Remembering 9/11

This summer I took a trip to NYC and was able to visit the 9/11 memorial and museum. It was an incredible experience as I was able to visit the site where so many of my mentors went to work that morning. It is a day we will never forget and I am grateful for their service, and the selflessness they demonstrated to the world.

Pushing Fire Revisited

In my opinion the topic of “Pushing fire with water” is the single greatest piece of fire attack research which has been communicated poorly or misunderstood. UL is elaborating greatly and providing much better context/more clearly stated material for us to understand the early studies. If you have heard the phrase “you can’t push fire with water” don’t stop at this result or statement. There is much more to the story.

 

Do not take a snippet of information and tailor your training programs to provide the “latest fire attack research and recommendations”. Firefighters have a habit of taking research results (from multiple disciplines) and applying them to training exercises without context. That being said UL is also to blame for this miscommunication. Firefighters typically do not separate their discussions of water application and air entrainment during training. For many firefighters these are one in the same. Even though different patterns yield different results, some create more air entrainment and others much mess, there is no on/off switch to turn the air off at the nozzle.


Firefighters need to understand context, they need to understand the background and significance of these research projects. Reading the first and last paragraph of a 100 page research paper doesn’t provide you with a good foundation. It gives you results without context. To communicate as an instructor you need context and to translate that information into training and drills you need to understand the background and significance of these processes. Without context your drill becomes a training exercise prepped to fail. Adult learning typically happens in phases. 1. Rite, 2. Understanding, 3. Application, and 4. Correlation. Students participating in a drill need to get to the application phase and instructors need to live in the correlation phase. At the beginning of basic training we learn through Rite or memorization. We don’t quite grasp where or why and we have a hard time applying the skills during the initial phases of training. Once a student understands the skills we can apply those skills which provides a much better outcome. Skipping steps will only lead to confusion in the training process. Aaron Fields and I had a discussion one time and he provided me with a great teaching tool. He said, “If you have a student that says [I don’t see where this fits] you have missed the application phase of learning.” The student doesn’t understand how to apply the skill.


Lastly, just because you read it, watch it, or listen to it doesn’t mean it isn’t flawed. Research projects are very difficult to construct without some flaws. Most applied research projects literally have a section in the paper which explains the problems or flaws that might’ve occurred during the process. Make your drills purposeful, give them context, and your crews will perform at a much higher level. Follow the link below to understand this topic in much more detail. 

 

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Night on Fire | MS State Fire Academy

During each recruit course at the Mississippi State Fire Academy a “Night Burn” training session is conducted. During this night burn family and friends are welcomed to see the recruits in action and it signifies a large step of completion within their training process. This is the moment the recruits get “passed the hump” of their training to receive the NFPA 1011-I-II Certification in the state of Mississippi.

Training at the Crossroads | HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

We had a great time in Corinth, MS at the 2019 Training at the Crossroads. I teamed up with the guys from Dixie Firemanship to deliver an Engine Ops course over the weekend. The event provided Engine Ops Training, Truck Ops Training, and even Hazardous Materials Training. We had a great group of attendees and I hope to see everyone again. If you’re interested in hosting an event yourself fell free to contact me or the guys at Dixie Firemanship to schedule the next Engine and Truck Ops training event.

Training at the Crossroads

For those of you that have signed up for the “Training at the Crossroads” event, get ready for some great training. The Corinth Fire Department in conjunction with Dixie Firemanship will be hosting the event in Corinth, MS on March 15-17th. I will be attending this event and also joining in on the Engine Ops Track as an instructor.

The weekend rundown is listed below:

Friday 3/15

- Lunch is on your own.
- Dinner is provided to you at the Corinth Elks Lodge locates at 1521 Robertson Drive, Corinth, MS starting at 1800hrs.

Saturday 3/16 and Sunday 3/17:

  • Check in starts at 0800hrs at the Corinth Fire Department Training Field locates at 5 Manpower Rd, Corinth, MS (Across from the college).

