The Trumpet - March 2013
The Trumpet is the monthly newsletter of the Office of the State Fire Marshal in Kansas.
THE Trumpet The monthly newsletter of the Office of the Kansas State Fire Marshal Lead Story Headline The Trumpetâ€”March 2013 Cover Story 6 [Inside This Issue] In Each Issue 3 Celebrating 100 Years The History of the Office of the State Fire Marshal From the Fire Marshal 4 Division Updates 8-11 Fire Prevention TOP 5 “Smoking and Home Fire Safety” Tips Smoking & Fire Safety 3rd-Party Software Validation Errors Prepare for Severe Weather Fire Investigation News Kansas City Kansas Man Charged with Arson Manhattan Fire Claims Life of Student 13 Haz-Mat News Let’s Talk Sprinklers! Testing of Delay Egress Locks 14 12 Warning to First Responders about Chemical Suicides Vehicle Warning Signs of Chemical Suicide Follow us on both Facebook and Twitter! It is everyone’s responsibility to be prepared @ksfiremarshal Page 2 Hot Topics Intentional Fire Results in Fire Fatality Lessons Go Unheeded from The Station Nightclub Fire 10 Years Ago! Feature 5 By the Numbers The Trumpetâ€”March 2013 THE [From the Fire Marshal] Trumpet The Office of the State Fire Marshal will celebrate 100 years of dedicated service to the people of Kansas this year and, as State Fire Marshal, I believe this is a good time to talk about the foundation of this agency. You can read a brief history of the early days of our agency on pages 6-7. Fire Marshal Today, Kansas fire departments respond to more than just fires and dollar losses are much higher than they were in the early days of our office, but the most important differences is that we have reduced the number of people who die in fires. Editor I want to thank the staff of the Office of the State Fire Marshal for their dedication and hard work and the Kansas fire service for all they do to keep Kansans safe. We will soon be celebrating the 100th year of the Office of the State Fire Marshal and you are invited to attend the dayâ€™s festivities. Keep your eyes out for details on our celebration. We will be posting details to our website (ksfm.ks.gov), our Facebook page and our new Twitter page (@ksfiremarshal) as they are available. I hope you enjoy this issue of The Trumpet. You will notice its fresh new look and easy-to-read format. The redesigned Trumpet is just one part of our ongoing efforts to keep you informed on issues vital to our agency and the fire service throughout Kansas. Sincerely, Doug Jorgensen Fire Marshal March 2013 Doug Jorgensen Kevin Doel Public Information Officer Kevin.Doel@ksfm.ks.gov 785-296-4290 Our Mission The Office of the State Fire Marshal is dedicated to protecting the lives and property of the people of Kansas from the hazards of fire, explosion and hazardous materials by fostering a safe environment through education, inspection, enforcement, regulation, investigation, hazardous material incident mitigation, data collection, and by acting as a liaison to the Kansas Fire Service. All of the efforts of the Office are designed to reduce the deaths, injuries and property losses of Kansans. Trumpet Deadline For information on receiving the State Fire Marshal Trumpet or to submit your meeting notices, training announcements, articles, photos or other information, please contact Kevin Doel . Photos should be submitted as a .jpg or .tif attachment to an email. All materials are due by the 20th of the month prior to publication. Page 3 THE Trumpet By the Numbers 1 out of 4 fatal victims of smokingmaterial fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire. 2/3 of home deaths result from fires in which NO smoke alarms were present or functional. 84% of fatal home fire injuries occur in one– and twofamily homes. Page 4 [Inside the OSFM] Kevin Doel joins OSFM as Public Information Officer Kevin Doel recently joined the Office of the State Fire Marshal as its Public Information Officer. Among his many duties he will assume responsibility for the Trumpet, bringing it an impressive new look. He will also produce the agency’s releases, keep the agency website updated and spearhead its complete overhaul to make it more user friendly. Kevin is also increasing our communication efforts OSFM Hosts Fallen Firefighter Memorial In 2001 legislation was signed that authorized the construction of a memorial to be built on the Capitol grounds in Topeka to honor Kansas firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty. through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. His goal is for Kansans to better understand the significant role fire and life safety play in their every day lives and their businesses, and the role of the OSFM in keeping them safe. Kevin has operated his own independent public relations and web-marketing practice for the past 15 years. He also founded TK, Topeka’s business magazine, and published it for its first three years. Please take the time to welcome Kevin and remember if you have items for the Trumpet he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 785-296-4290. Chris Dibbern