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

OSHA Issues Proposed Rule to Extend Compliance Deadline for Crane Operator Certification Requirements

OSHA - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 07:00
August 30, 2017 Contact:  Office of Communications Phone: 202-693-1999
Categories: Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 17:35

Seguin firefighters responding to a call during Hurricane Harvey found themselves needing a little help.

After responding to a call on Timber Elm in the Elm Grove area, a tree fell due to the high winds onto the cab of the fire engine, disabling the truck.

While no injuries were reported, Seguin Fire Chief Dale Skinner said it served as a stark reminder of what can happen in high wind situations.

“It could have been very tragic for us — the tree’s trunk was merely inches from the head of the driver of the truck,” he said. “It is very unfortunate that we lost the fire truck, but it could have been worse. When that tree blew down we were over that 45 mile an hour sustained wind.”

In a pre-hurricane planning meeting on Thursday, local officials put in place a procedure for first responders and high wind speeds.

“In making preparations for the storm, the police department, the fire department, public works and utilities department all agreed that we did not want to put our responders at an undue risk,” Skinner said. “Seguin Police Chief Kevin Kelso said the area he came from had a history of response during hurricane events and the standard was to not respond with sustained winds of 45 miles an hour or greater. I know personally the fire chief in Galveston, and in some other coastal cities, they implement that exact same policy.”

The reason is simple — safety, Skinner said. 

“If a responder gets involved in an accident, then we can’t meet the needs of the community,” he said. “The policy was put into place for the safety and security of our personnel and the safety and security of the public so we are able to continue our response. What people many not understand is that fire trucks and ambulances have a very high profile and it would not take much wind to blow it over. You hear all of the time semi-trucks getting blown over during wind events.”

According to the National Weather Service, sustained wind is “a wind speed determined by averaging observed values over a two-minute period.”

“A sustained wind of 45 miles an hour means that it is not dropping below that and, during that time, you can have gust of up to 60 miles an hour,” Skinner said.

During the storm, officials constantly monitored the wind speed in Seguin, but it wasn’t until both the engine and a medic unit were already out responding to calls, when the wind speed increased to more than 45 MPH, Skinner said.

“I believe we registered a maximum of 50 miles an hour,” he said. “They were out before the winds picked up. Unfortunately, we did have the tree fall on the fire truck as they were returning to the station after helping the resident.”

The call to suspend response due to high winds was short lived and no area residents were denied service, Skinner said.

“I believe that was only for a 20 minute period, during which time we did not receive any requests for assistance,” he said. “I do want to point out there was not a delay in any response due to our policy.”

Once the truck was freed from underneath the tree, it was taken to the city’s utilities facility, and the crew went back to work.

“They went back to the station, dried off and continued to do their jobs,” Skinner said. “They didn’t miss a beat.”

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 17:32

Baltimore fire officials revised a new dispatching policy Monday amid an investigation into why an engine on the scene of a house fire on Friday was turned away.

The city began looking into the matter after audio of firefighters being ordered to leave the scene circulated on the internet.

According to audio of fire department communications posted on YouTube under the name Mack Flickerson, Engine 31 from Waverly responded to a house fire at 7:17 p.m. on Friday.

The incident involved “reports of a fire on a second-floor kids’ bedroom” with “smoke showing on the second floor,” according to the audio.

Engine 31 happened to be near the scene of the fire, in the 1600 block of Chilton Street in Northeast Baltimore’s Coldstream Homestead Montebello neighborhood, and attempted to help, according to the audio.

“I can see this box,” the officer in charge on the engine says. “I’m going to have a plug in front of the building. Assign me to this fire.”

A dispatcher responds, “Engine 31, that’s a negative.”

Later, the officer tries again, calling a battalion chief.

“We’re down the street from this call,” he says. “We’re in front of a plug. Do you want us on this box?”

“Negative at this time,” comes the response from a battalion chief.

The fire department recently began using GPS technology — called Automatic Vehicle Location — to determine how to dispatch fire apparatus. Previously, engines, ladder trucks and other units responded to fires within their “box,” their geographical area of coverage.

On Monday, the department circulated an updated policy that allows battalion chiefs to authorize an additional unit to respond to fires if it happens to be near a blaze to which another unit is assigned by GPS.

Blair Skinner, a spokeswoman for the fire department, said fire officials were aware of the incident.

“We are looking into this,” she said, adding that the reason the engine was turned away “is currently under investigation.”

She did not respond to questions about whether there were injuries during the incident, what damage was done and how long it took for another engine to arrive.

At the site of the fire, no one was home Monday, but the second floor showed noticeable damage, including burn marks by the windows.

The YouTube audio file has been viewed more than 26,000 times.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Fire Hero Learning Network Now Has 60,000 Users

Everyone Goes Home - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 11:12

Fire Hero Learning Network has reached 60,000 users! Are you registered? Sign-up today on the official online learning network of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, part of the Everyone Goes Home® effort.

Sign-up for the Fire Hero Learning Network

The post Fire Hero Learning Network Now Has 60,000 Users appeared first on Everyone Goes Home.

