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Our employees fight fire and so do our products

First quarter 2018 issue 109

I n t e r n a t i o n a l

I n d e p e n d e n t

I n t e l l i g e n c e

Future proof Amsterdam Schiphol Airport fire brigade expands its capability

Detox your PPE The new way of cleaning fire kit that could save lives My name is Magnus. I am working with product development at Fomtec. This picture is from a fire test in Sweden. Follow us at Facebook and Twitter if you want to find out more about me, the Fomtec way and all our products.


Indianapolis Booth #539

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FIRE & RESCUE Editor Ann-Marie Knegt +44 (0) 1935 374001 Managing Editor Jose Maria Sanchez de Muniain +44 (0) 1935 374011 Group Sales Manager Kelly Francis +44 (0) 207 973 4666







Production Tim Malone +44 (0) 1935 374014 Managing Director Bill Butler Published Quarterly by

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FIRE & RESCUE JOURNAL (ISSN No: 0964-972719, USPS No: 003-930) is published quarterly by Hemming Information Services and distributed in the US by Asendia USA, 17B S Middlesex Ave, Monroe NJ. Periodicals postage paid at New Brunswick, NJ and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Fire & Rescue Journal, 17B S Middlesex Ave, Monroe NJ 08831.

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4 News 8 Events 10 In profile: Schiphol Airport FRS Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in The Netherlands is rapidly expanding with a knock-on effect on the airport’s fire service. F&R reports on the steps the brigade is taking to meet the increased demand for its services. 16 Vehicles An overview of recent deliveries around the world. 18 The PPE detox Decontex is a new PPE decontamination concept using liquid CO2 that could significantly reduce firefighters' occupational exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. 22 Wearable technology The rapid pace of development in data-driven technologies such as smart PPE has the potential to transform the emergency services' critical decisionmaking process. 26 Trends in PPV Fire & Rescue asked two experts to share their views on current thinking on the evolving use of positive pressure ventilation.

30 Clinical governance As the need for clinical governance for FRS becomes clearer, F&R addresses some common misconceptions and outlines the main elements of the governance process. 34 Aerial assets and SAR New research measures the performance of ground and air assets in search and rescue operations with the aim of establishing the most effective combination for life-saving operations. 36 Rescue: a lost art? Is the hydraulic ram the most underused tool in the vehicle rescuer's toolkit? Two rescue experts share their views on the hydraulic ram, including the benefits of cross ramming for extrication and how the latest models can help overcome the challenges of modern vehicle construction. 40 Foam Summit ‘An opportunity, not a crisis’ was the underlying theme for the Foam Summit that took place in Budapest, Hungary, in October 2017. 46 Scope for Firescape A water-soluble firefighting agent for domestic and professional use is currently undergoing testing with London Fire Brigade and Dorset and Wiltshire FRS.

48 ARFF incident handover Many airfields are behind the times in terms of communications interoperability with local authority fire services, making the seamless transfer of incident management information all but impossible. 52 AFOA conference report Part one of the F&R report from the AFOA Annual Conference 2018, including a regulatory update, disaster victim identification, and the latest thinking on ventilation. 56 Legal wildfire legacy Analysis of the legal ramifications of the Yarnell Fire of June 2013, which gave rise to an ongoing lawsuit against the State of Arizona and the Forestry Commission alleging a negilient failure to protect residents' properties. 58 Cyberattack A new pan-European project using innovative serious gaming techniques is delivering realistic simulated training scenarios to help European security-critical agents and agencies respond effectively to incidents.

Front cover picture: Fire Brigade Airport Schiphol


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EDITOR’s Comment


ancer is the number one cause of work-related deaths in Europe, and 53% of all work-related deaths are in reality cancer-related. This is a pretty shocking statistic on its own, but worse still is the fact that firefighters are among the most at-risk for developing occupational cancers. A trial carried out in Antwerp in 2011 helped to shed light on one reason this might be the case. This saw 100 firefighters tested before and after an incident for the presence of VOCs (volatile organic Compounds) and (PAKs) (polucyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) in their urine. Researchers expected to see sharp rises after attending a fire, but what they did not expect were increased levels after RTCs and rescue scenarios where there was no fire. Further investigation pointed the finger at percutaneous absorption of particles contaminating firefighters’ clothing. And this in turn led to the realisation that washing fire kit with water is simply not enough. A major government-funded project was launched to investigate alternative ways of cleaning PPE, and on page 18 you can read about the solution. I personally believe that this could be a real game changer, and one that could save thousands of lives. As lifesavers yourselves. you know how much that is worth. Ann-Marie Knegt

South Australia bans fluorinated foams South Australia is the first state in Australia to ban what it describes as potentially hazardous fluorinated firefighting foams to protect its waterways and groundwater. This came into effect on 30 January 2018 following the amendment of the Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2015 under the Environment Protection Act 1993. The ban highlights the increasingly tough stance being taken on AFFFs in Australia. In July 2016 Queensland published a new operational policy for firefighting foam, that while not an outright ban, contained highly restrictive management requirements on the use of AFFF. Fluorinated firefighting foams include those containing perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Per- and poly-fluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals that persist in the environment for long periods of time. They have historically been used in a number of manufacturing processes and in aqueous filming-forming firefighting foam. According to an official statement, consultation on the South Australian ban began in April 2017 and included ‘numerous sessions with industry, community and individuals’. The ban applies to all applications of fluorinated firefighting foams – not just PFOA and PFOS containing foams – within a compliance period of two years for non-handheld applications. For portable extinguishers the ban takes effect upon re-charge/re-fill or within two years of commencement of the policy, whichever is earlier. According to the amendments to the policy, fire extinguishers should be 'thoroughly cleaned so as to remove, as far as reasonably practicable, any residual prohibited firefighting foam product or prohibited firefighting foam.' In addition, 'any prohibited firefighting foam product, prohibited firefighting foam or wastewater produced in the cleaning process is collected, securely contained and disposed of at a facility, or stored in a manner approved by the Authority.' Furthermore, firefighting foams will require certification of fluorine concentrations provided by suppliers. South Australia' Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter


said: 'This ban on fluorinated firefighting foams will effectively negate further environmental and human-health risks associated with their use and provide the community and industry with certainty around the use of these products.' Hunter added that South Australia's Environment Protection Authority would work directly with industry during the transition through licensing, guidelines, and the development of environment improvement programmes. 'Considerable work is also underway nationally, led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, in the management of legacy contamination from fluorinated firefighting foams.' The possibility of a ban was first proposed in February 2017 and was followed by the development of a draft amendment and an eight-week consultation period that began in April 2017. A public consultation session in May was attended by the petroleum industry, fire protection services, foam manufacturers, EPA licensees, members of the United Firefighters Union of Australia, metropolitan and country fire services, and the general public.

grant to fund trials of PFC removal media An absorbent media that selectively captures and removes micropolluants such as perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) from wastewater has received a £1.24 million (US$1.72 million) grant to accelerate its pilot phase. Customem, which is based at the Imperial College Innovation Hub in London, was founded in 2015 by Henrik Hagemann and Gabi Santosa. The company’s bio-absorbent granular media (CGM) is optimised to capture and recycle certain challenging micropollutants using standard steel tank processing equipment. This offers significant cost savings over traditional methods such as anion-exchange media and granular activated carbon. The grant will enable the company to scale up its industrial pilot trials and bring the product to market. CGM is aimed at commercial airports, petrochemical plants, and military bases where aqueous film-forming foams containing PFCs are used. It can treat the wastewater from such sites as well as helping to deal with legacy contamination. The media can be chemically regenerated using a non-hazardous wash, which means captured waste can be disposed of safely or repurposed. CGM is designed to 'drop in' to existing packed-bed infrastructure used in current activated carbon water treatment systems. This avoids the need to install expensive treatment processes and will augment water recycling and reclamation on local and industrial scales. ‘We are already undertaking initial testing with a number of companies and organisations including two commercial European airports,’ said Customem’s Henrik Hagemann. ‘Following this EC grant we are now ready to upscale and are actively welcoming partners to trial our solution on site.’ The grant is funded through the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, part of the European Innovation Council, which provides funding and support for breakthrough ideas with the potential to create new markets or revolutionise existing ones.

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Next-gen holmatro tool range Holmatro has launched a new generation of cordless rescue tools in its Evo 3 range. The collection of battery-powered cutters, spreaders, combi tools and telescopic rams provide faster speeds under high loads and offer optimal performance on new car constructions. The range features a number of innovations, including a new brushless motor specially built for the application that is both powerful and energy efficient. A direct-drive pump also eliminates gear transmission between motor and pump and mechanical energy loss. In addition, electronic speed control keeps tool speed at a constant maximum level, even at high loads or when battery voltage drops. And finally, a sealed circuit board protects the tools from moisture and dust and builds on the range’s existing IP 54 protection rating against dust and water splashes. The new Evo 3 tools continue to provide the same degree of freedom of movement to the user. They feature an inline control handle with 360° access, which is centrally located at the back of the tool for easy operation in any position. And the battery on top of the drive unit is always within reach, even when space is limited.

