WFC News

Posted: Dec 9, 2013

Glass Dust Confusion: How the Rescue Community Has Been Left in a Cloud

Al Vangura Jr.

Since I introduced a new rescue tool to cut glass to the first responder community about a year ago, one of the top questions that invariably I have been asked regardless of the country I am in is, "What about the glass dust?" Many take the strong position that glass dust will cause silicosis and lung cancer and that a respirator mask must be donned anytime glass is cut during extrication procedures. With extensive background as a forensic bioengineer and biomechanical engineer, I decided to investigate this issue in more detail to determine the validity of the claims against glass dust. What my research uncovered will likely be hard for many to wrap their heads around considering years of training to the contrary. This article is intended to explain the results of that research effort in sufficient detail to convince many who will be skeptical. In the end, the rescue and extrication community, including fire, emergency medical service (EMS), and police, must come to terms with the fact that glass dust is not dangerous and way too much time has been wasted for a hazard that does not pose an unreasonable risk.

Tempered glass
(1) Tempered glass is subjected to rapid, controlled cooling during manufacturing to produce high, compressively stressed surface layers, which increases its strength compared with normal glass. Tempering creates balanced internal stresses, which cause the glass to crumble into small granular chunks when shattered instead of splintering into long, jagged shard. (Photos from Shutterstock unless otherwise noted.)


Let's start with the basics. Glass is a hard, brittle substance, typically transparent or translucent, made by mixing and heating sand or silica with soda, lime, and other ingredients. The molten mixture is rapidly cooled using controlled processes to make windows, drinking containers, vases, and other products.

Glass classified as safety glass has been toughened to provide increased resistance to impact or shattering into large, dangerous shards, which can injure nearby persons. Safety glass comes in two basic types: tempered and laminated.

Tempered glass is subjected to rapid, controlled cooling during manufacturing to produce high, compressively stressed surface layers, which increases its strength compared with normal glass. Tempering creates balanced internal stresses, which cause the glass to crumble into small granular chunks when shattered instead of splintering into long, jagged shards. The granular chunks are less likely to cause injury.

Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that is assembled using two or more glass sheets bonded together with an interlayer to form a clear, see-through barrier with enhanced impact and shatter resistance. Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) plastic is commonly used as the interlayer, which further enhances the glass by increasing sound insulation, minimizing vandalism, permitting tinting, and blocking nearly 99 percent of ultraviolet radiation. With sufficient impact force, the glass layers will shatter into the characteristic "spider web" cracking pattern, creating granular glass fragments. The PVB interlayer functions to hold the glass fragments together, minimizing the risk of flying glass impacting people.

Laminated glass is a type of safety glass
(2) Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that is assembled using two or more glass sheets bonded together with an interlayer to form a clear, see-through barrier with enhanced impact and shatter resista Read more
Posted: Dec 9, 2013

Letters to the Editor


I enjoyed reading "Modern Diesel Fuel" by Christian Koop (Apparatus: the Shops, October 2013) and benefited from the information. However there are a few areas that I believe are not accurate.

The first point is that a direct link between diesel exhaust and cancer has not been established either medically or legally.

The second point is that diesel particulate filters (DPFs) would not have become mandatory in 2007. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes emissions limits but does not require any specific technology to meet them. However, many engines at this time did adopt DPFs. The terminology is important.

The third point is that high levels of sulfur in the fuel would also damage the catalysts that are now used in a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) after treatment system. And related to point two, in some cases, engines now operate at a higher combustion temperature to minimize the production of particulates, so they would not now have or need a DPF. The greater amounts of NOx then produced are treated by the SCR system.

The fourth point is that cetane values in Europe went up from 38 to 40 in 2000-not in the United States-and typically European diesel fuel has been at a higher cetane value, now somewhere in the high 40s. United States cetane values are in the low 40s, and the engines are designed around this value, as it is the fuel commonly available. It is unclear why the engine manufacturers would now want a value around 50.

The fifth point is regarding the quality of diesel fuel and what evidence the author has that it varies greatly from location to location and why it is not as tightly regulated as gasoline, since the same entities would tend to regulate the two products.

It seems that the article builds up to a justification for the 128-page document for further information on diesel fuel-and perhaps a product to sell. The link, however, does not work.

If the readers supply their diesel-powered products with fresh fuel and ensure that it is clean-stress very clean-they should not run into any problems.

John Fischer
Engine Consultant
Palatine, Illinois

Christian Koop responds: Before I begin, I must state that this article was intended to give the reader unfamiliar with diesel fuel a brief history and general background to present day so those individuals would have a better understanding of this fuel type and the changes it has undergone.

Point 1: All the information I have read over the years indicates that there is a link between cancer and diesel exhaust. The American Cancer Society states that there is a link between lung cancer and exposure to heavy diesel exhaust on its Web site. Laboratory testing has indicated that lab rats exposed to diesel exhaust have developed lung cancer. Additionally, there are several other agencies including the State of California that state there is a link between diesel exhaust and lung cancer. Yes, the modern diesel engines with the DPF and SCR technology emit very clean exhaust in comparison to older units; however, there are many preemission units still in service. Benzene, which I do not mention in the article, is a component of diesel and is a known carcinogen. I understand this may be a gray area, depending on your perspective. However, I try to err on the side of health and safety. That was my main concern when I mentioned cancer-to make the readers aware of this possibility.

