Archive for the ‘commentary articles’ Category

Lac Megantic update

Friday, January 31st, 2014

I just wanted to update you on the Lac Megantic fire truck.

This is an older truck, that was a gift from the City of Hamilton, Ontario Canada Fire Department to help Lac Megantic recover from the incredible loss it experienced this past summer when a train load of volatile crude oil crashed and destroyed the center of town. Words do not do the devastation justice.

The chief, Denis Lauzon, asked me [Mark Biernat is FRC’s manufacturer’s rep for Canada] if the FRC flowmeters were still able to be serviced on the old apparatus. When I explained the situation to the FRC service department – the flowmeters were offered at no charge. I dropped off the last flowmeter this week with TechnoFeu (the local E-One dealer) who was tasked with doing the installation and pump rebuild.

The truck will be ready for a pump test later this week and should be in service soon. Please know that this very generous gesture by FRC is greatly appreciated by the city of Lac Megantic.

Thank you very much,
Mark Biernat

1080 34e avenue | Lasalle, QC, Canada H8P 3A2

IMG-20140128-00091 IMG-20140128-00090

Pre-Trip Inspections

Monday, February 13th, 2012

by Ralph Craven

Most fire departments have a program in place that requires daily inspections, often referred to as “Pre-trip inspections” of the fire apparatus that the department has in service. These programs also have inspection forms that list all of the things that need to be checked and inspected on a daily basis. On the other hand, there are departments around the country that do not have inspection programs. It is these departments that are playing dangerous games with the lives of the firefighters that ride the apparatus and the citizens they are sworn to protect.

Recently a large metropolitan fire department had an accident when one of its ladder trucks lost its brakes, careened down a hill and struck a building killing the officer instantly. It was discovered during the course of the investigation that the department did not have a maintenance shop and only fixed the trucks after they broke. Also, they did not do daily inspections of the apparatus. When the trucks needed to be repaired they were sent to outside vendors.


The Good Old Days (what was so good about them?)

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

by Jack McLoughlin

The fire service has progressed tremendously in the years that I have had the pleasure to serve. I think my department, which I love, is typical of many suburban departments in North America. The changes in training, apparatus, the ability to perform tasks in a professional manner, and leadership is nothing short of incredible. I clearly remember my first day in the fire service. I was asked if I could drive a truck. I said sure. They had me drive the truck around the fire district, stopping to pump the truck two or three times. When we got back to the station, they told me I was qualified to be a driver and a pump operator. I was amazed because I knew that I knew nothing about fire fighting and pumping. But that was the level of training in
those days.


An Inside Look at Pump Testing

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

by Allan Burnham

In most communities the first truck out the door to a reported incident is an engine. These engines are equipped with pumps, hose, water and an assortment of specialized tools necessary to perform a host of emergency functions. Should a pumper be required to supply large quantities of water, it will need to hook up to a municipal hydrant system or draft from a nearby water source. To insure these pumpers perform from year to year at their rated capacity, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed definitive pump testing standards along with step-by-step procedures on how to perform these specified tests and interpret the results. These results are then subject to review by insurance rating agencies, such as the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), a private organization that provides services to insurance companies by rating the fire suppression capability of a community. This is done on a 100 point system, of which 50 points is fire department related. All this determines the classification of the department, which can affect the insurance rates for the community.


Big Brother: 60 Years Later

Monday, May 24th, 2010

by Robert Tutterow

In 1949, George Orwell’s infamous book 1984 was published. The novel was based on a totalitarian state where the ruling party had total power over the governed. One of the key characters of that novel was “Big Brother”, the dictator of Oceania. The society described in Orwell’s book is one that is under constant surveillance by the authorities. It is from this infamous book that the phrase “Big Brother is watching you” originated.

Sixty years later an interesting parallel has developed. While our society has not exactly evolved into a totalitarian state with constant surveillance by Big Brother, we have evolved into a society where, to a significant degree, “we” have each other under surveillance. Foremost in the area of monitoring and data capture is the popularity of security cameras. When we drive into the parking lot or walk through the door of a business, there is a good chance that our actions are being captured by video cameras. Traffic monitoring cameras are also very common. Most urban areas now have traffic monitoring cameras mounted at major intersections and along multi-lane traffic arteries.