NFPA standard for active shooter incident response A rise in active shooter incidents and the escalating impact of hostile events has prompted the National Fire Protection Association to process NFPA 3000, Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events, as a provisional standard, which means it should be available for use around April 2018. Around 31% of all public mass shootings take place in the US, a country with 5% of the world's population. The standard provides the minimum criteria for the level of competence required for responders organising, managing, and sustaining an active shooter and/or hostile event preparedness and response programme, based on the function and assessed level of risk of the authority that has jurisdiction. It will include a review of laws, regulations, consensus standards and guidance documents, in addition to guidance for risk assessment, training materials, active shooter response planning, resource management,

staffing and training. It will apply to any community, AHJ, facility, and member of any organisation who responds to or prepares for active shooter and/or hostile events. This marks only the second time in NFPA’s 121-year history that provisional standard status has been authorised by the NFPA Standards Council. 'Hostile events are happening with greater frequency and ferocity today. It’s critical that we take steps to protect people from this increasing threat,' said NFPA President Jim Pauley. 'By employing the unified response outlined in NFPA 3000, first responders, facility managers, hospital officials, and community members can minimise risk before, during and after these devastating incidents. We were clearly hearing the need for such a standard from those on the frontlines. Through this process, we are able to respond quickly to provide a critical body of knowledge to those who are faced with such horrendous events, ultimately making them and the public safer.'

PEli launches auto-dim torch A new Atex-certified torch with an auto-dimming feature was launched by Peli at the Sicur safety, security and fire exhibition in Spain in February 2018. The 3345Z0 torch has Atex zone 0 (Cat 1) certification and generates up to 267 lumens. It incorporates dual spot and flood beams and is the first torch from Peli to feature auto dimming. This adapts the spotlight based on ambient light or proximity. Flood beam LEDs on the side of the torch can be used simultaneously for reading while illuminating a working area. The torch has a runtime of 13 hours and includes a battery level indicator and built-in pocket clip. Also on show at Sicur were Peli's 9455Z0 RALS portable lighting system for high-risk industries, and the Atex-certified 3415MZ0 compact work light. This has both spot and flood LEDs and has a beam distance of 135 metres.

Retroflex® COFAB Line Visibly safest performing retro-reflective trims!

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First QUARTER 2018 < FIRE & RESCUE <




Tallest ladder for Seoul

The world’s highest turntable ladder has gone into service in Seoul, South Korea. The South Korean capital is the first fire department in the Asia Pacific region to acquire the Magirus M68L, which has a working height of 68m. This makes it ideal for use in Seoul with its high density of high-rise buildings. The Seoul Metropolitan Fire and Disaster Management Headquarters selected the Magirus M68L to meet the city’s specific firefighting and human rescue challenges, including an increase in high-rise construction and traffic volumes. The ladder is mounted on an Iveco Trakker AD 410T45 8x4 with a four-axle chassis and does not require an additional permit to operate on Seoul’s streets. Once at the site of an incident, it can be set up rapidly using the XLL Vario jacking system. Specially designed supports provide stability even on slopes and slippery surfaces. The M68L officially went into service on 17 January 2018 with a formal ceremony at the Songpa District fire station, where it will be stationed.

San Francisco’s emergency fire suppression system extension An extension to San Francisco’s emergency fire suppression system has moved one step closer to completion with the selection of a final design for a new high-pressure auxiliary water network. The new auxiliary water supply system will extend the city’s emergency fire suppression system to the Richmond and Sunset districts, which currently lack access to the existing 135-mile (217km) network. It is intended to provide firefighters with sufficient water to fight fires in the case of major emergencies or natural disasters such as earthquakes. The extension will also carry drinking water. The San Francisco fire department has been working with the Public Utilities Commission for several years on improving the city’s firefighting capabilities, and has already carried out a number of projects, including building new cisterns. The new high-pressure network will draw water from a different source to the existing system and will use two pump stations to provide water at 53,000lpm. The current plan is to connect the new network to the existing drinking water system in the Richmond and Sunset districts. The project is expected to cost in the region of US$109 million and work could start as early as next year.

Oxygen Masks for Animals

On-board electrical accessory organiser for firefighters Ziamatic Corp has developed a new way to keep electrical firefighting accessories organised and transportable. The new QM-CADH cord and adapter holder was developed specifically for use on fire apparatus and ambulances. The cord and adapter holder secures electrical cord, adapters, and pigtails inside the compartment and keeps them organised and easy to locate on the scene. A sturdy hook and loop style carrying strap frees up the firefighter’s hands as the organiser can be attached to a turnout coat, belt, or other equipment such as a box fan or portable scene light. ‘We’re always looking for ways to make the job a little easier,’ said Michael Ziaylek, President of Ziamatic Corp. ‘We found a lot of departments just kept their pigtails tangled in a pile somewhere, which can be problematic. Or they were sending someone back to the truck two or three times to grab a different adapter or another extension cord. Model QM-CADH solves both of those issues.’ Constructed of heavy-duty nylon and flexible elastic, each holder can store up to three adapters, up to three 25’ lengths of 12-gauge cord, and a large selection of pigtails.


All fire engines in Shropshire, UK, will now be stocked with pet-sized oxygen masks following a successful campaign to improve the survival of animals that have inhaled smoke in house fires. Shrewsbury Fire HQ watch manager Martin Huckle helped to coordinate the campaign after he was contacted by Hectors Greyhound Rescue in Gobowen. The charity organised a sponsored walk to buy the first masks, two mini oxygen masks designed for use on cats, dogs and smaller animals. ‘Small animals inhale smoke four times faster than we do and can collapse very quickly,’ explained Huckle. ‘Human oxygen masks, which we used in the past, just don’t fit properly and these pet-sized masks are much more effective in reviving them and saving their lives.’ Among the fundraising activities for the campaign was a ‘bring your pet to work day’ organised by support officer Emily Hodson, while Telford firefighter Louise Fletcher also raised funds to pay for five pet oxygen masks, which were among the first to go onto fire appliances. So far, 28 masks costing £90 (US$127) each have been purchased via donations to the campaign and placed on all of Shopshire’s fire appliances. These masks have been used to revive cats in house fires in Ellesmere and Shrewsbury, and sheep and spring lambs in Whitchurch. Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is one of the first UK brigades to have the masks on all fire appliances, and Martin Huckle is regularly called upon to provide advice to other brigades on pet oxygen masks.

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H&S A4 Ly Bdx Casa SST 18.qxp_11-01-18 11/01/2018 17:15 Page1







26>28 APR 2018




29>31 MAY 2018

Under the high patronage* of 8 ministries of the Kingdom of Morocco


02>04 OCT 2018

Under the high patronage* of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health and the Ministry of Labor.

*Being reniew for 2018


E v e n t s

18-19 April, eRIC, Airport Twenthe, Enschede, The Netherlands The international expo on disaster relief, incident management and crisis response (ERIC), taking place at Airport Twenthe in the Netherlands, will address innovative solutions to 21st century threats. Radicalisation and terrorism, climate change and extreme weather, industrial disasters, traffic catastrophes, wildfires, contagious diseases, the protection of vital infrastructure and cybercrime are among the current challenges facing regional safety authorities and their partners. ERIC aims to bring together those working in safety fields with suppliers, offering the latest product and technology solutions and services to enhance expertise and innovation in the world of disaster planning, incident management, and early warning and response coordination. More than 250 exhibitors and 6,500 visitors are expected to attend the two-day event, including product and service providers, operational relief workers, and industrial organisations. The event offers a meeting place where attendees can forge networks and do business, creating public-private partnerships to work towards improved safety and security in the modern world. An event for ambulance staff and drivers organised by Ambulancezorg Nederland and V&VN will take place on 18 April, while a multi-disciplinary congress organised by Deutsche Feuerwehrverband and Brandweer Nederland is on 19 April. ERIC offers a unique, interactive, real-life stage to showcase and demonstrate product innovation, whether it’s in the field of vehicles, equipment, clothing, information technology, prevention techniques, education, training or exercises. For more information, visit the event website at

23-30 April, FDIC International, Indiana Convention Centre, Lukas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, USA The FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference) International is the largest fire and emergency services conference in North America, and this year the event is celebrating its 91st edition.


2 0 1 8

Established in 1928, FDIC provides comprehensive training for today’s firefighters and brings companies together to showcase the latest tools and technology designed to save lives. Visitors can see live demonstrations of the latest innovations that influence fire service safety and performance. FDIC International is one of the largest annual gatherings of fire professionals worldwide. Delegates and companies from around the across the world attend for a week filled with informative fire-focused meetings, workshops, tours, an extensive conference programme and the exhibition. FDIC International highlights perspectives on the role of firefighters and helps participants develop a vision to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the industry. 'Many people travel hundreds and thousands of miles to receive the cutting-edge training only offered at FDIC,' said Eric West, marketing manager for event organiser Pennwell. 'For many veteran attendees, however, it’s the intangible aspect of this event that makes it so special. Seeing old friends, talking with industry icons, and the many impromptu conversations that occur outside classroom doors and around the table at a favourite restaurant are all part of the FDIC experience. ‘Whether you are an experienced veteran or a novice firefighter, please join us in Indianapolis this April. We look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new friends,’ said West. For more information visit

Call for Papers for IWMC 2018 The 18th International Water Mist Conference will take place in London on 19-20 September 2018, at the Grange City Hotel. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 16 April. Speakers will be notified of acceptance by 15 May and final presentations are due on 15 August. The abstract template is available on the website. Sponsors may now also book table tops for the exhibition, which will run alongside the conference. For more information, visit

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RETTmobil 2018 18. Europäische Leitmesse für Rettung und Mobilität 18th European Leading Exhibition for Rescue and Mobility



kussion Podiumsdis m stliche Messe-Foru ttungsdien e -R h c is in Mediz en Fortbildung Workshops

Fulda | Messe Galerie 16.– 18. Mai 2018 Mittwoch – Freitag 9 – 17 Uhr

Fulda | Fair Gallery 16th – 18th May 2018 Wednesday – Friday 9am – 5pm

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aRFF profile

Olympic standards Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in The Netherlands is rapidly expanding with a knock-on effect on the airport’s fire service. Ann-Marie Knegt talks to operational manager Arjan Bruinstroop about the steps the organisation is taking to cope with the growing demand on its services.


