Oakville Fire uses new software to maximize home safety surveys

Oakville Fire uses new software to maximize home safety surveys

The fire department in Oakville, Ont., is using mapping software to identify the areas of the community where smoke alarm and home safety education is needed.

Dispatches: A lifetime of learning in 18 months

Dispatches: A lifetime of learning in 18 months

Columnist Jennifer Grigg reflects on overcoming obstacles and instructing at the Ontario Fire College.

Extrication tips: New approaches to patient care

Extrication tips: New approaches to patient care

Continuing his discussion on patient care, extrication expert Chad Roberts considers new approaches to patient care procedures.

Fit for Duty: How to improve strength and endurance

Fit for Duty: How to improve strength and endurance

Columnist Sherry Dean says firefighters need to build both strength and endurance to be fit for duty.

Between Alarms: Set your department’s core values

Between Alarms: Set your department’s core values

Chief Arjuna George says departments should be guided by a set of core values that inspires members.

During my stint as an instructor at the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst, one of the expectations that really impacted me was the awareness and importance of using gender neutral or gender-inclusive language in the classroom.
Training and preparation play a tremendous role in firefighters’ lives. These two activities foster an environment of mandated lifelong learning in the fire service. Canadian Firefighter’s annual Training Day, which has traditionally been held in September, has an exciting new partnership with the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC).
Last June, I began a journey that challenged, motivated and inspired me in ways that I never could have imagined. I started a new job as an instructor at the Ontario Fire College. It was everything I’d dreamed of and more, so much more.
May 23, 2017, Oakville, Ont. - My average day involves sitting in front of a computer, editing stories, and lots of coffee. What it doesn't involve is crawling through smoke, cutting up cars or running hoses. But the day I spent at the Oakville Fire Department was not an average day.Before I suited up in editor Laura King's gear, I was given a truck tour and shown around the training facility. The alarm went off and the firefighters had to race off to a nearby school. It seemed as if it took no more than 30 seconds for the guys to suit up and drive off.It probably took me 15 minutes to put on my turnout gear. Just as I was feeling comfortable in the gear, and feeling the weight of the SCBA on my back, Training Officer Darren Van Zandbergen slipped a smoke-simulation screen into my helmet and I was once again uncomfortable . . . and essentially blind.I never realized how little is visible through smoke. I assumed some light would peek through; crawling on the floor feeling my way around walls and fallen beams I realized how wrong I was. It was nerve-wracking to blindly feel my way through the training building, but ironically it was an eye-opening experience.I have edited Extrication Tips columns for Canadian Firefighter, but I finally got to experience what it's all about. The tools were much heavier than I expected, my previous extrication experience having been limited to on paper. It was tough, but I managed cut through the windshield and the sedan door.By the time I attended the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs conference that weekend, I felt I had a better understanding of the job. I was enrolled in the municipal officials seminar and attended a training day at the Fire & Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) in Mississauga.That day I spent in Oakville made me seem like a total pro at FESTI, so many thanks to everyone in Oakville!With "KING" on my back and looking like a pro, a few people at FESTI asked if I was from the King City Fire Department. Funnily enough, I was born, raised and still live in King City. What a way to represent my hometown!There's only so much you can learn in front of a computer. Getting out from behind my desk was one of the most valuable experiences to help me edit the work of fire chiefs and firefighters to the best of my abilities. I have so much more to learn about fire, but hopefully with your help, Fire Fighting in Canada and Canadian Firefighter readers, I will get there. I'll never be able to understand the ins and outs like you do, but it's worth trying.I feel really lucky to be able to report on the fire industry. Even more so, I feel lucky that I can edit knowing that I am safe because my local fire department has that under control. After each training session, I was reminded not to take emergency services for granted.So, the least I can do is bring relevant and informative stories to the fire service industry! Let me know what matters to you as a fire service professional? What do you want to read about? I am looking forward to learning more about the industry as an assistant editor, and maybe I will get to attend a few more training sessions in the process.Lauren Scott is the assistant editor of Fire Fighting in Canada and Canadian Firefighter magazines. Contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
May 18, 2017, Toronto - A firefighter with experience in water-ice rescue testified Wednesday at an inquest examining training deaths that he avoids exercises in icy, swift water because it is too dangerous.
Jan. 19, 2017, Toronto -  It’s complicated, this two-hatter issue. But the gist of it is this: an American-based trade union is denying its members the freedom that other Canadians have to work and do what they want in their spare time – build decks, plow snow, fix plumbing, be volunteer/part-time firefighters in their home communities.The union – the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) – on Monday tried four of its members who work full time in Mississauga, Ont., and also work part time¬ in Halton Hills, a community northwest of Toronto with a composite fire department.The IAFF constitution prohibits secondary employment – it forbids firefighters from working part time in another union shop (as firefighters, paramedics or public-safety officers), and members who do so are disciplined for violating an oath. Oddly, the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association allows, by its own count, about 1,000 of its members to work as paramedics, without reprisal. Monday’s session ¬– an internal trial board hearing ¬– was closed; Mississauga’s past union president Mark Train, who sometimes represents the union in legal matters, declined to discuss details, saying the process has not concluded and, “as such I will not comment on the matter.”The hearing started and ended Monday but the trial board has a period of time during which to mete out penalties. One of the four firefighters on trail admitted to violating the IAFF constitution and resigned Monday night from the Halton Hills Fire Department. The penalty being considered for the other firefighters is a $1,000 initial fine followed by monthly levies of $500, and another $500 for every six months during which the part-time activities continue – a fairly blunt deterrent. