionsnoemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMAN<br /><div align="center" class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 14pt; line-height: 115%;">An Easy Way to a Long Life</span></b></div><div align="center" class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 14pt; line-height: 115%;">By Ron Kanterman</span></b></div><div align="center" class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">So, in Journal Entry 14 (posted December, 2011), we discussed the merits of the <i>Everyone Goes Home</i>, <i>Courage to be Safe</i> program; where we are, and where we’re going. Indeed, the low hanging fruit is the driving issue. Statistically, the number of members killed driving POV’s and/or apparatus has markedly dropped. It’s pretty basic stuff. <u>Seatbelts, speed, and intersections</u>. If we look at these in their most basic forms, they make the most sense. Buckle up, slow down, and stop for red lights and stop signs. <b>The NFPA recorded that from 1977-2007, 932 firefighters were killed in vehicle accidents. For purposes of round numbers, that’s almost a thousand of us that never went home because of a driving issue. </b>Are all of these the fault of our people? Probably not. Are most of them the fault of our people? Probably. Listen gang, this is the easy one. To date, 6 of the 32 LODD’s nationwide were vehicle fatalities. We can do better. It has to be a constant push from the Chief on down. Front seat officers and the drivers themselves all must take responsibility. In fact, each and every member must take stock in themselves, their own safety, and the safety of those around them whether it’s their brothers and sisters in the firehouse or the citizens they swore to protect. Life Safety Initiative #4 reads “All firefighters must be empowered to stop unsafe practices.” Empower your people to “say something” so if it doesn’t look or feel right it’s OK to chime in. Everyone on the crew has to be able to say, “hey driver, knucklehead, dopey, speedy, Andretti (or any other endearing term) slow down!” And for our volunteers responding in their POV’s, perhaps a short suspension for traffic violations is in order.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Seatbelts:</span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Yes, a time proven method of staying in the vehicle versus being tossed out when it rolls, crashes, slides, hits something or stops wheels up. This, I think is a good thing. I love hearing all the excuses (and that’s all they are, excuses) of why guys can’t buckle up. The most popular excuse is putting the air pack on in the jump seat. When the “pack in the seat” system was invented, it was a good idea for its time. Get of the rig readier and faster and get in quicker. Bull! The fact remains that we’re not really getting off the rig and heading directly into a structure to make a difference of any kind. We still get off the rig, do size up, stretch lines, throw a ladder perhaps, and then maybe go in. There are a few remedies here. </span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt 0.75in; text-indent: -0.25in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">1)<span style="font: 7pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Get in the seat. Put your pack on. Buckle up. (Yes, it can be done.)</span></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt 0.75in; text-indent: -0.25in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">2)<span style="font: 7pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Get in the seat. Don’t put your pack on. Buckle up. When you get to the fire, unbuckle and put your pack on. (Yes, this can be done.)</span></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt 0.75in; text-indent: -0.25in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">3)<span style="font: 7pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Put the air packs back in the side compartments. Get in the seat. Buckle up. Unbuckle upon arrival. While you’re throwing your air pack on over your head, do a “size up and cinch up” and plan your attack with your crew.</span></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt 0.75in; text-indent: -0.25in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">4)<span style="font: 7pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Consider ordering new apparatus with overhead pull down seatbelts like the flight attendants have on jets. It’s got to be easier than reaching around. </span></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt 0.75in; text-indent: -0.25in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">5)<span style="font: 7pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Consider ordering new apparatus with regular seats and place the packs back in the side compartments. (The seats will be more comfy when on longer rides, inspection duty, and other non-emergency details.)</span></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt 0.75in; text-indent: -0.25in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">6)<span style="font: 7pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Consider that every time you get on an apparatus, think about your survivability if it crashes.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Speed:</span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Speed kills. It’s as old as me. (Speed the drug and speed the speed.) There are hundreds of thousands of accident data that proves this theory. We still lose 50,000 Americans in vehicle crashes each year across the U.S. It’s also proven that people don’t get killed, severely injured, or ejected in low speed crashes. We in the emergency services should be setting the example and bumping the bar when it comes to driving and traffic safety. We are certainly no good to our customers if, in fact, we don’t get there. What if your family was hanging out of a window waiting for a ladder or entangled in a car waiting to be extricated? Think about getting to the scene safely so you can perform the duties you were trained for. Think about getting to the scene safely so you can make a difference in someone’s life. Think about getting to the scene safely and returning the same way. Just think! (Tom Brennan said; “we need trained thinking firefighters to be successful.”)</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Intersections:</span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">As we know, not all crashes happen at intersections. We suffer roll overs, going off the side of the road and tipping on our sides, and hitting strong inanimate objects like trees. Perhaps the most dangerous place to be however is an intersection. Controlled (traffic lights) intersections are better than most. At lease we have a shot and don’t have to think too much. Red stop. Green go. Yellow, slow down and get ready to stop. It’s pretty easy. All the lights and sirens in the world mean little to the people driving in sound proof cars, stereo up, head phones on, ear pods in, “gotta get the kids to soccer practice,” “gotta get to school,” “gotta get to work.” “I got the green, look out―I’m coming through!” How many times have you come up behind a car with lights, siren, and air horn going and they have no idea you’re behind them? Now picture that you’re coming from the side road with no warning. Stop, look, and listen! In an uncontrolled intersection, do it twice!</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Start preaching; “seatbelts, speed and intersections.” Have your people repeat it. Write it down. Hang it up in the day room. Place it in your cabs. Talk about it. Live it. If you love your life and you love your family, live to love them!</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Be safe.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Ronnie K&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</b></span></div><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-6804820487587284317?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-68048204875872843172012-05-14T13:02:00.000Z2012-07-05T20:04:13.939ZJournal Entry 16 - The Union Gave What to Who?noemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMAN<span style="font-weight: bold;">An Invitation:</span><br />Keeping in touch with the brothers from North Plainfield, NJ after I had left the neighborhood three years ago has been a blessing. While working as a chief in Union County (NJ), I lived and volunteered with the Borough's combination fire department from 1997-2008. Like most other fire departments in our great country, it was the "same circus with different clowns." For those of you who travel the country or go to national conferences like FDIC, there is no doubt you've met a double or even a triplet of the guys you run with whether career, volunteer, Military, industrial or however you respond. I still thank God that I chose this profession, although sometimes I think it chose me. Good to be one of the clowns.<br /><br />So, I get an email a few weeks back from my buddy, Jeff Holtz, who doubles as the Local 2958, President for the IAFF chapter in North Plainfield. It's an invitation to the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ) annual Valor Awards Ceremony. He asked me to attend to help with recognizing his Chief, William Eaton, for great strides with the Department. My initial reaction was "the Union is giving what to who?" Jeff nominated his chief to the State Board of the PFANJ for outstanding leadership and relentless progress in the labor-management arena. This was the inaugural award, for the Union had never done this before. It was a great idea whose time had come. Of course, emails from me followed with; where, when, what shall I say and most important, what shall I wear? And oh yeah, what are we eating? (Very important.) With all of the details knocked out I couldn't wait to get back home, even for one night. This is by far one of my favorite fire service activities, attending a valor awards ceremony.<br /><br />On Thursday, March 29, 2012 I left southeast Connecticut and headed south on I-95. What should have taken 3 hours took 4 with rush hour traffic. (If you're from the area, you know that it's rush hour all the time on I-95. I built in the extra time in order to get there on time. (When you live here, you know to do that.) The reunion started upon my arrival at the Garden State Arts Center Reception Area. As I got out of the car I ran into a Chief from the Elizabeth (NJ) Fire Department. Once inside, it kicked into high gear-- handshakes, hugs and greetings. The long drive was already worth it. As I got to my table, I saw Billy (Chief Eaton) and another dozen or so members of the NPFD who turned out for their Chief. After more greetings and some catching up, the awards presentation started while the wait staff served dinner.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">Acts of Valor, Bravery and Courage:</span><br />The Union President, Dominick Marino greeted everyone along with the pipes and drums serving as an escort for the award winners. (This is one of those rare times when hearing the pipes is OK; it's those other times I've learned to hate.) After the salute to the flag and invocation by the Chaplain, Fr. Tom Ryan, the president started to read the acts of valor and called upon the recipients to come to the stage and be recognized. Firefighter after firefighter and group after group, they went to the stage to standing ovations and thunderous rounds of applause, all humble and almost looking embarrassed to be up there. The one or two that did speak said what all of them were thinking. "I was doing my job, I did was I was trained to do and/or I was in the right place at the right time." Hey, they all did something phenomenal and were being recognized whether they liked it or not. It's OK to be recognized folks. Take it, smile, say thanks and remain humble. I heard some unbelievable things. A group from Newark made multiple rescues from a 3/4-involved, multiple dwelling; an off-duty drowning rescue; multiple CPR and life-saving EMS rescues; and some outstanding administrative accomplishments. Nice job all--you make the fire service what it is!