  • Fire Track needs Structural Firefighting Gear and SCBA with at least 1 spare bottle is required for both Saturday and Sunday.

  • Hazmat Track need SCBA and at least 1 spare bottle for both Saturday and Sunday.

- Lunch is provided both days
- Dinner will be provided Saturday night at Smiths Downtown located at 603 N. Fillmore, Corinth, MS starting at 1800hrs.

For those that still need lodging, contact the Hampton Inn Corinth directly at (662) 286-5949 and let them know you’re with The Training at The Crossroads event.

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Deep South Fire Conference | Birmingham, AL

If you are a southern firefighter that cares about mastering your craft this conference is for you. The list of instructors shows that the Deep South Firefighter Conference is going to be a great event. The conference will take place in Birmingham, AL on March 28-30, 2019. You can CLICK HERE for more info and tickets for each track.

Engine Company Operations Instructors

Engine Company Operations Instructors

Laddering With A Purpose Instructors

Laddering With A Purpose Instructors

Fire Flows from High Pressure to Low Pressure

Great fundamental fire behavior concepts from the Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI). Understanding how fire and gases travel from areas of high pressure towards low pressure will enable you to make better decisions on the fire-ground. The video above is provided by the FSRI. If you would like more information from them you can click here to visit their website or click here to visit their YouTube channel. 

Heat Release Rate vs. Temperature

A topic I discuss very often in classes is the difference between Heat Release Rate and Temperature. This is a fundamental concept all firefighters need to understand in order to make sound decisions on the fireground. We all seem to grasp the reference of temperature very quickly because of how much we rely on temperatures in daily life. However, a candle on fire and a room on fire are two completely different things even if they are burning at the same temperature. The video above offers a very good introduction to the basics of heat release rate and temperature. This video is produced by the Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) and they have many more videos and resources available for you to learn about fire research and science. You can click here to visit the FSRI website or you can click here to visit their YouTube Channel.

FDIC 2018 Highlight Video

FDIC 2018 did not disappoint. I always enjoy traveling to Indy and meeting up with the world's greatest firefighters. Firefighters that are like minded, share the same passion, and are enthusiastic about the jobs we all do. More videos will come out soon but until then you can see our highlight video below.

5 Fundamental Plays for the Engine Company

Early in my career the fire scene felt like a chaotic place. Every fire looked different and offered unique challenges. As I developed more skills and learned more about incident management and fire attack concepts I realized that the vast majority of the fires we respond to are much more similar than they are different. In order to more effectively evaluate the engine company and the types of attacks we perform let us take a look at 5 fundamental plays for the Engine Company. 

1. The Pre-Connected Attack

The Pre-Connected Attack is the most used line on our Engines. This line is a predetermined length and size hose-line that is connected to a discharge. Most of the time these lines are setup for your department's most common occupancy types. The most common pre-connected attack line I see is the 200' 1.75" hand-line. The pre-connected attack line offers many advantages including a predetermined flow requirement and length. The pre-connected line provides firefighters with a quick solution for the majority of fires they will fight. However, the pre-connected line can also develop bad habits. Many firefighters pull the pre-connect on every fire regardless if the fire is large or more complex.

2. The Extended Attack

The extended attack is something every engine should have the ability to perform. In the simplest form, the extended attack is simply for attacking fires that are out of reach of your pre-connected lines. The extended attack is very good for long set-backs, apartment complexes, narrow alleys, and providing you with a flexible solution for a multitude of fires. 

3. The Big Line

The big line is for fires with heavier fire loads. This style of attack comes typically in the form of a 2.5" hand-line. This attack method increases the flow rate for fires with more energy.

4. The Blitz Attack

A blitz attack can be defined in two different ways. In some parts of the country a blitz attack would be a 2.5" hand-line but in others it may be a rapid attack style monitor. Regardless of the tool used, this method is designed to "Blitz" a fire with a lot of water during the initial stages of fire attack. Many crews will perform a blitz attack with larger lines and then transition to smaller attack lines like the 1.75".