Leaves OSFM to Serve as Battalion Chief for STFD The OSFM family is losing one of our members this month. Our Education Consultant/NFIRS Program Manager, Chris Dibbern, has accepted a position A scaled replica is housed at the Office of as a Battalion Chief with the Soldier Township the Kansas State Fire Marshal where it is on Fire Department, where he has served for 16 years. view. The OSFM also transports the replica to fire service events across the state. Chris started with OSFM in May of 2011 as a Research Analyst responsible for the NFIRS reportPlease send your tax deductible donation to: ing and Burn and Insurance Loss databases. In Firefighters Memorial Fund January of last year, he was reassigned to the PreAttn: Eldred Wenger, DFM vention Division as an Education Consultant. 900 SW Jackson Street, Room 600 Topeka, KS 66612 The Trumpet—March 2013 [Hot Topics] Change Your Clock—Change Your Batteries! On March 10, 2013, please remember to give your smoke alarms and CO detectors a fresh battery. If you have long-life battery devices take the time to test them to be sure they work and sit down with your family to talk about your home emergency escape plan. In fact, this would also be a good opportunity to prac- tice a home fire drill, knowing two ways out of every room and having a meeting place outside away from the home that everyone knows about. Remember to replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older! New Fire Chief in Manhattan The Manhattan Fire Department has a new Fire Chief. Scott French, who has been serving as Deputy Chief of Operations, will take over the new role March 1 replacing Chief Jerry Snyder who is officially retiring as Director of Fire Services. Chief French started with the department in 1994 as a student firefighter. In addition to serving as the Deputy Chief of Operations for the city of Manhattan, he has held sever- Save the date!! al other positions through his career including Assistant Chief, Lieutenant I and II, Fire Driver I and II and Firefighter I and II. Congratulations Chief French! Annual HazMat Conference April 4 - 6, 2013 Wichita, Kansas 8-Hour Classes HazMat IQ HAZWOPER Technician Refresher Confined Space Refresher State Capital Area Firefighters 2-Hour Workshops Explosives Association Meth Labs Railroads 30th Annual Fire School Chlorine/Corrosives Civil Support Teams (CST) March 13 - 17, 2013 Mercury Ramada Inn, Topeka, Kansas Natural Gas & CO Cargo Tanks www.scaffa.org Page 5 History of the State Fire Marshal By Elena Nuss Harrison Parkman was the first Kansas Fire Marshal, serving from 19131915. “Billy” Elstun, 1926-1929, was also an assistant attorney general and was the only Fire Marshal to prosecute “fire bugs” in a court of law. The Office of the State Fire Marshal was created on March 10, 1913 with the passage of Bill No. 372 by the 1913 Legislature. It took several years but all parties -- Republican, Democrat and Socialist -- finally passed the legislation after a lengthy struggle. This powerful new law required the investigation of all fires by either our new office or by a designated local official, except on Sundays. settlements in the New World, Jamestown, wrote, “I begin to think that it is safer for me to dwell in the wild Indian county than in this stockade, where fools accidentally discharge their muskets and others burn down their homes at night.” Things did not improve in the new world where fire was concerned. In the early 1900’s, the fire rates in the United States were two-hundred times greater than in Canada, four-hundred The subpoena power and testimony under times greater than in England and six-hundred time greater than in Japan. In 1908, Kansas fire oath were part of our agency’s new powlosses were $2,720,581 with over $900,000 ers. In addition, our employees now had the authority to inspect buildings and order caused by arson. the removal of hazardous conditions which The first annual report of the agency only covwere a huge issue in the early years of this ered nine months and reported 117 fire deaths country. In fact, Captain John Smith (1580and nearly 3.2 million dollars in property loss1631) who headed one of the earliest es. At the end of 1914, after the first full year Fred Bergman, 19561960, assumed responsibility for the “Kansas Survival Plan” as the U.S. and Soviet Union raced for nuclear superiority. Fire Marshal Clyde Latchem (center), who served from 1939 to 1942 and again from 1946 to 1955, was one of the longest serving Fire Marshals in the office’s history. Page 6 The Trumpet—March 2013 Page 7 History (cont’d) Our first State Fire Marshal, Harrison Parkman, hit the ground running when the office opened on April 1, 1913. He immediately divided the department into five areas: the number of properties Statistics — this “division” inspected. He found then consisted of a secretary as we have found today — who handled, among her that most owners are willother duties, the collection ing to clean up problem of reports from local fire areas once they were made departments. aware