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!29 comments