<br /><br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">A Firefighter's Chief:</span><br />President Marino introduced me and I headed for the podium on the stage. It was a surprise to Billy that I was not only there for the ceremonies, but that I was participating in the ceremony to honor him. After a few initial remarks, I couldn't help but to mention one of the firefighters who came to the stage earlier. FF Jason Fazio received a Special Valor and Courage Award. About 14 months prior to this night while working in Asbury Park, NJ (where Springsteen started) the room Jason was searching flashed over. All he could do was muster the strength to get up on a window sill and throw himself from the second floor to the pavement below. After suffering multiple broken bones and third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body, he looked physically strong this night, but his attitude and outlook were even stronger. He gave all the credit to the doctors and nurses of the St. Barnabas Hospital Burn Unit and also brought the doctor to the stage with him. There's that humble thinking and humility from our people again. He talked all about their work, and how they saved him, etc. (The folks at St. Barnabas are, in fact, incredible people who have created miracles over many years. The firefighters in the region know, love and respect them and the work they do.) He also talked about the brothers in the firehouse that took care of him and his family while we has incapacitated. He never mentioned the fire or his act of valor making searches under horrendous conditions. I told him from the podium that guys like him was the reason I joined this profession and stayed for the past 34 years, and that he was an inspiration to all.<br /><br />Back to Chief Eaton.<br /><br />The first thing I said was that there were only a handful of guys I'd drive 420 miles for in one night...and Billy Eaton was one of them. The next two pages were about our friendship and how I watched him grow from a young Lieutenant to an intelligent,<br /><br />level-headed commander and leader. Moreover, I was so happy to see a younger Chief coming up and taking the reigns. Those of us who have been around longer than 15 minutes are consistently seeking the next generation of leaders. Chief Eaton is one of them. The next few pages of accolades and accomplishments were penned mostly by the Union president. Billy managed to avoid grievances since his appointment 6 years ago through his leadership style and sense of what's good for the Department. He also raised staffing 25 percent through two SAFER grants. The Department (one station for 2-&Acirc;&frac12; square miles with 23,000 people) hadn't seen 28 men in many years. Billy is truly a firefighter's chief. He's a chief's chief as well, and has earned the respect of the New Jersey fire service at large.<br /><br />Congratulations Chief Eaton; congratulations Local 2958 President Jeff Holtz on having a great idea; congratulations PFANJ President Marino and the members at large on going with this project. You have cut a new path and have planted seeds for labor-management relations. During these extremely difficult times, you've knocked the bar up a few notches because there will be strength in unity from the "proby" to the Chief. Nice job all on a fantastic night. I am forever grateful that you included me, and I offer you a personal "tip-of-the-helmet."<br /><br />Take care, be well, be safe,<br />Ronnie K<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-3515327855962825111?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-35153278559628251112012-04-04T15:44:00.000Z2012-07-05T20:04:14.782ZBuilding a Fan Base for Future Successnoemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMANBrothers and sisters:<br /><br />I am happy to welcome long time friend and brother, Firefighter Rob Beattie of the North Plainfield, NJ, Fire/Rescue Department (NPFD) to my Journal. I met Rob 15 years ago when I started to run with the NPFD. While I was the Chief of Merck Fire Department (MFD), I began volunteering in North Plainfield along with Rob who was a young, 20-something volunteer waiting for the opportunity to jump at the chance for a career position. Rob followed his Dad's footsteps who retired as a Captain from the NPFD years before. He's been on the job now for 13 years, is a FF/EMT, holds numerous NJ certifications and is active with his IAFF Local. He also coordinated an annual activity through the firehouse for the past 8 years to raise money to fight childhood cancer (St. Baldrick's Foundation) and to his credit, has raised over a half-million dollars through his tenacity, dedication and leadership. It gives me great pride and pleasure to welcome Rob to my Journal as a "guest blogger" for the month of March, 2012. Check out his comparison of the American fire service and professional sports.<br /><br />Enjoy and be safe. Ronnie K<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">Building a Fan Base for Future Success</span><br />By Rob Beattie<br /></div><br />I hate to admit it, but I waited until late in life to appreciate professional sports. When I did start paying attention, I found it addictive. Not just the playing of the game, but the culture that follows it. As a firefighter I have been told that ours is a performance-based profession, to which I agree. Like football and hockey players, we wear heavy equipment and perform under adrenalin driven, adverse and pressure filled conditions. Like a relief pitcher seeking a win from a deficit, we battle against great odds to prevail in our objective. Like athletes in the moment, our evolutions require focus, determination and physical exertion; our physical and mental conditioning contributes to improved performance and success. The only hitch is that we never know when our game day will be, unlike the professional athletes who get to schedule their adrenaline rush. The other main difference--no one pays to watch us play the game.<br /><br />There are more similarities between our fire service and sports. Not in the playing of the game or the performance of our duties, but the connection between the teams, players and fans. Sports teams and their talent enjoy an intimate relationship with their geographical home base. Beyond the game, athletes are engaged with their surroundings and the people in it, and do not necessarily live in the city where they play--even fewer are "from" there. In reality, many don't even live in the same State or even the same country during their off season. But the locals in the host city/town/village, etc. know who they are and a lot about them. Even people who live near the stadium, arena or ballpark who aren't fans of the home team likely appreciate the contribution and positive impact of the athletes and the team in the neighborhood. A connection at almost any level is recognized and endears the team and the players to the communities they play in. If an athlete isn't doing the right things in the team's home town, fans and non-fans alike let them know about it. You will read it on the sports page, see it on the news, and maybe even on a t-shirt. It is bad for the athlete, but worse, for the team. A firefighter is a public figure and hopefully a role model, held to a higher standard and I believe rightfully so. Do the wrong things and you'll make the papers or the 6:00 news. It may or may not end your career, but it will certainly impact you and your Department... your team!<br /><br />What if the General Manager or Team Owner is looking to trade a popular player, one the fans are particularly fond of, one who performs well for the team and is connected to the community? There is no mercy-- management will be haunted by the decision, like the "Curse of the Bambino." Sound familiar?<br /><br />The firehouse is an institution in your city, town, and neighborhood much like the venue hosting the game. The firefighters who work there may not live there for any number of reasons, but they are connected to the community by the nature of the work they do. Where you work is "your town" whether you live there or not, whether you were born there or not, or grew up there or not. You are sworn to protect and preserve it just like an athlete is signed to perform, play and represent it at home and on the road. The fire department is the home team, and could be the source of civic pride as long as they play the game right. The members of the team--the firefighters, should be loved by the fans and shielded and defended from those with dangerous motives that could compromise the integrity and performance of the team. A threat to the make-up of the team should be met with opposition from the fans-- our citizens. We should expect open and public defense of the firefighters. If those against us are successful, the decision should haunt the decision makers and the fans shouldn't let them forget it. Each instance of coming up short after a politically motivated bad decision is made should be highlighted and known until the integrity of the team is restored. Don't underestimate the fans; they will know who is at fault.<br /><br />The fire service has had a tough time building a fan base; we are late to the game. Some cities and towns across the Nation have had localized success. We experienced the power of the fans after the tragic events of 9/11/01, but that has unfortunately faded through no fault of our own. What we can learn from sports teams is how they treat their fans and why. The franchise knows they need a solid fan base, especially at home. They can't sit back and wait for those fans to materialize. They have to reach out and win them over, season after season, year after year. Even a team which isn't winning can maintain their fan base with effective marketing. How do they do it? They bring the fans closer; they make them feel like they are part of the team, and the team part of the family. Yes, it is a business and it is about making money for sports teams. Selling tickets and putting fans in the seats is why they play at the level they do and why they pay professionals a lot of money to play the game. But, is that all? We should be able to relate to the franchise's need for public support when the city puts their needs to a vote. Check out the case history that follows:<br /><br />The New York Islanders (NHL hockey team) needs a new arena. Their current home is the second oldest in active use by an NHL team. They don't want to leave Nassau County, Long Island, and the owners don't have the money to build a new arena on their own. So it came down to the taxpayers who would have to approve a taxpayer-funded replacement for the Nassau Coliseum. In August of last year, the voters rejected it. Now, the team's future on Long Island is uncertain. The supporters of the plan failed to gain the support of the community, they didn't convince them the benefit of a new arena would bring in revenue, civic pride and commerce. Even with the N.Y. Rangers and N.J. Devils supporting the initiative, it still failed. The voters focused on the immediate increase in taxes, not the big picture and benefit of the investment. Where were their fans? Does any of this sound familiar?