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the union would revoke the two-hatters’ memberships, thereby potentially affecting their full-time jobs; most collective agreements require municipalities to employ only firefighters who are associatin members, and the IAFF has pressed towns and cities to terminate firefighters who have been dismissed from the union.The Halton Hills firefighters represented themselves at Monday’s hearing – legal counsel was not provided; in fact, the municipality is eliminating two-hatters through attrition, and has declined to hire two hatters for its part-time roster since 2011 in anticipation of union action.That’s in contrast to Caledon, Ont., a large, composite department with 22 unionized career firefighters and more than 250 volunteers. Some Brampton firefighters who work part time in Caledon received letters from their locals in the fall, making it clear that there would be repercussions if they continued to respond to calls as two-hatters. Some two-hatters handed in their pagers but the issue is ongoing. Town of Caledon management is supporting the two-hatters and providing legal counsel. And that may lead to the test of Bill 109, which was introduced by the governing Liberals and passed in 2016; it amended Ontario’s Fire Protection and Prevention Act to include a non-discrimination clause meant to ensure that full-time firefighters can also work part time in their smaller, home communities. But there’s politics at play. Ontario’s IAFF members, of course, roundly backed Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals during the 2014 provincial election; if Bill 109 is, indeed, tested, and holds up to scrutiny, that sea of support could evaporate. While the IAFF is American-based, the two-hatter issue arises only if charges are laid by a member of the offending firefighter’s home local, or by someone else affected by the two-hatting activity. I’m at a bit of a loss to understand how unionized firefighters in Mississauga are affected by their colleagues’ part-time employment in Halton Hills, but maybe I’m missing something.And, in what seems to be a conflicting philosophy, the OPFFA’s fire-paramedic proposal would allow members who are both firefighters and paramedics to administer symptom relief to patients at medical calls; critics claim the plan is simply a way to ensure firefighter jobs. Read between the lines.
Jan. 4, 2017, Slave Lake, Alta. -  Run of the mill calls, or are they?It was 10 p.m. on a cold Wednesday night in November and the tones went off for a vehicle fire in the southwest part of town. Just another vehicle fire, I thought. Upon arrival our Lesser Slave Regional Fire Service duty officer (someone covers the area 24/7 with a command vehicle that goes out before crews) saw a small amount of smoke coming from the front of a vehicle that was crashed into the front of a mobile home. The calls to the hall were hurried and crews could tell that the situation was more than a typical vehicle fire. With temperatures at -23 C and the wind 30 km/h out of the northwest, this was destined to be a cold fight.On arrival, firefighters hurried to their positions and started the attack on the SUV fire that by now (seven minutes into call) was starting to spread into the corner of the mobile home it was smashed into. With the SUV and the trailer on fire, a second hose was deployed and more resources were called to the scene. This particular mobile home was located in a tight cul-de-sac and parking was at a premium – the structure was flanked on one side by a house and on the other by an open lot (which firefighters had been at the previous month for a struck gas line). The firefighters started dousing the flames in the vehicle, while the second crew set up for the mobile-home fire. Just as things were getting really exciting, a most peculiar thing happened . . . the SUV started rolling down the driveway and out into the road, slowly at first and then picking up speed as it left the driveway and went out into the cul-de-sac. This flaming vehicle headed past firefighters with flames dancing, and ended up just 10 feet from the side of our brand new, $500,000 custom-cab truck!Firefighters standing by tried to slow the roll, and firefighters moved hose lines and attacked the fire with new vigour as the very truck that brought them was threatened. At the same time, the mobile-home fire had reached the soffits (plastic no less) and moved into the attic space. On this newer style mobile home, the new, vaulted ceiling left small, cut up, awkward attic spaces and the fire was hard to follow.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.cdnfirefighter.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleriabfaa586171 The weather made every attempt to stop us, freezing up masks, turning water to ice to get the vehicle moving backwards, freezing up nozzles and firefighters alike. Command ordered an aggressive interior attack and vented the attic space and pulled drywall ahead of the fire. Firefighters held the fire at the halfway mark despite the overwhelming weather odds, and the close call out front. Insulation froze to everything, leaving firefighters looking like half-plucked chickens. Masks were frozen, and were later removed while overhaul continued (there was great air movement and all smoke and off gassing was removed by natural ventilation). Firefighters tried seeing through iced and fogged visors and safety glasses but, in the end, two were treated for debris in their eyes. Not a great outcome and as many judge, others who know and have been there understand.As the fires were brought under control, the investigation started and as weird as this call was, the reason it started followed right along. A kid in the house (14 years old) with a learner’s driving license, had decided that a trip to the store (three blocks away) had to be by SUV on this cold night. After warming the SUV, she decided to back out of the driveway – while the SUV was in drive. After slamming into the mobile home, she ran inside and alerted the other occupants. As the others were leaving, the SUV had already caught fire. Hard decision after hard decision combined with freezing temperatures, and wind that blew right through us, made this a fire for the record books. Seventeen firefighters on four trucks spent three hours gaining an upper hand on these fires. Many rotating shifts and a crafty crew familiar with cold-weather events got us to this positive outcome. It didn’t hurt that we had spare gloves, toques, and Tim Hortons to keep us warm.To me the lesson this night was be prepared – have dry clothes, bad-weather SOGS, and firefighters who can adapt quickly and efficiently. Calls like this should remind us all of those long cold nights on which the satisfaction of a job well done, and the community of the fire service, are all that can keep us warm.Jamie Coutts is chief of the Greater Slave Lake Regional Fire Service and a regular contributor to Fire Fighting in Canada / Canadian Firefighter. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @chiefcoutts
Nov. 24, 2016, Niagara Falls, Ont. – Sometimes, as an objective and trained observer, it’s fascinating to be the proverbial fly on the wall, to gather information, filter the rhetoric, and over time, give readers a clear and contextual picture of fire-service issues. That’s what I’m doing (or trying to do, despite some obstacles) this week, at the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) mid-term conference in Niagara Falls. While the OAFC unveiled the basics of its new strategic plan Wednesday morning – enhanced communication, revenue generation, government relations, and members services are at the crux of the document – it is, of course, what’s going on in the background that has people talking. While the OAFC is getting its ducks in a row for its four-year plan– more detail was provided and approval sought from members in Thursday’s closed businesses session – the much larger, better organized Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA) is ensconced in its legislative conference at Queen’s Park, and it has the ear of the governing Liberals. Although the chiefs association has made considerable strides in government relations recently, the better-financed OPFFA, with a strong presence at the legislature and 13,000 boots on the ground, is, as OAFC executive vice-president Rick Arnel noted Wednesday morning, simply, better resourced. Again this week, the union has caused a bit of a kerfuffle with its fire-medic-turned-fire-paramedic-turned-patients-first