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February 26, 2007

Satellite To Cell Phone Fire Alarms

 
Using a combination of MODIS and METEOSAT South African power company Eskom is able to pinpoint fires threatening their power lines.

"“What is particularly nice about this is all of our field staff have mobile phones,” says Vosloo. They can be out in the field, away from their computers and still get the fire alert. “The system is set up so that a particular field personnel would only get the information that they would need for their lines. If they get a notification, they can phone the local land owner and inquire about the extent of the fire,” explains Vosloo. “Then the person will say, ‘Don’t worry, I’m just burning some old maize,’ or sometimes they might say ‘This is a fire, and it’s running away, and we can’t control it.’”

If a fire is large and out-of-control near power lines, the field person notifies the national control center, who also receives the alerts, to confirm that the fire is a threat to the power lines. If backup lines are available, the control center can then divert power away from the affected lines until the fire is controlled..."
earthobservatory.nasa.gov



Here is another example of satellite based fire monitoring linked to email alerts. Diane Davies of the University of Maryland developed an email alert system emailing fire locations from the university’s MODIS-based Web Fire Mapper to individuals in remote areas.

"Davies has expanded the system into a global fire alert system that automatically emails subscribers whenever there is a fire near their area of interest. By January 2007, the global system, called the Fire Information for Resource Management System, or FIRMS, had been operating for just a few months and already had 580 subscriptions. “We now have users in 60 countries,” says Davies."

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February 25, 2007

Who Knew?

 
An interesting tool that suggests the value of individual blogs. Since a good deal of my visitors are other bloggers I thought I would post the tool.


My blog is worth $6,209.94.
How much is your blog worth?



February 24, 2007

Sleek Fire Site; Grampian Fire And Rescue Service

 
In yesterday's post on Shanghai Fire Service I pointed out how difficult it was to get information on the department, personnel, equipment or individual stations. Today I found a model fire service website from the Aberdeen City, Scotland area. Grampian Fire website is clean, well organized and built for easy navigation. The page I like most is the interactive map page. Grampian Fire and Rescue services an area of about 800,000 residents. Shanghai China Fire services roughly 14 million residents.


February 23, 2007

Shanghai Firefighters In Training

 
Physical training, recreation and maintaining a cohesive unit. This China Daily article has some interesting photos of the Shanghai.
I have found it difficult to find decent information on city fire departments in China. Compared to the vast information available in the Western world China's fire service personnel are still underserved on the web. Their training, dedication and skills should be shared with the rest of the world. Internet growth in China is running along the lines or 10,000 new users per day so personal web pages published by firefighters should follow.
Back to Shanghai, I was very surprised there was not much official information available but I did run across a website that provides a brief description of Shanghai Fire

From Tales of Old Shanghai.

"Fire Brigade

The crowding of the Settlements with cheaply constructed Chinese houses during the period of the rebellion added to the danger of fire. In order to cope with this menace fire wells were sunk in the main thoroughfares to serve as reservoirs for water. Before the introduction of a system of waterworks, these fire wells, the creeks, and the river were the only available sources upon which the one fire engine could draw. This engine was imported from the United States in 1863 by the Courcil, and formed the nucleus of a voluntary fire brigade service >organized in 1866. Captain J. P. Roberts was elected first Chief Engineer, and Mr. C. J. Ashley, foreman of the Mih-ho-oong (destroy fire dragon) Hook and Ladder Company. The French joined heartily in the enterprise and the three Settlements worked in complete harmony.

The Brigade was not at first under the control of the Municipal Council, and, as it was largely supported by the Insurance Companies, was not a great drain on municipal resources.

Fire alarms were in the beginmng given by the ringing of the church bell and the firing of three guns from the senior man-of-war in port, and the ringing of the bells of the steamers in harbour. Owing to the fact that the church bell could not be heard distinctly, a tower was erected at the Hongkew Police Station, and one of the church bells not in use was lent by the trustees as a fire alarm.

In 1880 a large bell weighing 5,150 pounds was purchased from the Meneely Founders of West Troy, N.Y. The bell had been cast in 1865 and was obtained at the low cost of $1,500 gold. It was hung in the 100-feet high tower erected at the Central Fire Station on Shantung Road and the one in use there was transferred to the tower at the Hongkew Police Station. Some time after bells ceased to be used for fire alarms, the large bell purchased in 1880 was moved to Jessfleld Park and mounted on a stone pedestal in front of a small Chinese pavilion where it may now be seen.

