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Thursday, November 26, 2009

FiremanRich’s Kodak Zi8 Review

My overall impression of the Kodak Zi8 is one that this digital video camera is a nice fit to what I want to use the Zi8 for. I’m very much impressed with the simple features it has and the performance it gives in the quality of still pictures (@ 5 meg pix) and 720p digital video.

The picture and sound quality are pretty good. Where the onboard mic is satisfactory the ability to plug-in a external mic is a good offset.

The Zi8 is small in size that gives it great portability, picture/video files are easily transfer to my PC. It has basic camcorder functions with a 4X Zoom, and image stabilization.

It can record in 1080p HD, 720p @ 60 fps, and standard 720p. Uses flash card media with SD/SDHC cards up to 32 GB.

It’s portability is great, but keep in mind the Zi8 has limits. It’s a pocket camera so have realistic expectations if you purchase a Zi8.

Here’s my YouTube video on the Kodak Zi8…

Having purchased the Zi8 off of I would also recommend the Amazon site for your Christmas Holiday Shopping. It'll save you time and ensure you got that gift that you wanted to get for a family member or friend.

You can follow FiremaRich on Twitter @firemanrich.

(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.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving is top day for cooking fires

NFPA urges cooks to stand by their pan to prevent fires.

Next Thusday, is Thanksgiving!

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is calling on cooks across the nation to include fire safety in their recipes because Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires. U.S. firefighters responded to roughly 1,300 home fires involving cooking equipment on Thanksgiving in 2007, roughly three times the daily average of cooking fires, according to NFPA.

"Incorporating fire safety into your holiday preparations can mean the difference between putting on a fantastic holiday feast for family and friends or having to call the fire department to put out a fire," said NFPA's Vice President of Communications Lorraine Carli.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. During 2003-2006, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 150,200 home structure fires involving cooking equipment per year, according to the newly released NFPA report Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment (PDF, 896 KB). These fires caused an annual average of 500 civilian deaths, 4,660 civilian injuries, and $756 million in direct property damage.

Other key findings from the report on fires during 2003-2006:

* Cooking equipment was involved in 40 percent of all reported home fires, 17 percent of home fire deaths, 36 percent of home civilian injuries, and 12 percent of the direct property damage resulting from home fires.
* Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in these fires. Something that could catch fire was too close to the equipment ranked second and unintentionally turned on or not turned off ranked third.
* Three-fifths (57 percent) of reported home cooking fire injuries occurred when victims tried to fight the fire themselves.

NFPA recommends the following cooking safety tips:

Cook with Caution

* Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don't use the stove or stovetop.
* Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
* If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
* Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire….

* Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
* For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
* If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
* When in doubt, just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
* Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

For additional information concerning fire prevention practices visit

(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, November 17, 2009

Volunteer Fire Department’s Fire Police

The fire fighter passed away shortly after he suffered a cardiac arrest while working traffic control at the scene of a motor vehicle accident.

Another fire fighter on a different date and at a different location responded to a report of a vehicle into a power pole. Upon his arrival on scene, he was assigned to assist with traffic control. The incident was terminated and the fire fighter cleared the incident scene. A day later, the local fire department and EMS were summoned to the fire fighter's residence and found him unable to ambulate or speak. Care was initiated and he was transported to the local hospital where he was diagnosed as having suffered an inter-cranial bleed. He was then transferred to a larger hospital where he underwent surgery. Two days after being assigned to assist with traffic control he succumbed to his injuries.

Both deaths were caused due to stress and overexertion. One fire fighter was age 62, the other fire fighter was age 72 and both are part of the 80 Line of Duty Deaths (LODD) for 2009 to date. Both fire fighters were performing Fire Police duties on the fire call.

Though it’s not physically demanding as a fire fighter that’s loaded down with equipment while pulling the hose to fight a fire, being assigned as a Fire Police officer at a fire/accident scene to perform traffic control is just as dangerous as well as stressful.

Fire Police training is conducted to allow fire fighters to perform more effectively. Training usually includes defining and interpreting terms, oath of office, relation to regular police officers, general duties, maintaining safe conditions at an emergency, traffic direction and control, pre-planning, and various laws of interest to the fire service.

Fire fighters that perform Fire Police duties are authorized to regulate and direct traffic at the scene of a fire or accident.

In New York State there are laws that give such authorization. Here is an example of one of those laws…

The New York Court of Appeals in People v. Loren held that Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) § 1102 permits a fire chief to empower subordinate firefighters to regulate and direct traffic at the scene of a fire or accident.