Schiphol Airport Fire Brigade recently announced an order for 18 crash tenders equipped with the latest firefighting technology.


msterdam Airport Schiphol is now the third largest in Europe. Only Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Heathrow in London are bigger. To cope with growing passenger numbers – up 9.2% to 63.6 million in 2016 – the airport is investing over €350 million (US $437 million) in a new pier and terminal building. At the same time, the size of overflow Airport Lelystad will be increased to handle passenger flights from 2019 onwards. The new pier will be completed in 2019 and the new terminal will be operational in 2023. All this will have a serious impact on the Schiphol Airport Fire Brigade. That’s why there will also be significant investment in upgrading the fire service’s facilities and infrastructure to cope with the expansion. ‘Right now we have reached our ceiling for passenger movements, but the passenger stream keeps on growing,’ says Arjan Bruinstroop, business facility and resource manager for Schiphol Fire Brigade. ‘The new terminal means that we have to create new aircraft positions, a larger catchment area, and more movements on both the air side and the land side. This will have an influence on the structural side of fire and safety as well as on aircraft firefighting techniques and protocol – in particular, firefighting on new types of aircraft and the ultra-modern materials they are made from.’ Schiphol also operates Rotterdam/ The Hague Airport, and part of Eindhoven Airport in The Netherlands. Rotterdam/ The Hague Airport is set to gain a new fire station and a new fleet under the planned work.

< FIRE & RESCUE < First QUARTER 2018

To meet these requirements, Schiphol Airport Fire Brigade recently awarded a tender for 13 8x8 and five 6x6 Rosenbauer Panther crash trucks. Each of these will be equipped with high reach extendable turrets (HRETs). Other key requirements for the new vehicles included the ability to work with ICAO class C foam and the ability to cope with the local terrain. As Bruinstroop explains, the Schiphol area is particularly humid during the autumn and winter months, and the fields and meadows become very muddy. Negotiating this terrain requires significant field skills on the part of both vehicles and drivers. The new Rosenbauer Panthers are equipped with extra wide tyres, automatic drive management systems, and tyre drain systems to optimise their ability to handle the terrain. Lelystad and Rotterdam/The Hague airport have ordered an additional five 6x6 Rosenbauer Panthers, each with HRET. Delivery of the first vehicle is expected in early 2019. Bruinstroop says technology such as HRETs is essential. ‘We will use the HRET mainly for access in hard-to-reach areas, such as landing gear and engines. At the moment we have to get out of our truck with a hand pipe to attend to fires in the landing gear or engines, which is higher risk for our firefighters. We would like to remain in our vehicles for as long as possible when attending an incident, so we can ensure it is safe when we do go outside.’ There are also issues of occupational hygiene to consider. ‘Firefighters in The Netherlands have become very focused on this topic. We cannot afford to expose ourselves to any

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Affordable, High-Resolution Personal TIC Introducing Reveal FirePRO, our newest high-resolution thermal imaging camera for firefighting with a 320 x 240 thermal sensor and intuitive software, priced to equip every firefighter in the world.

320 x 240 Thermal Sensor

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First QUARTER 2018 < FIRE & RESCUE <


aRFF profile

The Schiphol training rig, the Firefly, is due to be replaced.

unnecessary risks, such as combustion particles, unless we really have to. The choice of vehicle can play an important role here, and that’s the philosophy behind the HRET and the new state-of-the-art crash tenders we will be purchasing.’ And, if the firefighters can stay inside and their kit does not get dirty, they do not need to clean it, adds Bruinstroop. This is another major motivation behind acquiring advanced crash tenders with HRETs. The new vehicles will also be equipped with a driver enhanced visibility system. Bruinstroop explains that fog, rain, and snow can mean limited visibility in the autumn and winter months. The new system will support safer driving at the airport. Finally, Schiphol FB is looking to switch to ICAO class C firefighting foam and fluorine-free foams. ‘This is better for our personnel, the environment, and the airport,’ says Bruinstroop. ‘A clean work environment is important for our crew members. And, to prevent pollution caused by exhaust gas emissions in the fire stations, we have installed vehicle exhaust extraction systems to reduce the number of ultra-fine particles we are exposed to.’

Operational responsibilities As an operations manager, Bruinstroop supports the emergency response by managing the vehicles, firefighting gear and equipment, and the three fire stations and training facilities at Schiphol Airport Schiphol Airport itself is an ICAO Cat 10 airport. The emergency response crew is on standby 24/7 and operates from three different stations around the runway. Seven people operate the stations per shift, apart from the station in Sloten where the rescue stair is based. The firefighters are on shift for 24 hours, and there is always a senior officer present. Fire station Vijfhuizen has three crash tenders, one


< FIRE & RESCUE < First QUARTER 2018

equipped with HRET, and is staffed by seven crewmembers. Fire station Rijk has three crash tenders, one equipped with HRET, and one fire engine, and is staffed by seven crewmembers. Finally, fire station Sloten has three crash tenders, one rescue stair, one foam tender, an airport fire officer, and one fire engine. Sloten is staffed by 16 crewmembers. Bruinstroop explains that Schiphol FB responds to a wide variety of incidents within the service area, including automatic fire alarms, structural fires, and car accidents on the surrounding road network. The last serious incident occurred when a passenger flight crashed during landing on 25 February 2009, resulting in the death of nine passengers and crew, including all three pilots. ‘Since, then we have luckily had very few incidents. In 2017 we had a propeller plane with broken landing gear on a day with very strong winds. The plane made a hard landing onto the runway.’ The structural firefighting operation inside the airport buildings has been set up via a government covenant. ‘Structural firefighting is a local authority responsibility by law,’ explains Bruinstroop. ‘We looked at how we could manage this in the most cost-effective manner. Therefore, we deliver the staff, the local authority fire service delivers the materials, and Schiphol houses them at our station. ‘The staff learn about how both the airport and the local authority fire services work at the same time. For two shifts, they work on a normal fire tender in the local authorities adjacent to the airport. This enables them to stay up to date with structural fire response.’ Bruinstroop says that a recent incident involved a fire in a washing facility belonging to one of the many companies housed on and around the airport. The airport fire brigade has also responded to RTCs on the motorways around the

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112 Fi

E BL 18 LA M 0 A I RO Y 2 AV F AR U N


The worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first plastic aerosol for the fire protection market


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Spray-Safe is lightweight, robust, easy to use and can be used at any angle with no reduction in flowrate or performance. Unlike many conventional fire extinguisher aerosols, Spray-Safe can be used effectively across many classes of fire, as opposed to just one or a select few. This removes the possibility of using the wrong type of extinguisher on a fire, which can result in devastating consequences, serious injury and even death. Spray-Safe by Firescape is fully approved by London Fire Brigade Enterprises, to be effective on small fires as a first line of defence.

In todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s world we are increasingly reliant on electronic devices and peripherals, including the many adaptors and chargers they require. Faulty or damaged electronics can result in a small fire, which if left unnoticed for any length of time can quickly develop into a home destroying and or life threatening scenario, especially in vulnerable places such as the bedroom or in the car. Spray-Safe has passed a Di-Electric test to 35KVa, ensuring it is safe to be used on live electrical equipment/installations up to 1000v from a distance of 1 meter. Never use Spray-Safe on an electrical distribution or fuse board. Class A - Combustible Materials (wood, paper, fabric etc.) Class B - Flammable Liquids (petrol, oil, paint, etc.) Class F - Cooking Oils & Fats

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112 Fire & Rescue mag ad NOVEMBER.indd 1

08/11/2017 17:02

aRFF profile

The airport fire brigade is looking into options for realistic powder and foam training. One solution might lie in the installation of a water reclamation system at the training ground.


airport. ‘We know this area well, so we know best how to deal with incidents here.’ Formally, Schiphol is part of the council of Haarlemmermeer, but it is really a city in its own right, with its own ambulance, police, and border security. Together with the fire service, these services train together to prepare for large- and small-scale incidents.

Professional competence and training Schiphol Airport is also planning to replace its current fire training rig, called the Firefly. Bruinstroop explains that the current version has reached the end of its life and is costing too much to maintain. A new rig is needed as it is not only Schiphol FB that uses this real-fire simulator for training, but other brigades as well. And this is an area that Bruinstroop would like to expand. ‘We are looking to reposition ourselves in the market and further commercialise,’ he says. ‘I would like us to offer fire safety, health and safety, and aircraft firefighting training, amongst others things. We would also like to increase our expertise and conduct training with new types of aircraft and with powder and foam. Right now we can only use water in training, but it is very important to know how to use foams and powders correctly, and to conduct realistic training exercises.’ As a result, Schiphol FB is weighing up its options. One of these is to install a water filtering and recycling system at its training ground to faciliate training with foams. ‘There are currently too few options to actually train with powder and foam,’ says Bruinstroop. ‘When the emergency response crew are responding to a major air crash here at the airport, we have to perform to an Olympic level. A silver medal will not suffice. Gold is the only thing that matters, therefore the whole team needs to know how to properly deal with foam and powder.’ As the airport is ICAO Cat 10, Schiphol FB has to be at the scene of an incident in under three minutes – as dictated by EASA standards. The response structure mandates that the two closest posts respond to the incident, while the third remains on standby in case additional incidents occur or the airport has to close.