of the hazards. Investigation — this team investigated fires throughout the state, logging 72 in the first full year with 16 convictions of thirty-six arson suspects. Fire Prevention—the intent of this division was to prevent fires through a reduction in carelessness that would likely reduce the number of fires. The agency has had 26 state fire marshals appointed by their Governors and charged with the fire and life safety of Kansans. of operation, fire deaths had been reduced to 75 for that year. The daily fire losses went in 1913 from $11,612 per day to $9,346 per day. Inspection—this division was short of staff, so Parkman established a good working relationship with the Labor and Hotel Departments and local fire departments to increase Early OSFM Annual Reports Education — this division was to produce the Fire Prevention Bulletin to be used in all public schools, to write newspaper articles, and do on-site lectures to groups on the organization of fire prevention associations. In 1975, Kansas Governor Robert Bennett named the first-ever woman to serve as Acting State Fire Marshal. Elsie Smith served out the unexpired term of Robert Wolfe. Interesting Fact About Kansas Schools: The second annual report of the Office of the State Fire Marshal by State Fire Marshal Harrison Parkman in 1914 after the first full year of operation stated that “very few of the school buildings in Kansas are safe places for the assemblage of children. Defective wiring is found in almost every one, as are accumulations of inflammable materials and rubbish. Many schoolhouses have defective heating apparatus and flues. It is not within the power of the Fire Marshal to condemn dangerous school buildings and recommendations to school boards are often overlooked or inefficiently carried out. Kansas is most fortunate in that a catastrophe has never happened in the schools of this state, for conditions in many of the school buildings are worse than in those where fires attended by great loss of life in other states have occurred. Arthur R. Ramey, 19671970, devoted himself to updating antiquated fire laws, such as “no teacher shall use kerosene when lighting her morning fire.” “To catch the reader's attention, place an interesting sentence or quote from the story here.” Floyd Dibbern, 19751979, developed a reputation for strict code enforcement on older, some historic, buildings. Edward Redmon, 19791988, 1992-1995, was a leader in the implemenCaption de- arson tation of the state scribing picinvestigation ture or certification graphic. program. Page 7 TOP 5 “Smoking and Home Fire Safety” Tips Use only fire-safe cigarettes. Smoke outside. Most deaths result from fires started in the bedrooms or in dens, living or family rooms. Use a deep, sturdy ashtray. Place it away from anything that can burn. Do NOT discard cigarettes in places such as mulch, potted plants, or landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, leaves or other things that could ignite easily. Before you throw away butts and ashes, make sure they are out. Dousing them in water or smothering completely in sand is the best way to do that. Page 8 [Fire Prevention News] Lessons Go Unheeded In 1958, Percy Bugbee of the NFPA said, “there are no lessons to be learned from this fire; only old lessons that tragically went unheeded.” On February 20, 2003, the Station nightclub was packed with people eager to see the band Great White. Just minutes into the show, illegal pyrotechnics inside the club started a fire that killed 100 people, making it the fourth-deadliest nightclub fire and the eight-deadliest public assembly fire in U.S. history. Sadly, the lessons continue to unheeded, not just in the U.S. but in the world. On January 27th of this year, the KISS nightclub in Santa Maria Brazil claimed the lives of 238 people to date, with more bodies being pulled from the ruble. is the problem. Pictured is the Happy Land Social club after a deadly fire that killed 87 people in 1990 in New York City. Officials said the club was operating illegally and had no sprinklers, fire exits, emergency lights or exit signs. What has worked in some jurisdictions are spot checks at venues on nights and weekends when clubs are notoriously crowded. Such an activity would alert business owners that such conditions will not be tolerated and be an opportunity to educate them on the importance of fire and life safety and to get their buy-in. Jim Shannon, President of the NFPA says that patrons should also take responsibility for their own safety by taking a good look around before entering: does Raymond O’Brocki, former fire marshal the building appear to be in a condition from the Baltimore Fire Department in a that makes you comfortable, is the main recent interview with NPR, noted how entrance wide and does it open to allow conditions at the Brazil nightclub venue easy exit, are other exit pathways clear and eerily matched safety shortfalls that conunblocked and is the outside area clear of tributed to some of the deadliest blazes in debris, without