On December 17, 2003, the Village of Poland Volunteer Fire Department responded to an automobile accident. The fire chief ordered two firefighters to close the road. The two firefighters set up a roadblock using flares and one of the firefighter’s personal vehicle, with its blue emergency lights turned on. One of the firefighters was dressed in full firefighter’s "turn out" gear, and the other wore a green fluorescent vest and was holding an orange highway flag. The defendant drove around a roadblock, ignoring the firefighters’ order to stop. The firefighters called the State Police who subsequently went to the defendant’s residence and issued him a ticket for violating VTL § 1102. VTL § 1102 states that "no person shall fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer or flag person or other person duly empowered to regulate traffic." The defendant argued before the Village Court that he did not violate VTL § 1102 because volunteer firefighters are not empowered to regulate traffic. The Village Court found that the defendant violated VTL § 1102 based on the understanding that a fire chief has authority to direct traffic at the scene of an emergency and can delegate this responsibility to subordinates. The County Court affirmed the decision of the Village Court and the Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed.

The issue in the Loren case was whether volunteer firefighters are "persons duly empowered to regulate traffic" under VTL § 1102. The Court of Appeals held that volunteer firefighters may direct traffic at fire scenes and accidents when delegated such authority by the fire chief pursuant to VTL § 1602. Section 1602(b) states that:

[i]n the event of a fire or other emergency or to expedite traffic or to safeguard pedestrians or property: any police officer or other person empowered to regulate traffic at the scene may, to the extent authorized by local law . . . direct traffic as conditions may require.

The Court acknowledged that a fire chief’s responsibility to coordinate the fire department’s response to an emergency includes: protecting the public while keeping the public from obstructing the fire department’s mission.

The Court determined that the two volunteer firefighters were "duly empowered to regulate traffic" under VTL § 1102 because they were acting under instructions from the fire chief. The Court reasoned that fire chiefs may delegate their VTL § 1602 authority to regulate to their subordinates. A fire chief has exclusive control over the members of the fire department at all fires, inspections, reviews and other occasions when the fire department is on duty or parade. Town Law § 176-a; Village Law § 10-1018. The Court interpreted this control as authorizing "firefighters to undertake tasks critical to public safety, such as diverting traffic away from the scene of a fire or dangerous accident." People v. Loren, 4 N.Y.3d at 411 (2005).

Historically, fire police are used by fire departments to regulate and direct traffic at the scene of a fire or accident.1 Inf. Op. A.G. 134 (1966); Op. Compt. 61-328. The Loren case expands a fire department’s ability to regulate and direct traffic by holding that duly empowered firefighters, who are not fire police, can regulate and direct traffic at the scene of a fire or accident. A fire department’s authority and responsibility is tied to fire manic functions and its members, including fire police, are limited to responding to a fire or accident when directed by the fire chief or fire department. Op. Compt. 79-853; Inf. Op. A.G. 103 (1975). The Court’s finding that firefighters can regulate traffic at the direction of the fire chief, without needing fire police designation, enhances a firefighter’s ability to assist at the scene of an accident to provide for public safety. The Attorney General, in a 1975 opinion, stated that "members of the [fire police] squad do not have the exclusive authority to direct traffic, and any member of the volunteer fire department may, direct traffic to assist in controlling and extinguishing a fire." Inf. Op. A.G. 103 (1975).

This case enables fire chiefs to delegate authority to firefighters to control traffic at a fire,accident or other emergency. Motorists who refuse to obey the orders of a firefighter delegated with the authority to control traffic at a fire, accident or other emergency may find themselves confronted with a VTL § 1102 violation.

1Under General Municipal Law § 209-c, fire police squads are created within a volunteer fire department and when exercising their duties and responsibilities have the powers and status of peace officers. See Criminal Procedure Law § 2.10(41). Fire police squads have the same authority as police officers to regulate traffic at the scene of a fire or other emergency under VTL § 1602. VTL § 132 defines police officer to include peace officers designated pursuant to Article 2 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Criminal Procedure Law § 2.10(41) designates members of fire police squads as peace officers.

In New York State, Fire Police are active fire company members that are sworn Peace Officers. I’m sure this is the same with other Volunteer Fire Departments in other states that have Fire Police.

Fire Police are members of a specialized fire police squad within the fire company assigned to respond to emergency calls for the purpose of scene security. They receive special training and are responsible for traffic control, crowd control and fire and incident scene security during calls for service.

