POINTS TO PONDER

POINTS TO PONDER

BY WILLIAM C. PETERS

This aerial truck was set up for ladder pipe operations with a firefighter at the tip. When the hoseline was charged, the truck overturned.

When using an aerial ladder as an elevated master stream, you must address several important safety concerns:

Properly stabilize the apparatus according to the manufacturer`s recommendations. This includes fully extending the stabilizers and using the stabilizer ground pads.

Remember this basic rule of thumb for ladder pipe operations, the “75-80-85” rule:

–75 degrees of elevation,

–80 percent (or less) extension, and

–85-psi nozzle pressure.

Place the hoseline in the center of the aerial ladder, and use ladder straps.

Open and close all valves slowly to avoid shock loads.

Make all aerial movements slowly and deliberately–no abrupt motions.

Avoid having a firefighter operate the pipe, if possible. Use the halyards provided.

This tower ladder rests in a storefront after colliding with a private ambulance during a response.

Intersections are generally the most dangerous areas apparatus drivers will encounter. Some simple precautions can help avoid a collision.

If the intersection is controlled by a stop sign or traffic signal, stop! Proceed only when clear.

Be ready to stop, even if you have a green light.

Be aware of other emergency vehicles that might be crossing your path.

Continue to glance left and right as you cautiously cross the traffic lanes, making eye contact with the other drivers.

By specifying a trap door in the bottom of the bumper-mounted trash line box, you can deposit the hose on the ground and easily deploy it in any direction.

Color coding pump operating handles and gauges has helped eliminate confusion during fire operations. This department has taken color coding one step further by using hose jacket colors that correspond with the operating handle and discharge gauge. Calling for a pressure adjustment on the “red” or “yellow” line will certainly simplify pump operations.

Most purchasers specify the ground ladder rack on the curb side of the apparatus. This department had it installed on the driver`s side because of arched railroad tunnels and low-hanging tree limbs.

This rescue unit has a “rehab compartment” that contains provisions for hot and cold beverages, a microwave oven, and high-energy snack foods.



This aerial truck was set up for ladder pipe operations with a firefighter at the tip. When the hoseline was charged, the truck overturned.

When using an aerial ladder as an elevated master stream, you must address several important safety concerns:

Properly stabilize the apparatus according to the manufacturer`s recommendations. This includes fully extending the stabilizers and using the stabilizer ground pads.

Remember this basic rule of thumb for ladder pipe operations, the “75-80-85” rule:

–75 degrees of elevation,

–80 percent (or less) extension, and

–85-psi nozzle pressure.

Place the hoseline in the center of the aerial ladder, and use ladder straps.

Open and close all valves slowly to avoid shock loads.

Make all aerial movements slowly and deliberately–no abrupt motions.

Avoid having a firefighter operate the pipe, if possible. Use the halyards provided.



This tower ladder rests in a storefront after colliding with a private ambulance during a response.

Intersections are generally the most dangerous areas apparatus drivers will encounter. Some simple precautions can help avoid a collision.

If the intersection is controlled by a stop sign or traffic signal, stop! Proceed only when clear.

Be ready to stop, even if you have a green light.

Be aware of other emergency vehicles that might be crossing your path.

Continue to glance left and right as you cautiously cross the traffic lanes, making eye contact with the other drivers.


By specifying a trap door in the bottom of the bumper-mounted trash line box, you can deposit the hose on the ground and easily deploy it in any direction.


Color coding pump operating handles and gauges has helped eliminate confusion during fire operations. This department has taken color coding one step further by using hose jacket colors that correspond with the operating handle and discharge gauge. Calling for a pressure adjustment on the “red” or “yellow” line will certainly simplify pump operations.


Most purchasers specify the ground ladder rack on the curb side of the apparatus. This department had it installed on the driver`s side because of arched railroad tunnels and low-hanging tree limbs.


This rescue unit has a “rehab compartment” that contains provisions for hot and cold beverages, a microwave oven, and high-energy snack foods.

WILLIAM C. PETERS is a battalion chief, supervisor of apparatus, and a 23-year veteran of the Jersey City (NJ) Fire Department. He is a member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Apparatus and the Fire Engineering editorial advisory board. Peters is the author of Fire Apparatus Purchasing Handbook (Fire Engineering Books, 1994), two chapters on apparatus in The Fire Chief`s Handbook, Fifth Edition (Fire Engineering Books, 1995), the booklet Final Farewell to a Fallen Firefighter: A Basic Fire Department Funeral Protocol, and the video Factory Inspections of New Fire Apparatus (Fire Engineering, 1998).

POINTS TO PONDER

POINTS TO PONDER

BY JOSEPH R. DOWNEY

On September 28, 1997, an alarm was transmitted for a confined space incident at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a facility for shipbuilding during World War II. Its dry docks are still used for ship repair, based on information received in the dispatching office.

