Winter 2017 / Volume 18, Issue 1
Utah Fire and Rescue Academy Magazine
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Message from UFRA
WINTER 2017, Volume 18 Issue 1 To Subscribe: To subscribe to the UFRA Straight Tip magazine, or make changes to your current subscription, call 1-888-5487816 or visit www.uvu.edu/ufra/about/ magazine.html. The UFRA Straight Tip is free of charge to all firefighter and emergency service personnel throughout the state of Utah. UFRA Customer Service Local (801) 863-7700 Toll free 1-888-548-7816 www.uvu.edu/ufra
Changes in Responsibility
If you have had the privilege of working in your local fire department, then you have witnessed the ongoing evaluation of programs, positions, and policies. The Utah Fire and Rescue Academy (UFRA) is no different. We here at UFRA continually strive to evaluate how we provide training, what new courses are needed, and how best to address the changing needs in the fire service. From time to time, changes in assignments are made to address both current and future needs within UFRA. In the past 18 months, program manager assignments were changed to meet the needs of training events such as regional training schools and the annual winter fire school.
UFRA Straight Tip (ISSN 1932-2356) is published quarterly by Utah Valley University and the Utah Fire & Rescue Academy and distributed throughout the state of Utah. Reproduction without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Send inquiries or submissions to: UFRA Straight Tip magazine 3131 Mike Jense Parkway Provo, Utah 84601 Phone 1-888-548-7816 firstname.lastname@example.org Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the UFRA Straight Tip are those of the authors and may not be construed as those of the staff or management of the UFRA Straight Tip, Utah Fire & Rescue Academy, or Utah Valley University.
Correction: It was not noted in the Fall issue that the article â€œSmartphones and Employee Privacyâ€? by Curt Varone was originally published in Firehouse magazine on January 1, 2016, and was reprinted with permission from Chief Varone and Firehouse magazine. We thank them for their permission to reprint his insightful articles.
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The most recent change to the UFRA organization was made in the areas of Training and Testing/Certification. Assistant Director Brad Wardle, who previously had supervisory oversight over Certification, Publications, and Special Projects has been assigned to Training. Assistant Director Chuck Querry was previously supervising Training and has moved to Certification, Publications, and Special Projects. Assistant Director Jolene Chamberlain retained her position over Support Services. This move will allow assistant directors to develop a broader knowledge base of the programs here at UFRA. The benefits of shared knowledge and new insights will ensure programs are continually looking for ways to improve and better serve the firefighters of Utah.
DEPARTMENTS 4 STATE FIRE MARSHAL
6 BATTALION CHIEF
22 DEPARTMENT IN FOCUS
8 FIREFIGHTER MENTAL HEALTH
24 IT HAPPENED TO ME— COULD IT HAPPEN TO YOU?
10 BACK TO BASICS
27 CONGRATULATIONS, FIRE OFFICER DESIGNATION RECIPIENTS!
Active Shooter and Other Hostile Events The Silent “Maydays”
Is There a Metal? Periodic Hazard Assessment
12 FIRE TACTICS
If the “Mayday” Happens, Be Ready to E-R-U-P-T-T-T!
SRS/Air Bags, Part II
Utah’s New Wildland Fire Policy and Fire Management System
Springville Fire Department
30 THE MISSING COMMON DENOMINATOR 32 HOARDER FIRES: DEALING WITH THE OCCUPANTS 34 RESEARCHERS: UTAH FIREFIGHTERS MAY BE AT HIGHER RISK FOR SKIN CANCER 36 PREPARING FOR THE PROMOTIONAL 38 FIRE SERVICE SAFETY CULTURE MEASUREMENT TOOL
18 FIREFIGHTER LAW
Don’t Let Yourself Be Caught In the Retaliation Trap
43 IFSAC ACCREDITATION & RE-ACCREDITATION SITE VISIT 44 ACADEMICS
Spring 2017 Semester
ON THE COVER:
Members of Park City Fire District participate in confined space training using a high point, while simulating an IDLH (immediately dangerous to life or health) atmosphere. Firefighters train monthly on all disciplines of technical rescue, including rope rescue, trench, confined space, structure collapse, and hazmat. Park City Fire District is also a member of Utah Task Force One.
Managing Editor Lori Marshall
Editor Kaitlyn Hedges
Design Phil Ah You
Published by Utah Valley University
41 FIRE MARKS
Thoughts on Leadership
40 CLIMBING THE LADDER
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STATE FIRE MARSHAL
I’d like to focus this article on our use of data in the fire service and perhaps deal a little on what’s happening here in Utah with regard to data collection, sharing, etc. You should all be familiar with the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) as it is known. All states participate, and we all have our own state system. For each state’s unique system, the “N” for “National” is replaced with the first letter of the respective state; hence, here in Utah it is called the Utah Fire Incident Reporting System or UFIRS. It is our piece that we collect all incident data from each and every response in Utah. The State Fire Marshal’s Office collects that information, compiles it, reviews it for quality assurance, and submits it to the U.S. Fire Administration. Our data are then compiled with all other states’ data, which is then used for a wide range of useful purposes. I learned more about this process on a national level while attending a course at the National Fire Academy (NFA) in Emmitsburg, Maryland, many years ago. I noticed an older gentleman sitting in the cafeteria each morning who sat all alone at breakfast. On the third day there, I decided to approach him and see if I could get to know him or at least not have him sit all by himself each day. His name is John Ottoson; some of you old fire dogs may have met him, as he used to stop by classes and talk briefly about how the U.S. Fire Administration utilized the NFIRS data. He stopped by my class and made his pitch to us to ask for our help in ensuring good data was captured and recorded on each NFIRS report so that he could do his job better. I stopped by John’s office and asked him some questions, and over time and multiple visits to the NFA, I got to know John a lot better and we still touch base at least once a year. John has long since retired from government work, but his classic demeanor of the “ultimate nerd” still is fresh in my memory. One thing I learned from John is that he worked specifically with the Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) in getting products off the market or recalled when statistics showed that they contributed to starting or spreading fires. A Utah community might have a bathroom
FROM THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL ventilation fan that caused a fire. The company officer would record the brand make and model as part of the report. That community may only see that single fire with that bathroom fan. Imagine multiple departments all around the country that also reported that same make and model but also had only a single event. John would use all of that data to show that this particular bathroom fan had caused dozens of fires around our country, and then with the help of the CPSC, they would get the manufacturer to recall the fan, provide replacements, or otherwise ensure that no future fire would be caused by that same product. That’s how it’s done. That’s why it is so important that every UFIRS report be accurate and complete. It may seem like a pain to gather the information and I know that typically we really don’t like to fill out reports, but the information that you capture does do good.
Utah Residential Structure Fire Causes 2015 Code
Playing with Heat Source
51 4.27% 8
Equipment Misoperation, Failure
Other Unintentional, Careless
Investigation with Arson Mod.
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UVU’S EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY TEAM CALLS FOR VIDEO FOOTAGE
In the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Jana DeMille has recently been promoted to the job of UFIRS coordinator, and she will be attending the NFA to learn more about the NFIRS system in December 2016. She would love to assist you in providing training or other help so that you can complete your UFIRS forms. She can be reached at email@example.com. We get a variety of requests throughout the year from departments for UFIRS data that they want to use to help them with budget issues or so that they can report to their city councils and mayors what they are doing compared with departments around their county or around the state. We have that data available, but it’s only as good or as complete as you provide it to us. Writing reports certainly isn’t as fun as fighting fires, but that information can save lives and get bad products off the market. It’s another way of making sure our citizens are safe. Help us to help you by getting on top of your UFIRS reports, and make sure that you are always safe out there!
Coy Utah State Fire Marshal Coy D. Porter retired from Provo Fire & Rescue after 30 years of service; he then worked for almost four years as the assistant director of training at UFRA. Porter enjoys his association with the firefighters of Utah in his position as state fire marshal.
UFRA continues to work with UVU’s Educational Technology Team to create quality video training as part of UFRA's blended learning initiative. If you are doing live fire training and/or have access to high quality video footage and images from live structure fires, please contact Dalene Rowley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Winter 2017 | 5
BATTALION CHIEF: Active Shooter and Other Hostile Events Active shooter and other hostile events have been on the rise over the past twenty years. With this, comes the scramble from both fire and law enforcement to create policies and standard operating guidelines (SOGs) to better respond to these events. The Columbine shooting seems to be the most referred to event that made us rethink the way public safety personnel respond to hostile events that pose a threat to emergency responders. Prior to Columbine, it was common practice for fire agencies to await an “all clear” from law enforcement before entering a threat area. This strategy delayed rescuer arrival, sometimes resulting in the death of victims who suffered severe hemorrhage and other immediately life-threatening injuries. As a nation we have collectively improved our strategy and thought process regarding response to hostile events, but much improvement is still needed.
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There is never a better time than the present to review your organization’s guideline for responding to an active shooter event. Likewise, if you haven’t yet taken on this initiative, you’re not too late. There exists a wealth of knowledge and policies that are as similar as they are dissimilar. Think of SOGs as “simple” operating guidelines. The more complicated your document becomes, the further you get from mass consumption and understanding by your membership. Complicated SOGs are seldom reviewed by the majority of your firefighters and become even less useful when they apply to rare events such as active shooters. Once you’ve written your SOG, it’s time to get out and practice to see if it really works. Running mock hostile event/active shooter drills with your local law enforcement may help point out needed improvements to your guidelines. What seems to play out just fine on paper many times just doesn’t work when put into practice.
Active shooter exercise in Park City. Exercises such as this can help ensure that our SOGs work in practice, not just on paper.
Running mock hostile event/ active shooter drills with your local law enforcement may help point out needed improvements to your guidelines. When practicing your SOG know that the primary objective of law enforcement naturally differs from that of fire/EMS. Law enforcement exists to protect people, including you. Our primary fire service mission is to save lives. Consequently, you may find that the driving motivation of law enforcement will be to keep you from any scene danger; this unfortunately may result in a delayed response to victims. Law enforcement may judge their drill performance by how long it took to neutralize or kill the threat. You, on the other hand, should judge fire/EMS performance by how long it took for Rescue Task Forces to reach victims and get those victims to definitive hospital care. Severe arterial bleeds can result in death within a few minutes. Scour your SOG for any step in the process that may eat up valuable time. As firefighters we’ve lived by the mantra of risking a lot to save savable lives. Now, responding to hostile events, we recognize that we may be accepting some personal risk to get to victims sooner. Incredibly there are those among us, at least on a national level, that may argue taking such risk. Teaching your firefighters the element of acceptable risk during hostile events and drilling on your new protocols will go a long way towards improving our response to these incidents.
Paul Hewitt began his career as an Orem City reserve firefighter in 1987. After 20 years with the Salt Lake City Fire Department he served as a fire chief in Arizona before his 2011 appointment to fire chief of the Park City Fire District.