<br /><br />When the fire department needs something important, we rely on the community we serve--the taxpayers and their votes. We know that the upfront cost may be daunting. We also know the big picture and the benefit to the community that the Department's investment will bring, namely improved service delivery, compliance with established standards, and safety of the department's most important resource--its firefighters. So, we react to whatever it is that is confronting us. We hit the streets and pursue a public education campaign to inform our customers of what we do, why we do it, how and why we need them to step-up and support us in the best interest of the community. It is never easy because we usually wind up playing catch-up and more often than not, are marginally successful. So, what if they were already our fans? Wouldn't it make the buy-in easier to gain when it matters most? I think it would.<br /><br />In public budget battles our competition is the police, private sector providers in EMS, the Board of Education, Department of Public Works and all other municipal agencies. We're all vying for the same pot of money. The cops have their own unique angle; "support us or crime will go up and we can't stop it." No body likes crime, especially the police. Their fans are the "good guys" who don't like crime either. It's an easy sell. Remember, everyone believes that sooner or later they will be a victim of a crime, but no one believes they will ever be a fire victim. Just ask around. EMS for profit: "Hey, our service won't cost you a single tax-dollar." Who doesn't want to save tax-dollars? The EMS-for-profit fan is the bandwagon hopper who buys the jersey after the championship is won. They will raise ticket prices and parking next season after they win you over. I guarantee that your research of this issue will confirm my suspicions.<br /><br />So we are left justifying our jobs and pleading for support. With fire activity down we get, "What do you guys really do anyway?" These are the times we really need our fans. Bring the fans in early and ask them to be a part of us. After all, fans breed fans. Bring them closer and educate them on what the fire department can do before the emergency happens and the value it brings to the community.<br /><br />Capitalize on your opportunities to connect with your existing and potential fans. There are things happening around us every day that have nothing to do with the fire department and everything to do with the community. Simply showing up and being there can make an impact and turn the casual observer into a fan, maybe even an enthusiast.<br /><br />I don't follow basketball and I never really have. Maybe a casual observer is how I would describe myself. No loyalty to a team, a division or even a league. I was given an opportunity to attend a college game with a friend. The game was great, fast paced and exciting. It was a close game featuring a hard fought, back-and-forth battle trading the lead several times. I left the arena that night a fan of the team. They showed up to play and performed well, exceeded my expectations, and earned my support. (I'm confident my rooting for them lead to their victory.) Win or loose, they captured my attention. Now, theirs is the only basketball score I look for on the sports pages.<br /><br />My son, Robbie, and I were at a football game one night. This young guy sitting next to Robbie was very in to the game. I don't remember how, but we learned he was a professional baseball player. He played for a team nowhere near us and honestly, I had never heard of him. With some encouragement and a little prodding on my part, my son worked up some courage and introduced himself to the ballplayer/fan and they started talking baseball. This guy was very cool and not bothered at all by the questions of a ten-year old. He could have just answered them patiently until the questions ended, but instead he began asking Robbie questions about his little league team. Not what I expected. That guy gained a brand new "biggest fan", and a fan in the biggest fans Dad!<br /><br />When someone has an emergency and they call for our help, we respond. When we show up we have the opportunity to gain a fan, like that college basketball team that "got me" at the game. We show up to play and we expect to win every time. Winning is really our only option after all. The caller has an expectation of what we will do when we get there. It is our job to meet that expectation, and many times surpass it. We are professionals, volunteers and career alike. We do what we do and we do it well, better than anyone else. We know it and we have to show it. Our attitude and our disposition are on display every bit as much as our skills, abilities and talents. We are going to gain that fan when their emergency isn't as bad as they think, when we make them feel valuable for reaching out to us for help. Without their call we wouldn't be there. They gave us an opportunity to win them over so we must. "It is OK ma'am; it's what we are here for." "Everything is fine. It all checked out and YOU ARE SAFE." Guess what? You just gained a fan for life! And, if we have a lot of fans in the community, the people that our fans vote into office will need to be our fans too, for fans are loyal and demanding. Even a good politician can't convince a Red Sox fan that the Yankee's are better (even if in this writer's opinion, they are).<br /><br />The stakes are higher for us than any sport, at any level, for any league. Ours comes down to life and death, and that is simply a reality. <span style="font-weight: bold;">While fans live and die for their team, we live and die for our fans....and non-fans alike.</span> If that fact isn't lost on us, we should be able to communicate it to them.<br /><br />Make the most of your opportunities; be a professional every time, on every run. Do right by your fans and they will be there for you when you need them. Prepare for the game and show up to play. Stay safe and return with the victory!<br /><br />Rob Beattie, FF/EMT<br />North Plainfield, NJ Fire/Rescue<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-2232134691831080106?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-22321346918310801062012-03-02T16:19:00.000Z2012-07-05T20:04:15.375ZJournal Entry 15--The Ray Downey Medal Selection Process; "The Apps, The Acts, The Facts, The Ax, and--oh yeah, I'm glad it ain't me!"noemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMANEach year I have the honor and privilege of assisting with the selection for the recipient of the Ray Downy Medal of Valor. In case you didn't know how it's done, here's a little behind the scenes stuff for ya.<br /><br />Pennwell/Fire Engineering advertises for nominations through various media outlets namely the magazine and the web site. The application is pretty simple. We ask for a brief history of the nominee, a description of the event or circumstances in which the nominee displayed unparalleled courage and valor and a statement of why the person doing the nomination feels the nominee went above and beyond the call of duty. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, it's not only because what sometimes what appears to be "that kind of rescue or act of valor," a firefighter was simply doing what they were trained for. The decision to select one firefighter out of 1 million is not easy not is it taken lightly by any means. We look at the applications with a keen eye for a few things some being the degree of personal risk and the conditions under which the act was committed. Understand that the recipient is a) representing all firefighters everywhere and; b) must be aligned with the principles of Ray Downey's legacy. As most of you know with the exception of our newest members in their teens or so, Deputy Chief Ray Downey was killed on 9/11/01 at the World Trade Center. He had a long and storied career with FDNY and was the most decorated FDNY member in history at the time of his death. I knew Ray for many years through Fire Engineering and FDIC. Here's the thing. Ray would hang around the Fire Engineering booth at FDIC each year to meet firefighters and talk shop. You'd see him speaking with the Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department for about an hour. That afternoon, I'd walk by he'd be sitting with a 20 something volunteer Lt. from a small farming community in the mid-west. That's what made Ray the man that he was. That's his legacy. Bravery and humility all rolled up in to one. No, we don't take this lightly at all.<br /><br />This year, the dozen applications came to the house two weeks prior to the conference call. I waited for a quiet night, set my wife up in front of the TV with QVC locked on the screen and I dove in to the apps in another room. I do a cursory read to separate by type of act. Fire rescues, water rescues, technical rescues, rescues of fellow firefighters, on duty, off duty, alone, in a team, with or without PPE, equipment or additional help. Then I do another slow painstaking review of each one, making notes in the margins. Degree of personal risk, conditions, assistance, etc. More often than not, I can't help but say out loud "no s--t! This guy did that?" (I try to time those just when she's talking to the QVC operator and ordering something. It throws her off the track, but just for a moment. The UPS guy still pulls up two days later.) Each act seeming to one-up the one before and I can't help thinking how proud I am to be affiliated with the fire service. Every one of these guys did something spectacular. I then review the bio and the personal history of the candidates. Then I do one more round. As I read the applications a few times, the cream starts to rise to the top. The hope is that my teleconference partners are thinking what I'm thinking, just to make the process a little less tedious. I got my top 4. Then I read those and try to put those in order. During this process, I pause and take the opportunity to think about my past encounters with Ray. One of my favorite memories was a dinner at FDIC West in Sacramento, CA. There were about 25 of us in a private room, the Right Reverend Tom Brennan, presiding. I sat next to Ray and his lovely wife Rosalie as Tom got the ball rolling with a funny story, only has he could tell it. I had no choice. I shot back with a joke. I couldn't tell you much else other than it went on for hours right through dessert and we were all sore the next day from laughing. I got to spend an evening with Ray and the gang and laughed all the way through it. Golden memories.<br /><br />We conferenced in on an afternoon in late January. Bobby Halton, Ron Siarnicki (NFFF) and myself as the Administrator of the National Fire Academy Alumni Association. After the usual greetings we got down to business. In the interest of time, like the first time the jury adjourns to their room, we do a quick poll. It turns out that three of us have three in common. No surprise there. We spend time laboring over who number 4 will be because we don't actually pick the winner (That's the "I'm glad it ain't me" part from the title of this blog.) Each of us makes their case for their number 4. We pull the applications apart and put them back together and then the axe falls. The discussion further turns to the final 4 and what order we'll put them in. Another long discussion, name calling, kicking, biting, screaming and that's all just in my mind! The conversation moves along and we come to consensus. Job well done! Job not done!