5. The Master Stream Attack

Often viewed as a defensive operation, the master stream attack is for throwing a lot of water at a fire very quickly. This method of fire attack works really well for building that have a detached section with heavy fire. For example, a detached garage may produce a tremendous amount of heat energy that a smaller attack line simply cannot handle. A master stream can flow around 500 gallons of water at a fire in only 30 seconds. This can knock down a lot of heat energy for you to transition to your smaller attack lines. Detroit performs this attack method very often and they refer to it as "dumping the monitor". 

 

Take a look at the video and evaluate your ability as an engine company to perform these styles of fire attack. This is a great time to sit with your crew and discuss your ability to perform these plays. 

MSA G1 with iTIC at FDIC 2017

We took a look at the MSA G1 with iTIC (Integrated Thermal Imaging Camera) at the MSA booth during FDIC 2017. Sean Meigs from MSA gave us a quick overview of the features included with the G1 and the iTIC. If you haven't seen this iTIC I highly recommend getting a demo of the unit. I do not feel that this replaces a handheld imager but it is really nice to have integrated into your SCBA. It is very well designed and really does not create any more clutter on the SCBA. I really like the way the unit is powered from one central power source. You do not need to check and change batteries from multiple places. If you want more information about the iTIC or the G1 you can visit their website at http://msafire.com/breathe/

Gore Particulate Hood Quick Look

During FDIC 2017 we had the opportunity to take a quick look at the new Gore Particulate Hood. This is a particulate blocking hood built by W.L. Gore and Majestic Fire Apparel. Many of you have heard of each of these companies so it is no surprise to see Gore provide the particulate blocking layer to Majestic Fire Apparel to manufacture and distribute the hood. Gore has been a very well known barrier development company and Majestic Fire Apparel has been a leading manufacturer of fire service hoods for many years. In the video below Holly Blake gives us a brief overview of the new hood and how it performs. 

Elkhart Brass XD Nozzles

At FDIC 2017 we met with Chris Martin from Elkhart Brass to take a look at the new XD nozzles. Elkhart has really done a good job on these nozzles listening to the feedback of firefighters and using suggestions in the design. This series from Elkhart is titled XD for a reason, it stands for extreme duty. Once you take a look at them you will realize they truly are built for work. Everything on this nozzle was considered and not just what you see in plain view. The waterway inside is also refined offering a full round ball for a smooth internal barrel. Take a look at the video below to get a nice overview of the new Elkhart XD nozzles.

Tru ID Hose with Dennis Legear

If you haven't heard of Dennis Legear or about his research from hydrants to nozzles you have to read up and watch this video. Dennis has provided the fire service with some great ideas and research and his latest project has come to fruition. Tru ID hose was a major effort by many to produce a spec of fire hose built with purpose and built to solve several critical issues. In the video below Dennis explains some of the reasoning and details behind the design and why this is important to every firefighter that rides the nozzle. If you would like to read more about his work visit his website at: www.hydrant2nozzle.com

New Box Alarm Training Website

We have a new website!

In an effort to streamline our training resources we have completely redesigned the Box Alarm Training website. The new site offers a much more organized experience. 

Things to checkout in the new site:

  • Blog

    • The blog will provide you with all of our latest training and news articles.
  • Webcasts

    • The webcast section provides our newest videos and also an online form to submit questions for the YouTube channel webcast.
  • Videos

    • The Videos section has been organized into playlist based on the category of training. You will be able to find training videos based on the topic you are interested in.

I hope the new design will provide a much better experience when you use the Box Alarm Training website. If you have any questions you can use our new contact page to submit your questions.

Disaster Management for the Company Officer

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Disaster management can be extremely challenging for the company officer. Unfortunately I have seen my share of disasters while deploying on 5 different tornadoes responses. Early on I realized that middle management becomes a very difficult place to work because of the sheer magnitude of many of these disasters. I learned a tip awhile back that really helps with lining out the responsibilities of each crew member so that we fall in line with the National Incident Management System. When you find yourself in a disaster management situation ask yourself these questions.