Point 2: Technically, Fischer is correct in that the EPA does not mandate the technology to be used. However, most manufacturers did address the new EPA limits by developing and using DPF technology. There was one manufacturer that did not, "bought emission credits" from the EPA, and held off installing the technology until later. By and large, the standards the EPA placed into effect beginning in 20

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Posted: Dec 9, 2013

In The News

• OPEN INCORPORATED, makers of the SafetyPAD® suite of technology products for emergency medical services (EMS), continues to provide critical tools to assist D.C. Fire & EMS's Street Calls program. The program has been in place since 2008, and this year alone D.C. Fire & EMS has reduced the most chronic users of the 911 system calls by more than 48 percent. D.C. Fire & EMS's implementation of the Street Calls program was a response to an EMS task force recommendation to develop an outreach program for patients with chronic needs to reduce misuse of 911 EMS and transport delays. SafetyPAD's electronic patient care reporting (ePCR) provides D.C. Fire & EMS with real-time statistical analysis and tools to identify those individuals who use 911 EMS transport services the most. The department can then proactively make sure callers are connected with appropriate preventive care and other services, thus ensuring department resources are used most optimally in support of the public.

• KME recently recognized its sales representative organizations (SROs) for outstanding sales and service performance. KME's Pinnacle Award recognizes organizations that have had significant growth over previous years. This year's winners included Safe Industries of Piedmont, South Carolina, and Bulldog Fire Apparatus of Woodville, Massachusetts, while Metz Fire & Rescue, of Guelph, Ontario, was the top award winner. KME's Summit Club recognizes SROs that have had the highest overall sales volumes over the past year. This year's winners included NAFECO of Decatur, Alabama, and Bulldog Fire Apparatus of Woodville, Massachusetts, with First Priority Emergency Vehicles of Manchester, New Jersey, taking top honors. KME's Vision Award is a special award that isn't based solely on sales or numbers. This award recognizes an organization that has made investments in its business at all levels-including training, service, personnel, branding, and sales-that have significantly affected market share in its region and overall ability to service its customers. The awards went to Cascade Fire & Safety from the western region, Mac's Fire & Safety from the midwest region, Safe Industries from the southeast region, and First Priority Emergency Vehicles from the eastern region.

• GLOBE, DUPONT, AND THE NATIONAL VOLUNTEER FIRE COUNCIL (NVFC) have announced three more recipients in the 2013 Globe Gear Giveaway Program. The Axtell (NE) Volunteer Fire and Rescue and Jasper Volunteer Fire Department, Duffield, Virginia, will each receive four sets of gear. The Lilbourn (MO) Volunteer Fire Department will receive two sets.

Axtell Volunteer Fire and Rescue, in rural Nebraska, has 19 active members who respond to about 100 calls per year as well as deliver mutual aid to nearby communities. All of the department's gear is greater than 20 years old and has been passed down to new fire department volunteers for many years. The Jasper Volunteer Fire Department in Duffield, Virginia, has also been struggling because of the economy. Protecting a population of more than 3,000, the 20 active firefighters have to make do with an inadequate number of sets of gear, all of which are more than 10 years old. The Lilbourn (MO) Volunteer Fire Department serves a population of 6,000 in New Madrid County, Missouri. The department's small annual operating budget only covers the cost of fuel and repairs to equipment. The 14 firefighters cover their own community as well as assist with tanker support for surrounding communities. Any new equipment must be purchased either through donations or from the firefighters' own pockets.

• E-ONE was recently awarded a contract for 18 custom eMAX™ pumpers from the United States Air Force. The 18 new eMAX pumpers are top-mount configurations on Typhoon® chassis with long cabs. The pumpers will feature 1,250-gallon-per-minute pumping capability, 500-gallon water tanks, and

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Posted: Dec 9, 2013

Five Questions for Bill Simmons, Group General Manager, Hale/Class 1/Godiva

Chris Mc Loone

CM: What is the biggest mistake fire departments make when selecting a pump for their apparatus?

BS: People have a tendency to think they have to sacrifice performance to gain space on the apparatus. Everyone's struggling with how to do more with less. They are weighing the different options and they feel like sometimes they have to give up the performance of their apparatus. Firefighters never know what they're going to be called on to do, and so they have to be prepared for the worst possible hazards. We want to make sure they are equipped as much as possible. So, we've spent a good bit of time trying to develop products that will allow them to continue to have the quality, the reliability, and the performance that they expect out of a Hale product and a smaller footprint. The QMAX-XS is a prime example of that. It gives them the versatility to shrink down from a standard pump house size of 42 inches to as small as 28 inches and gain back as many 16 inches on the pump panel size.

