WFC News

Posted: Jan 10, 2014

Clearwater, Florida, New Heavy Duty Rescue Squad

By Ricky Riley

The Clearwater (FL) Fire & Rescue Department (CFR) is pleased to announce the arrival of its new 2014 Pierce Velocity heavy duty rescue squad.

The purchase came under the direction of Chief Robert Weiss, and the unit serves as a front-line response vehicle to all structure fires, gas leaks, water rescues, technical rescues, and vehicle accidents with entrapment.

CFR is located on the west coast of Florida and is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. The department consists of eight fire stations and protects nearly 41 square miles of homes, industry, retirement communities, beaches, and a large tourist population. The more than 130,000 residents of Clearwater are protected by 201 personnel who operate eight engine companies, two truck companies, one heavy rescue squad, five advanced life support (ALS) rescue units, and two district chiefs.

CFR Rescue Squad 51 is built on a Pierce Velocity cab and chassis
CFR Rescue Squad 51 is built on a Pierce Velocity cab and
chassis, the standard for CFR engine company apparatus
purchases for the past four years. This ensures standardization
for all cab equipment, radio, and computer placement, along with
a common wiring and layout for the fleet services mechanics. The
heavy duty rescue body is constructed of aluminum and is a
nonwalk-in style. It is 100 inches wide to provide additional
storage capacity and is 23½ feet long. (Photos by author.)

Spec Development

In early 2012, an employee-based apparatus committee began to develop the specifications for a new rescue vehicle. The committee used the expertise and assistance of its Pierce salesperson as well as an apparatus engineer. CFR designed the requirements and desired capabilities including using a single vs. tandem axle, body compartments, engine size, onboard generator, and breathing air system needs. This approach allowed CFR to have working specifications to present to the city's fleet manager and Weiss for a streamlined approval process.

After the Clearwater mayor and city council approved the purchase, the fire department placed the order in October 2012. Pierce delivered the new apparatus in June 2013. From there, the unit was turned over to the apparatus committee for the compartment design and layout for equipment placement.

The truck features a vehicle-mounted toolbox
The truck features a vehicle-mounted
toolbox with a mechanic-grade tool
complement along with transportable tool
sets for mobile operations.

The Chassis

The unit has a Pierce Velocity cab, the standard for CFR engine company apparatus purchases for the past four years. This ensures standardization for all cab equipment, radio, and computer placement, along with a common wiring and layout for fleet services mechanics. The unit also features:

  • Cummins ISL 450-hp engine
  • Allison 3000 EVS transmission
  • Jacobs engine brake
  • Exhaust routed vertically through body to top of vehicle
  • 259-inch wheelbase
  • 56,300-pound GVWR
  • Three-person seating arrangement
  • Will Burt Night Scan Light-tower mounted on roof of cab
A Warn 9,000-pound portable winch is stored in a front bumper extensionRead more
Posted: Jan 10, 2014

Protecting Firefighters

By Richard Marinucci

During the past few years, firefighter safety awareness has become a priority for the fire service. The goal is to significantly reduce unnecessary and preventable deaths and injuries in a job that has some inherent risks.

To be most successful at this while still providing the service that is expected requires a comprehensive approach to firefighter safety. Protecting firefighters does not guarantee that they will not suffer from a preventable event. To provide the best possible protection requires firefighters' commitment, great training, and the best equipment available.

Taking Risks

As a rule, firefighters are generally considered risk takers. I don't think any fire chief would like to hire meek or passive firefighters. It is this characteristic that allows fire departments to provide services that benefit the community. Even with this natural tendency to take risks, I don't believe for a second that any firefighters would do anything to intentionally harm themselves. If they do harm themselves, they either are not as competent as they should be because they weren't trained adequately, they got complacent, or they thought that nothing bad could happen to them. There is one more factor that occasionally comes into play, and that is blind luck. Firefighters know that sometimes they are lucky to not get hurt. Conversely, there are times when some things go as well as possible and bad things still happen.

For an organization to protect firefighters, its personnel must take ownership of the issue and do what they can to promote their best self-interests. By this, I mean they need to do the things that allow them to be physically and mentally prepared to do the job. Firefighters have to accept the personal responsibility to be in the proper physical condition to do the job. Although departments can offer opportunities by having fitness rooms, they should also encourage better diets and require routine physical examinations. The individuals have the duty to stay in shape or get in shape and stay there. They need to realize that by being in good physical condition they can do the job better and reduce their risk of injury. They also can withstand injuries better and recover faster if they are unfortunate enough to get injured.

Training Commitment

Firefighters also have a responsibility in other areas that affect firefighter well-being. For example, they need to commit to training. Although training improves service, it also gives firefighters more tools to make better decisions and perform tasks at a more proficient level.

