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"Standby to Copy…" – Making the Window a Door

Turning the “window into a door” is an important operational and safety concept that we preach every chance we get.  A few more seconds at the window can drastically increase ventilation and provide an egress point that will allow a firefighter to get himself out of trouble. In this edition of “Standby to Copy”, Chief Kelleher discusses the need to make the window into a door.

"how am I supposed to get out?"

“Standby to Copy” is an informal newsletter produced by TT instructor Chief Tony Kelleher of the Kentland VFD, providing operational tips to companies that operate in the Prince George’s County Fire Department.  While some of these tips reference things that are specific to the operations of PGFD companies, they share some great thoughts that are easily applied to any department.  They’re a great quick read and good for a conversation starter around the kitchen table.  As such, we’ll be cross-publishing these newsletters here for your enjoyment…

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, command-leadership, Commentary, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, RIT / Survival, Tips & Skills, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 19-12-2010

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"Standby to Copy…" – Covering the Rear

“Standby to Copy” is an informal newsletter produced by TT instructor Chief Tony Kelleher of the Kentland VFD, providing operational tips to companies that operate in the Prince George’s County Fire Department.  While some of these tips reference things that are specific to the operations of PGFD companies, they share some great thoughts that are easily applied to any department.  They’re a great quick read and good for a conversation starter around the kitchen table.  As such, we’ll be cross-publishing these newsletters here for your enjoyment…

This posts topic is on “covering the rear” of a structure for size-up, engine company, and truck company operations.  Grab a cup of coffee, check it out and let us know your thoughts.  What are your departments policies on “covering the rear”??

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Posted by | Posted in administration-leadership, Blog, Combat Ready, command-leadership, Company News, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, fires, Incident Command, Tips & Skills, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics | Posted on 10-12-2010

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Video Tip: Flaking Excess Hoseline From A Shoulder Load

Today’s video tip comes from a recent engine company class with the Susquehanna Hose Company in Havre de Grace, MD.  This tip demonstrates techniques for the scenario where the shoulder load is not yet completely flaked out and nozzle firefighter finds themselves with a need to charge the line and flow water immediately.  What often happens in this scenario is a pile of hose is thrown to the ground, it’s full of kinks, and the hoseline’s capabilities and flow are severely hampered.  Check out the clip below:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15QUk1iHjyg

Of course our goal is to always correctly estimate the stretch, anticipate our distance, and flake the line accordingly.  We all know that doesn’t always go as planned.  This is just one tip of many that can help you overcome this situation and get the line on the fire!

Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments.  For more information on our programs, please contact us.

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Engine Company, fire-rescue-topics, firefighting-operations, Tips & Skills, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, videos | Posted on 15-09-2010

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"As Goes the First Line…" – Engine Ops in West Chester, PA

That famous quote nicely sums up the running theme of a 16-hour engine company operations class this weekend hosted by the Goodwill Fire Company of West Chester, PA.   The program focused on the primary goal of the engine company: getting water on the fire.  Over the weekend we discussed a variety of essential issues along those lines.

Chief Kelleher (DCFD / Kentland 33) discusses setup of the rig and a 400' line.

First was the need for versatility on the engine company.  We discussed the importance of setting up the rig with various options in hoseline length, diameter, nozzle selection, etc.  Further, since it’s impossible to have a dedicated hoseline for every scenario, we must learn to use what we do have in multiple ways for different situations.  These variations have to be planned, communicated, and understood by all members BEFORE the fire, much in the same way as a football play.

We also discussed the need to establish a water supply early, and various options to accomplish this.  Of course another running theme was our company motto, “COMBAT READY”.  Students learned to mask-up quickly, with firefighting gloves already on, at the fire door with a goal of less than 15 seconds (many of the students quickly reached this goal!). Students “ran lines” all weekend, honing their skills through repetition in getting the line off the rig and to the fire quickly and SMOOTHLY.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhqRslwzW_E

The obtacles that instructors setup throughout the weekend (stairs, picnic-tables, corners, debris, etc) were enough to prove what we first said in the classroom on Saturday morning:  THE SUCCESS OF THE ENTIRE ENGINE COMPANY HINGES ON THE BACKUP FIREFIGHTER’S COMMITMENT TO THEIR JOB.  Though it’s not the “glory spot”, when the back-up firefighter does their job, the line is able to get into place quickly and advance smoothly.  Various techniques for handling obstacles and keeping the line moving were shown and practiced throughout the weekend.