The second and third articles of the constitution of the voluntary Shanghai Fire Department read as follows:

"Article 11 - The Shanghai Fire Department is instituted for the better preservation of all property exposed to conflagration and its motto shall be 'We Fight the Flames.'

"Article 111 - That the American, English and French Settlements be known respectively as Fire Districts Nos. 1, 2, and 3, and the operations of the S. F. D. shall be within the foreign settlements of Shanghai, and these limits shall not be passed except in cases of urgent necessity, and by order of the Chief Engineer."

The Fire Brigade played an important part in the life of the Settlements. The young men took up the service with considerable eagerness and enjoyed the excitement and the social life connected with it. Some of them lived at the fire stations, so as to be on hand when alarms were given, and no matter what social functions they might be attending, at the sound of the fire bell, they rushed off so as to be at their stations as quickly as possible. There was keen competition among the different units as to which would reach the scene of the fire first.

As we shall see later, owing to the extension of the Settlement area and to great increase in the number of fires, it became necessary to abandon the voluntary system, and to introduce in its place a paid fire brigade,with a trained Chief Officer at its head, appointed by the Municipal Council..."

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February 22, 2007

Firedog's Newest Contest

 


Study Reveals U.S. Firefighters Face Critical Equipment and Training Shortages


“firedogSM Across America” Contest Challenges Communities to Win Funds for Their Local Firehouses

Richmond, Va. – A recent study from the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, reveals that many firehouses across the U.S. lack adequate funding for some of the most essential firefighting tools.

Among the greatest needs are communications equipment, protective gear and training. To call attention to the many ways firefighters contribute to their communities and to help promote awareness of their long list of needs, Circuit City’s new firedogSM services brand recently launched “firedogSM Across America" - http://web.firedog.com/acrossamerica. The national online essay contest invites Americans to nominate their local firefighters for outstanding service and the chance to win $550,000 in much needed donations.

“Firefighters risk their lives everyday to protect us. However, as the U.S. Fire Administration study indicates, many firehouses are in serious need of additional resources,” said Peter C. Weedfald, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Circuit City Stores, Inc. “Through ‘firedogSM Across America,’ we hope not only to demonstrate our appreciation for firefighters’ dedicated service, but also promote awareness across the country of their equipment and training needs.”

The 2006 U.S. Fire Administration study -- “Four Years Later – A Second Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service” -- was co-authored by the National Fire Protection Agency. Based on responses from more than 15,000 firehouses nationwide, the results indicate a serious need in the areas of equipment and training. Findings indicate that an estimated:

65 percent of fire departments do not have enough portable radios to equip all emergency responders on a shift.

60 percent of fire departments do not have enough self-contained breathing apparatus to equip all firefighters on a shift.

66 percent of departments have at least some personal protective clothing that is at least 10 years old.

14 percent of departments protecting communities with populations less than 2,500 have no ladder/aerial apparatus but have at least one building four stories high or higher in the community.

36 percent of fire departments deliver emergency medical services (EMS), but have not provided formal EMS training to all involved personnel.

63 percent of fire departments involved in wildland firefighting have not provided formal training in those duties to all involved personnel.

The full needs assessment is available online through the U.S. Fire Administration at: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/grants/needs-assess2.shtm.

“With more than 1.1 million firefighters working in the United States, chances are that most Americans have benefited in some way from the dedicated services of their local firehouse,” Weedfald said. “By sharing their experiences with these everyday heroes through the ‘firedogSM Across America’ essay contest, Circuit City will ensure that 10 fire stations receive the additional funds they need to continue serving and protecting their communities.”

How “firedogSM Across America” works:

December 6, 2006 – March 31, 2007: Americans are invited to submit essays at www.firedog.com that describe how their local firehouse or firefighters went above and beyond in helping them or their community.

April 28, 2007 – The 10 winning essays will be announced. Each finalist firehouse will receive a prize of $20,000. The authors of each winning essay will receive a home “techover” valued at $10,000, courtesy of firedogSM.

April 28, 2007 – May 13, 2007: Americans will be invited to vote at www.firedog.com for one story among the 10 finalists that most inspires them. For each vote received online, Circuit City will make a matching donation up to $250,000, to be distributed proportionally among the finalists based on the number of votes cast.

May 14, 2007 – The firehouse with the most votes will be awarded a grand prize of $100,000.