2 REGIONAL FIRE SCHOOLS Save the Dates Uintah County Regional Fire School in Vernal March 10 - 11, 2017 Classes Include: • Live Fire Certification • Rapid Intervention/Self Rescue • Extrication • Forcible Entry • Aerial Operations • Wildland Refresher • Vehicle Maintenance
Sanpete County Regional Fire School in Ephraim March 17- 18, 2017 Classes Include: • Flashover • Forcible Entry • Rapid Intervention/Self Rescue • Extrication • Wildland Refresher • Vehicle Maintenance
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The Silent “Maydays” by Jeff Dill, Founder, CEO, and Instructor at Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance
“Mayday! Mayday!” These words bring instant fear to responders because they indicate one of our own is in serious trouble. Yet, for every mayday we hear on the fire scene, how many silent maydays are we missing on a daily basis from our brothers and sisters due to behavioral health issues? When it comes to assisting our fellow responders with behavioral health issues, there are warning signs we can watch for and steps we can take. I would like to cover the top five warning signs that we have heard in the stories of hundreds of firefighters over the past four years working as part of the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA). These top five are in no particular order, and there can certainly be other warning signs not included in this list.
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Isolation—The fire service is a dynamic group. The interactions of a company within a fire department while training, eating, or responding to calls is a bond that only a handful of careers can replicate. Shouldn’t it be easy to recognize if a member starts to slip away from the “group”? Tradition was to give the person space because, presumably, if they wanted help with their “personal issues,” they would ask. The time when someone is slipping away, however, is the time to rally around our own even when they don’t ask. If they refuse help, then just assure them to reach out when they are ready because the company is there for them. Sleep Deprivation—We have all been there—you know, after the call in the middle of the night trying to get back to sleep. Sleep becomes time consuming and difficult because the heart and mind are racing. But what if you experience those physical and psychologi-
cal symptoms even when you are at home or don’t go on calls? The cause is unknown, but the stress and anxiety as the night approaches sets in. Realizing you will not be sleeping again that night can be damaging to the body and mind. What about the FF/EMT who is sleeping way too much—in bed most of the day, struggling to even to get up and shower, eat, or be with family? Depression has a cruel way of destroying people’s lives. If sleep is affecting you in either of these ways, it is time to seek help. Impulsiveness—Starting to show signs of impulsiveness or recklessness is a negative sign in a change of behavior. Yet, these signs can be so subtle that other people might not see them as a cry for help. Buying guns when he or she was always against firearms, driving recklessly, or acting in a manner that could cause serious personal injury are signs that need to be addressed as soon as possible. Anger—Most people know of someone in their department that anger applies to. Yet, the issue can be a very dangerous one, especially if the angry member displaces the anger and projects it to others, like family members at home. Loss of Confidence—This one I discovered as a common theme from speaking with firefighters. Members who were struggling with issues in their life somehow transferred it to the job and then began to realize they weren’t performing at a level they were used to. They became unsure of the simplest tasks, which increased their frustration, anxiety, and lack of confidence. In our “Saving Those Who Save Others” workshop, we cover these warning signs in depth. Additionally, we cover the following FBHA recommendations on how to deal with warning signs when we see them. Be Proactive, Be Direct—Fire departments need to be proactive towards behavioral health training, and if you think FF suicides will happen to your department, give me a call. It’s happening from the big cities to the small towns. Be direct with firefighters who are suffering. These are real problems that need real conversations. Direct Questions—If a member comes to you with thoughts of suicide, then there are two questions you need to ask: • Do you feel like killing yourself now? • Do you have a plan? These questions can quickly assess what is going on with your FF. A “yes” to any of these means you need to seek
medical attention for that person immediately. Even if he or she had thoughts of suicide recently, it should be grounds for offering immediate help. Do not leave this person alone. Compassion—If someone comes to you to talk, then remember to show compassion. Stay in the moment! Listen actively. Treat him or her like you would want to be treated. Discretionary Time—One of the most crucial pieces of advice is to not make a “knee-jerk” remark. If you don’t know an answer or if you are caught off guard by a personal issue that a member has brought to you, then use discretionary time by saying simply, “I have never been approached about this type of issue; let me look into educating myself about it and let’s meet later to discuss it further.” This shows compassion, dedication, and concern toward the member and the problem he or she is facing. Walk the Walk—Simply, if a brother or sister needs help, then be there for them. Drive them to AA meetings or to counseling or just be an ear for them. If you are interested in learning more about “Saving Those Who Save Others,” visit www.ffbha.org or contact us at email@example.com.
Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance: www.ffbha.org or call 847-209-8208
National Volunteer Fire Council: www.nvfc.org/programs/share-the-load-program/
American Addiction Centers: For assistance for firefighters/EMTs, visit http://americanaddictioncenters.org/fire-services/ or call 1.888.731.FIRE (3473) (24/7)
Rosecrance Florian Program: For the Firefighter & Paramedic Substance Abuse Treatment Program, visit http://www.rosecrance.org/substance-abuse/ florian-firefighter-treatment-center/ or call 815391-1000 or 888-928-5278
National Suicide Hotline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 800-273-TALK (8255) Online chat is also available.
This article was originally posted on the FBHA blog at ffbha.org on 5/9/15.
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BACK TO BASICS photo courtesy Andy Byrnes
The NFA Chemistry for Emergency Response course uses the Periodic Table as a tool.
IS THERE A METAL? PERIODIC HAZARD ASSESSMENT In the 1860s a Russian chemistry professor, Dimitri Mendeleev (Figure 1), made a pivotal discovery for the development of chemistry that still affects how it is taught today. In his study of the known elements, Mendeleev recognized patterns that prompted him to arrange the elements Dimitri Mendeleev according to atomic number. This layout (Figure 1) revealed blank spaces where an element appeared to be missing, leading Mendeleev to accurately predict the existence of elements previously undiscovered. Mendeleev’s organization of the elements was the beginning of our modern periodic table of elements (“Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev,” Encyclopedia Britannica). Today, the periodic table is one of the most basic tools to determine the general hazards of materials and compounds that are created from the combination of two or more elements. Unfortunately, very few responders think of the periodic table itself as a hazard assessment tool. In reality, the periodic table can be useful for hazmat responders if the responders are able to dissect the compound’s name and understand where the compound’s elements can be found on the periodic table. If responders can determine whether the compound is a metal and, further, determine the physical state of the compound, then they can know the general hazards and know how to protect themselves and others. 10 | UFRA Straight Tip
Periodic Table Basics Here are the basics that would be useful for hazmat responders. Referring to periodic table (Figure 2), the dark line under Hydrogen (H) that stair steps down under Boron (B) to Astatine (At) denotes the dividing line between metals (M) and non-metals (NM). Below and to the left of the line are metals while above and to the right of the line are non-metals. Alloys • Alloys are when a metal is combined with another metal (M+M=metal alloy). • Alloys are generally non-hazardous. • Examples are steel, amalgam, chrome, and brass. Salts • Salts are composed of a metal combined with a nonmetal (M+NM=salt). • All salts have some general hazards: o Salts are mostly solids unless made into solution (though in certain rare cases salts can be also liquids or gasses). o Salts do not flame burn; however, oxidizer salts can support combustion. o Salts conduct electricity when in solution. o Salts have variable toxicity; however, treat any material as toxic.
o Salts dissolve in water and many can be water reactive. • Examples are Potassium Nitrate, Calcium Hydroxide, Calcium Carbide, Sodium Cyanide, Iron Disulfide, Magnesium Perchlorate, Barium Chloride, Cesium Iodide, and Lithium Hydride. • General mitigation strategies: don’t touch it; keep it dry; don’t let it get airborne (keep it covered); wear full PPE. Non-salts • Non-salts are composed of non-metals combined with another non-metal (NM+NM=non-salt). Due to the type of bonding, there is no electrical attraction in non-salts. • All non-salts have some general hazards: o Non-salts are mostly liquids and gasses, rarely a solid in normal conditions. o Non-salts are flammable and oxidizers can support combustion—fuel family. o Non-salts do not conduct electricity when in solution. o Non-salts are all toxic. o Non-salts do not dissolve in water; many are fuels. • Examples are the ever present fuel family consisting of Carbon and Hydrogen and the hydrocarbons Nitrogen Oxide, Methylene Chloride, Carbon Disulfide, Chlorine, Phosphorus Pentoxide, Sulfuric Acid, and Bromofluorodichloro Methane. • General mitigation strategies: ventilation; stay upwind; eliminate ignition sources; wear full PPE— SCBA; apply foam; apply neutralizers. So what do these concepts mean for the hazmat responder on the street? If the material is known, ask yourself “Is there a metal?” If there IS a metal, then the compound will take on the characteristics of the salts (see list). If there is NO metal, the compound will take on the characteristics of the non-salts (see list). Conversely, if the physical state can be directly observed or inferred by container shape, then solids will most likely be salts (see list) and liquids and gasses will be non-salts (see list).
The beauty of using the periodic table or physical state of the compound: immediate actions can be taken, despite not being 100% sure of the hazards of the specific compound. These actions could include eliminating ignition sources, keeping it dry, or ventilation. Isn’t that better than paralysis because you’re not sure what to do? Of course when more information can be derived using databases, then more specific actions can be taken. But you won’t go wrong treating these materials using their general hazards. To learn more about principles of chemical hazard assessment, I highly recommend taking the National Fire Academy’s Chemistry for Emergency Response course (R0233). Be safe. Andy Byrnes, EFO, MEd, retired after 21 years at the Orem Fire Department as a special operations battalion chief. He was also a sworn law enforcement officer for 18 years and paramedic for 16 years. He is currently an associate professor at Utah Valley University’s (UVU) Emergency Services Department in Provo, Utah. Andy is the director of the Firefighter Recruit Candidate Academy Program at UVU. Andy is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He holds an associate’s degree in fire science, a bachelor’s degree in public emergency services management, and a master’s degree in instructional technology from Utah State University.
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IF THE “MAYDAY” HAPPENS, BE READY TO E-R-U-P-T-T-T! Nothing on the fireground could be more stressful than hearing “Mayday!” crackle through a radio. At that point, even the most experienced incident commander (hopefully operating with a support officer as part of a “Command Team”1) will be stressed and stretched to his/her maximum critical thinking ability. Knowing that a firefighter is lost, down, trapped, or endangered tops the list of the most chaotic situations on the fireground. I would advocate using a formulated, step-by-step process to respond to the “mayday” distress call to ensure an appropriate response. Several years ago I worked with one of my mentors in the fire service, William Evans. Bill was hired on for the Chandler Fire Department just a few months before me. We were captains together for several years, and then I had the privilege of working under his leadership when he was promoted to battalion chief. One of Bill’s goals was to be known as one of the most efficient, effective, and safest incident commanders within the entire Phoenix auto aid network. He studied the craft of being an incident commander, developing a stellar reputation. He did this not for personal glory but to ensure the safety of all of his personnel. Bill was a “street smart” battalion chief who realized having a systematic approach to respond to a critical situation could be highly beneficial. As his battalion captain (a senior captain assigned to the BC as an assistant/driver), he and I brainstormed to develop an acronym that we could fall back on if we were ever confronted with a “mayday.” We developed the acronym E-R-U-P-T-T-T to ensure those critical tasks and assignments were not forgotten: E—“Emergency Traffic” requested. In most systems, a “warble” tone is emitted to alert everyone that an event has occurred that they need to be aware of. R—Rapid Intervention Team (crew) needs to be deployed. U—Upgrade the number of units on the fireground, such as requesting an additional full alarm assignment. Remember, now you have the “incident within the incident” occurring. P—Personnel Accountability Reports (PARs) need to be obtained by all units on the firegound. Start with those in the hazard zones first.