<br /><br />Bobby ships our work off to Joe and Chuck Downey, Ray's sons who both are FDNY Battalion Chiefs and Mr. Bob Biolchini, the CEO of Pennwell. They make the final selection. (Again, I'm glad it ain't me.) All of us will be on the stage this year at FDIC on April 18 to present the winner with his medal and a check. We also get to present him, to you all of you and the nation. It will be as awesome as it always is. Ray will be proud once again.<br /><br />See you at FDIC to see how the story ends.<br /><br />Be well and stay safe,<br /><br />Ronnie K<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-5526203963947014730?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-31554597971305364232012-02-01T19:01:00.000Z2012-07-05T20:04:15.655ZJournal Entry 14: It's 2012, What Do We Do Now?noemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMANLet me start by wishing all of you a very happy, healthy and safe new year. Now that the formalities are out of the way, let’s get down to business.<br /><br />The Everyone Goes Home-Courage to be Safe” program is about 5 years old. Line of Duty Deaths (LODD’s) have dropped below 80 in 2010 and around 80 in 2011. The low hanging fruit which we believed to be driving is in fact just that. The LODD driving stats have dropped whether it was a fire department vehicle or a POV. So, we’re hoping at this point that they are starting to listen. Try a secret weapon. I call it “obnoxious repetition.” “Good night guys, be safe” should be your verbal sign-off when leaving the firehouse every single time. “Have a safe rest of the shift” might be thrown in now and then. Ask my college fire science students how I bid them farewell every Tuesday night. They’ll repeat it with the “we know, we know” lilt in their voices: “Be careful; seatbelts, speed and intersections. Wear your gear. Be safe. See you next week.” For those of you who have been around for more than 15 minutes, remember the war movie made in the 1970’s “The Dirty Dozen” with Lee Marvin, Jim Brown and Telly Savalas? They had a suicide mission to gain entry into a German compound and blow it up. They sat around a model of the complex for weeks. There were ten steps to the operation. They repeated it over and over again. They even made it rhyme. (The Burn Center in Livingston N.J. used “Wear your gear, don’t end up here.”) It became second nature to the soldier/actors in the movie. Much like snapping a seatbelt. You just do it automatically. They blew it up, all the way up!<br /><br />I know there are Fire Chiefs and fire fighters all over the country that have not seen the EGH-CTBS program or ever heard of it. Come on folks. Are you living under a rock alongside the Geico man? Have you seen the IAFF’s program “Fire Ground Survival Awareness?” This is by far one of the best on-line training programs I’ve ever seen. It’s well done on all accounts and it’s free. These two programs alone can bring your department members to a new and heightened awareness of tactical safety and career longevity, career or volunteer. The IAFC’s sponsored Safety Week is not enough. It’s meant to be a reminder that we should be doing something each and every day. When you do radio roll call each morning, does your dispatcher recite a “Safety Tip of the Day?” Yet another simple “obnoxious reminder.” The thing is, eventually they’ll comply just to shut you up! And even then, repeat it. We’ve always said that every week is fire prevention week. Why not include that every week is firefighter safety week? All of this type of thinking falls in to Life Safety Initiative #1-Change the Culture. (If you never heard of the 16 LSI’s, you’re behind the 8 ball or perhaps you are an 8 ball!) As new members are brought in to the service, give them the religion right up front. The EGH-CTBS program should be taught at every fire academy in the country, in order to instill safety awareness at the very beginning of a career. Maybe we’ll get a whole generation of firefighters to grow up in a safety culture that will truly make dent in our LODD rate. We still got work to do.<br /><br />For today, put yourself to the test. Ask yourself the following questions (there are only 38) and see what kind of answers you get. Better yet, sit down with your staff (Asst. Chiefs, Deputies, Battalions, Officers, etc.) and review them together. It may be time to re-adjust and remember to re-adjust you, before you try to re-adjust them!<br /><br /><br /><ul><br /><li>Have we made firefighter safety and health a primary value of our organization?</li><br /><li>Does every member understand the organizational emphasis on health and safety?</li><br /><li>Does every manager and supervisor understand their personal responsibility to implement safety policies and procedures?</li><br /><li>Are we holding people accountable for compliance with health and safety policies?</li><br /><li>Have I as the Fire Chief accepted the responsibility for health and safety policies and programs?</li><br /><li>Do I as the Fire Chief “walk the walk” and “talk the talk”?</li><br /><li>Do I know if the health and safety policies are being followed?</li><br /><li>Is there a gap between what I think is going on and what is really going on?</li><br /><li>Does every firefighter have the training (knowledge, skills and abilities) to perform all expected duties?</li><br /><li>Is every firefighter physically fit?</li><br /><li>Do we have a good physical fitness program?</li><br /><li>Do we perform fitness evaluations?</li><br /><li>Is every firefighter healthy?</li><br /><li>Regular medical examinations performed by a qualified physician?</li><br /><li>Do we have SOG’s/SOP’s?</li><br /><li>Do we really follow them?</li><br /><li>Are we using the procedures or just using the terminology?</li><br /><li>Can we really account for the position, function and status of every firefighter on the incident scene?</li><br /><li>Is every firefighter connected to the plan for the incident?</li><br /><li>Does the Incident Commander know what is really going on?</li><br /><li>Do we have all of the “proper” equipment we need to do the job?</li><br /><li>Is our equipment properly maintained and inspected?</li><br /><li>Do we keep maintenance and inspection records?</li><br /><li>Is our equipment used according to their design parameters?<br /></li></ul><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-7497718934754135062?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-74977189347541350622011-12-27T15:22:00.000Z2012-07-05T20:04:16.123ZJournal Entry 13: Arson--Terrorism Reborn, Part IInoemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMAN<em>By Ron Kanterman<br /></em><br />Journal entry 12 discussed some of the aspects of arson awareness such as basic fire behavior, building construction, what line personnel should look for and general fire ground considerations. Flammable and combustible liquids are easy to get and easy to use and may be the used as the weapon of choice for the next bad guy in line. Arm yourself with knowledge and know the signs of arson. It will lead to safer fire ground operations.<br /><br />Incendiary Fire Patterns:<br />Incendiary fire usually leave behind some type of indicator.<br />Most arsonists are not very clever.<br />The most common ignitable liquid used is gasoline.<br />May use device of an electrical, mechanical or chemical nature.<br />Device is as elaborate as the imagination of the arsonist. (Not clever-See #2 above)<br />Most devices leave behind some type of residual evidence.<br />Trailers-Any combustible or flammable material used to spread fire from one point to another, usually leave char or burn pattern on surface where used and may be found through doors, windows, or wall openings. Common Trailer Materials-newspaper, rope, string, twine, fuse cord, clothing, bedclothes, drapes, or other similar materials, tissue paper, waxed paper, bounce fabric softener sheets, ignitable liquids, building contents<br /><br />Common Indicators of Arson:<br />Heavy, isolated floor damage<br />"V" burns or grooves between floorboards<br />Unusual patterns on flooring materials<br />Unusual low burning<br />Holes burned through floors<br />Spalling of concrete<br />Removal of expensive items; appliances, paintings, jewelry<br />Removal of personal items; photos, diplomas, hobby items, wedding albums<br />Unnatural fire spread may be due to an ignitable liquid<br />Excessive or unusual fire damage compared to similar fires<br />Excessive or unusual heat levels compared to similar fires<br />Fires during strange times: holidays, weekends at commercial properties, time of day,<br />during renovations/remodeling, fires during electrical storms or bad weather<br /><br /><br /><br />Scene Security &amp; Evidence Preservation:<br />Did anyone ever tell you exactly why you may sit on a building for hours after the fire is out waiting for the fire investigator? It's simple. An old court case set precedent in which someone was arrested and tried for arson as was let go. The landmark case for the fire service similar "Miranda" for law enforcement is Michigan vs. Tyler. Tyler owned an antique store and burned it. The problem was, the investigator and state police came and went as they pleased within a three day span. Tyler's attorney argued that anyone could have gotten in to the unsecured building and planted evidence against his client. So...we now maintain custody of the building until the arrival of the investigator. (There's a bit more to it than that but you have the general idea.)<br /><br />Restrict entry in to the scene; Various persons may want to enter the scene like owners concerned about damage, personal items, etc. OR maybe the arsonist wants to check out their work!<br />Set up an entry procedure: verify person has right to enter, determine purpose for entry, escort when appropriate for safety and control, document any items removed, don't allow tampering with any controls, switches, breakers, lights etc. A sign in sheet is good idea!<br />When evidence is discovered; do not touch it unless it could be destroyed or damaged by fire, collapse or fire suppression, protect it until the arrival of the investigator, don't handle it! (If you must, hold cans or containers by the edges with two fingers, photograph prior to moving, photograph area after removal, record date and time found, place in appropriate container, secure evidence, maintain chain of custody.<br /><br />Consider Some Accidental Causes of Fire:<br />Heating equipment, cooking equipment, smoking and related fires, electrical systems and equipment, flammable &amp; combustible liquids, open flames and sparks, spontaneous heating, gas fires and explosions, fireworks and explosives, dust explosions, low temperature ignition sources, lightning.<br /><br />Remember, be careful, be deliberate, be observant and if it doesn't feel right or look right, tell an officer or other fire ground boss. Learn the signs of arson and pass them on to your members. Use Journal Entries 12 &amp;13 for drills. The safety of your brothers and sisters may be on the line.<br /><br />Stay well, stay safe,<br />Ronnie K<br /><br />Source; NFA/ADFR<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-34181557959972244?