proposal, about which the government is asking municipalities for input, and about which the chiefs have not been consulted by government. The two associations met earlier this week; OPFFA president Rob Hyndman and others, with the OAFC board, to pitch the IAFF’s new fire-ground survival protocol; the two groups have also discussed other issues, including the ever-frustrating two-hatter controversy, of which Brampton and Caledon firefighters are the most recent targets. Several people have said this week that Tuesday’s chiefs-union get together was productive and that the two associations can, indeed, work well together on issues. Save, perhaps, the fire-paramedic situation. Bizarrely, the government issued a discussion paper on Monday titled Patients First: Expanding Medical Responses, which, ostensibly, addresses challenges with land-ambulance service and promotes the OPFFA’s proposal to give expanded duties to firefighters who are also employed as paramedics, in a tiered-response situation (it’s not clear how many firefighters also work as paramedics). According to the discussion paper, this approach would be voluntary for municipalities. Any changes, of course, to firefighters’ roles, require amendments to the Fire Protection and Prevention Act. Essentially, the government wants input about the fire-paramedic proposal “to determine service viability and opportunities.” Ontario, of course, post-amalgamation in 1998, has three tiers of government: municipal, regional and provincial. Fire is municipally funded; EMS is regional. And according to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), that complicates things. The government document includes no financials, organizational or operations details. Simply, this: “There are three levels of paramedic scope of practice in Ontario. The ministry is exploring the potential option to allow eligible municipalities to choose to allow full-time firefighter to provide care up to the first level (primary care paramedic level).” A companion document – a lengthy survey being sent to stakeholders, including municipalities – however, makes it clear that any new costs would be municipal responsibilities. “Funding responsibility of the optional service will remain at 100% municipal cost,” the survey documents says. “The proposal would be an optional approach that municipalities can choose to implement at councils’ discretion based upon local decision and needs.” AMO has consistently opposed the fire-medic proposal, since it was first introduced in March 2015. “Municipal governments are deeply concerned about the direct and significant impact of the proposal on municipal emergency services, both financially and operationally,” AMO says on its website. “We will read the [government] discussion paper carefully, but to date, there has been no evidence or cost-benefit analysis seen that shows such an approach would improve patient outcomes.” More bluntly, AMO says that given the lack of evidence, it’s flummoxed that the proposal is a provincial priority given that municipalities would bear all the costs., labour challenges, and risks. “Fire services are 100 [per cent] funded by municipalities and only an elected municipal council has the authority to determine the level and type of fire protection services needed by its community,” AMO says. “We are also concerned that if any municipal council agrees to this proposal it would be replicated throughout Ontario by the current interest arbitration system.” Instead, AMO says, it wants the government to redevelop land-ambulance dispatch to improve patient outcomes. To a fly on the wall and an objective and trained observer, it’s interesting to hear the chatter about issues of the day: frustration that on the one hand, some union members refuse to allow their brethren work as part-time firefighters in their home municipalities, but on the other, could be seen to be impinging on another trade union to guarantee themselves employment longevity.        
Nov. 23, 2016, Niagara Falls, Ont. - Not once, in Fire Marshal Ross Nichols’ hour-long address to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs on Wednesday, did he claim to be “working on” the myriad initiatives that fire services across the province are anxious to see come to fruition.
Oct. 26, 2016 – An email landed in my in box last week from the always affable Brent Ross, spokesperson for the Ministry of Community Safety; Ross was replying to my request for details about the Ontario government’s response to the recommendations from the Elliot Lake inquiry.The gist is this: an RFS – request for service – has been issued for a review of emergency management in Ontario. The successful vendor will be engaged in November (more than two years after the inquiry recommendations were released); the review will begin in December and be completed in the spring (five years after the collapse of the Algo Centre mall); the process includes consultation but it’s not clear with whom.  “As part of the emergency management review,” Ross said in the email, “the incident management system will be reviewed and a way forward developed.” Ontario’s incident management system is a weighty document developed years ago with good intentions but it fails to suit the province’s myriad fire-department configurations and staffing models – career, composite, volunteer, urban, suburban, rural – and needs an overhaul.With emergency management becoming more relevant given weather events and security issues, it will be interesting to see how the review deals with a key recommendation of Elliot Lake Commissioner Paul Belanger, specifically, to steer clear of unified command.“There should be only one person in overall charge of a response; a ‘unified command’ structure should be avoided,” Belanger wrote in his final report from the inquiry. Yet emergency services across the province are training on responses to major incidents using unified command. Last week in Mississauga, police, fire and EMS personnel used unified command in an exercise that simulated an attack on a pipeline; and a few weeks ago in East Gwillimbury, unified command was embraced in a tri-services an exercise involving a threat.Belanger’s logic is as follows: “One final decision maker is essential to avoid conflicts or impasses caused by failure to reach a consensus. The concept of a unified command structure intrinsically contradicts the unity of command doctrine because it fails to ensure that decisions are made by someone who is ultimately responsible and accountable.”Indeed, to make his point, Belanger quotes the testimony of Dan Hefkey, the former Commissioner of Community Safety, who helped to write the provincial IMS doctrine.“So, under unified command, it is operating on the assumption that . . . I don’t know everything you know and you don’t know everything I know, so we are dependent, co-dependent, as a result that’s why you have a unified command,” Hefkey said. “And it then, when you enter into that agreement . . . there is no supreme arbiter to things; you and I are committing to commanding this incident jointly so that we can come to a mutually acceptable conclusion, so that your interests and my priorities are all met . . .  But. . . it’s not clean and it’s not to say that you’re going to have harmony one hundred per cent of the time. There are times when there are disagreement but when you decide that you are entering into a unified command arrangement that’s what you are doing.” Question: “A course of action between the two leaders of a unified command, assuming it is two, to disagree is not acceptable, correct?Hefkey: “No, they can disagree.” Question: “Sorry, if the disagreement results in no decision being made?”Hefkey: “That’s unacceptable.”Question: “That’s unacceptable?”Hefkey: “Absolutely correct.” Question: “You, in that particular case you would have dysfunctional unified command?”Hefkey. “That’s correct.” “As I have indicated,” Belanger said in the report, “the unified command structure is not well understood by the men and women who have to work with it on a regular basis. This difficulty is, in my view, because they understand that a system which allows for the possibility of clashing or inconsistent decisions, is unworkable.”Essentially, the commissioner said, the province’s incident-management system should be amended to eliminate the unified command model and require one incident commander “at all times.”According to Brent Ross, once the emergency management and IMS consultation/review is completed in the spring, the ministry will develop proposals to government in response to the review findings. I expect Commissioner Belanger will be watching, with interest.
