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Posted: Aug 8, 2013

Response to Observations from the Granite Mountain Disaster

Some editorial thoughts from Jim Graue

I read with great interest the message from Tom Harbour. Written in the wake of the tragedy of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots losing their lives, Tom calls on all of us in the fire service to “engage in a difficult and complex discussion about the choices we have made as a society and the table we set for those . . . who willingly insert [them]selves between the flame and lives, homes, and communities” and “chart a new and better course forward, one which always remembers.”

Everyone in the great fire service family, present and past, was impacted by this incident. But as I read Tom’s message, there was an awareness that something was missing. So, I re-read it, slowly and more carefully. Yes, it is missing . . . the word SAFETY, absent! That is an omission that is very difficult to overlook...

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Posted: Aug 8, 2013

Observations Regarding the Granite Mountain Disaster

Some editorial thoughts from Tom Harbour

I have wondered what to offer in the wake of the Granite Mountain disaster.  The tragedy plays over and over in our minds.  We remember where we were.  We remember what we heard.  We remember how our hearts sank, the words we uttered, the prayer we offered.  Just 19 years and one week apart from the similar experience of “it can never happen again” Storm King, the Granite Mountain hotshots are forever etched in the wildland fire psyche.

Now the Granite Mountain memorial and funerals are complete.  With much of the western fire season yet to unfold, we have seen, heard, and read thoughtful commentary about the work we do and the places we do it.  In addition to Granite Mountain, six other souls have perished this year.  The toll in our fire business is far, far too high.  Yet, as I experience my fourty fourth year in this profession, I’m struck by the dark “book ends” of two mass casualty events of our work, Storm King and Yarnell Hill...  

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Posted: Aug 8, 2013

Rhabdomyolysis: The New Fire Service Issue

Are your new recruits at risk for exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER)? Central Pierce Fire and Rescue had two recruits develop ER during recent fire training academies. These individuals were physically fit, one a distance runner and the other a cross-fit enthusiast.  What is ER?  Why did these indivuaduals develop it?  What could we have done to prevent it?  

Acute exertional rhabdomyolysis is a problem encountered by firefighters as a result of extreme or novel physical demands placed on the musculoskeletal system.  When skeletal muscle fibers breakdown, their intracellular contents enter the bloodstream and can clog the kidneys.  This can cause potentially serious side effects and even death...

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Posted: Aug 8, 2013

Live Fire Annual Qualifications & Search Drills

In only four hours, 50 firefighters can receive their required annual live fire drill that includes a search drill.  Departments are able to share the cost of a half day at HAMMER. Sharing the cost between several fire departments keeps prices per student low and keeps departments from depleting staff in their response areas.

HAMMER supplies air packs for those without spare SCBAs; however, for those bringing their own packs, please bring at least one spare cylinder with you. HAMMER provides portable radios, thermo imagers, several jugs of drinking water and air support. HAMMER also will prepare a pre-burn plan, hazard analysis and operate the burn prop. HAMMER operates its burn props under the guidelines of NFPA 1403 standards for live fire training...

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Posted: Aug 2, 2013

Apparatus/Equipment News

HMA Fire and Hannay Reels Partner on Off-Road Utility Vehicles

HMA Fire and Hannay Reels have partnered to create off-road utility vehicles by adding Hannay Reels' high-pressure hose reels to HMA's ultra-high-pressure (UHP) mobile fire apparatus. UHP systems deliver microscopic water droplets at an extremely high velocity, always 1,100 pounds per square inch (psi) or higher. Using UHP technology, HMA Fire can offer systems for on- and off-road vehicles, ATVs, brush trucks, skid units, or retrofit packages for existing vehicles like pickup trucks and full sized fire apparatus.

HMA Fire recently began creating off-road utility vehicles to extinguish fires in areas where traditional trucks can't access. These self-sustaining units are completely mobile and equipped with a water and foam tank for flammable or combustible liquids. The units carry 100 gallons of water.

With UHP, small water droplets provide more surface area to extinguish a fire. These droplets also convert to steam quicker, which displaces oxygen. Additionally, UHP systems can emit a layer of foam for a fuel fire when using the appropriate foam type.

The pressures required for UHP demand a hose reel that can handle high pressures through long hoses. HMA Fire chose Hannay Reels to supply the reels for its new off-road utility vehicles. Hannay Reels manufactures durable hose and cable reels for both OEM and aftermarket applications.

With all UHP system components, there is limited space left on these vehicles, so HMA Fire requires a reel that can precisely fit into a small space. Hannay Reels will take parameters and specifications for every reel HMA Fire orders to ensure the reels precisely fit and operate under the expected conditions to which they will be exposed. Additionally, the reels must withstand 1,500 psi and accept foam without corroding. Stainless steel construction is a must.

The reels Hannay provides are standard-profile and low-profile to place alongside the UHP pump and motor. The reels provide fast payout and rewind with a chain-and-sprocket drive powered by an electric motor. An adjustable spring drag brake locks the reel in place, and a four-way roller guide helps reduce response time, increase hose capacity, speed cleanup, and improve lifesaving on-scene operations.

The off-road utility vehicles have been delivered to countries around the world for use in desert environments and remote locations. A customer in Dubai recently ordered the vehicles for desert fire suppression and 10 units were shipped to Mexico. In America, the United States Army and Navy requested units for use in operating bases and tent cities in Afghanistan. In all these areas, standard vehicles are too large for certain roads and cities and are also unable to tread through heavy sands.

For more information, visit www.hannayreels.com (518-797-3791) or www.hmafire.com (800-338-2010).


Kingsway Industries, Inc.'s TRI-MAX 200 SUPER CAF System is designed specifically for wildfire prevention and produces 4,000 gallons of foam per tank load compared to the 2,400-gallon average. TRI-MAX CAF system's foam is meant to last longer than air-aspirated foam, so fewer trucks are required. A one-ton truck with two operators can transport TRI-MAX systems, so a fire engine is unnecessary. The TRI-MAX 200 SUPER CAF relies on traditional firefighting tactics but aims to offer an inexpensive and compact

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