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-341815579599722442011-11-03T15:48:00.000Z2012-07-05T20:04:16.529ZJournal Entry 12-Arson; Terrorism Re-Born Part Inoemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMAN<div>Journal Entry 12-“Arson-Terrorism Re-Born. Be Aware-Part 1”<br />Chief Ronald E. Kanterman<br /><br />Ten years have come and gone since the terrorist attacks on our country and we have not been attacked since. Some give the DHS the credit, some the military, some the law enforcement task forces around the country. Whoever is doing it, I hope they keep up the good work. While we are glad for 10 years for homeland peace, we can never let our guard down. The national and federal law enforcement community tells us that the next act of terrorism is more likely to be the “lone wolf” rather than an organized cell or group. It makes sense and follows a path of recent incidents such as the shoe bomber on the airliner, the Time Square car bomber, the massacre on the military base and some folks caught making bombs in their homes or garages here and there over the past few years. One of the key issues however is that bomb making materials like high order explosives are hard to get in most places in the U.S. It’s easy to learn how to make a bomb (the good old internet) but explosives are controlled for the most part. Not all but most. We can still get our hands on fireworks, propane and most easily gasoline. Thus the second best thing for a bad guy to do is commit arson. With the recent storms ravaging the east coast of the United States, it was easy to see people pulling up to the pumps with multiple 5 gallon gas cans. Granted, most of these fine Americans used the gas for the their generators at home in order to keep the milk fresh, the lights on, the well pumping and perhaps to get a gaze at the Kardashian wedding. Whatever reasons, the gas was put to good use. But what about the bad guys? What about pulling up to the pump on a regular day not following a storm? Who’s watching the gas stations of America? No one. Early domestic terrorism took place at the Jamestown Settlement when people burned others out of their homes. Later on during the civil war, the Union Army burned Atlanta. Arson has been the terrorist weapon of choice for a long, long time. It’s easy to do and easy to get the materials to do. So let’s take a lesson in arson awareness. Every firefighter in the nation should have some idea of what to look for, the “red flags” if you will, while on the fire ground. This awareness could save your life or the lives of your crew. Part one covers basic fire science, building construction, and what line personnel can look for from dispatch, to arrival, to the firefight and afterwards. I invite you to use this as a simple drill the next time you’re all together in the fire house. Part 2 will come next month.<br /><br />Basic Fire Science/Fire Behavior Review:<br />Sorry boys and girls. A little fire science goes a long way. Any field of the fire service you delve in to, requires a basic knowledge of fire behavior. Teaching college level fire science for over 22 years has gotten me in the habit of reviewing these concepts almost every semester whether we’re learning fire and arson investigation, fire protection systems, hazardous materials, building construction or strategy and tactics. They are all tied together with the knowledge of basic fire science. Review the following:<br />• Pyrolysis: Defined as the chemical decomposition of matter by heat. Process begins when fuel is heated, gases are produced, gases ignite, heat balance and feedback is obtained<br />• Flashpoint: Minimum temperature required for a fuel to produce sufficient vapors for ignition.<br />• Flammable liquids: have a flashpoint below 100˚ F. Combustible liquids have a flashpoint at or above 100˚ F. Flashpoint is determined under controlled laboratory conditions in a cup tester.<br />• Ignition Temperature: Minimum temperature required to ignite a material. Auto ignition occurs without the presence of an open flame or spark. Piloted ignition occurs with the presence of an open flame or spark<br />• Flammable or Explosive Limits: The concentration level of fuel vapors to the amount of air (oxygen) available for combustion. UEL - upper explosive limit, LEL lower explosive limit.<br />• Specific Gravity: Weight of a product compared to the weight of water. Water has a value of 1. Products with specific gravity of less than one will float (gasoline) and products with specific gravity of more than one will sink (carbon disulphide).<br />• Vapor Density: Weight of a product compared to air. Air has value of 1. Products with vapor density less than 1 will rise (natural gas), products with vapor density greater than 1 will sink (propane).<br />• Btu: Heat is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). One BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1˚f.<br />• Methods of Heat Transfer: Convection-through air currents; Conduction-through solid mass (steel); adiation-UV heat waves.<br />• Flashover: Simply put, it is the stage of a fire when a room or compartment and its contents becomes fully involved in fire.<br />• Backdraft: Also known as a “smoke explosion,” results from the sudden introduction of air into an oxygen deficient confined space that contains superheated products of incomplete combustion. Can occur in concealed spaces like ceilings.<br /><br />Building Construction Review:<br />• Fire Resistive: No exposed structural steel. Structural elements have substantial fire resistive ratings; maybe concrete, concrete encased steel, encased with gypsum board/plaster or steel with sprayed on protection. Exterior walls may be “curtain walls”<br />• Noncombustible: All structural members are of noncombustible materials. May have a limited degree of fire resistance like 1 hour.<br />• Heavy Timber: Exterior walls of masonry materials, interior walls, floors, roofs, columns, beams are of large dimensional lumber (4X4, 8X8, 12X12, 16X16)- The least likely to collapse early in an operation.<br />• Ordinary: “Main Street USA”- exterior walls of noncombustible materials. Floors, roofs and interior walls are wholly or partially made of wood.<br />• Wood Frame: Walls, floors and roofs are partially or wholly made of wood. Metal framing with plywood is also considered wood frame. Others are balloon frame, post and beam or platform.<br /><br />What Line Personnel Should Look For:<br />• Initial Call: Source of call, the caller.<br />• Source of Call: 911 center, fire dispatch, local law enforcement agencies, automatic fire alarms, private alarm companies, neighbors &amp; passers-by<br />• Caller: Discoverer of fire? Owner/Occupant of property? Passer-by who observed fire? Law enforcement patrol? The arsonist?<br />• Information to Be Obtained by Operator: Identification - name, address, phone number, location from where call is being made, voice identification, emotional state, background noises, exact location of fire.<br />• Private Alarm (Central Stations): When was alarm received? Source of alarm signal? Any recent reports of trouble with system? Any recent false alarms? (Required to maintain written records of all alarm and test signals.)<br />• Weather Conditions: Clear or stormy, snow or ice, wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity. These effect response time or access to scene<br />and affect fire behavior and/or burn patterns<br />• Spectators: Individuals leaving the scene quickly, gender, height, build, clothing, hair, activities/actions<br />• Vehicles: Make, color, size, domestic or foreign, style, license number, driver/occupants, direction of travel, speeding away from the scene.<br />• Delays in Reaching Scene: Detours, railroad crossings, lift or drawbridge, trees, debris, rush hour. Trees across the road but no recent storms! Unplowed snow.<br />• Smoke and Flames: Location, color and amount of smoke, visible flames, color of smoke. Flames can be helpful but not definitive indicators. Reaction of putting water on the fire. Did the fire get bigger or flash back?<br />• Actions of Spectators: Too concerned, too eager to help, too vocal, critical of emergency services, displays of animosity against neighbors, society, or government, too quiet or withdrawn, too excited, overly brave, helpful or curious, hindering of fire fighting activities.<br />• Appearance of Spectators: Appropriate for time of day, weather, signs of smoke or burns, odors, injuries, have special items like toys, pets, fur coats, jewelry, insurance policy or other important papers? Who takes all that when their house is on fire?<br />• Environmental Considerations: Other fire activity in area, areas with high transient occupants, areas of high crime activity, other crimes in area or community.<br /><br />Fire Ground Considerations:<br />• Type of structure involved: Does fire behavior seem “normal?” Location of fire/smoke, signs of occupant attempts to escape, exposures involved.<br />• Condition of Doors and Windows: Position on arrival. Did someone enter looking for occupants? Did someone break or open windows? Did burglary occur prior to fire? What is normal position of doors and windows? Any evidence of forced entry?<br />• Damage to Fixed Fire Protection: Items stuffed in FD connections, stripped threads, closed valves, missing caps, tampering.<br />• Entry: Was forcible entry necessary? Who performed entry operations and how? How many doors/windows were forced? Were doors/windows locked prior to forced entry? Were any alarms activated during entry? Any guard animals present?<br />• Obstacles: Doors barricaded from interior? Stock piled in front of doors? Panic bars chained closed? Security bars on doors and/or windows?<br />• Location and Extent of Fire: Fire found where it was expected? Anything unusual about location? Evidence of unusual fire travel? Evidence of “trailers?” Color of flames and smoke. Fire spread from area of origin? Evidence of separate fires?<br />• Difficulty in Extinguishment: Did room darken when water was applied? Any unusual reactions to water? Did fire flashback? Was fire floating on top of water? Was amount of water used for extinguishment similar to other fires?<br />• Alarm/Detection/Suppression: Smoke alarms present and operational? Fire alarm system present and operational? Fire sprinkler system present and operational? Any evidence of tampering?<br />• Unusual Observations: Covered windows? Blocked ingress or egress? Items in unusual locations?<br />• Signs of Pre-fire Activity: Rifled drawers, open or overturned furniture, papers or files thrown about, broken furniture, anything unusual placed on beds.<br />• Unusual Signs: Unusual burn patterns, unusual odors, unusual ceiling damage, unusual floor damage, furniture or other contents moved or placed together, items not where they should be.<br />• Utilities: Location of electrical panel - any signs of tampering, condition of fuses or circuit breakers? On or Off?-Who turned off? Meter reading; Gas-On or Off? Who turned off? Location of meter or tank, volume of tank, signs of tampering, meter reading.<br /><br />Next month we’ll look at patterns of fire, common indicators of arson, scene security and evidence preservation and legal aspects. In the mean time, be careful, be deliberate, be aware, be observant and if it doesn’t look right or feel right, tell a fire ground boss. Knowing the signs of arson will lead to safer fire ground operations.<br />Stay well, stay safe,<br />Ronnie K<br /><br />Source; NFA/ADFR</div><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-6015382084472372594?