June 30, 2015
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Firefighter Close Calls
Six firefighters were injured while battling a fire at a single-story business in El Sereno Sunday.Crews were called to the scene at 4390 East Valley Boulevard, adjacent to the Metrolink railroad tracks just east of Soto Avenue, and several blocks from the County/USC Medical Center, around 11:30 a.m.An intensive attack began, with more than 160 firefighters called to the scene.A #LAFD spokesperson reported the fire was knocked down after two hours, 35 minutes.Fire officials asked that train operations be halted on the San Bernardino Line Metrolink tracks during the firefight.Smoke could be seen as far away as from West Los Angeles, according to City News Service. ...

Two firefighters were treated for minor injuries Saturday after the fire department put out a two-alarm fire at an apartment house on Bessie Street, according to Quincy Deputy Fire Chief Paul Griffith.One was treated at the scene, while a lieutenant was transported to South Shore Hospital and treated for a cut on the face, a slight concussion and dehydration. He was released later that day.Police were called to the four-family home at 1 Bessie St. at about 4 p.m. Saturday. A fire had spread from a second-floor deck into the attic.The cause was careless disposal of a cigarette, according to the fire department.The fire “spread from outside and up into the attic before it was noticed,” Griffith said.Everyone was out of the house by the time firefighters arrived, he said.No civilians were injured, and the fire was knocked down within an hour, Griffith said.The damage was estimated at $400,000. After the fire was extinguished, firefighters were able to save some of the residents’ possessions.“It won’t be habitable for quite a while is my guess,” Griffith said.The house is at the corner of Bessie and Beacon streets. A house next door on Beacon Street was damaged by heat.Griffith credited firefighters with doing “a great job of getting it (the fire) under control before it burned that other house down.”The Red Cross helped five people find shelter. Other residents stayed with friends and family.&nb...

 A man is dead after an Audi collided with the rear end of a fire truck in Toronto’s west-end on Sunday night.The incident happened just before 8 p.m. on the Highway 427 southbound ramp to Brown’s Line.OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said OPP and Toronto Fire were investigating a collision in the area when an Audi slammed into the back of a fire truck.The male driver of the Audi was pronounced dead at the scene.Toronto Fire told CityNews that a female firefighter, who was in the truck, had sustained a minor injury to her arm and was treated on scene.The 427 southbound ramp to Brown’s Line was closed for the collision investigation, but has since reopened....

Great Blocking by Orchard Park, NY Fire!
 Nice j...

A firefighter is recovering after falling through a roof while batting a fire just north of downtown Denver.It started as a routine dumpster fire behind a building at 3850 Blake St., but nothing is routine when it comes to fighting a fire and making sure everything is safe.The call came in about 9:30 p.m. and Denver Fire crews quickly responded. The fire from the dumpster did some damage to the side of the building so crews had to climb on to the roof to make sure they had it all put out.That’s when the firefighter stepped on a skylight and fell about 25 feet.“Because the dumpster was right next to the building, the building was scorched on the outside,” Denver Fire Lt. Mike Pylar said. “That’s why we went to the roof to make sure it’s OK, to make sure nothing on the other side of the wall was on fire.”The firefighter was taken to Denver Health Medical Center with serious but nonlife-threatening injuries. ...