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The fire brigade rotates staff through different functions on each shift to ensure everyone knows what to do in every capacity. For example, someone could work as a driver on one shift and handle the monitor on the next. This system delivers benefits when a staff member is off sick or on annual leave, as everyone can do every job. The exception is the airport fire officer who focuses on incident command. ‘This system makes it easier to work with a limited number of team members,’ explains Bruinstroop. ‘Schiphol FB is a highly specialised brigade, and everyone must be at the top of their game at all times. For this reason, we carry out regular pro-checks.’ These tests take place once a year and include fitness and physical abilities, firefighting skills, driving skills, skills in the field, and incident command. ‘Our firefighters and airport fire officer officers must demonstrate that they are up to date with their professional skills. These are performance markers, so if someone does not pass the test, they will receive the training to do so. In general, our instructors pick up these potential problems during our daily training, so failed pro-checks don’t happen often. In principle, our staff are training for these checks every single day.’ It is not easy to become a firefighter at Schiphol. Bruinstroop explains that there is a very rigorous selection process and that recruits must finish the training course regardless of whether they already have firefighting certification. ‘We have a good attitude to training. It is important that recruits learn and accept the Schiphol attitude. Compared to local authority fire services, Schiphol FB has just three minutes to respond and not a second more.’ Bruinstroop is clearly very proud to work at Schiphol Fire Brigade and, together with his colleagues, he ensures that not only are safety standards as high as they can be, but that the fire brigade is well-equipped and well-trained to respond to incidents. With the constant expansion of what is already Europe’s third largest airport, keeping this fire service on top of its game is an ongoing challenge. The latest expansion will put more pressure on the fire service, but Schiphol FB is not only adapting to meet these needs, but it is also continuing to improve, putting this airport fire service on the frontline as a leader and innovator in its field.

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Training in HRETs


Newcastle Airport Training Academy has been appointed as the official HRET training partner for Rosenbauer UK.

ewcastle International Airport Training Academy has been selected as the official partner of Rosenbauer UK for the delivery of HRET training in the UK. The Academy will offer two-day user training courses alongside three-day ‘train the trainer’ courses, delivered in either standalone format or integrated into its standard Initial and Refresher courses. Bespoke courses to meet individual needs will also be available. John Purdy, Newcastle International Airport’s commercial training manager, says that the academy was the obvious choice to deliver this training, thanks to its operational expertise, excellent facilities, and Rosenbauer appliances. The training will provide delegates with information on tactics, techniques, and operational methods for HRET use as well as practical operational training using either HRETs or Rosenbauer demonstration appliances. Delegates will also have the opportunity to train on the Rosenbauer simulator with input from Rosenbauer’s team of engineers. ‘The simulator will enable the operator to practise in multiple scenarios in very realistic conditions, and means we can upskill operators without the need to use the appliance, saving on time and cost,’ says Purdy. ‘This will ensure that they gain a good level of operational competency and maximise the benefits of the practical training.’ The training offered by Newcastle will also help delegates meet the requirements of hot fire and/or BA training if required. ‘Newcastle has been at the forefront of aviation firefighting training for many years and the academy has extensive experience of HRETs,’ says Purdy. ‘These comprehensive new training courses will offer delegates the chance to learn the tactics and techniques that we have used successfully for many years. The courses will also provide practical operation in fighting class B and C fires, ensuring that delegates maintain their operational competencies.’

Panthers for NATO in Kabul The emergency fire safety provision at Afghanistan's Kabul Airport received a boost in November 2017 with the delivery of two Rosenbauer 6x6 Panther crash tenders to NATO.


osenbauer UK has announced the delivery of two 6x6 Panther fire trucks to NATO in Afghanistan for use at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. The £1.1 million (US $1.5 million) contract was secured by Rosenbauer UK’s managing director Oliver North, and signed in November 2017. The two 39-tonne Panthers, which were purchased to replace existing units, can reach a speed of 80kph within 29 seconds. They can each carry 11,000 litres of water and can deliver 9,000 litres of water or foam per minute. The contract with NATO is one of 11 agreements secured within the airport industry in 2017 for


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Rosenbauer UK. It is also a source of particular pride for MD Oliver North, who started his career in the military at the age of 17. ‘In 2017, many airports across the UK entrusted us to provide Panthers to meet their demanding requirements, but it’s fantastic to have delivered these state-of-the-art appliances to NATO,’ he said. ‘Supplying this military alliance with the best airport trucks available on the market is a particular source of fulfilment for me. I served in the Royal Engineers for just over seven years, so it’s personally a really proud moment to provide NATO with what is the best product in our line up — the Rosenbauer Panther — which will serve its time watching over Kabul’s airport.’

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hooklift foam tender

It is not just about the height:


A hooklift foam tender from Trigen Automotive has just been delivered to Changi Airport in Singapore. The vehicle is one of the largest firefighting vehicles produced by Trigen and was developed specifically for the airport to handle fuel-related fire incidents as quickly as possible. It carries a large hooklift pod containing foam concentrate and uses an enginedriven fire pump. The foam tender is 9.2m long, 2.8m wide and 3.75m tall, yet is still capable of manoeuvring in narrow spaces. It has a singlestage, centrifugal fire pump driven by a diesel engine that is capable of 6,000 lpm of water at 10 bar, while the large-flow, electronically-controlled monitor can achieve a range of 80m. The monitor is coupled with an aspirating foam branch pipe for a consistent foam product during firefighting operations. The vehicleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s foam tank holds up to 8,000 litres of foam and the foam pod module can be set down independently from the vehicle. When the foam pod is nearly empty, the tender can return with the filled pod from a nearby station, or the entire pod module that is set down on the ground can serve as a distribution point for foam concentrate to other vehicles.

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The PPE detox Decontex is a liquid CO2 decontamination concept for PPE that could significantly reduce firefighters' occupational exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. MD Tommy Verminck tells Ann-Marie Knegt why he believes the system could save thousands of lives.


Tests have shown that ultra-fine particles can become trapped in PPE, increasing a firefigher's exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals.


ancer is the leading cause of work-related deaths in Europe, and firefighters are particularly at risk. When tests revealed that PPE was partly responsible for firefighters' exposure to toxic chemicals, Tommy Verminck's career took an unexpected turn. The former head of the national procurement programme for all Belgian firefighting PPE is now heading up a new system of PPE decontamination using liquid CO2 that could be a game changer in terms of reducing a firefighter's risk of developing work-related cancer. Decontex is already in use in 20 safety zones in the Benelux region and is gaining momentum elsewhere in Europe. Verminck is convinced of the system’s benefits and importance. ‘This will improve the protection of workers, provide employers with more legal protection, and save hundreds of thousands of lives over the next 15 years.’ It is a bold claim, but one that Verminck says is backed by science. Marianne Thyssen, the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills, and Labour Mobility, issued a press notice in May 2016 about occupational disease. This stated that not only is cancer the number one cause of work-related deaths in Europe, but that 53% of all work-related deaths are in reality cancer-related. Emergency responders make up a major part of occupational cancer diagnoses, and this is the target group of Decontex. ‘Emergency responders, including firefighters, never really know what they are going to be exposed to, as opposed to people working in a factory with known risks,' says Verminck. 'Their only form of protection is their PPE.’

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Firefighters are especially at risk. A biomonitoring trial of 100 firefighters in Antwerp in 2011 looked at levels of VOCs (volatile organic components) and PAKs (polucyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) by taking urine samples before and after an incident. ‘Researchers noted the expected rise of VOC levels to 37% and the rise in PAKs to 85% after a fire. However, they also found an increase of 28% in VOCs and 68% in PAKs during RTCs and rescue scenarios where there was no fire,’ explains Verminck. These alarming results prompted researchers to look deeper, consulting leading professors at the Universities of Ghent, Antwerp, and Brussels, who came up with a concerning theory. Toxic chemicals can enter the body in three ways: via the digestive system, via inhalation, and via the skin (percutaneous). At the time of the trials, the percutaneous route of toxin absorption was not well known, but the professors suspected that the raised levels of toxins revealed by the tests were caused by percutaneous absorption of particles contaminating firefighters’ clothing. This prompted the Brussels Fire Service to carry out further testing. Firefighters dressed in turn out gear sat in a room for four hours. They did not respond to any incidents. They were tested before and after the four-hour period, and the results showed a 48% rise in toxins in their urine. This confirmed the suspicion that contaminated PPE was part of the problem.

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‘These results caused quite an upset within the Belgian fire service and led to a much greater awareness of how to wear and maintain PPE properly,’ says Verminck. ‘The onus shifted to protecting the firefighter, and we developed a premium maintenance model.’ Boxes are supplied to Decontex clients in the fire service that are either carried on special decontamination units or on conventional fire trucks. After an incident, firefighters deposit the contaminated garments in the boxes – all garments are RFID-chipped by Decontex and linked to a management system. The box is scanned using a smartphone app and the nearest Decontex driver is dispatched to collect it, either directly from an incident or from the station. ‘We have our own vans in Belgium, France and parts of The Netherlands,’ says Verminck. ‘We also have a contract with DPD, whose drivers will get a pop up on their in-cab screen when they are in the vicinity. The boxes are transported to one of our decontamination centres, where they are opened in a clean room and a specialist carries out triage.’ This triage involves a visual review of the state of the garments. ‘Do they simply require decontamination or do they also need repairs? Based on this assessment, the garments are then sorted into bags for either visual contamination, damage, or non-standard contamination/hazardous materials. Then we put the garments through the decontamination process.’