trash and junk leaning U.S. history, like Cocoanut Grove, Happy against the building. Land Social Club, The Station, and the It is also a good idea to have a plan in case Iroquois Theater fire back in 1903 in Chiof a worst case scenario, many of the same cago. tips covered under the article on emergenThere are reoccurring themes with these cy preparedness. Have a communication fires: lack of egress; over-crowding; plan if something happens so members of combustible wall coverings; lack of noti- your party have someone in common to fication; occupants who do not know call. It is also important to have a meeting where the exits are, exits that are locked place outside away from the building if or blocked and lack of sprinklers. Codes you get separated, where everyone knows are NOT the problem—code enforcement to actually meet. The Trumpet—March 2013 Smoking and Fire Safety We know that cooking equipment is the leading cause of structure fires and home fire injuries and we’ve addressed this issue on a number of occasions. But, smoking materials are still the leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of these home fire deaths result from incidents reported between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. with 25% originating in the bedroom and another 24% originating in the den, living or family rooms. That tells us that the place we feel the safest - at home - is the very place where most smoking-material structure fires, deaths and injuries occur. We can also conclude that the places where we sleep or doze while watching television might be suspect. Smoking material fires are preventable. For tips on smoking safety, see article on page 8. Third-Party Software Validation Errors Several departments who use 3rd party software such as Firehouse or Fire Programs, are receiving validation errors when they complete incidents using the Fire or Wildland modules. These errors are occurring when the “Less than 1 acre” field is selected in your software, the error reads: “Number of acres must be blank when less than 1 acre.” These errors started to occur when the USFA conducted a rules update in late December. The USFA has recently sent out an update to those rule conflicts, to all users of the DEBI and DET reporting clients, but this does not remove the error from users of 3rd party software. In order to correct these errors, you must contact your software provider and check with them for an update or patch to correct the problem. When you review your error log, you will find the following message: “Fire Module ^Number of Acres Burned must be blank when Less Than One Acre Burned is checked^Critical^Number of Acres Burned^0^0^” If you have questions about this error, or any of the errors you get from your incident submissions, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. Remember that you must review your error logs if you get one, your software may not have the same rules and relationship requirements which NFIRS will check. The error log is the only place you will find that! Finally, as 2012 came to a close, I wrote of the changes that are taking place at the Fire Marshal’s office. Some of those changes were going to be very public and others were going to be more of a procedural change which would not be as noticed. With the writing of this article, I must report one change which will, for a short time, impact the way OSFM handles your incident reporting and the assistance we provide. Effective March 4th, 2013, I have resigned from the OSFM to take another position in the Kansas Fire Service. For users of the USFA’s DEBI or DET reporting clients, you can continue to call Mel Stewart for account setup or resets or password issues. Incident submissions should still be sent to the email address email@example.com. For any user who has technical questions on how to complete your NFIRS report, regardless of the software you are using, you can contact the USFA NFIRS Help Desk by calling (888) 382-3827 or by calling our office at (785) 296 -3401. Page 9 Testing Your Sprinkler System Sprinkler systems are required to be tested on a weekly, monthly and annual basis, the testing and maintenance requirements are found in Chapter 5 of NFPA 25, The Standard for Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of WaterBased Fire Protection Systems. Below are some of the required checks and how often they are required: Fire Prevention: Let’s Talk Sprinklers! Last month, we covered what is required for the annual maintenance of the Fire Alarm system in a facility. This month we are going to cover sprinkler systems and their required inspec- Facility Type Gauges (Dry pipe, Pre-Action & deluge systems) – Gauges shall be visually checked weekly to ensure that normal air and water pressures are being maintained. (184.108.40.206) Where air pressure supervision is connected to a constantly attended location, gauges shall be inspected monthly. (220.127.116.11) Education Control Valves (all systems) – All valves shall be inspected weekly. (18.104.22.168) Healthcare