The “firedogSM Across America” campaign has already lent a helping hand to firefighters with its recent contribution of $100,000 to the FDNY Foundation in New York City at a ceremony held Dec. 6 at the Ladder 3/Battalion 6 firehouse. As part of that campaign kick-off, Circuit City also donated $100,000 to the National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children’s Foundation. Additional information about “firedogSM Across America” is available online at: www.firedog.com.

About firedogSM

Circuit City Stores, Inc. launched its firedogSM brand in response to a growing public demand for help with using and enjoying electronic products. firedogSM provides a new level of personal computer services, home theater installations and integration of home electronics.

About Circuit City Stores, Inc.

Circuit City Stores, Inc. (NYSE:CC) is a leading specialty retailer of consumer electronics and related services. The domestic segment operates through 645 Superstores and 12 other locations in 158 U.S. markets. The international segment operates through more than 800 retail stores and dealer outlets in Canada. Circuit City also operates Web sites at www.circuitcity.com, www.thesourcecc.ca and at www.firedog.com.

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February 18, 2007

Prolific Blogger Firefighter Wayne Hangs It Up

 
Firefighter Wayne author of Firefighter has filed his last blog.

Firefighter Wayne served on the Detroit Fire Department from 1962 to 1998, 36 years. The stated goal of his blog was to "Promote The History Of Firefighting" and he did by posting interesting stories of historic fires and fire service trivia. I aliked Wayne's style, often caps locked with a straight forward delivery. The cache will always remain indexed on the search engines so Wayne's works will be recorded for all time. Thanks Wayne, God bless.

Wayne posted 435 entries, nearly one per day beginning in October 2005.

Some gems from Wayne's site.

"DO YOU KNOW

SOME OLD TIME BOSSES HID PENNIES UNDER THE FENDERS OF THEIR RIG TO SEE IF THE DRIVER WASHED UNDER THERE.
ALSO THEY PUT THEM ON WINDOW AND DOOR LEDGES AND ON LOCKER TOPS TO TEST IF THE MEN DUSTED THERE

DO YOU KNOW
IN THE EARLY DAYS, IN SOME COMMUNITIES, TO GET ON THEIR FIRE DEPARTMENT
YOU DIDN'T: HAVE TO TAKE A PHYSICAL
FILL OUT AN APPLICATION
HAVE A BACKGROUND CHECK
TAKE A WRITTEN TEST
YOU DID:
HAVE TO BE BETWEEN 21 & 35 YEARS OLD
HAVE TO MEET WITH THE CHIEF( IF HE DEEMED YOU CAPABLE OF DOING THE JOB, YOU WERE HIRED.
NOTE: ONE FACTOR WAS YOU HAD TO BE FIT ENOUGH TO SERVE IN THE ARMY


DO YOU KNOW

THE FIRST HOOK AND LADDER TRUCK THAT FORT WORTH TEXAS BOUGHT WAS SHIPPED BY TRAIN TO DALLAS.
IT WAS THEN PULLED BY VOLUNTEER FIREMEN 40 MILES TO FORT WORTH.
THE THINKING OF A TRUCK RATHER THEN A PUMPER WAS TO PULL DOWN THE SURROUNDING STRUCTURES RATHER THEN TRY TO EXTINGUISH THE ONE ON FIRE.

DO YOU KNOW

IN SOME COMMUNITIES, THEY HAD MANY OF ITS TOWNS FOLKS THAT OWNED HORSES.
RATHER THEN HAVING THEIR DEPARTMENT OWNING OR RENTING HORSES FROM A STABLE,WOULD USE SOME OF THE TOWNS FOLKS HORSES AS THEY RESPONDED TO THE FIREHOUSE FOR AN ALARM.

DO YOU KNOW

WHAT IS "SKY JELLO"
PINK FIRE RETARDANT CHEMICAL THAT IS DROPPED FROM PLANES ON A FOREST FIRE

DO YOU KNOW

THAT SOME OF THE EARLY FIRE ENGINES , THAT HAD BOOSTER TANKS WERE KEPT IN UNHEATED GARAGES.
THEREFORE THE TANKS WERE KEPT EMPTY IN THE WINTER AND HAD TO BE QUICKLY FILLED UPON AN ALARM OF FIRE."

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February 16, 2007

Prepare Your Property For Fire Season

 

It's the time of year Western home owners should address compliance with vegetation clearance ordinances. Fire Safe California's do it yourself page offer tips and links for proper vegetation clearance.
More than anything the clearance issue is a safety issue for fire service personnel. If you don't clear your property don't expect fire crews to waste much time saving it, that's a given. What makes it dangerous for firefighters is when the fuel load from your property impacts your neighbor's home, the one the firefighters are concentrating on.