Bristol Uniforms Protecting the world’s firefighters

The development of Decontex Decontex NV as a company is the result of a project financed by the Flemish government, called Innovation and Business, involving detergent producer Christeyns, Electrolux, Procter & Gamble, the University of Ghent, and certification institute Centexbel. In total, more than €1 million (US$1.24 million) was invested to develop the decontamination process, which is based on NASA technology. This technology was orginally sold to three companies, including Electrolux, and other the partners became involved at a later stage. The result is the Deco2fire technology used by Decontex. ‘The machine we have developed is relatively large,' explains Verminck. 'It weighs five tonnes and has a small drum with a 20kg capacity. This has space for around four fire suits and a couple of sets of gloves. The clothing is placed in the drum and is sucked into a vacuum. The drum is pressurised with CO2 gas, and

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PPE – decontamination

Decontex takes a holistic approach to firefighter safety. It has developed a quality control system that idenifies garments that need to be repaired and replaced.


because CO2 molecules are very small they can penetrate the fibres. As the machine increases the pressure, the CO2 liquefies and breaks the forces attaching the dirt and toxins to the garment.’ Then the drum begins to turn very slowly, at one revolution per minute, and the CO2 is filtered until all dirt and toxins are gone and the garment is completely decontaminated. ‘What we have created is an ultimate level of decontamination for firefighting garments,’ says Verminck. ‘The EN 469 standard for firefighting PPE includes no information about how to decontaminate garments. NFPA1851 does, but we have based the system on the Reach regulations, which contain guidelines on Substances of Very High Concern. For textiles, these guidelines are defined in the Oeko-Tex standard.’ Oeko-Tex consists of four different classes: Class 1 textiles for babies and small children; Class 2 textiles, for example for use in underwear, that come into direct contact with skin; Class 3 for textiles that have no or minor direct skin contact, such as jackets; and Class 4 for furnishing materials. Decontex is focused mainly on Class 3 clothing. A firefighting suit has multiple layers – an outer shell, a membrane, a thermal barrier, and a lining. If cleaned only with water, the garment will still contain high levels of contaminants. Tests on a two-year-old suit from Antwerp’s fire department revealed a volume of toxins six times higher than permitted by the Oeko-Tex standard. The suit had been in several fires and cleaned using water. ‘Water only really cleans the outer layer and doesn’t do anything for the rest of the garment,’ Verminck explains. There are other unintentional benefits to CO2 cleaning, as it also eliminates microorganisms. ‘Tests carried out in Dutch laboratory using our CO2 method showed that the PPE is cleaned to the standard required for use in operating theatres. Some might argue that you do not need that level of

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cleanliness for firefighting. However, I believe that it is a positive side effect that has the potential to avoid a whole host of other issues.’ Those other issues include C8 and C6 fluorocarbons, chemicals that are often used to coat the outer shell of firefighting PPE for water and chemical resistance. In a conventional PPE wash cycle at 85-90°C, these can enter the water system. ‘These chemicals are bad for the environment and detrimental to human health and they also reduce the breathability of PPE. Therefore, we have created an impregnator called Imprecco. This substance can be diluted in liquid CO2 and only coats aramid fibres, not viscose or natural fibres. This means the suit is only coated on the outside. This has several advantages. The PPE maintains its breathability and there is no need to dry it.’ Garments that do not need to be dried last significantly longer, which is important because PPE is expensive. ‘This method also has a much reduced impact on the environment, because the contaminants are disposed of as hazardous waste and 98% of the CO2 is recycled. Decontex also inspects garments for damage before they are returned, and has developed an automatic quality control system. This records data about each garment and informs fire services when PPE needs to be repaired or replaced. At a time when concern is growing sharply about firefighters’ exposure to toxic chemicals during the performance of their duties, as well as the dangers posed by PPE itself, Decontex offers a glimmer of hope. Contamination will remain an issue – there is no getting away from the realities of a firefighter’s occupational exposure – but initiatives such as Decontex are for the first time offering fire services realistic and effective methods of mitigating those risks and putting the health and wellbeing of their firefighters first.

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Wearable technology The rapid development of data-driven technologies has the potential to transform the emergency services' critical decision making and improve both safety and operational performance, write Ian Greatbatch and Iain Houseman.


n a workplace environment where both regulation and risk are unavoidable, organisations need tools and processes in place to make sense of the landscape. Fortunately, technology exists that allow us to quantify and understand risk and inform our decision making. Advances in technology – some in place today, some just around the corner, some in operation in other sectors – already allow organisations, managers, and staff to be better informed and to work in safer ways. Ultimately, that should the aim of all of us – to create a safe and productive workplace. Society in general has an expectation that technology should be easy, accessible, affordable, and fit for purpose. The fact that anyone can code an app for any computing platform, across all devices, has democratised computing technology to an extent. That democratisation, most would agree, is a force for good. But it does create some issues for managers. For example, if I know that it is feasible to create an app to make my job safer or easier, then it is a reasonable expectation on my part for my employers to put it in place. The obvious risk for managers here is that they have to both stay on top of technological advances in order to understand their potential, but also to manage those expectations. For example, a piece of software may well be technologically feasible, but what if it brings costs of implementation or purchase that are not themselves reasonable? This problem is nothing new, and it is not limited to the emergency services, although there has always been a close

Wearable technology is not a new concept. However, the way we treat the data that is gathered has changed. Top: wearable technology has been around since the pocket watch. Image © Shutterstock.


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relationship between technology and safety within the sector. This article will look at data-driven technology – some of the possibilities of which we have outlined in earlier articles – with an eye on safety and compliance within our sector. Emerging data technology that can assimilate data feeds from tens of thousands of sources, then benchmark this in real time, relating it to historical trends, lessons learnt and tactical considerations, represents a step change in critical decisionmaking in dynamic incident management.

Current demands on commanders and managers Currently, the spans of control for managers and commanders can quickly be overwhelmed by the volume, speed, and complexity of the information presented to them, often while the resources to achieve the objectives are getting into place or being identified and requested. We can reduce this burden, to some extent, by collating simultaneous information feeds from resources at any incident/event and by factoring in other key information that will have an impact. Other information may include weather, the functionality of resources available, staff skills or experience and performance, task completion, and external pressures such as the press or wider strategic aims. The emergency services are, in some sense, in an information arms race with the media and public, in that information typically moves faster through social media and broadcast/Internet media than it does through our systems. That said, as difficult (or irritating) as this may be, it does mean that lessons are there to be learned from the way that these systems operate. We can learn a lesson from social media in the way it handles information relating to a task or event. You may have been prompted by a social media account to do something based on an anniversary – maybe you have been friends with someone for a certain length of time, for example. Although more complex, that sort of analysis of historic data can be used on the fireground. We could present a view of live data (concerning the environment and resources attending an incident) but also view historic decisions, actions and results that are relevant. We can present commanders and managers with options based on a real-time but sophisticated interpretation of the live data within the context of the historic data. This represents

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wearable technology

Scott Sight’s integrated thermal imaging camera and safety mask is an example of wearable technology that is changing the way information is made available to firefighters.

a system in which tactical options for decision makers are presented in a way that could reduce the complexity of the working environment and allow us to make better decisions. Bringing us back to our overriding purpose, this makes incidents safer for responders. There are some technological hurdles to overcome in order to achieve this. It relies on resilient and super-fast networking and processing as well as mobile display and input, and a great deal of work to incorporate the tactical considerations into the process. Obviously it serves no one well to have a

Post-incident PPE cleanser that won't damage kit Special cleansing wipes for cleaning firefighters’ masks and helmets after incidents have been developed by Safety Fire Products. The Netherlands-based company says the wipes contain a cleaning product that doesn’t damage equipment or PPE. They contain no solvents or abrasives and are PH neutral. They can even be used to clean skin on the face and hands. ‘Many of our fire service customers were dealing with equipment malfunctions caused by cleaning products that damaged their kit,’ explains Henry Esman, owner of Safety Fire Products. This included damage to adaptors and visors with limited or no visibility. ‘We discovered that many fire service staff used any old cleaning product for their gear. We saw people using brake cleanser, dishwasher machine tablets, methylated spirit, and even abrasive products intended for bathrooms or kitchens.’ Safety Fire Products conducted in-depth research and approached a detergent manufacturer to develop a specific cleanser for fire service equipment, which was incorporated into the new wipes. These are available in re-sealable buckets of 125 wipes and are now issued as standard on many Dutch, Belgian, and German fire trucks. The company has also started selling the wipes into French fire services and hopes to expand its customer base across the world.


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system that makes nonsensical, inappropriate, or dangerous suggestions to the commander. Much of the technology already exists within-sector, but in an inappropriate form – for example as a static desktop application as opposed to something mobile. The good news is that these technological burdens have all been overcome in other specialist applications, so the challenge here is really to develop and integrate existing technologies and to apply them to our profession, rather than to develop an entirely new set of technologies. We would also assume that advances in augmented reality/virtual reality displays, data manipulation processing, AI and decisionsupport software will play a key role in making this possible. Technological hurdles aside, we will also need to consider data safety and address issues of personal information sharing. This is particularly so in light of the forthcoming introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU in May. That said, our goal should be to look beyond those challenges to see where technology, appropriately used, shared and managed, can make significant improvements to the safety and management of organisations, as well as providing more integrated ways of working in a challenging working environment.

