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Fire Service News

Excerpts from

The roles and responsibilities of firefighters have changed significantly over the past few decades. Firefighters must perform structure firefighting, search, rescue, mitigation of hazardous materials, and disaster response. Also, increased calls for firefighters to respond to potentially violent emergencies, such as active shooters these conditions demand better physical protection.

No other item is more classically associated with firefighters than their helmets. It not only provides a sense of security but also a sense of confidence when worn. Although designed to protect firefighters’ heads from thermal and low-velocity direct impact, helmets often contribute to additional exertion and sprain-related head and neck injuries because of their bulk and weight.

Firefighters need effective, affordable equipment they can rely on to support their increasingly demanding jobs.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and Texas Tech University (TTU) researchers are jointly developing a protective and lightweight NextGen firefighter helmet to protect firefighters that will provide firefighter both fire and ballistic protection and mitigate the risk of blunt head trauma.

It provides adequate functional mobility and postural stability, reducing the risk of injury to the cervical spine and neck muscle fatigue. It also supports accessories that expand the firefighter’s capabilities.

A modern firefighter helmet will be integrated with several safety features such as thermal protection, communication devices, face shields, visors, thermal imaging, breathing apparatus masks, and lighting. At the same time, make it lighter so that the helmet’s center of gravity does not change.

The new device will use alternative materials and advanced ergonomic design solutions to eliminate traditional helmet systems dangers. The NextGen firefighter helmet will have a shell that can absorb energy on impact and dissipate it rapidly without damaging the skull or brain.

Researchers are exploring Kevlar fiber material for NextGen firefighter helmets because of its melting point of 1040°F (560°C), which has proven highly effective in ballistic helmets and body armor. Kevlar fiber can reinforce thermosetting resins, creating a shell that meets ballistic and thermal protection standards.

The helmet combines principles and practices from four key areas- reverse engineering, materials design, injury biomechanics, and human factors engineering.

The prototypes of the firefighter helmet will be tested with state-of-the-art equipment such as the Delsys Trigno wireless electromyography systems, 10-camera Eagle optical digital motion capture systems, and Pupil Core-eye trackers.

This equipment combines Abaqus finite-element modeling software to develop human head and neck models, HyperMesh to process helmet imaging data, and OpenSim musculoskeletal modeling software to develop head and neck biomechanical models to build a digital helmet prototype.

The NextGen firefighter helmet is expected to meet various protection standards and key performance parameters, such as the NFPA 1951:2013 protective standard for technical rescue incidents and the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration 1910.156 fire brigade standard.

Weighing in at 62 oz (1.75 kg) for the large and 57 oz (1.62 kg) for the medium, this firefighter helmet is comfortable, adjustable, has a maximum range of motion, no snag points, and is easy to don and off.

Once the prototype is ready in mid-2023, an operational field evaluation will be conducted in coordination with S&T‘s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory. The main goal of the researchers is to commercialize this helmet.

After the commercialization of the NextGen firefighter helmet, it will not only increase the firefighter’s range of protection by providing injury-reducing helmets; It will promote new safety standards and improve the collective knowledge of material design.

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Elwood Fire Protection District history

This from Mike Summa for #TBT:

For TBT-The Elwood FPD’s Engine 611, a 1997 Freightliner FL80/National Foam 1500/1000/300F.  Enjoy and comment.
Mike Summa; #TBT; #MikeSumma; #FireTruck; #Freightliner; #NationalFoam; #ElwoodFPD;

Mike Summa

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North Maine Fire Protection District news

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Six children were taken to the hospital after being found locked in a hot car in a parking lot in Des Plaines Monday afternoon.

The North Maine Fire Protection District (NMFPD) said they were called to a wellbeing check at the Park Colony apartment complex in the 9100-block of Lincoln Drive in Des Plaines around 12:35 p.m.

When they arrived in the residential complex, they found six children in a van in the parking lot.

The property manager of the complex said she was alerted by a tenant about a van in the parking lot with six children in it, including two babies in car seats. The property manager said she could not see any food or water in the van, so she called 911. She said two windows were slightly open, but she said the kids were crying and clearly in distress in the locked car.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office said the children were aged 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 18-months old. Sheriff’s police said when they arrived the children did not appear to be in distress, but were visibly overheated.

NMFPD confirmed that six minors were taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital for treatment. 

DCFS is evaluating placement for the children, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said they searched the apartment complex and found the children’s father, who said he works for a cleaning service and left the van to clean a residence at 11:30 a.m. He was charged with six counts of misdemeanor child endangerment and released on his own recognizance, law enforcement said. He will appear in court on June 22.