 It is simple, inexpensive, easy to make, and could possibly save the lives of bush firefighters across Australia and maybe the world!The Burn Over Protection Unit is the brainchild of inventor and volunteer bush firefighter Chris Probert, who lives in the small town of Denmark in Western Australia's south coast.Folded into a cabinet on top of the water tanks at the rear of a fire pump truck, the hi-tech heat resistant "tent" drops down over three people in a matter of seconds, providing a temporary protective refuge while a fire front passes.It takes seconds for the fabric shield to deploy without need for motors, electricity or hydraulics to operate it.The 67-year-old, who retired to Denmark after a life of designing and manufacturing as a mechanical engineer, became involved in his local Ocean Beach volunteer bush fire brigade four years ago.Mr Probert said it quickly became apparent to him that fighting fires in dense bush on the south coast was extremely hazardous for crews at the fire front.In October 2012, a Department of Environment and Conservation firefighter died from burns sustained when her fire truck was caught in a burnover at Two People Bay, east of Albany.Burnovers occur in intense bushfires when a sudden wind change forces a fire over a fire line where crews are working.Shock over death of firefighter Wendy BearfootThe death of Wendy Bearfoot and the injuries sustained in the fire by her colleagues shocked the firefighting community and triggered a raft of recommendations, including ways to better protect people caught in a blaze they cannot escape from.http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-28/three-firefightersjpg/6579052Among the many measures recommended were deluge systems to douse the trucks with water, and roll-down heat shields in the cabs to reflect the intense levels of radiation, which can reach 1,000 degrees Celsius.But Mr Probert remained concerned that sheltering in the cabins during a firestorm exposes crews to the toxic fumes given off by the melting plastics that line the roof, doors, floors and dashboards of the vehicles.Plastic used in auto and truck manufacturing begins to melt at 200C and self-ignites at 400C."I quote a survivor from the Black Cat burn over incident in Two Peoples Bay when the guy said 'I knew we were in trouble when the steering wheel began to melt in my hands'," Mr Probert said.He said the toxic gas from plastics contained cyanide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride and dioxins, and were just as lethal as the heat from radiation."What we tried to do was create an alternative from staying in a cab which is full of smoke and plastic fumes," he said.Mr Probert put countless hours and his own money into creating the prototype refuge, which uses three layers of silica ceramic roller blind material designed to protect houses in Victorian bushfires.He believes the shield can reduce a 1,000C peak outside to a relatively tolerable 50C inside."If you are on a fire ground and you've got a raging inferno around you, where are you going to go?" he said."Well, with the Burn Over Protection Unit, you do have somewhere to go."You get out of the cab and you get under the protection unit and not only are you safe from the radiation but you are in clean, fresh air, which will last a crew 20 minutes, certainly longer than a burn over."Former UWA head of physics contributed to designFellow Ocean Beach volunteer firefighter and former University of Western Australia head of physics Cyril Edwards contributed his considerable knowledge of how heat behaves towards the design.Mr Edwards crunched the numbers to work out how many layers of the ceramic cloth and the air gaps between would provide sufficient control of the thermal energy."It's essentially a very interesting but a very difficult physics problem, which is essentially how do you deal with a huge radiant flux from the fire front for a certain time, a few minutes hopefully as the fire front passes," he said."[It's] a system of three cavities basically. The outer one deals with the main thermal shock, then there's a floating radiation shield and then there's an inner wall of the cavity in which the three firefighters would stand."Because it's a transient phenomena you have to design it so that the heat flux is integrated in the few minutes that you need to be in that burnover before you can escape."The initial reaction from the volunteers who gathered to view the operation of the prototype was positive."We'd much rather be in there than be in the truck or be in the cab," one of them said."The idea of being in there as opposed to being in the cab with the fumes is certainly to be considered. It's a really good idea."I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. It's going to keep us safe in the event of a burnover."It's so simple, why didn't you think of it before?"Prototype made without support, fundingFirefighter Les Bains praised Mr Probert for taking his idea through to prototype, backing himself without any support or funding from the fire authorities."For an individual to come forward with that concept with the support of his fellow brigade members has been really, really good and I think it's definitely got potential," he said."He's not been sanctioned by DFES or the Shire of Denmark, so all credit to him for going this far with it, and I hope he manages to pursue it."Chief bushfire control officer at the Shire of Denmark Graeme Thallon said he was optimistic, but cautious."For it to be used it would have to go through a lot of testing; obviously it would need the support of DFES to achieve that, so I think it's very early days," he said."The Shire of Denmark has not provided any funding at all or provided any assistance. DFES are aware [of the project] and they are interested in learning more about it."But it's got to go through a lot of hoops to get further than that, before it can become officially sanctioned."But the next step for Mr Probert to convince the authorities his idea could work could be a tougher task than creating the prototype.He will have to destroy his creation in a special CSIRO heat-testing facility in NSW to see if it will indeed withstand a bushfire and still provide enough protection for firefighters to survive."I can't see why it wouldn't work at the moment but the acid test will be to take a unit to take it to CSIRO and test it out," he said. "Prove the concept first and then see if the authorities want to run with it."We just want to see, does this work? Was this a good idea?"...

A sergeant firefighter fell from a helicopter on Friday in the State of Ceará, in the Northeast of Brazil. He broke both legs and a rib and suffered injuries in his arms, but no life-threatening injury. According to the media, he was rappelling from the helicopter during a law enforcement operation, when he lost control of the descend speed. &nb...

Myrtle Beach police officers are investigating after a wreck involving an HCFR ambulance.The ambulance driver was heading south on U.S. 17 Bypass to Grand Strand Regional Hospital just before 11 a.m. Saturday with its lights on, according to Traffic Sergeant Jim Allen with Myrtle Beach Police.The ambulance was taking a cardiac patient to the hospital at the time, according to Brian VanAernem with HCFR.Sgt. Allen said a vehicle heading east on Grand Dunes Boulevard had a green light and t-boned the ambulance.An investigation is ongoing to determine who is at fault in the wreck.The patient in the ambulance, a medic and the ambulance driver were taken to the hospital are expected to be okay.No one was hurt in the other car.Traffic is moving normally on U.S. 17 Bypass. ...

