Thermal Mask Allows Firefighters to See Through Smoke

According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke causes more deaths than flames do. The fumes from the smoke quickly overcome people and unable to breathe. As the smoke sucks the concentration of oxygen from the room, they begin losing their coordination and judgment abilities and quickly fall into unconsciousness.


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Protective Hoods Leave Firefighters at Risk for Toxins Exposure

A recent safety bulletin issued by the National Fire Protection Association describes how toxins present on the protective hoods used by firefighters may carry significant consequences. According to the announcement, “contaminant exposures can pose significant immediate and long-term dangers to firefighters’ health.” One of these dangers is a high risk of cancer, a conclusion of a study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Personal protective equipment is critical for the safety of firefighters, however, the concern regarding the protective hoods comes from the hood’s direct exposure to the skin of the person wearing it. Compounding the issue is that the face and neck had already been identified as significant exposure areas. Firefighter protective hoods have now been labeled as “the most penetrable piece of equipment.”

In order to help reduce the risk of toxic exposure, firefighters are instructed to follow NFPA 1851 guidelines:

  • Make sure to wash protective hood after each fire or emergency service call;
  • Always inspect hoods to ensure there is no damage and for continued serviceability after each use; and
  • Never wash hoods at home, laundromat, or a dry cleaning facility.



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IAFF Opens Treatment Center to Help Battle Firefighter PTSD

Firefighters deal with death, loss, and trauma on a regular basis. Being exposed to these events on an almost daily basis can take an emotional toll. Occupational stress often develops into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If not recognized and treated, PTSD can wreak havoc in a firefighter’s life and far too often leads to depression, substance abuse, or suicide. The latest statistics reveal that one in five firefighters will suffer from symptoms of PTSD at some point in their career.

For too long, the issue of firefighter PTSD wasn’t something that was widely discussed, but over the past several years, it has emerged into the open and is finally being addressed.

The International Association of Firefighters has teamed up with Advanced Recovery Systems and have announced the opening of a new treatment center to help firefighters who are battling PTSD. The Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery is located on 15 peaceful acres in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The center is just 30 minutes from Washington DC and an hour’s drive from Dulles International Airport.

The center’s mission is “to offer treatment for successful recovery from post-traumatic stress and co-occurring addictions and help IAFF members return to the job.” The one-of-a-kind center is strictly for IAFF members who are struggling with PTSD, addiction, and other related behavioral health challenges.  The treatment received at the center is completely confidential.

More information about the center can be found at their website, or by calling 855.900.8437.

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Man Killed in Sand Hole Collapse at CA Beach

A 26 year-old California man was killed after a hole he dug on a Northern California beach collapsed and trapped him under the sand.

Adam Pye, a recent college graduate, was at Half Moon Bay Beach, located outside San Francisco, with friends, when they decided to dig holes in the sand. Pye dug a hole approximately 10 feet deep and was standing in it when the walls of the hole began to collapse, burying him.

Friends and bystanders tried digging him out, using hands, shovels and other tools. After five minutes of digging, they managed to get Pye’s head above the sand, but he was already unconscious. Emergency responders began arriving at the scene, and paramedics did manage to open up the young man’s airways.

Emergency crews and volunteers working frantically to rescue Adam Pye from a sand hole. Emergency crews and volunteers working frantically to rescue Adam Pye from a sand hole.

It took 30 firefighters, with the help of bystanders, another 35 minutes to dig Pye out and remove him from the hole. However, attempts at reviving him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Just one month ago, another man, 49 year-old David Frasier of Fredericksburg, Virginia, died in a similar accident at a beach in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Frasier was standing in a four feet hole when its walls collapsed on top of him.

Rescue efforts in confined space areas require special training. Emergency Film Group’s Technical Rescue Package provides in-depth training in multiple rescue disciplines at a significant savings. The package includes six DVDs plus four texts providing a study of the skills and knowledge needed to safely locate and extricate victims.

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Home Fire Threat Triples on Thanksgiving Day

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more home fires on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. Nationwide, firefighters respond to three times the normal number of incidents they usually do.

And the number one place where most of these fires start is in the kitchen. With multiple dishes cooking on all the burners, the turkey baking in the oven, doorbell ringing, family and friends arriving – it’s easy to see how people get distracted and accidents can happen.

thanks The CPSC says "Stand by Your Pan" on Thanksgiving Day.

