CFJ Vol. 25, No. 1 (Summer 2010)


Some years ago, I was working alone late on a Friday night when a large burly man walked through the front door. In a commanding voice he demanded “I want to see the boss man.” Cringing a little, I replied, “That would be me.” 

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How to build a perfect fire station

Nearly all fire stations have a few items in common; apparatus bays, restrooms, decontamination, storage, at least one office, and an outdoor BBQ area. The challenge is that they are all moving targets based on the needs of the surrounding community. Budget constraints, current and planned equipment, functionality, response times, as well as personnel likes and dislikes, all exert influence on the station design. If you do not control the growth of your community, are not told what your budget will or won’t be, are grateful when you acquire or inherit another piece of equipment, and never know for sure what your line up is from year to year, you’re not alone. Read More »

Relevant Tags: ,fire, station, perfect, construction, build, fire station, build perfect, how build, fire stations, rescue ems, design build, fire rescue, fire personnel

Sharing facilities

If you travel across America you’ll find that most cities and towns typically have separate police and fire stations and most of these stations also have their own dispatch centers. Even in some of the smallest towns in New England or the Midwest this still is the case. But with most states in a deep recession, taxpayers are questioning whether having separate facilities makes fiscal sense. It has been said that police and fire just don’t get along, but some recently completed projects showcase that everyone can benefit from a combined facility.

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Relevant Tags: ,fire, police, facility, facilities, has, police fire, public safety, combined facility, shared facility, new facility, rescue ems, new england, massachusetts town

Ready to hire an architect? Think RFQ

Has your department recently convinced “the powers that be” that a new Fire, Rescue, or EMS facility is needed? Have you confirmed your funding source for the project? Is there even a glimmer of hope that you may be in line for a new facility sometime in the next few years? If you answered yes to any of the preceding questions, let me be the first to say congratulations! Now that you have one of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle in place, it’s time to move on to the next challenge — soliciting your needs to qualified architects. Read More »

Relevant Tags: ,rfq, project, department, ems, fire rescue, rescue ems, hire architect, architect think, ready hire, ems journal, rfq responses, carolina fire, think rfq

Returning to the foundations — fire streams

In this section, we will look into fire streams. Noticing that this is a large “can of worms” that evokes strong feelings, let’s choose to keep an open mind and use this as a training topic. More or less — why do fire streams exist? They are our main battle tool against “old man fire.” There are as many uses for different streams as there are different fires. Some fires require smaller lines with low gallon per minute flow; some fires require more water application than we can provide with equipment on scene or requested.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,fire, attack, hose, streams, attack lines, fire streams, inch hose

Hello! Anybody here?

Early on the 28th of December 2009, the Lexington Fire Dept. responded to a vacant commercial structure fire. The response was to a commercial area consisting of several buildings separated by firewalls. The initial response consisted of three engines, a ladder truck, and a shift commander, Paul Jarrett. Engine 2, the first arriving, reported working fire with heavy fire showing and began a defensive operation covering exposures. Although there were initial reports of individuals inside, the current fire conditions were too great for survival.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,vacant, plywood, conditions, vacant buildings, windows doors, lexington fire, fire rescue, rescue ems, fire service, hello anybody, paul jarrett, deteriorated conditions

Techniques for today’s truck company

In today’s fire service the art of forcible entry is dying. Any numbers of reasons are the cause of this. This article is to review some truck company concepts of forcible entry. We will discuss conventional forcible entry, which is the oldest and most used in today’s fire service. This will consist of the halligan tool and a flat head ax or sledge hammer. Your first priority needs to be that of, establish the swing of the door. You would look pretty funny pulling on a door when all that was needed is to push on it to have it open.

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Relevant Tags: FORCIBLE ENTRY,door, forcible, entry, force, doors, tool, forcible entry, force door, truck company, gap set, set force, steps force, end tool, art forcible, adz end, door frame

Top 10 financial planning tips

While saving money is an important part of financial planning, there are other things you can do to put your financial house in order. Here are 10 planning tips to help you accomplish your goals.

