CFJ Vol. 25, No. 2 (Fall 2010)

From the Editor - Fall 2010

Community and volunteer fire departments, are like Friday nights and high school football, or October and pumpkins. In communities across North and South Carolina, you can’t drive very far without spotting a volunteer fire department. You can’t participate in your community events without running across a volunteer, a fire truck at a parade or a barbeque at the local department.

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Combustible metals: where fire meets hazmat

It is always interesting to find the points at which the various responsibilities with which the modern fire service is tasked intersect. For instance, paramedicine and auto extrication can frequently intersect inside the patient compartment of a vehicle during patient care efforts. Technical rescue intersects fire ground operations at the story of a building just above where the tip of the aerial truck reaches. One intersection between fire ground operations and hazardous materials operations is the presence of combustible metals.

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HAZMAT RESEARCH

You have just arrived on the scene of a major hazmat incident and are looking forward to going into the Hot Zone to use what you have learned in Technician Class to “save the day.” Your well-intentioned plans, however, are derailed when the Hazmat Branch Director tells you that you are now the Research Group Supervisor. The natural response of most hazmat responders would be to hang their head down and trudge over to the hazmat unit, as the “job” of Research Group Supervisor is often the most maligned position in the hazmat organization. This does not have to be the case, as hazmat research can be greatly simplified by knowing how to utilize clues that are presented to the responder to guide research efforts, and by knowing the proper tool to use for the specific research task.

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Personal protection equipment for emergency preparedness

Committed to improve emergency preparedness and safety, fire and rescue departments across the U.S. have continuously searched for new personal-protection equipment (PPE) that provides greater protection from an ever-growing list of nuclear, chemical, biological, radiological, bomb and ballistic threats as well as infrared radiation and heat. As a frequent lecturer at the world’s top security conferences, I have witnessed firsthand the archaic nature of the field of radiation protection and the need for fire and rescue departments to deploy practical solutions.

Historically, even health care workers in hospitals and medical clinics have lacked the right options to address their basic needs for adequate protection from X-rays and other sources of radiation associated with the daily delivery of health care. The same holds true for other professionals exposed to radiation, including everything from airline stewardesses to airport security personnel. It’s no wonder, then, that as the threat of nuclear and other attacks became more prevalent in recent years, fire departments have become increasingly concerned about ensuring they have access to the best-possible PPEs to protect their personnel and the public.

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A new type of hazmat incident

Imagine the typical structure fire, and the various functions to be performed on the scene; fire attack, search, ventilation, water supply, overhaul, rapid intervention team (RIT), command, safety, etc. An important function commonly left off this list is air monitoring. Every structure fire responded to is essentially a hazardous materials incident. OSHA defines a hazardous substance as an “exposure which results or may result in adverse effects on the health or safety of employees.” The toxic smoke generated from a structure fire definitely satisfies the criteria for a hazardous substance.

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NCSFA launches fund for NC firefighters

North Carolina’s 50,000 firefighters are this state’s everyday heroes. To ensure these men and women are safe, healthy, comprehensively trained and well-educated when called into action, the N.C. State Firemen’s Association (NCSFA) has formed the North Carolina Firefighters Fund.

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Safety and karma: a correlation?

I can somewhat relate to Earl Hickey, the fictional character portrayed on the now syndicated series “My Name is Earl.” Earl has a shady past to say the least. His one stroke of luck (winning the lottery) was immediately preceded by getting hit by a car. While recuperating in the hospital, he realizes that he has not changed and his bad actions are the actual cause of all the bad things that continually happen to him. With time on his hands, he compiles a lengthy list of wrongs he has committed. By making good on his misdeeds, crossing the bad things he has done off his list, he is convinced his “karma” will improve. It seems to be working.

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Relevant Tags: fire, safety, action, rescue, rescue ems, fire rescue, ems journal, carolina fire, safety karma, karma correlation, annual physical

Can you hear me now?

When I began my career in the fire service, lime bags were used to communicate which direction the apparatus turned. If you are nodding your head, you understand the concept of throwing lime bags, and you probably recall where and how to throw the bags so other firefighters responding knew which direction to turn. Talk about turning the corner on communication — I think we have arrived.

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Fire volunteers: A dying breed?