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T—Consider switching the fireground operations to an alternate tactical channel. I would recommend keeping the lost, down, trapped, or endangered firefighter on the original tactical assigned channel. T—Are there any special tools needed for rescue operations? Would the response of a heavy rescue of USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) unit be necessary to reach the trapped or endangered firefighter? T—Note the time the “mayday” was called to keep the incident commander aware of the length of time being spent on rescue and the potential need to alter operations. Time is often a blur in emergency situations. One never wants to consider being confronted with a “mayday” situation as the incident commander. If that time ever comes, be sure you are ready to E-R-U-P-T-T-T to effectively and efficiently respond. “Everyone Goes Home.” _____________________
1 “The Chief ’s Aide: A Lost Position Revamped,” UFRA Straight Tip, Summer 2016, Volume 17 Issue 3.
Kevin Ward is a 37-year fire service veteran, having been the fire chief for Layton City since 2004. Prior to this appointment, Chief Ward progressed through the ranks from firefighter/paramedic to battalion chief with the Chandler Fire Department in Arizona. He holds several NWCG qualifications, such as ICT3 and Structure Protection Specialist, and is an instructor for the Utah Fire & Rescue Academy. Chief Ward has been an instructor for UFRA’s Command Training Center since its inception.
In some vehicles a non-toxic cornstarch or powder is used to lubricate the air bag and aid in deployment. These powders may appear to be smoke when released during deployment. photography by Russell Young
system: it receives signals from the various sensors and decides if, when, and how each air bag should deploy. The ECU is typically located in the middle of the vehicle or beneath the front seat, where it is well protected. Most advanced frontal air bag systems automatically turn off the passenger air bag when the vehicle detects a small passenger or child, a child in a child restraint system, or no occupant in the front passenger seat. Advanced side air bag systems will disable the passenger side air bag system for the same reasons, including if the front passenger is positioned too close to the side air bag.
EXTRICATION TOOL BOX SRS/AIR BAGS, PART II The integration of supplemental restraint systems (SRS) and air bag devices in vehicles has dramatically increased vehicle occupant safety. SRS/air bags have been proven to save lives; however, they can be deadly to firefighters, EMTs, and first responders if not properly identified, located, and controlled. A key factor to safely performing emergency rescue operations around SRS/air bag–equipped vehicles is to have a working knowledge of the locations and potential for air bag deployment during extrication/rescue operations. Air Bag Activation The activation of an air bag in a crash depends on several factors, including the dynamics of the crash, vehicle SRS/air bag systems, manufacture design strategy, and crash sensor locations. Air bags are not intended to deploy in all crashes. Air bags are supplemental restraints and are designed to work in combination with safety belts. There are circumstances in which an air bag does not deploy such as when the crash conditions are minor and an air bag would not be needed to protect an occupant wearing a seat belt. The seat belt may provide sufficient protection from a head or chest injury in such a crash. The severity of the crash is gauged by crash sensors. Frontal crash sensors may be located in the front of the vehicle near the engine, in the passenger compartment, or sometimes in the electronic control unit (ECU). Side-impact crash sensors may be located in the ECU, the door, the door rails, or the B pillar. Rollover crash sensors may be located in the ECU or at the vehicle’s center of gravity. The ECU is the brain of the air bag 14 | UFRA Straight Tip
Pick-up trucks or vehicles without a rear seat may have a manual ON-OFF switch for the front passenger air bag. If the manual ON-OFF switch is positioned in the “off ” position, the front passenger air bag will not deploy. Frontal air bags are typically designed to activate in moderate to severe frontal or near-frontal crashes, which are defined as crashes that are equivalent to hitting a solid, fixed barrier at 8 to 14 mph or higher. Air bags can also activate when emergency personnel use striking tools, prying tools, hydraulic tools, etc. during victim extrication/rescue. Caution must be used when working around un-activated or partially activated air bag systems. Air Bag Deployment When involved in a moderate to severe crash, a signal is sent from the air bag system’s ECU to the inflator within the air bag module. An igniter in the inflator starts a chemical reaction that produces a non-toxic gas, which inflates the air bag in less than one half of a second. Side-impact air bags inflate even faster since there is less space between the occupant and the interior of the vehicle. Because air bags deploy so quickly, serious or sometimes fatal injuries can occur if the occupant or rescue personnel are too close or in direct contact with the air bag when it deploys.
The air bags deflate as the gas escapes through vents in the fabric of the air bag. In some vehicles a non-toxic cornstarch or powder is used to lubricate the air bag and aid in deployment. These powders may appear to be smoke when released during deployment. The powder may contain small amounts of sodium hydroxide, which can cause temporary minor irritation to a personâ€™s eyes or throat; however, it is not toxic and does not cause lasting effects. Currently, most air bag fabrics are coated with a silicone-based lubricant so the powders are not necessary. Dual-stage, multi-stage, or variable output are terms used to describe the operation of the air bag inflators in an air bag system. Dual-stage or multi-stage inflators may activate in two or more stages to regulate the pressure in the frontal air bag. A variable output inflator can regulate the output across a range of inflation pressures. In general, in less severe crashes requiring less inflation pressure, only one stage of a dual-stage or multi-stage inflator may go off; there may also be less pressure from a variable output inflator. For more severe crashes, all stages of a dual-stage or multi-stage inflator may activate at the same time or there may be full pressure from a variable output inflator. Proper training on and knowledge of the various air bag system designs and inflator locations will increase your safety, the safety of other emergency personnel as well as the safety of the persons involved in the incident. Stay safeâ€Ś Chief Young
Most advanced frontal air bag systems automatically turn off the passenger air bag when the vehicle detects a small passenger or child, a child in a child restraint system, or no occupant in the front passenger seat.
Russell Young is a battalion chief and assistant training officer for the Orem Fire Department, where he is responsible for extrication and ambulance driving operations. He is the chief of the Duchesne Fire Department and has been a paramedic for over 22 years. Young has a BS in emergency services management, is currently completing his MBA, has over 25 years of experience in fire and emergency medical service, and is an instructor and certification tester for UFRA.
The air bags deflate as the gas escapes through vents in the fabric of the air bag.
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Utah Association of Counties, the Utah League of Cities and Towns, the Utah State Fire Chiefs Association, fire departments, various policy workgroups, and many others.
Mike Ulibarri at the White House WUI roundtable.
In the 2016 legislative session, Senate Bill 122—Wildland Fire Policy Updates was passed unanimously by the Utah Legislature! This bill gave way to a new, progressive, and comprehensive wildland fire policy for Utah. The creation of SB 122 was a collaborative effort led by the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands (FFSL) and involving statewide partners from the 16 | UFRA Straight Tip
The wildland fire problem has gained national attention. The attention is focused on several questions, such as: • Why have the costs of wildfire suppression increased from 18% of the US Forest Service’s budget to over 50% and growing (Lueck and Yoder, Clearing the Smoke from Wildfire Policy: An Economic Perspective)? • What efforts are being taken to control this problem? • What are local communities that are building further into wildlands and thereby creating more wildland-urban interface (WUI) doing to help? • Is local government using current WUI building codes? • Are communities and fire departments following the National Cohesive Strategy and working with partners to build programs such as
photograph by Jason Curry
UTAH’S NEW WILDLAND FIRE POLICY AND FIRE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Ready, Set, Go! and develop Community Wildfire Preparedness Plans (CWPP) to identify and implement wildfire prevention, preparedness, and mitigation actions? • Who will pay for the increased costs of firefighting and, more important, who should be paying? • How do we create ownership of the wildland fire risk in every community and how do we reduce that risk? All of these questions and more were discussed at a roundtable discussion of wildland-urban interface fires I had the privilege of attending earlier this year at the White House as a representative of FFSL and the Department of Natural Resources. The discussion group represented fire officials from every type of fire service in our nation as well as professionals in climatology, insurance, and forestry, the Secretary of the Interior, and staff from both the president’s and vice president’s offices. I was proud to share how Utah has proactively addressed nearly all of the discussion questions with the passing of the new fire policy legislation. The eyes of the country are on us to
see how Utah’s wildland fire policy and new fire management system are implemented and how the long-term effects of wildfire in Utah might change. Utah—all of us responsible for wildland fire management—is truly leading the way. The New System The new fire management system shifts the focus from reactive fire suppression and outdated standards of assessment to proactive risk reduction and scientifically sound measures of risk and threat. Under the old laws and state system, participation in the State Suppression Fund was based on property values, an admittedly poor way to gauge wildfire risk and responsibility. To support the new system, FFSL has built the Utah Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal (UWRAP) (discussed in the Fall 2016 article by FFSL’s Nate Barrons) to more completely assess risk and an “eligible entity’s” expectations for participating in the new fire management system. In a nutshell, the new system is based on the simple premise of risk reduction wherein the state will pay the costs of large and extended attack wildland fire (“catastrophic fires”) in exchange for local government implementing prevention, preparedness, and mitigation actions that are proven to reduce the risk and costs of wildland fire in the long run. How It Works Every county, city, and eligible special service fire districts can opt in to the new fire management system, which takes effect January 2017. Participating entities (those that opt in) are annually evaluated through UWRAP to identify their wildfire risk per acre, using a dollar value for medium- and high-risk acres. This value is then combined with the ten-year historic fire cost average within the jurisdictional boundary of the participating entity as tracked by FFSL. The resulting risk assessment and historic fire cost average are combined to provide an annual “participation commitment” for the participating entity. The participation commitment is now the value of wildland fire risk reduction work that each participating entity will be responsible for implementing in their
communities. The commitment value cannot be paid to FFSL or the state; instead, it will be met by prevention, preparedness, and mitigation work—cash or inkind—accomplished at the local level. An eligible entity that decides to opt in to the new system will sign a five-year cooperative agreement with FFSL as well as create an Annual Financial Statement detailing its participation commitNate Barrons (left) and Jason Curry (right) ment. The participatat the Utah League of Cities and Towns Conference. ing entity can then work with local FFSL photograph by Whitney Norton area staff and its WUI coordinator to begin the CWPP process. Every participating Responsibility to the state. When this delentity, with the help of local FFSL staff, egation occurs by the participating entity, must create a CWPP within two years of the incident will be managed in a unified opting in to the system and keep that plan command environment and the extended updated into the future. The CWPP will attack cost of the fire will be paid through help a participating entity prioritize the the State Suppression Fund. risk reduction projects for its jurisdiction and communities. Local governments will With local communities taking responnow be actively helping FFSL to reduce sibility for reducing their wildland fire the risk of wildfire—a win for every comrisk and the state assuming the liability munity at risk of catastrophic wildfire! of catastrophic wildland fire costs, Utah’s new fire management system is the The local fire department can also be “comprehensive statewide wildland fire part of this process, with input into the prevention, preparedness and suppression CWPP and increasing wildfire preparedsystem” the legislature was searching for ness through red card training and in 2015. Over time, this new, progressive certification, annual firefighting refreshapproach will reduce the risk and costs of ers, and purchase of equipment that wildland fire in Utah. will enhance their wildland firefighting initial attack (IA) capabilities. The new In the next issue, I’ll share in greater defire policy requires that the participating tail what the new fire management system entity and its associated fire department and participation commitment could look make the best possible IA to control like in a local jurisdiction. and contain wildland fires in this early phase. Fires controlled in IA do not count against a participating entity’s Mike Ulibarri has 29 years in historic fire cost average or towards its the fire service. He is the acting annual participation commitment. deputy director for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Once these criteria are met, if a wildfire Lands, on loan from Unified Fire escapes IA, the participating entity can Authority, where he serves as a authorize the Delegation of Fire Managebattalion chief. ment Authority and Transfer of Fiscal Winter 2017 | 17
Don’t Let Yourself Be Caught In the Retaliation Trap A female firefighter complains about being sexually harassed by a male coworker. The fire department initiates an investigation. When the firefighter claims she cannot continue to work with the harasser, the department temporarily transfers him to another station. The firefighters’ union objects to the transfer, claiming it is punitive, indicating the department has concluded that the female’s allegations are valid without even investigating. Based on the union’s objection, the department decides to transfer the female firefighter as well. Both the union and the department have just fallen victim to the retaliation trap. The retaliation trap is in some respects an attorney’s dream, assuming the attorney represents the female firefighter in the above scenario. That attorney has just been handed a slam-dunk victory in a case that otherwise might be difficult to prove. It is no wonder that employment attorneys love retaliation cases: they are just so easy to prove! The retaliation trap in detail To understand the retaliation trap, we need to look a bit deeper at the example above. It is also important to understand that the retaliation trap can occur in contexts besides sexual harassment, including race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity discrimination, to name a few. In our example, the female firefighter has alleged that a male firefighter sexually harassed her. An allegation is merely an accusation and is by no means proof that harassment actually occurred. Maybe he did cross the line, maybe he did not. Perhaps his conduct, while offensive, was not enough to constitute sexual harassment. In the end, if the accuser decides to file a lawsuit, she will have the burden to prove that she was sexually harassed and that the conduct created an objectively hostile work environment. That 18 | UFRA Straight Tip
can be a difficult burden to meet. Sexual harassment cases can come down to a “he-said, she-said,” making it a challenge for the victim to disprove that it was anything more than a simple misunderstanding. Another obstacle that the accuser in a sexually hostile work environment case has to overcome is that the fire department is not automatically liable simply because the female firefighter was harassed. The fire department often has viable defenses that can be raised. The union is not even remotely involved as a possible defendant in the typical hostile work environment case. What happens when we try to be “fair”? So what changed when the female firefighter was transferred to another station? In a word, everything! When the department transfers the accuser, the case is no longer about whether she was actually sexually harassed. Believe it or not, that issue becomes almost irrelevant. The case just became simplified, with the new streamlined issue being: did she make a complaint about sexual harassment and was she then transferred? Forget about the accuser having to prove she was sexually harassed. Forget about having to prove it was more than a simple misunderstanding or disprove the “he-said, she-said.” Forget about having to overcome any defenses the department may have had. The sole issue is this: Did she make a complaint and was she then transferred? The inescapable answer is that she was and the case is so clear cut – so easy – that even a caveman attorney (or first-year law student) could win it! The fire department is now clearly on the hook for retaliation without the defenses it previously had to the sexually hostile work environment claim. In addition, the union is now a likely co-defendant due to its position of advocating for the retaliation against one of its own members. Could they possibly have made the case any easier? I don’t think so.