Categories: Safety

Entire House Framed with Engineered Wood

Green Maltese - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 23:30

If you have been a firefighter for very long, you are probably aware of firefighter’s concerns with engineered wood and how it performs under fire conditions. The use of engineered wood products has grown significantly in recent decades. According to APA–The Engineered Wood Products Association, engineered wood components saw their first commercialization in the 1960s but didn’t enjoy widespread use until the 1980s. (1) Since then, production has increased more than ten-fold, with the U.S. and Canada combining for 1.28 billion linear feet of engineered components in 2004, at the peak of the housing boom.

So What is Engineered Wood? (2)

Engineered wood, also called composite wood, man-made wood, or manufactured board, includes a range of derivative wood products which are manufactured by binding or fixing the strands, particles, fibers, or veneers or boards of wood, together with adhesives, or other methods of fixation to form composite materials. These products are engineered to precise design specifications which are tested to meet national or international standards. Engineered wood products are used in a variety of applications, from home construction to commercial buildings to industrial products. The products can be used for joists and beams that replace steel in many building projects.

Typically, engineered wood products are made from the same hardwoods and softwoods used to manufacture lumber. Sawmill scraps and other wood waste can be used for engineered wood composed of wood particles or fibers, but whole logs are usually used for veneers, such as plywood, or particle board.

As I said earlier engineered wood has been on the the fire service radar for awhile now, so you are probably asking yourself what is the purpose of this article?

Thanks to my good friend Eric Rissman who sent a very interesting Facebook link (3) from Sherwood Lumber.  What caught my attention in this post was the way engineered wood products are being used in wall systems for the entire structural frame.

So I did a little digging to hopefully shed some light on how engineered wood products can be used in place of traditional wood framing.

Structural Composite Lumber Basics:

Structural composite lumber (SCL), which includes laminated veneer lumber (LVL), parallel strand lumber (PSL), laminated strand lumber (LSL) and oriented strand lumber (OSL), is a family of engineered wood products created by layering dried and graded wood veneers, strands or flakes with moisture resistant adhesive, into blocks of material known as billets, which are subsequently resawn into specified sizes. (4)

How Is It Made: LP® SolidStart® LSL video

In this article I have focused on engineered wood being used in structural walls, because, I am not aware of any full scale fire service testing that has been done on engineered wood being used vertically or used as a wall. Thanks to the great work  from Under Writers Laboratory (UL) (4) and NIOSH (5), we will take a look at some of the highlights from  the UL  floor and roof testing,that could also pertain to these products and this application.

While most of the 100-plus page UL report on the testing of lightweight building components focused on engineering calculations, several key points emerged to clarify the fire performance of engineered wood components, including:

  • Deflection Times:
    Although a computer model predicted that the test floor assembly using engineered I-joists would retain its strength longer during a fire than the traditional wood platform, the opposite was the case. Furthermore, the engineered wood supports began to fail and deflect almost from the start of the test and proceeded to degrade in stages, leading to floor vibration, noise, collapse, and burn-through.
  • Charring:
    The rate at which engineered wood and traditional wood chars is similar. However, because of the very thin cross section of the I-beams, the report found that this charring rate poses immediate dangers to the mechanical integrity of the structure.
  • Heat Sensitivity:
    Oriented strand board beam sections exhibited initial charring at a much lower temperature than traditional wood, making it impossible to further test some properties of the material.
  • Heat Conduction:
    Due to compressed plies and binding material, the engineered samples conducted heat faster than other wood samples.
  • Brittleness:
    Engineered wood product samples exhibited increased brittleness and loss of mechanical strength compared with traditional wood components when heated in an oven, even without being exposed to fire. Researchers suggested this was due to separation of the constituent compressed fibers under mechanical and heat stress

This is just one of many ways our built-in environment is constantly changing and we need to be a student of our profession, more than ever before. It simply is not enough to “Put the Wet Stuff on the Red Stuff”. We must know that the buildings of today are not going to be built fire safe, and as fire service professionals, we must push for home fire sprinklers to save the lives of those we swore to protect.

Please share this with all your brothers and sisters in the fire service in order to continue raising the awareness of engineered lumber products that we will face in future fire fights.

Stay safe,

John Shafer


Categories: Safety

Help communities plan for safety with the NFPA home fire escape plan and grid

NFPA - Safety Source - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 07:08
If a fire breaks out in a home, residents may only have minutes to get out safely. Seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between people escaping safely from fire or having their lives end in tragedy. A critical part of escaping safely is for
Categories: Safety

FACEValue: Construction worker killed in trench collapse

NIOSH FACE Reports - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 23:00
A 22-year-old construction worker was killed when the trench he was working in collapsed.
Categories: Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 16:37

Units were dispatched to a house fire this morning in Gettysburg at about 6:42 a.m., according to Adams County 911.

The fire was at a home in the 200 block of Ridge Avenue.

The homeowner was not in the residence at the time, but there were a number of cats inside that died, according to Gettysburg Fire Chief Hurshel Shank.

Sean Cummings, a former firefighter who owns the home across the street, saw the fire and was able to get inside to look for the homeowner. He was able to search all the rooms to make sure the house was empty.

According to Shank, the house was about a 50 percent loss, with the rest having smoke and heat damage. The cause of the fire in unknown, the state fire marshal is helping to determine the cause. The Red Cross is assisting the homeowner.

Shank was later transported to Gettysburg Hospital for minor injuries, according to Gettysburg Deputy Bryan Wasylyk.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


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