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Posted by on Nov 4, 2017 in Firefighting methods, Firehouse Facts |

Ways That Volunteer Firemen Are Called to a Fire

Recruiting brave women and men to endanger their lives while safeguarding their community may seem like a great job, but when you throw in that it’s a volunteer position, it may be difficult to convince some to join. It isn’t breaking news that volunteering in the firefighting field is decreasing nationwide. Many factors are playing a role. Okay, okay, I admit. You can put some blame on the tough economic times. People who used to volunteer in their off-time find themselves working longer hours or multiple jobs to make ends meet, leaving little or no room for volunteering as firefighters.

So how do you go about it? How do you recruit new people to join a local department without throwing rainbows and unicorns their way? Here are a few suggestions:

Make the Application Process Quick

When a fire department creates volunteer firefighter applications, it’s important to make the application process speedy. While ensuring the process is swift, it’s also essential to be thorough. Keeping the volunteer firefighter application process fast ensures interested volunteers don’t lose interest during a long application process. If volunteer fire department application requires field eligibility tests, you may want to consider them. Not only does this type of testing allow you to determine the physical fitness of new members, but it also allows the applicants to understand their own physical limitations.

Ensure Volunteer Firefighters Know what is Expected of Them

When recruiting volunteer firefighters, it’s important to be completely honest about what is expected from a volunteer firefighter. Making sure interested volunteers understand what the requirements of volunteering at a local department requires guarantees that you will get volunteers who are willing and ready to make the commitment and sacrifices needed to have a successful department. The best way to make sure interested volunteers know what is expected of them is to train often.

As a volunteer firefighter recruit, you’ll be expected to:

  • Put yourself in life-threatening situations, such as crawling through tight spaces, going into burning buildings, and entering other unsafe environments.
  • Keep a clear mind in life or death situations
  • Be composed when assisting traumatic events like car crash fatalities and injuries.

Highlight Opportunities for Growth

Potential firefighter volunteers may not know about the many benefits the fire service can offer, such as the public service scholarship program and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). Departments should highlight all the different specialized skills and benefits fire training brings. To retain volunteer firefighters, departments create recognition programs to make them feel challenged and appreciated by rewarding their hard work.

Invest in Online Engagement

Recent studies indicate that most people look for job options online. Consequently, fire departments need to make themselves visible online along with doing community recruitment events. Departments can use social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to advertise the advantages of firefighting, show what firefighters do, highlight individual and department accomplishments, and enlighten potential volunteers on how they can join the fire service.

An organized website is also a useful way to attract potential volunteers. The website must be user-friendly and easy to navigate. Information about recruitment events and volunteer opportunities should be listed on the homepage. This is also the ideal place to upload video clips and post testimonials to further promote volunteering.

Encourage Current Members to Train New Members

Irrespective of your location, if you walk into any fire department across the country, you’re liable to find an old timer. With a raspy voice, sooty helmet and gray hair, the old-time firefighters are the ones everyone looks up to. Furthermore, you don’t get to be a veteran without doing some things right. The best way to ensure volunteer firefighters understand the expectations and procedures of volunteer fire departments is to have veterans train the newbies.

Create an Explorer Program

To lure volunteer firefighters, volunteer fire departments need to have strong Explorer programs. The Explorer program is started for girls and boys, ages fourteen to twenty that have an interest in obtaining a firefighter certification in the future. Devoting time and energy to grow this program in your community could provide you with a steady stream of volunteers who are really interested in becoming volunteer firefighters for life.

Brand Your Fire Department

“Branding” is more than just a symbol or name. It summarizes the message you want the community to think or feel about your fire department. Building a strong brand for you, determine the personality and identify your distinctive niche you want your company to convey.

Seek a Professional’s Help

Because of fire departments’ busy schedules, firefighting employees might not have the time for recruitment and marketing. Hire a professional that recognizes budgetary limitations, understands the concept of marketing and recruitment for fire departments, and that is enjoyable to work with. And don’t forget to ask to see samples of work they have done for other fire departments to see if their marketing strategies are right for you.

Ways to Serve Your Local Fire Department

If becoming a volunteer firefighter isn’t for you, there are numerous ways you can still help your local fire department.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Teaching fire safety to children
  • Bookkeeping
  • Installing smoke alarms in area homes
  • Maintaining the department’s social media and website
  • Cooking for the on-duty staff
  • Executing home safety checks
  • Distributing disaster preparedness materials

Conclusion

Attracting and retaining good volunteer firefighters is among the problems facing fire departments today. Volunteers are one of the most economical solutions to the snowballing cost of providing quality fire protection to communities. Effective community fire protection depends on the ability of fire departments to attract, recruit, train and retain these key individuals.

