Tuesday, November 30, 2010

1/4 tank drill...

Today we did our yearly... 1/4 tank test at the station to see where everyone was at.  First run cylinders on our pumper are Scott 4.5 45min. cylinders.  To do the test we drained the tanks until the vibralert activates and shut everything off.  All participants then donned all PPE, including SCBA and then placed a 60lb hose bundle on the participants shoulder (or across SCBA tank).  We then timed each person as they walked up and down a flight of stairs inside the station, until they sucked their mask to their face.  Four members participated and times ranged from 6:26 to 9:58 with stair sets ranging from 15 to 20.  The average was about 8 minutes of air under moderate activity until the air supply was depleted completely.

Here is why we did this:  with air management becoming a pressing issue these days we as firemen can be proactive in helping determine what kind of air management standard is needed at our departments... not just letting the chief tell us what is what.

For the majority of our structural fires we face single family dwellings varying in size from 1200 to 3000 square feet... and now to pose a serious question, are we doing right by waiting until our vibralert goes off to leave a structure?  you tell us...


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2.5" Hoseline time tests... very interesting!!

So today we performed part II our experimenting with draining tank water with handlines and timing it...  today was 2.5" with an Akron Fog Nozzle.  The results are as follows:

starting point: 125psi panel pressure (based on tradional C x Q(2)/100 x L/100...  250GPM estimated flow)

E-31 is a 2000 gallon tender with a 1250GPM Q-MAX Pump... when we tested we went with our winter time fill procedures which are fill until the top light comes on, count to 10 (one one-thousand, two....) and then turn the fill pump off.

First test at 125psi panel pressure drained the tank in 6 minutes... math says 333GPM...

Test 2 at 110psi panel pressure drained the tank in 6 minutes also... 333GPM...

Test 3 at 80psi panel pressure drained the tank in 7 minutes and 11 seconds... 275GPM

Test 4 at 75psi panel pressure drained the tank in a solid 8 minutes which is our 250GPM we shoot for....

Once again to restate an earlier post, we are doing these tests to determine how much time we have on scene with the initial engine when water is flowing before we drain the tank... this helps set line selection and water placement... to an extent. 

Remember a fog nozzle is deigned to give constant flow at varying pressures up to 100 psi tip pressure, from there the flow goes up with the pressure.  Maybe I have this wrong but... we are figuring the tip pressure to be in and around the range of 70psi for 250 GPM... 

Any of you hydraulics experts have anything on this? 


So now to all of you who survived reading this, what are your thoughts on the results? 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dedicated to the Job: By Ben Simonds, As posted in the Alaska State Fire Marshals Fire Flyer