Weekly/monthly: Fire Code tions. First, let’s review who needs to have an automatic sprinkler system: System Required New Existing Type USD IBC/IFC (E) YES YES* 13 Private School IBC/IFC (E) YES YES* 13 Preschool IBC/IFC (E) YES YES* 13 Childcare Center IBC/IFC (I) YES YES* 13 College IBC/IFC (B) NO NO Hospital NFPA 101 YES ** 13 Nursing Home NFPA 101 YES YES (2013) 13 Hospice NFPA 101 YES ** 13 Ambulatory Surgical Center NFPA 101 NO NO Residential Board & Care (L) IBC/IFC (I) YES YES 13 Residential Board & Care (S) IBC/IFC (R) YES YES 13R Detention/Correctional IBC/IFC (I) YES YES Hotels/Motels IBC/IFC (R) YES YES 13R Dormitories IBC/IFC (R) YES YES 13R Gauges (Wet pipe system) – Gauges on wet pipe sprinkler systems shall be inspected monthly to ensure that they are in good condition and that normal water supply pressure is being maintained. (22.214.171.124) Quarterly: Waterflow devices, Valve supervisory devices, supervisory signal devices, hydraulic nameplate – Alarm devices shall be inspected quarterly to verify that they are free from physical damage. (5.2.6) Fire Department connection – Fire department connections shall be inspected quarterly. The inspection shall verify the following: (13.7.1) The fire department connections are visible and accessible. (Cont’d on Page 11) Page 10 Other Monthly: There are two different types of systems which can be used, a “NFPA 13” system, which is what you will find in commercial or healthcare facilities; or a “NFPA 13R” system. The “R” stands for residential. These systems have slightly different requirements which can include the number of sprinkler heads needed, sprinkler locations, water flow requirements or water source. For example, a NFPA 13 system will require a fire department connection (FDC) for all sprinkler systems; this connection allows for a fire department to supplement the system water source by attaching hose lines from the public water supply (fire hydrant) to aid in fire suppression. A NFPA 13R does not have this requirement for all systems, an FDC will be based on the size of the building or the number of sprinkler heads installed. The Trumpet—March 2013 Testing of Delay Egress Locks Recently we visited a facility which had a delayed-egress door and found the door had not been tied into the fire alarm system correctly. While we want to ensure that our visit to your facility(s) will be as unobtrusive as possible, we recognize that there must be certain demonstrations completed to ensure that all of your life safety systems are working properly. Effective March 1st, all OSFM inspectors will ask that you demonstrate your delayed-egress doors are meeting code requirements. While OSFM has adopted various codes, and various editions, most of the requirements for these doors are the same so we are providing the code requirements from the 2000 edition of NFPA 101, The Life Safety Code, which is adopted for all health care facilities: 126.96.36.199.1 DelayedEgress Locks. Approved, listed, delayedegress locks shall be permitted to be installed on doors serving low and ordinary hazard contents in buildings protected throughout by an approved, supervised automatic fire detection system in accordance with Section 9.6, or an approved, supervised automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 9.7, and where permitted in Chapters 12-42, provided that the following criteria are met. The doors shall unlock upon actuation of any approved, supervised automatic sprinkler system in Section 9.7 or upon the actuation of any head detector or activation of not more than two smoke detectors of an approved, supervised automatic fire detection system in accordance with Section 9.6. The doors shall unlock upon loss of power controlling the lock or locking mechanism. An irreversible process shall release the lock within 15 seconds upon application of a force to release the device required in 188.8.131.52.4 that shall not be required to exceed 15 lbf nor be required to be continuously applied for more than 3 seconds. The initiation of the release process shall activate an audible signal in the vicinity of the door. Once the door lock has been released by the application of force to the releasing device, relocking shall be by manual means only. (Cont’d on Page 15) Couplings or swivels are not damaged and rotate smoothly. Plugs or caps are in place and undamaged. Gaskets are in place and in good condition. Identification signs are in place. The check valve is not leaking. The automatic drain valve is in place and operating properly. The fire department connection clapper(s) is in place and operating properly. Annually: Buildings (wet-pipe) – Annually, prior to the onset of freezing weather, buildings with wet pipe systems shall be inspected to verify that windows, skylights, doors, ventilators, or other openings and closures, blind spaces, unused attics, stair towers, roof houses, and low spaces under buildings do not expose water filled sprinkler piping to freezing and to verify that adequate heat [minimum 40° F] is