manner possible, mindful that any change in the accuser’s status will likely be considered retaliation. Good intentions do not matter! Get the investigation started immediately and completed as soon as possible. That does not mean taking shortcuts or making a rush to judgment. Getting it right is much more important than rushing the investigation. However, letting a sexual harassment investigation drag on can be as counterproductive as failing to investigate. A timely investigation followed by a timely decision is what is needed. While the investigation is ongoing, officers must remain on guard for retaliation against the accuser by friends and supporters of the accused. In addition, the accuser may be primed to find retaliation even in the most innocent of actions. This reality creates an extremely difficult dynamic to manage. For this reason, it is often advisable to bring in human resource specialists to help everyone involved navigate through the inevitable minefield.
So what do we do? So what should a fire department (and a union) do to avoid the retaliation trap? First, the most important thing we all can do is avoid the underlying sexual harassment from occurring in the first place. Sexual harassment is a major problem in many if not most fire departments. Addressing the sexual harassment problem takes proactive leadership coupled with diligence every single day to ensure the workplace remains free from objectionable behavior. That means training all personnel on sexual harassment and holding officers accountable. Officers must be able to recognize sexual harassing behavior when it occurs, and then have the fortitude to do what they are supposed to do: be a leader. An officer is not just a senior-grade firefighter! An officer cannot sit back and observe inappropriate harassing behavior hoping for plausible deniability. Second, everyone on both sides – labor and management – needs to understand the consequences of the retaliation trap, and be able to recognize it developing. Both sides will be defendants and will likely pay equally if the trap is sprung. That means both labor and management have a stake in the matter and need to take affirmative steps to avoid it. What are those steps? When an allegation of sexual harassment (or any discrimination for that matter) is made, if there is a reasonable way to avoid moving the accused employee(s) until an investigation is complete, do it. If not, separate the parties in the least punitive
Conclusion The retaliation trap is a recurring nightmare for fire departments. It often develops out of an understandable desire to be fair in dealing with a complicated interpersonal situation between co-workers. The trap functions so perfectly that an accuser can actually lose an underlying claim (i.e.; in a sexual harassment case, the court can conclude there was no sexual harassment), but win the case on a retaliation claim because the accuser was moved after filing a complaint. Fire service leaders – whether on management’s side or labor’s side – need to understand the consequences of falling into the retaliation trap and take affirmative steps to avoid it. This article was originally published in Firehouse on August 1, 2014, and was republished with permission from Chief Varone and Firehouse. It can be found online at http://www.firehouse.com/article/11587024/firelaw-the-retaliation-trap.
Curt Varone has more than 40 years of experience in the fire service, including 29 years as a career firefighter with Providence, RI, retiring as a deputy assistant chief (shift commander). He is a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine, and served as the director of the Public Fire Protection Division at the NFPA. Varone is the author of two books, Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services and Fire Officer’s Legal Handbook, and remains active as a deputy chief in Exeter, RI.
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LEADERSHIP Every organization has a formal head of the organization. They may be called a leader but they do not necessarily lead.
Thoughts on Leadership Leader vs. Position of Authority Any discussion of leadership requires a clear distinction between a leader and a person in a position of authority. Unfortunately, the English language does a poor job at separating the two. A person in a position of authority may or may not be a leader and a leader may or may not be in a position of authority. A person in a position of authority has a claim to leadership bestowed either by their constituency or by a higher authority such as elected or appointed officials. A fire chief has a claim to leadership because he or she is appointed to that position by the
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elected official, the appointed city manager, or in some cases by a vote of the firefighters in the department. But does formal authority make a leader? Leader vs. Manager The National Fire Academyâ€™s Executive Development Program defines the difference between leadership and management. They suggest that management is performing within formal authority. Leadership is what happens when leaders work outside of their formal authority. Good fire chiefs can manage their
Good leaders care about continuous improvement in themselves and in the organization. departments. They make sure the equipment is being serviced and running well. They make sure supplies are on hand. They make sure stations are clean and shifts are staffed. They successfully handle hiring and discipline tasks. Most good fire chiefs will do this by delegating tasks to their staff officers, captains, or firefighters. They are acting in their position of authority and they are doing it well. But is that leadership or just good management within their position of authority? Formal Leader vs. Informal Leader Every organization has a formal head of the organization. They may be called a leader but they do not necessarily lead. They may manage. Most organizations have informal leaders as well. These are the people who do not have formal authority, but for some reason—because of expertise, experience, or other factors—people listen to what they have to say. Informal leaders can be a great asset or liability to the organization. When informal leaders support the formal head, synergy can move things forward. On the other hand, when the informal leaders fail to support the formal head, division and internal strife can become the norm. The environment can quickly turn toxic. When it comes time to hire and promote, informal leaders who support the organization stand out as lead candidates. Their leadership skills are evident, and they have the mission of the organization in mind as they do their job. These are the people who have crossed the entitlement barrier and realize they can have a positive impact on the organization because it is the right thing to do, not because they feel they “deserve it.” Strengthening Leadership Skills Effective leaders constantly work to improve their leadership skills. There are several ways to do this. I will discuss three: working with a confidant, introspection and review, and reading. The National Fire Academy recommends that leaders find a peer confidant that they can work with. This should be someone who has the skills and experience to help the leader. Rather than a mentor, the confidant is someone completely outside the organization that can be a sounding board for new ideas or who can critique weaknesses or failures. An open, honest conversation with someone emotionally unattached to the issue can give a pertinent critical review. The confidant could be a peer from another fire department, a different department in the government organization, or outside of government service entirely. The key is to have an honest and respectful relationship and be willing to accept criticism.
The second way to improve leadership skills is to learn to know yourself through introspection. It is difficult to take a critical look at your actions and attitudes. A good leader will be able to evaluate problems and make course corrections. This is not to say a leader should react to every naysayer and disgruntled employee while trying to make changes for the better, but the good leader will constantly monitor the program’s progress and make sure it is beneficial for the organization. A good leader will make sure the good of the organization comes first. The third way to improve leadership skills is to read and study. Good leaders care about continuous improvement in themselves and in the organization. There are thousands of management books out there, some good and some not so good. Two books used in wildland leadership classes are Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing and Nathaniel Philbrick and One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer by Nathaniel Fick. Both offer great lessons on leadership, including putting others first. Leadership has been described as a skill, an art form, something you are born with, and something that can be developed. It is all the above. All leaders, whether formal or informal, chief or firefighter, new or old, can improve their leadership skills. All it takes is the willingness to do so. Stay safe!
Rod Hammer, PhD, has been a firefighter for 18 years. He was a firefighter, captain, training officer, and assistant chief with the Lewiston Volunteer Fire Department before being hired as the Cache County fire chief. As fire chief, he helps coordinate the efforts of 11 volunteer fire departments and one career department to provide fire protection to Cache County. Dr. Hammer earned his PhD in psychology from Utah State University in 2010. He has published numerous articles in national magazines and has presented at local, state, and international conferences.
Winter 2017 | 21
DEPARTMENT IN FOCUS
SPRINGVILLE FIRE DEPAR Springville Fire Department (SFD), established in 1910, is an all-hazards, full-service fire department offering fire protection and paramedic level transport service to the community. Springville Fire is a combination department and currently staff five “duty” firefighters 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with “volunteer” coverage at night. Springville Fire was originally a separate entity from the ambulance organization, with many members serving with both the fire department and the ambulance company. The two agencies were officially combined in 2011. Today, there are 66 dedicated firefighters and paramedics who strive to serve the city of Springville with a response ready team at all times.
Fire Station 41 with apparatus
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Springville Fire has two fire stations: the main station (Station 41) is located at Main and Center, and the second (Station 42) is at 400 South and Canyon Ave.
served as Springville’s fire chief for 28 years. Ironically, that is the same amount of time Chief Clinton spent with the Las Vegas Fire Department.
The fire department serves the city of Springville, which is approximately 12 square miles including two rail lines and Interstate 15. Additionally, SFD protects the residents that live in Hobble Creek Canyon. Springville’s wildland interface includes Hobble Creek Canyon and the extreme northeast bench area. The department averages approximately 1,600 calls a year.
Department staffing consists of 4 full-time employees, 22 part-time employees, and 40 volunteer firefighter/EMTs.