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Fatal crash in Saunemin, IL – 5-22-23

This from Bill Schreiber:

23500 block of Rt. 47 Saunemin Illinois. Semi versus van both vehicles on fire. One fatality from the van. Saunemin, Cullom, Pontiac, Odell responded.; #BillSchreiber; #fatalcrash; #SauneminIL;

Bill Schreiber photo; #BillSchreiber; #fatalcrash; #SauneminIL;

Bill Schreiber photo; #BillSchreiber; #fatalcrash; #SauneminIL;

Bill Schreiber photo; #BillSchreiber; #fatalcrash; #SauneminIL;

Bill Schreiber photo; #BillSchreiber; #fatalcrash; #SauneminIL;

Bill Schreiber photo

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Illinois Fire Service news

Excerpts from the

Beginning in 2025, a fire suppressant containing so-called forever chemicals that never break down in the environment will be prohibited from manufacture, sale, and distribution in Illinois — and suburban fire departments are getting ready for the ban.

Two chemical products are at the center of the issue. Aqueous film forming foam is used at industrial facilities and airports, and by fire departments to extinguish flammable liquid fires such as fuel fires.

The foam contains PFAS, the acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are widely used in commercial and consumer products. Due to long-standing environmental and health concerns about PFAS, and thanks to the emergence of alternatives that don’t contain them, the foam is slowly being phased out.

Signed into law in 2021, the PFAS Reduction Act restricts the use of aqueous film forming foam, both in the field and for training and testing. After using PFAS-containing foam, departments must report to the state within 48 hours the time, date, location, and quantity of the release, the reason for the release, and the proposed containment, treatment and disposal steps needed to minimize contamination.

The substance will further be prohibited from manufacture, sale, and distribution as of Jan. 1, 2025.

While not a complete ban — the statute maintains that it will not “prevent or discourage a fire department from responding to and mitigating incidents where a fire, spill or leak of a known or suspected flammable liquid has occurred or is believed to be imminent” — the law significantly slows the use of aqueous film forming foam.

“There are limited opportunities to use PFAS foam after 2025,” said John Buckley, the legislative director for the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association. “Our goal in the legislation was to be able to provide alternatives and to give our members a sufficient amount of time … to phase out and find solutions.”

For many departments, funding is the overwhelming obstacle because replacing the foam is not cheap. It requires funding to buy new foam and to get rid of the old foam.

For departments facing financial challenges in phasing out their foam stock, the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association is working on legislation that would put about $1 million toward a statewide buyback program.  Though it would not assist departments in purchasing new foam, the program would help support the disposal of 27,000 gallons of AFFF, as estimated using survey data collected by the state fire marshal’s office under the PFAS Reduction Act.

The PFAS omnibus bill, which includes the buyback program among other PFAS-related initiatives, passed the Illinois House in March. With the legislative session scheduled to close this month, the bill has another week to pass the Senate.

With the passage of the 2021 law, Illinois joined a dozen other states including Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota to enact a restriction on PFAS-containing Class B firefighting foam. As of 2023, a total of 24 states have banned training with AFFF or otherwise restricted its use.

Illinois’ law is unique because it also requires AFFF manufacturers to provide warnings to fire departments that “the product contains PFASs that may be hazardous to health or the environment; the use of the product is regulated and restricted under this act; and other Class B firefighting foam options may be available for purchase.”

Amid the implementation of the law, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul recently filed a lawsuit against multiple companies that manufacture the PFAS used in AFFF.

The lawsuit seeks to recover damages specific to the fire suppressing foam, and it alleges that in manufacturing, selling and marketing the chemicals, the companies benefit while knowingly contaminating Illinois’ environment and natural resources.

PFAS, which refers to over 5,000 human-made chemical compounds, have been the subject of growing environmental concerns due to their uniquely everlasting quality that earned them the nickname “forever chemicals.”

Launched for widespread commercial use in the 1950s, they are released into our soil, water and air through landfill leakage, sewage sludge and industrial waste. Along with firefighting foam, PFAS are also used in industrial and consumer products to make items nonstick and oil-, water- or stain-resistant. That includes things like nonstick pans, waterproof jackets and even shampoo and conditioner.

