General Fire/EMS questions

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BoxAlarm187

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Hey, it's the ol' East Coaster back for another round of "ask the fire department question!" :D

Foam is still widely used, and is becoming more popular as fire departments across the nation discover it's advantages. There are two main types of foam - Class A and Class B. Class A foam is used when ordinary combustibles (paper, wood, household items) are on fire. Class A foam is used to break the surface tension of the water, which allows it to soak into these items more quickly, therefore extinguishing the fire more rapidly.

Class B foam is specifically used for flammable liquid fires (such as the Loveland fire posted by papaelk above). Class B works completely different than Class A, it actually creates a blanket of foam over the spilled product. This can do a couple of things for you - first, if the product is on fire, it will prevent oxygen from getting to the fire, and without oxygen, the fire can not burn. The other thing that it's used for is "vapor supression". Say a large amount of a flammable liquid is spilled, but isn't on fire. The liquid is giving off flammable vapors the entire time. The Class B foam can be used to create the blanket over the product which will lessen the chance of the vapors finding an ignition source and making a terrible mess.

There's also something called CAFS (compressed air foam system) which uses a large air compressor or stored air tanks to expel a mixture of water, foam, and air out of the nozzle. This is a very expensive (~$50,000) option on your fire engine, but it's VERY effective!!

Jumping back to the arson investigator question, the fire marshals (as we call them) at work do a lot of the things that have already been mentioned. Cause & origin determination at many kinds of fires, assist the PD with explosives investigation, oversee code adherence in business, and things of the like. Our FM's are very busy and put in a lot of long days!

Hope some of this helps...!
 

cstockmyer

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So every pumper has the abliity to use foam? Not just specialty designed ones?

How many actual fires come from alarm system activations? Or is that more likely caught by people seeing smoke?

Are all of DFD's fire stations on all the time? Except when the rig or equipment is out of service? Or are some stations on during the day, and then some at night..does that make any since?
 

cstockmyer

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Do the dispatchers know where EMS rigs are other then when they are posted? I remember along time ago there was something on the news about I think Ambulances having GPS "snitches" on them, that put their location on a big board in dispatch.
 

jimmnn

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cstockmyer said:
Do the dispatchers know where EMS rigs are other then when they are posted? I remember along time ago there was something on the news about I think Ambulances having GPS "snitches" on them, that put their location on a big board in dispatch.
Yes most system use an AVL system of sorts, including DG.

Jim<
 

eyes00only

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papaelk said:
Jerry Thank you but i cant take the credit for those pics Have to Give all of the Credit to 9 news :)
Cool, I knew channel 9 news had the hottest gal on TV (Kathy Sabine), but good pics too !

Jerry
 

KB9LMJ

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cstockmyer said:
So every pumper has the abliity to use foam? Not just specialty designed ones?

How many actual fires come from alarm system activations? Or is that more likely caught by people seeing smoke?

Are all of DFD's fire stations on all the time? Except when the rig or equipment is out of service? Or are some stations on during the day, and then some at night..does that make any since?
Any pumper can use foam, it's just a matter of how you use it. Every DFD pumper either has an on board foam system, or an eductor that goes on a hand line. A very last resort is to dump the foam buckets right into the water tank and "batch" mix it. It's a royal pain in the ... to clean and it has to be cleaned very well so it doen't gum up and corrode parts. But it can be done.

Not sure how many fires come from alarms...not very many in comparison to called in fires.

DFD has almost 1000 FFs either online or in support services thoughout the dept. All stations are manned 24 hrs with 4 FFs on every piece of (front line) apparatus. The dept runs approx. 98000 calls a year.
 

cstockmyer

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MrSpeakEZJr said:
Any pumper can use foam, it's just a matter of how you use it. Every DFD pumper either has an on board foam system, or an eductor that goes on a hand line. A very last resort is to dump the foam buckets right into the water tank and "batch" mix it. It's a royal pain in the ... to clean and it has to be cleaned very well so it doen't gum up and corrode parts. But it can be done.

Not sure how many fires come from alarms...not very many in comparison to called in fires.

DFD has almost 1000 FFs either online or in support services thoughout the dept. All stations are manned 24 hrs with 4 FFs on every piece of (front line) apparatus. The dept runs approx. 98000 calls a year.
Very interesting! Dumb question...if not used does the foam ever loose the ability to fight fires?
 

BoxAlarm187

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Class A foam could go many years without losing it's ability to fight fire. However, Class B has a bad habit of turning into a gel if not used within a year or so.
 

cstockmyer

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What is going thought the Fire Academy like? When I went though the police academy I had a blast. There was a ton of book work, then firearms, driving and self defence. I was just wondering if the fire fighters here could give us an idea of what the fire academy is like.
 