Springville’s current fire chief is Chief Henry Clinton, who was hired nearly seven years ago after retiring as a battalion chief for the Las Vegas Fire Department. His predecessor, Chief Phil Whitney,
Department ranks consist of the fire chief, 2 assistant chiefs, 4 captains, 6 engineers, 22 firefighter/EMTs. All but two members of the department are FFII certified. Springville Fire Department’s biggest challenge is recruitment and retention of its volunteer staff. Many of the department employees come from word of mouth and recruitment efforts both in town and at the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy’s RCA program.
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Springville Fire Department
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Station 41 crew
SFD apparatus include • 3 engine co.’s • 1 truck co • 1 tender • 3 brush trucks • 3 ambulances • 1 rescue vehicle • 1 command vehicle • 2 utility trucks • 1 water rescue boat Funding for equipment and apparatus comes largely from the city budget with help from grants and some fundraising efforts. One of those efforts is the Famous Pancake Breakfast during our “Art City Days” celebration in June. This breakfast spans three days and is run by department members and their families.
school and have hosted several certification classes taught by UFRA instructors, including Fire Officer, Fire I & II, Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations, ADO, and CTC courses. The Springville Fire Department aims to provide emergency response services—including fire, medical, rescue, and life safety emergency services—and life safety education programs to the citizens of Springville.
Springville also hosts the Hobble Creek Firefighter Invitational, a competitive golf tournament consisting of firefighter teams that represent departments from all over the state. The event is held each August. Watch the Straight Tip or contact Springville FD for registration details. SFD has enjoyed attending the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy’s winter fire
1937 American LaFrance
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It Happened to Meâ€” Could It Happen to You? When I started in the business back in 1977, if you wore an SCBA you were considered a wimp. This was the case for several years. So, we ate a lot of smoke. We never washed our turnout gear, and typically only wore the coat, except at night. We would wash it off at the scene with a booster line to get all of the plaster, bond insulation, and fire debris off the gear. No laundering to remove carcinogens as done today. I have seen a great deal of change in safety practices over my nearly four decades in the business. The norm of wearing SCBA, improved SCBA design and function, improved turnout gear, boots, hoods, and the emphasis on cleaning (decon) of the gear are great steps forward for protecting our firefighters. With the increase in plastics and the release of volatile synthetic compounds, the need to use every piece of protective equipment, along with decontamination of the equipment, is critical to the long-term health of firefighters. The fire environment has definitely changed, and not for the better. I have lost many dear friends and coworkers to cancer during my career. Examination In August of 2002, I received my annual medical evaluation (NFPA compliant physical). Part of the evaluation included a dig-
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ital prostate exam. When my exam was completed, the practitioner told me she felt a small lump on the left lobe of my prostate. She drew a diagram on a piece of paper to show me exactly where she felt the lump. She recommended that I make an appointment with a urologist as soon as possible. As part of the blood work, a PSA screen was run. My blood test indicated a PSA of 3.2, which was within the normal limits (the normal limits for PSA screening are between 0 and 4.0). My appointment with the urologist was in September of 2002. Having explained why I had made the appointment, the urologist performed a digital prostate exam and said that he could not feel anything abnormal. At that point I drew the same diagram of my prostate, indicating where the lump had been felt. He performed a second digital exam, concentrating on the left lobe of my prostate, but felt nothing. Because my PSA was within the normal range (from my August evaluation), the plan was to schedule a follow-up appointment in six months. It is important to note that I was not experiencing any of the common symptoms associated with prostate disease (difficulty obtaining and sustaining an erection or difficulty, frequency, or pain urinating). In March of 2003, I once again received a very thorough digital exam of my prostate. Again, the urologist did not feel anything
With the increase in plastics and the release of volatile synthetic compounds, the use of every piece of protective equipment and decontamination of that equipment is critical to the long-term health of firefighters.
The emotions and thoughts I was having are impossible to describe. My life was changing—no, threatened. I had cancer. My mind kept racing back to the fact that the triggering event was the practitioner feeling the lump during my medical evaluation eight months earlier. The urologist never felt a lump. How long had I had the cancer? Why didn’t I have any of the common symptoms or indicators of prostate disease? How was I going to break the news to my wife and family? What was going to happen to me now? Ignorance truly is bliss. Friday, April 18, my wife and I were waiting for the doctor to come and talk with us. The past two days had been emotional and stressful. The unknowns are the worst. The nurse gave us a packet of information to begin looking at while we waited for the doctor. As we were reading and looking at the pictures, I began to feel absolutely ill. Never in my life had I felt such a lack of control over events that were having a significant impact on me; I felt trapped and boxed in. Finally the doctor arrived and we began to discuss the results of the biopsy and my options.
abnormal. Again I was questioned as to any symptoms I was experiencing. Again the answer was none. As far as I was concerned, everything was fully functional and I was a healthy and happy forty-seven year old. As part of this office visit, I was sent to the lab, where blood was drawn to run another PSA. The next week I received a call from the nurse in the urologist’s office, informing me that the results of my blood work had come back indicating that my PSA was now 4.0. The nurse told me that my reading was at the top of the normal range and the doctor wanted to schedule me for a prostate biopsy. To put it mildly, I was shocked and a bit frightened. Although I had no idea what was involved with a prostate biopsy, it did not sound fun. I would soon find out my concerns were not unfounded. Biopsy My prostate biopsy was performed on Friday, April 11, 2003. The following Wednesday the doctor called with the biopsy results. This is one phone call I will never forget. The doctor informed me I had prostate cancer. “Are you sure that my results didn’t get mixed up with someone else?” “Yes, three of the cores tested positive, the lab results indicate that the cancer is fairly advanced. I need to meet with you and your wife as soon as possible. We could schedule an appointment for Friday afternoon. It will take about an hour.”
Cancer The news regarding the biopsy was not good. The cancer was advanced; how far advanced would ultimately be determined through surgery. The route of spread is typically through the lymph nodes. The cancer can also spread out of the prostate capsule to surrounding tissues. At my age, the studies indicate that the cancers are more aggressive. We discussed hormone and radiation therapies; however, at my age and with the seriousness of the cancer, the doctor was recommending a radical prostatectomy. The more he discussed the procedure, the risks and complications, and the predicted outcomes, the more concern I felt. If I elected not to have surgery, the treatment modalities had limited success and could possibly extend my life another ten years. If the prostate was removed, if the cancer was isolated to the prostate and had not spread into the lymph nodes or extended out of the prostate capsule, then the prognosis was much better. But we would not know until they opened me up. A radical prostatectomy most often leaves you impotent. Another complication is incontinence of urine. The studies indicate that a large percentage of men are still “wet” one year after the surgery, and some never regain total control. The thoughts of wearing pads the remainder of my life was not appealing. My surgery was scheduled for the end of May. Six weeks to wait, wonder, worry, contemplate, and anticipate what was coming. The waiting was the worst part. For the radical prostatectomy, I was cut open from my belly button to my pubic bone. The prostate, lymph nodes, epidemitis, and surrounding marginal tissues were removed. The prostate lies deep within the perinial cavity against the anterior wall of the colon and is positioned between the bladder and the urethra. Major blood vessels lie adjacent to the prostate. Bleeding is a Continued on next page.
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The more the doctor discussed the procedure, the risks and complications, and the predicted outcomes, the more concern I felt. Continued from the previous page.
common complication. Damage to the colon is also a possible complication; as such, the day before the surgery I was required to go through a bowel sterilization process, in case the colon was cut or damaged during the surgery. There is always the possibility of having a colostomy due to colon damage. Post-surgical lab results indicated that the cancer had spread outside of the prostate capsule but not beyond the marginal tissue. My first office visit after the surgery was a glorious event; the catheter was removed. Now it was time to begin the exercises that would allow me to regain control of my urine. I was less than thrilled about wearing pads any longer than necessary. It took me five weeks until I had enough control that I no longer wore a pad. I returned to work on a part-time basis three weeks after the surgery. The part-time status only lasted for a week. Within a month I was planning and conducting supervised drills on acquired structures with the fire companies. Survival So what did the future hold? Routine blood tests every six months to track my PSA levels and the prospect of radiation therapy if any trace of PSA shows up in my blood. The doctors tell me that if my blood work remains negative for six to eight years that I am probably out of the woods and the incidence of recurrence are very low. So why do I tell my story? Several reasons compel me. First of all, many of you reading this article have already faced or will face some challenges with prostate disease and cancer. If the cancer is detected in the early stages, it is survivable. The events that I have described were survivable. Life really does go on after prostate cancer surgery.
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If I had not been screened and the lump on my prostate detected when it was, my outcome would be vastly different. If you are male over the age of forty, you must receive an annual digital prostate exam and blood screening for PSA. Don’t wait until you are forty-five or fifty. If my first screening was done at fifty years of age, my cancer would have been much worse, possibly even fatal. If your fire department does not currently provide annual medical evaluations, don’t wait; make an appointment with a doctor now. Keep yourself in good physical shape. Exercise on a daily basis and watch the types of food you eat. My recovery has been rapid and uneventful. Much of this I credit to exercise and diet. Having a positive attitude is also essential. Having spent twenty-six years in the fire service prior to my surgery, I couldn’t help but wonder if my cancer was a result of, or aggravated by, the exposures and stresses of being a firefighter. I will probably never know for sure. What we do know: firefighters have a greater incidence of certain cancers than the general population. Remember, you may not be able to prevent the cancer, but you can take steps to detect it and treat it in the early stages.
Stephen H. Higgs serves as an assistant chief with the UFA. Higgs holds degrees in building construction and fire science, has completed Executive Fire Officer Course work at the NFA and is a graduate of the Senior Executives in State and Local Government, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is a FEMA certified emergency manager as well as an adjunct instructor for UFRA.
Congratulations, Fire Officer Designation Recipients! The Utah Commission on the Fire Officer Designation Program is proud to recognize the following individuals who earned the Supervising Fire Officer Designation:
Kevin J. Barlow, Hildale Fire Department
Julie Black, Sandy City Fire Department
Travis Fails, Cedar City Fire Department
Lee Primm, Weber Fire District
Robert Stephens, Logan Fire Department
These individuals have set themselves apart by demonstrating achievements in the Utah Fire Officer Designation Program’s (UFODP) four categories: training, certification, education, and experience. The UFODP uses these categories to quantify and recognize company officers’ accomplishments. The program provides a coherent and attainable guide to career advancement.
John Taylor, North Davis Fire District
Jeff Wise, Provo Fire Department
The idea behind the UFODP is that a person’s ability to perform well as an officer depends on more than a test; capability is built by years of varied learning and growing experiences. New firefighters can use the UFODP to map out a path for career advancement, and fire departments can use the UFODP to help define promotional qualifications. More information about the program can be found at http://www.uvu.edu/ufra/resource_center/fodp.html.