Creating the data to develop solutions Creating data from personnel in an emergency or dynamic problem-solving environment is key to understanding the performance of individuals, teams, and the wider organisation, set against the environmental factors within which they operate. Many systems have been conceptualised that take multiple, large datasets and analyse them. However, they typically only consider data gathered at an incident, or related to a narrow band of themes. There is actually the opportunity to carry out much more sophisticated analysis than that, if we start to think of a career (or even pre-career) as a continuum of data-gathering opportunities, all contributing to making that individual safer and more effective. Biometric data, data on decisions, and data on environmental exposures – all collected through wearable technology (smart PPE) – can all be combined into a complex picture, that in turn forms part of a bigger picture presented to the commander in the field. They also combine to give an organisation a richer image of an individual’s overall health, beyond annual check-ups, meaning that occurrences of non-fireground deaths can be reduced, if not entirely avoided. Over time, the big data gathered from workplaces across different industry sectors can form the basis of trend analysis and benchmarking for future optimisation of organisational, team, and individual performance. With a strong consistent data pool, a mature picture of the organisations’ strengths and weaknesses can be developed to deliver support to managers and individuals creating a growing strength in the overall team. This can be extended to a point where it is understood that types of personal physique, intellectual or behavioural traits can be identified as an option to present to the manager/ commander leading the task. For example, this could apply where a team are consistently strong at a task because they have a physical advantage – they are large or small, they are fitter or stronger – based on biometric and historical performance data from training and incidents. The use of wearable technology is the next big step to making this achievable and is now linked to a commercial market that is exploding and creating cost-effective solutions to achieve organisational, team, and individual objectives.

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wearable technology

The evolution of wearables The market for wearable technology has been around since the advent of the pocket watch, but it has recently entered into a new dimension with the popularity of fitness trackers and smartwatches. The wearables market is estimated to be worth US$28 billion per year globally. It consists of: ‘several categories of personal devices, all of which are worn or attached to the body. The categories include smart watches, fitness trackers, smart glasses, body sensors, wearable cameras, location trackers, gesture devices, and smart clothing. These devices serve a wide range of purposes from healthcare to lifelogging, to safety notifications’ (Hanuska et al, 2016). A smallish subsection of that market consists of smart clothing, yet we see smart clothing – or rather smart PPE – as one of the crucial building blocks for our information revolution. Smart clothing builds on the personal fitness market by incorporating an array of sensors, built into tunics, helmets, leggings, boots or gloves, that does not distract or hinder the wearer. This array will constantly record and share information across a whole spectrum of factors – from biometric data on the wearer through to environmental data such as contaminants. If this PPE is always worn – in exercises, training, and routine jobs – the data combines and collates to inform commanders in major incidents. It takes a lifetime of learning to the incident ground, incorporating previous learning into the formation of activity options, helping commanders and managers to deliver results that are based on best practice in real time.

About the Authors: Iain Houseman

Iain Houseman is currently the head of regulatory fire safety protection and prevention for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service in the UK. He has held roles in the local authority trading company as a contract and business development manager, head of training, crossservice support, and operations resources manager creating new systems and processes to support change in the modern fire service. Houseman is currently completing a Masters in Systems Thinking in Practice.

Ian Greatbatch

Dr Ian Greatbatch, FRGS, MEPS, FHEA, is a firefighter for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service in the UK, a freelance researcher, and formerly an associate professor at Kingston University, London. He is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Portsmouth. He specialises in operational research into search and rescue, fire and rescue, and the application of geographical information and data management to those disciplines.

Why is this important? In one sense, we can’t afford not to get involved. There are a number of converging technologies and drivers that mean that as the overarching technology becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous, it becomes so overwhelmingly cost-effective that to not have it in place is reckless in the extreme. In other words, the benefits that this approach brings mean that any organisation not using it will be so uncompetitive in comparison to its rivals that it will soon be obsolete. In another linked sense, we may find that our hand is forced. We have seen with other technological advances over the years that once established, these can quickly become a basic right. For example, it may well be cheaper to handwrite letters than to fund an administrative employee’s laptop, but no one today really expects that they would not have access to modern-day computing. Once technology becomes established, especially when it concerns safety, there is an understandable expectation that it will be in place. Imagine, for example, a fire service that did not use BA, or modern fire helmets – how could they seriously maintain that they genuinely took their employees’ safety seriously? Once we implement this kind of joined-up, networked, ubiquitous, sensor-laden PPE we can create a workplace where employees and employers can measure health and wellbeing at all times. Monitoring everything during training and operations will allow us to close the gap between the two. We can make training match the biometric signature of operations and equally, by training in a more realistic manner, we could bring down the stress of operations. This can only make us all, and the public, safer.

References Hanuska, A; Chandramohan, B; Bellamy, L; Burke, P; Ramanathan, R and Balakrishnan, V. 2016. Smart Clothing Market Analysis. UC Berkely Sutarja Center for Entrepreneurship & technology - wp-content/uploads/Smart-Clothing-Market-Analysis-Report.pdl

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positive pressure ventilation

The evolving role of PPV

What is the most effective way to use PPV? How has best practice evolved? Fire & Rescue asked two experts to share their views on current thinking in this area. First up, Supervac's Roger Weinmeister argues that the changing nature of building fires means PPV is most effective for smoke ventilation once extinguishment is underway.


moke can do many things. It can give us information about what is burning, and how efficiently it is burning. It can let us know if there is enough oxygen for combustion and maybe even give us an idea of what is on fire. None of us like smoke. Even the fire itself does not like smoke. It robs the fire of the oxygen it needs and forces it into the smouldering phase. However, smoke can also be used to control the fire. From the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;close the doorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; campaigns of the 1950s to the latest firefighting techniques employing smoke blocking devices, managing smoke can be a major help in managing the fire. Many firefighters are now realising that with the combination of modern fuel loads and energy efficient building practices, most residential fires have reached the point of being O2 limited (O2L) by the time firefighters arrive on scene. Unless

When initiating PPV, it is important to make sure that the size of the fan matches the size of the building smoke load.


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the fire has self-ventilated, it has usually reached a point where it is starved of oxygen. Until recently, some of the most aggressive firefighting techniques used positive pressure ventilation first on-scene. The concept was to push the smoke and heat out of the structure to allow oxygenated air to reach victims and give the extinguishment team the best visibility to the seat of the fire. However, it has now been found that such operations can, in many cases, quickly accelerate fire conditions. When arriving at a fire that is O2L, the fire has everything it needs to grow rapidly â&#x20AC;&#x201C; except oxygen. Using a PPV fan in the attack phase can be counterproductive in terms of putting out the fire. While it may help to control the smoke at first, it could accelerate fire conditions by suppling oxygen. Even opening the entrance door and leaving it open can help feed the fire. Recent studies have shown that, upon arrival, controlling the oxygen to the seat of the fire is key. The best way to see that oxygen levels are being controlled is to watch the smoke. If smoke is not exiting the fire room in great quantities, oxygen is not entering the fire room in great quantities. If oxygen is not entering in great quantities, the state of the fire is not changing rapidly. Now that there is control, extinguishment can start. And once extinguishment begins, so can smoke removal. The most effective technique for smoke ventilation is PPV. The PPV fan is generally set up in full view of command on the A side of the structure. Firefighters work in the clean airstream between the fire seat and the staging area. As long as the fire suppression has started, and the firefighters are using their training and thermal imaging cameras, there is little that can go wrong at this stage. The main contraindication for the use of PPV is in a fire such

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positive pressure ventilation

as the recent tragedy at Sejong Hospital in South Korea. Buildings with limited access to the weather are usually handled better with negative pressure ventilation or, more commonly, smoke ejection. These types of buildings include homes for the elderly, prisons, some government buildings, and schools. By using smoke ejection in these situations, you can prevent the disruption of large numbers of people in the building. Allowing the air to arrive from whatever source, and to be ejected by a fan pulling a negative pressure near the fire seat, is the most effective method to handle room and contents fires in buildings with limited access. When initiating PPV, it is important to make sure that the size of the fan matches the size of the building smoke load. Just as you would not start an attack on a large warehouse fire with a 40mm hose line, you should not try to ventilate a large structure with a 40cm fan. If you find yourself in such a situation, use natural air currents to your advantage. Or use multiple fans to increase the airflow. You can also use existing doors or add portable smoke blocking devices to minimise airflow into areas of the structure that do not require ventilation. You can use these same ideas to sequentially ventilate various rooms or floors of larger structures. If you are facing a very large and open structure â&#x20AC;&#x201C; for example, sports stadiums, concert halls, tunnels or large distribution warehouses â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you will need a very large fan or else be prepared to be on scene for a very long time. Such fans can be obtained from many manufacturers and hopefully can be shared strategically with surrounding fire districts. For general PPV use, there are a wide variety of options for you to choose from. It is usually advisable to select the largest fan that will fit in the compartment of your vehicle. Larger fans can move more air, and if they move too much air, they can

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always be set further back or slowed to reduce the air flow. After size, the most important selection factor for PPV fans is the power source. Electric motors (both AC and DC via batteries) are the most common, followed closely by petroldriven engines. Water-powered units are also available but are generally used in more specialised applications such as hazardous material incidents. The most popular electric fans feature variable-speed motors, which enable you to precisely control the airflow for a particular situation. They allow for higher airflows than fixedspeed units when you need to push lots of smoke, and much smaller airflows for use in rehab or minor fires. These fans can also be battery-powered. Advances in battery technology have helped electric fans become more powerful and lighter in weight, although they are still among the more expensive options. Another important option for AC-powered PPV fans is an explosionproof motor. While these motors increase the cost and are not available in variable speed models, they can be used in hazardous situations involving propane and natural gas. Petrol power is reliable, and it is the most powerful option for powering a fan. Petrol-powered fans can also run for long periods of time without connection to generators. However, a drawback is the exhaust, which may need to be controlled with exhaust extensions to keep the CO and exhaust smells out of the fanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s airstream. The great advantage of the firefighting industry globally is its willingness to share its successes and failures to improve firefighting techniques. That openness, coupled with the accessibility of the Internet, allows firefighters to share ideas that move our collective knowledge forward. Hopefully, such valuable information will help save more lives in the future.

