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Posted: Apr 4, 2016

Driver rescued after pickup crashes down cliff into river north of Vancouver

Fire crews rescued a man overnight after he crashed his pickup down a 50-foot embankment, landing in the East Fork Lewis River about 25 miles northeast of Vancouver, Wash. Firefighters were called out to the crash scene on Northeast Lucia Falls Road around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. Officials said the driver hit a tree, sending his pickup tumbling around 50 feet down a cliff, landing on its wheels in a few feet of swift water.
- PUB DATE: 4/4/2016 7:35:51 AM - SOURCE: KOMO-TV ABC 4 and Radio 1000
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Posted: Apr 4, 2016

Sean Gray: Attack from the Burned Side: Is This the Future of Extinguishment?

By Sean Gray

After “Attack from the Burned Side Can Save Lives” was published in Fire Engineering in November 2011, a firestorm (no pun intended) of controversy ignited. The article was negatively criticized by the “Old School group” and was applauded by the “New School group.” Some folks told me, “We will just have to agree to disagree.” Well, that adage is fine if we’re discussing politics or religion in the firehouse. But when it comes to keeping firefighters safe and saving citizens’ property, I have a much more passionate opinion. I’m willing do the right thing, even if it means admitting that I have been doing it wrong for the past 20 years. Take a look back at where or from whom you gained your knowledge. It was probably from some old salty captain or chief you looked up to when you were a rookie. There is nothing wrong with that. All of us have had a mentor who took us under his wing. However, where or from whom did they get their knowledge? Probably from their mentors and their own experiences, and it continues to be a vicious cycle that is reflected in firefighter injuries and line-of-duty deaths LODDs. Is it possible that we have just been telling stories for all these years?

It has been said that the American fire service has 150 years of tradition that is unimpeded by progress. I’m tired of hearing this assessment because we’re better than that. It may be true that we are often not ready to change and that, unfortunately, it takes a death or a critical injury of a firefighter for someone to ask the question, “How could this have been prevented?”

With regard to attacking from the burned side instead of from the unburned side, we hear recent terminology like “softening the target,” “hitting it hard from the yard,” and “transitional attack.” Although all of these terms are appropriate, an argument could be made that an initial rapid exterior fire attack to knock down the bulk of the fire is actually an offensive tactic.

The interior attack doesn’t need an explanation because we’ve been doing it since the inception of the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). However, most of us active in today’s fire service were not around when the attack from distance was used on a daily basis back in the 1960s-1970s. Firefighters then used the reach of the hose streams to attack the base of the fire.

Early in my career, I was sent to fill in for the day at the slowest station in the county. There were two old-timers less than six months from retirement, and we caught a fire. As we arrived, flames were showing from a window on the A/B corner. As I got off the apparatus and started to pull a cross-lay, the driver instead pulled a booster line and handed it over to the officer. He then proceeded to take the booster line, open up the fog nozzle, and throw it into the fire window. I was shocked and bewildered. He looked at me and said, “Okay, boy, go in there and finish it off now.” All I could think of was how wrong that was in comparison with what I had been taught in recruit school. Looking back on it now, it worked: The fire was knocked down quickly, and I can remember being disappointed because he had taken away the dark, hot, and smoky hallway I was looking forward to entering. Now that I’ve matured and learned that there is a safer and more efficient way to operate, I wish that I could go back and apologize to that officer for all the times that I told that story as if it were the worst tactic I had ever seen.

The Discussion

What is the definition of exterior attack? Is it an offensive or a defensive tactic? What if you were using an exterior attack in the offensive mode and pushing toward the fire? Would that be a transitional attack? This is a new tactic for the New Age fireground. One of the controversies being discussed is the exterior vs. the interior attack. A crucial part of the argument comes down to the possible victim and the pl

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Posted: Apr 4, 2016

Cantankerous Wisdom: Deck Lights and Work Lights

By Bill Adams

The purchasing specifications (specs) under the heading DECK LIGHTS/WORK LIGHTS said: “One (1) 6-inch Unity model AG chrome plated deck light shall be mounted on each rear stanchion. Each shall be controlled by a switch mounted on the light, as well as by a single master switch in the master warning switch console. The deck lights shall also serve as rear work lights to illuminate the rear of the apparatus to meet NFPA 1901 requirements.” It seems pretty much straight and forward—a cab dash switch powers the Unity’s which have individual on/off switches. Usually purchasers specify a flood lamp in one light and a spot lamp in the other. No big problem. I checked Unity’s Web site. That was a mistake. Unity offers halogen lamps in flood, spot, and combination flood/spot configurations. They also have LED spot lamps in two-degree and eight-degree configurations. The specs were confusing; the resolution was more so.