Oct. 18, 2016, Toronto – I waited and watched and, sure enough, Friday afternoon, the Ontario government posted an update about the recommendations from the inquiry into the Elliot Lake mall collapse and the emergency response to it. It’s a brief – and rather vague – document. There were, you’ll recall, 71 recommendations in the Oct. 14, 2014, inquiry report – many dealing with building inspections and inspectors (the government has, indeed, done some work in those areas), and 31 specific to emergency management. There are, in the emergency-response section of the press release, nine updates, the first, of course, being a review of emergency management and the provincial incident management system.  The mall collapsed June 23, 2012; the inquiry convened in August 2013; and the recommendations were released two years ago. Lest I sound like a broken record, some context: In that time, the province of British Columbia – buoyed by a handful of dogged chief fire officers – released a comprehensive report by its fire-services liaison group, created new minimum training standards, developed the Structure Firefighters Competency and Training Playbook, and passed the new Fire Safety Act. There are lots of action words in the Ontario government’s press release – reviewing, developing, increasing, strengthening, ensuring, exploring, engaging – all in the present tense, all ongoing, all yet to be completed. For example, “Reviewing Ontario’s emergency management and incident management systems to further enhance and improve the province’s ability to respond to emergencies.”No details are provided and, as far as I’m aware, little has changed. (I’m waiting for an email reply from the Office of the Fire Marshal, specifically about the status of the emergency-management and IMS reviews.) Certainly there had been talk about committees and sub committees and both review processes, but nothing has come to fruition.Indeed, the government web page about Ontario’s incident-management system still links to the 2008 provincial IMS doctrine, as it’s known, and which inquiry witnesses called unwieldy and impractical.Why the slower-than-the-speed-of-government response? Let’s review. In August 2013, the Office of the Fire Marshal merged with Emergency Management Ontario. The mandate of the combined agency was (note the past tense) to work with municipal partners to deliver fire-safety and emergency-management programs and services, share expert advice with local decision makers, and support municipal response efforts in emergencies.In August 2015, fire marshal Ted Wieclawek left the office. OPP inspector Ross Nichols was named interim fire marshal in October 2015; his contract has now twice been extended while the government seeks the (apparently elusive) most-qualified candidate.I have witnessed myriad presentations about the reorganization of the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management; like everyone else, I waited and watched for change and progress but was told by various OFMEM officials that the reorganization was extensive and time consuming and that, in the words of the fire marshal, “we’re working on it.”In September in Thunder Bay, Al Suleman, who was director of emergency management with the OFMEM (but is now director of standards, training and public ed), explained that the agency is reorganizing the reorganization (my words, not his) and that the two entities are separating, having found the merger not to their liking – more of an annulment than a divorce given that the marriage was never consummated.  Meantime, updates on other inquiry issues noted in Friday’s press release – urban search and rescue, OPP incident-command training, and helping municipalities handle media during emergencies – are equally vague. It’s interesting, though, that there appears to be more focus on managing the message than managing the emergency.
Sweat runs down my back and my face is clammy with condensation inside my mask. My jeans stick to my legs, and I’m pretty sure the curls I had put in my hair (only an hour before) have melted into slick strands from the heat. No, I’m nowhere near a fire. Rather, I’m literally lying motionless on a floor in full PPE simulating a dummy while the real pros run through extrication techniques. As I watch them, I also fixate on something making a short-winded Darth Vader sound – and I soon realize that the familiar villain’s trademark is actually coming out of my own air mask. I then become increasingly aware of just how much gear is strapped to me, restricting my movements, and I turn my attention to how I’m going to stand up. My typical Saturday morning does not usually begin this way, but this isn’t just any Saturday. It’s Training Day at FESTI, and even with rain in the forecast nearly a hundred participants have arrived before the sun is even up. I was placed in the firefighter survival course for a full day of training, and I am still blown away at the disposition of both volunteer and career firefighters. Though these training drills are likely routine, they are not easy, especially for a rookie like myself. I followed one firefighter into a two level follow-the-hose simulation. Both of us on oxygen and his face covered with a balaclava to replicate black-out conditions. I declined this added effect, but still crawled on hands and knees behind him as he swept around the low-ceilinged room, manoeuvred down a ladder (gracefully I might add) and still continued to ask me, the one who could see, if I was alright. Later, I crawled through a wooden box with hundreds of wires and cords draped through it designed to snag participants. Trying not to look in any direction but the box’s exit, I distracted myself by thinking that this box of cords might make a great game – something along the lines of an amped up Twister that you could play with friends (I host great parties…). Then I got a little tangled, and it hit me; this type of seriously sticky situation can actually happen, but with fire and smoke looming around the corner. Throw in the possibility that the firefighter may also be low on oxygen, injured or unable to get free and it’s enough to send anyone into a panic. Ditching my interactive game making goals, I pulled myself out of the box and emerged with a heightened awareness of what these people may endure on any given day. I watched as my group blindly crawled through a maze blockaded with furniture, a trap door and low hanging wires. I observed teams of two calmly working together to find their oxygen packs inside a series of metal cages. Drenched in sweat, these guys did not run to the exit to breath fresh air when the task was complete, and instead were eager to review what they could improve upon in the future. I’ve found that completing detailed work in heavy gear by coupling patience with brute force is a far from glamorous job, and not something that everyone is able to do. I quickly learned that a willing personality will only get you so far in this business, especially if you’re a lanky writer, with minor claustrophobia, who’s idea of exercise is a walk around the block. Appreciation is an understatement, but also a word I didn’t realize could mean so much. 
