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Door Entry Techniques

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
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on Friday, 09 October 2015
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Door Entry Techniques – Many variations

If you ask 5 firefighters about exactly how to perform door entry technique you will probably get about half a dozen different opinions. Many of these are very rigid and involve a set number of pulses with a specified cone angle.

I tend to take an outcome based approach. What are we trying to achieve?

Firstly we need to cool the gases and linings around us so that the smoke or flame that exits the door meets cool gases and moist surfaces. After reading the fire behaviour indicators we need to cautiously open the door and introduce water fog into the upper zone to cool those gases. The risk assessment conducted may indicate the entry is not possible. Or it may be necessary to repeat the process several times. How many pulses, their duration and angle will be largely dependent on the geometry of the compartment and the stage of fire development. High ceilings will require a narrower cone angle. I still believe in hitting the ceiling with a jet to dislodge any loose debris. This can also assist in cooling the gases particularly in the case of high ceilings.

Large spaces with a well developed fire will need to have medium to long pulsations to have any meaningful cooling effect.

Don’t forget that if you open the door and you can see the fire base it is ok to put water on it!!!! After all the purpose of gas cooling is to help us get to a point where we can put water on the fire. Some people forget that it is only a control technique suitable for small compartments.

If we teach firefighters WHAT needs to be achieved and WHY, they will be able to work out HOW.

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Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 27 August 2013
in Water on the Fire · 0 Comments

One method - many names!

It has lots of names and just as many origins- the act of wrapping the first bite of hose back on itself (about 1.8m) and continuing to wrap until there's about 1m left.

This is commonly called the Cleveland Hose Load, the Round About Hose Load, the Garden Lay etc etc - we're not certain of it's origin however the Cleveland State Forest fire fighters were said to employ the concept for deploying hose at wild fires (great idea!!!).

What we are certain about is it's great! Especially when used in conjunction with an initial flaked hose, as it's possible to stretch and coil 2 lengths of hose just as quickly as the ground between the water supply and the fire can be covered.

We are often asked why we don't just have two packs holding coiled hose and not bother with the flaked hose pack, which on face-value- having two hoses rapidly deployed in a tight area sounds like a good thing- but it's not, or at least we don't think so.

For all its amazing benefits the Cleveland Hose Load has a few short comings which are inherent to the nature of lay-flat hose.

  1. Hose stored in the Cleveland Hose Load should not be run out from it's coiled position until it's full of water- this is because it will twist as it unravels from the coil and when the water is introduced the nozzle/branch will untwist. For this reason the line cannot be advanced until it's full of water.
  2. When deployed in the right position (near to the fire) the Cleveland Hose Load is easily advanced from its tight coil into the burning environment. However if two Cleveland Hose Loads are deployed together too far away, then the ease-of-advancement is burnt up in the distance between the supply and the fire. Then on entry, we are back to the original problem of lots of heavy hose outside.

To solve these problems we have developed a second pack (Lay Pack) designed to cover the distance between the water supply and the coiled hose.

When the two packs are used together, the distance between the fire and supply can be covered in either a forward or reverse direction (depending on the job) and hose deployed into a coil from the Attack Pack can be advanced into the burning environment.

For scenarios where there's a lay flat hose already positioned for each hydrant we have developed the Compack - it too stores and deploys the Cleveland Hose Load in one movement and is stored in more of a square shaped pack so it can fit in traditional fire hose cabinets.

The benefits of a coiled hose deployed in a lift lobby or stairwell environment far outweigh the current hose-rack flaked hoses as it can be deployed almost instantly and does not need to be stretched up and back in limited spaces.

  1. In this scenario the Attack Packs holding the coil are deployed near to the fire.

  2. Where the Lay Packs have been stretched up or down the stairs, to or from the water supply.

 

 

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Keeping an Open Mind

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 21 July 2013
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

As a pioneer of 3D Firefighting tactics in Australia (since 1997) I have been privileged to see the benefits this approach has delivered to my colleagues as well as the people we serve. Along with increasing the safety of firefighters, the 3D approach greatly assists in formulating the most efficient approach to fire attack. This has increases that chances of saving victims while minimising the loss of property.

The 3D approach is not the only innovation we have seen in the last 30 years. CAFS and PPV are also game changers in their own right. Unfortunately I have seen a tendency for innovators to fall in love with their approach and to ignore the potential benefits of the other innovations. Some PPV advocates think adding water-fog will generate excessive steam and some 3D purists think that adding air will intensify the fire. The fact is that when they are combined there is a synergistic effect that greatly increases the safety and efficiency of the operation!

I have been practicing combining 3D techniques with PPV for over 13 years and have witnessed firsthand how powerful this combination can be. I am currently looking as combining CAFS with 3D and/or PPV. One of the limitations with CAFS is that it has minimal cooling interaction directly with the accumulated gases. The cooling of the gases occurs mostly at the the heated surfaces. If CAFS internal attack was combined with PPV the heated gases are removed prior to entry and the linings can be very effectively cooled and buffered.