The next deadline for applications is March 31, 2017. IAAI Utah Chapter presents:
2017 Utah Chapter Training Conference February 27 - March 1, 2017 Rainbow Hotel and Casino Wendover, NV
FATAL FIRE INVESTIGATION Go to utahiaai.com for more information Utah Chapter - International Association of Arson Investigators P.O. Box 65927 South Salt Lake City, Utah 84165
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Winter 2017 | 29
THE MISSING COMMON DENOMINATOR History has shown that we have lost many agency firefighters who had an emotional attachment to the structures they were trying to save. I appreciate an article recently published in Wildfire Magazine: “Common Denominators on Tragedy Fires—Updated for a New (Human) Fire Environment,” written by Matt Holmstrom. Three facts in the article captured my attention: 1. 19% of fatalities or entrapments involve fire personnel in the first five years of their career (this includes all firefighters not just wildland firefighters). 2. 54% of fatalities or entrapments involve a single resource boss. 3. Most fatalities or entrapments occur between 14:48 and 16:42 (though many fatalities or entrapments do occur outside of this time frame). This leads me to believe that if you are five years into your career, you are single resource boss qualified, and you are on the fireline between 14:48 and 16:42, there is a higher chance that you will be involved in a fatality or entrapment. I believe there is one more common denominator that would raise these chances even higher: emotional attachment. The fire service isn’t any different today than in 1910, when Edward Crockett “Ed” Pulaski gathered his local firefighters and headed in to protect the town of Wallace, Idaho, and ended
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up being cut off from the flaming front—trying to do the moral and ethical thing, protecting life and property. Within our culture or tribe we have missed a very important aspect in the common denominators of wildfire tragedies: we have lost more lives in so-called structure protection or protecting the home lands than anything else. More specifically, this happens when firefighters protect structures or home lands that they have an emotional attachment to. Emotional Attachments Evidence shows that when you are emotionally attached or have ownership in something, you don’t always follow the book. You react and make decisions differently than you might when you are out of your communities, state, or geographical area. Preston Cline, director of Wharton Leadership Ventures, was asked about emotional attachments and if people do things differently when emotionally attached. He acknowledged that there is little to no neurological work in this area. However, he suggested a couple of things: • One is the idea of intellectual stabilization. As an EMT, you need to be able to block out someone’s screaming so you can stop the bleeding. You can intellectually rationalize that the pain is required. However, when you have to work on friends or children, it doesn't matter. You lose the objectivity because you don't want to hurt or lose your friend or a child. • Second is the idea of the “other space.” I can go out into the world and risk my life because I know if it gets bad I can retreat to home. If “home,” even metaphorically, is threatened, I have to fix that before I can do anything else. This notion is probably best expressed by Maslow’s hierarchy of need: I can only be altruistic once water, food, and shelter are secured. Start messing with those, and I need to rethink everything.
2007, Neola North—(3) retired district FMO, his son, and a local rancher 2013, Yarnell—(19) local handcrew near their own duty station 2016, Twisp River—(3) local engine members And the near misses—Clay Springs in 2012, where three firefighters were burned doing initial attack next to their fire station and community. There are many more. • Lastly, if you are a community member, you are part of a tribe. You need to show the tribe you have done everything you could so as to not lose standing. I recently witnessed this attachment firsthand when I completed an exercise with a local EMS. The scenario was based on a wildfire starting on Forest Service land and making a run onto the BLM and then onto state and private land. During the simulation when the fire made its run onto state and private ownership, the local EMS and volunteer firefighters were having the discussion about closing roads and evacuating residences. My question to them was, “Are you closing roads to everyone and evacuating everyone?” The EMS director replied, “No, not for us because we need to get in there and protect structures.” Acknowledging the Common Denominator History has shown that we have lost many agency firefighters who had an emotional attachment to the structures they were trying to save. Those firefighters are part of a “tribe,” and their hierarchy of needs is real. Acknowledging this additional common denominator can help save lives. Here are at least thirteen incidents where this has occurred: 1959, Decker Fire—(6) El Cariso Hotshots died in close proximity to their station 1977, Cart Creek—(3) local Forest Service employees on their own district 1980, Mack Lake—(1) local firefighter 1990, Dude—(6) local Perryville handcrew members 1990, Wasatch State Park—(2) local dozer operators 2000, North Stansbury—(2) local handcrew members 2001, 30 Mile—(4) local handcrew members 2003, Cramer—(2) local Forest Service employees on their own district 2006, Esperanza—(5) local engine 57 members 2006, Devils Den—(1) local fire operations specialist in his backyard
Am I Emotionally Attached? Just something to consider. If you have five or more years of service, are single resource boss qualified, are on the fireline in the afternoon, and are fighting a fire on your own district, in your own community, near your station, with an emotional attachment to the people or to the landscape and what’s on it, the chances of a fatality could be very high. As the “Life First” safety journey continues to play out for the Forest Service, I will make this suggestion and challenge: As you have discussions with your cooperators and you talk among your peers and subordinates, remind them that in addition to the “fire order” or “watchout situation,” there is one more common denominator: working in situations where you have emotional attachments. You think differently, you make irrational, risky decisions, and your emotions take over—sometimes with very high consequences. So STOP and THINK: AM I EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED? Then TALK and ACT!
Rowdy Muir started his career in 1985 with the Forest Service. He started in the timber program and worked his way through range, fisheries, recreation, and fire programs. He has been a fire management officer for both the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service. He recently ended a six-year stint as a national type I incident commander. Muir has been the incident commander on many large fires and all-risk assignments all over the US, including the largest fire in Utah history (Milford Flat).
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HOARDER FIRES: DEALING WITH THE OCCUPANTS by Ryan Pennington
After studying about Compulsive Hoarding Disorder and the effects that it has on today’s first responders, I have seen a common recurring problem. Dealing with the occupants of these homes can prove challenging when the emergency is inside their hoarded environment. Interaction with the people who collect and accumulate these massive amounts of belongings can place the first responder in an unusual type of danger: physical danger from an owner who may be angry when someone touches his or her treasured belongings. Let’s look at a few common tactics to diffuse the tension and protect ourselves from the dangers faced when interacting with the people who hoard. 32 | UFRA Straight Tip
Do Not Be Judgmental One of the hardest things to do is leave our values and opinions behind when we discover a hoarding environment. I have seen many first responders who, upon finding these conditions, immediately become aggressive in telling the occupants that “this is the filthiest house ever” and “this place stinks” as they pull their shirts over their noses. While this can be very hard to resist, this aggressive behavior will put the occupant in a heightened state of sensitivity and can even evoke anger or violence against the first responder.
By being non-judgmental and being aware that hoarding is becoming a diagnosable physiological disorder, we can begin to understand their deep attachment to their belongings. Hoarding is not a choice, and the inability to “let go” of belongings that seem to have no apparent value to you and I can cause them be defensive. Compulsive hoarders have a hard time distinguishing between an object of great value, such as a child’s baby pictures, and an item that has little apparent value, such as a stack of coupons. This attachment may seem unimaginable, but by understanding how they process this information, we can learn to be sensitive when interacting with them. Explain What Is Happening While interacting during an emergency with a person who hoards, we sometimes have little choice but to be direct, especially when dealing with a life or death emergency. An example would be in the case of a medical emergency, where we need access to the patient fast. In the process of accessing the patient, we may disrupt their world. Those who suffer from the hoarding disorder may get angry at anyone who touches or “disrupts” their stacks of belongings. If they watch you moving, touching, or tossing their treasures aside, they can become angry with you and may even become violent. One way of lessening this potential reaction is to sensitively explain your actions to the person before or during the actions. A direct but sensitive statement to use in these circumstances could be, “Ma'am or Sir, I understand that moving some of these belongings may upset you, but we need to get you to the hospital as soon as possible.” While this is not an end-all-cure-all, it may help ease the tension felt by your patients in the case of removing them to an awaiting EMS unit. Move Them Away In the event of a fire, you may be required to relocate the occupant. In this type of response, you may not have time to interact with the occupant. Before relocating the occupant, you will need to conduct an interview to determine if all occupants have exited the building and to ask which entrance they normally use to access the building. When hoarding takes over an occupancy, means of entry and exit oftentimes get blocked, causing the occupant to use a different means of access, such as a window or ladder.
photo by John Hauze
Once the interview is over and the firefight has continued, you may experience the occupant going through an emo-
One way of lessening this potential reaction is to sensitively explain your actions to the person before or during the actions. tional emergency. Remember that as our firefighters are removing, throwing, and breaking through the piles of belongings, the occupant sees you as hurting their treasured items. Anger, yelling, or even physical violence can result due to their deep emotional attachment. This is where we may need to involve neighbors, bystanders, or even the police department to help remove the occupant to ensure the safety of the occupant and that of the first responders. Conclusion Understanding the complexity of Compulsive Hoarding Disorder will allow you insight into dealing with the men and woman who suffer from this disorder. Hoarding has been proven to lead to a multitude of problems, from health concerns to working house fires. One problem that we should prepare for is interacting with the people who live inside these cluttered environments and develop some strategies to deal with the potential for danger to them and us. We are sworn to protect life and property; our safety is always first on the list. Safely developing a means of interaction with people who have this disorder will allow us to help everyone in and around the hoarded environment.
Ryan Pennington is a firefighter-paramedic currently serving with the Charleston (W.Va.) Fire Department. He has more than 20 years of experience in the fire and EMS service, having served in a number of different departments. He is currently assigned to Engine 8-Medic 8 on Charleston’s West Side. Pennington is an adjunct instructor for the West Virginia RESA 3 with certification to the Instructor II level, a member of the West Virginia Task Force 1 USAR Team, and a hazmat technician with the West Virginia Regional Response Team.
Reprinted from Jumpseat Training. Originally posted March 22, 2013.
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Utah has the highest occurrence of melanoma and the greatest number of deaths from it each year.
RESEARCHERS: UTAH FIREFIGHTERS MAY BE AT HIGHER RISK FOR SKIN CANCER Reprint from Deseret News by Wendy Leonard Originally published Sept. 25, 2016
SALT LAKE CITY — Local firefighter Jeff Cunningham has to remember quite a bit of gear when he’s running toward a fire. His dermatologist is hoping he remembers sunscreen, though he admits, at the time, “it’s not one of my biggest worries.” New research suggests maybe it should be, as firefighters might be at a higher risk than the general population (up to 80 percent more) for developing skin cancer and other cancers. It is unclear whether increased sun exposure is entirely to blame, as firefighters are also exposed to a variety of harmful chemicals in their daily duties.
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“Firefighters spend a lot of time outside, not in their firefighting gear,” said Dr. Sarah Cipriano, a dermatologist at the University of Utah. “They’re not always fighting fires, they are doing so many other things, so many other good things, and they deserve to be protected from the sun while they’re doing it.” Cipriano was drawn to the issue when her twin brother, who is a firefighter in Los Angeles, had two basal cell carcinomas removed from his face. She recalls visiting the station where he works and seeing the crew outside, either working on their trucks, running drills or representing the department at various community events. In most cases, they were not protecting themselves against sun exposure. The case is similar for firefighters in Utah, though potentially more harmful, as the higher elevation means greater exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Salt Lake City firefighter Otto Visser gets a cancer screening at the Public Safety Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Firefighters can have up to an 80 percent increased risk of melanoma as compared to the general population. photography by Laura Seitz, Deseret News
“It’s a hassle to put it on, we know this, but sunscreen is the greatest tool we have,” she said. “The majority of the population could put on sunscreen and prevent skin cancer.” With at least two team members diagnosed with skin cancer recently, Salt Lake Fire Battalion Chief Mike Fox said additional training and awareness has become a priority. Each is also encouraged to watch an educational video created for firefighters by the U. dermatology department (http://tinyurl.com/grnr8pt). “We are taking as many steps as possible to ensure sunscreen is a part of their daily routine,” he said, adding that wipes containing sunscreen, as well as smaller samples of sunscreen are stashed in the trucks for easy application. Fox said gear is no longer stored in living quarters, and firefighters are encouraged to shower soon after returning from fighting fires, as “there are all kinds of chemicals in the smoke.” “Fires burn hotter and faster and with more chemicals these days,” he said. New, fabricated and synthetic building materials have changed how things are made, but also how they burn. Salt Lake firefighter Lisa Demmons said she’s aware of the issue and is more vigilant about applying sunscreen on herself and her son. She’s also had basal cell carcinoma removed from the end of her nose, requiring surgery to attach skin there from her scalp.