  Dedicated to the Job                       
  Benjamin Simonds, Great FOOLS of Fire
Welcome to the very First Fraternal order of Leatherheads Society article here in the Fire flyer. First off on behalf of the FOOLS chapters Alaska wide we would like to thank Fire Marshal Dave Tyler for inviting us to take up a “corner”. We look forward to being able to keep you informed of what the FOOLS chapters around the state are up to and how we are trying to improve the Alaska Fire service through training and brotherhood. That being said, not all chapters were able to be contacted and information gathered on their current events. Future articles will allow for enough time to do this. This month’s “corner” will allow us to share some information on who the FOOLS are and what we are trying to accomplish. 
The FOOLS, like the traditional leather helmet, has always existed throughout the brotherhood of the Fire Service. We are about preserving the tradition and heritage of the fire service and taking care of our brother and sister firefighters. FOOLS members are about taking care of their communities and those that are a part of them. They help raise money for firefighters in need around the state, St Baldricks and for many other causes that benefit our brothers and sisters or communities. 
FOOLS believe in Pride: In our departments, in our stations, in our apparatus, and pride in ourselves. We continually strive to make ourselves and those around us better, and provide a higher level of service to our communities. The FOOLS believe in providing and attending realistic training. It is our duty to be as well trained as we possibly can.  We owe it to ourselves, our brothers and sisters, their families, and to the citizens we protect. You can always make up for lack of calls with training. You can never make up for a lack of training on calls. 
Many in the fire service know of Chief Croker and his quotes. One that you often see is “The moment when a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. Everything after that is all in the line of work.” It is the rest of the quote that I think is worth noting. I would like to share and discuss how it relates to the Alaska FOOLS chapters. “Firefighters do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what the business requires.” Our business requires us to be well trained and battle ready. One of the goals of the FOOLS is to help ensure WE are prepared for business. 
Currently there are 9 FOOLS chapters spread around the state.
Far Out FOOLS (Unalaska), Farthest North FOOLS (Fairbanks) Arctic Circle FOOLS (Red Dog Mine), Copper FOOLS (Cordova), Anchorage Area FOOLS (Anchorage), Great FOOLS of Fire (Central Kenai Peninsula), Hardrock FOOLS (Juneau), Snowtown FOOLS (Valdez), Soggy FOOLS (Sitka). While each is unique in their location and members the mission remains the same. To leave the fire service better than when we found it by hard work, determination and a commitment to training. 
For the past several years the FOOLS have been large supporters of the ASFA Conference by stepping up and instructing both lecture and hands on classes. I would guess that over 80% of the instructors at this year’s conference alone were FOOLS members from various chapters. The FOOLS chapters in Alaska have made great strides to prove to the Alaskan Fire Service that we are a worthy resource for quality training. We want to continue to work towards a positive image that departments are proud to be associated with and can support. 
Currently multiple chapters in Alaska have either started or are already providing an outreach program. The goal of this program is to bring qualified and dedicated instructors to departments that are in need of general or specific fire training. The Great FOOLS of Fire have had their program in place for 2 years now. Their first training provided was a two day set of classes in October of 2008 for the McKinley Village Volunteer Fire Department. McKinley village is about 400 miles from the Kenai Peninsula, yet members of GFOF were eager to travel and instruct to this department. First teaching with whatever equipment the sponsoring department had, the chapter now has an enclosed trailer that is continually being equipped with tools and equipment donated by various organizations, fire departments, and vendors. The trailer is able to carry props and equipment to a department that has requested training. This equipment allows the sponsoring department to keep a majority of their tools and rigs in service. It also allows for more hands on time by having additional tools available to the students. This makes their valuable time more productive. Not all departments are able to afford props yet they are expected to perform the same necessary job functions of any other department without the ability to train for them. Props are owned and maintained by the chapter. Instructional time is normally donated. A donation maybe asked to cover for the cost of travel and a place to stay depending on the circumstances. Many times fellow firefighters give up a spot on the floor or couch to provide a place to stay. 
We are not out to make money, we are out to help train the Alaska Fire Service and learn a few things ourselves along the way. Chapters fundraise individually to help support their goals. These include flying and paying for outside instructors to come to Alaska, building props and to support other various firefighter events. The FOOLS are always looking for tools and equipment that are willing to be donated and can be used in future trainings.
The outreach program allows us to meet and build relationships and foster brotherhood with departments that are sometimes, due to location, often left out. These new relationships allow us to have communication with them and allows us to invite them to training in our area. Some of these departments can barely afford to put fuel in their apparatus let alone pay to send members to out of district training. This means they may have to pay their own expenses if they are interested in furthering their knowledge or skill set.  We all deserve to receive quality training. Maybe your department already has an excellent training program and does not need any help. However, for those in need the FOOLS want to help. We cannot guarantee we will be able to assist in every instance. We have departments and families that we are dedicated too as well. I will tell you we will try our hardest to make it work though. For those that ask what makes us experts I say we are not. We are the ones though that are willing to step up to the plate and instruct when and where there is a need. We are continually growing and learning. Knowledge is Power, but only if shared. We are always looking for help in various ways. Even if you have no interest in being a member of an organization like this, but have a passion to instruct, or have a trade that would help in some other form please contact your local area FOOLS chapter.
Many chapters post upcoming training on their websites or Facebook pages. The Great FOOLS of Fire and Anchorage Area FOOLS are sponsoring a one day class in Soldotna on January 8th covering Thermal imagining camera use and room oriented searches. They are also looking to host a 2 day HOT conference this coming spring. Farthest North FOOLS have taught a majority of their local departments the 8hr mayday class. This is the same class that has been taught at the state conference for the past 3 years. FNF has also been providing RIT, Truck company ops, and forcible entry classes in Fairbanks. Snowtown has been doing RIT and assisting brothers in need. At FOOLS night out during the state fire conference $2000 was raised for a firefighter out of the Fairbanks area with cancer. Members from all the chapters came together at conference to help raise this money at the spur of the moment.  A few weeks’ later members from across the state traveled to support our brothers in Anchorage in their time of need with the passing of Andy Mullen. We are always available to spread the brotherhood and train anyone that needs or wants it. 
Thoughts and ideas are always welcome as long as they are constructive or positive. We are still in our infancy stage and are growing in a very positive way each day. We wish to continue on this path and to be a guiding light for those that are dedicated to training in the State of Alaska. If you need help contacting the FOOLS chapter in your area please feel free to either email me or to look them up on the web at www.foolsinternational.com
Take Care and be Safe,
Benjamin Simonds,  
Great FOOLS of Fire
Central Emergency Services
Soldotna, Alaska
Remember being a firefighter is more than just having a sticker in your window. It means you are willing to do what is necessary when the time comes. Are you ready for business? Can you remember all the channels on TV but not the location of the tools on the truck or how to use them? Are you a dedicated firefighter? Or do you just own the tee shirt? You decide. Someday your life or others may depend on your answer.

