Archive for December, 2011

More Proof That PPV is Dangerous

We have made no secrets around here that we are not big believers in PPV, but that discussion in itself could be an entire post. This post is more about equipment, equipment readiness, and the importance of daily equipment checks. Garret Rice from Rowlett (TX) Truck 4 sent in this information of an incident that occurred while performing multi-agency, multi-company drills. During the drill another one of the agencies involved placed a PPV fan at the front door. Once the fan was in operation, the fan suffered catastrophic failure. When the fan blade disintegrated, one of the pieces of the blade broke thru the shroud and hit one of the firefighters in the arm. Fortunately, the firefighter was wearing full PPE, so he did not suffer any injuries. You can see from the photos below the pieces of blade on the bottom of the fan shroud. Upon closer investigation it appears that a bolt got loose from the handle and got sucked into the rotating fan causing the blade to come apart at full velocity. It is worth mentioning that this fan is normally stored on the outside of the rig, secured to the tailboard. Texas undergoes significant temperature swings throughout the year, so the composite blade is constantly expanding and contracting which may (or may not) have been a contributing factor.

With that being said, the importance of equipment readiness needs to be mentioned. All equipment on the rig needs to undergo a daily check, and a comprehensive weekly check at a minimum. When we are checking the equipment we should be much more concerned about the operational readiness of the equipment, then only the simple fact that the equipment is accounted for. When issues are discovered with our equipment we should take it upon ourselves to repair (or see that it gets repaired) in a timely fashion. Leaving equipment in service on the rig that is not 100% operationally ready to go can lead to disaster. Perhaps during the check, the loose bolt would have been discovered, or maybe stress cracks in the blades would have been noticed, or perhaps neither. This could have been a total fluke, or maybe it could have been prevented, we are not trying to point a finger. Either way there is a great learning opportunity here. Equipment stored outside the rig is certainly more subject to failure due to being exposed to the elements. We need to make sure that we are throughly checking all of our equipment all of the time!


Hidden Playroom

Captain Tim Meister from Charleston (IL) sent in these photos of a hidden playroom they came across on an EMS run. As you can see from the photo, the entrance of the playroom is approximately 3-4 feet off the ground behind a hinged piece of paneling. The overall dimensions of the room were 8’X12′ so even though the room has a low ceiling, it is still nearly 100 square feet in size. The room did not have permanent power but did have a lamp with an extension cord that is plugged in while the kids are playing. These hidden playrooms are much more common then you would suspect, and as you can imagine, will cause us significant issues during a search. Even slight smoke conditions would make this room impossible to find, the small handle on the door, paired with the picture hanging from it would not even make us suspect the presence of the room.


Hinge Distraction

Peter Lee from Maplewood (NJ) sent in these photos of a door they ran into while out conducting some district familiarization.

This style of supplemental lock is becoming increasingly poplar for rear door protection on commercial occupancies. There are a number of different manufacturers that are producing this style lock. From the outside it is obvious that this door not only has a locking mechanism on the handle side, but also some hinge side protection. Another important observation is that it appears that all of the supplemental locks are inline with the handle, none high, none low.

The purpose of the hinge side protection is to keep the uneducated burglar from opening the door from the hinge side, not the educated firefighter. Even though for the outside it looks less substantial, the hinge side is definitely the slower option on forcing this door. Traditional forcible entry technique on the lock side of the door with a property placed halligan is more than likely the quickest and most effective way to force this door.

We have shown doors like this in the past, they are not nearly as intimidating as they look. Be sure to use the website’s search function over in the right sidebar to find some similar doors, or click on the category labeled “outside functions.” The purpose of studying different style doors is so we can better identify and visualize what we are facing when confronted with challenges on the fire ground.