How many times have you heard in the past that we are losing our volunteers in the fire service? We all know the story; we are losing them due to work schedules. Too many people are working two or three jobs, they are traveling longer commutes to get to their job, which takes them out of the community they live in and want to help protect.

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Doing Your Homework

In 2009 the Department of Homeland Security received slightly over 21,000 applications for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. They funded approximately 9,000 of those. In 2009 only one in eight applications received under the Vehicle Acquisition category was funded. In 2010 the funding available for the AFG program has decreased by over $100 million. This makes the program even more competitive than it has been in the past. But there is hope if your AFG application is not approved or you want to save your AFG for other department needs. There are a number of other options available to you.

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Communication breakdowns

In almost every after action report I have ever read involving a major incident, one of the things that has been pointed out as a challenge or point for improvement. is on scene communications. As an industry, we have scrutinized almost every angle to this problem to include equipment, maintenance, SOGs (standard operating guidelines) and training. Has your department, system or squad developed an SOG or SOP (standard operating procedure) on proper radio use and etiquette? Does your department have a standardized “Mayday” policy or protocol? If you have an SOG or protocol in place, have you been trained, other than the customary, “Here is the protocol, read it, know it and sign here”?

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Concord HS Fire Academy dedicates newest member

Concord High School in Concord, North Carolina has a special program for its students interested in the fire service. The NC Dept. of Public Instruction and the Office of the State Fire Marshal have joined forces to offer this program in the hope that it will permit students the opportunity to learn more about the fire service as well as providing the opportunity to receive certification as Firefighter I,II through the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

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HAZMAT — BENEFITS OF PCR

Hazmat, firefighters, and other first responders who have been tasked with incident scene management need reliable information available to them in a timely manner in order to effectively manage incident response. Perceived biological attacks, such as the frequent white powder attack are no different. These white powder attacks usually consist of a victim receiving a threatening letter through the mail that contains a white powder alleged to be Anthrax or some other harmful biological agent. Unlike victims of a chemical or explosive attack where the attack is obvious from an obnoxious odor, burning sensation, or explosion, victims of such a biological attack will be unaware they have been infected until symptoms manifest hours or days later. And during this incubation period, the attack can spread exponentially as contagious victims contact others and unknowingly spread the deadly pathogen.

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TAMING THE BEAST

(This is part one of a three-part series on health for first responders.)

As occupational medicine physicians, we get a lot of questions from fire departments about the 1582 Standard. In this three part series, we will take a look at some of the most common questions, about the standard, including how to implement the 1582 Standard, what the tests actually mean, and how to get the most bang for your buck.

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What about Bob?

One of the constant challenges of being a leader is trying to keep the troops motivated. A good leader is always seeking new and innovative methods, procedures and methods to keep their staff, and members, with a positive attitude about work and life. However, it’s simply not an easy thing. There seems to always be something that somebody is unhappy about. Maybe the last training session was boring or things were not done “right” on the last call. No matter if it’s the last promotion they did not get; the last pay increase they did not receive; or some perceived slight by the leadership of the department. There always seems to be somebody who is not a happy camper! As a leader, this is always on your mind. You realize that your own attitude drives much of the organization’s attitude. Regardless of how you feel, you must always put your best foot and face out front.

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EXTRICATION EDUCATION

Well, summer is on its way out and it is time to start setting up those training sessions. Your folks are back from vacations and the weather will be cooler and easier to work in. We tend to do more training in the spring and fall, due to the cooler weather and better conditions. The heat of the summer makes it tough and the winter brings on the holidays and sometimes bitter weather, another situation that we do not want to train in. But do remember, vehicle crashes do not pick only the good weather to happen. My philosophy is to train in all types of conditions.

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EDUCATING TOMORROW’S OFFICERS

Change in the fire service, is never an easy thing. No matter what we are trying to change, it is almost always met with resistance. Being a group that endears tradition, we as firefighters cling to the ways of old, very tightly, sometimes too tightly. A lot of the resistance to changes of the way we do things stems from a long history of failed attempts at changes. Every firefighter will be quick to tell you of the “crazy idea” the chief tried to spring on them overnight, and how it was a good idea that just wasn’t thought through.

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Distance Education: Is it really for EMS?

