Archive for the 'Random' Category

TractorDrawnAerial.com

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Our good friend Steve Crothers recently launched a new website called TractorDrawnAerial.com. This website is dedicated to celebrating the most iconic fire apparatus in the national fire service. This site is designed for anything and everything related to tractor drawn aerials including photos, videos, equipment, concepts, etc. This webpage was created to provide a place for people to come to learn, absorb, and discover the significance of the tractor drawn aerial.

Steve is a truck company officer with the Seattle Fire Department assigned to a tractor drawn aerial. When off shift, he conducts tiller training with fire departments around the U.S. He also co-founded the “Raleigh/Seattle Accident Prevention” video that can be found here.

Regardless if you have a tiller or not, take the time to check out the site and the Facebook page for some awesome content!

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TEN YEARS!

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It’s hard to believe, but today marks the 10 YEAR Anniversary of VentEnterSearch.com!

A decade ago, we decided to create a neutral, unbiased and un-intimidating medium were we could share ideas, methods, and techniques of this great profession. We truly believe that firefighting is an art, and we want to protect the art for generations to come. The avenue to a safer fire service is by being pro-active rather than re-active in both our training and our tactics. We want to bring back the aggressively safe attitude to the fire service, in order to continue to protect each other on the fire ground. This can only be accomplished through educating each other and sharing ideas, tips and tricks.

We can honestly say this site has been much more of a success then we could have ever possibly imagined. We started this website with the intentions of sharing some information on the local level. Thanks to each of you, it quickly became so much more than that. We have gotten emails, comments, and material from people all over the world! The thought never crossed our minds that this is what would have become of the site over the last decade! The overwhelming success of this site would not be possible without each and every one of you. No amount of thanks could possibly be enough. It is because of you, our loyal readers, that this site is what it is!

We know things have slowed down a bit lately around here, but we promise to make it up to you. We have some big things in the works that we’ll be coming out with over then next year. We promise we’ll start getting out some quality content more regularly for you! Don’t forget, send us your submissions, and we’ll make you internet famous!

And in case you are wondering, we went a little retro with the picture… That’s our original logo from back in 2006!

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This is MY Aerial…

 

This post is not at all meant to throw stones at the recent news of multiple aerial failures. It’s also not meant to make any accusations of responsibility; rather it is just a great time to ask this question:

Who performs the preventative maintenance and inspections of your aerial device?

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Is it the departmental or municipal garage? Is it an outside vendor? Or is it you and your crews? Look back at those choices, only one group’s life is on the line… Why would the crews whose life safety depends on the aerial not perform their own lubrication and inspections of the aerial? We understand that some department’s administration may not “allow” for this to happen, but they cannot (and should not) prevent us from at least performing our own DETAILED inspection. We are not talking about simply operating the aerial on a daily/weekly check, we are talking about REALLY checking it out. When was the last time you looked at every single surface of the aerial including but not limited to: wear plates, wire rope, pulleys, hydraulic cylinders and hoses?

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Every apparatus manufacture provides detailed documentation on the lubrication process. This list also itemizes each different lube that is required for each surface and component. How do you think you mechanics learned how to do it? They read about it and were maybe shown the process by someone else. Why don’t you have them teach you how to do the same thing? Even if they wont let you take over the lubrication of the aerial, have them teach you how to PROPERLY inspect it. Ask what every simple component does; watch how the pulleys and wire rope move when the aerial is in operation. Make sure you understand everything you possibly can about this piece of equipment that rely on.

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This is my aerial. There are many like it but this one is mine. My aerial is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Almost 7 years ago we featured a post titled Under, Over, or Not At All? discussing the pros and cons and the ins and outs of wearing a radio strap on the fireground. The post generated a great discussion with well over 100 comments. Many of our readers certainly have their preferences and some had great justifications. Recently, Fairfax County (VA) did an extensive study and report on the topic. Click here for the report. The report makes some pretty startling discoveries, and should be reviewed by everyone in the fire service, from the guys crawling down the halls, and to the Chiefs behind the desk.

The photo above shows the least ideal, but unfortunately the most common way to carry a radio, a coat integrated radio pocket. Signal loss, the actual closure of the pocket failing to keep the radio contained and exposing the radio to a greater level of thermal insult are all likely scenarios with this method of carry. The worst case scenario would be radio failure that could potentially lock up the tactical channel, having a negative impact to everyone of the fire ground.

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Besides the obvious added entanglement hazard, carrying the radio on the exterior of a coat also exposes it to the negative conditions found on the fireground. The strap outside the coat also puts the radio at a higher risk for failure due to thermal and moisture issues.

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Carrying the radio with a strap under the coat, but hanging low enough to have the antenna outside and away from the body (see photo below) is the most ideal and gives the user the best operational reliability.