available. (5.2.5) Hanger/seismic bracing – Hangers and seismic bracing shall be inspected annually from the floor level (see 184.108.40.206-220.127.116.11). (5.2.3) Pipe and fittings – Sprinkler pipe and fittings shall be inspected annually from floor level (see 18.104.22.168-22.214.171.124). (5.2.2) Sprinklers, Spare Sprinklers – Sprinklers shall be inspected from the floor level annually (see 126.96.36.199.1-188.8.131.52). (184.108.40.206) These checks do not require “qualified personnel” to perform them. Facility staff can perform these inspections and log the results. There are system tests which must be performed on a quarterly, semiannual or annual schedule, these should be performed by qualified personnel who have been trained by the sprinkler manufacture and have been authorized by that company to perform these tests. Page 11 [Fire Investigation News] One Fatality Reported in Manhattan Kansas City Kansas Man Charged With Arson The Wyandotte County District Attorney charged Curtis T. Horn, a 37-year old Kansas City man in the deaths of a woman and her young niece. There were 18 counts including premeditated firstdegree murder, felony firstdegree murder, aggravated arson and 15 counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The fire broke out at an apartment building in the 7600 block of Garfield Avenue early Saturday morning. Firefighters found the 34 year old victim, Brandi Johnson and her 3 year old niece, Amiyah McClenton in one apartment. Investigators did not discuss a motive but described it as a domestic situation. Indications are that the 34 year old victim was killed before the fire. She did not live in the apartment but was providing childcare for her niece while her sister was at work. Autopsies were pending on both victims. There were 15 children under the age of 18 in the apartment complex at the time of the fire, resulting in the 15 counts of child endangerment. Intentional Fire Results in Fire Fatality around the clock, processing the scene and have a 24-year-old suspect from Garden City in custody. Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office is helping with the investigation. The victim leaves behind an 11month old baby. The Colby community mourns the loss. A 27-year-old Colby woman died after she was rescued from a burning home in Colby recently. The report of a house fire was received around 7:00 a.m., dispatching emergency crews who responded quickly to the incident. "Police, EMS and an ambulance were on standby. Once they made entry into the Page 12 structure, they discovered the body of a white female," said Colby Chief of Police, Randall Jones. Crews found Teri Morris near the front door and unresponsive. She was transported to Citizens Medical Center where she died. "During the course, it was believed there was some suspicious matters concerning that death," Investigators have been working A 12-unit apartment fire in Manhattan resulted in the death of 34 year old, Vasanta Lakshmi Pallem, a postdoctoral researcher at Kansas State University. Pallem worked in the chemical engineering department. Pallem died of smoke inhalation. The fire displaced a number of students although no one else was injured in the fire. Heather Reed, an associate dean and director of student life, indicated that the University was working with the Red Cross, the property manager of the apartment building, the universityâ€™s counseling services, university police, student financial assistance and others on campus to help students affected by Pallemâ€™s death and the aftermath of the fire. The University also worked to find living accommodations for students displaced by the blaze, all of whom are now in hotels or staying with friends. The Riley County Police Department, Manhattan Fire Department, ATF, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal were all involved in the investigation, which resulted in the arrest of two Manhattan residents in connection with the fire. The Riley County Police Department indicated that 20 year old Patrick Martin Scahill and 19 year old Virginia Amanda Griese were arrested Friday on suspicion of felony murder and aggravated arson. Both were being held on $1 million bond. Vehicle Warning Signs of Chemical Suicide The Trumpet—March 2013 [Haz-Mat News] Warning to First Responders about Chemical Suicides Since 2008, fifty cases of chemical suicide were reported. It is believed that chemical suicides are greatly underreported. Sadly, the instructions for performing a chemical suicide are easily found on the internet. These sites encourage participants to use warning signs so that rescue responders are aware of the fatal chemical situation present. In 90% of the cases, clearly marked signs are posted in the windows or on the structure where the suicide occurred. The signs often explain that HAZ-MAT is required and that the responder should not open the door because of the deadly gases and fumes. However, for the 10% that do not label their suicides as dangerous to others, responders should take extra time to assess the