A full first-alarm assignment of three engines and two ladder companies was transmitted. Additional information indicated that this incident involved unconscious workers in the hold of a ship. City of New York (NY) Fire Department (FDNY) policy for confined space response includes two rescue companies, two squad companies, and the hazardous materials unit, all of which are trained in confined space operations.

ON-SCENE

Preliminary reports received on arrival indicated that two workers were overcome by fumes in a ship`s hull at dry dock. The first units on the scene found that two workers were actually belowgrade in a barge. As the members prepared to enter through the top hatchway, coworkers were removing the overcome workers up and out of the hatchway on the deck of the barge. They already had in place a stokes basket in which they planned to place the victims. In addition, the crane operator was preparing to set in motion the barge crane with the intention of removing the injured workers to the mainland. These actions were taken with all good intentions, but some necessary safety and medical considerations had not been addressed.

We took all precautionary measures in dealing with the incident. First, we gathered as much information as possible regarding the number of workers, the accountability for workers, the type of work in progress at the time of the incident, what was in the hold, access and egress to the work area, and the present status of the incident.

To ensure that all workers had been accounted for, a search team was prepared for a primary search of the work area. Members in proper protective gear using monitors and detectors entered the hatchway. Keeping in the line of sight of a backup team, the members performed a search. They were connected to lifelines, and a retrieval system was set up in case of an emergency. Ventilation of the hold was in progress, and all members working in the affected area were protected with SCBA. The primary search was negative.

During the search operations, other responding members were preparing the victims for removal by way of the gangplank from which they had entered. The decision to remove them in this manner ensured a safer removal in comparison with the proposed removal by crane. A member was stationed at the crane to ensure that the workers didn`t try to use the crane. The victims were revived and conscious, and it no longer was necessary to effect an emergency removal by crane.

Members returned to the deck area. A critique of the incident was held.

INCIDENT ANALYSIS

The workers said that air was being pumped into the barge`s hold while they were working. Apparently, the workers lost the flow of air or the fumes from their painting operation became so overwhelming that they slowly lost consciousness. They didn`t appear to have any safety measures in place for an accident. The coworkers who removed them didn`t have any personal protection.

According to a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report, “more than 60 percent of confined space fatalities occur among would-be rescuers.” In 1993, the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.146 confined space standard became law. This standard makes clear employers` and employees` responsibilities regarding entry into permit-required confined spaces. In addition, the maritime industry has its own standard and regulations for protecting workers during confined space operations. Numerous articles have been written about confined space incidents. Unfortunately, many of them cover part of the 60 percent of the fatal incidents mentioned in the NIOSH report. These two workers–make that all the workers at this incident–were very lucky.

CONFINED SPACE POINTS TO PONDER

1. Is the victim a would-be rescuer? As noted above, 60 percent of confined space casualties started out as rescuers.

2. If the victim is a would-be rescuer, where are the original victims?

How many are there?

3. Where was the victim located? What type of confined space is involved–

manhole, shaft, ship hold?

4. How did the victim make entry to the space? If the victim was already

removed, how was it accomplished?

5. What caused the victim`s incapacitation? An accident? An atmospheric

condition–i.e., asphyxiant, toxin, or explosive, for example?

6. Have atmospheric meter readings been taken? What`s the O2 level?

Are any other gases present?

7. Can the confined space be entered safely?

8. Are any physical obstacles or hazards present that would prevent entry or egress?

9. Can you communicate with the victim? What`s the victim`s medical status?

10. Do you have all the equipment needed to complete a rescue?

11. List the considerations of the first-arriving unit or tasks it should perform on arrival at the scene of a confined space incident. Some suggested answers are given below. n

ANSWERS

Suggested tasks the first-arriving unit should perform on arrival:

Review all hazard information: MSDS, CHEMTRECĀ®, and so on.

Determine what has happened. What`s the nature of the response?

Determine the hazards.

Contact the responsible on-site personnel.

Weigh the risk vs. the benefit. Inside or outside rescue?

Establish a control perimeter. Exclude all nonessential personnel.

Continually review the ongoing operation.

Ensure that you have all necessary resources: specialized technical

rescue teams, EMS, and so on.

Review the responding resources.

If needed, contact experts for assistance.

Make contact with the victim, if possible. Try calling out to the victim.

Commence rescue operations when conditions permit.

Interview any coworkers or witnesses.

Always remember that the safety of the rescuers is the primary concern.

Examine all permits.

Start monitoring the atmosphere.

JOSEPH R. DOWNEY is a 12-year veteran of the City of New York (NY) Fire Department, assigned to the Special Operations Command as a covering lieutenant. He is a New York state-certified instructor, a confined space instructor, and a haz mat technician. He is a member of the New York Task Force-1 and responded as a rescue specialist to Hurricane Marilyn in Puerto Rico.