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Relevant Tags: FINANCIAL PLANNING,planning, financial, insurance, college, goals, life, health, financial planning, planning tips, rescue ems, life insurance, fire rescue, credit report, top financial, ems journal

Stuff that starts wars

Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to work with some individuals who really understand people and how to motivate them. I have seen others that really knew how to destroy them as well. A dear friend that has experienced a lot over the last 10 years in his life recently sat in my office talking about his shift and how much he cared for them as a supervisor. Given his latest and third round of cancer it was apparent that the personnel on his shift really care for him as well.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,ems, safety, rescue, stuff starts, ems journal, starts wars, friend has, has experienced, experienced lot, dear friend

One man’s hobby out of control

When a hazardous materials incident involving rail transportation occurs, local first responders are often first on the scene. Since these incidents are infrequent, most responders will only experience a couple hazmat incidents in their careers. Since most of the damage in a hazmat incident typically occurs in the first five minutes, it is imperative that the responders know precisely how to react to the situation.

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Relevant Tags: HAZMAT,train, training, cars, responders, safety, o’neill, emergency, safety train, first responders, hazardous materials, hobby out, emergency responders, chemical company, dow chemical, out control, hazmat

25 Years of Memories

A look back at 25 years of the Carolina Fire Rescue EMS Journal…

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Mending fences

The spring of each year is a time that people on the farm get out and start to check the fence line. Basically you walk the fence around the on your property to see if a tree has fallen on the fence, or maybe a creek has washed out some fence poles, or some other damage has happened. You look for loose or stretched wires and try to make sure the fences are in good order and strong.  As the spring arrives the animals always tend to think that tender green grass just over the fence is sweeter and better than the very same grass they have on their side. Furthermore, with Spring comes the apparent desire for every animal to see what lies beyond their fenced in world, and with that the fences are tested to their limits.  Walking the fence line and checking your fence is a scheduled event every year and sometimes more than once.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,fence, fences, mending fences, fence line, rescue ems, fire rescue, make good, fences make, ems journal, our lives, carolina fire

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

Do you remember the Whiners on Saturday Night Live?  The Whiners were recurring characters on Saturday Night Live from 1982 to 1984. Joe Piscopo playing Doug Whiner, and Robin Duke playing Wendy Whiner, spoke all their lines in a whining, nasal tone, hence, a double meaning of their name. They struggled with the everyday rigors of life and constantly whined about everything.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,whiner, safety, issue, fire rescue, night live, rescue ems, ems journal, cheese with, some cheese, carolina fire, with whine

Take home vehicles

If your fire department issues take home cars or SUVs to any of your paid staff members the media, either print or television is going to come knocking on your door. You will notice I didn’t say might or maybe, but will. As our economy tightens this becomes even more of a guarantee, so you better be ready for them with facts, figures and justification at your fingertips. The purpose of this article is to provide you with some key points to use as a starting point, or baseline, to make sure your department’s take home vehicles, and who has them for that matter, passes the media smell test

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Know as I know, do as I do, do as I did

In today’s fire service, leadership and management have become just as big of buzzwords as incident command, and homeland security. Fire service leadership has grown from something that leader’s “just knew how to do” into a studied and instructed science. Some departments feel that just by sending someone to an officer class, they are ready to lead and grow the future firefighters that they will command.

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Relevant Tags: ,fire, know, leadership, service, officer, leader, fire service, service leadership, great leader

Can you tell the future?

How many times have you wished that you could tell the future? Maybe to win the lottery. Maybe to see if that hard decision would be the best one. Maybe to see if that job opportunity would be the correct choice. Nevertheless, we all have probably wanted to see into the future.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,future, fire, ems, extrication, fire rescue, into future, tell future, break wear, side door, seeing into

Higher education for the fire service

Nothing stays the same and the fire service is no exception. Even while maintaining a sense of tradition the fire service has evolved into a complex provider of multiple services. The general public expects more from their first responders today than in previous decades.  The community expects their first responders to protect them, educate them, and manage fire department budgets in a responsible manner. Higher education gives the fire service a way to meet these expectations, and provide an educational path beyond that of basic firefighter.

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Relevant Tags: ,fire, education, service, degree, college, online, fire service, higher education, first responders, financial aid, fire rescue, ems journal, carolina fire

What lies between you and a toxic chemical?

Hazardous materials personal protective equipment (PPE) is one component of the hazmat response that is often taken for granted. Civilians, for instance, think that a fully encapsulating vapor protective suit (often referred to as a “moon suit” by persons not in emergency services) is a veritable suit of armor that will protect responders against any chemical threat. We as Hazardous Materials Technicians should know that is not the case, however do we know as much as we really need to about our PPE? In addition, do we train as much as we should on PPE and receive as much “suit time” as we should on a regular basis? And think carefully about this one - Is there such a thing as a “Level A” hazmat suit? We will encounter each of these topics as we journey through the following article.