situation before entering any enclosed space or opening a door or window. Responders should look for buckets or containers or chemical containers nearby. A chemical suicide is performed by first creating hydrogen sulfide (H2S) or less frequently, hydrogen cyanide (HCN). In suicidal situations, the individuals generally mix large quantities of the needed chemicals so they will immediately collapse with cardiopulmonary arrest. First responders and rescue personnel need to take special precautions and safety measures when dealing with a suicide case that involves a high concentration of chemicals. All clothing should be removed from the individual and double bagged. Decontamination of the body should follow whatever normal protocol is typically practiced. The body should be wrapped in sheets and tarps instead of using a body bag. Rescue personnel need to be very careful because victims may off-gas from their lungs for a significant time post death. When transporting the dead body, it is important to try to use an “open” vehicle like an official pick-up truck instead of an enclosed vehicle where the body would be in the same enclosed space as the driver. Hydrogen Sulfide – H2S Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colorless gas that has a strong odor of rotten eggs and is often found naturally in coal pits, sulfur springs, gas pits and sewers. It is often referred to as sewer gas. It is an olfactory nerve paralyze, meaning that even in low concentrations it will lead to a loss of smell. This is a dangerous reaction because the sickening odor of H2S is noticeable around 100 ppm but at this level, the sense of smell is paralyzed so quickly that the odor may not be noticed. H2S has a vapor density of 1.19 which is heavier than air. It is found close to the ground but will quickly diffuse and engulf an entire area. The vapors can be “knocked down” with a water spray from a hose, but the created runoff needs to be contained and disposed of because it is both toxic and corrosive. Subject appears unconscious and unresponsive Tape over vents and Hydrogen sulfide is a mucous windows membrane and respiratory tract irritant. In extremely high concentrations it may also irritate the skin. The symptoms for higher concentrations of H2S is Suicide note severe and targets various body Posted note warning systems. Central nervous sysrescuers of present tem stimulation includes rapid danger breathing and headaches and will precede system depression: respiratory paralysis and death. Exposure to high enough concentrations may lead to an accumulation of fluid in the lungs which may not occur until 72 Bucket, pail, pot or hours after inhalation. cooler in the vehicle Hydrogen Cyanide—HCN containing chemiHydrogen cyanide (HCN) is cals another chemical combination used in suicides. This is seen less frequently than H2S but is very toxic and dangerous. HCN is a colorless gas or bluish -white liquid. The chemical Empty containers in may have an odor of burnt alor around the vehimonds though it is not always cle noticed. Like H2S it is an olfactory nerve paralyzer. It is dangerously toxic by inhalation, skin absorption and ingestion. HCN has a vapor density of 0.94 which is lighter than air. The chemical is found above the ground and will diffuse like Smell of rotten eggs H2S to completely engulf a space with its vapors. HCN is a tissue asphyxiant that is fatal in Page 13 just a few minutes after internal exposure. Page 13 Being Prepared is Everyone’s Responsibility March 3rd kicks off Governor Brownback’s Severe Weather Week in an effort to remind Kansans about severe weather situations and steps they can take to stay safe and be prepared. Being prepared is everyone’s responsibility - whether its earthPhoto courtesy of PrepareWell.com quakes in California, hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, or tornadoes in the Midwest - being prepared is very important to you and your family. In Kansas we’re particularly vulnerable to tornados, it was just a year ago on February 28th that an EF-2 hit Harveyville destroying much of that small Kansas community and killing Rick Slade. Of course tornadoes are not the only hazard to be prepared for in Kansas - we also have to be prepared for home fires, severe weather including high winds and winter storms, wildland fires and even drought conditions are hazards to consider. As I write this, much of Kansas is bracing for a major winter storm with blizzard conditions and freezing rain predicted. Whether you are in a familiar environment or visiting areas impacted by hazards you are not used to, it is important to be prepared. Some of the basic protective actions are similar for multiple hazards. You have to take into account whether to shelter in place or evacuate depending upon the specific emergency. Whether an accidental emergency, natural disaster or even terrorism, first you MUST develop a family communications plan and prepare an emergency supply kit. Make a Plan Your family may not be together when a disaster Page 14 strikes, so it