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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fire Safety: Fire Extinguisher Training

Fire Extinguisher Information:

Classes of Fire

There is a universal system to describe different types of fires. This system incorporates the use of letters, colors, and symbols to help users select an extinguisher suitable for the type of material involved in the fire.

Class A: Ordinary combustibles, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, many plastics, and other common materials that burn easily.

Class B: Flammable liquids. Includes gasoline, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paint, lacquer, and flammable gas.

Class C: Electrical equipment, such as wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery and appliances.

Class D: Combustible metals. Includes magnesium, aluminum, lithium, and other combustible metals or metal dust.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

There are many different types of extinguishers. Instead of covering all of them, this document will cover only those most commonly found. It is essential that you familiarize yourself with the location and operation of fire extinguishers in your home or workplace!

Stored-Pressure Water Extinguishers: These extinguishers are suitable for use on Class A fires only (ordinary combustibles). Caution: DO NOT use these extinguishers on Class B,C or D fires! Standard water extinguishers contain 2 1/2 gallons of water. Under normal conditions, stream reach is 15-30 feet. Discharge time is 30-60 seconds. These extinguishers must be protected against freezing if they will be exposed to temperatures less than 40 degrees F (4 degrees C).

Dry Chemical Extinguishers (Hand Carried): Dry chemical fire extinguishers are the most common extinguishers. They are two types available: those rated for Class B and C fires, and those rated for Class A, B, and C fires. These extinguishers are available from 2 1/2 to 30 pounds. Caution: when used indoors, these extinguishers will produce a thick cloud of dust, which obscures vision and may cause choking. They have a range of 5-20 feet, although they can be easily affected by wind. Discharge time is 10-25 seconds.

Film-Forming-Fluoroprotein (FFFP) Foam Extinguishers: These extinguishers are designed for use on Class A and B fires. They are essentially 2 1/2 gallon water extinguishers with a FFFP foam additive. When using this type of extinguisher on a Class B fire, you must be careful to avoid splashing liquid fuels. The foam has the ability to make water float on fuels that are lighter than water.

Using Hand-Held Fire Extinguishers

Extinguishers have their limits. A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the Fire Department arrives. Portable extinguishers are not designed to fight a large or spreading fire. Even against small fires, they are useful only under the following conditions:

* An extinguisher must be large enough for the fire at hand. It must be available and in working order, fully charged.

* The operator must know how to use the extinguisher quickly, without taking time to read directions in an emergency.

* The operator must be strong enough to lift and operate the extinguisher.

It's easy to remember how to use a fire extinguisher- simply follow the steps- "P-A-S-S"

Pull the Pin: Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher that keeps the handle from being pressed. Break the plastic seal as the pin is pulled.

Aim: Aim the nozzle or outlet toward the fire. Some hose assemblies are clipped to the extinguisher body. Release the hose and point.

Squeeze: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent. The handle can be released to stop the discharge at any time. Before approaching the fire, try a very short test burst to ensure proper operation.

Sweep: Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it is out. After the fire is out, watch for remaining smoldering hot spots or possible reflash of flammable liquids. Make sure the fire is out.

When to Fight a Fire

Be certain to report any fire before attempting to extinguish it!

Fight a fire only if:

* The Fire Department has been called.

* Everyone has left or is leaving the building.

* The fire is small and confined to the immediate area where it started.

* You can fight the fire with your back to a safe escape route.

* Your extinguisher is rated for the type of fire you are fighting, and is in good working order.

* You have had training in use of the extinguisher and are confident that you can operate it effectively.

If you have the slightest doubt about whether or not to fight the fire- DON'T! Instead, get out, and close the door behind you.

Do not fight a fire if:

* The fire is spreading beyond the immediate area where it started, or is already a large fire.

* The fire could block your escape route.

* You are unsure of the proper operation of the extinguisher.

* You are in doubt whether the extinguisher you are holding is appropriate for the type of fire.

If any of these conditions are true, leave immediately, close off the area, and leave the fire to the Fire Department.

Inspection and Maintenance

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets the standard for fire extinguishers in the regulation NFPA 10. This section will briefly explain the inspection and maintenance requirements for fire extinguishers.