BoxAlarm187

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I am a recruit school instructor at work, so I guess I am somewhat able to give you an idea what the fire academy is like for us. :D

Our school is 22 weeks long, and we start off with the very basics: history of the fire service and the history of our department, how to properly dress and wear your personal protective equipment, troubleshooting problems with your breathing apparatus, then we move on to the core topics of the Firefighter I & II carriculum. During thier school, the recruits will have nearly two weeks of hands-on firefighting - car fires, fuel fires, LP gas fires, and of course, a lot of time in the 3-story burn building.

The recruits are also taught a host of other disciplines, including Hazardous Materials, Rope Rescue, Vehicle Extrication, Swiftwater Rescue, Electrical Emergencies, self-rescue techniques, elevator emergencies, EVOC, plus a few other classes that I simply don't recall at the moment.

PT is done every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We do a 2-mile run on M & W, with a 4-mile run on Friday. We mix a lot of core-body exercises, along with upper and lower body strenghtening exercises in also. Once a month, the recruits are timed for a 1.5 mile run, total sit-ups until exhaustion, total push-ups until exhaustion, and flexability.

Our school is very para-military. The recruits learn how to march, square walls, salute, facing commands, and things of that nature. Their uniforms are inspected at least once daily, and "positive reinforcement" is granted when a mistake is made. We set high standards, and we expect every recruit to meet them. While it IS tough, we also strive to make it fun and entertaining. If the recruits don't enjoy being challenged, than it makes it difficult for us to produce worth-while firefighters.

One of the toughest challenges we're facing is the changing face of the people that we're hiring now. For the most part, gone are the days of mechanics and farmers getting hired. Many of our new hires are college grads with little or no fire service background. Thier mechanical aptitude is nowhere near what people had 10 years ago, so it proves to be a hurdle for us sometimes!

Not sure if this answered your question(s) or not, just let me know! :cool:
 

jfab

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cstockmyer said:
So why is not the employees and or state leaning on everyone to get to a point where they can talk or listen to everyone?
Yeah, It was my understanding that that's one of the reasons DTRS was implimented. Am I wrong??
 

cstockmyer

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Those alarms that Fire Fighter wear, are they smoke activated? I know they come on when a fire fighter does not move for so many seconds. Also who thought those up? Or did something happen that made an alarm like that a necessity.
 

firescannerbob

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cstockmyer said:
Those alarms that Fire Fighter wear, are they smoke activated? I know they come on when a fire fighter does not move for so many seconds. Also who thought those up? Or did something happen that made an alarm like that a necessity.
They are not smoke activated...they would go off instantly if that were the case. They are activated by either inactivity on the part of the wearer, or can be activated manually. More advanced ones are also activated by heat. Additionally, all new SCBAs (air packs) must have the alarm (known as a PASS) built in so that it is turned on when the air is turned on. They will also activate when the air is depleted. There is a separate alarm when the air gets down to approximately 5 minutes remainng.
I'm not sure who thought them up, but the first ones were produced by Antenna Specialists. I still have one here someplace.
They were invented because when a firefighter would go down in a fire, it took WAY to long to find him, most time with tragic consequences.
 

BoxAlarm187

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The PASS (personal alert safety system) alarms are activated one of two ways. The modern packs' PASS devices automatically turn on when the air cylinder is turned on. The older packs required a seperate device which had to be manually turned on ... which didn't happen as often as it should have, so the manufacturers made them automatic.

To say that there was one specific incident that lead to the use of the PASS device probably wouldn't be accurate. A number of firefighter fatalities due to becoming disoriented and not being able to be located by other members is the main reason behind the alarms.

They also work well to let you know who's standing around not doing anything. :twisted:
 

firescannerbob

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BoxAlarm187 said:
turned on. The older packs required a seperate device which had to be manually turned on ... which didn't happen as often as it should have, so the manufacturers made them automatic.
Actually, the NFPA made them automatic. The SCBA makers wouldn't do squat unless the NFPA made them do it!
 

BoxAlarm187

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firescannerbob said:
Actually, the NFPA made them automatic. The SCBA makers wouldn't do squat unless the NFPA made them do it!
Yes, you're correct, just as the the new controversy about FireACT grants (reportedly) not being given to fire departments that don't have CBRN compliant SCBA.

NFPA is such a great thing and a demon at the same time.

As for who uses the PASS devices, they're generally only used when the SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) is being used, which forest fighters don't.
 
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