FDIC Gets Even Bigger In Move to Kansas City
With a program ranging from hospital and school fire safety to officer training, and high-rise building fires, the Fire Department Instructors Conference chalked up another registration record in its first four-day session at Kansas City, Mo., after 35 conferences at Memphis, Tenn.
The total registration for the March 24-27 conference was 4,404, just 101 more than the figure last year at Memphis. Thirteen foreign countries, including Canada, were represented at the sessions.
Fires in tall buildings bring new problems to the fire service, said Second Deputy Chief Fire Marshal James B. Neville of Chicago. He emphasized that high-rise fire fighting operations must depend on a building’s own fire protection facilities.
“Except for your pumper used to supplement the standpipe system in a building, all of your wheeled fire apparatus will be used merely to transport men and hand equipment to the scene,” he commented.
He frowned on the idea of landing fire fighters on a roof to battle a fire on a floor below, saying, “A top attempt to work down is similar to attempting to fight a tremendous basement fire through one opening.”
Neville stressed the need to learn standard procedures and then to research new problems. He cited heatsensitive call buttons for elevators as one of these problems, adding, “You can imagine what would happen in a fire.”
In discussing train wrecks, Terry Hayes, director of the Shreveport, La., Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau, declared that planning before any emergency is “essential to handling any railroad incident.” He advised looking for placards on the railroad cars involved for information about their cargo and then going to the caboose for further information. Hayes recommended using ChemCards and the NFPA “Fire Protection Guide on Hazardous Materials.”
He referred to one incident in which a propane pilot line was rigged to ensure the continued safe burning of gas from a wrecked tank car. No department, Hayes added, should be without a flammable gas detector.
When a train derailment overturned three tank cars sitting on a siding and one of them exploded, 35,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia were released and eight persons were killed in Crete, Neb., Assistant Chief Norman Savery of tire Crete Fire Department reported. The apparatus responding in a fog at 6:30 a.m. got into the ammonia cloud before the drivers realized it. They had to back out, and then every available gas mask and breathing apparatus was obtained from the local National Guard armory and a mill in town. Evacuation of the affected area and all rescues were completed within an hour, he said. One elderly couple living about 150 feet from the wreck survived by placing wet towels over their heads, Savery recalled.
Crash fire fighting
Using slides, Chief Warrant Officer Louis F. Garland, chief of the Air Force Fire Protection School at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois, illustrated operating procedures for attacking aircraft crash fires and making rescues. He explained the approach patterns of crash fire fighting apparatus used by the Air Force and their extinguishment methods.
Hazardous liquids used for space flights and other purposes are on highway tankers all over the country, W. F. Eldredge, an instructor at the Florida Fire College, told the FDIC. The fact that you don’t live near a rocket base or a manufacturer of these liquids “doesn’t relieve you of the possibility of encountering them,” he warned.
Getting water to pumper
Supplying water to the fireground pumper in rural areas through the use of tankers or 3½-inch hose was described with the aid of slides by A. Morrison Ennis, former chief of the Mortlake, Conn., fire department, lie stressed the need to have a water control officer to supervise a tanker operation.
In talking about tanker operations, he said, “Every effort is made to have an excess of water available rather than waiting until the need arises and then running out of water before additional tankers arrive.”
He pointed out that when 3½-inch hose is used in a relay, a 500-gpm, class B pumper can move its full capacity 1,100 feet while operating at 120 psi. A 750-gpm, class A pumper, operating at 250 psi, can deliver only 325 gpm through 1,100 feet of 2½inch line. The comparison, he noted, shows that the diameter of the hose is more important than pump pressure in moving large amounts of water.
Manpower and training
Tests show that companies should not operate with less than five men, Deputy Chief E. E. Spillman of Dallas told an FDIC session. He described how Dallas engine and ladder companies went through a series of fireground evolutions with three, four, five and six men to determine the level of physical exhaustion in each test. A four-man engine company “can do an adequate job” only if there is little or no work above the ground floor Spillman declared.
In discussing officer training, William E. Clark, director of the Prince George’s County, Md., Department of Fire Protection, saw a similarity to training astronauts to walk on the moon. In each case, training must take the place of job experience. Clark saw a weakness in programs for teaching tactics to new officers.
“Let’s hope officer training of the ’70s will put emphasis on tactics and strategy,” Clark said.
In another look at the new officer, Harold Richman, chief of the Bureau of Research and Training in Prince George’s County, described company officers as men who hold key positions in tire fireground operation and he said they “should be trained for the position and not merely assigned or elected.” He outlined the officer training program in Prince George’s County which he described in the December 1968 copy of FIRE ENGINEERING.
What a small department can do to provide training facilities was told by Chief Robert L. Wright of Brookville, Ohio. He described how $600 and hard work resulted in a 40-foot training tower made with wooden utility poles and an 18 x 30-foot smokehouse converted from an old wood frame garage. A novel idea was the use of wooden bleachers for men attending some outdoor classes.
Beyond training in fireground evolutions, the fire fighter now is facing the need to know about chemistry and physics, said William Howard McClennan, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, who told how the IAFF developed a model bill establishing minimum standards and education for fire fighters. He stated that the passage of state statutes patterned after this bill is “essential to the lifting of educational standards and the recruiting of high quality men for fire department work.”