With knowledge, an open-mind and a desire for excellence you can adapt your tactics and tools to develop the safest and most efficient plan of attack.

With this approach everyone wins!!!

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Inherently Dangerous

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 30 April 2013
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Firefighters are called upon to work in some of the most hazardous situations found in our society.

No responsible employer in the developed world would consider allowing their firefighters to enter these hostile environments without adequate personal protective equipment. Indeed most countries have legislation that makes it mandatory to provide such protection to their employees.

Adequate training and safe systems of work are just as critical in ensuring that firefighters are not placed in unnecessary danger. Arguably one of the most essential skills is the ability to recognise the hazards and to be able to formulate the safest and most efficient method of fire attack.

The Home Office Health and Safety publication “Training for Hazardous Occupations”, HSE OP8 has this to say about firefighting:

“The activities which firefighters are required to perform can be frightening. They frequently must work at heights, they are exposed to heat and smoke and they may have to enter dark confined spaces for rescue work. Unless the firefighter has experienced the fears to which these conditions give rise and has learnt to control them, there is a risk that he will get into difficulties in the hazardous circumstances of the fireground and will himself need to be rescued. He must also rely greatly upon his colleagues and his officers to look after him in hazardous situations. He needs to be confident in their ability to do so. He needs to know that if he is given an order by an officer that an officer will have considered the firefighters safety before asking him to do the task. He must also be confident that the task is within his own capabilities if he is to approach it in the right frame of mind. Each of these aspects, control of fear, and confidence in himself and his colleagues and his officers can be developed in training, but only if the training is undertaken under realistic conditions which may well expose the firefighter to risk.

I would argue that realistic and practical training is as critical to firefighter safety as adequate PPE. Yet even today there are numerous examples of fire services that do not see adequate realistic training as essential.

Some see it as an optional extra or something that can be provided with lectures or the occasional wet drill in the station yard.

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Tunnel fire fighting

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 21 April 2013
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

During many firefighting operations there is sufficient space to bowl out coiled hose or to flake out hose from the pumper.

While many tunnels will have hose reels these are extremely limited and will not provide sufficient flow to attack a developed vehicle fire. Initial fire attack in tunnels will most likely be conducted by connecting a hose line to an outlet located somewhere in the tunnel complex.

It is therefore essential for firefighters to be able to carry lay flat hose to the scene. This may be very challenging in the confines of a tunnel for a number of reasons. It is likely that vehicles behind the incident will have to be abandoned.

This chaotic environment could make the task of stretching a line extremely difficult. If visibility is hindered due to smoke or the failure of emergency lighting the situation become even more difficult and dangerous.

Probably the most limiting environment for hose line deployment is in a rail tunnel. In many cases the distance between the carriage and the walls of the tunnel is extremely narrow. Footing is difficult due to the ballast and few rail tunnels are fitted with emergency lighting so visibility could be very limited.

The Attack Pack provides the possibility to easily carry the hose to the scene and allow for hose to be charged in a very narrow or congested space. The fact that the hose line does not need to be stretched out to be charged allows fire attack to commence earlier and connection to the hydrant provides a tenable anchor point.

As conditions improve, the coiled hose line allows for easy and reliable advancement of the line.

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Cars on fire as motorway tunnel caves in west of Tokyo

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 02 December 2012
in blogs · 0 Comments

Emergencies are largely unpredictable, the recent disaster inside a Japanese tunnel is a harsh reminder of this.

The deployment of hoses inside any restricted environment is a complicated task- let alone with evacuees moving and smoke and flames growing. Our packs are far more than some fabric holding the hose in place- they introduce a standard. This standard means the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.

If I have the blue Lay Pack my job is to find water and stretch the hose towards the fire. If I have the red Attack Pack then I need to be near to the fire and ready to charge the line to advance into fight the fire.

Read the story here

The Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Koshu, Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan.

Picture: AP

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History & tradition + technology & innovation = progress

Posted by Peter Messenger
Peter Messenger
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on Sunday, 04 March 2012
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

I have always believed that history and tradition within a fire service is essential to providing effective emergency operations "they've done it this way for years and it seems to be working".

But sometimes emergency services should take a closer look, was it done as best as we can do or is there a better, smarter way?

As technology etches it way into fire fighting and emergency response, some traditions are best left in the fire fighting museum- the introduction of Breathing Apparatus for example- what was once considered something a 'sissy' would wear is now considered essential personal protective equipment.

 

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What drives your actions?

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 15 January 2012
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Firefighters are often faced with situations that require the ability to conduct an accurate size up, usually with limited information and in a compressed time frame.

If this is not challenging enough, the decisions made have the potential to endanger the lives of firefighters and may mean the difference between life and death for any persons that are trapped.