Utah has the highest occurrence of melanoma and the greatest number of deaths from it each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U. dermatologist Mahsa Karavan, principal investigator of a study involving skin cancer screening of more than 100 Salt Lake firefighters this week, said that not only the altitude, but a more fair-complexioned people in the area and their love of the outdoors and being active also increases the risk for skin cancer. “It’s an unfortunate situation,” she said, adding that 1 in 5 people is expected to develop skin cancer in their lives. On top of that, Karavan said, U.S. public health campaigns haven’t done a great job educating people about the dangers of getting tan, using tanning beds and using sunscreen correctly and even for short periods of time spent in the sun.
She took advantage of the free skin cancer screening for firefighters on Wednesday at the Public Safety Building and said she was glad to see so many of her colleagues and friends taking it seriously as well. “It’s a good reminder to be more cognizant of the problems that can arise,” Cunningham said, adding that, as a firefighter, “it’s a balancing act” of priorities. But he’ll try now, to be more proactive.
The original article can be viewed online at http://tinyurl.com/ffskincancer. For more information on screenings, treatment, or other skin-care related questions, go to healthcare.utah. edu/dermatology or call University of Utah’s Dermatology Services at 801-581-2955.
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Preparing for the Promotional If you intend on moving up the chain in the fire service, you need to do exceptionally well in the current position you hold. One of the most stressful times in a firefighterâ€™s career is participating in the promotional process. Promotional exams are typically competitive and test an individualâ€™s ability to carry out the fundamental aspects of the positon they are seeking. Both
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the concept of testing as well as the competitive nature that accompanies it create anxiety and challenges. Preparation goes a long way to reducing this stress, though. While there is not adequate room here to cover the myriad of testing elements or personal aspects of testing, some basic rules can help:
Rule #1: Promotional testing starts on day one of the job.
Whether testing for engineer, captain, or chief, it is really your background and history that truly prepare you for the position. The tough fact is not everyone is right for every position. If you intend on moving up the chain in the fire service, you need to do exceptionally well in the current position you hold. This said, should mistakes, misjudgments, or even transient incompetence be considered disqualifiers? No, but lucky for us our competition are also fallible humans. This does not discount the need to focus on our jobs and become craftsman at them. In
fact, you want to be so good that your employer recognizes you have outgrown your current position and are ready for the next.
Rule #2: Know who you are.
Believe it or not, we are not very good at self-evaluation. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will go a long way to understanding where you need improvement—both in the current position and the position you are seeking. Ask yourself: why am I seeking this promotion? What is my motivation? Is it money, prestige, a rite of passage, or do I truly feel I am the right person for the job and seeking to make a positive difference? Is there more in it for me or the organization? Focusing strictly on leadership positions, how are your people skills? Are you intuitive, imaginative, self-motivated, educated, and committed? What are your trigger points—what makes you angry or just more focused? How is your attitude? It is recommended that time be dedicated during one’s career to studying leadership and the science of people (Dr. Robert Rohm’s DISC model is a good place to start). The better you know yourself and others, the better officer you will be and the better this will show in the testing process.
Rule #3: Understand your job and your organization.
Most of us would be reluctant to admit we may not know our organization as well as we should. In fact, this is easy to ascertain through department-specific testing: How well do you know your mission statement? SOPs/SOGs? Rules and regulations? Do you understand why they say what they say? How about your department’s history? How about the programs they run, including schedules, content, audience, and maybe even who is a part of them? As administrators, we tend to constantly run into issues where our firefighters and company officers need some education on departmental processes and rules that affect them. For instance, what is the policy for reporting an on-duty injury? What could, according to policy, be considered workplace violence or harassment? In disciplinary processes, what could be considered a property right? In operations, what is an above normal CO reading in a home? There is a lot to know in this business—know as much as you can!
Rule #4: Understand the testing elements.
Like the other rules, we could spend a lot of time here. However, we will briefly cover a few of the more common testing elements: •
Oral Interview: Rarely does a promotional exam exclude the oral interview. In fact, those who move up in the process can expect more than one. A future Straight Tip article will cover this more in depth, but here are a few tips: 1) The interview begins when you enter the room. Dress, smile, body language (including eye contact), and handshake will all be judged. Here is a quick tip: walk in the room in the mindset of the
position you are seeking (confident, but not cocky). Make them feel good about you as a candidate. 2) Look back to Rule #2 and Rule #3: know who you are and know your job to the greatest degree possible (go deeper than you think you need to—you may surprise yourself and others). Role Play: Interviewers commonly want to see the candidate in the position they are seeking, and role playing is a good way to do that. In the case of officer testing, this element tests a candidate’s ability to deal with an employee or situational issue. To do well, go back to Rules #1, #2, and #3 again—what are your personal strengths, hot buttons, or shortcomings? Have you been the problem employee in the past? What did you learn? Do you truly understand the issue and the departmental rules or positions on this? Can you clearly see the lines between being a buddy versus being a boss (credit to Chief Chase Sargent here!)? Can you be firm but fair? Simulation: In this element, job proficiency is shown through hands-on application. Again for company or chief officers, this is usually a simulation placing you as the incident commander. Here, command presence, terminology, ability to remain calm under pressure while making quick and decisive (and good) decisions are checked against a standard. This element is often the easiest to prepare for, but like all other elements, requires requisite skills to pull off.
Testing is stressful but absolutely necessary if we intend to find and promote the best. Testing is also healthy for the candidate who takes it seriously. It is a great opportunity to “test your mettle” while learning more about yourself and your organization than you knew before. Always remember, preparation is key. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Paul Sullivan is deputy chief of the Weber Fire District. He has 36 years combined Fire and EMS experience, including 21 years with the Chandler, Arizona, Fire Department, where he retired at the rank of battalion chief. He has been a certified emergency paramedic for 34 years, currently holding certifications in both Utah and Arizona. Paul has been a fire service instructor for 24 years, teaching command, WMD, truck company operations, leadership, and other topics. Paul has an associate’s in fire science, a bachelor’s in public safety administration, and a master’s of public administration from Northern Arizona University.
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FIRE SERVICE SAFETY CULTURE MEASUREMENT TOOL sessing firefighter safety as it relates to two categories: personnel evaluation and organizational evaluation.
Personnel Safety Evaluation
The portion of the curriculum that deals with personnel responsibility has six components that have proven to be causal factors in firefighter deaths and injuries. The assessment tool allows departments to assess the safety culture of their personnel by rating personnel in each of the six categories. The first three components assess safety culture at an emergency scene and the last three components assess pre-operational readiness.
In May of 2007, I responded to a mutual aid call for a house fire. Upon arrival, our engine company was assigned to an exterior attack on the Charlie side of a fully involved residence with minimal exposures. While pulling a large diameter hose line from the attack pumper, the incident commander requested a status report, advising there was a vehicle accident at the entrance to the housing addition. The tone of the incident commander’s voice made it clear he needed someone to respond. As mine was the last company to arrive on the scene, I advised we could make the assignment, understanding this was not a popular decision among my crew. We quickly made our way back to the engine and responded. Upon arrival we found a critical patient who had been thrown from a single vehicle accident in a roll over. While assisting EMS with patient packaging, we became aware the patient was a firefighter who had been responding to the scene in his personal vehicle. Upon returning to the structure fire, we briefed the incident commander and then were re-assigned to assist with overhaul. Later that evening, the fire chief notified the crews that the firefighter, 19-year-old Brandon Daley, did not survive his injuries.1 Regrettably, this is not a unique event in the fire service; nearly 25% of firefighter deaths are related to vehicle accidents. The National Safety Culture Change Initiative (NSCCI) offers a training curriculum with an assessment tool to evaluate firefighter injuries and deaths and current organizational and individual safety in an effort to change our safety culture. The curriculum focuses on as38 | UFRA Straight Tip
Decision Making. At emergency scenes, decisions should be made based on the facts—the science and circumstances—of the situation. Classical decision making is preferred when time is not a critical factor. The implementation of recognition prime decision making is needed in emergency situations, where responders have experience in making decisions under stress when time is a critical factor. A review of firefighter fatalities and near miss reports revealed that faulty decision making is the primary causal factor in injuries and death. Situational Awareness. This component is defined as the ability of the responder to match the reality of what is occurring at an emergency scene to their perception of what is happening or likely to happen soon. Risk-Based Response. This component is defined as a systematic process based on four criteria: threats/hazards, vulnerabilities, likelihood of occurrence, and consequences. The first step in the process is the responder’s ability to identify the threats/hazards present. Responders must understand how these threats/hazards can cause harm. The second step is to implement protective measures to lower vulnerabilities to the types of harm presented. The protective measures are implemented to reduce the likelihood of harm while preventing negative consequences. Continuous Improvement. Our profession is experiencing constant evolution as science and technology offer improvements to fire service capabilities. The ability to understand the application and implementation of new science and technology into our operations requires constant training and education. Experience-Based Training. Experience-based training is training designed to give the responder an event that allows them
The National Safety Culture Change Initiative (NSCCI) offers a training curriculum with an assessment tool to evaluate firefighter injuries and deaths and current organizational and individual safety in an effort to change our safety culture. to practice the knowledge, skills, and abilities plus competencies and experience needed at a specific type of emergency event. This is commonly achieved through assertive simulation training where cues are provided that imitate real emergency scenes. Fit for Duty. This references the responder’s physical and mental ability to respond and perform at emergency situations. Physical assessments designed to mirror fire ground psychomotor skills is a common method, which should include a medical surveillance component. Implementing scenario-based training is a proven method as well.
Organizational Safety Evaluation
The NSCCI asserts that building a safety culture in the fire service would require six organizational components in addition to the personnel components. Like the personnel safety components, the organizational safety components can be assessed with the NSCCI’s measurement tool by rating the effectiveness of the organization’s safety culture in the six categories listed below. The first three components are the primary organizational components, and the following three are supportive components. All together, these six components would build ASARA (“As Safe as Realistically Achievable”) organizations. Fire Service Leadership. Leadership is the “foundation” for an ASARA fire service organization and should ideally be defined as a dynamic group with common interests and goals with safety as the top priority. The remaining five components of the organizational safety evaluation are the “pillars” that build on the foundation of leadership to build an organizational safety culture. Engagement & Expectations. Fire service leadership should be engaging the work force on the impact of achieving an ASARA organization. The leadership should expect that each fire service member strives to achieve the personnel safety components of ASARA.
Enforcement & Accountability. Enforcement protocols and procedures should be established and understood so that everyone in the organization is accountable for achieving personnel and organizational ASARA culture. Health & Safety Program. Every fire service organization should implement a comprehensive health and safety program that supports a healthy lifestyle for personnel and ensures fitness for duty while also complying with NFPA 1500. (It is this author’s opinion that not every component identified in NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program, be the priority.) The program should have committed, involved personnel from all levels of the organization. Training & Evaluation. ASARA organizations can only be achieved through a comprehensive training program that implements the personnel safety components of ASARA and then Continued on next page.