Inspection: An inspection is a "quick check" that an extinguisher is available and will operate. It is intended to give reasonable assurance that the fire extinguisher is fully charged and operable. This is done by verifying that it is in its designated place, that it has not been actuated or tampered with, and that there is no obvious or physical damage or condition to prevent its operation. Fire extinguishers should be inspected when they are initially placed in service and thereafter at 30-day intervals. They may require more frequent inspections if circumstances dictate.

Inspection Procedures:

1. Located in designated place.

2. No obstruction to access or visibility.

3. Operating instructions on nameplate legible and facing outward.

4. Safety seals and tamper indicators not broken or missing.
5. Fullness determined by weighing or "hefting".

6. Examination for obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage, or clogged nozzle.

7. Pressure gauge reading or indicator in the operable range or position. Note: Internal pressure is affected by temperature.

Personnel making inspections should keep a record of inspections, including those found to require corrective action. The record should include the date the inspection was performed, and the identity of the person conducting the inspection.

If an extinguisher has received maintenance, it should bear a tag or label indicating the type and date of maintenance and that identifies the person or company who performed the service. If an extinguisher is overdue for maintenance, it is the responsibility of the user to arrange and pay for the maintenance. Companies providing these services can be found in the phone book under "Fire Extinguishers".

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Twitter Tweet meets Blogger Blog

When Tweet meets Blog…or is it Blog meets Tweet? Well, I’m definitely doing both and use Twitter to enhance the TFPFP Blog with daily news items of the fire protection/prevention nature that are listed over on the right hand column of my blog here.

On my Twitter @FiremanRich timeline, I’ve been making my tweets count or at least try to, and have the tweets be ones of substance by providing links to informative online news items concerning fire safety. When I’ve done an update to the TFPFP Blog, with a new article, I also tweet about it on Twitter a few times, trying not to do any type of twitter spam. So you could say both my blog and my twitter sort of go hand and hand. From all the information I’ve been learning about blogging and twittering it all comes down to content that helps to provides useful information to those who read them. Those that do visit my blog and/or read my twitter timeline I have to say Thank-You and come back often because I plan on being here for awhile. : )

Since changing up the way I tweet this last month or so, to make my tweets count for more and provide my blog with an area of fresh daily content I begun to notice a small pattern of sorts. With the number of tweets that I make of similar concerns I realized by bringing them together a blog article can emerge. I do read the articles I tweet links to and are of interest to me because the subject matter can save a persons life and make someone more a wear of their surroundings. One of the more important items I tweet about is on smoke detectors and on Twitter you can find a lot of good information at the #smokealarm trend area about them. Over the past week there were two tweets concerning smoke detectors that really caught my eye after I made the tweets about them. One was a good tweet the other not so good.

First the sad tweet, that was about a 94-year-old woman from Longview Texas who died in a fire. The Fire Marshal of the area, Thomas Mock stated, "The sad part is, she has a security system in the house, but as far as we can tell, there was not a smoke detector inside." Alla V. McCray was found trying to reach the backdoor to escape the fire but apparently did not have enough time before being overcome by the smoke and fire.

The good tweet was from Antigo, Wisconsin, where a woman was alerted of the early stages of a deadly fire. Lt. Mark McKinney of the Antigo Fire Department stated, "The owner was alerted by smoke detectors before the fire progressed a lot." The woman gives credit of being woke up by working smoke detectors in the house that gave her enough time to egress/exit safely out of the home that was on fire.

Both these fires happen days apart of each other, to two different people and, in two different parts of the country. Both had different results, which emphasizes the great importance to check those smoke detectors on a monthly basis.

If more data is needed to show the importance of smoke detectors, we only need to look at a report that came out this month from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Fire Analysis and Research Division. The report is entitled “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires ” and can be read in its entire PDF format at…

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report released this month, 40% of all home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms.

“Smoke alarms are one of the greatest fire protection devices of our time and have significantly contributed to the decline in home fire fatalities since the late 70’s,” said James M. Shannon, president of NFPA. “But it’s not enough to randomly put up one smoke alarm and forget about it. In addition to placing smoke alarms in recommended areas, they must be kept in good working order, which includes testing them monthly, changing batteries at least once a year, and making sure that they are not disconnected.”