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Transit Tunnel Fire Emergencies

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 17 August 2011
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

For most people the daily commute through a busy transit tunnel is of no real significance, while it is unlikely that a major incient will occur- in the event it does all the implications of the emergency are amplified, these including smoke and heat from a fire as well as hundreds, potentially thousands of evacuees moving though an unbreathable environment in limited light.

Like a cruise or cargo ship emergency, the two variables that dictate the size and duration of a fire in a tunnel are Speed in both initial response and subsequent fire fighting operations and Weight of Attack (WoA) i.e how much and how effective the water streams are).

We have looked at the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and how their immediate response and local knowledge provide an invaluable advantage and we have also outlined the nuts and bolts of how the QuickLay Fire Attack Packs provide unparalleled performance in confined environments with milti-skilled and multi-lingual team members.

For a true insight into tunnels and how the who's who of keeping them safe no one would have a better, more up-to-date understanding of "Planning, Preparation and Response to Emergencies in Tunnels" than QLFA's own Director Shan Raffel.

Shan is a Churchill Fellow having completed his research project into tunnel emergencies.

His findings can be viewed here

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But fire fighters bowl hose... don't they?

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Friday, 08 July 2011
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Sure, fire fighters are trained in the use of fire hose. There's no doubt about it, it's their bread and butter!

The straight forward task of holding the roll of hose steady, then carefully bowling it out in a straight(ish) line is the noble rite-of-passage for any fire fighter.

Though is this reason enough for other organisations like stadiums, large shopping centers or factories to avoid having the same ability to combat a fire in its infancy?

We don't think so; not when the task is simplified, expedited and the resulting hose from the Attack Pack gifts the user with a calibre that's twice that of a common one-inch fire-hose-reel.

Another reason people avoid lay-flat hose is based on the assumption that it can only be used with breathing apparatus - however it's when you do not have the advantage of air protection that the greater reach a lay flat hose offers should be utilised.

"Emergency Response Teams equipped with the QuickLay packs and an understanding of basic hose deployment are best positioned to protect life and the assets of the business".

 


Until now fire fighters

bowled this:

Now! Fire Fighters AND

Emergency Response Teams

can deploy these:

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Where there's fire there's smoke (except in Hollywood)

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 05 July 2011
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Fact v's Fiction - Hollywood would have us believe we are bullet proof in a fire...

As humans our appreciation of fire is well developed - 'bestfriend but- worst enemy' is a maxim I remember from school, so people generally 'get-it' when it comes to fire.

However, Hollywood's portrayal of fire and the effect the resulting smoke has on the human body has a lot to answer for: in their defense the last scene of 'Backdraft' would be pretty beige if all we saw was a blurred glow of fire through the thick black turbulant smoke and not Brian McCaffrey (aka William Baldwin) smash the top off a fire extinguisher and throw it in the burning factory, all without breathing protection...

The reality is:

"the onset of smoke and heat can only be fully appreciated and given the respect it deserves when observed and experienced firsthand - which unfortunately in some cases, is too late".

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The Missing Link

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Monday, 04 July 2011
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Fire hose lay is not an exact science- so we have identified the standard requirements common to most fire emergencies...

If you talk to Akron they will tell you they've spent millions on the development of their nozzles and if you chat to Scania, they will tell you of the billions that has gone into R&D of the noble fire appliance yet the bit between the appliance and nozzle remains- hose. Simple lay-flat canvas or rubber hose.

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What is QuickLay Fire Attack?

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 02 July 2011
in QLFA Overview · 0 Comments

From fire fighters around the world through to Emergency Response Teams in prisons, on mine sites or aboard cruise ships- the task of lay-flat fire hose deployment is universally inconsistent and generally restrictive in its application.

Traditionally, to avoid kinks and tangles, fire hose deployment requires long open spaces. Many on-duty injuries occur when fire fighters attempt to un-kink a semi-charged hose. Further, it’s when a hose is kinked that it’s more likely to burst, causing additional water damage – as the fire intensifies.

Then when it's charged, the long lengths of hose filled with water are heavy when dragged towards the fire.

The QuickLay Packs provide the first holestic hose management solution by essentially by fulfilling the two requirements common to every fire emergency. Firstly, the Lay Pack stretches a length of hose between the water supply and the fire containment point. Where a second hose, stowed in the Attack Pack can be deployed into a neat coil and easily advanced.

In addition to the rapid deployment of the Attack Pack, the nature of the coiled hose introduces fire fighters to greater deployment flexibility including confined space deployment in places like high-rise fire stairs, a terrace style court yard, a unit block balcony or the narrow gangway of a cruise or cargo ship.

The innovative hose lay packs allow multilingual and multi-skilled operators to easily deploy and advance a charged fire hose 90% quicker and 99% more reliably.

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