Students stretching the 400' line

We covered various stretches: preconnects, reverse lay, window stretch, standpipes, extending lines and long length hoselines.  Students learned to stretch an 1.75″ line 600′ with only 4 firefighters in under 90 seconds. To illustrate the effectiveness, the line was even flow tested and measured with a Pitot gauge while flowing.

The engine company ultimately has a pretty simple mission at a fire: put the fire out.  However the steps that must be taken to do this can be quite complicated and require skill, practice, and communication.  Over the weekend we stressed the importance of having multiple plans and options, and that everyone makes errors – it’s not about how you screw up, it’s about how you RECOVER.  The students put 110% into the weekend and their perofrmance during Sunday’s box alarm drills made us proud.

Thanks to the officers and members of the Goodwill, Fame, and First West Chester fire companies of the West Chester Fire Department!  We appreciate your hospitality and look forward to seeing you soon!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swrlIV8lRx4

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Company News, Engine Company, fire-rescue-topics, firefighting-operations, news, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, videos | Posted on 19-07-2010

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Video Tip: "Running the 400"…

One of the skills we practiced at our Engine Company program last weekend were evolutions to cover long distances (up to 650 feet), FAST and with minimal manpower.  Pre-connected long attack lines, such as the 400′, have been  used successfully for decades by many departments.  Key to any hose evolution are the back-up FF’s duties of getting the line fully stretched, flaked out, and not wasting any valuable length.

Many departments use pre-connected long lines with great success, but it requires PRACTICE and TEAMWORK.

Many departments use pre-connected long lines with great success, but it requires PRACTICE and TEAMWORK.

The video below shows 2 students learning to stretch the 400 along with some tips for a smooth stretch.  You’ll notice it takes 3 firefighters only 76 SECONDS to cover 400 FEET.  And it only gets faster and smoother with practice…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qghn-ZCAshA

When running lines this distance, there are a couple things we must keep in mind to insure success:

  • “Looks pretty, pulls pretty” – if you want your lines to come off NICE, put them on NICE.
  • All firefighters must know the plan.  We shouldn’t be discussing who-does-what on the front lawn – know the “game plan” on how to pull your lines.
  • NO HOSE COMES OFF YOUR SHOULDER UNTIL ALL THE HOSE BEHIND YOU IS FLAKED & TIGHT.
  • Communicate!  Let the FF in front of you know when you’re out of hose.

These are just a few quick thoughts on running extended length hoselines.  Stay tuned for some more videos on this topic showing the line actually being run through buildings and around obstacles.

What’s the longest length line your engine company carries?  How’s it setup?  Let us know in the comments and on our Facebook page

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Engine Company, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, fires, Tips & Skills, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, videos | Posted on 09-05-2010

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TT Instructors Receive Awards for Valor

Congratulations are in order for Traditions Training instructor Joe Brown, who was recognized last week for his role in rescuing Prince George’s County firefighter Daniel McGown.  Brown (left), a Captain with the Kentland Vol. Fire Department, was the officer of Rescue Engine 33 operating at a house fire in April 2009.  While performing a search, he heard an activated PASS device and quickly located FF McGown at the entrance to the fire room, who was unconscious and without a face piece.  Brown quickly transmitted a MAYDAY, packaged FF McGown, and removed him to a window where other members of RE-833 assisted in utilizing a “Denver Drill” style maneuver Lito take him out the window. Last week, Capt. Brown was awarded a Gold Medal of Valor by the Prince George’s County Fire Department for his actions at this incident.

Brown, Walter Joe_3x5

Tony Kelleher (right), also a TT instructor, is the Chief of Kentland and received a bronze medal of valor for his actions as the incident commander in managing and coordinating the rescue effort and the house fire simultaneously. Thankfully, despite life threatining injuries, FF McGown has made a full recovery and is back on the job.

This succuessful rescue is another testement to the value of a constant COMBAT READY attitude and excellent training.

Well done, men! You make us proud!

Link to PGFD Story on the Awards & Incident

Link to Kentland VFD Story on the Fire

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Company News, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, fires, major-incidents, news, rescues, RIT / Survival | Posted on 03-05-2010