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Extrication strategies in training

When you read this, summer will be upon us. We will have already suffered through several close to record-breaking heat waves. With vacations and the heat, it is just hard to get folks to train much during the summer months. The first weekend in June, we did a heavy vehicle rescue class in Lumberton through Robeson Community College, and it was hot then. We stopped several times during the practical work to make sure everyone was able to cool down and get hydrated. If you are training this summer, make sure you provide some shade for cooling your folks down, plenty of water and Gatorade, and keep an eye on folks so you can catch a problem before it occurs.

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Relevant Tags: EXTRICATION EDUCATION,training, extrication, train, new folks, advanced folks, strategies training, extrication strategies, door student

Does the end justify the means?

While we hear the term “back to the basics” frequently, we don’t always take the time to truly recognize its significance. It is certainly possible that our responsibilities, tactics and tasks that we perform in the fire service are advancing so quickly that we are having a harder time seeing the basics. I am frequently enraged while reading another publication that offers annual heroism awards. They usually come in the form of a single firefighter, acting in a manner that is not within the Incident Action Plan (IAP), sometimes without the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and usually results in the saving of a civilian, and the firefighter receiving the award being injured.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,incident, service, tactics, ppe, rescue, fire service, fire rescue, rescue ems, justify means, without use, essentials manual, management system, heroism awards

Hydrocarbons: more than smoke and flames

Hydrocarbons are a class of chemicals that we deal with daily. They are so common, and come in so many forms, that we often forget about some of the more unusual toxic situations that can occur with exposure.

Hydrocarbons are common in modern society, and are consistently spilled, released, inhaled, and intentionally or unintentionally ingested. Responders routinely encounter fuels (gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel), oils (mineral, motor, lubricating, lamp, fuel), solvents (dry cleaning solutions, spot removers, degreasers, paint thinner), and others (glue, paint, propellants). We find them in tanker trucks, in industry, in dry cleaning establishments, and in our garages and under our sinks.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,hydrocarbons, exposure, paint, gaba, dry cleaning, paint thinner, most hydrocarbons, hydrocarbons more, hydrocarbon toxicity, gaba receptor

The Trendelenburg myth

Sometimes the science and the street have trouble communicating. The Trendelenburg position was originally used to improve surgical exposure of the pelvic organs, credited to the German surgeon Friedrick Trendelenburg (1844-1924). During World War I, Walter Cannon, an American physiologist, made the Trendelenburg position popular as a treatment for shock.  With the person being placed with their head down and feet elevated, he promoted it as a way to increase venous return to the heart, increase cardiac output and improve vital organ perfusion. 

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,trendelenburg, position, science, patient, trendelenburg position, trendelenburg myth, treatment shock, cardiac output

Partnering for better patient care

Forsyth Medical Center and First Responders Work Hand in Hand to Develop Highly Successful Treatment Protocols

Broken bones, car accidents, allergic reactions, chest pains.  Each day, thousands of front-line responders across the country answer the call to care for those seeking immediate medical attention.  Sometimes the calls are minor, sometimes life-threatening.  But while the average lay person may think that all these emergency medical personnel do is pick up patients from the scene of injury and illness and transport them to area hospitals, that perception couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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Relevant Tags: PRE-HOSPITAL MEDICINE,patient, hospital, care, emergency, stroke, patients, emergency department, heart attack, patient care, minutes entering, forsyth county, medical center, entering hospital, forsyth medical, front line

The instructors are true leaders

As we embark on a new decade and plunge deeper into the millennium, changes are sure to occur. The fire service will surely see many of these changes. The place that we need to make changes initially is within ourselves as instructors. We must be prepared to meet these new challenges and a new millennium with a set of fully charged batteries.The task of change is extremely hard, as we are often times nostalgic. However, we must strive to reach new levels in education and training.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,instructors, training, department, service, fire service

Responding to school bus emergencies

Everyday during my ride to work I take note of all of the school buses on the roads today. After all, it is my job to know as much about them as I can. I am a firefighter and in my full time career I am a school district manager responsible for the safe operation of over 80 buses that travel nearly one million miles annually and transport just under 3000 children to and from school daily.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,school, bus, incident, buses, school bus, school buses, school district, bus related, responding school, district manager, bus extrication


In 1975, I was recruited to help start the rescue squad in Garner, N.C. The irony is, I was recruited as a diver, and ended up going to EMT school, the first class in our county. I ended up riding on an ambulance as well as doing rescue. Back in 1973, when I was certified as a diver, there were only a handful of dive organizations and they only offered open water scuba certification. The only diving I had done prior to becoming part of the rescue squad was in the Florida Keys and the rock Quarry in Rolesville. Soon, I found myself in black water diving in lakes and ponds around the county, as I was the only “Rescue and Recovery” diver in the county.