If a fire does start, the experts agree that one of the worst things you can do is try to put it out yourself. You could be injured or cause the fire to become worse.

The popularity of deep-fried turkey has greatly increased the number of fires that occur on Thanksgiving. Deep fried turkeys are boiled at searing temperatures in up to five gallons of hot oil. The fryers are designed to operate at a temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but that temperature can soar to as high as 670 degrees. If this happens, the oil can literally bursts into flames.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers these safety tips:

  • Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing while preparing a meal. Dangling sleeves or excess material can easily catch fire.
  • Check cooking food regularly and stay in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a way to remember food is either on the stove or in the oven.
  • Keep combustible items, such as pot holders/oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper/plastic bags, towels and curtains away from surfaces that generate heat. This includes appliances as well as the stove and oven.
  • Be sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand and read the directions well in advance of any potential emergency so that you are ready to use it at a moment’s notice.
  • Install a smoke alarm on each level on the home making sure there is one in close proximity to the kitchen.
  • Keep children away from cooking areas being sure they remain at least three feet away from the stove.
  • If there is a fire inside the oven, shut off the oven and leave the door shut. Call 9-1-1 and report the fire and leave the home until firefighters arrive.
  • If a stove fire occurs, immediately shut off the stove and cover the burning pan/burner with a lid or use a fire extinguisher. Do not attempt to move a burning pan outside and do not throw flour, water, salt or any other substance on the fire as these can cause the fire to flare up.
  • Gas or propane stoves are a common source of carbon monoxide in the home. If you are cooking for several hours, a build-up of carbon monoxide may occur so be sure to run vents you may have in the kitchen and open windows/doors in the kitchen at least once each hour to allow fresh air to circulate.


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JetBlue Unveils 'Blue Bravest' Airbus - Dedicated to FDNY

JetBlue Airlines revealed their newest aircraft this week – Blue Bravest. The Airbus 300 honors the New York City Fire Department and the FDNY Foundation. Painted red and adorned with the FDNY shield on its tail, the plane was unveiled during Wednesday morning’s sunrise as it flew along New York City's skyline. The plane took off from New Mexico and landed at Kennedy International Airport where it was brought to a hangar for a dedication ceremony. Among those in attendance were FDNY firefighters from several companies, including Rescue 4.




JetBlue is the only major airline based out of New York and has been immensely supportive of the FDNY and the Foundation. In the past three years, the company has donated $300,000 to the foundation. They have also provided more than 40 round-trip flights for firefighters to travel to other regions to support other departments in firefighting and rescue efforts, as well as provided travel support for firefighters following Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 and wildfires in California in 2007 and Arizona in 2013, among other events.

At the dedication, JetBlue Airways CEO Dave Barger said, “We are New York's Hometown Airline, we not only work here, we live here too. On a daily basis we see the hard work of firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians who help keep our city safe. We appreciate their dedication and are excited to support our hometown heroes in a very JetBlue way. We've substituted our namesake blue and painted this airplane red, a special honor just for the FDNY Foundation.”




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Rescuers Free Worker Trapped Under Collapsed Denver School Ceiling

A construction worker became trapped when a ceiling in the old school building he was working at collapsed. It took firefighters close to an hour to free the man from the debris.

The incident occurred at the old William Byers Junior High School in Denver, Colo. The school is being renovated for the Denver School of Science and Technology, a charter school.   

The victim was working in a small room on the second floor of the building when the ceiling collapsed on him. Large chunks of plaster and concrete fell on top of him. Rescue workers had to work at a very painstakingly methodical pace because of the instability of the rest of the area they were working in. They had to re-enforce the unsteady wall that was still holding up the rest of the area they were attempting to rescue the man from.

After being pulled out of the building, the man was taken to a waiting ambulance and as he was being loaded into the ambulance, he gave a thumb’s up sign to onlookers.

School were ceiling collapsed on worker. School were ceiling collapsed on worker.

Confined space rescues can be technically challenging because of the dangers they present to not only the victim, but also to the emergency responders attempting the rescue. Whether in a situation created by the collapse of a building or trench or in designated confined spaces such as silos, sewers or tanks, rescue workers must be keenly aware of the necessary strategies needed to perform a confined space rescue.