Frozen Leather: An intro into Fighting Fire in the Last Frontier

          Thank you for stopping by our site. Our ultimate wish is that this site becomes a place of shared information, ideas, and brotherhood. That it becomes OUR site. A site for Fireman in Alaska. We want to know how you deal with the day to day issues that have to be dealt with on the  Alaskan fire ground. Weather , lack of building codes, non-existent mutual aide are all some of the various issues that are common in Alaska. We want to hear how you have adaptive to these issues by sharing your ideas, thoughts and techniques. As big as Alaska is the fire service community within it is small and isolated in areas due to distance. This makes sharing information tough if you do not have a means. This should get better over time if people are active and use this site. 
 We at Frozen Leather felt that there was a serious need for a training network in Alaska. One that was available to all members to participate in. After trying to ascertain the viability of something like this we knew we were on to something. The feedback and support  that we have received has been astoundingly positive. This forum is the first step to help bring all the members of the Alaskan Fire Service together in an effort to better serve our communities. The Alaska Fire Service members need to take the second step and be active and participate on this site. We want conversations on how you operate and train to be sparked. New ideas to be born and tested in hopes of becoming more efficient on the fire ground. Take what the text books have taught you and then seek your own answers based on real events and training and share them. 

Training from around the state will be posted on here. A large amount of training is not very well attended due too a lack of communication, not because of a lack of desire to attend. Not all local department training is open to everyone. However, just knowing what a department did for a specific training can provide you with a lot of information. Props that were built , outlines with materials that were covered and the ability to find out some of the challenges faced and ideas to fix them can only make your training both better and potentially more realistic. 
This site is open for all fire service members to post to. If you have something that you wish to share please contact us. We would love to look at it and get it online. If you have pictures of a training or technique being performed on the fire ground even better. We will take articles on all topics ranging from Fire History to Tactics to Product evaluation.Please remember that short and simple seems to work best. 
Stay warm and safe,
Frozen Leather
You can make up for a lack of calls through training. You can never make up for a lack of training on calls. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumps, water and most importantly... time!

Today for our drill we decided to answer a question that has been posed so many times... how fast does my tank water run out when I am pumping attack pressure... 150psi???

To set-up our experiment we took out our first line engine which carries 2000 gallons when full and performed this test using the line we pull on the majority of entry fires, the 200' 1.75" crosslay.

The first test we went with the operating pressure which hydraulic calculations tell us: C(2) x Q(2)/100 x L/100 or 15.5 x 1.5(2) x 200/100 ... which comes out to a friction loss of 69.75 in your hose.  So with a tip pressure of 100 psi for the fog nozzle, 150 GPM desired flow and 70 psi of friction loss we set our panel pressure to 170 in hopes of 150GPM.  In theory we would have 13 minutes of flow time with this set-up.  We achieved 8 minutes and 40 seconds.... or about 230GPM with this number... huh...