Image from FireSafeCouncil.org

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February 14, 2007

Florida Firefighters Escape Death, "Nothing's Routine"

 
From News4Jax.com (link below)

Firefighters Rescued From Burning Home

Firefighters Rescue Man, 2 Of Their Own From House Fire

"Typical investigation of smoke in the house. We came and there was a guy standing at the door, waving us in," said firefighter Josh Covelli.However, the seemingly routine call quickly turned into a near-death experience for the crew of Jacksonville Fire Rescue's crew of engine No. 2."It didn't sound like an explosion. It sounded like if you took a match and just whoosh," said Jacksonville firefighter Steve Grant. "I've never seen anything like this, and I hope I never see it again."What began as an investigation of smoke became a full-blown fire, with Covelli and Lt. Mark Kruger firefighters trapped inside. "He said he had found the fire. So, we were getting the hose lines to get in the extinguisher," said Kruger.

Covelli said he heard his lieutenant calling for him from a front room when the home became fully engulfed with flames and the fire cut him off.Covelli was able to escape through the back door, where ladder No. 1 was opening a passage.Kruger had no idea what had happened in the other rooms."I was on fire and one of my friends, a lieutenant on ladder No. 1 actually beat me out and put me out," Kruger said.He said his personal well-being was the least of his worries because Covelli had been in the house with no hose.....
" More


February 11, 2007

Break Glass & Kick Ass; Into The Fire

 
The History Channel today ran "Into The Fire" sponsored by the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company. The show offers first hand accounts of firefighters and their thoughts on the realities of the job including the glamour, the hard work and the rewards of the job.

From the Fireman's Fund site;
"Into The Fire" is now available on DVD. For every DVD sold, Fireman's Fund donates funds to the fire service. You can even designate a specific fire department to receive a portion of our donation."

Actor Gary Sinise hosts the show and I have to say this might be the best production of its kind. It's the best I've seen. Everyone should see this video.

Oddly and sadly the History Channel does not have it scheduled to show again and for some reason doesn't even have it featured on the home page. On a site search I was able to find a video clip that does little justice to the actual scene in the show.

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February 07, 2007

Aussie Mega Fires Contained After 69 Days

 
Australian news service ABC.net.au reports the Great Divide fires have been contained.

"Victoria's longest running bushfire has been declared contained after the Swifts Creek section of the fires, in the state's south-east, was contained this morning.The Great Divide fires were started by lightning strikes in bushland 69 days ago.Farmers have lost stock, outbuildings, fencing and valuable fodder.
More than one million hectares of land has been burnt. New Zealanders, Canadians and Americans joined more than 19,000 firefighters from across Australia to fight the blaze.
The cost of the fire fight has blown out to more than $200 million. Firefighters now need to maintain control lines, patrolling and extinguishing any flare-ups and searching for hot spots."

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February 02, 2007

IAFF Takes Proactive Stance On Trans Fats

 
From IAFF's FoodFit.com:

"It’s no surprise that fire fighting is one of the most dangerous of all professions, but the risks don’t always involve fires or other obvious hazards associated with fire fighting. The fact is, heart disease is the number-one cause of death – nearly half of on-duty fire fighter deaths are the result of cardiac arrest. Next to driving an engine, the most dangerous thing fire fighters do is eat.

We are what we eat, and one of the biggest threats to your health comes from trans fats, artificially made fats that clog arteries and increase levels of bad cholesterol in your body – and which are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes......

What Are Trans Fats?

Made by combining liquid vegetable oil with hydrogen to create partially hydrogenated oil – or trans fatty acids – this man-made fat was originally developed to protect us against the health risks associated with butter. Turns out, trans fats act like butter once ingested. Think shortening and margarine. These fats are liquids turned solid, so instead of melting as they would in their natural state, they revert to their waxy, solid makeup inside your arteries.

Because trans fats are cheap and increase the shelf life of many processed foods, they get added to a wide variety of products, including chips, French fries, cookies, crackers, muffins and other baked goods...."

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First Responder Appreciation Day Promotion

 
First Response Coalition is making a push for a "National First Responder Appreciation Day". What a great idea, one that deserves support. Check out the catchy video.




Petition Page

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Promotions Using FAKE Degrees

 
Makes a mockery of those who applied themselves and obtained REAL college degrees.
Shameful!
New York Times report.