Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 06:40

Seven first responders injured after explosions at the troubled Arkema chemical plant in Crosby are now suing the company for at least $1 million in damages.

On Thursday, barely a week after the first blast of decomposing chemicals rocked the small town, Houston lawyers Kimberley Spurlock and Misty Hataway-Cone launched a legal battle in Harris County court, accusing Arkema of gross negligence.

Despite past flooding events and advance notice of the impending destruction of Hurricane Harvey, Arkema “ignored the foreseeable consequences of failing to prepare,” the suit claims, leaving trailers of volatile chemicals susceptible to explosion after flooding knocked out the electricity and ability to cool the heat-sensitive compounds.

The first of nine trailers of organic peroxides exploded early on the morning of Aug. 31, landing a number of first responders in the hospital following exposure to fumes from the chemicals, which ignited and left a 40-foot plume of black smoke that officials later compared to a campfire.

“Although the explosions had occurred, no one from Arkema alerted the first responders who were manning the perimeter of the arbitrary mandatory evacuation area,” lawyers said Thursday in a press release. “Immediately upon being exposed to the fumes from the explosions, and one by one, the police officers and first responders began to fall ill in the middle of the road.”

Emergency medical personnel arrived on scene, and were overcome by fumes before even exiting their vehicles, lawyers allege.

“The scene was nothing less than chaos,” the lawsuit claims. “Police officers were doubled over vomiting, unable to breathe.”

The seven first responders at the center of the new legal action were all on scene for “that chaos and those toxic fumes,” according to legal papers. Fifteen Harris County deputies and eight EMS personnel, including Crosby’s EMS chief, were hospitalized due to exposure to the fumes.

The legal claim specifically calls out company officials Richard Rowe and Richard Rennard for holding press conferences at which they “repeatedly denied that the chemicals were toxic or harmful in any manner,” the lawyers write. “Plaintiffs relied upon these representations and suffered serious bodily injury as a result.”

Twenty homeowners also asked to be added to the suit according to the lawyers. The Crosby residents claimed to have seen balls of tar fall in their yards and some claimed a tar-like substance covered their roofs after the explosions.

The suit also asks for a temporary restraining preventing Arkema from destroying photos, documents and records relating to the chemical behind the fire.

The Chemical Safety Board announced on Aug. 31 it would be investigating the Arkema explosion. In a statement from board chair Vanessa Allen Sutherland, one aspect of that investigation would be the implications for emergency response efforts.

An Arkema spokeswoman Thursday afternoon promised the company would release a statement later in the day.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 06:39

Two firefighters were killed in an operation on the Autobahn 2 in Brandenburg deadly. The helpers were called at an early Tuesday morning to an accident near Brandenburg on the Havel, as the police communicated.A semitrailer train hit a fire car accident at the accident site. This turned around its own axis, tipped over and buried the two firemen among themselves. The 23-year-old and his 38-year-old colleague still died at the accident site. The truck driver was injured.

The emergency personnel were first called to an accident with a small carrier. The driver had ridden the transporter onto a semitrailer, was pinched and severely injured. For the rescue operations, the police and fire brigade blocked the right and the middle lane.

About an hour after the first accident, a 55-year-old truck driver wanted to pass the left-hand lane at the accident site. For still unsettled cause he caught with his truck a police car, which stood for securing on the middle track. The semitrailer came to sway and bounced against the fire-weaving car. It tipped over and buried the two men under him.

“I can not put myself in the situation of the comrades, who had to see what happened with their comrades,” said the layer leader of the Brandenburger professional fire brigade. The forces, which were in use, were replaced and supervised by pastoral caretakers.

Since the second accident, the motorway has been blocked between the Brandenburg and Netzen junctions in the direction of Berlin. The rescue work should continue until 1 pm.

In the morning hours, there were miles of traffic jams. As the suspension was to continue for several hours, cars were returned to the last exit. An expert was on site and took the investigation into the cause of the accident.

Flags at half-mast

On public buildings the flags were set half-mast on Tuesday. “It is a tragedy that is difficult to grasp for me,” emphasized Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD). “They wanted to save lives, they themselves were killed.” That made him infinitely sad. At the Landesfeuerfeuerwehrschule in Eisenhüttenstadt (Märkisch-Oderland) was conceived with a silence minutes of the dead comrades.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Campus fire safety: turning off appliances reduces fire risk

NFPA - Safety Source - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 09:05
September is Campus Fire Safety Month and NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center) are working together to help raise awareness of the dangers of fires among college-aged students who live in on- and off-campus housing.   During this
Categories: Safety

OSHA Finds Machine-Guarding, Noise Violations at Florida Bakery

OSHA - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 07:00
Sept. 7, 2017 OSHA Finds Machine-Guarding, Noise Violations at Florida BakeryHometown Foods USA Faces $129,000 in Proposed Penalties
Categories: Safety

NFPA has the tools you’ll need for National Preparedness Month

NFPA - Safety Source - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 07:07
September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), when we focus on taking steps to prepare for emergencies in our homes, businesses, schools, and communities. The goal of NPM is to increase the overall number of individuals, families, and communities
Categories: Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 19:45

A Baltimore County fire lieutenant was injured after being hit by a vehicle during the “Fill the Boot” charitable fundraising drive.