CM: What do you think is the most important issue right now in the fire service, and how is Hale addressing it?

BS: I think that the fire service struggles with how to continue to provide the high level of service it has conditioned the public to expect based on the current budgetary requirements. So they are always looking at how to continue to do more with, it seems, less and less all the time. We've spent a good bit of our effort trying to make sure they are able to maximize what they have, whether it's having extended operating performance and overengineering the equipment to make sure it always has plenty of reserve capability in it so that they're never left in a lurch; whether it's making sure that it's got the quality they can rely on so they're not worried about breaking down at a critical point; or whether it's a situation where they can do it in a smaller footprint and therefore get more on their apparatus. When you look at what we've done on the pump house design and also some of the innovations we've had on the electronics side of the industry-a lot of the manual valves can be replaced with electronic valves and a lot of the gauges can be done with touchscreens in a much smaller footprint than anything in the past.

CM: What do you think is the most important innovation in the fire service during the past five years?

BS: There's been a good bit that's come out, but I would have to say the eDraulic tools that were introduced by HURST Jaws of Life® are the most innovative things, and they've really opened up a whole other avenue for rescue. Having the same capability as a standard hydraulically driven rescue tool on a self-contained platform has given rescuers much more versatility in a package that is easy to deploy and quick to be able to get to where they need it. And, it can go in a footprint on a truck that is 40 percent less than what was done in the past. We were surprised. I was with the HURST business before coming over to the fire suppression side for IDEX, and we were shocked at how quickly the market took to the product. I think it's a testament to how much the market really needed it and what we were able to get done in the finished package to make sure it performed to the level that people expected out of a product that had that kind of brand to it.

CM: Is there anything in the pipeline right now at Hale that you can talk about?

BS: As a publicly traded company, we can't get into a whole lot of new product development that is in the pipeline. I can assure you that we have some pretty exciting things that are there. But from a process standpoint, what I can share is that we are we are finishing up our consolidation. We are adding on additional square footage in our Phase 2 construction. And, we've had everything consolidated in this facility since November 2012 from a production stan

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Posted: Dec 9, 2013

Fire Station Dashboard

By Robert Tutterow

My previous two columns have been about ways to cut fire station operating costs-both existing and new. These are costs that have no direct bearing on service delivery or firefighter safety. As stated in the previous columns, 49 percent of a building's lifespan costs are the ongoing costs for utilities, maintenance, and replacing furnishings. Items that were covered included materials selection for the exterior and interior of the station. This is a substantial sum of funds that, if properly managed, could be applied to apparatus, personal protective equipment (PPE), equipment, training, and other mission-critical items. In this column, there will be a bit more information on materials selection plus a tool that can be used to manage utility costs.

Minor but Big Payoff

There are minor expense items that have a big payback in a station's sustainability. These include corner guards for drywall-hopefully "abuse-resistant" drywall. Vinyl-wrapped ceiling tiles or epoxy painted drywall make for long-lasting ceilings. Flooring materials should be of materials that do not require vacuuming or waxing. Stainless steel is the most durable and easy to maintain material for kitchen appliances and cabinet surfaces. Never use particleboard for kitchen cabinets. Commercial-quality cooktops and ovens provide the best return on investment in a station where there is frequent cooking. Use porcelain or ceramic tiles in restrooms and shower areas.

Building Dashboard

And, now for the aforementioned tool-the building dashboard. Building dashboards are exactly what they sound like. Just as an automobile has a dashboard to inform drivers of what is going on with the vehicle, there is a growing number of buildings that have dashboards. In short, a building dashboard is a Web-based tool that provides real-time information about the building such as electricity or gas use, water use, temperature, humidity, and air quality. The dashboard can be configured to meet the needs of users and their capabilities, and expandability is almost limitless.

The dashboard can be used by management to monitor usage and detect areas of wasted energy. Firefighters can access the dashboard to learn more about energy usage and modify their behavior. If a department has more than one station, reducing energy consumption can become a competition. For example, several college campuses have placed building dashboards in their dormitories. They then have contests among the dorms to see which one can reduce its utility usage by the highest percentage. Students in the winning dorm receive a prize.

The beauty of the dashboard is that it provides data-manageable data. Think for a moment about driving a car without a dashboard. How do you know your speed? How do you know how much fuel is in the tank? How do you know how many miles are on the vehicle? In effect, that's what the fire service and society have been doing with buildings forever. Today we have the technology to manage a building-specifically a fire station.

Chart the Course

One beauty of the dashboard is its ability to provide graphs that chart utility usage over a period of time. At last year's Annual F.I.E.R.O. Fire Station Symposium, Keith Pehl with Optima Engineering gave a presentation about building dashboards. He referenced an example of a building with a dashboard that indicated the air-conditioning had started to come on at night when the building was not occupied. This was during the winter months when the outside temperatures were below freezing. An investigation revealed that new information technology equipment had been installed in the building, and the venting system to release the heat was shut down when the building was not occupied. The problem was remedied, and the utility costs for the building returned back to a lower level. Without the building dashboard, the higher

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