While the primary role of the Fire Police is scene security and to provide support for operational needs. They also assist regular Police when needed performing road closures, traffic control, crowd control at public events, missing persons searches, parade details and whatever the chief or officer in charge deems necessary for emergency incident mitigation.

Many of the above tasks also fall within the area of responsibility of the Police, but Fire Police when on the scene may allow the Police to concentrate on other more specific areas of expertise.

New York State Laws that give Fire Police their powers

Criminal Procedure Law Article 2 Section 2.10 sub 41:
fire police designated as peace officers;

General Municipal Law Section 209-c:
Organizing fire police squads within fire departments or fire companies, having the powers of and rendering services as peace officers, the duty and function of a squad and the powers of squad members.

Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 1602, Emergency Rule Subsection (a):
Authority of Fire Police to close streets and roads for the diversion of traffic

Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1102:
Obedience to Police Officers and Flag Persons - No person shall fail to refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction or any police officer or flag person or other person duly empowered to regulate traffic.

Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1217:
Following Emergency Fire Vehicles Prohibited - The driver of any vehicle other than one on official business shall not follow any authorized emergency fire vehicle in the same lane or adjacent lane to the one being used by such fire vehicle at a distance closer than 200 feet while such vehicle is displaying (emergency lights) nor shall such driver drive into or park his vehicle within the block or where there is no block, within one thousand feet of where such fire vehicle has stopped in answer to a fire alarm.

Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1218:
Crossing Fire Hose - No vehicle shall be driven over any unprotected hose of fire department when laid down on any street or private driveway, to be used at any fire or alarm of fire, without the consent of the fire department official in command.

Fire Police are in place to keep both the general public and emergency personnel safe.

(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.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fire Protection Training: Fire Streams

A fire stream is a stream of water or other extinguishing agent after it leaves a fire hose and nozzle until it reaches the desired point.

Fire streams are intended to reduce high temperatures from a fire and provide protection to firefighters and exposures through the following methods:

* Applying water or foam directly to burning material to reduce its temperature.

* Applying water or foam over an open fire to reduce the temperature, so fire fighters can advance hand line closer to effect extinguishment.

* Reducing high atmospheric temperature.

* Dispersing hot smoke and fire gases from a heated area by using a fire stream.

* Creating a water curtain to protect firefighters and property from heat.

Water has extinguishing properties with its ability to extinguish fire in several ways. The primary way is by cooling, which removes the heat from the fire. Another way is by smothering, which includes water’s ability to absorb large quantities of heat and also to dilute oxygen.

Water when you put water a fire or smoldering object creates steam.

The steam produced by a fire stream can be an aid to a fire extinguishment by smothering, which is accomplished when the expansion of steam reduces oxygen in a confined space.

Several characteristics of water that are extremely valuable for fire extinguishment are as follows:

* Water is readily available and inexpensive.

* Water has a grater heat-absorbing capacity than other common extinguishment agents.

* Water changing into stream requires a relatively large amount of heat.

* The greater the surface area of the water exposed, the more rapidly heat is absorbed.

To produce effective fire streams, it is necessary to know the effects of factors affecting pressure loss and gain. Two important factors that affect pressure loss and gain in a fire stream are friction loss and elevation. Pressure changes possible due to friction loss in a hose and appliances. A loss or gain in pressure may result due to elevation and direction of water flow up hill or down hill.

Friction loss is defined as that part of total pressure that is lost while forcing water through pipe, fittings, fire hose, and adapters.

One point to consider in applying pressure to water in a hose line is that there is a limit to the velocity or speed at which the water can travel. If the velocity is increased beyond the limits, the friction becomes so great that the water in the hose line is agitated by resistance. Certain characteristics of hose layouts such as hose size and length of the lay also affect friction loss.

In order to reduce pressure loss doe to friction, consider the following guidelines.

- Check for rough linings in the hose
- Replace damaged hose couplings
- Eliminate sharp bends in hose when possible
- Use adapters to make hose connections only when necessary
- Keep nozzles and valves fully open when operating hose lines
- Use proper size hose gaskets for the hose selected
- Use short hose lines as much as possible
- Use larger hose (for exp. Increase from booster hose to 1 ¾ hose or from 1 ¾ hose to 2 ½ hose) or multiple lines when floe must be increased Reduce the amount of flow (for exp. Change nozzle tips or reduce flow setting)

Elevation refers to the position of an object above or below sea level. In a fire fighting operation, elevation refers to the position of the nozzle in relation to the pumping apparatus which is at ground level. Elevation pressure refers to a gain or loss in a hose line caused by a change in elevation. When a nozzle is above the pumper there is a pressure loss, when the nozzle is below the pump, there is a pressure gain, these losses and gains occur because of gravity.

