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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Safety Tips for Portable Generator…

Prior to hurricane Irene’s arrival as it traveled up the East Coast last weekend, which was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit where I live in up-state New York, I did a pre-check of the portable generator I own to ensure it was in good working order. Even though I do start and operate the portable generator each month for a monthly operational check for 15-20 minutes, before any pending storm I like that extra start check just to be on the safe side. Checked that the fuel was topped off, oil level was good, “on” switch was on, and with one pull my portable generator started right up. Now with any storm that produce high winds there’s always a chance of power lines getting knocked down leaving many thousands of individual homes & businesses without electricity for a length of time. Storm conditions may and can have an impact on the electrical service in ones community, thus a lot of home owner turn to portable electric generators for a source of temporary electricity for their homes.

For being on the safe side, one needs to be thinking as well as be safe when using portable generators that will be in operation over the time they are providing that all important desired electricity to power the lights, refrigerator, freezers, or furnace during the winter months. There are dangers associated with the use of any gasoline powered equipment and if the portable electric generator is not used properly it can become deadly with the electrical shock potential and those dangerous carbon monoxide fumes that are produced. Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use. Most of the incidents associated with portable electrical generators are reported to be from CO poisoning from generators used indoors or in partially-enclosed spaces.

Using a portable generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES! Make sure that the generator being used is in the wide open spaces of the backyard.

So when using a portable generator remember:

  • Generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) very quickly, which can be deadly. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional C O poisoning.
  • Never operate your generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space such as a patio or garage, and place it far, far away from any structure housing people or pets. Most of the serious carbon monoxide poisonings have been caused by generator exhaust fumes drifting into doors, windows, vents and crawl spaces.
  • Be certain to install and test carbon monoxide detectors in nearby enclosed areas whenever you operate a portable power generator.
  • Read the owner's manual thoroughly and make sure your generator is prope rly grounded and maintained.
  • Store fuel for your generator safely. Turn the motor off and let it cool before refueling.
  • Keep the generator dry, and make sure extension cords are rated for the load, free of cuts and worn insulation and have three-pronged plugs.
  • Do not overload the generator. A portable generator should be used only when necessary and only to power essential equipment or appliances.
  • Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries.
  • Turn off all appliances powered by the generator before shutting down the generator.
  • Keep children away from portable generators at all time!

Never connect a generator directly to household wiring without an appropriate transfer switch installed and be sure to notify your utility servicing company, which may be required by state law. It is also encouraged for you to contact a licensed electrician when installing any back-up generator connected to the house electrical circuitry to make sure it meets all local codes.

Remember, portable electric generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they also can be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, fire and burns.

Electricity is a powerful tool, and odorless carbon monoxide fumes can quickly lull you to deep and deadly sleep!

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ARFF - Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting: The Early Days

Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) what use to be called Crash Fire Rescue (CFR), back in the day, has been a big part of my life thus far. There has been a lot of changes in the training, applications, and equipment used on this type of firefighting. From our initial start training in the fire protection field we build upon each lesson learned to increase our knowledge base. Thus what we learn today may not be the case to fight fire in the future. Now granted the general concept is pretty much the same when fighting fire but the old say of “Put the wet stuff on the red stuff” might not apply today or tomorrow as it did yesterday.

To learn and practice in a changing dangerous fire environment that allows fire rescue to be performed is a priceless firefighting skill to learn and have as a firefighter. It's a skill you don't want to use but when called to do so, being prepared is the key for any fire fighter. The training we actively take part in helps us succeeded in doing and being prepared.

Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting or ARFF what I still call CFR to a degree is a type of firefighting that is specialize for when an airplane or helicopter that departs and arrives at an airport or field which may have an emergency issue with it. There are two types of emergencies but are basically either a “Ground Emergency” or a “In-flight Emergency.”

The primary purpose and goal for any ARFF emergency is to save lives if possible. This is achieved by the ARFF fire fighter being trained to establish what is called a rescue path to the aircraft once on the ground if it’s in-flight, and prepared to battle large volumes of acrid smoke, rapid heat buildup, fight fire, lots of fire depending on the amount of fuel is being carried on the aircraft, and perform rescue. The training and skill base that I have acquired over the years has allowed me to do so safely. ARFF firefighters stand ready to respond to the worst case scenario be it a crash or burning aircraft. To meet this challenge, the men & woman of ARFF use their specialized training, equipment, and tactics learned.

I came across this video that I like to present now in this blog post of something I first viewed, back in the day, during my early training as a USAF fire fighter at the fire school as well as seeing out in the field at the bases I was assigned to over the years. Back when I first watched this video it was actually on 35mm film and you needed one of the old 35mm projectors with the big screen to watch it. Oh how we have advanced with this thing we call YouTube. I did a transfer of this video that was on the old VHS format to the YouTube format primarily for historical reasons. So here it is a historical video from 1964 on Crash Fire and Rescue (CFR) that is now called Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF)…

(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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