First Quarter 2018 < FIRE & RESCUE <


positive pressure ventilation

Rethinking ventilation Leader's Alan Tranter argues that it is time for fire and rescue services to reconsider their PPV practice and get more out of their fans.


Leader blower fans are adapted for all types of PPV: offensive, defensive, and combined fire ventilation.


irefighters and others involved in the restitution of buildings following a fire have understood for many years the benefits of ventilation. Indeed, manual ventilation of a property was always a key learning point under the code of what was then referred to as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;firemanshipâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. While this term may not be so politically correct today, the principles remain â&#x20AC;&#x201C; only now they are augmented by mechanical means. Positive pressure ventilation takes place via mechanical means, whether those means are fixed permanently within a building or, as is more likely, involve the deployment of a portable fan. This tool of the trade can be petrol-driven, electric or hydraulic. Or, as is currently favoured, it can use a rechargeable battery system. What is the true value of PPV in the ever-changing world of today's firefighter? Well, if we look at overall sales across Europe, the market is growing. This would indicate that PPV remains an important tool for firefighters when dealing with a ventilated (or indeed unventilated) property fire. The science behind ventilation has developed significantly over the last 30 years. We now understand the movement of hot gases and the forces required to push or indeed pull them from the environment, thus creating a breathable atmosphere for those trapped in or entering an affected

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positive pressure ventilation

building for search and rescue. Innovation has led to the development of rechargeable battery-driven PPV. This has enabled fleet engineers to configure lower axle weight payloads when specifying lightweight response vehicles over the more traditional major pumping appliances.

Changes in skill sets The continued drive towards cost reduction has meant that fire and rescues services must now look to reviewing the traditional skill sets associated with a conventional firefighter. As a consequence, PPV needs to be light in construction, easy to handle and manoeuvre, and capable of operation with the minimum of knowledge. My own training as an instructor took place at the Fire Service College in the UK in the mid 1990s, and the development of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;three phases of use' was a result of a lot of hard work by many people. Only a small number of fire and rescue services today are committed to the ultimate use of PPV and use it in an attack mode. The majority use PPV in a post-fire environment, and many would say this is an underuse of its true capability. Of course, it is not just in the blue light industry where PPV is used. The amber light market, which includes local authorities, is a growth sector. Anyone who has a need to work in an enclosed environment where it is likely that the atmosphere is irrespirable will benefit from the use of PPV. As to the future, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries will likely be incorporated, together with faster means of charging. However, this has to be balanced against the total weight of the product and ensuring that it can fulfil its operational requirements. As fire and rescue services continue to manage reducing budgets, this will likely mean fewer operational personnel. In order for firefighters to be more effective, senior managers

will have to consider the additional training necessary to undertake a proactive fire attack using PPV in the initial stages. This will facilitate search and rescue and, ultimately, a fire attack by fewer firefighters. But it is not without risk. Early use of PPV will initially intensify the fire and increase temperatures, but the atmosphere and visibility will improve dramatically. It has been argued that the potential risk of increased injury to trapped persons and/or firefighters if ventilation is not carried out correctly is the reason that so few fire and rescue services today undertake an initial attack using PPV. PPV is an established protocol, and most frontline fire and rescue vehicles carry some form of PPV, and yet this is an area of operational activity that is underused. The time is right for fire and rescue services to rethink how they can use PPV and, in doing so, how it may contribute to their medium- to long-term economic strategies.

About the Author: Alan Tranter served for 28 years in the Uk's West Midlands Fire Service, retiring as a group manager. As well as operational command responsibilities, he also headed up the client services department within the technical and operational support directorate. Since his retirement in 2011, Tranter has been retained by the Leader Group as a consultant.

West Midlands FRS selects rosenbauer ppv units

West Midlands Fire Service in the UK has acquired 45 new PPV units from Rosenbauer UK. West Midlands FRS protects almost three million residents with a network of 39 fire stations staffed by 1,600 firefighters. It has been a pioneer in fire training and ventilation techniques for nearly 20 years and opted to replace its existing fans with units from Rosenbauer UK's Fanergy range. The Fanergy range uses Rosenbauer's all-in-one airflow technology and specially designed fan unit to create a powerful, optimised airflow and minimise turbulence. The fans are designed to deliver air into buildings in higher volumes and at higher pressure in a more targeted way, and can be used for all kinds of tactical ventilation. The fans come in two sizes with tilt adjustment from -20° to +20° and a flexible set up distance of two to seven metres.

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Facts on clinical care As the need for clinical governance for fire and rescue services becomes clearer, Dr Mark Forrest from ATACC Group addresses some common misconceptions and demonstrates how the PIRATES approach may help to get the process started.


here is so much confusion about clinical governance in the fire and rescue service, as it is an area that is still very much evolving. However, as services become increasingly involved in the care, health, and wellbeing of the public, the need for supporting governance is becoming ever greater. While the focus in this article is on the UK, clinical governance is something that fire services all around the world need to be taking seriously. ATACC Group has been providing services in the field of clinical governance for over ten years and we have already seen a huge change in how UK fire services are managing this. Some have employed dedicated medical directors and have high-quality governance processes already in place. Others have little, if anything, established, and as a result are potentially exposed as organisations. In the NHS and the wider UK healthcare system, the leading body overseeing governance is the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Other countries may have similar organisations overseeing this area. The NHS definition of clinical governance is: ‘a framework through which NHS organisations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish’ (Department of Health, 1998). We have previously contacted CQC on behalf of the fire service and there are currently no plans for the UK’s fire and rescue services to come under this body’s scrutiny and standards. However, as FRS develop their role in healthcare provision, it becomes more likely that sooner or later their casualty care and health will come under the CQC spotlight. Hospital, GP surgeries, ambulance trusts, transport services, dental surgeries, and nursing homes already come under CQC regulation and inspection. A key term here is ‘accountable’. If nothing else, any organisation involved with any aspect of hands-on casualty care should be encouraged to follow the lead and principles of accountability, as set down within the NHS and healthcare system. But there are other key terms – continuous


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improvement, safeguarding, quality and excellence – which should all play a crucial role for healthcare providers of all types. Ultimately, clinical governance is best when it is adopted as a culture within an organisation and runs through everything they do. In view of this, it seems wise for fire and rescue services to follow the same principles and methods employed by CQC and adapt them to existing fire and rescue models, as many elements will already be in place, such as training, health and safety, and incident reporting. Some services that work in partnership with ambulance trusts may hope that they can rely on the trust’s CQC registration or governance, but this is not an ideal or robust solution. Fire and rescue services should be encouraged to develop their own processes, just as they do for any other aspect of their professional work. Ultimately each service and its chief fire officer are responsible, and this cannot be deferred to another organisation.

Starting point It may be easier to first consider what a clinical governance system is not. It is not simply oversight or an insurance policy from your training provider or local ambulance trust. Rather, it is an active culture of continuous improvement within the organisation itself. That improvement, whether we are talking about a fire service in the UK or abroad, must be based upon national standards, guidelines, local risks, feedback, and performance, specifically modelled around the service needs of the organisation and built into the IRMP (integrated risk management plan). It is surprising how many fire services are convinced that they have effective governance in place, as their courses are ratified by an awarding body such as Qualsafe or Royal College of Surgeons, or their course providers claim to include it on their training courses. That said, many services do use external providers for guidance, advice and support to establish, direct, and assist

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them through the complexities and challenges of clinical governance, and this is often a good idea. This support can also include the provision of specialist expert knowledge around medical care, training or the governance processes. Ultimately, a dedicated medical director who is a senior doctor with an appropriate background in pre-hospital or emergency care and who is familiar with fire and rescue service operations will be best placed to direct a developing service governance process.

Fire and rescue service governance structure There are several elements to this structure. There are the day-to-day elements and records of training and delivery of care, supported by a simple pathway for questions and queries to be raised and fed back to crews. This should happen as quickly as possible. In addition to this day-to-day work, there are also governance meetings set at regular dates, where issues are summarised and reviewed. There needs to be representation from senior management, training, operational delivery, health and safety, clinical experts, the legal team, and other local providers, such as ambulance trusts and clinical commissioning groups. Many aspects of the process, such as training and staffing, will already be in place through current education, national standards, human resources, and health and safety within the organisation. Much of clinical governance is pulling together all of these records and evidence into a single forum where it is easily accessible, answerable, and accountable if required. The acronym PIRATES describes the seven main elements of the process: Patient and public Information and IT Risk management Audit Training and education Effectiveness Staff management

Patient and public engagement and involvement This is something that fire and rescue services are often already good at, although not necessarily in relation to healthcare. In this context it refers to improving services by involving patients and the public by gathering feedback.

Information and IT Any action relating to a casualty should be recorded. This not only includes clinical assessment, treatments and therapies but also situations where the carer decides that no treatment is required. For example, if no hard collar is required at a road traffic collision or there is no need for formal extrication.