The dramatic highlight of the conference was an evening session on cardio-pulmonary resuscitation presented by Dr. Thomas K. Burnap of the anesthesiology department at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and three nurses from that hospital. As they performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on a manikin, a cardiogram and graphic lines on a screen for respiration and blood pressure showed how well the nurses were ventilating the “lungs” and compressing the “heart” of the manikin.
Burnap said that resuscitators should not be used during closed chest cardiac massage. He explained that compressing the heart increases pressure in the lungs enough to stop a resuscitator, and the time between strokes is not long enough for a resuscitator to provide sufficient ventilation of the lungs. He advised mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or an Elder valve in the hands of an experienced operator.
Hospital fire safety
Hospital fire prevention was discussed from the hospital administrator’s viewpoint by Sister Mary Christopher Darcy, assistant administrator of St. Joseph Hospital, Denver, Colo., and from the fire prevention officer’s viewpoint by Assistant Chief Merle K. Wise, chief in charge of fire prevention for the Denver Fire Department.
“We all know that the bugs in paper plans become obvious only in drills and practice,” Sister Mary Christopher declared in describing how fire drills in her hospital are held during all three shifts, even at 5 o’clock in the morning. Referring to panic as a bigger killer than fire and smoke, she stated that “the best preventive is trained people.”
Stating that “good fire protection starts on the drawing board and in the building department,” Wise discussed protection for such hazards as flammable liquids in hospital laboratories, cleaning solvents in laundries, range hoods in kitchens, storage of anesthetics, and housekeeping in maintenance shops. He called attention to the use of deluge showers outside labs and within reach of a fire alarm box.
Different school program
A radical change in school fire safety programs was urged by Charles E. Templin of Worth, 111., who spoke as both a fireman and a grade school teacher. He recommended that fire departments educate teachers in fire safety before classes open in the fall. The Worth Fire Department, he said, prepared a booklet for teachers that stresses the fact that school fires can start in their school and tells them what to do.
He urged fire departments to “educate the educators about fire prevention and fire safety procedures . . . They are the ones who can present our program in the most effective and efficient manner.”
Information put on slides
A way of meeting the fire challenge through the use of color slides made during the pre-fire planning of buildings was described by Chief Allen W. Hulett of Elk Grove Village, III. Building information most needed for fire fighting is color-coded on a chart, which is then photographed for 2×2 color slides. There are at least three slides for each pre-fire planned building, Ire explained. One slide is of the chart, one is a helicopter view of roof details and exposures, and the third is a general interior view. Additional slides are used for special hazards. One set of slides is in the alarm room for instant projection on a screen, a second set is used by the training officer, and the third set is kept far from fire department headquarters for use if the first two sets are ever destroyed.
Better understanding urged
The Fire Research and Safety Act will not be implemented until the fire service puts its needs in a form that can be understood by scientists, predicted Richard E. Bland, associate professor in the Ordnance Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University at University Park. He urged engineers and fire chiefs to develop a better mutual understanding. The American fire service has not demonstrated an interest in utilizing technology because it is “dumb, fat and complacent,” he charged.
A new nozzle that is designed to produce a good fire stream automatically was introduced at an FDIC session by W. S. Thompson, chief engineer of the Elkhart Brass Company.
“This nozzle works on the availability of water,” Thompson said, explaining that it is engineered to work with any water supply ranging from 250 to 1,000 gpm. Thompson maintained that poor fire streams are caused not by a lack of pressure, hut rather by a lack of water.
The rural and small municipalities workshop surveyed training, water supply, the ammonia disaster reported earlier at a general conference session by Assistant Chief Savery of Crete, Neb., and public relations. The other three speakers also addressed general sessions of the FDIC.
A good training program. Deputy Fire Marshal Anthony of South Dakota said, “must be realistic to the needs of your town—what you have to protect. It must be applicable to what you have to protect it with.” He urged that the program be directed at getting the most out of the department’s equipment.
The value of 3½-inch hose in delivering sizable quantities of water was stressed by Ennis, past chief of the Mortlake, Conn., Fire Department in greater detail at the workshop than he did in his talk before the general conference.
Public relations is an every day job—not just a one-shot deal, Shreveport’s Fire Prevention Bureau director, Hayes, told the workshop. Well-planned programs that are spread over all the days of the year are the best, he advised.
The government and military workshop turned its attention to administration as well as fire fighting. Chief Allen G. Ogden of the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station at Santa Ana, Calif., commented that when management is unfamiliar with bargaining, it is inclined to take a defensive rather than an offensive stand. Then management finds itself reacting to developments rather than initiating and developing changes. The union position was presented by Nicholas F. Herbst of Kansas City, vice president of the 16th District of the International Association of Fire Fighters. He outlined the IAFF efforts to better the working conditions of federal fire fighters and noted the introduction of binding arbitration under President Nixon’s Executive Order 11491.
Frank Brannigan, Atomic Energy Commission public safety officer and director of operational safety, discussed the glove box fire at the AEC plant at Rocky Flats, Colo. The fire, he said, originated in some plutonium briquettes. When carbon dioxide failed to extinguish the fire, water was successfully used without a nuclear criticality occurring.
During one of the FDIC sessions, the International Association of Fire Service Instructors presented two distinguished services plaques to Chief Edward A. Hamilton of Memphis. One was given to him personally for his work in support of the FDIC conferences and the other was presented to him for the Memphis Fire Department’s work in behalf of the FDIC.
Next year, the FDIC will be held in Kansas City March 30 through April 2.