Take 2... 150 panel pressure... flow should go down right?  wrong... went up to 240 GPM (keep in mind that a pump achieves maximum efficiency at 150psi) time was 8 minutes 10 seconds... of flow before cavitation.

Take 3... 125 panel pressure... we made 10 minutes and 4 seconds before cavitating... or right at 200 GPM.

And Take 4... 105 psi panel pressure, 13 minutes of flow time... and according to the math 2000gallons/13 minutes is right shy of 150GPM...

What this means for now is when we are teaching drivers we are telling them to set pump panel pressure to 150psi so you get 150GPM of flow and roughly 12 to 13 minutes of time with your tank water... this has now been proven wrong.  Due to newer hose and pump efficiency and other things we can now start operating at lower discharge pressure and make the life of our hose crew significantly easier.  Yeah!  We will now be setting our initial attack pressure to 110psi panel pressure and then bump to 150psi panel pressure for an involved fire when we don't pull a 2.5" line.

Go out and try this with your pumpers (especially if you rely on tankers and not hydrants and figure out your own operating pressures)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

2 Man Gable Cut

The 2 Man Gable Vent cut is a technique that can be used when true vertical ventilation is not an option.  This can be due to a number of circumstances, including but not limited to:  Too much fire in the roof, chief says no (due to conditions hopefully), roof is too long for a roof ladder (winter or metal roof), multiple roof layers, etc. 
          There are a number of skills used in this technique that are not normally trained with and can improve basic firefighting skills greatly, they are: using power saws off of a ladder, using a power saw left handed, throwing ladders in a small area simultaneously with another firefighter, and carrying a large load of equipment in one trip. 
          For your tools that you take up the ladder, it is strongly advised that one be available for assisting in removing the siding (axe or short hook, and one be available for breaching the sheetrock to make a vent hole in the ceiling area of the room below the cut; a 6 foot roof hook or pike)
          Make the cut on the side nearest the fire, and remember you are aiming for as big a hole as possible.  Additional tools should be hung from a ladder rung to make the process go quicker.  The wall you are cutting on in most cases will not be a load bearing portion of the roof, so if necessary cutting studs is OK.
          Also keep in mind that after the cut has been made, it is a good opportunity to punch holes in the ceiling near your opening to ventilate the inside of the structure and not just the roof area.

          *the prop shown in the picture has since been expanded with a pitch added to the top.  The vertical studs simulate your framing pieces and the goal is to cut around them not through them, much like a cut on top of a roof.  This prop took 10 2 x 4’s to build (including the pitched portion) and cost approximately $50 including screws and extra bits for the drill.

Good Luck

2 Man Gable end ventilation cut

This cut is performed using 2 14’ Roof Ladders, 1 chainsaw and a hand tool for a one story home, or 2 24’ Extension ladders, 1 chainsaw and a hand tool on a 2 story residence.

Your crew will consist of 1 person carrying a 14’ ladder with a chainsaw and a second person carrying a 14’ ladder and a hand tool (to open up hole if necessary)

Next the first arriving ladder person positions there ladder on the far end of the gable and stands next to the ladder with his arms spread apart to space the next ladder


Both firefighters scale the ladders and get in position to make the cuts, and the first person makes 3 cuts, top, bottom, side.


Once the first three cuts are completed, the saw is passed across to the next person who finishes the top and bottom cut and finishes the opening with the last side cut.

If necessary the tool you brought up the ladder with you can be used to open the hole.  Finished product will be close to a 4’ x 4’ hole.

For safety, an SCBA should be donned and worn for this operation, as fire and smoke may be coming out as you make your cut.

Here are two examples of gable cuts, the first one is done with 1 person and took approximately 5 minutes to complete, the second is a two person cut and took less than 3

This is not what we want home owners to see (and call ourselves professionals)


This cut was performed with 2 firefighters and was done around a chimney pipe, again, we are going for a clean looking cut when performing this task.

The other advantage to this cut is the low cost of fix for the home owner (if he doesn’t have to replace his roof when he’s done).

Thanks again