Emergency Film Group’s Confined Space Rescue Series provides a comprehensive examination of response issues in a confined space emergency. This series addresses the requirements of OSHA's Permit Required Confined Space Standard as well as NFPA 1006 and NFPA 1670. To learn more, read here. . .

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Is There Ammonium Nitrate in Your Response Area?

The subject of a recent hearing before the Texas House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee was the deadly explosion at the West Fertilizer Company that occurred in West, Texas on April 17th of this year. Ammonium nitrate was involved in the explosion that killed more than a dozen people, injured more than 160 and damaged or destroyed more than 150 structures.



One of the people to testify before the committee, Texas State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy, presented a briefing called Ammonium Nitrate Estimated Blast Effects. This report was prepared by Aristatek Inc. for the Williamson County Hazmat Team. The team, as well as the state, wanted a method of predicting damage with different quantities of the substance for estimating the potential dangers were it to explode.


Aristatek's brief includes a blast effects table for ammonium nitrate quantities from one ton to 300 tons. It was prepared using a combination of the company’s hazardous materials response software, PEAC-WMD, and its own in-house chemists and engineers. Aristatek is making the brief available to qualified emergency planning, response and zoning officials through the company’s web site. Information about the brief can be found here. . .


The ammonium nitrate brief should provide a resource for communities with local ammonium nitrate stockpiles to help them understand the possible consequences of storing or shipping this substance. The briefing includes an explosion calculator for open-air explosions which shows the distance that fragmentation will be thrown and calculates overpressure - blast effects that can knock down structures and severely injure individuals


According to Aristatek, “The algorithms were developed for TNT,” but Aristatek’s software  “can compute the TNT equivalent of a substance.”


Emergency Film Group’s program, Inorganic Oxidizers studies response actions for incidents involving ammonium nitrate as well as two other important oxidizers, nitric acid and calcium hypochlorite. To learn more, read here. . .


Response to ammonium nitrate incidents is also covered in Responding to Highway Incidents Involving Commercial Explosives, created for the Institute of Makers of Explosives by Emergency Film Group.




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Somerville, MA Officials Say its Arson, Offer Reward

Is there an arsonist running around Somerville, Massachusetts? City officials believe there is and are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of any person or persons involved in setting the fires.

Since June 27, there have been 13 house fires in the city. Investigators have labeled four as arson, five as suspicious and under investigation and four have been deemed accidental. The latest fire occurred on Sept. 6 on Laurel Terrace.

At a press conference announcing the reward, Somerville police and fire investigators were also joined by representatives from the City of Cambridge police and fire departments. Cambridge is investigating two suspicious fires that have occured in the past few weeks which have some similarities to the Somerville fires, although Cambridge Assistant Fire Chief Gerald Mahoney was quoted as saying, “We’re having some discussions, but the [modus operandi] is different.”

Somerville firefighters battle one of the many suspicious blazes set in the city this summer. Somerville firefighters battle one of the many suspicious blazes set in the city this summer.

Officials are urging residents to be on the lookout and report any suspicious activity. They also urged residents to protect themselves from arson. Noting that many of these fires were set on back porches of the homes, Chief Kevin Kelleher offered these tips:

  • Remove overstuffed furniture from porches.
  • Remove highly flammable items from outdoor areas that are close to your home. Items such as piles of leaves and yard waste, stacks of paper, flammable liquids, candles, charcoal, hanging laundry, rags and stuffed seat cushions should not be close to your home.
  • Lock all doors and windows, including doors and windows into your basement.
  • Turn on outside lights, including lights on front and back porches.
  • Don't store trash or recycling under porches. Wait until trash day to put it outside.

Police Chief Thomas Pasquarello told attendees of the press conference that the investigation had been relentless, “We’ve devoted every resource possible including support that comes from our state and federal departments. No expense will be missing as far as what is required to bring the people responsible to justice in this investigation.”

The number of the tip line that residents should call with any information is 617-629-1847.

Emergency Film Group’s Fire Investigation Package is a two-part series of training videos demonstrating the investigation of fires. Topics covered include how fires typically begin, fire behavior, how firefighting tactics may affect the fire and destroy evidence, methods for determining the point of origin and cause of the fire, identifying accidental fire vs. arson and gathering evidence. To learn more, read here. . .


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