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A new philosophy in firefighting – fast suppression units

A smart solution that enables crews to respond to incidents with fewer people while saving time and money is now sweeping across Europe, reports Ann-Marie Knegt.

Gas cooling to control the fire environment in compartments

In today’s built environment, a compartment fire develops quickly. Synthetic materials used in furnishings and interior finish have a much higher heat of combustion and heat release rate than the natural materials found in the built environment of the 1950s and 1960s. When a compartment fire develops, buoyant, hot smoke and entrained air form a layer at the ceiling and begin to fill the compartment. As the depth of the layer increases, the hot smoke and air begins to flow out through the opening into adjacent compartments, writes Chief Edward E Hartin, (MS, EFO, MIFireE, CFO) of Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue in the State of Washington, US, and owner of CFBT-US, LLC, an international fire behaviour training and related consulting service.

SOP for high-rise response

What elements are essential to successfully position an aerial ladder vehicle? That is the main question that two professional firefighters from Germany – Jan Ole Unger (Feuerwehr Hamburg) and Nils Beneke (Feuerwehr Hannover) – were looking to answer in their search for a simple and secure way of operating turntable ladder and hydraulic aerial platform vehicles. And it looks like they’ve found a solution, reports Ann-Marie Knegt.

Reviving old techniques

With an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads and the increasing focus for vehicle rescues by the fire and rescue services, the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation revisits an old technique that could provide the answer to problems facing crews dealing with modern-day vehicles.

Going digital

The USA is in the midst of implementing a new suite of standards for digital radio communications used by public safety agencies with the aim of enabling twoway radio interoperability between agencies. However, managing the analogue legacy environment and managing the transition to digital technologies represents a challenge to all US fire departments. Jose Sanchez de Muniain talks to comms specialist Mark Thomas of Team Simoco about a potential route for the many small fire departments that currently use one UHF radio frequency to cover challenging locations, such as Sedona Fire District in Arizona, but wish to take advantage of digital technology.

Fabrics and fibres - the core of performance

The fibres and fabrics that make up firefighters’ clothing are the key to the garment’s crucial protective characteristics. Jose Sanchez de Muniain talks to two weavers and one fibre manufacturer and finds out why choosing the right fabrics and fibres is not as straightforward as it may seem – and it’s likely to remain a challenging process in the future.

Exercise Orion - snapshots of a disaster

Held from September 7-9, 2010, Exercise Orion was the largest civil resilience exercise ever to be held in Europe, with participating teams from the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UAE. All teams took part in this multi-agency disaster exercise to test the capabilities and resilience of the European Civil Response Mechanism. Ann-Marie Knegt reports from the scene.

FDNY - prepared for any incident

Chief Del Re is the Fire Department of New York’s Chief in Charge of the Haz-Mat Group, believed to be the most robust and hazmat-capable response group in the USA, if not the world. Since the tragic events of September 11, FDNY’s hazmat capabilities have expanded tremendously both to reflect the lessons learned in terms of public protection and personnel safety as well as response to the post 9/11 challenges. Chief Del Re talks exclusively to Jose Sanchez de Muniain.