There are countless ways to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters. However, the volunteer agency should make sure that it’s not extending benefits that could lead to a loss of the volunteer status. Loss of such a status could result in lawsuits, loss of disability protections and loss of life insurance offered to volunteer firefighters. Check with your attorney to determine whether any retention or recruitment program may result in a loss of the volunteer status.

 

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Posted by on Oct 10, 2017 in Firefighting methods |

Most Common Causes of Fatal Fires

For most individuals, a home is a source of stability in life, serving as an environment in which to spend time with our loved ones and entertain guests. However, the National Fire Protection Agency estimates that in regards to all fires that occur inside a structure, ninety percent of these occur in a home, this translates to about three thousand civilian fatalities annually.

But what exactly leads to these fatal fires? This is a question unanswered up to date. Well, here are some of the causes that lead to fire becoming destructive as well as life threatening.

Causes of fires in homes

  1. Children

A small kid, say, 7-10 years is home alone. On the table with him is a matchbox. As we all know kids are curious beings. They will light a match and watch what it can possibly burn, just to satisfy their curiosity. Consequently, they end up lighting something like a paper on the table which will spread to the sofa and before you know it, the whole house is on fire. To avoid this, matchsticks and matchboxes should be kept as far away as possible from them.

  1. Cigarette smoking

Smoking cigarettes is also one of the major causes of fire. Once one is done smoking, he/she forgets to put off the cigarette completely and hence, the cigarette lights up something flammable like the tablecloth then the table and then every other thing in the house will catch fire. Smokers should therefore be extremely careful when smoking in the house. They should make sure they completely put off the cigarette and dispose off the cigarette butts in the right places.

  1. Cooking

Did you know that cooking is ranked as the leading cause of fire in the home? Well, you may be going about your cooking in the kitchen as well as holding a conversation with friends in the living room. It is said that serving two masters at the same time will have one master overpower the other. In this case, the conversation with friends gets too interesting to a point of forgetting the cooking taking place in the kitchen and soon, everything in the kitchen area catches fire and it spreads to the other rooms in the house.

  1. Extension cords

Never use an extension cord as a long-term solution for your electricity needs. A much safer alternative is to hire an electrician to install additional electrical receptacles. The results will be that it will be safer and much more convenient.

  1. Faulty home appliances

Inspect your appliances regularly to ensure they’re still in proper working condition. Pay close attention to plugs and power cords. If they’re bent or frayed, stop using the appliance immediately and discard responsibly.

  1. Candles

Candles look small and pretty but if left unattended, can easily cause a room to burn in flames. They should be kept away from flammable things like books and clothes.

  1. Barbecue

Barbecues are great for an outdoor meal but should be kept far away from the house. This is because, wind blows uncontrollably and if the barbecue is next to the house, it will easily light up the house and since there is wind outside, the fire will spread very fast.

Causes of fires at work places

  1. Faulty electrics

Loose wires and overloaded plugs are death traps at work. This comes hand in hand with negligence and human error, for instance, spilling liquids into electrical equipment. Extra care should be taken when dealing with electronic equipment. Every person working should be well informed on the do’s and don’ts of electric equipment.

  1. Flammable liquids

Most workplaces have flammable liquids and once these liquids sense just a little fire, become a disaster that is sometimes almost impossible to avert. Flammable liquids should be kept as far away as possible from places that fire is often is used.

Causes of fires in schools

  1. Students and staff

Fire in school in most cases is started intentionally by the students or even staff. These fires are usually unpredicted and are started in trash cans or piles of garbage since they are the easiest to light. A fire can also be started in the laboratory when there is use of equipment like the Bunsen burner. As such, there should be close monitoring of students in school and precautions taken immediately in case of any suspicious activity noticed.

Other causes of fires

  1. Camping

Camping is a fun activity but can also be disastrous if extra care is not taken. During the night, campers tend to light up fire to keep warm. If the fire is not well put out or is left unattended, it can spread wildly and uncontrollably. This leads to massive destruction of the environment and even loss of lives. While camping, caution should be taken when lighting a fire, campers should ensure they totally put off the fire and never leave it unattended to.

  1. Car fires

These fires occur when there is a mechanical error, oil or fuel leak and less often by an accident. Once car owners have taken their cars for repair, they should double check the cars before driving off, for the sake of their safety.

Conclusion

Those are just a few causes of fire. Basically, as seen above most fire outbreaks are caused at home. Safety starts with you, so it’s up to you to ensure you take extra caution when handling fire. Fire related incidents are potentially devastating, but fortunately they’re easy to prevent, especially if you are aware of the most common fire hazards and take steps to combat them

 

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Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 in Firefighting methods |

Fitness Training for Firefighting Professionals

The job of responding to emergency situations and fighting fires is one of the most physically demanding and dangerous professions. To help improve the performance, safety, and quality of life of firefighters, they’re required to better understand the relationship between physical fitness and improved job performance.