When the flow of water through fire hose or pipe is suddenly stopped, a surge is referred to as water hammer. Water hammer can often be herd as a distinct sharp clank, very much like a hammer striking a pipe. This sudden stopping results in a change in the direction of energy. This energy creates excessive pressure that can cause considerable damage to water mains, plumbing, fire hose, hydrants, and fire pumps.


A water fire stream is identified by its size and type. The size refers to the volume of water flowing per min; the type indicates a specific pattern of water. Fire streams a classified in to three different sizes: low-volume streams, hand line streams, and master streams. The rate of discharge of a fire stream is measured in gallons per min(GPM) or liters per min(L/min)

- Low-volume stream-discharges less than 40gpm including those fed by booster hose lines
- Hand line stream-supplied by 1 ½ to 3inch hose which flows from 40 to 350gpm nozzles witch flows in excess of 350gpm are not recommended.
- Master stream- discharges more than 350gpm and is fed by multiple 2 ½ or 3 inch hose lines connected to a master stream nozzle. Master streams are large-volume fire streams.

A solid stream is a fire stream produced from affixed orifice, smoothbore nozzle, it is designed to produce a stream as compact as possible with little shower or spray. It has the ability to reach areas that other streams might not be able to reach, minimize the chance of steam burns to fire fighters and better penetration to the fire It can be affected by gravity, friction of the air, and wind.

When solid stream nozzles are used as hand lines they should be operated at 50psi. Used as a master stream should be operated at 80 psi.


- Solid streams maintain better visibility for firefighters than other types of streams.
- Have grater reach than other types of streams.
- Operate at a reduced nozzle pressure per gallon than other types of streams thus reducing the nozzle reaction.
- Have grater penetration power than other types of streams.
- Less likely to disturb normal thermal layering of heat and gases during interior structural attacks then other types of streams.


- Do not allow for different stream patterns.
- Can not be used for foam applications.
- Provide less heat absorption per gallon delivered than other types of streams.

CAUTION: Do not use solid streams on energized electrical equipment. Use fog patterns with at least 100psi nozzle pressure. Do not use wand applicators because they can be conductors.

A fog stream is a fire stream composed of very fine water droplets. The design of the fog tip is to produce different stream patterns from the nozzle. The idea of the fog nozzle is to expose the maximum water surface for heat absorption. Fog nozzles permit settings of straight stream, narrow-angle fog, and wide-angle fog. REMBER LEFT FOR LIFE RIGHT FOR FIGHT.

There are five factors that affect the reach of a fog nozzle:

- Gravity
- Water velocity
- Fire stream pattern selection
- Water droplet friction with air
- Wind

Fore water flow adjustment, it is often desirable to control the rate of water flow through a fog nozzle such as when the water supply is limited. Two types of nozzles provided this capability: manually adjusting and automatic nozzles.

Manual adjusting nozzles: you can adjust the nozzle flow by turning the dial on the nozzle

Automatic nozzles: you can adjust the nozzle flow by opening and closing the valve.

CAUTION: Water flow adjustments in manual and automatic for nozzles require close coordination between the nozzle person, the company officer, and the pump operator.


- The discharge pattern of fog streams may be adjusted to suit the situation
- Some fog nozzles have adjustable settings to control the amount of water being used
- Fog streams dissipate heat by exposing the maximum water surface for heat absorption


- Fog streams do not have the reach or penetration power of solid streams.
- Fog streams are more susceptible to wind currents.
- Fog streams may contribute to fire spread create heat inversion, and cause steam burns to firefighters when improperly used during interior attacks.

Maintenance of nozzles:

- Check the swivel gasket for damage or wear replace worn or missing gaskets.
- Look for external damage to the nozzle.
- Look for internal damage and debris. When necessary, thoroughly clean nozzles with soap and water using soft bristle brush.
- Check for ease of operation by physically operating the nozzle parts. Clean and lubricate and moving parts that appeared to be sticking according to manufacture’s recommendations.
- Check to make sure that the pistol grip is secured to the nozzle.

(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.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Who Has Influenced You?

We are who we are and become who we are by those that have influenced us throughout our lifes.

For me, my biggest influence in life was my Father who always stood tall, in my eyes, like John Wayne on the big movie screen in the 1949 movie classic Sands of Iwo Jima. Always did like that movie along with the other movies the Duke was in. Would have to say the military movies the Duke stared in were my favorite. That’s probably one of the influences of why I entered the military after high school. Of course I was soon to find out that the movie military life and real life military were two different things. Go figure lol. All and all though it wasn’t a bad gig serving in the US Air Force. The time I served, I came across a lot of great influences that molded me into the person I am today.

