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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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