Distance education has grown over the years, and it has been estimated that more than three million people are taking at least one online class this semester in the United States. Online programs have become very popular in almost all industries. One could look at advertisements in various publications and see a wide range of degrees and courses being offered through regionally accredited colleges and universities. A college that is not offering classes at a distance is definitely in the minority, and is not maximizing their potential for offering advanced degrees and certificates to people who are not able to attend traditional classes.

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Time management and effective fire companies

All firefighters realize and understand the importance of time when it comes to responding to an emergency incident. Time is recognized as one limited resource that must be maximized in every aspect. A difference in seconds may mean the difference between a fire being confined to the point of origin, verses a fully engulfed room, or a person clinically dead verses biologically dead. Time is critical in every case.

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Salaries remain high for Fire Protection Engineers

Despite the lethargic economic rebound, salaries in one industry are still holding strong. The median USA total compensation for fire protection engineers is now $110,500, a 12.5 percent increase since the previous survey was conducted in 2007.

Fire protection engineering is a unique profession that uses science and technology to make our world safer from the destructive impacts of fire.

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EMERGENCY OPERATIONS

Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), based in Charlotte, is one of the largest and most comprehensive hospital-based systems in the U.S., and the largest in the Carolinas. It includes 32 hospitals, more than 1,500 employed physicians, plus post-acute care and long-term care facilities.

In the Charlotte metropolitan region there are eight acute care CHS hospitals including Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) in Charlotte, a Level I Trauma Center and Academic Medical Center Teaching Hospital, serving western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina; CMC-NorthEast in Concord, a Level III Trauma Center; CMC-University and CMC-Mercy in Charlotte; CMC-Pineville; CMC-Union in Monroe; CMC-Lincoln in Lincolnton; and Cleveland Regional Medical Center in Shelby, a Level III Trauma Center.

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Relevant Tags: emergency, hospital, disaster, response, carolinas, fire, medical, center, care, medical center, charlotte mecklenburg, carolinas medical, healthcare system, carolinas healthcare, carolinas med, emerg

Natural disaster Preparedness

The Florida weatherman is in a floppy poncho holding his microphone in one hand and his yellow hood to his head with the other. As he pushes towards the wind to stay in view of the television camera, he sternly declares, “Severe weather is coming — the biggest we’ve seen in years.” Of course, the local television and radio stations follow with, “it is headed our way in a few days.”

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RESCUE AND RECOVERY DIVING

We talked last time about how the diving industry has come a long way since the 70s, and the fun I had diving with Jacques Cousteau, yeah, right. Once you obtain that open water certification, you need to move into your advanced open water and put some specialties under your belt. This will also give you more dive time and experience.

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Time honored rescue skills that will never be outdated

Rescue training has changed greatly in the last 30 years, what with the advent of new rescue equipment and the skills required to apply, or utilize, that equipment effectively and safely. There are more varieties and types of equipment to perform various rescues than ever before. The “general rescuer,” and even the rescue specialist, have more tools available now than ever. New standards for rescue are more prevalent, along with ever-changing protocols, SOPs, SOGs, etc., all in an effort to be the “best and safest we can be.” We NEED to be proficient with new technologies, procedures and skills. The public has a right to expect this, and we have an obligation to provide it, right?

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NCSFA ‘Hurricane’ night

Mark your calendars for the NC State Firemen’s Association night with the Carolina Hurricanes! On Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. join us at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC and watch the Hurricanes take on the Florida Panthers. 

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Charleston County EMS wins Service of the Year award

Charleston County EMS has been awarded the 2010 National Paid EMS Service of the Year award. This award, given by Cygnus communications, is given to one paid EMS system in the United States each year.

Charleston County was chosen due to various areas, such as it’s innovation in pre-hospital care, program upgrades, the high certification level of its personnel, worker safety and well-being, it’s excellent EMS education and training program, the involvement in the medical community, its illness and injury prevention project and public education initiatives, among other things.

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Hazards of the patient assessment

The patient assessment algorithm is drilled into our heads from day one in EMS. It does not matter what class you take: EMT-B, EMT-I, EMT-P, ITLS, PEDS, PALS, GEMS, NRP, AMLS, ASLS, or any other combination of letters someone can come up with. They all revolve around some form of the patient assessment chart. Some of the classes use the same one, a few adjust them to fit the specific topic of the class, but they all use some form of it. Everything we do in EMS is based on what we find during the patient assessment.