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Continued from previous page.
evaluates personnel safety by reviewing after-action reports and conducting effective post-incident analysis. Walk the Walk. This colloquialism means that leadership should show their commitment to a safety culture by their activities and actions. They should actively make safety a top priority by allocating the necessary resources (time, personnel, equipment) to developing an ASARA organization. I recommend going to the Firefighter Safety Culture website and downloading the Safety Culture Measurement Tools.2 Evaluate your own organization’s safety culture. Understand that the measurement tool is designed to generate analysis and debate among personnel. The tool should be viewed as subjective with the results varying depending on an individual’s perspective. Research has shown that the most effective method to change the norms, beliefs, and values (culture) of the fire service is to conduct effective post-incident analysis. By using the NSCCI measurement tool to review incidents, such as Brandon’s, our perspectives can be challenged. Most importantly, by learning and changing from incidents such as Brandon’s, we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by positively influencing future behavior of our personnel.
David Matthew has 30 years of fire service experience in Kansas and, most recently, in California. He is a current instructor for the UFRA Hazardous Materials Science Program and is a member of the UVU Test Team for the Jack Rabbit II Program at Dugway Proving Grounds. He is an active fire service researcher and served as the curriculum developer for the NSCCI project.
Climbing the Ladder
Roy Fire Department
Promoted from firefighter to engineer:
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James Miguel is the new fire chief of the Provo Fire Department. He replaces 40-year veteran Chief Gary Jolley, who retired in May.
"Chief Miguel has dedicated the life to public service," Provo Mayor John Curtis said. "His almost unmatched experience gives me a great deal of confidence he understands the objectives we have in our city. I look forward to working side by side with him as we serve Provo residents."
Miguel was born and raised in Northern California. He has spent 32 years as a firefighter in the communities around where he was born.
Information taken from the Daily Herald’s announcement “James Miguel announced as new Provo fire chief ” by Genelle Pugmire (September 15, 2016).
Miguel is no stranger to Provo or Utah County. He has two sons and extended family that live in the area, and his wife, Susan Burr Miguel, was born in Provo.
Miguel comes to Provo with a résumé of experience and credentials, including serving as fire chief for the California cities of Livermore, Pleasanton, and Modesto. He was the president of Alameda County Fire Chiefs Association and the legislative director for the California Fire Chiefs Association. His education includes receiving a master's degree from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona; graduation from the executive fire officers program and the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Lynn Bateman After 15 years Lynn has decided to pull in his last hose. He served as the fire chief in Levan for 14 years. He was also a certification tester for the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy for several years. Lynn will be missed, but we wish the best. The new Levan fire chief will be Garrick Hall. Wade Francis retired from the Hill Air Force Base Fire Department on Sept. 30, 2016, with over 38 years of federal service. As a Department of Defense civilian fire captain/hazard-
ous materials officer, he performed structural and airfield crash/rescue firefighting operations, hazardous materials responses, technical rescue, and provided emergency medical care as an EMT. He specialized in hazardous materials emergency response and holds IFSAC/ProBoard certifications for Hazmat Technician/WMD, Hazmat Incident Commander/WMD, Hazmat Officer, and Hazmat Safety Officer. He was a Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services instructor for the Incident Command System (NIMS 300/400) and for all hazardous materials emergency responder skill levels and is recognized nationally as a hazmat/WMD subject matter expert. Wade also retired from the Utah National Guard in 2012 with over 35 years of military service. He was the first sergeant for the Utah National Guard 85th Civil Support Team (CST-WMD) from 1999 to 2004 and the non-commissioned officer in charge of the Utah National Guard Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program Emergency Response Team (CSEPP Team) from 1999 to 2012. Wade was mobilized for wartime service with the National Guard in 2006–2007. He served in Afghanistan as a combat adviser to the Afghanistan National Army, and there he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.
Congratulations to the following members of the Roy Fire Department who were promoted:
Promoted from part-time to full-time firefighter:
Promoted to paramedic:
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IFSAC Accreditation & Re-Accreditation Site Visit by Lori Howes
On June 7–9, 2016, the Utah Fire & Rescue Academy’s Certification Office underwent our five-year re-accreditation process for the International Fire Service Accreditation Council (IFSAC). A three-member team of IFSAC representatives from other IFSACaccredited agencies (Nova Scotia, Alabama, and California) spent three intensive days reviewing all certification policies and procedures and all written and manipulative skills testing for the 16 currently accredited levels and 20 proposed levels. After the three days of reviewing all documentation, the IFSAC team reported they had found no discrepancies in the policies and procedures, and after a few minor corrections, all testing material was in order. Site Team leader Bernie MacKinnon from the Nova Scotia Fire Service Professional Qualifications Board reported the site team would be recommending the Utah Fire & Rescue Academy for full re-accreditation and initial accreditation on all new levels to the IFSAC Certificate Assembly Board of Governors (CABOG). The Utah Fire & Rescue Academy’s reaccreditation was unanimously approved by the CABOG at their meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 24th. The accreditation status with IFSAC provides Utah firefighters with certification portability. Being internationally accredited ensures first responders that the certifications they receive in Utah will be recognized in other states and countries. At the same time
the review process ensures UFRA is operating a fair, credible, and valid certification program. IFSAC currently provides accreditation to entities that certify the competency of, and issue certificates to, individuals who pass examinations based on the National Fire Protection Association fire service professional qualifications and other standards approved by IFSAC members. There are currently 74 Certificate Assembly member entities throughout the world.
UFRA received initial accreditation for the following levels:
UFRA received re-accreditation for the following levels:
Technical Rescue – Chapter 5 Technical Rescue – Ropes Level I and II Technical Rescue – Confined Space Level I and II Technical Rescue – Trench Level I and II Technical Rescue – Structural Collapse Level I and II Technical Rescue – Vehicle Level I and II Technical Rescue – Surface Water Level I and II Technical Rescue – Swiftwater Level I and II Technical Rescue – Ice Level I and II Technical Rescue – Machinery Level I Fire & Life Safety Educator I and II
Hazardous Materials Awareness Hazardous Materials Operations Hazardous Materials Technician Firefighter I and II Apparatus Driver Operator – Pumper Apparatus Driver Operator – Aerial Airport Firefighter Fire Officer Fire Inspector I and II Fire Investigator Fire Instructor I and II Wildland Firefighter I and II
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EARN YOUR EMERGENCY SERVICES SPRING 2017 SEMESTER
ES FACE-TO-FACE & ONLINE CLASS ES 1150 Community Emergency Preparedness Now is the time to begin working on your emergency services degree or finish the degree you have been working on.
Why Should I Earn a College Degree? • • •
Personal improvement Preparation for promotion Expand career opportunities
What Degrees are Offered? Certificates • Firefighter Recruit Candidate • Paramedic • Aviation Fire Officer
ESFF FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES ESFF 1000 Introduction to ES & Ability Testing ESFF 1360 Recruit Candidate Academy Internship ESFF 250A Firefighter RCA I ESFF 250B Firefighter RCA II ESFF 281R Emergency Services Internship ESFF ONLINE CLASSES ESFF 1000 Introduction to ES & Ability Testing ESFF 1120 Principles of Fire & ES Safety & Survival ESFF 2100 The Desire to Serve
Associate of Science Emergency Services Associate of Applied Science Emergency Services • Fire Officer • Emergency Care • Wildland Fire Management • Aviation Fire Officer
ESFO ONLINE CLASSES
Bachelor of Science Emergency Services Administration • Emergency Care • Emergency Management (offered 100% online)
ESEC 114A Emergency Medical Tech Basic – Part I (online) ESEC 114B Emergency Medical Tech Basic – Part II ESEC 114C Emergency Medical Tech Basic – Part III ESEC 3060 Emergency Medical Tech Advanced ESEC 3110 Paramedic I ESEC 3120 Paramedic Lab ESEC 3130 Paramedic II ESEC 3140 Paramedic III ESEC 4110 Paramedic IV ESEC 4120 Paramedic Clinical Concepts
How Do I Enroll? • •
Apply for admissions by going to: http://www.uvu.edu/admissions/ If you have attended another college or university, request an official transcript be sent to: UVU Admissions Office 800 West University Parkway MS 106 Orem, Utah 84058-5999
What Will It Cost?
• For official UVU tuition/fee amounts go to: http://www.uvu.edu/tuition/tuitionFees13-1428-28.pdf • Some courses have “course fees” in addition to tuition.
For more information regarding admissions and registration, call 801-863-7798 or 888-548-7816 to schedule a phone or office appointment with an Emergency Services Administration Academic Advisor.
44 | UFRA Straight Tip
ESFO 2030 Fire Inspector I ESFO 2100 Fire Officer I Supervisor Leader ESEC FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES
ESWF FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES ESWF 1400 Wildland Firefighting Fundamentals ESAF ONLINE CLASSES ESAF 2110 Aircraft Related Mass Casualty Incidents ESAF 2120 Aircraft Mishaps ESAF 2130 Aviation Terrorism Response ESAF 2140 Airport Operations for Emergency Responder Please check http://www.uvu.edu/esa for current and updated course listings.
DEGREE AT UVU SPRING 2017 SEMESTER ESMG ONLINE CLASSES
ESMG 310G Introduction to Homeland Security ESMG 3150 Public Program Administration ESMG 3200 Health Safety Program Management ESMG 3250 Managing Emergency Medical Services ESMG 3300 Master Planning for Public ES ESMG 3350 Analytical Research Approaches to Public ES ESMG 3600 Psychology of Emergency Services ESMG 4150 Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief ESMG 4200 Disaster Response and the Public ESMG 4400 Legal Considerations for the EM ESMG 425G Crisis and Disaster Management ESMG 445G Human Factors Emergency Management ESMG 4500 Customer Service & Marketing for ES ESMG 4550 Principles of Disaster and Emergency Mgmt ESMG 4600 Public Administration Emergency Mgmt ESMG 4650 Emergency Services Capstone ESMG 481R Emergency Services Internship ESMG 489R Special Topics in Emergency Services ESMG 491R Topics in Cardiology and Medical Trends ESMG 492R Topics in Trauma and Pharmacology ESMG 493R Topics in Medical Litigation
RECRUIT CANDIDATE ACADEMY (RCA) By application only. For more information visit http://www.uvu.edu/esa/rca/ or make an appointment with an academic advisor by calling the Student Center at 801863-7798. On-the-job internships are available for all RCA graduates. Application deadlines: June 1st for Fall Semester and October 1st for Spring Semester. PARAMEDIC By application only. For more information visit http://www.uvu.edu/esa/paramedic/index.html or call 801-863-7700 or 888-548-7816. Enroll early! Please note that courses are subject to cancellation due to low enrollment.
Winter 2017 | 45
Nonprofit Organization U.S. POSTAGE
Nonprofit Organization U.S. POSTAGE
Utah Valley University
Utah Valley University
UTAH FIRE AND RESCUE ACADEMY . MS 193
. M S 1 9 3 OREM, UT 84058-6703 R E A N D R E800 S C UW. E UNIVERSITY A C A D E M Y PARKWAY,
U N I V E R S I T Y P A R K W AY, O R E M , U T 8 4 0 5 8 - 5 9 9 9
CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
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Published on Dec 12, 2016
UFRA Straight Tip (ISSN 1932-2356) is published quarterly by Utah Valley University and the Utah Fire & Rescue Academy (https://www.uvu.edu/...