While fire departments have been working to address the issue of PFAS in foam for decades, the chemicals recently have been at the center of another concern for firefighters, as they are also used in personal protective gear as a water repellent.

thanks Martin

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Mundelein Fire Department history

Mundelein old truck at Mecum Auto Auction; #Pierce; #FireTruck; #MundeleinFD;; #Pierce; #FireTruck; #MundeleinFD;; #Pierce; #FireTruck; #MundeleinFD;

thanks Scott

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Of interest … Carmel Fire Department (IN)

Excerpts from

When Ruby Brown turned 95, she celebrated by riding a motorcycle for the first time. When she turned 96, she finally went for a spin in a golf cart.

To celebrate her 100th birthday, Brown crossed the last – and biggest – item off her bucket list after going for a drive in a firetruck. It was an experience she’d been looking forward to for a long time.

“In the last four or five years, they’ll tell you that’s all I’ve talked about,” Brown said.

Brown, a Whiteland (IN) resident, and three family members – including a great-grandson who lives in Carmel – stopped by Carmel Fire Dept. Station 41 on May 16 for a quick tour of the city in CFD’s largest vehicle. Brown, whose 100th birthday is in October, was all smiles from the front passenger seat as the truck pulled out of the station.

“It was great. I enjoyed every minute of it,” she said after completing the ride.

It may have taken nearly 100 years for Brown to ride in a firetruck, but she’s no stranger to large vehicles. She used to live on a farm, where she drove combines and tractors and other large equipment. She also has experience as a bus driver and crossed the nation taking turns driving a semi-truck with her husband.

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Marion Fire Department news

Excerpts from

The Marion Fire Department has a new 100-foot aerial ladder truck. An official unveiling happened on Thursday at the Bank of Herrin.

The truck was paid for by the Julia Harrison Bruce Foundation and the Fred G. Harrison Foundation.

The Marion Fire Department says it’s in the process of refurbishing older fire trucks as well.

Once finished, those trucks will be donated to the Williamson County Fire Protection District and the Carterville Fire Department.

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Thornton Fire Department news

Thornton, Illinois has disposed of the 1998 Pierce engine bought from Mundelein and bought a used engine from Bloomingdale.; #ThorntonFD;

thanks Dennis

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Springfield FIre Department news

Excerpts from

After spending $1.2 million on a new firetruck, the city of Springfield found out it is one inch too tall to fit under the viaduct near the main fire station.

“It’s too tall to fit under the Capitol Avenue underpass. So, anytime we have to go west from downtown, we can’t go that way. Normally, that’s OK – unless there’s a train – and then we either have to go all the way down to Stanford or all the way up to Sangamon,” said Kainan Rinaberger, who heads Springfield Fire Fighters Local 37. “In the past when rigs have been designed, it’s been a collaborative process. But this time it was the previous chief and administrative chief who designed them on their own,” he said.

The predicament has caused quite a bit of finger-pointing and the discontent has climbed each rung of the administrative ladder until it reached the desk of the city’s newly elected mayor.

The city recently took delivery of the new ladder truck and two engines. The mayor is quick to point out that the vehicle orders – and their design specifications – were made by the previous administration. During the next year, SFD is slated to receive one more ladder and five more engines. And firefighters are upset about the process.

During her first week in office, the new mayor replaced Fire Chief Brandon Blough with Ed Canny, who had been serving as the fire marshal.

“We’re not just responding to fires and EMS calls anymore. We’re responding to almost everything that is considered an emergency. … For example, in the past we didn’t have equipment for structural collapses or trench rescues. We didn’t carry a ton of equipment on a fire apparatus back then. A fire apparatus now has to be multifunctional,” Canny said.

But this comes at a cost. The bigger rigs have more trouble navigating down tight alleys and streets as well as fitting under low bridges and viaducts, he said.

Canny said the new firetruck will likely serve the city for at least two more decades. So, firefighters will need to train for alternative routes to avoid heading west on Capitol Avenue. In the event of a long, slow train chugging down the Third Street corridor, a firetruck stationed on the west side of town may need to be dispatched eastward, he said.

He added that viaducts on Dodge Street, Hazel Dell Road and Cockrell Lane are too low for even some of the city’s older firetrucks to pass beneath. So, the department has long had to plan alternate routes to avoid such obstacles.

The Third Street rail corridor may be relocated as soon as 2025, Canny noted. After that, the Capitol Avenue viaduct will no longer serve as a barrier to the new truck.

But, in the meantime, it stands as an accident just waiting to happen, Rinaberger said.

“The way we operate normally is to have the same people on the same piece of equipment every day. So normally you’re going to have the same three drivers on all three shifts. … But people come and fill in and they may forget they can’t go that way anymore and they will run that new truck into that old bridge.”

thanks Rob

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