Authorities say this happened just after 11:15 a.m. Sunday, near Rossville Boulevard and Pulaski Highway.

Firefighters were out collecting money for Muscular Dystrophy Association’s “Fill the Boot’ campaign, when the fire lieutenant was struck by a vehicle. The victim was taken to a hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

No further details have been released about the wreck.

The Baltimore County Police Department is investigating the crash.

The “Fill the Boot” campaign will continue, though the fire chief reminds personnel to be safe while collecting

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 19:31

A Nashville Fire Department firefighter was hospitalized after battling a blaze at a home near Percy Priest Lake early Tuesday morning.

No one was inside the home on Timber Ridge Drive when it caught fire. Half of the house was destroyed.

(For more updates on this story and free news alerts for your neighborhood, sign up for your local Middle Tennessee Patch morning newsletter.)

The firefighter was taken to the hospital after he experienced problems with his breathing mask. He is expected to fully recover.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 10:40

The top floor of a Worcester three-family home was destroyed by a fire on Labor Day.

Firefighters responded to a call around 4 p.m. for active flames at a building on Farwell Street.

Officials said heavy smoke poured from the top floor of the building, with winds adding intensity to the fire and causing it to spread.

At one point, a firefighter got trapped on the roof while battling the flames. “We were trying to get a hole in the roof because the fire had already got up into the attic,” Deputy Fire Chief John Sullivan said. “One of our firefighters got separated from the ladder and fire engulfed that ladder.”

Sullivan said they were able to deploy another ladder to get the firefighter out safely without injury.

All the occupants made it out of the home safely, but one person was seen being taken away in a stretcher.

There is no word yet on what caused the fire.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 07:16

Authorities say four people, including two firefighters, have been hurt in an apartment fire in Clifton Heights, Delaware County.

The blaze broke out before 8:30 a.m. Monday in the 300 block of North Sycamore Avenue.

Video from Chopper 6 HD showed flames and thick smoke coming from the roof of one section of the three-story complex.

More than a dozen residents were seen standing outside a number of adjacent units.

Police tell Action News two people, a teenager and an adult, were hurt escaping the fire.

Their injuries were described as non-life-threatening.

In addition, two firefighters were treated for injuries also described as non-life-threatening.

ction News is told two children were dropped from windows into the arms of rescuers on the scene.

Neither child was hurt.

Fire officials believe the fire was sparked by a young child playing with a lighter found underneath a bed in one of the units.

A full investigation continues.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

CSB Issues Back to School Safety Message on Safe Practices During Classroom Science Demonstrations

CSB News - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 04:43
Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a Safety Message reminding teachers, staff, and school administrators about the hazards of using flammable materials, such as methanol, during classroom science demonstrations.
Categories: Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 09/04/2017 - 13:41

A fire fighter was injured and a family displaced after a fire broke out at an apartment complex overnight.

It happened around 11:30 p.m. Sunday at the Hunters Ridge Apartments in the 3000 block of Kettle Creek Drive.

WREG was told the fire started in one apartment, sending smoke billowing into the family’s residence below.

The American Red Cross is helping that family.

The fire fighter’s condition has not been released.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 09/04/2017 - 13:40

A Salisbury firefighter is currently being treated at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore after being accidentally struck by a fellow fire fighter.

The accident happened on Bell Creek Drive around noon on Sunday.

A City of Salisbury spokesperson said the firefighter was laying out blue hydrant markers on the road when another fire fighter, who was driving a fire engine, accidentally struck the victim.

The injured firefighter had to be airlifted to Baltimore following the accident.

The firefighter’s condition is currently unknown and they are still working to notify the firefighter’s family.

We will continue to monitor this situation and post updates to our website and Facebook page as we learn more.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 12:57
Around 200 firefighters battled a stubborn fire that started inside a restaurant on the ground floor of a Tribeca building, then quickly shot up through the roof, leaving 11 firefighters injured in hours-long fire fight, officials say.

It’s not yet clear what caused the fire that started inside the restaurant at 24 Murray St., near Church Street, at around 6:30 p.m. The fire rose to the top of the building, and flames could be seen shooting out the roof and windows.Huge plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky, and the acrid smell of smoke carried as far as Brooklyn.

Firefighters battled the five-alarm fire for four hours before it was finally knocked out. Eleven suffered minor injuries, mostly from fatigue and exhaustion, officials said. Some were seen being taken away on stretchers.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 12:56

A Shady Grove firefighter sustained minor injuries responding to an accident on Friday.

Shady Grove Volunteer Fire Dept. responded to the accident involving an 18-wheeler and a car when a firefighter down call was made and an ambulance requested, according to a Jones County Fire Council press release. The accident occurred at Hwy 15 and Trace Road.