is important to plan in advance; how will you get to a safe place; how will you contact one another; how will you get back together; and what will you do in different situations. There are actions that should be taken before, during and after an event that are unique to each hazard. These suggested steps could help. Complete a contact card for each family member - keep them in your wallet, purse or backpack, in addition to coding them into your cell phone. (keep in mind your cell phone might not always work, so written information could become invaluable) Identify a contact out-of-state to notify you are safe, sometimes local calls are more difficult than out-of-state calls. Keep your cell phones charged with numbers coded into the phone. Have ICE (in case of emergency) listings on your cell phone for emergency responders. There is a great deal of information including templates to make emergency contact cards and other planning tools for families to use at www.ready.gov, part of the FEMA website. It is also a good idea to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school, faith organizations, sports events and commuting. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to community leaders, colleagues, neighbors and members of your faith or civic organizations about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance. Included on the FEMA site is information on school and workplace emergency planning that you should also review prior. The Trumpet—March 2013 Emergency Kit Having enough supplies for at least 3-days is the standard recommendation. Basic Kit Water - 1 gallon/person/day for 3 days Food - 3 day supply non-perishable Battery-powered or Hand-cranked Radio NOAA Weather Radio w/tone alert Flashlights and Batteries First Aid Kit Whistle or Signaling Device Dust Masks Garbage bags/toilet paper for sanitation Wrench or Pliers to turn off utilities OSFM Investigators Present to Arson Task Force OSFM Investigators John Harrison and Jeff Davis presented case studies at the Annual Kansas City Arson Task Force Training Conference held at the KCI Expo Center March 5-8. supports the development and advancements in training and experience for fire investigations. The task force is a training task for those involved with fire investigations both on the Kansas side and the Missouri side of the state line. Over 120 area fire investigative personnel OSFM Investigator John Harrison presenting to the attended the Kansas City Arson Task Force Training Conference Member of conference to the Office of increase their knowledge of the State Fire Marshal assisted investigations. in the coordination of this year’s The Kansas City Arson Task Force is an organization that conference agenda. Manual Can Opener Bedding for Climate Conditions Complete change of clothing/shoes (include weather appropriate items) Cell phone - chargers (solar) or inverter Additional Supplies Prescription medications Pet Supplies Infant Formula/Diapers Bleach (unscented) & Medicine Dropper Disinfectant 9-parts water to1-part bleach Water Treatment - 16 drops bleach/gal water Fire Extinguisher Waterproof Matches/Lighter Mess Kits Paper/Pencils Books, Games, Puzzles—Kid Activities Feminine Hygiene Supplies Travelers Checks/Cash/Change Important Documents Emergency Reference Materials Testing of Delay Egress Locks (cont’d from Page 11) Exception: where approved by the authority having jurisdiction, a delay not exceeding 30 seconds shall be permitted. On the door adjacent to the release device, there shall be a readily visible, durable sign in letters not less than 1 in. high and not less than 1/8 in. in stroke width on a contrasting background that reads as follows: PUSH UNTIL ALARM SOUNDS -- DOORS CAN BE OPENED IN 15 SECONDS. When our inspectors are on site, they will check to see that the door releases after the 3-second push of the door latching mechanism. They will also verify that the audible alarm works properly. They will ask facility staff to place the fire alarm system into test mode and then activate the alarm to ensure the doors release as required by code. Please note, we are not having you conduct a fire drill during this test, however, you may do so should you choose to. Before the test is completed, we will ask staff to notify the occupants of the testing of the fire alarm, once activated, the alarm can immediately be silenced for completion of the test. If you choose to conduct a fire drill while OSFM views the test, please remember that you cannot provide notification to your occupants of the pending drill. We realize this is a change in how we have inspected these doors in the past and want to ensure that facility administrators/operators have a reasonable amount of time to notify your staff. Should you have additional questions or need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office by calling (785) 296-3401. Page 15 2013 KANSAS SEVERE WEATHER AWARENSS WEEK MARCH 3 - 9, 2013 TORNADO SAFETY DRILL TUESDAY, MARCH 5th 1:30 PM CST Information Packet National Weather Service