Training is the key to protecting firefighters. Properly trained firefighters will make good decisions and have great techniques. Unfortunately for the majority of firefighters, there is not enough opportunity to gain experience to be as competent as possible. To compensate, organizations need to invest more in preparing their personnel. This involves a comprehensive approach that includes the basics learned in recruit school all the way to incident command. It also involves constantly studying the profession to learn from previous errors and learning new developments that affect operations.

Firefighters often get bored and don't want to commit the necessary time and energy to repeat a skill often enough to establish and maintain the highest possible level of competence and skill. Another possibility is that they are getting busier all the time and may not have the time to do what is necessary. But, like many skills, failure to master the skill and maintain that mastery could lead to problems on the fireground. Although everyone can perform the basics, there may be cases where that is not good enough. Firefighters need to be true masters of their skills. The only way to do this is to repeat training and refresh frequently. Perhaps organizations should realistically assess how often each of t

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Posted: Jan 10, 2014

Changes in Footwear Technology Drive New Boot Designs

By Alan M. Petrillo

The athletic industry and military services have influenced the design of structural firefighting boots, with boot manufacturers drawing heavily from both industries to make boots that fit better, are more comfortable for long periods of use, yet still protect the firefighter from heat and other hazards.

Athletic Designs

Haley Fudge, Lion's director of marketing, says that athletics influenced the Lock-Fit Ankle Support system in the company's Marshall pull-on leather structural firefighting boots and its Commander leather zip-lace boots. "Our boot manufacturer, STC Footwear, Montreal, Canada, cut its teeth on ice hockey skate technology," Fudge says. "They know how important the padding and the fit around the ankle and heel can be. Our Lock-Fit system comes from that hockey technology."

Teresa Lawson, product manager for gloves and boots at Honeywell First Responder Products, says the athletic industry impacted changes made in its PRO series leather pull-on and lace-up boots and Ranger series rubber pull-on boots. "Firefighters want immediate comfort as soon as they put their feet in their boots," Lawson says, "but they also want light weight and durability." She says Honeywell has drawn from athletics elements to make a sleeker, performance-driven boot that's engineered for comfort, safety, and control.

Budd Lake (NJ) Fire Department firefighters mop up at a structure fire
Budd Lake (NJ) Fire Department firefighters mop up at a structure fire
while wearing Fire-Dex FDXL-100 red leather structural firefighting
boots. (Photo courtesy of Fire-Dex.)

Mark Mordecai, director of business development for Globe Manufacturing Co., says Globe first entered the firefighting boot business seven years ago with an effort to make boots more flexible, fit better, and still give the firefighter a stable and solid platform from which to work. He says Globe took elements from athletic footwear and incorporated them into structural firefighting boots "that are much more cushioned and contoured, so they were very much like wearing a pair of athletic shoes."

Globe's latest structural firefighting boot is the Supralite 14-inch pull-on, Mordecai says, that incorporates a Heelport internal fit system to hold the heel securely so it won't slip while still cushioning the ankle and an individually molded heel counter for each boot size. The boots also have a composite shank that's lighter than steel, don't transmit heat or cold and spring back to shape better, as well as have composite puncture protection that's more flexible than steel and a composite safety toe cap.

Mordecai notes that the stitched welt construction that is a hallmark of military boots is stiff by design and flat. "We wanted a construction that moved like feet move where a foot can flex 50 degrees," he says. "If the boot doesn't flex, it will make the heel lift and not fit well."

Lion's Lock-Fit Ankle Support system in its Marshall pull-on leather structural firefighting boots
The design of Lion's Lock-Fit Ankle
Support system in its Marshall pull-on
leather structural firefighting boots was
influenced by athletics, specifically ice
hockey skate technology. (Photo courtesy
of Lion.)

Rob Mills, president of Black Diamond Boots, says that today's structural firefighters, like const

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Posted: Jan 10, 2014

Letters to the Editor


The September 2013 issue had an interesting story about compressed air foam systems (CAFS), "CAFS Units Find Homes on a Variety of Apparatus," by Alan Petrillo. It talks about all the advantages of having a CAFS. Some points I agree with and some I don't. The problem is there are many disadvantages that pose many safety issues. I find the fact that none were mentioned disturbing.

First, let me make clear that these are strictly my opinions and not the opinions of the fire department for which I work.

The story stated that a CAFS handline is lighter to carry and less stressful on the firefighter. This is true. The problem is that the handline kinks extremely easily-so easily that it is problematic. Every turn or door jamb in a house will kink that handline. The weight of the nozzle alone will kink the line if it's not held straight. Sure, straight water will kink but not like a CAFS line.

