Friday, October 28, 2011

Looks may be Deceiving

Does the exterior appearance of a residential structure "always" provide reasonable profile clues or assurances to the presence of an engineered structural support system (ESS)? What are occupancy profile signatures that you can read on a building that might support your observations and presumptions that will lead you directly towards you tactical engagement.

Would you expect to find the same ESS in the ajacent house along the same street or sub-division?
Think about it...There is always more to what we area "seeing" or processing based upon presumptions and assumptions.
  • Will incorrect assumptions contribute towards undesired results?
  • What are the building profile considerations that must be correctly identified that have the greatest impact on firefighting operations and the potential for the greatest risk(s) overall during transitioning operational phases?
More in the next post...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fireground Dynamics: Smoke Explosion during Interior Operations

Three Franklin (OH) firefighters were caught in what has been determined to be a smoke explosion at a structure fire involving a restaurant occupancy in what appears to be a building of Type III construction that published reports indicated was built in 1892.

Franklin (OH) FD Lt. Kyle Lovelace and firefighters Quincy Pearson and Brad Brown were caught in a smoke explosion while conducting interior fire suppression operations at which time conditions deteriorated and a smoke explosion occurred. Simultaneous with the recognition that something was not good; the crew immediately began to retreat when they were caught in the explosion. All of them luckily made it out unscathed.

According to published reports, "They reverted back to their training and did what they needed to do to get out," according to Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf . "We have a flashover simulator and we spend a good amount time talking about it each year."

Reports have indicated Lt. Lovelace stated that when they arrived on the scene, he noticed smoke coming from left side of the building above the second floor and thought that it may be an attic fire.

They attempted to gain entry through the front door, but before they opened it they noticed a crack in the window and decided to gain entry through the rear. Lt. Lovelace, FF Pearson and FF Brown entered an alley covered by an awning connecting to freestanding structures. Westendorf later said his guys were fortunate to be in that location because they were isolated from the brunt of the blast.

The crew advanced about 25 feet when FF Pearson, who was on the nozzle, saw wisps of smoke and began to feel extreme heat.

Lt. Lovelace used a thermal imaging camera to locate where the heat was coming from, but right before he could tell Person, he started yelling at him to get out. They made it about 20 feet when the thick black smoke started banking down on them. As Lovelace exited under the awning, conditions quickly worsened and the smoke explosion occurred. Video of blast HERE

Links for complete reporting insights and details;

Photo by Nick Graham Middletown Journal

Middletown Journal Photo Show from the Fireground, HERE

Alpha side from the Street, Image Capture from Google Street Maps

Aerial Image along South Main Street of the Building

Screenshot from video as smoke explosion occurs

Video: Caught On Camera: Backdraft Explosion At Franklin Fire

National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend 2011

Help Spread the Word: Bells Across America Will Ring to Honor Fallen Firefighters
Make sure your website or blog is providing live coverage of 2011 Memorial Weekend

Information From the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation 2011 Memorial Weekend Website (Direct Links HERE and HERE)

Please visit the web site directly for more information on the programs offered by the NFFF

For the first time in the 30-year history of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend the bells of the Memorial Chapel will ring on Sunday, October 16 to honor the fallen. As part of this tribute, fire departments and places of worship & other community organizations will join the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation for Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters, the first nation-wide remembrance for firefighters who died in the line of duty. The NFFF created the website, which explains the program. A letter of invitation, frequently asked questions about the program and a response form are all available on the website. Fire department representatives are encouraged to work with their clergy and community leaders to decide what type of remembrance is best. Some suggestions include: ringing chapel bells, a moment of silence, a brief prayer, a hymn, tolling a ceremonial bell by members of the Fire Department, or any combination of these. The remembrance can occur at any time on Sunday, October 16.

"When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, the sadness resonates through an entire community. Through Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters, everyone across the country has the opportunity to pay tribute to the lives of these brave men and women who willingly take risks to protect and serve their communities," said Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki, executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

In addition to Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters, departments and individuals can add the National Fallen Firefighters Tribute Widget to their website, blog or Facebook page. The widget is a small box that will appear on the site, continually scrolling the names of firefighters honored in Emmitsburg. The photos of seven firefighters who will be honored are rotated each day for one week leading up to Memorial Weekend. Go to to copy and embed the widget.

The Fire Hero Network will be in full operation during Memorial Weekend. The Candlelight Service and Memorial Service will again be televised and sent around the world via satellite and the Internet. Departments can be a part of the network by streaming the events on your department's website. The NFFF invites all departments to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and to encourage local news media to do the same.

In addition, there will be a Fire Hero Radio webcast from Memorial Weekend and continuous updates on social media, including the Foundation's Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For more information about the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, go to

2011 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend
From the Website, Direct Link HERE

2011 Memorial Weekend Coverage:

» More: Full Coverage of the 2011 Memorial Weekend
» Additional Coverage: Off-Site News
» Watch: 2011 Memorial Weekend Live on the Web

Memorial Weekend Videos:

» 2010 National Memorial Weekend Highlights
» Returning Survivors
» Behind the Scenes
» Intro to the Memorial Weekend
» Fire Service Intro to the Weekend

Ways to Observe the Memorial:

» New in 2011! Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters
» Observing the Memorial: Tell Us About Your Traditions
» Sign the Remembrance Banner: Share a Memory or Tribute
» Pay Tribute on Your Website: Display the Weekend Widget
» Download: 2011 Memorial Wallpaper
» Pay Tribute: Issue a Proclamation
» Honor: Lowering the U.S. Flag & Sound Sirens

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation:

» About the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (PDF)
» Video: National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Overview

Watch the 2011 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend Live on the Web

Satellite Coordinates:
You can view both major Memorial Weekend events live via satellite. The Foundation will broadcast both the Candlelight Service and the National Memorial Service. We encourage you to contact your local cable provider and ask them to broadcast these Services on one of the public access channels.
» Download: Satellite Coordinates for Broadcast of the 2011 Candlelight & Memorial Services
Live Broadcasts:
» Candlelight Service Broadcast: Saturday, October 15, 2011 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
(Telecast Begins at 6:15 p.m.; Service Begins at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time)» Memorial Service Broadcast: Sunday, October 16, 2011 9:00 am - 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time
(Telecast Begins at 9:30 a.m.; Service Begins at 10 a.m. Eastern Time)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Don’t be trapped by Dogma, Strive for Excellence

Excerpt from Steve Job’s Commencement Address, Stanford University June 12, 2005

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Think about what drives you and as stated; Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice and have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

Steve Jobs, June 2005


Whether you’re a practicing or emerging fire officer or commander, a designated leader or the unofficial leader, a seasoned veteran or a newly appointed probationary firefighter, there are some very important insights and values that can be identified in the words of Steve Jobs, especially in the context of his 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University. The video clip is posted as is a link to the transcript.

I’m certain you’ll see the value in these perspectives and their relationship on what we work to acheive each day in our richly rewarding profession. Look to identify the potential, make the improvements, grasp the innovations and don't settle for status quo. Strive for Excellence each and everyday.

Strive for Excellence

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Think Different, narrated by Steve Jobs
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