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The use of radios in the IDLH environment

In 2009, Executive Fire Officer Paul Melfi published the following statement, “Giving a firefighter a portable radio is an investment in saving lives. But you must also provide proper training, policies for radio operations, and equipment maintenance. Personnel must know all the intricacies of the portable radio in addition to being able to operate it, maintain it, and ensure that it is ready for use at all times.”

While many departments do have a Radio Operations SOG (Standard Operating Guideline), many do not have an SOG that covers the use/assignment of radios by firefighters in the IDLH environment. So, what does the NFPA have to say about this? Good Question.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,radio, radios, firefighter, idlh, firefighters, department, safety, idlh environment, portable radio, one radio, training policies, proper training

Approaching vehicle collisions is S-I-M-P-L-E

With vehicle technology constantly changing, it is virtually impossible for responders to keep abreast of each and every change. Therefore, we should strive to create a s-i-m-p-l-e procedure that is applicable to all vehicles. In doing so, we will create a safer rescue operating environment.

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Relevant Tags: VEHICLE COLLISION,responders, vehicle, srs, vehicles, scene, window curtain, curtain srs, approaching vehicle , responders must, vehicle collisions

Gloves and air packs: a working combination


Several years ago, TechTrade introduced the Pro-Tech 8 fire glove. They soon realized the politics of the large companies and how NFPA committees can work. The glove was a sensation and the firefighters were in awe. Then, do to this political process, they had to stop production of the glove. They soon introduced the Titan fire glove and the Pro-Tech 8X extrication glove. The Titan was a heavier more advanced glove than the Pro-Tech 8 glove. After all the smoke cleared, and NFPA cleared the original gloves, TechTrade went back to working on the original glove again.

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Bobbitt Builds Addition For St. Stephens Fire Department
Bobbitt Design Build recently started work on a 12,700-square-foot addition, as well as renovation of the 2,640-square-foot existing facility for St. Stephens Fire Department, headquartered in Hickory, N.C.

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Relevant Tags: FIRE,government, credit union, local government, storage racks, fire department, general devices, federal credit, square foot

Train like we are in it: functional exercise

I’m pretty much like every firefighter believing in the ideology of, “we should train like we’re in it.” Everything we do should be mimicking the incidents we respond to.


As firefighters we must be equipped, trained and physically able to do this great job of ours. I’m not saying that we need to be marathon runners, or have the body of mister universe to do our jobs, but rather maintain a high level of fitness; ready physically to respond to our community’s call for help. I read somewhere that firefighters use as much energy in a major incident as football players do in a game. That’s quite a bit.

For the most part we lead sedentary lives at the station with little or no exercise. One minute feet kicked up in the chair and two minutes later, on scene at a two story residential structure with heavy smoke showing. And now with the added stress of doing a search with confirmed occupants still inside. Are we physically ready?


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Relevant Tags: FITNESS TRAINING,training, functional, fire, exercise, train, train like, functional exercise, targeted towards, fire ground, functional training

Health and fitness is the key

All across America we see fire departments and emergency services taking measures to outfit there companies with newer trucks and better equipment. These same departments spend large amounts of money to make sure the apparatus we ride on has all the bells and whistles, yet we are still neglecting the major tool in our arsenal, the people who drive and use this equipment.

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Relevant Tags: FITNESS TRAINING,fitness, health, departments, wellness, department, programs, health fitness, fitness key, wellness program, first responders, apparatus ride

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Welcome to the Carolina Fire Rescue EMS Journal! We want to provide you with timely online information and breaking news that best equips you to meet today’s emergency challenges. Among our firefighting articles, you will find the latest in firefighter technology, firefighter training, leadership development and the newest products and services presented in an “Act Now” user friendly format.  We want to be your best online source for the fire and rescue information, resources and reviews you need.
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