NFFF establishes Yarnell Hill (AZ) Fallen Firefighters Fund

The Arizona Line of Duty Death Response Team, a Local Assistance State Team of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and part of the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association, has been activated to provide support for the survivors of the 19 Arizona Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters who lost their lives in the Yarnell Hill wildfire.

The NFFF also established the national Yarnell Hill Fallen Firefighters Fund to provide the families, friends, and colleagues of the 19 firefighters who died on June 30 with the immediate help and assistance that the NFFF says they will need for years to come. The NFFF states that 100 percent of the funds collected will be used for this purpose. If you wish to donate to the Fund, send your check to: National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, c/o Yarnell Hill Fallen Firefighters Fund, P.O. Drawer 498, Emmitsburg, MD 21727. You may also donate online at www.regonline.com/yarnellhill.

FPRF reports on flammability of lithium ion batteries

The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF), in conjunction with FM Global, conducted studies on the ignitibility of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries in bulk storage to improve the development of sprinkler systems for protecting the batteries. In one test, free burn fire growth patterns were detected; another analyzed the performance of sprinklers in protecting batteries and similar commodities. The tests showed that the batteries burn similarly to other packaged products in the early stages of fire growth. This information will be used to better protect packaged batteries in storage facilities.

Since the report’s publication, the FPRF has conducted surveys on storage practices and also developed a method to research the topic further. For additional information, visit www.nfpa.org/foundation.

Line-of-Duty Deaths

June 13. Firefighter Tony Barker, 36, Mountain View Volunteer Fire Department, Hays, NC: electrocuted at a small structure fire.

June 17. Assistant Chief Edward C. Vanner Jr., 58, 143d Fire & Emergency Services-Quonset ANG Base R.I., North Kingstown, RI: apparent heart attack.

June 18. Firefighter Thomas Burley, 20, Youngstown (NY) Volunteer Fire Company: injuries sustained when his privately owned vehicle was involved in an accident while returning from fire department-mandated training.

June 18. Firefighter Katrina Sims, 24, Atlanta (GA) Fire Rescue Department: found deceased while on duty in the fire station; investigation underway.

June 24. Firefighter/Chaplain John T. Appleton, 62, Malden Volunteer Fire Department, Charleston, WV: cardiac arrest.

June 30. Firefighters Garret Zuppiger, 27; Kevin Woyjeck, 21, Clayton Whitted, 28; William Warneke, 25; Travis Turbyfill, 27; Joe Thurston, 32; Jesse Steed, 36; Anthony Rose, 23; John Percin, 24; Wade Parker, 22; Scott Norris, 28; Sean Misner, 26; Grant McKee, 21; Eric Marsh, 43; Christopher MacKenzie, 30; Dustin Deford, 24; Travis Carter, 31; Robert Caldwell, 23; Andrew Ashcraft, 29, Prescott (AZ) Fire Department, members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew: position overrun by flames while working the Yarnell Hill fire. Investigation continues.

NFDC reports on residential fires from 2009-2011

An estimated 360,000 residential building fires are reported to United States fire departments each year, according to Residential Building Fires (2009-2011), a report in the Topical Fire Report Series of the National Fire Data Center (NFDC) based on data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System.

The report notes that 82 percent of fire deaths, 76 percent of fire injuries, and 58 percent of total dollar losses from residential building fires resulted in that time period. During that same period, nonconfined fires accounted for 50 percent of residential building fires, and confined cooking fires were the single leading cause of all residential fires.

The following findings were also reported:

  • The average number of fatalities and injuries per 1,000 residential fires was significantly higher than for nonresidential building fires.
  • The 360,900 residential building fires each year result in an annual average of 2,495 deaths; 13,250 injuries; and $7 billion in property losses.
  • The leading causes of larger fires that extended beyond the room of origin were electrical malfunction or careless actions (16 percent), intentional actions (12 percent), and open flame (11 percent).
  • More than half (56.6 percent) of residential building fires are confined to the object of origin.
  • Smoke alarms were not present in 22 percent of the larger nonconfined fires in occupied residential buildings.

For additional information, visit www.usfa.fema.gov.

HFSC stipend programs available to fire departments

The nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has funded two stipend programs through a Federal Emergency Management Agency Fire Prevention and Safety grant so that fire departments can increase home fire sprinkler education within their communities. The first stipend will award 15 fire departments $1,500 each; the second will award 25 departments $1,000 each.

Both stipends will help fund the construction of side-by-side fire and sprinkler burn demonstration units to be used for public education. In addition, the $1,500 stipend winners will partner with local schools to teach future homebuilders about the benefits of home sprinklers. The HFSC’s free Fire and Sprinkler Burn demonstration kit will guide the winning departments in how to construct the units and implement educational programs.

GAO cites inefficiency in terrorism-fighting groups

Government centers and task forces responsible for combating terrorism often overlap in their work efforts, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Moreover, the GAO notes, the repetitive findings and inefficient work ethics that often result waste resources and cause local police to receive an abundance of redundant information. Ultimately, the situation could lead state and local law enforcement agencies to fail to recognize an actual threat.

A primary reason for this inefficiency, the GAO explains, is that federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security do not require task forces to communicate with one another or share their findings. The agencies and task forces involved, GAO recommends, should be held accountable for coordinating with one another.

Fire Adapted Communities Coalition releases report

The Fire Adapted Communities Coalition report explains the vulnerabilities that could have been responsible for the destruction of almost 350 homes in Colorado Springs during the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire. The report, which includes a video that demonstrates successful fire loss prevention efforts in Colorado Springs, could help other wildfire-prone communities.

Among information contained in the report is the following:

  • Fire spreading from home to home caused a larger number of home losses.
  • Homeowners should harden a building with noncombustible materials to make it more resistant to wildfires, and they must also incorporate appropriate construction details.
  • Communitywide collaboration is needed to prevent home losses and create fire-adapted communities.
  • Widespread damage from wildfires results in a higher community tax base and economic consequences for residents.
  • The preparedness message is most effective when multiple parties deliver it.

Additional information is at www.fireadapted.org.

CDP receives reaccreditation

Students taking Center for Domestic-Preparedness (CDP) courses can earn up to four continuing education credits for a five-day course. Last year, nearly 61,000 first responders were awarded continuing education credits. The CDP recently was awarded five-year reaccreditation status by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training.

Nassau County (NY)-based charity receives federal grant

The Terry Farrell Fund (TFF) of Wantagh, New York, has been awarded a Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighter Grant and Staffing and Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant for $461,000.

According to Rachel Rodriguez, grants associate at JSK Inc., fire grant writers: “This award will allow the highly successful Terry Farrel Fund to expand into an area of recruitment and retention, [for] which it has sought funding for many years.”

The TFF is dedicated to helping firefighters’ families as well as fire departments in New York’s less privileged areas. Named after a firefighter who lost his life on September 11, 2001, the TFF has assisted hundreds of firefighters with expenses and given disadvantaged departments used, but salvageable, equipment for their members’ use.

The charity has grown in popularity and has established chapters throughout the nation. Small fire departments in various states hope to establish a local TFF chapter to properly equip new members. For more information, visit www.fema.gov.

NIOSH issues Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Reports

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recently released the following reports:

  • F2013-01, Aug 20, 2012, “Captain suffers sudden cardiac death while on duty-Tennessee.” http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/ reports/face201301.html.
  • F2012-31, Dec 02, 2012, “Volunteer fire fighter struck and killed by backing fire apparatus at rural brush and structure fire-Illinois.” http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/ reports/face201231.html.

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