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-60153820844723725942011-09-12T23:27:00.000Z2011-09-13T13:02:28.381ZJournal Entry 12: Arson--Terrorism Reborn, Part Inoemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMANChief Ronald E. Kanterman<br /><br />Ten years have come and gone since the terrorist attacks on our country and we have not been attacked since. Some give the DHS the credit, some the military, some the law enforcement task forces around the country. Whoever is doing it, I hope they keep up the good work. While we are glad for 10 years for homeland peace, we can never let our guard down. The national and federal law enforcement community tells us that the next act of terrorism is more likely to be the “lone wolf” rather than an organized cell or group. It makes sense and follows a path of recent incidents such as the shoe bomber on the airliner, the Time Square car bomber, the massacre on the military base and some folks caught making bombs in their homes or garages here and there over the past few years. One of the key issues however is that bomb making materials like high order explosives are hard to get in most places in the U.S. It’s easy to learn how to make a bomb (the good old internet) but explosives are controlled for the most part. Not all but most. We can still get our hands on fireworks, propane and most easily gasoline. Thus the second best thing for a bad guy to do is commit arson. With the recent storms ravaging the east coast of the United States, it was easy to see people pulling up to the pumps with multiple 5 gallon gas cans. Granted, most of these fine Americans used the gas for the their generators at home in order to keep the milk fresh, the lights on, the well pumping and perhaps to get a gaze at the Kardashian wedding. Whatever reasons, the gas was put to good use. But what about the bad guys? What about pulling up to the pump on a regular day not following a storm? Who’s watching the gas stations of America? No one. Early domestic terrorism took place at the Jamestown Settlement when people burned others out of their homes. Later on during the civil war, the Union Army burned Atlanta. Arson has been the terrorist weapon of choice for a long, long time. It’s easy to do and easy to get the materials to do. So let’s take a lesson in arson awareness. Every firefighter in the nation should have some idea of what to look for, the “red flags” if you will, while on the fire ground. This awareness could save your life or the lives of your crew. Part one covers basic fire science, building construction, and what line personnel can look for from dispatch, to arrival, to the firefight and afterwards. I invite you to use this as a simple drill the next time you’re all together in the fire house. Part 2 will come next month.<br /><br />Basic Fire Science/Fire Behavior Review:<br />Sorry boys and girls. A little fire science goes a long way. Any field of the fire service you delve in to, requires a basic knowledge of fire behavior. Teaching college level fire science for over 22 years has gotten me in the habit of reviewing these concepts almost every semester whether we’re learning fire and arson investigation, fire protection systems, hazardous materials, building construction or strategy and tactics. They are all tied together with the knowledge of basic fire science. Review the following:<br />â€&cent; Pyrolysis: Defined as the chemical decomposition of matter by heat. Process begins when fuel is heated, gases are produced, gases ignite, heat balance and feedback is obtained<br />â€&cent; Flashpoint: Minimum temperature required for a fuel to produce sufficient vapors for ignition.<br />â€&cent; Flammable liquids: have a flashpoint below 100&Euml;š F. Combustible liquids have a flashpoint at or above 100&Euml;š F. Flashpoint is determined under controlled laboratory conditions in a cup tester.<br />â€&cent; Ignition Temperature: Minimum temperature required to ignite a material. Auto ignition occurs without the presence of an open flame or spark. Piloted ignition occurs with the presence of an open flame or spark<br />â€&cent; Flammable or Explosive Limits: The concentration level of fuel vapors to the amount of air (oxygen) available for combustion. UEL - upper explosive limit, LEL lower explosive limit.<br />â€&cent; Specific Gravity: Weight of a product compared to the weight of water. Water has a value of 1. Products with specific gravity of less than one will float (gasoline) and products with specific gravity of more than one will sink (carbon disulphide).<br />â€&cent; Vapor Density: Weight of a product compared to air. Air has value of 1. Products with vapor density less than 1 will rise (natural gas), products with vapor density greater than 1 will sink (propane).<br />â€&cent; Btu: Heat is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). One BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1&Euml;šf.<br />â€&cent; Methods of Heat Transfer: Convection-through air currents; Conduction-through solid mass (steel); adiation-UV heat waves.<br />â€&cent; Flashover: Simply put, it is the stage of a fire when a room or compartment and its contents becomes fully involved in fire.<br />â€&cent; Backdraft: Also known as a “smoke explosion,” results from the sudden introduction of air into an oxygen deficient confined space that contains superheated products of incomplete combustion. Can occur in concealed spaces like ceilings.<br /><br />Building Construction Review:<br />â€&cent; Fire Resistive: No exposed structural steel. Structural elements have substantial fire resistive ratings; maybe concrete, concrete encased steel, encased with gypsum board/plaster or steel with sprayed on protection. Exterior walls may be “curtain walls”<br />â€&cent; Noncombustible: All structural members are of noncombustible materials. May have a limited degree of fire resistance like 1 hour.<br />â€&cent; Heavy Timber: Exterior walls of masonry materials, interior walls, floors, roofs, columns, beams are of large dimensional lumber (4X4, 8X8, 12X12, 16X16)- The least likely to collapse early in an operation.<br />â€&cent; Ordinary: “Main Street USA”- exterior walls of noncombustible materials. Floors, roofs and interior walls are wholly or partially made of wood.<br />â€&cent; Wood Frame: Walls, floors and roofs are partially or wholly made of wood. Metal framing with plywood is also considered wood frame. Others are balloon frame, post and beam or platform.<br /><br />What Line Personnel Should Look For:<br />â€&cent; Initial Call: Source of call, the caller.<br />â€&cent; Source of Call: 911 center, fire dispatch, local law enforcement agencies, automatic fire alarms, private alarm companies, neighbors &amp; passers-by<br />â€&cent; Caller: Discoverer of fire? Owner/Occupant of property? Passer-by who observed fire? Law enforcement patrol? The arsonist?<br />â€&cent; Information to Be Obtained by Operator: Identification - name, address, phone number, location from where call is being made, voice identification, emotional state, background noises, exact location of fire.<br />â€&cent; Private Alarm (Central Stations): When was alarm received? Source of alarm signal? Any recent reports of trouble with system? Any recent false alarms? (Required to maintain written records of all alarm and test signals.)<br />â€&cent; Weather Conditions: Clear or stormy, snow or ice, wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity. These effect response time or access to scene<br />and affect fire behavior and/or burn patterns<br />â€&cent; Spectators: Individuals leaving the scene quickly, gender, height, build, clothing, hair, activities/actions<br />â€&cent; Vehicles: Make, color, size, domestic or foreign, style, license number, driver/occupants, direction of travel, speeding away from the scene.<br />â€&cent; Delays in Reaching Scene: Detours, railroad crossings, lift or drawbridge, trees, debris, rush hour. Trees across the road but no recent storms! Unplowed snow.<br />â€&cent; Smoke and Flames: Location, color and amount of smoke, visible flames, color of smoke. Flames can be helpful but not definitive indicators. Reaction of putting water on the fire. Did the fire get bigger or flash back?<br />â€&cent; Actions of Spectators: Too concerned, too eager to help, too vocal, critical of emergency services, displays of animosity against neighbors, society, or government, too quiet or withdrawn, too excited, overly brave, helpful or curious, hindering of fire fighting activities.<br />â€&cent; Appearance of Spectators: Appropriate for time of day, weather, signs of smoke or burns, odors, injuries, have special items like toys, pets, fur coats, jewelry, insurance policy or other important papers? Who takes all that when their house is on fire?<br />â€&cent; Environmental Considerations: Other fire activity in area, areas with high transient occupants, areas of high crime activity, other crimes in area or community.<br /><br />Fire Ground Considerations:<br />â€&cent; Type of structure involved: Does fire behavior seem “normal?” Location of fire/smoke, signs of occupant attempts to escape, exposures involved.<br />â€&cent; Condition of Doors and Windows: Position on arrival. Did someone enter looking for occupants? Did someone break or open windows? Did burglary occur prior to fire? What is normal position of doors and windows? Any evidence of forced entry?<br />â€&cent; Damage to Fixed Fire Protection: Items stuffed in FD connections, stripped threads, closed valves, missing caps, tampering.<br />â€&cent; Entry: Was forcible entry necessary? Who performed entry operations and how? How many doors/windows were forced? Were doors/windows locked prior to forced entry? Were any alarms activated during entry? Any guard animals present?<br />â€&cent; Obstacles: Doors barricaded from interior? Stock piled in front of doors? Panic bars chained closed? Security bars on doors and/or windows?<br />â€&cent; Location and Extent of Fire: Fire found where it was expected? Anything unusual about location? Evidence of unusual fire travel? Evidence of “trailers?” Color of flames and smoke. Fire spread from area of origin? Evidence of separate fires?<br />â€&cent; Difficulty in Extinguishment: Did room darken when water was applied? Any unusual reactions to water? Did fire flashback? Was fire floating on top of water? Was amount of water used for extinguishment similar to other fires?<br />â€&cent; Alarm/Detection/Suppression: Smoke alarms present and operational? Fire alarm system present and operational? Fire sprinkler system present and operational? Any evidence of tampering?<br />â€&cent; Unusual Observations: Covered windows? Blocked ingress or egress? Items in unusual locations?<br />â€&cent; Signs of Pre-fire Activity: Rifled drawers, open or overturned furniture, papers or files thrown about, broken furniture, anything unusual placed on beds.<br />â€&cent; Unusual Signs: Unusual burn patterns, unusual odors, unusual ceiling damage, unusual floor damage, furniture or other contents moved or placed together, items not where they should be.<br />â€&cent; Utilities: Location of electrical panel - any signs of tampering, condition of fuses or circuit breakers? On or Off?-Who turned off? Meter reading; Gas-On or Off? Who turned off? Location of meter or tank, volume of tank, signs of tampering, meter reading.<br /><br />Next month we’ll look at patterns of fire, common indicators of arson, scene security and evidence preservation and legal aspects. In the mean time, be careful, be deliberate, be aware, be observant and if it doesn’t look right or feel right, tell a fire ground boss. Knowing the signs of arson will lead to safer fire ground operations.<br />Stay well, stay safe,<br />Ronnie K<br /><br />Source; NFA/ADFR<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-6015382084472372594?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-60153820844723725942011-09-12T23:27:00.000Z2012-07-05T20:04:16.919ZJOURNAL ENTRY 11-IT'S LODD HALFTIME-BUT WE CAN'T REWIND THE TAPEnoemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMAN<div>Journal Entry 11-“It’s LODD Half Time-But We Can’t Rewind the Tape”<br />Chief Ronald E. Kanterman<br /><br />My good friend, retired Chief Charlie Dickinson said on the Everyone Goes Home DVD program, “this ain’t football folks, we can’t rewind the tape and start over again.” Boy is he ever right. In case you haven’t been paying attention to our LODD issue, here’s some information that hopefully you can use at your next company meeting, shift meeting, business meeting, union meeting or chief’s meeting. We’re heading for a bad year. Although the end of June is actually when half the year is over, I took a look at the stats as of July 31 as posted on the USFA’s Firefighter Fatality web page.