The EU FloodCommand project, a joint venture between three European Union countries – the UK (Maritime and Coastguard Agency), Ireland (Irish Coast Guard) and Sweden (Swedish Rescue Services Agency) – was initiated in early 2007 with the aim of improving pan-European response to massive coastal inundation from tidal floods, storm surges and tsunamis. The project was co-funded by the Civil Protection Mechanism of the European Commission and Vector Command Ltd (a developer of command and control, training and exercising systems for emergency services and agencies), and launched at an inaugural conference in May 2007.

Three months ago saw the final phase of the Integrated Clothing Project (ICP), at last bringing a national procurement strategy to the fire services. One contracted supplier, Bristol Uniforms, is now on hand to supply and maintain a comprehensive clothing range to all the UK’s firefighters, via the central procurement body Firebuy. F&R puts some questions to Roger Startin, MD of Bristol Uniforms, and Steve Taylor, Work Stream Director at Firebuy.

Kevin Sykes of the University of Chester is Professor of Occupational Health & Fitness and Director of the international postgraduate Centre for Exercise and Nutrition Science. Firefighter fitness is getting better, he says, but the conundrum of who should take responsibility (employer or individual) still remains.

A set of annual statistics published by the United States Fire Administration has shown that out of 118 firefighter fatalities in 2007 at least 52 were as a result of heart attacks.

As the pressure on Europe’s infrastructure increases so do the number of RTCs that involve HGVs. Three experts provide some recommendations – including equipment tips – for these supersize incidents.

Colin Davies, Training Instructor – Specialist Operations Group, Fire Service College (UK), talks about some of the challenges facing RTC responders.

Jan-Pieter Maarschalk, General Manager of a rescue tool manufacturer, outlines some of the latest tools for HGV RTCs.

Could your BA equipment interfere with your portable digital radio? According to the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), it could do – and in the US work is continuing to isolate the problem and find technical ways to resolve it. Fire services take note.

The new EN 443:2007 firefighter’s helmet standard is expected to be fully approved by all member states at any moment. Fire & Rescue talks to Hans Detzlhofer of Rosenbauer about the new standard.

UK Fire and Rescue Authorities can typically spend up to £500,000 a year on insurance – a significant drain on any authority’s limited budget. In an attempt to save as much as possible on insurance premiums as well as finding a fairer, more tailored deal for the sector, a groundbreaking mutual was born.

The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for the Civil Defence Organisation in the United Arab Emirates.  This is the name used for the Fire, Rescue and Ambulance services.  The Ministry is seeking to restructure the service along the UK model of fire and rescue, beginning with an Integrated Risk Management Plan.

In order to drive this process there is a need to recruit a strategic advisor and a small team of Tutors who will be members of a larger emergency service project team in the Ministry.

Fire and emergency services who refuse to recognise the real possibility of a major air crash incident happening within their local airport or within their jurisdiction are leaving themselves wide open to numerous problems.

At 12.06 hours on the 28th of May, 2007, the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) Command and Control Center dispatched a ‘Traffic Collision/Major 2’ response after receiving a report of an occupied passenger vehicle crushed beneath a tanker truck/trailer combination which was also leaking an unknown product. This was located on the Pomona Freeway twelve miles east of downtown Los Angeles, CA.

One company and one company only was announced as the winner of the ICP, the Integrated Clothing Project, “the most rigorous and extensive research and evaluation process ever undertaken for a contract of this kind in the history of the fire and rescue service,” according to Firebuy, the procurement arm of the UK Fire & Rescue Service.

Opened by Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta in late 2006, the $US17 million, state-of-the-art centre currently serves as the central command and information hub for all the FDNY.

One argument, posed by the question ‘what should be used in today’s foams? – is that there is currently no viable alternative to using fluorosurfactants in foam.
Environmental sensitivity to the operational use of large quantities of firefighting foam has increased dramatically post-Buncefield.