Firefighting is a career that requires you to be at the top of your game at all times. Concrete evidence indicates that there is a dire

ct correlation between endurance and strength in accomplishing the physical task of a fire fighter’s occupation and that a physically fit firefighter is twice as efficient in finishing a series of fire ground tasks as a less fit co-worker.

Although a firefighter may be physically fit and strong, other aspects go into the making of a healthy and well-rounded responded. So, not every Tom, Dick, and Harry is given a chance to serve as a firefighter. You must possess some important qualifications to become an effective firefighter.  Of course, you have to undergo and pass the firefighting training. Other than that, you need to hold some personal qualities and physical attributes such as:

  • Confidence
  • Ability to learn and take orders
  • Integrity
  • A strong interest in promoting community safety
  • Flexibility
  • Commitment to honesty
  • Initiative
  • Good communication skills to deal with injured victims,
  • Adaptability
  • Courage and sound judgment

The firefighting service is starting to realize that a higher number of deaths and injuries result from preventable causes. The lack of physical activity associated with the increasing number of obese individuals is alarming. Fitness training is a necessity in the fire service if you want to maintain your health and longevity on the job.

Are You Fit To Be A Firefighter?

Firefighting is a rewarding but very dangerous occupation. Firefighters risk a lot to save a lot, and at times these results in fatal injuries. No matter how physically fit a firefighter may be at the time, not all injuries can be avoided. But just as athletes train hard to prepare for a game, firefighters can also work on preventing some of these fatal injuries by being as ready as possible to go to work at any given time.

Physical Fitness

Physical fitness is described as the overall physical condition of the body, which can range from injury or extreme illness at one end of the spectrum to peak condition for performance at the other. The key fitness components for firefighting are muscular strength, aerobic endurance, flexibility and muscular endurance. Ideal physical fitness for a firefighter translates to being able to carry out firefighting activities successfully and without fatigue.

Firefighters should participate in a routine exercise program to prepare for the physical demands of the job. One of the barriers to exercising while on duty is the lack of access to fitness equipment in the firefighter station. Firefighting equipment can be used in a regular exercise program to enhance functional performance and physical fitness.

Aerobic Endurance

Aerobic endurance is the ability to exercise for a long time at low to high intensity. This is also what limits your ability to continue to swim, cycle or run for more than a couple of minutes and is dependent on your body’s lungs, heart and blood to get the oxygen you breathe to the muscles providing you with the energy needed to maintain a lengthy exercise. Typical aerobic activities include jogging-running, aerobic dance exercise, stair climbing, skating, swimming, rope skipping, just to mention a few.

Muscular Strength

Muscular strength is described as the maximum force that your muscles exert. Firefighting tasks need strength and are much more strenuous and demanding compared to those of the average office worker. For a firefighter to give more than the average citizen, he must be physically strong to perform tasks like rescuing victims moving equipment, and advancing hose line much more easily.

Since muscular strength is also at the core of physical performance and skill, firefighters will be able to better handle themselves throughout fire duration as they take on heavy workloads if they choose to incorporate strength training into their regular workout routine. Adequate rest should be given to let the muscles to recuperate before performing further exercises. At least forty-eight hours rest should be allowed before repeating exercises.

Muscular Endurance

Endurance training is one of the most important elements in firefighter health. Muscular endurance is synonymous with both muscular strength and aerobic endurance, but allows you to continue to push, carry, pull, and lift heavy objects for a long time without tiring. Muscular endurance is trained using controlled resistances over an extended period of activities, like circuit training.

Circuit training has been reported to be an appropriate training method as it places similar physiological demands on the body when compared to on-the-job firefighting tasks.

Flexibility

Flexibility is the ability of your joints to move through their full range of motion. It is one of the most important components of firefighter physical fitness since it allows them to work in cramped positions without overly stressing the ligaments, muscles, and tendons. For instance, firefighters sometimes have to crawl through a small space or opening while searching the floor space for a casualty in a house fire. Flexibility is best developed using controlled and slow stretching exercises.

Conclusion

When you go for an interview as a firefighter applicant, recruiters will not only look for physical traits, strength, endurance, and flexibility; but also your personal qualities. These personal qualities are generally known as the Firefighter Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQAs).Your personality reflects your individual work ethics. It shows how much you love and value your job of helping other people in jeopardy. So, apart from the physical exam, you will be assessed based on your outlook in life and personal character traits.

