Naomi Baum looks at the fact that, along with the stories of courage and bravery, there is a darker side to firefighting that needs some light shed on it.
When a reader writes to Nozzlehead, explaining that he feels that we have too many warning lights on fire apparatus, Nozzlehead offers him a piece of his mind, arguing that there’s hardly such a thing as “too many lights” when it comes to responding but that there can be too many lights when apparatus are stationary and simply need to convey caution to passing motorists.
Using two Near-Miss Reports related to health issues—one that focuses on how a stress test saved a life, and another that focuses on the early diagnosis of cancer—Deputy Chief John Tippett explains the huge benefits of annual physical exams, and offers advice for how to get a health-screening program off the ground at your department.
Firefighting is an intense, physically demanding job. But to do it well, firefighters must maintain their cardiovascular fitness. One way to do this is through interval runs. As Monte Egherman explains, these types of runs can be customized to suit firefighters of varying fitness levels, and they mimic firefighting activity patterns to better prepare firefighters for the demands of the fireground. Egherman also describes a basic interval run for both beginners and more advanced participants.
To feel true ownership of PPE ensembles, firefighters customize them to fit their needs and/or department traditions. But as Bobby Finn explains, although there are many ways to personalize PPE and many considerations to make, any change must adhere to NFPA safety guidelines.
After a reader write in to tell him about his personal experience telling his chief that he had been diagnosed with cancer, Nozzlehead addresses how chiefs should behave when learning something so significant, champions the work of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, and offers advice for how firefighters can go about getting the information they need about their health-related benefits so they aren’t unprepared in case the worst happens.
Five factors have been identified as contributing to firefighter fatalities. Chief Danny Kistner looks at two of these factors—the lack of incident command systems and the lack of thorough risk assessments—to show the impact they have on safe fireground operations.
Using two reports from the National Fire Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System, John Tippett shows how command presence can "make it or break it" on the fireground.
Every structure fire poses the risk of building collapse. In this article, Capt. Homer Robertson reviews some basic guidelines for determining safe distances to position apparatus and firefighters.
SOPs may fail to address all of the electrical issues firefighters can face during residential structure fires. This article focuses on some of the common yet less known electrical issues, including energized utility panels, solar-power systems, falling wires and more.