The article also stated that the cooling effect is better. I disagree with this statement. The only thing that cools is water. The only thing that removes Btus is water. CAFS does a great job of smothering, but it does not have the cooling capabilities of water. If the fire goes out, that's great. But if it's still 1,500 degrees, we still have problems. How long are firefighters going to last attacking a basement fire with CAFS only? The fire will go out, but there won't be much cooling.

When we first bought our CAFS engines (three of them), it was preached to us that "CAFS works great in conjunction with timely ventilation." This is great if you're going to ventilate. Many departments can't because of staffing constraints. Water works great too with timely ventilation.

Another problem with CAFS is the foam itself. You spray compressed air foam all over a room, and now it's everywhere-on your gloves, on your facemask, and all over the floor. So, now it's on your mask, and you can't see anything. You wipe your mask with your glove, and now it's worse. You decide to get out of the structure and you slip and fall because the foam is all over.

Then there is the training aspect of CAFS. It is a different way of pumping. I won't get into the details, but if you have questionable driver/operators-and let's face it, we all do-this is a somewhat complicated system to learn.

The price of CAFS can be $30,000 or more per vehicle. This is a huge cost increase over non-CAFS pumpers. I think there is a place for CAFS at car fires, wildland fires, dumpster fires, and areas with a limited water supply. It's also good for protecting exposures

It's important for departments that are contemplating CAFS to know both the advantages and disadvantages.

Rob Walsh
Orland (IL) Fire Protection District

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Posted: Jan 10, 2014

In The News

the Ferrara CinderFERRARA FIRE APPARATUS has launched its newest custom chassis-the Ferrara Cinder. The Cinder is manufactured at Ferrara's Holden, Louisiana, headquarters and has the same design and construction found in the Inferno and Igniter but is a 96-inch-wide cab designed to compete in the entry level custom chassis market. The Cinder features an extruded aluminum roll cage subframe fortified by 3/16-inch-thick marine grade aluminum plate walls, floor, ceiling, door panels, and engine tunnel. The Cinder is NFPA-compliant with 65,979-pound vertical load test and 3,736-pound frontal impact test certifications. Standard features include an Extreme Duty all aluminum dash, instrument panel, glove box, overhead console, and inner door panels; electric windows; Danhard extra duty air conditioning system; flat floor rear crew cab for improved legroom; ergonomic height seat risers; 4,100-square-inch windshield; and oversized side windows.

Scott SafetySCOTT SAFETY has been certified by the North Carolina Department of Labor as a participant in the Carolina Star Program. State Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry attended a ceremony at the company's Monroe, North Carolina, facility to present company officials with the Carolina Star flag and a certificate. Companies that qualify for the award have exemplary safety and health programs in the workplace. One of the criteria of the program is that worker injury and illness rates and lost/restricted workday rates must be at least 50 percent below the national rate for the company's industry. "As a premier manufacturer of safety devices, it is important that we hold ourselves and those around us to the highest standards of health and safety and that we live these values on a daily basis," said Andrew Chrostowski, vice president and general manager for Scott Safety. "I applaud every employee for their commitment to creating a culture of health and safety excellence, whether it be for our customers, our community, their colleagues, or themselves."

PIERCE MANUFACTURING, an Oshkosh Corporation company, received an order for nine Pierce® Arrow XT™ custom pumpers from the DeKalb County (GA) Fire and Rescue Department. The vehicles will be delivered beginning in early 2014. Each of the nine pumpers features a 400-hp engine, a galvanneal steel body, a 10-inch raised roof cab, and seating for five firefighters. The apparatus also feature Pierce Command Zone® advanced electronics and control systems, 1,000-gpm pumps, 500-gallon water tanks, 30-gallon foam cells, and three crosslays. Pierce dealer Ten-8 Fire and Safety Equipment provides local service and support through its full service facilities in Forsyth, Georgia.

ALLIED SPECIALTY VEHICLES (ASV) appointed Dan Peters president and CEO of E-ONE, Inc. Peters replaces Kent Tyler. Peters has more than 15 years of experience in the first responder industry-four years in an executive role with a fire apparatus manufacturer and 12 years with a fire industry supplier where he served as president from 1998 to 2008 and vice president of sales and marketing from 1996 to 1998. "I'm very excited to be back in the fire industry, especially with E-ONE who is recognized as an industry leader and innovator," says Peters. "Kent and the E-ONE team have made E-ONE a name to be reckoned with in the fire industry, and I look forward to working with the E-ONE team, dealers, and customers to continue building upon that legacy."

E-ONE has also added a new dealer in Michigan-West Shore Fire, a provider of first responder apparatus and equipment-to its dealer network. West Shor

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