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How SMART is your triage?

When training or preparing for the call that stretches you and your service to the limit, a consistent and efficient approach to triage is advantageous. The SMART triage system provides the user with a simple, clear, and concise methodology to completing field triage of patients in the setting of a mass causality incident.

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Mass shooting active shooter

It appears that the “bad guys” (criminal elements and terrorists) are more determined, violent and heavily armed than ever before. Crisis situations such as terrorist threats, criminal attacks and active shooters are occurring with alarming frequency. 

 

Dispatch and Response Phase

  • Nature of the call and location are important. When responding get all the dispatch information available.
  • Current threat environment and intelligence could be applicable to a mass shooting/active shooter response. Is location a school, college or high profile business? 

 

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TOOLS OF THE TRADE

When I attend fire conferences and shows, I am always on the lookout for new and innovative equipment that would be good to evaluate and write about. I look for things that would make your life as a rescuer easier and safer. While attending the South Carolina Fire and Rescue Conference this past June, I came across a small piece of equipment that I thought was interesting and served a purpose for some of those in the fire and rescue field.

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Risk tolerance: A matter of capacity, attitude, perception

Risk is a major factor in our financial lives. We all know that. However, most of us have a hard time deciding the level of risk we are willing to take — and an even harder time being consistent and disciplined about risk.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Anchor-Richey to sell Smeal...Bobbitt Selected for Indian Land VFD Addition and Renovation...Elkhart Brass Introduces Electric Remote...Idaho Technology, Inc. launches RAZOR Simulant Training Kit...Kimtek MEDLITE Transport Used on Extreme Home Makeover Show...Lenoir Firefighter Wins Firefighting Turnout Gear In TenCate Sweepstakes...100 Percent Exhaust Removal with No Loops...MetalCraft Marine Chooses OceanView Technologies’ Premium Zeus Night-Vision Camera for New 70-Foot Fire Boat...Pierce Manufacturing and Fire Chief Magazine Honor Career and Volunteer Fire Chiefs of the Year...Radiation Shield Technologies’ Demron Maximizes Public Safety, Minimizes Economic Impact

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Relevant Tags: fire, rescue, training, carolina, volunteer fire, indian land, fire rescue, fire chief, fire apparatus, more information, anchor richey, extreme home

Product Review: Spill Away Plus

I recently met Mr. John Paparone from Environmental Solution, Incorporated (ESI) at the Buies Creek Fire Department. ESI manufactures and distributes products that clean spills, for example, after motor vehicle crashes. They also sell products that clean vehicles. These products are also environmentally sound in that they reduce hazardous wastes.

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TAKING FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

How’s your financial strategy coming along? That old adage, “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan,” can be especially true when it comes to finances. And, given the current economy, the best time to start taking control of your finances is today. Being financially responsible doesn’t just happen. It’s a conscious decision you make to live within your means.

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Relevant Tags: fire, financial, plan, rescue, current, ems, carolina, start, fire rescue, rescue ems, ems journal, carolina fire, financial goals, mark miller, financial strategy, game plan

Wake Technical Community College opens new Public Safety Facility

The old saying that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover is ever so true for Wake Technical Community College’s new Public Safety Campus.

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Relevant Tags: fire, safety, community, public, rescue, training, wake, public safety, wake technical, community college, technical community, new public, rescue ems, fire rescue, ems journal, carolina fire, safety

How long will it take to design and build a new station?

“You want it when?!” I love those signs ... usually printed and taped to a receptionist’s wall. It is a valid question, even in regards to planning the timeline for the design and construction of your new station project. So how long will it take?

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SCOTT WORLD FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE

Join approximately 5000 people that will be attending the Scott World Firefighter Combat Challenge this year at Myrtle Beach, Nov. 8-12.

 

This year’s Challenge will be an exciting  and memorable event, in the hopes that the event will return here in 2011.

This event will bring in firefighters from all across the United States, along with numerous international countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Germany, Argentina and South Africa.

 

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About the Carolina Fire Rescue EMS Journal

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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