Archive for April 11th, 2013

New book featuring northern Illinois fire departments

Tim Olk’s book entitled  Northern Illinois Fire Ground Photography is almost here!


book about northern illinois fire departments


 Download the flyer.

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National study discusses personnel for high-rise fires

This from Bill Post:

Yesterday the National Institute of Standards and Technology released a high rise fire fighting  study at the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs conference meeting in Phoenix Arizona. The Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2 has already cited it in an effort at negotiations with the city as to why the Chicago Fire Department can’t afford to cut crew size.

The Chicago Fire Department’s union chief on Wednesday brandished a new federal report on fighting high-rise fires to push back against potential job cuts as part of protracted labor negotiations with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.

The study by the U.S. Commerce Department, the national firefighters union and other organizations focused on response times to blazes in 13-story buildings and found that crews of five or six firefighters put out fires and conducted search-and-rescue operations “significantly faster” than three-person or four-person teams.

The Fire Department contract that lapsed in June requires five firefighters per truck, but Emanuel has left open the possibility of reducing staffing levels. There has been little progress in negotiations since then, but firefighters must work under the old rules for now.

While most of Chicago’s high-rises are concentrated downtown and along the lakefront, Firefighters Union Local 2 President Thomas Ryan argued that other large buildings like schools and factories are found throughout the city and present many of the same challenges. He argued that the report “scientifically proves what we’ve been saying for years” and said cutting the number of firefighters at any firehouse in the city would put the public at risk.

Administration spokesman Bill McCaffrey said high-rise fires are relatively infrequent, so the report represents “a very small portion of properties and fires in the city.”

“And Chicago has highly skilled and well-equipped high-rise response teams, a recently rewritten high-rise response protocol and strict requirements for fire safety in high-rises — these are the most critical factors in maintaining safety in high-rises in Chicago,” McCaffrey said in an email.

Information about the study can be found HERE. Excerpts from the press release:

Landmark High-Rise Fire Study Evaluates Effectiveness of Crew Sizes, Elevator Use

PHOENIX – When responding to fires in high-rise buildings, firefighting crews of five or six members—instead of three or four—are significantly faster in putting out fires and completing search-and-rescue operations, concludes a major new study* carried out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in cooperation with five other organizations.

Results of the study, carried out with 13 Washington, D.C.-area fire departments, were presented today at the 2013 Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Conference in Phoenix.

“Unlike most house fires, high-rise fires are high-hazard situations that pose unique operational challenges to fire service response. How big a fire gets and how much danger it poses to occupants and firefighters are largely determined by crew size and how personnel are deployed at the scene,” says lead researcher Jason Averill, a NIST fire protection engineer. “It’s not simply that larger crews have more people. Larger crews are deployed differently and, as a result, are able to perform required tasks more quickly.”

An analysis of 14 “critical tasks”—those undertaken when potential risks to building occupants and firefighters are greatest—found that three-member crews took almost 12 minutes longer than crews of four, 21 minutes longer than crews of five, and 23 minutes longer than crews of six to complete all tasks. Four-person crews took nine minutes and 11 minutes longer than five- and six-member crews, respectively.

The study also looked at the effect of using fire service access elevators to move firefighters and equipment up to the staging floor and concluded that most tasks were started two to four minutes faster when using the elevators compared with using the stairs.

On the basis of the results of computer modeling, which incorporate data from live experimental burns, the study team concluded that smaller crews end up facing larger fires because of the additional time required to complete tasks.

A three-person crew, for example, would battle a medium-growing blaze that is almost 60 percent larger than the fire faced by a six-member crew, which would start extinguishing a fire roughly three-and-one-half minutes earlier. In an office building, this difference is equivalent to four employee cubicles on fire for a three-person crew versus two cubicles for a six-person crew.

Comparing the performances of different-sized crews, the researchers found that adding two members to three- and four-person teams would result in the largest improvements in starting and completing critical tasks, such as advancing the water hose to the fire location and beginning search and rescue. Improvements ranged from one minute to 25 minutes, depending on the task.

The research team also evaluated whether dispatching more three or four-member crews to a high rise fire—accomplished by sounding a higher initial alarm—would be as effective as sending a low first alarm contingent of engines and trucks staffed by more firefighters. They found that a “low-alarm response with crews of size four or five outperforms a high-alarm response with crew sizes smaller by one firefighter.”