The NFPA offers the following smoke alarm tips:

* Choose a smoke alarm that bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

* Install a smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement.

* Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

* Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.

* Consider home fire sprinklers when building a new home or doing a major renovation.

If you take the NFPA’s “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires Report” along with the tweets on Twitter you can find at the #smokealarm trend area you will see the picture that should be forming at this point in this blog entry.

Hold that thought for a moment….I’ll be right back….

… I just checked my smoke detectors in my house for the month. They are all in a full working mode with good batteries. I care about my family very much and it only takes a few minutes each month to make sure my early warning smoke detectors are in working order.

Are yours?

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tweet on Twitter and Have Fun

There are so called “Bench Marks” that we use as landmarks to give us an idea of measuring items, things, or stuff in our lives on where they lay in our individual timeline. Take today for instance. Being part of the United States Air Force (USAF) for a number of years I know that today is the USAF’s 62 birthday. Yesterday, some thirty-two years ago is when I began serving in the US Air Force as a USAF Fire Protection Specialist. That’s sort of a fancy way of saying Fireman or Fire Fighter. : ) It began though, a journey that has shaped me into the person I am today. Hopefully all those who know me, that being my family and friends, view and see me as a good person, though I know there are times I can be a real bonehead. lol So, at these “Bench Marks” along my so called live timeline, I take little peeks back at the path I’ve traveled. Reflecting on but not reliving, and always moving forward because that is the path of travel for each one of us on this Big Blue Marble.

On a smaller, much lighter scale of my “Bench Mark” outlook, I feel it holds true for me with Twitter. It was on June 16th, 2009, a little over a month after I started tweeting on Twitter that I first mentioned my tweet quote of “Tweet on Twitter & Have Fun! : )” and I use it as part of my daily good morning/good night tweets. A so call daily “bench mark” of such if you will. It’s also in my bio too. I came up with this Twitter quote from a version of a quote that I used for a particular online game I use to play for a number of years way back when. It worked for me than as it is working for me now. Ever time I say it, it makes me smile. You could say my Twitter quote brands me as to what type Twitter person I want to be and what you can expect. Though it’s only been a short time since starting on the Twitter, I’ve already see landmarks along my Twitter timeline of moving forward with the followers I’ve come acquainted with and the things I learn from those I follow.

So here it is just over four months since starting my tweeting I find a great Twitter “Bench Mark” that a Twitter nOOb like myself can really appreciates! That so called landmark coming from the good graces of the @FireCritic, who wrote on its blog and compiled a list published this past week entitled…

Top 100+ Fire/EMS Twitter Users – Are you included?

On this list I find, with great surprised, my twitter username @FiremanRich listed as one of the top 100. WOW! To the @FireCritic I say Think You for the work in gathering and compiling this list of very informative Fire/EMS Twitter Users. I’m humbled and it’s a really honor for me to be listed along with some really good Fire/EMS people. They all provide really good Fire Safety cross feeds. Making this list tells me that my Twitter timeline has substance on the tweets I make concerning Fire Protection & Fire Prevention news, information and various Fire Safety topics.

I’m sure this Top 100 Fire/EMS Twitter Users list from @FireCritic will grow and I could find myself, @FiremanRich , either moving up or down the list. Either way, I will continue to maintain a level of tweeting on a subject area that I feel is very important and hopefully provides information that helps someone to be more Fire Safe.

Follow @FireCritic on Twitter and also check out the Fire Critics Blog .

If you are not on Twitter I would suggest and encourage you to sign up for an account to take a test drive. No harm in doing that. What ever your interests are there’s someone tweeting about it. Take in some views from YouTube about Twitter to see what it’s all about, there is a lot of great videos out there. Check out the vast amount of blog articles also on the internet covering Twitter that can give you more understanding. Twitter in my opinion is not just a funny word, and when people joke about it that haven’t tweeted…well…I think their just missing out on something that is a GREAT window of vast information, along with a bunch of great Twitter people to meet as well as follow.

So as I started this blog article I will end with the same….

Tweet on Twitter & Have Fun!