No one likes to see an ‘out of service’ tag on broken down items that are awaiting repair, especially in the fire service. Sometimes tools or apparatus are taken off the line due to lack of maintenance, an overlooked issue or an unforeseen problem. Either way, the equipment needs to be fixed quickly and efficiently to be placed back into service ASAP.
Senior fire officials and human resources professionals gathered to discuss labour challenges, diversity and changes to legislation at the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs’ (OAFC) Labour Relations Seminar in January. The seminar was presented in partnership with labour and employment law firm Hicks Morley from Jan. 17-18 in Toronto.
Some of the world’s most successful people all have one thing in common: they are all fanatical readers. Reading provides a multitude of benefits to your personal life and your career. Before I joined the fire service, I was far from an avid reader, but once I found my calling and developed a strong passion for the trade, reading was easy. Reading became interesting and it was fun.
As a much younger man, I was taught early on in my fire service career to be prepared – for anything. In the fall of 1989, as a fresh-faced rookie, one of the first lessons I remember being offered up by a ‘salty old guy’ was to keep a pair of heavy socks in your fire boots for the colder months. Those hand-me-down rubber hip boots that were standard issue at my first volunteer fire department were minimally insulated and did little to fend off the bone-chilling winter cold. I took the advice and stuffed an old pair of wool hunting socks into the boots. However, I never actually put the socks on. It always seemed like too much work and it would take too much time to pull those rough, scratchy, stretched-out socks over my cotton ones.  And besides, I didn’t want to miss the fire engine or be the last one to get on. My feet were often cold back then.  Fast-forward almost 30 years (man, time flies), I find that I am now the ‘salty old guy’ who gets to pass on tips to others. For those of you who have followed my Tim-bits articles in this fine publication for the past five years, you’ll notice that the overarching theme essentially boils down to what I was taught very early on – be prepared for anything.  As firefighters, we need to construct our hose beds to be capable and ready for a forward or reverse lay. We need to be prepared to advance, position and lay out hoselines in different manners for the greatest efficiency and effect. We need to be prepared. In this column, I’m taking what my ‘salty old guy’ told me, and I’m adding my two cents along with what has worked well over my years of service. The preparation that I’m going to speak about is not that of training, but of personal preparedness for whatever might come our way.My old guy told me to keep a spare pair of socks in my fire boots. My advice to all is to get a small duffle bag or backpack to hold a pair of socks and other essentials. I use a version of a pilot’s helmet bag that has served me well for several years now. It’s durable and is just the right size to hold what I might need; and not too big to get in the way in the front or back of the fire engine. I take it with me on every call; because, you know, I want to be prepared. So, what’s inside? Nothing groundbreaking, I just keep a few things that have helped me when things didn’t go as expected. First, there are the basics: something to change into or additional layers if I get cold and/or wet. There are two pairs of socks, one thick pair and one thin. And they’re good socks that I enjoy wearing; not the stretched out, scratchy ones that I had way back when. There’s also a long sleeve t-shirt and a sweatshirt, which have come in handy in both warm and cold weather. I keep a fresh supply of water and some kind of nourishment. Currently living in the inside pockets of my bag are two bottles of water that I change out at least every six months and two or three granola bars and/or other non-coated energy bars. I found out the hard way that the chocolate-coated protein bars are a bad idea due to their low melting temperatures. You may think that keeping food and water in a personal bag is a dumb idea if your apparatus always has water and some snacks on it – like my trucks do. But what happens if a problem arises for some reason and you find yourself not attached to that particular apparatus anymore? What if you are hungry or thirsty and the rehab wagon is still some time away? Always be prepared. My personal bag also contains one spare pair of fire gloves and a spare fire hood. Like the socks, these items are quality and both are brand new. They are the same style and size that I use daily. In the rare occasion that your company ever finds itself going to back-to-back fires or long incidents, a dry pair of gloves and a dry hood can make a big difference for your personal comfort. And, if you lose your frontline gloves or hood, you will still be prepared to respond. Finally, and probably most importantly, I keep a pack of baby wipes. Current research tells us that firefighters need to decontaminate their faces and necks ASAP after a fire call. Using a baby wipe after a call can help limit exposure to the harmful soot that makes its way through our gear. Also, if nature calls and you’re out in the middle of nowhere, they are a lifesaver.  Whether or not you decide to take advice is up to you. But I encourage you to ready yourself and your equipment, because in today’s world, you never know how long you’re going to be out when the call comes.Tim Llewellyn is a firefighter for the Allegheny County Airport Authority in Pittsburgh, Pa., and an instructor for a number of fire academies and training faculties. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Twenty-five sets of bunker gear hang along the back wall at our station, each with a nameplate for every member of our department. Some of our senior crewmembers have put in over 30 years of service and are still active in training, responses and community involvement. On the other end of the spectrum, the newer members with less seniority take the racks at the end of the wall furthest from the door.
How old are the smoke alarms in your home? Did you know that to properly maintain them, you need to test the alarms every month and replace them before their expiry date?
Sometimes we all need some direction on how to act and what to do. We often find ourselves creating mission and vision statements that are long, generic, and uninspiring. To help set your compass, Mark vonAppen, a California captain and founder of the Fully Involved blog, has created four simple rules he calls the Big 4. His concepts have spread like wildfire through the service.
As I sit to write this letter in my new role as editor of Canadian Firefighter, I find my fingers doing more drumming than typing in considering what to say. I am not a rookie editor, but I am a rookie in your field and a happy one at that.
There are many expectations of fire-service members when we answer a call, too many to count. It doesn’t matter if you are a full-timer, paid on-call, or a true volunteer, the expectations really don’t change. People expect you to know how to handle their emergencies, whatever the nature of the calls. People also expect you to handle calls in a timely, efficient manner, and to quickly stabilize the situation.    
A large British Columbia fire department has experienced measurable operational and safety improvements after introducing pay incentives for its 396 unionized staff based on department-wide performance.
I have had the great privilege of being part of the fire service for two decades. Over the last 20 years I have grown, and cultured an understanding about people, service, leadership, management, medicine, and of course fire fighting. In this business it’s all about giving, and making the fire service better. In turn, the service provides you with rewards and life skills that are priceless.