A career as a firefighter is no joke since it requires dedication and full commitment to your work. You must be available anytime when emergency situations calls for duty. Saving people’s lives is a respectable and reputable job. Can you imagine life without firefighters to rescue in times of fires and accidents?

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Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 in Firefighting methods |

Why Do Firefighters Break Windows and Cut Holes in Roofs?

As a fire burns, it usually moves upwards, then outwards. Breaking windows and cutting holes in the rooftop, or “ventilation” in firefighting jargon, stops that destructive outward movement and allows firefighters to fight more efficiently, causing less damage in total. It also reduces the amount of hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide from building up inside the building, which reduces the chances of smoke explosion (Backdraft) and it buys potential victims more time.

Ventilation

Ventilation is a crucial process of almost any firefighting operation. The ability to eliminate fire gasses, heat and smoke from a burning building can really help with the ability to locate victims. It creates a more survivable situation for the victims, eases the environmental impact firefighters have to work in and accelerates the ability to for firefighters to put out the fire.

Proper ventilation delivered at the wrong time and improper ventilation can greatly increase the amount of work required to complete fire ground tasks by spreading fire and increasing heat and it could ultimately contribute to the injury or death of firefighters. Ventilation methods used by the fire service include hydraulic ventilation, vertical ventilation, and mechanical ventilation. All of these processes allow for the removal of hazardous fire products and replacement of these with fresh air.

When Should Firefighters Begin Ventilation?

Ventilation should be considered before fire crews start operating inside a structure. Fire build up should be on every firefighter’s mind. Ventilation is often an afterthought, only brought up when an interior crew is driven to the ground from high heat and low visibility.

When dealing with heat, smoke, and fire gasses, science plays a vital role. In the most basic form, all elements of the fire triangle create pressure and these forces are doing everything they can to balance pressure by escaping out the path of least resistance. So when firefighters run into a burning building without addressing ventilation, they have typically made their point of entry the path that the fire will take.

Natural Ventilation

This method of ventilation isn’t regarded as a mechanical ventilation procedure; it doesn’t require anything to direct the flow of air out of or into a building. Remember that taking out doors and windows is a safe way to allow hazardous fire products to exit the building, but this needs to be coordinated with interior crews.

Additionally, if positive pressure is the method your crews may be using in the future, are you removing your ability to regulate the interior air flow? This process must still be considered with incident command to ensure only the windows necessary are being removed; unnecessarily breaking windows that aren’t necessary to extinguish the fire is poor customer service and puts firefighters at risk.

Mechanical Ventilation

If used appropriately, mechanical ventilation can assist with and make ventilation more effective. Once the fire source is extinguished, the interior crew can use the water stream to ventilate the zone. This method is referred to as power venting or hydraulic ventilation. It’s achieved by directing the hose stream out a window opening from the structure. The line is repositioned further away from the window opening, and a thin fog pattern is used to shield as much of the opening as possible to create a lower pressure at the window as that within the building. The smoke, heat, and gasses will be drawn past the stream following the path of least resistance and be drawn out of the area through the window.

Vertical Ventilation

Most fire fighters are aware of the science of fighting fires, thanks to training from webcasts, written articles, and online and offline classes. After such studies, many fire service members prefer not to ventilate roofs, mainly due to lightweight building construction techniques. But vertical ventilation can be safe and effective based on experience, research, and knowledge. However, vertical ventilation cannot be implemented at will without collaborating with the attack crew.

Horizontal Ventilation

Horizontal ventilation allows air flow to discharge dangerous smoke, heat, and gases. It is the process of creating an opening on the fire floor to allow smoke, heat, and gases to travel horizontally out of the building without altering or reducing the effect, to the unaffected areas of the structure.

Positive Pressure Ventilation

This is one of the basic methods used by the fire service. When used appropriately, it’s a great problem solver. The process essentially uses ventilators to force air into a structure, releasing smoke and heat in a quick, controlled manner. Positive-pressure ventilation will work effectively in all areas but will need assistance in high rises if it’s being used as the only means of ventilation.

Effects of Proper Ventilation

Effective ventilation dramatically assists in the control, attack, and extinguishment of a structure fire. Let’s have a look at some of the effects of proper ventilation in firefighting:

  • Reduced temperature levels

  • Reduced smoke damage to property

  • Reduced temperature levels.

  • Controlled impurities level

  • Better visibility

  • Reduced possibility of flashover/backdraft

  • Easier to locate source of fire or victims

Conclusion

Ventilation is a very important tactic that can have as great an impact on fire behavior as the application of water. The problem is that the window of time to be effective can be very small, so it’s very important to apply appropriate ventilation techniques at the right time.

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