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Smoke Detectors –Useful Tools in Fire Prevention

by: Brian Ayling

Smoke detectors are very important tools in preventing fires. Fires are one of the most common and most destructive accidents that can happen in one’s home or work place; it can happen when least expected which even makes it more lethal. It is amusing how one very small and mostly neglected contraption has saved so many lives and prevented loss of property. Oddly enough some people do not even realize what smoke detectors are even if they are constantly within its proximity.

The detectors are early warning devices that can prevent disasters from occurring or at the very least save as much life and property from damage or injury in case a fire happens. It is important that a person treats the device as a method of protection and therefore may act appropriately in the event that the detector is set off. The detectors are only one of a bevy of fire safety equipment that helps protect individuals by harm that could be caused by fires.

The detectors are small usually disk like objects that are mounted on the ceilings of buildings and apartments. These mechanisms are sensitive to smoke and are usually rigged to trigger other fire safety equipment such as fire alarms and sprinkler systems. Smoke detectors usually emanate a shrill sound when activated. The detectors are scattered in every room so in case fire starts in a specific area inhabitants will be immediately notified and the proper course of action will be taken.

The detectors serve as an early warning device that triggers as long as there is a significant amount of smoke in an area. In some infrastructures the detectors can trigger the activation of a chain of equipment that effectively warn people of the fire, administer emergency response such as activation of anti fire sprinkler systems, activation of a fire alarm to notify the fire department, isolation of the area of incident, and activation of emergency lights that lead to emergency exit points.

The smoke detectors are part of emergency standards regulated by certain government agencies. Permits to occupy buildings are not released unless the owners comply with these emergency standards. As a way of maintenance agencies like local fire departments do routine checkups on buildings to ensure that fire safety equipment such as the detectors are active and functional.

The detectors may also be seen in residential areas and people are encouraged to have them installed in case they aren’t yet. For people who already have the devices installed, there are certain maintenance procedures that should be done to keep the detectors active and therefore keep it efficient in being a dependable early fire warning device. One can clean the devices by wiping dust and dirt off to ensure that the slots used to detect smoke are optimized, by no means should anyone try to remove the devices and clean them while removed. In case one suspects damaged or faulty detectors he or she can contact the fire department to have the detector checked out.

Source: Articlecity

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Shall Never Forget!

Monday, September 7, 2009


I had the distinct honor over the years in my fire protection career while serving in the United States Air Force (USAF) to be in a leadership position/role as a Crew Chief, Station Captain, and Assistant Chief. My role as a leader in the fire protection service was a developing one that put me in the position to lead other fire fighters on the fire ground. You have to have the confidence in yourself to take on the important task of a leader. Now of course, I had the leadership development classes and courses which are good building blocks to being a good leader. These classes helped greatly in shaping me into a leading then and continues to this day. Developing leadership abilities is an on going process for one who leads. More then ever, and in my opinion, a leader never forgets the path he/she traveled in life, as well as never gets that perverbial “big head” that you know there all to know just because your in a leadership position. The corner stone of any leader will be his or hers Integrity.

The Essence of Leadership:

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He or she does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his/her actions and the integrity of his/her intent. In the end, leaders are much like Eagles… They don’t flock, you find them one at a time”

You have to understand you can’t just do a few things when in the position as a leader, then say you’re an Eagle, and thus that makes you a good leader. It’s more then just simple talk, it’s walking the walk when doing the talk as a leader.

Leadership involves combinations of a variety of outlooks and views. One could say there's a lot to being "In Charge." I found over an outline or sort of some very good and to the point Values and Principles.

Let’s take a look and review the Values and Principles to Leadership…


Duty is how you value your job. Duty begins with everything required of you by law and policy, but it is much more than that. A leader commits to excellence in all aspects of their professional responsibility so that when the job is done they can look back and say "I couldn't have given any more."

Be proficient in your job, both technically and as a leader

* Take charge when in charge.
* Adhere to professional standard operating procedures.
* Develop a plan to accomplish given objectives

Make sound and timely decisions

* Maintain situation awareness in order to anticipate needed actions.
* Develop contingencies and consider consequences.
* Improvise within the commander’s intent to handle a rapidly changing environment.

Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished

* Issue clear instructions.
* Observe and assess actions in progress without micro-managing.
* Use positive feedback to modify duties, tasks, and assignments when appropriate.

Develop your subordinates for the future

* Clearly state expectations.
* Delegate those tasks that you are not required to do personally.
* Consider individual skill levels and developmental needs when assigning tasks.


Respect is how you value your co-workers. Respect for the individual forms the very basis for the rule of law in America. This value reminds you that those who follow you are your greatest resource. Not all of your followers will succeed equally, but they all deserve respect.

Know your subordinates and look out for their well being

* Put the safety of your subordinates above all other objectives.
* Take care of your subordinate’s needs.
* Resolve conflicts between individuals on the team.

Keep your subordinates informed

* Provide accurate and timely briefings.
* Give the reason (intent) for assignments and tasks.
* Make yourself available to answer questions at appropriate times.

Build the team

* Conduct frequent debriefings with the team to identify lessons learned.
* Recognize individual and team accomplishments and reward them appropriately.
* Apply disciplinary measures equally.

Employ your subordinates in accordance with their capabilities

* Observe human behavior as well as fire behavior.
* Provide early warning to subordinates of tasks they will be responsible for.
* Consider team experience, fatigue, and physical limitations when accepting assignments.


Integrity is how you value yourself. You cannot be in charge of others unless you are in charge of yourself. People of integrity separate what is right from what is wrong and act according to what they know is right, even at personal cost.

Know yourself and seek improvement

* Know the strengths/weaknesses in your character and skill level.
* Ask questions of peers and superiors.
* Actively listen to feedback from subordinates.

Seek responsibility and accept responsibility for your actions

* Accept full responsibility for and correct poor team performance.
* Credit subordinates for good performance.
* Keep your superiors informed of your actions.

Set the example

* Share the hazards and hardships with your subordinates.
* Don’t show discouragement when facing setbacks.
* Choose the difficult right over the easy wrong.

This list of Values and Principles to Leadership was and still is something that I apply as a leader over the years. The list acts as a guide to follow with the corner stone being Integrity.

You have a guide or flight plan but what about some rules to follow as a leader. Something I carried over the years in my old day planner I have was a little list of rules for a leader that I cut out of a Parade Magazine. Everyone back then had a day planner. lol You see one ever once in a while. The list that I still have to this day was from an article on General Colin Powell. The list was the “13 Rules of Leadership.” I’ll end this blog entry with a YouTube of Colin Powell’s “13 Rules of Leadership.” Write them down and make your own list to refer to. Here’s the video…

Now that you have your list of Values and Principles to Leadership and the list of the 13 Rules of Leadership, it’s time to be a leader of action.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September is Campus Fire Safety Month

September is Campus Fire Safety Month

Campus fire safety has become an important issue across the nation. Now in its fifth year, governors across the nation are signing proclamations designating September as Campus Fire Safety Month in their states and resolutions have been introduced in both the U.S. Senate U.S. House of Representatives. Schools across the country will be holding events to educate and inform students about what they can do to help ensure they are not the victim of a preventable fire.

Campus Fire Safety - UL Safety Tour

New York State Fire Marshal's Office Student Fire Safety

More than 10 million young adults between ages 18 and 24 are heading to college after Labor day. Will they be ready to face an emergency situation such as a residence hall or apartment fire? Unfortunately, tragedies seem to happen every academic year, mostly in off-campus housing such as apartments, rental homes, or Greek housing, places where more than three-fourths of all college students live. What's worse, most of these fires could be prevented.

September’s "National Campus Fire Safety Month" launches a public awareness campaign to remind parents and students about the need for better fire safety when heading to college. The organizations will reach out to local, state and national media as well as contact college media. Focus will be on basic fire safety prevention, and address the four common factors seen in campus-related fires: lack of missing or disabled smoke alarms, careless disposal of smoking materials, alcohol consumption, and lack of automatic sprinkler systems.

How can you help? Campus-related fires impact everyone in a college community, not just students. Help raise the awareness of this important safety message in your community. Please visit the following web sites for Life Safety and Fire Prevention facts and practices…

Lets be Fire Safe this month and Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned!

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

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