More and more, I hear stories about labour and management working together to achieve positive outcomes – programs such as the IAFF Wellness Fitness Initiative, for example – and buy-in from firefighters to help management and the corporation, reach benchmarks.
Core is and always has been a buzzword in the fitness world. That being said there is often a lot of confusion about what the core actually is. A lot people think it’s their “abs”. In fact, the rectus abdominal muscles are one of a long list of muscles that make up the core. The core is essentially anything that stabilizes your spine. Everyone has core muscles on their front, back and side.
The Hamilton Fire Department in southern Ontario responded to a challenging fire at St. Peter’s Hospital last November.
What is fitness? It means different things to different people and can be activity-specific. For example, a fit triathlete and a fit baseball player are two very different athletes. Some would consider a “fit” person to be someone with a high level of general fitness, while others might consider sport performance and proficiency to be “fit”.
As I am sure we are all aware, fire fighting is one of the most dangerous jobs on earth. We give so much of ourselves to others in their time of need, and in consequence, we are often exposed to high levels of physical and mental stress during our shifts. Unfortunately, this leads to higher rates of illness and injury among firefighters than the general population. In a profession where culture change can take an excruciatingly long time, firefighter mental and physical wellness has not gone unnoticed. The issue is quickly moving to the forefront, and is now a major focus in many fire departments. First responders are much more likely to develop a mental disorder than the general Canadian population, a 2017 study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found. It is an issue that absolutely needs to be addressed and action can’t come fast enough. Education in firefighter health, behavioural wellness and self-care has been taking shape on an international level. The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) has taken huge strides in promoting overall wellness. IAFF programs such as the Peer Fitness Training Program and Peer Support Training Program are available to all members, especially ones who might be struggling with any life/work issues. All firefighters should be able to enjoy a happy and productive work/life balance and these programs provide the tools to help prepare us for the high demands of the job, and life in general. I had the privilege of sitting in on the IAFF Peer Support Training course offered in Toronto in late January, and it was amazing to see my brothers and sisters from departments  across Ontario all sharing the same concern: some of our members are struggling. Issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance abuse and suicide are impacting our membership across the province. During this course we learned how to help our members cope in times of need, find appropriate professional help if necessary, and how we can provide personal support. We are so used to helping the public, but what happens when one of our own needs us? We have to be ready and able to help our colleagues in an instant. If we think of optimal behavioural wellness as a puzzle, the perfect configuration of good mental and physical health, then there is one more piece to unite the two: nutrition. Not for a second do I proclaim to be a nutritionist or dietitian, but I think we can all agree on these notions: If I eat more fruits and vegetables, I will be healthier. If I eat more whole grains, balanced/whole foods, I will be healthier. If I stay away from processed, high fat/sugar foods the majority of the time, I will be healthier. If I eat in moderation, I will be healthier. If I cook my own meals, I will be healthier. These are facts, plain and simple. I have found in my public speaking engagements at fire departments that firefighters want good food and simple nutrition. They want tasty, balanced meals, no fad diets, nothing complicated, just real food that provides the energy we need to face life’s obstacles, both on the job and in life. The body of evidence linking diet and mental health is growing at a rapid rate.  Australian scientists found high-calorie diets consisting of nutrient-poor, processed foods are associated with increases in depression and other mental disorders, in a 2014 paper published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology. Studies show that those with balanced, nutrient-dense diets report lower levels of mental health issues compared those with poor diets. What we eat plays an important role in our mental and physical health.If we can put all of the pieces of the puzzle together, then I think firefighters will be on the right road to living long, happy and healthy lives. If we can utilize the physical fitness and mental resiliency tools at our disposal as firefighters, hopefully we can maintain our bodies and minds throughout our careers and into a happy and healthy retirement. I believe if we link the two components of optimal behavioural wellness with proper nutrition then the puzzle will be complete.Firefighters would do absolutely anything to help keep each other safe at a fire scene, so why would daily life be any different? As a united membership, we can make a difference. I have included three healthy recipes to ensure members in your fire hall or home are all eating well-balanced, nutritious, and of course, delicious meals. Let’s eat well and stay safe.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.cdnfirefighter.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria011c2c9e4c Sous-vide carne asada and grilled veggies with chimichurri sauceFor the steak: 3 bulbs roughly chopped garlic 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 8 large limes) ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice 1/4 cup clear tequila 1/4 cup soy sauce 1 bunch roughly chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced 1 teaspoon cumin powder 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt 1 Ziploc sealable bag 1 1/2 to 2 flank steak 1 tablespoon butter For the veggies:  ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons grape seed oil 3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved 3 sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total), sliced lengthwise into ¼ inch-thick rounds 3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ½ inch-thick rectangles 12 cremini mushrooms 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed 12 green onions, roots cut off 12 small tomatoes Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup bocconcini cheese Chimichurri sauce for serving, recipe follows Combine the garlic, lime juice, tequila, soy sauce, cilantro, jalapeno, cumin, black pepper and salt in a re-sealable plastic bag. Add the steak and let marinate at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.Prepare a water bath to 131 degrees Fahrenheit using a precision cooker tool.Using the water immersion method place the flank steak into the heated bath and set the timer for 90 minutes. When the 90 minutes is up, remove the steak from the bath and pat dry with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and using a cast iron pan brushed with one tablespoon of avocado oil sear the flank steak over very high heat for about a minute or two per side. Add the butter and baste the steak in the last few seconds of cooking. Remove the steak from the pan and allow to rest while you grill your veggies.Heat your grill over high heat. Brush the vegetables with ¼ cup of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables liberally with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, starting