Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Why firefighters take the big trucks on medical calls

This article from Spokanarama . I will add two things to this article:

1. As budgets get smaller, the ranks of firefighters shrink, yet they are tasked to do more. In fact, there were around 25 more firefighters on duty every day in Spokane before firefighters added emergency medical services to their firefighting duties.

2. Yesterday's fire where E-15 and L-2 rescued the family from the house fire may have had very different results if E-15 or L-2 were in an ambulance or pickup truck on a medical call and had to return to the station to get the "big truck" with their turnout gear, their SCBAs, their ladders, their hoses, their pump, their axes, etc. and then proceed to the fire.

Heres the article:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why does a big fire truck go on medical calls?

This is a question that I get asked a lot. You can see from the photo above, and if you do a Google search of "fire trucks, engines, paramedics. etc.," the norm is that firefighters use fire engines and ladder trucks to deliver emergency medical services. The photo above is featured on this website.

Why is this the norm?

Quite simply, firefighters have to be prepared, no matter where they are, no matter what they may be doing - building surveys, fireworks patrol, training, etc.  - to respond to any type of emergency. These emergencies include house fires, heart attacks, auto accidents, hazmats, garage fires, strokes, entrapments, car fires, deaths, apartment fires, stabbings, heroin overdoses, people getting run over, shootings, etc.

So, firefighters take the fire engine or ladder truck with the pump, the hoses, the ladders, the nozzles, the breathing apparatus, the cutting tools, the axes, the chainsaws, the defibrillator, the medications, the oxygen, and the all their protective gear with them wherever they go.

If a fire call comes in and they are on a medical call and the patient is OK, or the ambulance shows up, if they are returning to the station from a medical call, if they are on their way to a medical call and they see smoke billowing out of a home, if they are picking up medical supplies from the hospital, they can respond immediately because they are already with, or in, a fire engine or ladder truck. Likewise, if they are at a fire, because they have medical gear on their fire apparatus, they can perform emergency medical services for a fire victim immediately.

All of this saves time. Time is the enemy for firefighters - whether they are in their EMT role helping a stroke or heart attack patient or whether they are acting in their fire suppression role in the early stages of an exponentially expanding apartment fire.

If you have a scanner and were listening to the recent Lincoln Terrace apartment fire, you would have heard fire companies, from all across the city, clear from the medical calls they were on ASAP and proceed directly to the fire. They didn't have to drive back to the station and get "the big fire truck." Today, you can walk by the scene of this fire on 7th and Lincoln, and see what could have happened, if the response had not been timely. With homes and apartments, uphill and right against the apartment complex, the fire would have spread quickly and pretty far into the neighborhood.

To me, and probably to you, this concept seems like a simple thing to explain to others.

If you ever get asked why firefighters take the big trucks on medical emergencies by a friend or neighbor, would you please let them know? Thanks! 

Fire press release

2923 E Central House Fire
Incident #: 2012052437
Date of Incident: 12/04/2012
Issuing Officer: Dave Leavenworth Deputy Chief
This morning December 4, 2012 at 0651 hours the Spokane Fire Department responded 1 heavy rescue, 4 engine companies, 2 ladder companies, 2 Battalion Chiefs, and 1 Deputy Chief to a reported structure fire with reports of occupants inside the home. The first arriving unit, Engine 15 from the Hillyard Neighborhood fire station reported a working structure fire in the basement of a residence with reports of two persons trapped inside. E15 immediately initiated a search operation of the structure. Other arriving units were assigned to conduct simultaneous search operations, ventilate smoke from the structure ,and assist with extinguishment of the fire. SFD personnel rescued two persons from the structure and brought them to medical aid provided by SFD paramedics. AMR personnel arrived to transport a total of five persons from the fire scene to local area hospitals for treatment of their injuries. One adult male victim has been transfered to Harbour View Medical Center in Seattle for definitive treatment of burn injuries. There were no injuries to fire personnel.
The cause and origin of the fire is under investigation by members of the SFD SIU unit. As further information is available updates will be provided.
Damage estimates were still being tabulated at the time of this release.
# Firefighters Responding: 25
Dollar Loss: $ N/A
End Of Release
For more information on this release please call (509) 625-7002

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Fire Press Release

South Battalion House Fire

Incident #: 2012052316
Date of Incident: 12/03/2012
Issuing Officer: Bob Green/Battalion Chief

The Spokane City Fire Dept. dispatched fire apparatus and their crews to 2317 E. 4th Ave. at 12:20 hrs on Monday, December 3rd for a reported structure fire. As the crew from Station 7, located in the lower South East section of the City, was approaching the address they could see large amounts of black smoke in the sky and reported by radio that this was a working fire and requested an up-grade to the alarm which would bring additional resources to the incident scene. E7 arrived on the scene and reported a single story wood/frame dwelling with heavy black smoke showing from the roof and eaves of the building and immediately made a decision to make an offensive attack on the fire. As other apparatus began arriving on scene the Incident Commander started making assignments that included water supply, Safety Officer, search and rescue, fire attack, back-up hose lines to protect the fire fighters already engaged in the interior attack, vertical ventilation on the roof, horizontal ventilation at the ground floor level and the deployment of a RIT Team to be in position should the rescue of a lost or injured fire fighter become necessary. A complete search of the entire building was ordered, as per Fire Dept. policy, to ensure that there was no one inside while the simultaneous fire attack and ventilation efforts were undertaken. Fortunately the search found no victims in the building and the very hot and well-advanced fire was brought under control in about 30 minutes. Fire damage to the structure was considerable and much of the interior of the building had to be opened by the fire fighters to ensure that no fire was concealed in the walls, ceilings, and attic space. A large portion of the roof had to be opened to allow the hot, toxic gasses to ventilate into the atmosphere. The areas of the building not damaged by the fire itself were severely damaged by the heavy smoke conditions that were present. There was one reported injury to one of the fire fighters who responded to this early afternoon blaze. The fire fighter fell through a burnt out area of the floor inside the structure, the fire burning below the floor burned an area of skin on his lower leg that became exposed when his turnout pants were pushed up as his leg dropped through the floor. He was examined at the scene by AMR Para-Medics and deemed fit to return to duty at the scene. Five engines, three ladders, one Heavy Rescue Truck, and two Command vehicles responded to this incident with 34 fire fighters on scene to get the fire confined and extinguished. The Spokane Fire Dept. Special Investigation Unit has determined that the cause of the fire was an electrical malfunction inside the dwelling.

Electrical malfunction.

Heavy fire damage to the entire structure. Most of the interior contents were damaged either by the fire or the high heat that was present in the interior of the structure

# Firefighters Responding: 34

Dollar Loss: $ 80,000

End Of Release
For more information on this release please call (509) 625-7002

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Fire press coverage

Spokane Fire Department response on 46th and Stone saved the house next door and stopped the main fire before it got to the bedrooms and living room. Looks like the entire side of the exposed house next door was involved. The wood siding now looks like charcoal. They saved this house and it is still habitable while new siding is being put on. E14 put the water on this exposure and stopped the fire before it extended up to the soffits and into the attic.

The slated-to-be-closed-because-of-$4.50-per-year E9 was the first one into the interior of the primary fire with a nozzle. E11 was on the roof cutting vent holes and trenching.

Here's the Spokesman-Review story.