HOTA offers two state of-the-art emergency response suites where incident managers can exercise disaster scenarios in the most realistic manner possible, explains General Manager of HOTA, Linda Ellis. “We can replicate any type of disaster an offshore installation might face, ranging from minor gas release, explosion and fire to full evacuation of the platform.

Who said firefighting training is tough? Shropshire firefighters are doing their BA and guideline exercises at a Qasar centre.

BA equipment is not cheap but it could save your life, so getting the right kit is vital. Regina Jenatschke, Product Manager Safety Products, MSA, gives her view on factors to consider when choosing your SCBA.

Heather Wright, co-founding director of Leading Light, believes that to be a fit and able firefighter requires looking after the mental as well as the physical aspects of the body. Ensuring you have the right mindset is another key way to ensuring you are operating at the best of your abilities.

Captain Larry Collins has been working for the LA County Fire Department for 28 years, the last 16 years assigned to the department’s central Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) unit. In this time he has come to understand that his staff have to be fit enough to cope with the use of heavy machinery and dealing with potentially traumatic roadside incidents. As such the importance of finding time for exercise is something that the company takes very seriously, “On the urban search and rescue company, our schedule is packed full of training, emergency responses to technical rescues and multi-alarm fires, meetings, public displays of rescue apparatus, and emergency simulation exercises.  So our normal routine for exercising is often interrupted. 

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has been winning awards for its approach to fitness for a number of years, and today it is one of the leading brigades with regards to health and fitness in the UK.

After responding to a number of flood events up and down the UK in the last two years – including 2007’s near-disastrous summer floods – Paul Gibson is adamant about one thing.

The most commonly seen risk-taking activity is untrained responders moving around in what they perceive to be low-risk water. This is often because they are simply not aware of the hazards lurking beneath the surface and in the water itself.

Structure firefighting is among the most hazardous tasks, fraught with dangers both visible and hidden. In the fire service we constantly strive to improve the safety margin through better equipment, hazard recognition, training, standard operating procedures, and the Incident Command System (ICS). And progressive fire service leaders look to implement “best practices” wherever they are found.

In this next instalment of our search for the top fire instructors of the world we talk with Tony “Sledgehammer” Keane, of Washington Hall International Training Centre, in the UK.

JOIFF – the organisation for emergency services management – is offering up to £1,500 to the successful applicant of a new bursary award. And what’s more, the bursary is open to all.

Since the days when man first moved his goods and chattels about he has needed to secure his load to prevent things falling off. As a young firefighter at training school I remember well being explained the virtues of the ‘Yachtsman’s purchase’ – a marvellous knot that allowed tension to be applied to the running end.

LNG is a cryogenic liquid stored at -162°C in special single- or double-lined insulated concrete tanks. Its composition varies between 83 and 99.5% methane with traces of ethane, propane and butane. As it vaporises the cold gas condenses moisture in the atmosphere into a white vapour cloud. It is in the vicinity of the edges of this cloud that ignition is most likely to occur, where the LNG reaches its flammability range of 5 to 14% in air. Although asphyxiating, the vapours are not explosive unless confined.

At least 65% of all fatalities during trench rescue operations are would-be rescuers. Secondary collapses cause many rescuers to be severely injured; though casualties are rescued alive from trenches, many die afterwards of hypothermia and crush syndrome.

Confined space rescue operations are not for the faint hearted. Even the most seasoned and toughened firefighters will sometimes be affected by claustrophobia. This is not, however, the most prominent danger here, say America’s top rescue professionals, James Hyles and Larry Collins.

Although the technical knowledge behind PPV techniques wasn’t widely available five years ago, it has certainly spread since then. Today, most fire departments are well-acquainted with the use and potential of PPV for small structural firefighting scenarios, such as those involving house fires and other small buildings.

Working in confined spaces can be one of the most dangerous tasks undertaken by industry firefighters. Confined space hazards can include problems with the atmosphere due to poor ventilation, access problems and poor light.

Pete Gomez, Deputy Emergency Manager for Miami Department of Fire-Rescue and HazMat Co-ordinator for Florida-TF2 explains how this USAR team prepares for hurricane strikes.

Highrise firefighting is one of the most arduous challenges facing today’s firefighters and yet - until now - it’s been nearly impossible to get effective high level training scenarios to practice in.

It was fortunate that no-one died when a similar accident happened to an American Trans Air DC-10 on the ground in Chicago in 1986, but the fact is that this hazmat lesson clearly wasn’t learned.

After an exhaustive market survey and technical evaluation, the Italian National Fire Administration has finally taken delivery of the first of four shipboard fire simulators supplied by Kidde Fire Trainers.  The simulators replicate the major challenges experienced in fighting shipboard fires in a safe and environmentally-sound manner. 

Question from an
industrial firefighter
Question: I heard that toxic gases and vapours from hazardous materials can get inside a self-contained breathing apparatus facepiece, even if you have a good seal between the mask and your face - is this true?

F&R’s technical consultant in this problem solving feature is Kevin Mellott, a professional with over 32 years of experience in the field of public safety. Prior to founding ERASE Enterprises, Mr. Mellott was an Assistant Chief in the Department of Public Safety for the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Mellott also served as the City Fire Marshal. Internationallyrecognised as an expert in emergency response and disaster operations, he has been involved in special rescue operations since 1978 and has been selected as the lead instructor for numerous special rescue projects for the US military.

F&R’s Ann-Marie Knegt talks to Doug Campbell, a fire behaviour analyst with over 35 years’ experience as a wildland firefighter. He developed the Campbell Prediction System (CPS) which, over the last 10 years, has been credited with saving many lives.

Rope rescue presents special challenges, especially in remote areas or at some unique industrial sites, reports Kenneth N. Laidlaw, one of the USA’s top experts in the field.

It’s fascinating to talk about computers and fire safety engineering - but how do they actually interact? Fire origin, fire development, fire spread and fire decay in enclosed fires depend on several factors such as the room geometry, type and quantity of materials, number and size of openings, type of firefighting operations etc.

  • Operation Florian

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