with the sweet potatoes for about eight to10 minutes; seven minutes for the peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms; and four minutes for the asparagus, green onions and tomatoes. The key to getting those great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables too frequently once they’ve been placed on the hot grill. To plate, place vegetables on a large platter, slice the steak across the grain and lay on top of the vegetables. Scatter bocconcini cheese around the vegetables and steak. Drizzle the entire platter with chimichurri sauce and enjoy!StationHouse Chimichurri Sauce 1 cup lightly packed parsley ½ cup lightly packed cilantro   3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves 2 tablespoons green onion, white and green part minced 3/4 cup grape seed oil 3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar 3 tablespoons lemon juice Place all chimichurri sauce ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Place in a glass screw top Mason jar and use on everything!Grilled halibut with blood orange quinoa saladFor the salad: 3 blood oranges 8 thin slices fresh ginger ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil ¾ cup quinoa 1 ½ cups vegetable stock ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 2 teaspoons honey 1 small jalapeno, minced (with seeds for maximum heat if preferred) 2 green onions (both white and green parts), minced 1 shallot, minced ½ cup black beans, rinsed 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves Freshly ground black pepper For the fish: 2 pounds skinless halibut cut into 2-inch cubes Steel skewers Peel two of the blood oranges reserving the peel and segments separately. Warm the blood orange peels, ginger, and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the oil starts to bubble, after about two minutes, remove from heat. Set the oil aside to steep while you prepare the rest of the dish. Strain and reserve the oil.Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in a bowl and drain. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with the vegetable stock and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Set aside off the heat, for five minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork. Juice the third blood orange over a bowl, there should be roughly about two tablespoons. Whisk the orange juice with the vinegar, honey, and salt to taste in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in three tablespoons of the reserved blood orange oil then season with pepper to taste.  Toss quinoa with the dressing, jalapeno, green onions, shallots, black beans, and cilantro. Slice the reserved blood orange segments in half and add them to the salad.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.For the halibut, preheat a grill to high heat. Thread the halibut cubes onto the metal skewers. Season the halibut skewers with salt and pepper and brush with some of the blood orange oil. Grill the skewers, turning as each side browns, basting with the orange oil, about three minutes per side. Place halibut skewers on top of quinoa salad and enjoy!Super greens & aged cheddar soupIngredients 1 head broccoli 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 cup diced onion 1 cup diced celery Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper 2 tablespoons minced garlic 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves 1 cup Brussels sprouts, halved 1 cup packed spinach 1 cup chopped packed kale 5 cups vegetable broth 1 cup shredded old white cheddar 2 teaspoons fresh grated lemon zest Smoky pepitas for serving, recipe follows Diced avocado, for serving Smoky Pepitas 1 cup pepitas (or 2 cups sunflower seeds) 1 tablespaoon avocado oil ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon cumin ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika Cut the broccoli florets from the stems and roughly chop the stems into ½ inch pieces.Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high. Add the onion, celery, and broccoli stems. Lower the heat to medium, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables slowly until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes longer.Add the thyme with the broccoli florets, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes until all the vegetables are very tender.Purée the soup with a hand blender until smooth. Add the aged cheddar a handful at a time stirring constantly to incorporate it. Add the lemon zest and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve garnished with smoky pepitas and diced avocado. Enjoy!Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.Place the pepitas into a bowl with the oil and spices and then toss to coat. Spread the coated pepitas onto a baking sheet and then place in the oven for six to seven minutes until toasted. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container until ready to use.Patrick Mathieu is an acting captain at Waterloo Fire Rescue in Ontario. Mathieu is the author of Firehouse Chef: Favourite Recipes from Canada’s Firefighters, published in 2016. 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For firefighters, fitness and well-being is one of our top priorities. There are many reasons why a firefighter should take care of his or her well-being, including performance, survival, customer service and more. That being said, a top motivator should be injury prevention.
As I sit down to write this article, a lot of big things are happening in my life. My beautiful wife is 32 weeks pregnant and our home is under renovation. Throw in work, kids and activities and my deadline for this article has well passed (sorry to my very patient editors).
Phil Badanai is a fighter. At 44 years-old, he is a firefighter, military veteran, international athlete, a proud father and recent grandfather, overcoming a series of physical and mental health challenges along the way.
Well-rounded firefighters are more than strong. If the elevator doesn’t work and you don’t have the endurance to climb the 15 storeys, the fact you have the strength to smash in the door is irrelevant. Being able to sprint through two kilometres of woods to get to a brush fire is fruitless if you can’t carry the pump and supplies. There are many benefits of developing a combination of strength and endurance. You can and need to do both.
Now that fall is upon us and the cold winter months are right around the corner, this is my favourite time to spend free days in the kitchen creating some new recipes. I like to think of a new dish as a blank canvas; what can I do to make this canvas really pop? I have always prided my cooking on bold flavours, and I have learned over the years that spices are what bring the blank canvas to life.
There is no doubt that fire fighting, weight training and endurance training are hard on our bodies. I have never heard anyone say the older they get, the easier it is to recover. Injury is a given when you lead an active lifestyle, but there are many ways to treat and work through an injury. One of the better approaches is to prevent injuries before they happen, but how do you do that?
Finally friends, summer is upon us. As Canadians, we patiently wait for these few cherished months to get outside, reacquaint ourselves with our neighbours and enjoy our beautiful surroundings. In the cooking world, summer means it’s time to roll out the grill. It is hard to beat the satisfaction of standing over your grill on a beautiful summer day. Needless to say, everyone loves a good barbecue.
When it comes to personal responsibility for health and wellness, most folks avoid the truth. It’s tough to admit that you are not doing the things you should be. To add insult to injury, through inactivity, you not only fall short on accountability, you most definitely put yourself at a higher risk of health problems.