Thomas Peter, Deputy Chief, Field Co-ordination Support Section of the Emergency Services Branch for OCHA (Office of the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs) of the United Nations in Geneva, feels that very many countries that are affected by a disaster do not know what rescue teams can deliver, a problem made worse by language issues. It is his task on a daily basis to combat this problem and find solutions acceptable to every party involved.

Firefighters are expected to be brave and resourceful in the face of adversity. In this most unusual fire, Carlisle’s city firefighters have all won commendations for exceptional work. 10 members of Carlisle Fire Brigade commended for bravery last month.

Cumbrian firefighters avert city tragedy.

The release of people from collapsed structures is heavily dependent on the organisation at the disaster scene. Ann-Marie Knegt discussed the issues USAR teams face with OCHA’s rescue expert Chief Thomas Peter and Dutch USAR team leader Rob Brons in the light of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.

TETRA, or Terrestrial Trunked Radio, is currently being introduced across the UK and the Channel Islands to replace current analogue radio systems. F&R considers the implications of this development.

Hurricane Katrina and its effect on the Gulf Coast is now widely regarded as one of the worst disasters ever to have struck the United States, not least because of the great confusion about what actually was going on. F&R’s Ann-Marie Knegt talked to Brian Inglis, Taskforce leader of the Vancouver US&R Team.

After the disaster in New Orleans the emergency services -with the co-operation of the military- had to pump 250 billion gallons out of the city. Clearly, a disaster like this only serves to underscore the importance of having the right pump for the right job, argues Pete Perkins.

Dr. Roger Klein examines the rapidly changing commercial landscape in firefighting foams and the need for considering alter­native extinguishing methodologies for fire brigade personnel.

Let’s start with something all firefighters can appreciate: firefighting foam is either low expansion, medium expansion or high expansion, classified according to the ratio of air to liquid in the foam.

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.

 SEPTEMBER 2008
15 – 16 September
Fire Crime in Europe
Location: Marriott Gosforth Park Hotel, Newcastle, UK
Organiser: Northumberland Fire, Laboratoire Central de le Prefecture de Police (FR), Northumbria Police (UK)
Contact: Sarah Byrne
Tel: +44 (0)1904 611953
Email: arsonconference
@mosaicevents.co.uk

(continued)

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.

The IAFC, tells F&R that it has put together an exciting program of international sessions and speakers, in conjunction with the Institution of Fire Engineers.

Dave Robinson joined the fire service 34 years ago when he was just 16, and he is now an Area Manager for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service. He has been involved with the Games for three years since the time of the initial bid, and has now been working full-time on the project for the last 18 months.

Sicur ‘08 took place in Madrid, Spain, 26-29 of February. F&R couldn’t resist visiting the Spanish capital to check out the latest developments in a show that is beginning to feel international.

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.

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.

Fire & Rescue 2007 will be co-located with the fire prevention and protection event, International Fire Expo which runs alongside Safety & Health Expo, The Facilities Show and the world’s leading annual security event, IFSEC.

There are many reasons why fire departments maintain pre-plans for commercial buildings.  Firefighter safety, building familiarisation, code compliance, and regulatory requirements are some of the most common reasons pre-plans are completed.  While each of these reasons is important on their own merit, one question begs to be asked.  If a pre-plan can address all these issues, why isn’t every fire department completing them?

London Fire Brigade is investing £1.7 million in additional training resources for its operational staff over the next two years. Sir Ken Knight, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, believes that the traditional role of firefighters has changed and has become even more challenging. Because of this the LFB is making the major investment to counteract the increasing pressures on personnel.

F&R looks at the pick of the products from INTERSEC, a highly successful three-day fire & security show at Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE.

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.

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.

  • Operation Florian

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Company Profiles

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

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AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

Foam fights fire

Europe’s foremost fire fighting foam manufacturer has been developing and producing foams since the 1920s.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

Calendar

  • 18 April, 2018, 9:00 - 19 April, 2018eRIC