A passing vehicle had rolled into the door of the firefighters truck, pinning his legs as he retrieved gear from his truck. Emergency responders quickly removed the trapped firefighter, and he was transported to a hospital via ambulance as a precaution.

The driver of the accident was transported to the hospital with unknown injuries. The cause of the accident is unknown.


Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 08:29

We regret to pass on that Santa Lucia District Battallion Chief Gary Helming was killed in a crash yesterday morning while coming home from operating at the Railroad Fire in the Sierra National Forest.

Chief Helming was a California native who started working for the Forest Service more than two decades ago as a seasonal firefighter. He worked other agencies before returning to the Forest Service to serve as battalion chief in 2013 in Santa Maria. 

Our condolences to all those affected. Rest In Peace.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Statement from CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland on Arkema, Inc. Incident

CSB News - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 18:18
This CSB initiated an investigation of the of the Arkema, Inc. explosions that occurred early this morning in Crosby, Texas.
Categories: Safety

Cancer: The Toughest Battle for Today’s Firefighter

Firefighter Close Calls - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 17:48

As a firefighter and paramedic with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Michael Dubron made health and fitness a priority. He believed that to fulfill his job responsibilities and serve others, he must first take care of himself. When Dubron received his diagnosis of Stage 4 colorectal cancer in 2003 and given one-to-three years to survive, he was stunned and in a state of disbelief.

“I remember thinking, ‘I would change anything not to have this diagnosis,’” Dubron said. “No one ever takes a class called Cancer 101 then walks into their doctor’s office to hear a cancer diagnosis and is prepared for what to do.”

Following his surgery to completely remove the tumor at USC Norris, Dubron spent nine months recovering. During that time, he found other firefighters from his department who were cancer survivors and were more than willing to help him find valuable resources and navigate this new journey.

“The benefit to that is most firefighters are such alphas, we don’t want to seek assistance. But becoming a mentor is a great way to extend help. It’s a great benefit to your life as well,” he explained.

Inspired by the level of assistance he received from his fire service family, Dubron went on to found the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN). What began as a local database for firefighters diagnosed with cancer to find one another soon grew into a national, and now international, organization. FCSN created a Tool Box of resources for newly diagnosed firefighters and their families to help them prepare for talking with their doctors about the diagnosis, treatments and recovery.

To help inform more firefighters about what they can do to better educate themselves about preventing cancer and supporting others battling this insidious disease, Dubron will lead two workshops at the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Symposium in Phoenix, AZ, September 7 and 8. The Symposium is sponsored by the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance, a group of leading fire service organizations committed to addressing this burgeoning issue among firefighters.

Currently, the number of firefighters coping with cancer in the United States alone is unclear. Many are not diagnosed until after they retire, so the direct link to firefighting may be underestimated. Furthermore, doctors may not recognize a connection between the disease and patients who are volunteer, military, wildland, or contract firefighters.

The fact is all firefighters face greater risks of exposure to toxins now than ever before. In the past 40 years, synthetic building materials, such as complex plastics, lightweight foams, industrial polymers, and chemical coatings, have replaced woods, textiles, metals, and glass. As a result, fires burn faster and hotter than ever before, and generate larger quantities of thick, toxic smoke. Additionally, firefighters now respond to a wider variety of incidents, including hazardous spills.

Dubron believes the FCSN and other organizations must now go beyond offering support for those diagnosed with cancer to educating all firefighters about prevention. He would like to see every fire service academy providing education and awareness as part of their curricula within the next 10 years.

“We need to make cancer a primary focus in the fire service. Not just something that is a subtitled subject,” said Dubron. “We need to take a proactive approach not a reactive approach. It’s a lot less expensive to invest in extra turn out gear than to pay for an individual’s medical expenses.”

Over 500 fire service members from the U.S., Canada, and Europe are registered for the symposium including fire service leadership, industry representatives, researchers, and cancer survivors. Presentations and workshops will cover current research, prevention strategies, presumptive legislation, available benefits, and other relevant topics.

About the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance

The dramatic increase in the incidence of occupational cancers is one of the most critical problems facing the fire service today. To address this issue, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has, since January 2015, coordinated the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance (FSOCA), a collaborative group of fire service leaders, constituency organization representatives, occupational medicine practitioners, and academic and corporate researchers, all united to advance the common goals of raising awareness and preventing occupational cancers among the nations firefighters. The Alliance has developed a comprehensive action plan to address the disease at the national level, including the recommendation to host a Symposium focused exclusively on fire service occupational cancers. The Alliance will continue to be guided by its members and steering committee.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Universal figures and easy-to-read language featured in Fire Prevention Week materials help widen audience reach of safety messages

NFPA - Safety Source - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 07:04
Reach a broad audience during this Fire Prevention Week season with NFPA’s new easy-to-read escape planning themed safety tip sheets designed using universal figures. Both the easy-to-read “Plan Your Home Escape” and “Practice
Categories: Safety


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