In looking back at Extrication Tips columns from the last year, we’ve managed to touch on a back-to-basics approach for auto extrication, a system for controlling extrication (SHADE), and a two-part patient care series.
In the January issue of Canadian Firefighter, and part 3 of this series, we looked at taking the necessary action step of orientation. Now, we are going to look at the second action step, which is communication. Communication allows the incident commander (IC) to address the rescue situation as well provide the rapid intervention team (RIT) with the information they need to successfully rescue the firefighter.
Sometimes we need to be taught a lesson or two, and sometimes the crucible of fire does just that. It’s long been said in the fire service that we should learn something from every call we attend. One memorable fire in particular taught me several valuable lessons I needed – this is what I learned from getting burned.
When  firefighters call for a mayday, they are informing everybody that they need help. Whatever the situation may be, they are in need of assistance and the first step is to call a mayday.
In my last Extrication Tips column, we left off talking about best practices for patient care. I discussed the process from the point of access, to full ABCs, cervical spine immobilization, and primary assessments.
An international clinical study that trained firefighters to help reduce heart disease among residents is showcasing the potential of Canadian fire services to bring added value to their communities.
Oct. 11, 2017 – One single ounce of oxygen. That’s all it would have taken for an explosion to have occurred at Pacific BioEnergy’s Prince George, B.C. facility in August 2017. It was Thursday, Aug. 24 when chairman and chief executive officer Don Steele found out that one of the wood pellet fuel company’s silos began smoldering overnight.Steele was hosting a group of seven guests who had flown from Nagoya, Japan for a tour of the facility. “I advised them," he explained. "I said we could go up and have a look. We might even go on the property and they wouldn’t see much. But, at that point in time we were evacuating,” Steele said.Although reported as a fire in mainstream media, the incident was a smoldering situation. Wood pellet consultancy company FutureMetrics’ John Swaan founded Pacific BioEnergy Corporation in 1994. His direction on-site is one of the main reasons why an explosion didn’t take place.What was the winning solution? Nitrogen injection. In an industry where the potential for explosions is all too common, this was the first time that a North American pellet operation successfully put out a smouldering issue. “We have a number of incidents that have happened in our industry, mostly in Europe, that have not gone successfully,” Swaan said.“There were some references that I shared with Don and his key people on-site,” Swaan recalled from the day. “And then his VP of operations gathered his key people around and took a look at what the options might be and looked at the references,” he explained. “I shared the report about how best to handle these [situations], that was done in a research centre in Sweden.” “So we did some calculations, and based on those calculations, a decision was made with Don and his people to say ‘OK, let’s bring in the nitrogen.’”“A simple reaction would be to try and open [the silo] up to put out the fire, which would have been catastrophic,” Steele said. “Any oxygen entering would have been disastrous. It was a tremendously risky proposition.”The silo holds 3,500 tonnes of pellets. Steele said that’s the energy equivalent of about 10,000 barrels of oil. The incident had the potential to have the entire surrounding city evacuated.The nitrogen injection equipment was brought to the facility from neighbouring Alberta within eight to 10 hours. Alberta’s oil fields have prompted the province’s first responders to be prepared for fire suppression missions to prevent explosions. The smouldering material in the silo was injected with nitrogen for a few days until it was safe enough to remove in small amounts. The nitrogen arrives as a liquid and needs to be turned into a vapour.“I think the first principle of it is, liquid nitrogen is an inert gas,” Steele said. “In other words, it can’t explode or burn. So you use it to push the oxygen out of the container and then try and seal it off. We tried with foam and various things, but once you’ve got the oxygen content below a certain level, [about] 10 per cent, you’ve minimized the risk of an explosion. So then you can start pulling the material out.”“We basically wetted it down, and over a course of seven days eliminated the risk, moved the material out, quenched the fire risk and then stockpiled it over in another part of our property,” Steele said.“I think the key thing is nobody overreacted… I don’t even think there was a Band-Aid.”Swaan and Steele said the cooperation between industry and first responders was what ensured a safe outcome.“This kind of incident has the potential of major, major injury. Our people knew how to safely handle the material and the first responders and fire department knew how to look after our people to keep them out of harm’s way,” Steele said. “They had the respiration equipment, they had the fire hoses, they had the ability and the technique for putting out a fire. Our people knew how to move the material through and safely evacuate the silo.”Half a million dollars-worth of material and product was destroyed and a lot of equipment was damaged, but Steele says everybody’s safety makes the situation a success. “It’s a happy beginning actually, because we’re beginning now to refit and add to our knowledge of our product and how to handle it,” he said. “And I think the whole industry is going to learn something from it too.” “I say anything that can be fixed with money is not a problem. You can’t fix people with money, particularly if they’re severely injured or killed.” “It’s not a matter of ‘if’ [a silo fire could happen] it’s ‘when,’” Swaan said. “But the good news is that we now as an industry have a lot of new learnings. We have experience that we can now share with the industry so that we can make it a safer industry for these types of situations.”Steele said, “The key thing is, think before you act, use other information, use your judgement, move deliberately, keep everybody safe.”This story was originally published in Canadian Biomass. 
My series on firefighter survival (see part 1, Canadian Firefighter, July 2017) focuses on the mayday call. A mayday call is for firefighters only, never for patients or for any other fire-ground emergency. When a mayday is called, everyone on scene knows a firefighter needs help.
This column is the first in a two-part series about dealing with patients involved in motor-vehicle collisions (MVCs). The next column, in January, will address research that has led to changes to how crews respond to patients at extrication incidents,.
When firefighters in Come By Chance, N.L., were called to the scene of a traffic collision in October 2016, they responded, as usual, with lights and sirens. But a puzzle-piece sticker on the car’s back windshield – the international symbol for autism – alerted rescuers to change their approach.
In each edition of Tim-bits, I select a topic or technique that was introduced in recruit academies and became engrained as fire-service doctrine, then offer a field-tested and street-smart modification to make the practice easier, safer or more effective.
In the April issue, I reviewed the general flow and pressure characteristics of standpipe systems based upon the year of their installation or upgrade. For review, standpipe systems installed before 1993 are designed to produce a flow of 500 gpm at 65 psi – which produces a good combination of volume and pressure for a 65 millimetre (2.5 inch) hose with a smooth-bore tip.

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