I broached the topic at coffee the following morning. That was another mistake. The raisin squad beat the subject to death. After four cups we couldn’t even agree on what the difference was between deck lights and work lights. So, I checked the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) NFPA 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus. I’m sorry I did. There are different requirements for rear work area ground lighting, hosebed lighting, and ground lighting at points of access and egress from riding positions. Deck lights aren’t mentioned. Who’da thought?

Sentence 13.10.1.1—Rear Work Area states that the work area behind the rig must be illuminated to a level of 30 lx within a 10- x 10-foot area. Sentence 13.10.1.2 says areas designed for personnel to climb onto or descend from the apparatus have to be illuminated to a level of 20 lx within 30 inches from the edge of the rig. Why are the areas by the cab doors illuminated less than at the rear of the rig? Is it less hazardous getting out of the cab? 

Apparatus at the transverse crosslay and speedlay areas only have to be illuminated to the 20-lx level for 30 inches compared to 30 lx for ten feet at the rear. Crosslays and speedlay beds are usually six feet in length. You’ll be well lit (with light) for 30 inches; the rest of the way from the rig, you’re on your own. Watch your step.

Sentence 13.10.1.3 says lighting under cab door exits “shall be switchable but activated automatically when the exit doors are opened.” I agree with automatic door-activated lights; that makes sense. I don’t agree with the requirement they “shall be” switchable. Why do they have to be? The next sentence says all other ground area lighting “shall be” switchable. I interpret it meaning that it isn’t that important to have ground lighting on “all the time” at the rear of the fire truck. How come? Ditto for the ground areas on the sides where personnel may have to climb on and off running boards to deploy and repack crosslays and speedlays. That’s where a lot of work is being done and sometimes done in a hurry. The NFPA will make sure the lights are on when you get out of the cab but you’re on your own when you pull the crosslays. Don’t forget to manually turn the lights on. Hope you’re not in a rush.

Sentence 13.10.2—Hose Bed Lighting requires the same level of lighting in the bed as the ground lighting at the rear of the apparatus. I hav

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Posted: Apr 4, 2016

Voters to Decide on Fire Equipment Upgrades in Cooper County

COOPER COUNTY, Mo. - The Cooper County Fire Protection District is asking residents to vote 'Yes' on a more than $1.9 million dollar bond issue on the upcoming April ballot. Chief David Gehm said a majority of the money would go toward building two new fire stations near Bunceton and Lone Elm.

This would put a station within five miles of every home in Cooper County.

"We need to protect our citizens and the people passing through our community, but we have to do it safely."

Gehm said there are three trucks that are more than 40 years old that are becoming dangerous to drive.

"The biggest issue with our old engines is they don't start when they need to start," he said. "We have surplus engines, but it takes time to go get them. That's a possible delay that may make the difference between life and death."

Division Chief Ryan Reuter said it's important the bond issue is passed on Tuesday, so the protection district can continue to provide services to the community.

"We've had some equipment that when we arrive on scene it wouldn't function even though it might have worked the day before."

Gehm said they need to replace one fire engine, two tanker trucks and several brush trucks. He said if the bond issue doesn't pass on Tuesday, the fire protection district may have to resort to a tax increase in the future to help pay for necessary upgrades.

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Posted: Apr 4, 2016

Ashland Fire Department Opens New Fire Station to the Community

Updated: 04/02/2016 9:45 PM Taylor Holt Created: 04/02/2016 5:03 PM "We've operated out of the new fire station for approximately 94 days. I'm delighted to share with you some of the positive comments from staff," said Ashland Fire Chief, Wayne Chenier as he spoke the more than 100 people who showed up for the new fire station's open house.

The years of planning have finally paid off for the Ashland Fire Department as they opened the doors of their new firehouse to the community.

"Firefighters and law enforcement is something the community does need to support because they are serving us so we need to support them," said Sarah Grubisic, a resident of Ashland.

The open house showcased the three million dollar facility, which was a big change from their previous location of more than 90 years.

"Our previous kitchen was a third of the size of this new one. We had 5 to 8 people in the cramped little corridors and now we can move about the day without tapping each other. From an operational stand point, having all our apparatuses under one roof has significantly improved our city's ability to deliver emergency services," said Captain Christopher Bulouvsky with the Ashland Fire Department.

Retired Ashland fireman, James Thompson, says things have only gotten better since his time working for the department.

"The main thing is they have access to equipment. They have a ton of more equipment than we ever had. We had three trucks and you look out here, they have nine bays and there's something in every bay," he said.

The department says although this is a big improvement for them, this wouldn't be possible without the continuous support of the community.

"The community's always been there behind us for many, many years. City surveys throughout my tenure here suggested we had a great deal of community support and this open house illustrates that," said Bulouvsky.

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