<br /><br />Types of LODD:<br />Heart Attack/Stroke/Cancer/Illness: 34<br />Trauma: collapse/trapped/burns: 15<br />Driving/crashes: 4<br />Total: 53<br /><br />Firefighter Classification:<br />Career/part time paid 23<br />Volunteer 30<br /><br />Ages of LODD’s:<br />Career: 3-20’s; 4-30’s; 5-40’s; 9-50’s; 2-60’s<br />Volunteer: 1-18 yrs old; 3-20’s; 3-30’s; 9-40’s; 11-50’s; 1-60; 2-80’s<br /><br />If we simply double these numbers, we’re looking at 106. It’s time to re-affirm our commitment to safety. It’s time to re-evaluate our health, wellness and fitness. It’s time to step back and look at strategy tactics, command operations, building construction, and on and onâ€&brvbar;â€&brvbar;â€&brvbar;â€&brvbar;â€&brvbar;again. The fire service at large has got to be tired of hearing all of this stuff day after day and year after year but we are doomed because we’re repeating history. Career guys with known ailments are still not taking themselves off the line to get their health issues corrected and we’re still allowing volunteers in their 70’s and 80’s to respond to calls. If you want to stop reading now I understand, but go outside and stick your heads in the sand like the American fire service has done for the past 275 years.<br /><br />I met a career firefighter a few years back in his mid 30’s. He looked like an athlete on the outside. He went to the gym, ran, worked out etc. What he didn’t know was that he had a mechanical malfunction on the inside, due to an unhealthy diet. He found this out when he went for a voluntary medical exam and was told he needed cardiac by-pass surgery. No one believed it especially him. He went back to full duty 6 months after surgery and is still on the job.<br /><br />There comes a time when members of the volunteer fire service need to turn in their pagers and stop responding. Going to fires and emergencies is work for young people. Firefighting is stressful hard work, mentally and physically. Senior members know this because they’ve done it for a long time. When your pager goes off at 0300, no matter what your age, 21 or 71, your heart starts to beat rapidly and your respirations go up. Studies have been done (M. Asken, PhD) that show there is an automatic bio-physical response to being woken out of a dead sleep knowing there is a pending emergency. (It happens to the career guys too when the alarm lights go on and the dispatcher’s voice shakes them out of their bunks.) It’s an involuntary reaction and you can’t stop it. When you reach “that age” and most discussions around the country take it at 62-65 where most career guys would retire, it’s time to turn your pager in. “But no one is around during the day and I can still drive.” So what you’re saying is at 75 you still believe you can jockey a 25 ton machine safely through town at a high rate of speed? And then, what will you do when you get there if no one is around during the day? Enjoy the 20, 30 or 40 years you put in to the company and the service you provided to your community. You paid your dues probably more than once. Stay with the fire company to teach, share, pass on the knowledge you have, support the new officers, greet the new members, tell your stories and embrace your company’s history. Work on committees, follow legislation, offer history lessons around code changes or fire department SOP’s. Do all of that. Continue to contribute. You don’t have to drive or respond to contribute to the fire company and remain an active member. Oh yeah I almost forgot, enjoy your family, grand children and your friends too. I know many senior members of fire companies all over the country and they have remained active without responding and enjoying life.<br /><br />You needn’t listen to me. I’m just a guy who’s been around for a few minutes and have been active with National Fallen Firefighters Foundation for many years. Those of us who are, remain close to the LODD issue. Oh yeah, we’ve been too many LODD funerals too.<br /><br />At the end of June, my good friend Billy Goldfeder and I hosted our first on-line radio program through Fire Engineering Talk Radio. If you haven’t tuned in yet, there is a show every night, Monday-Friday with different subjects and a myriad of speakers. You are guaranteed to find someone you like. Billy and I took the platform of “safety, survival and other things.” The first show brought us Bob Colameta, a Battalion Chief from Massachusetts on the air as our guest. Bob is one of the driving forces behind the Everyone Goes Home program and he said it best about firefighter safety and LODD prevention. He went on the say; “All the tools, programs and documents are in place. There is a ton of training material and it’s all free. There are instructors, program advocates and a constant nationwide push. It’s up to the individual to get on board and decide they will work safer, get healthier and when they can’t do it anymore, they won’t.” Billy and I agreed with him.<br /><br />This month’s journal entry is not a bash on unhealthy career guys or senior volunteers. It’s an appeal to all of you to look inside yourselves for answers and to know when to say when. We have to shrink our LODD numbers and in turn, shrink the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. But it’s not about numbers. It’s about real people, good people, like you. Start now because we need all of you to stick around a while longer.<br /><br />Take care, stay well, stay safe,<br />Ronnie K </div><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-254214252056076894?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-2542142520560768942011-08-02T15:02:00.000Z2012-07-05T20:04:17.153ZJournal Entry 10-It's Fireworks Season!noemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMANINTRODUCTION:<br />Well brothers and sisters, it’s fireworks season once again. Are you prepared for that once a year event? Is the Fire Marshal’s office on top of this? Fireworks have been entertaining people for hundreds of years however it needs to be done safely. Let's go! <br /><br />Pyrotechnicians (the folks who shoot at large public displays) are also known around the world as one third chemist, one third artist and one third business person. As chemists, their goal is to get the desired visual or audible effect in the sky and that takes many different chemicals. As long as they are in search of the “perfect blue” or the “loudest salute” the Fire Service will always be challenged in ensuring the safety of the community as well as the pyrotechnicians themselves while on the firing line. In jurisdictions where fireworks are manufactured, this “chemical search” should be quite the concern. Dealing with the “human element” in manufacturing creates an unpredictable variable for which all precautions taken cannot compensate. Many accidents/explosions at manufacturing facilities have been caused by human error, no different than most structure fires. There is no special or modern technology in the manufacturing of pyrotechnics. Shells are made by hand and can be subject to poor manufacturing practices, particularly when they come from third world countries.<br /><br />Review the following information for the purpose of becoming somewhat familiar with fireworks, public displays and related operations such as transportation, general precautions and working with other agencies having jurisdiction. Hopefully, I will spark your interest (pun intended) and you will seek more information on fireworks safety. Yes, fireworks are dangerous but with the proper precautions, supervision and the vigilance on our part, injuries and accidents can be minimized. Good luck.<br /><br />TYPES OF FIREWORKS THAT CAUSE INJURIES:<br /> (NFPA)<br />9%-Illegal under federal law<br />5%-Large devices<br />1%-Home made devices<br />85%-Legal under federal law<br /><br />NOTE: Less than 6% of all injuries occur at legal permitted public displays<br />(This is the good news. This trend shows that people who use consumer fireworks on their own are getting hurt quite often and those who attend displays controlled by the fire service through a permit system have an extremely low chance of getting injured!)<br /><br />FIRE LOSSES FROM FIREWORKS:<br /> (NFPA)<br />>Annual average fire losses/property damage is $30 million.<br />>Annual number of fires is 25,000.<br />>Noteworthy fire losses: <br /> Alaska-Wildfire-360 structures and 37,000 acres-$9 million<br /> California-2 fires on wood shingle roof topped homes-$2 million<br />Connecticut-Sparklers on a birthday cake-multiple dwelling-$2 million<br /> Ohio-Fire set in a fireworks store by a mentally ill person<br /> No large property loss however 9 dead-sprinklers were shut<br /> Rhode Island-Station Night Club-100 dead<br /><br />AGENCIES INVOLVED & THEIR ROLES:<br /><br />Fire Department: Permits and display safety<br />Police: Crowd control, routes of travel for fireworks truck, site security<br />Parks & Recreation: Permits, fencing/security, inspection (if at a public park)<br />Federal Aviation Administration: Grants permission to use the air space<br />U.S. Coast Guard: Permits, water way management<br />Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms: Regulates movement of powders, visits manufacturing plants, assists with accident investigation<br />NFPA: Offers national consensus standards regarding fireworks; <br />NFPA 1123 (Public Displays), NFPA 1124 (Manufacturing)<br />Department of Transportation: Title 49CFR regulates transportation of hazardous materials. Placards and shipping containers. <br /><br />NOTE TO: Fire Department-Fire Prevention Bureaus<br />Take time to build a file for each display. Request from the sponsor and/or display company copies of all other permits or letters e.g. FAA letter of permission, Parks and Recreation Permit, Police Permit for staging an event, Coast Guard permits for loading and transporting explosives and most important a “Letter of Intent to Display Fireworks.”<br />When you get the initial call for a permit, ask the sponsor for a letter of intent and mail or fax them your requirements. The letter should look something like:<br /><br />>Name of sponsoring organization<br />>Day, date and time of display<br />>Location of display (public park, high school football field, etc.)<br />>Types and amounts of aerial shells. A shell list including size in diameter of aerial shells (Explosives 1.4) and types and amounts of low level devices (Explosives 1.5) <br />>Method by which the show will be fired (manually or electronically remote)<br />>Time table of operations: when the truck will get to the town line, set up time, time of the live material load.<br />>A statement attesting to the understanding of all rules and regulations governing public fireworks displays and that this display will be in accordance with these rules and regulations<br />>A statement that only materials listed and approved by the Bureau of Explosives will be used <br />>A list of personnel that who will be representing the fireworks display company, their function and experience.