Will FirstNet Replace LMRs?
By Sandra Wendelken, Editor The sustainability of mission-critical voice networks as the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Long Term Evolution (LTE) network rolls out was a topic highlighted by several lawmakers during a House Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing June 16. Other themes from the hearing included the importance of a sustainable business model, when the FirstNet network would deploy, rural coverage concerns, and whether tensions between public-safety officials and FirstNet leadership have subsided, among others. Rep. Yvette Clarke from New York asked if current public-safety communications networks will be phased out as FirstNet is deployed and whether it will be the primary form of communications for agencies. FirstNet Acting Executive Director TJ Kennedy said the FirstNet broadband network will be complementary to LMR networks. “LMR systems should continue to be maintained,” Kennedy said. “They are very valuable to public safety. Broadband will bring a richness to communications. I believe they are complementary, and the richness of broadband will add to saving lives in different ways — some we haven’t even thought of.” Rep. Chris Collins from New York asked whether current New York public-safety agencies would have to throw away all their radios. “Maintain the LMR networks you have now and add broadband,” Kennedy said. Stu Davis, Ohio chief information officer and assistant director of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, who testified at the hearing with Kennedy, said a sustainable business model is critical considering many users of Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS), the state’s LMR network, can’t afford the $20 per month user fee. Rep. John Shimkus asked who will pay for the network rollout. Kennedy outlined the three elements of funding available to FirstNet — $7 billion of initial capital, the capability to lease excess capacity to commercial users, and user and core network fees. “I believe Congress came up with an innovative model that I think will work,” Kennedy said. Rep. Greg Walden, chair of the subcommittee, asked Kennedy about FirstNet’s recapitalization model. “The recapitalized model from an opt in and an opt out perspective is trying to make sure that the nationwide network, the core network itself and the overall network, will not be like a lot of past public-safety projects where we invest a large amount of government grants and other funding into a system that cannot be maintained or upgraded,” Kennedy said. “We’ll be leveraging Advanced LTE, 5G and 6G in the future.” Rep. Bob Latta from Ohio asked whether public-safety agencies are concerned about coverage. “The timing for those rural and remote areas is going to be critical, and that goes back to the business model as well,” Davis said. “How much are you willing to spend to get that out of the gate?” Kennedy said after the final RFP is released in late 2015 or early 2016, most of next year will be taken with evaluating proposals submitted to the RFP. Once a contract is awarded, governors will be presented with state plans in late 2016 or early 2017 to determine whether to opt in to the network. Deployment will begin in 2018. There will be five years of deployment with a goal of 20 percent coverage in both rural and urban areas each year, he said. Davis said FirstNet has come a long way in reaching out to public safety and has improved its outreach consistency and collaboration with public safety. “Communications are consistent, and things are moving in the right way,” Davis said. “There is always room for more communication and transparency. The comments from the RFI (request for information) and sharing that information will be tellin...

Two firefighters who were jumped and stabbed by a physically imposing assailant during a medical-aid call at an East Village transit depot were recovering Thursday from their “near-death experience,” according to their boss.“I’m very, very pleased to be here today to announce that those firefighters are going to be OK,” San Diego Fire Chief Javier Mainar said during a briefing at downtown police headquarters.Ben Vernon, 32, and Alex Wallbertt, 37, were tending to an ill man at the trolley station in the 500 block of Park Boulevard shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday when a bystander, 34-year-old Ryan Allen Jones, allegedly began crowding them and telling them what to do, even though he apparently was not acquainted with the patient.“He was asked several times by the firefighters to move back,” San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told reporters. “He continued to interfere with the firefighters rendering the aid, and an altercation occurred.”Jones allegedly attacked Vernon with a folding knife, prompting Wallbertt to come to his colleague’s aid. During the ensuing struggle, both firefighters suffered multiple stab wounds to their upper bodies.Transit security officers ended the assault by pulling the 6-foot-3- inch, 210-pound assailant off the victims and dousing him with pepper spray, authorities said. The guards then held Jones until city police arrived.Medics took Vernon to Scripps Mercy Hospital for treatment of stab wounds to his back, one of which resulted in a collapsed lung, Mainar said. Wallbertt was admitted to UCSD Medical Center with less severe injuries to his upper body.Wallbertt was likely to be released this afternoon or evening, while Vernon was expected to remain under medical care for another day or two, Mainar said.Jones, who has no known home address, was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges, Zimmerman said. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Friday afternoon.Mainar expressed gratitude for “an outpouring” of condolences and sympathy his department received from the public in response to the violence suffered by Vernon, an eight-year member of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, and Wallbertt, who has been with the agency for seven years.The fire chief called the attack “an unfortunate example of how quickly a good deed can turn bad.” He said the victims were “in shock at how quickly things devolved” during what had started as a routine emergency call.“I’ve been (with the fire department) for 35 years, and while we’ve had altercations — and I’ve certainly been in a few myself over the years with people who wish to interfere with our jobs — I’ve never seen one that resulted in two firefighters facing a near-death experience,” Mainar said during the late-afternoon news conference.For her part, the police chief described the crime as “a solemn reminder as to the dangers our officers and firefighters face every single day while proudly protecting and serving the citizens of our great city.” ...

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