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So after reading the detailed report, has anyone have a change of heart? Is anyone going to start to carry the radio differently based on this report? Do any of your departments MANDATE a particular method of carry? We suggest printing the report and leaving it on the kitchen table for everyone to review and discuss. One of the most important findings in the report is that the failure of a single radio on the fireground could potentially put everyone else at risk by tying up the fireground tactical channel. A special thanks goes out to the Communication Section Of Fairfax County Fire for their commitment to this research and sharing of this report.

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When Shortjacking is not an Option

FDNY Ladder 45 showing that sometimes shortjacking is not an option. This is better than a supply line through the window any day!

It’s 04:00… Battalion arrives on scene of a working fire in a multi-family dwelling, people hanging from windows…What would you have done?

We know these pictures are already all over the internet, but we couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, we don’t know who to give proper photo credit to. We will however, be glad to buy the next few rounds for the Chauffeur of Ladder 45!

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Six!

It’s that time of the year again, it’s hard to believe that time goes by so quickly. Today is VES’s Birthday! Six years ago this website was created as a neutral, unbiased and un-intimidating medium were we could share ideas, methods, and techniques of this great profession. We truly believe that Truck Company functions are an art, and have become The Lost Art of The Fire Service. It is imperative that we protect this art for generations to come. The fire service is changing right before our eyes, we need to take it back! The avenue to a safer fire service is by being proactive rather than reactive in both our training and our tactics. We need to bring back the aggressive yet safe attitude to the fire service, in order to continue to protect each other on the fire ground. This can only be accomplished through sharing the knowledge and educating each other.

We can honestly say this site has been much more of a success then we could have ever possibly imagined. This website was started with the intentions of sharing some information on the local level. Thanks to each of you, it quickly became so much more than that. We have gotten emails, comments, and material from people all over the world! The overwhelming success of this site would not be possible without each and every one of you. No amount of thanks could possibly be enough. It is because of you, our loyal readers, that this site is what it is!

Since VES started, there have been so many other sites that have come and gone, but we are still here! Thank you for the contined support, you all rock!

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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!

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The Lost Art of the Fire Service

For the more than five years that VentEnterSearch.com has been around, it has always had the tag line “The Lost Art of the Fire Service.” While most of you understand exactly what we are trying to get across with that tag line, we realize we have never addressed it directly. So here goes, below are a few of our thoughts on exactly what The Lost Art of the Fire Service means to us…

Truck company functions have quickly become the lost art of the fire service. Many firefighters are being trained how to perform tasks, but not why. This is preventing them from truly understanding the art behind many truck company functions. Truck company functions have become a lost art for a number of different reasons. One of the main reasons is a result of the decreasing level of actual fire ground experience among personnel. Unfortunately this is creating less situational awareness on the fire ground. While education can never replace actual experience, a firm understanding of why we perform each task is essential. Furthermore, truck functions need to be performed at every fire regardless if a truck company is present or not! Changes in building construction have had a significant effect on how we operate on the fire ground, and have made the need for effective truck functions more important than ever. The energy efficiency or tightness of modern buildings coupled with the increased fuel load make ventilation a necessary and critical time sensitive operation. In addition, the execution of effective and efficient search techniques is going to increase survivability of both firefighters and occupants! It is essential that everyone on the fire ground in the fire service understand the importance and the art of effective truck company functions.

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Fifth Birthday!

It’s that time of the year again, it’s hard to believe that time goes by so quickly. Today is VES’s Birthday! Five years ago this website was created as a neutral, unbiased and un-intimidating medium were we could share ideas, methods, and techniques of this great profession. We truly believe that Truck Company functions are an art, and have become The Lost Art of The Fire Service. It is imperative that we protect this art for generations to come. The fire service is changing right before our eyes, we need to take it back! The avenue to a safer fire service is by being proactive rather than reactive in both our training and our tactics. We need to bring back the aggressive yet safe attitude to the fire service, in order to continue to protect each other on the fire ground. This can only be accomplished through sharing the knowledge and educating each other.

We can honestly say this site has been much more of a success then we could have ever possibly imagined. This website was started with the intentions of sharing some information on the local level. Thanks to each of you, it quickly became so much more than that. We have gotten emails, comments, and material from people all over the world! The overwhelming success of this site would not be possible without each and every one of you. No amount of thanks could possibly be enough. It is because of you, our loyal readers, that this site is what it is!

We know the posts have slowed down quite a bit, but we’ll be picking up the pace again shortly. We have some big things in the works for the future. In the mean time, take an opportunity to look back at some of the great information in the archives. We have over 340 posts contained in there all the way back to day one. Thank you for your continued support an understanding as we continue to expand the site. Stay safe, and train hard!

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Ten Questions


VentEnterSearch’s own Jimm Walsh was recently featured in the Firefighterspot.com 10 Questions Series. They have a pretty interesting column where they ask various people throughout our industry the same ten questions and post the responses. Click here to take a look and see what Jimm’s responses were.

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