Oh did I tell you also that my Dad was a volunteer fireman or what you would call now a volunteer fire fighter when I was growing up? Yup, he was. I use to hang around the local fire station with my Dad when he was busy doing something around the station after I got out of school with the other volunteer fireman like cleaning up the fire house, the fire trucks, or I was waiting till they returned from a fire call. Watching and learning even though I didn’t realize it. I soon enough joined the local volunteer fire department when I was of age. My Dad being an influence to me in joining because I saw it was all about helping people that were in need when the call came in. Always sort of neat when your doing the help people thing. : )

Since starting this blog I can say I’ve learned a lot, with a lot more to learn, and that I’ve also been influenced by people that are online. Some of these individual are what I would say are “heavy hitters” in that they know what their doing. You could say they’ve influenced me in a big way on how I should be as an online presence too. Be it reading others online that have blogs, or on twitter, or who I met on facebook there’s an influence with each and everyone that is online these days.

I came across a YouTube of a person name Micah Baldwin @micah on “Building Influence Online” who talked about such at Gnomedex 9. What’s a Gnomedex? Well, I soon found out by watching a few of the YouTubes about it with the various guest speakers. Gnomedex is a conference that has a lot of influence with all the great information presented.

Here Micah’s YouTube presentation at Gnomedex 9…

“Write like no one is reading. Write when you want to write. The moment you think “that would be a good blog post” you become a blogger.”

Those three sentences in Micah’s Gnomedex 9 presentation about blew me out of my chair. Wow I said, Wow again I said! Why? I found with those 3 statements, in it’s simplest form, is what it was all about to be doing this blog thing. Micah’s influence in this YouTube has made me begin to think and hopefully become a blogger of some sorts. I blog so I am a blogger.

Didn’t know that Micah Baldwin was the founder of “FollowFriday” on Twitter? Yeah he is, which is pretty neat knowing how it all got stared. “Tweet On Twitter & Have Fun” is my twitter motto and Micah has just made it more fun to do the twitter thing on followfriday. Thank-you Micah!

Some of those online “heavy hitter” influences that I follow either from their online web/blog page and via twitter are:

Joel Comm @joelcomm, Chris Pirillo @chrispirill, James Holmes @AskJamesHolmes, Lisa Irby @2createawebsite, Jim Stround @jimstroud, Jake Press @jakepress

I would recommend these individuals to anyone new to the online scene, blogging scene, or who ever is doing the twitter thing.

Want to thank Chris Pirillo @chrispirill for the Gnomedex-9 YouTubes. GREAT FRICKEN STUFF DUDE! I know Chris I know, no shouting in the live chat room but here on TFPFP I allow myself alittle shout out to those that are pretty cool. Thank-you. : )

Now I’ve come across a lot of very polished and very good content bloggers too since starting the TFPFP blog from the many people I follow online and on twitter. All have an influence on me or I wouldn’t be reading their blogs or following them on twitter. They have an online presence of influence.

So my early influence of my view of the military and the volunteer fire department made me travel down the path as a United States Air Force Fire Protection Specialist, which is actually a fancy name that basically means “Fireman.” LoL I know you have to say fire fighter now. Guess I’m still old school. : )

I’ve been out of the USAF for awhile now but I still belong to the local volunteer fire department in my community and my current job has me in some cases having a second opportunity of doing what I did in the USAF, that being an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighter (ARFF). They say second opportunities are rare but the opportunity of people having an influence on your life that is positive in nature is even more rare.

Thank-you Dad, and thank-you all out there in that vast internet world.

(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.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Candle Fire Safety

With the holidays fast approaching and the increased usage of seasonal decorations, it is important to focus on candle fire safety and prevention. Each year, candles cause an estimated 17,400 home structure fires, resulting in 180 deaths and 1,575 injuries. Because the majority of candle fires result from human error and negligence, candle fires and their associated casualties are preventable.

• If possible, avoid using lighted candles.

• If you must use candles, ensure that they are placed in sturdy holders.
• Keep candles away from children and pets.

• Be sure to extinguish candles after each use.

• Never leave burning candles unattended.

By following a few candle safety tips, everyone can enjoy a safer and happier holiday season.
Data source: 2001-2005 NFPA 5-year average of candle fire estimates.
U.S. Fire Administration

For information and resources on this subject visit
(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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