What's my job?

This is the first question you should ask in order to define your role in the response.

Who do I work for?

It is very important to define who you work for or who you should report to throughout the operation. This will help disseminate information through the proper channels and reduce the duplication of effort.

Who works for me?

Things will move quickly during the initial stages of a disaster operation. Find out who will be working under you to make sure you have the ability to perform personnel accountability reports and can effectively manage those assigned to work with you.

Where do I get my stuff?

Your assignment can vary greatly and each response may require equipment that is not readily available. You need to find out where to retrieve specialized equipment and how to request additional equipment.

How long do I have?

Defining your operational period will help you understand the time incident command staff believe you should be finished with your assignment. You need to report your status through the proper chain of command and if additional time is needed let your supervisor know what is going on.

In the video below I discuss these topics and how to use the above 5 questions to help you get organized during a disaster response.

https://youtu.be/qyOOCtWqvn0

How to go to FDIC on the Cheap

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How to go to FDIC on the Cheap? FDICThe easiest way to go to FDIC and not break the bank is to only attend the exhibits. The exhibits at FDIC are pretty incredible. It can take days just to see everything on the floor. A lot of firefighters do not see any educational value in going to see the exhibits but the reality is there are many subject matter experts at nearly every booth waiting to answer any questions you have. I highly recommend getting a group together and staying in a hotel outside the downtown area. You just commute into the downtown area each day and enjoy the show. If you see us on the floor stop and say hello.

For registration information CLICK HERE.

 

 

You can watch the video below to learn more:

https://youtu.be/I28PRac82DQ

How to Label Sides of a Structure

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Over the years we have seen several different methods of labeling sides of a structure. They range from numerical to alphabetical and even by compass heading. However, it does not matter which way you choose to label sides of a building if the companies arriving label the sides differently. If the first arriving company does not establish their location and side, the incoming companies can easily become confused and disoriented. The best practice right now is to label the sides of a structure alphabetically in a clockwise fashion. Some firefighters will tell you the Alpha side would be the address or street side and you would label the remaining sides after that determination. This can become a major problem if you arrive on scene with a building that is oddly shaped or lands in the middle of a parking lot where there is no clear "address side".

In the video below we will clarify how to properly label and identify sides of a structure. We will also show a couple of examples where labeling the side by the initial arriving company is of the utmost importance.

https://youtu.be/prvZ83ilZEg

Benefits of the Reverse Lay

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Very rarely do we discuss the tactical advantages of different types of hose layouts for water supply. However, once you break down the movements and positional assignments of each type of hose lay you begin to see some advantages for different scenarios. The Reverse Lay offers several key advantages for limited manpower and residential structure fires. First let's look at the three main ways to lay out supply line.

Forward

The forward lay is very common and is typically used by the second due engine to supply the first due engine with a supply line. The second due engine stops at a nearby hydrant, drops a firefighter off to make connections and then proceeds to lay hose out to the attack engine.

Reverse Lay

The reverse lay is a popular lay in many different parts of the United States. The Reverse Lay is typically used by the second due engine to supply the first due engine with a supply line. The second due engine stops at the scene or the attack engine, drops a supply line off to make connections and then proceeds to the hydrant.

Split Lay or Blind Alley

The Split Lay is great for confined areas like long narrow driveways, alleys, tight streets with limited access and dead ends. The split lay is typically initiated by the first due engine when they recognize an access problem. The first due engine drops their supply line in an intersection or location before the confined area and then proceeds to the fire. The second due engine lays a line to the first due's supply line. This creates two different hose lays that meet in the middle. The split lay helps to keep other companies from getting jammed into a tight spot while trying to position on a fire.

In the video below we discuss the 3 different types of hose layouts but also go into more detail about the advantages the Reverse Lay has to offer.

https://youtu.be/uunsCzuSv5M