<br /><br />SITE SELECTION; KEY ITEMS TO REMEMBER:<br />â€&cent; Refer to NFPA 1123-Standard for Public Fireworks Displays<br />â€&cent; Refer to your local Fire Prevention Code<br />â€&cent; NOTE-You must have 70 feet of clearance to the audience for every inch of diameter of the largest shell (See NFPA 1123-Table of Distances)<br />â€&cent; Beware of extended finale racks-Your inspection will allow for a certain size shells from the center of the firing site to the audience but beware that finale racks can extend for tens or hundreds of feet. Ensure that the shells at the end of the racks are the right size for the distance to the audience.<br />EXAMPLE: Your site allows for 8” shells because you have 560 feet of clearance to the audience. The finale racks are extended across the site and the end of the racks (the last shell) are 3.” Provided you have 210 feet to the perimeter of the firing line you’re OK. Beware of extended racks! <br />â€&cent; An inspection must be performed by the Fire Official/Authority Having Jurisdiction.<br />â€&cent; Double your table of distances from storage of hazardous materials, correctional and health care facilities<br /><br />THINGS TO PAY ATTENTION TO IN NFPA 1123:<br />&iuml;ƒ˜ aerial salutes must be labeled “salute”<br />&iuml;ƒ˜ single salute shells are not to exceed 5” in diameter<br />&iuml;ƒ˜ single salute over 3”-need 10 times distance of mortar diameter<br />&iuml;ƒ˜ salutes inside multi-break shells shall not exceed 3” and/or 3 oz.<br />&iuml;ƒ˜ dwellings, buildings and structures are permitted to be within the fallout zone if the owners give permission and with the approval of the AHJ (An Engine Company on the roof perhaps?)<br />&iuml;ƒ˜ Mortars may be angled to compensate for wind (Never towards the crowd)<br />The angled mortars may be placed up to 1/3 of the required distance toward the spectators (Watch this one. What if the wind shifts? What if a shell lets go in the tube? Be careful!!)<br />&iuml;ƒ˜ Pyrotechnic Operators are to be protected with eye, head, hearing and foot protection as well as flame retardant clothes e.g. cotton.<br /><br />DISPLAY OPERATIONS:<br />>Consider escorting the fireworks truck through town to the firing site with an Engine Company in the event of an accident. Use the police to establish the route and assist with the escort if necessary. (Consider charging a fee for the escort, career or volunteer)<br />>Establish a Unified Command with other agencies at the display site one hour prior to the shot. Maintain Command one hour after the shot as well.<br />>POLICE: Crowd control, site security, traffic control, egress, ingress and access<br />>FIRE: Weather/wind/rain, FD Unit staging, members for firing line and monitoring of fallout areas, final clearance from FAA if necessary<br />>EMS: Prepare for shot and post shot injuries. (Burns for operators, eye injuries for spectators), pre-determine triage site, stationery first aid station and mark accordingly<br /><br />**Command Units that are committed to the display must remain committed and out of service for the display<br /><br />REMEMBER:<br />People in the fireworks business use the phrase “Have a safe and sane Fourth (of July)” like most others use Happy New Year or Merry Christmas. John R. Hall Jr. of the NFPA was quoted in the 1997 July/August edition of NFPA Journal as saying “Safe and sane fireworks are neither.” In any event, follow rules and use your arsenal of good common sense. <br /><br />(The instructional program “Managing Fireworks Displays” can be presented at your location. Also note that the manual “Managing Fireworks Displays” by Ronald E. Kanterman is available through Delmar Publishing. Contact the author at MFDCAR1@comcast.net for details on this and many other training programs offered by Gold Horn Associates.) <br /><br /><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-3083271992057655054?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-30832719920576550542011-06-15T23:30:00.000Z2012-07-05T20:04:17.839ZJournal Entry 9-Fight the Fire, Not the Buildingnoemail@noemail.orgRON KANTERMANThere has been much discussion about fighting fires in protected buildings. The father of building construction Francis Brannigan insisted “the building is your enemy, know your enemy.” To this end we’ve looked at buildings and over time, most of us have come to realize that it makes an awful lot of sense to use the building for everything it can give us. While we know buildings can snatch us up, let’s take advantage of them as well. Commercial buildings tend to have more “built-in” active and passive protection systems than residential although when looking at high-rise or large area apartment complexes and similar occupancies, they have their share of these built-ins as well. When these devices are installed properly and maintained regularly, they do a great job of protecting the occupants, assisting firefighters and maintaining the building in an up-right position and I know we all like that!<br />Let’s take a look at some of these systems and see how we can put them to work for us strategically and tactically. You may even think about pre-fire planning or assisting the Fire Marshal’s office but don’t tell anyone about that. That’s waaaay too far out of the box, right?<br /><br />Passive Fire Protection - Discussion: <br />Let’s look at something as simple as a fire door for example. It stands to reason it’s called a fire door for the sole purpose of holding back fire. I’ll go out on a limb and believe that fire ground strategists (incident commanders and company officers) would like to confine and contain the fire in its area of origin as would the line folks. Keeping fire doors closed or closing open ones will help you do just that that. The door and everything around it is known as a “rated assembly.” That includes the frame, hinges, door check, handle and latch, etc. When the door is tested at a nationally recognized laboratory, they put fire against the entire assembly and then rate it for time (1 hour, 1 &Acirc;&frac12; hours, two hours, etc.) Using doors alone will buy the occupants time to evacuate and will buy you time to organize your thoughts and do a size up while providing a safe haven. It is as important to close or keep closed these devices during a fire as it is to inspect them regularly and report them for repair. Don’t leave it solely to the Fire Marshal’s office. Take action and get it done as if your life depends on it because it might. Other things to look for while you are out and about:<br />â€&cent; the integrity of spray-on fire proofing<br />â€&cent; fire stopping where rated walls are penetrated<br />â€&cent; smoke doors and barriers are working, self-closing, no obstructions<br />â€&cent; fire barriers are undisturbed, integrity in tact<br /><br /><br />Passive Systems - Tactical Considerations:<br />â€&cent; If a rated door, window or shutter is open, close it<br />â€&cent; If a rated door, window or shutter is closed, leave it closed<br />â€&cent; When checking for fire extension, insure complete fire control prior to opening rated walls, ceilings, etc.<br />â€&cent; Incident Commanders should assume that the rated devices, walls etc. are only rated for half of what they were designed for, as a safety margin<br />â€&cent; Pre-plan your target hazards showing passive systems, how they work and how to use them to your advantage<br />â€&cent; Know that passive protection may the building’s only protection<br /><br />Active Fire Protection - Discussion:<br />Sprinklers, standpipes, fire alarms, detection, special extinguishing systems etc. make up the world of active fire protection. (Things that move, flow, expel, sound and flash.) Like passive systems, they need to be installed correctly and maintained in order for them to be effective. Although they all seem similar, active systems are designed for the occupancy they protect. Some examples are: The number and type of sprinkler heads installed in a building depends on a few things like what is being protected (warehouse vs. office space), how high the ceilings are, available water supply and many other factors. Another example; smoke detection systems are installed with consideration of room configuration, ceiling height and configuration, occupancy type, etc. Special extinguishing systems are placed in areas for specific hazards and are engineered for that the hazard, like a clean agent system in a computer room or a foam system on a bulk storage tank.<br />When you’re pre-fire planning or doing inspections (you are doing these, right?), look for defects or impairments and get going. Again, you are urged to not shrug it off and leave it to the Fire Marshal. Work with your Fire Marshal’s Office. I hate to be the one to tell you but they are the most informed fire people in your district! Take action and get it done as if your life depends on it because it might. <br />Other things to look for while you are out and about:<br />â€&cent; Go to the valve room. Insure all water supply valves are fully open.<br />â€&cent; Go to the pump room. Make sure valves are open and everything is in service<br />â€&cent; Insure there is power to fire alarm panels and there are no trouble signals<br />â€&cent; Insure all special protection systems are in service. Check special panels<br />â€&cent; Check water supplies on private properties (tanks, suction tanks, cisterns)<br />â€&cent; Get the owner’s permission to play with fire alarms, voice communication systems, fire phones and smoke control systems. (You can’t figure these out at 0300.)<br />â€&cent; Make sure there is a clear set of instructions in the fire panel that you can use and understand.<br /><br /><br />Active Systems – Tactical Considerations<br />â€&cent; Assign a firefighter with a radio to the sprinkler control valves and/or pump room. <br />â€&cent; Shut sprinklers only upon the order of the IC and insure a well-coordinated ventilation and suppression attack is ready. (Leave the FF at the valve to open it back up if needed!)<br />â€&cent; If a fire is imminent, and a special hazard system is installed (range hood protection in a restaurant, clean agent in a computer room, etc.) discharge the system via pull station or activation button. Let the system do what it was designed to do and allow it to operate. You’ll be glad you did.<br />â€&cent; It is always prudent to wear full PPE. It’s especially prudent to wear it in or near special systems. In the case of a total flooding CO2 system, the gas will bring the 02 level below 15%, not good for us. You also need to wear SCBA if you are checking adjacent spaces in case the media leaked into the next room especially the cylinder storage room.<br />â€&cent; Use voice systems to give occupants instructions. If your radios are not working up to par (who’s do?), use it to give instructions to your firefighters. Remind personnel that they may be able to use a house phone to call a lobby command post or Fire Command Center.<br />â€&cent; If there is a Fire Command Center, assign a company to staff it to assist the IC with operations. <br />â€&cent; For large complexes, maximize the use of the smoke control system.<br /><br />Get out in to your district and take a good look around. Find active and passive systems in your buildings and note them on your pre-fire plans. Learn to work smarter not harder. Fight the fire, not the building. Stay well, stay safe,<br />Ronnie K<br />(The program “Fight the Fire, Not the Building” can be presented at your location. Contact the author at; MFDCAR1@COMCAST.NET for details on this and many other training programs offered by Gold Horn Associates.)<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8358875304660628093-2510163568239384210?l=ron-kanterman.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8358875304660628093.post-25101635682393842102011-05-03T11:31:00.000Z2012-07-05T20:04:18.136Z 500

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