“Prior to this experiment, some fire departments attempted to deploy with smaller crews on each piece of apparatus,” explains Lori Moore-Merrell of the International Association of Fire Fighters, a co-principal investigator for the study. “The logic suggested that, if the fire is big enough, just send more units, but it ignores the fact that larger crews have tactical advantages that reduce risk exposure to people and firefighters. Crews of six and even five can carry out crucial tasks in parallel rather than in series. Saving time can save occupant lives and prevent firefighter injuries and property damage.”

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) defines high-rises as buildings that are seven stories or taller, the height that exceeds most types of fire service ladders. In most U.S. communities, new high- rises are required to have automated sprinkler systems, which are designed to control the spread of fires, not to extinguish them.

But according to the NFPA, 41 percent of U.S. high-rise office buildings, 45 percent of high-rise hotels, and 54 percent of high-rise apartment buildings are not equipped with sprinklers, as compared with 25 percent of hospitals and related facilities. Moreover, sprinkler systems fail in about one in 14 fires.

While much less frequent than house fires, about 43 high-rise fires occur in the United States every day. Between 2005 and 2009, according to the NFPA, high-rise structure fires averaged 15,700 annually. Average annual losses totaled 53 civilian deaths, 546 civilian injuries and $235 million in property damage.

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New tower for Aurora

Dan McInerney submitted an image of a new tower ladder for Aurora Truck 6. It is a 2012 E-ONE Cyclone II 95′ rear mount with no pump and no water tank. The job # is 137594.

Aurora FD Truck 6

Aurora Truck 6 has a new 2012 E-ONE Cyclone 95′ tower ladder. Dan McInerney photo

fire truck production tag

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New apparatus for Glenview

As posted previously HERE and HERE, the Glenview Fire Department took delivery of a new quint for Truck 14. The web site has been updated to show the new truck, though it’s not expected to be in service until June. Here are some additional images of the new Truck 14 and a comparison shot of the previous Truck 14, which will become Truck 14R/Truck 29.

Pierce Arrow XT truck for Glenview FD

Glenview Truck 14 will be assigned this 2013 Pierce Arrow XT 1500/450/10/40 105′ rear mount quint. Larry Shapiro photo

Glenview FD Truck 14

2003 Pierce Dash 1500/450/30/30 105′ quint. Larry Shapiro photo


The Village of Northfield reportedly contributed $100,000 towards the purchase of this new unit. In return for that investment, Truck 14R will be housed at Northfield Station 29. It will run as Truck 29 for responses where Northfield is due out of town with a truck. Glenview will respond into Northfield for alarms and fires. When Glenview Truck 14 is out of service for any reason, the older unit will return to Glenview as Truck 14.

There are a few differences between the new unit and it’s predecessor. They include:

  • a slightly longer wheelbase due to an elongated pump panel which now incorporates the Smart Power 10-KW generator and a XRT power system for the Hurst tools
Pierce Arrow XT truck for Glenview FD

The new truck is slightly longer than the previous unit. Larry Shapiro photo

  • an extended front bumper with a Hurst high pressure cutter and spreader with 100′ reels
bumper mounted hydraulic rescue tools on fire truck

The extended front bumper houses the Hurst high-pressure cutter and spreader. Larry Shapiro photo

  • all LED lighting
  • small tool compartment behind the cab
  • Northfield’s name on the sign board
fire departments share ladder truck

The sign board on the new truck has decals for both GLenview and Northfield. Larry Shapiro photo

  • Arrow XT instead of Dash cab and chassis
  • short barrier clearance doors
Pierce Arrow XT truck for Glenview FD

Arrow XT cab. Larry Shapiro photo

Glenview also recently put a new ambulance in service at Station 6. Having purchased one of the last Medtec units prior to the shutdown, they have a 2013 Type I Medtec on an IHC 4300 chassis similar to the rest of their ambulances. The new unit has LED lighting and a slightly different paint scheme on the box that features black near the roof. This replaces the 2007 IHC/Medtec from Station 6 which has become the spare ambulance. The previous spare, a 2001 Freightliner FL60/Road Rescue has been disposed of.

Glenview FIre Department ambulance 6

Glenview Ambulance 6 received this 2013 IHC 4300/Medtec with a black border on the box which required a change in the lettering. Larry Shapiro photo

Glenview FD Ambulance 6

Rear view of the new Ambulance 6 in Glenview showing the chevron striping. Larry Shapiro photo

Glenview FD ambulance

The unit previously assigned to Ambulance 6 is now the spare. This shows the design of the other ambulances in Glenview with an all-red body. Larry Shapiro photo


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