Dr Mark Forrest is medical director and joint founder of The ATACC Group.


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These details should be recorded in a standardised fashion that can easily be reviewed at a later stage (see audit below) and this typically involves a patient report form. Any patient information or records held must abide by data protection and confidentiality law and best practice, according to the Caldicott principles, and be overseen by a nominated and trained Caldicott guardian.

Risk management This means that health policies are in place and duly adhered to, ensuring that risks of harm to patients and staff are minimised. A risk register should be produced where all identified risks are recorded, acknowledged, and graded, with any remedial actions and/or mitigations agreed by the governance group. This risk management framework should encourage open and blame-free reporting of incidents to enable lessons to be learned from mistakes, near misses or deaths.

Audit A viable and comprehensive audit process is necessary for all aspects of casualty care provision. This includes monitoring of training, delivery and effectiveness, and adverse incidents.

Training and education Any organisation involved with casualty care must be able to demonstrate the training status of their staff at any given time. New elements of training can be developed and introduced as a result of new national or local guidelines, changing roles, new equipment or techniques, or identified deficiencies from the governance group meetings. All ongoing and refresher training must be part of a service-wide plan, with agreed timescales and standards approved through the training and governance group. For all individuals, this scheme of continuous professional development must be recorded by the service in an easy and traceable fashion.

Effectiveness in clinical care Simple outcome tables need to be produced to reflect both positive and negative performance. Meanwhile, lessons are learnt from audits, enquiries, and incident reports to further develop the service in the future.

Staff management Many agencies will already conduct staff appraisal and feedback through their existing HR processes, but we must look at the issues that affect our staff when facing major injuries, including exhaustion, mental fatigue, PTSD, and burnout. A well-established staff governance system and conditions will minimise sickness and absenteeism and improve morale, recruitment, and retention. These are the key elements of clinical governance. It is a live and active process of improvement that monitors training and delivery and is based on records, feedback, and reporting systems. It can be used by fire services around the world, not just in the UK. The process should be owned by the fire and rescue service but it can be supported and facilitated by external providers or credible medical experts. Once established, services will quickly realise that many elements of a clinical governance structure are already in place within their organisation. However, by focusing them into one group, they can minimise risk, which means facilitating evidence-based change and improvement far more effectively while delivering a safe and high-quality service to the public.

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Essential assets in SAR New research measures the performance of ground and air assets in search and rescue operations with the aim of establishing the most effective combination for life-saving operations.

I The conference on the future of drones featured a range of international speakers.


n May 2017, the Newcastle University Business School and the Centre for Search Research conducted a two-day experiment at Northumberland National Park in northern England involving aerial and ground assets in an against-theclock search for targets that were randomly distributed across two kilometres of open moorland. The experiment included the deployment of fixed and rotary-wing aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles alongside members from the Northumberland National Park Rescue team, who searched the area on foot with dogs.

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This was the first research project to compare the effectiveness of multiple search assets since the ‘O’Donnell experiments' were carried out by the UK Home Office in 1987 and 2008. Exercise Northumberland updates this prior research by taking into account advances in new technology, including drones, new search management approaches, and new methods for ground search. The aim of the exercise was to learn more about drones and their use in complex search operations in order to understand how they can be effectively used in conjunction with other ground and air assets in different environments. According to Professor Steven Hughes, who led the experiment on behalf of the university’s business school, this will enable an assessment of the interoperability and effectiveness of different services and technology in saving lives in hazardous conditions. ‘Ultimately, we wanted to look at a variety of search assets, on the ground and in the air, to see how their combined capabilities can assist search operations for missing people,’ he explains. How useful drones can be in such operations depends on multiple factors. These include information quality, and how quickly it can be interpreted. For example, low quality images may be harder to decipher, which could lengthen search times. The weather is also an important factor that can impact the effectiveness of drones. ‘During our exercise, had conditions deteriorated any further we probably wouldn’t have been able to continue using the drones,’ says Professor Hughes. ‘The weather also had an influence on the participation and performance of other airborne assets, such as fixed wing aircraft.’

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Where the drones are used in also pivotal. ‘Deploying a drone in open moorland is different to using it in a search operation along the coast, for example. The effectiveness of a drone in a coastal setting may vary due to changes in wind speeds or visibility levels.’ While further research is required to analyse the effectiveness of assets deployed in different terrains and emergency situations such as earthquakes, avalanches, and at sea, this latest research can serve as a useful reference point for search and rescue agencies around the world, and has resulted in a number of recommendations. ‘For example, there is a need to measure the performance of different drone technologies in a variety of challenging typographies and situations. This research will allow us to understand how best to use them alongside other assets in search and rescue operations,’ says Professor Hughes. ‘Another recommendation we make points to the increasing sophistication of drones and the need to train search teams in skills such as image interpretation. A fundamental challenge is how best to integrate new and rapidly evolving drone technologies into search and rescue planning where time is critical and can make the difference in saving a life.’ The Centre for Search Research, which partnered with the Newcastle University Business School on the project, believes it is ‘an essential addition’ to existing research on the effectiveness of search operation management. ‘The research is ground-breaking in terms of its scope and originality,’ says Peter Roberts, co-founder at TCSR. ‘The collaboration of the various agencies who participated in and observed the experiment is unique. We’re looking at new technologies and how, through a better understanding of their operational application, they can be used to help in the search for a missing person.

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‘Drone technology, for example, is useful when used in conjunction with other search assets. In essence, drones are another tool in the toolbox that trained searchers can use when trying to save lives.’ In fact, Exercise Northumberland received such a high degree of interest around the world, that a follow-up conference was held in December 2017 to create a road map for future research into the use of drones in search and rescue operations. The two-day conference included a keynote speech from Philip Solaris from X-Craft Enterprises in New Zealand, who provided delegates with insight into how X-Craft drones were commissioned by the World Bank to help in the emergency response following Cyclone Pam that devastated the pacific island of Vanuatu in 2015. He then demonstrated how the lessons from this response could help search and rescue teams faced with the type of urban devastation that hit Christchurch, NZ, during an earthquake in 2011. Other speakers included Ollie Dismore, director of operations for the National Police Air Service, who discussed the ethics of drone use in policing, and Hugh Dougher, former regional chief ranger for the US National Parks Service, who provided the US perspective on drones and search and rescue. ‘The conference focused on the experiences of the professional and voluntary services who are using drones at the sharp end of search and rescue,’ says Professor Hughes. ‘This was not just about the technology. It was about the lessons learned by those who use the technology in time-critical and stressful situations. It was a huge success and gave us important insights into what drones can, and cannot yet do, in terms of helping the emergency services save lives.’

A key aim of Exercise Northumberland was to learn more about drones and their use in complex search operations.

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The case for the ram A lack of familiarity means the ram is underused in many rescue scenarios, but cross ramming can be one of the most useful techniques in vehicle extrication, argues Ian Dunbar, independent rescue consultant and member of BTCC Extrication Team.


Many rescuers lack familiarity with the ram as their training experience goes no further than dashboard relocation.

ou probably all remember that one piece of equipment that you weren’t confident with in the first years of your career. In my case it was a mechanical winch, known as a tirfor. This was because we rarely, if ever, trained with it. We would get it out once a year or so, and I felt like every time I touched it, I had to relearn its use. When we did train with it, we probably only used it to about 20% of its potential – not solid grounding for its effective operational use. My lack of confidence with the tirfor meant that I often preferred to leave it on the truck rather than use it, and this experience reminds me of the approach to the hydraulic ram that many rescuers have today. The hydraulic ram, in my experience, gets the least mentions in a discussion of rescue tools. The focus is primarily on cutters, followed closely by spreaders. Even the hydraulic pump (or more recently battery) gets more attention during training sessions. This is true no matter where I am in the world, but why should this be the case, especially when we consider the importance of hydraulic rams in many rescue situations? My theory is quite simple and is based on what I call ‘reduced confidence in use’. Most rescuers I talk to have a

lack of familiarity with the ram as their training experience goes no further than dashboard relocation (the dash roll). This is further exacerbated by many people's preference to relocate a dash using a dash lift, which may preclude the use of a ram altogether (although the ram may be inserted to prevent movement of the structure when the relief cuts are made). This very often means that the ram becomes the last tool to be used and when it is picked up, it is rarely used to anywhere near its full potential. There is no doubt that using a tool safely, effectively, competently and confidently requires some hours of training – time to hone skills and develop techniques in a controlled environment. This is something that rescuers generally do in all areas of their work to great effect and with positive results. However, this is where the inability to effectively train with the hydraulic ram may lead to a lack of confidence. In addition to this, the Internet is full of instructional videos and discussions on all manner of tools and techniques, but not ram applications. This is another sign that, from an industry point of view, it is not a focus area.

The benefits of cross ramming Aside from performing a dashboard roll, another key use of the ram is cross ramming. Cross ramming is performed inside the vehicle (horizontally or vertically) and is effective when a patient is trapped as a result of massive intrusion into the passenger cell of the vehicle following a collision. The aim of cross ramming is to move the construction of the vehicle back towards its original manufactured position, or as close to it as possible. This allows us to remove physical entrapment, gain better medical access to the patient, and more easily apply the well-known techniques, as the vehicle is now ‘car shaped’ again. Cross ramming is a difficult technical skill for a number of reasons. Firstly, operators have to be inside the vehicle, so they are essentially working in a confined space. Secondly, positioning the bottom of the ram can be difficult, and a solid


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base is required. Thirdly, good knowledge of vehicle construction is vital in order to perform the technique effectively. And, finally, wooden cribbing can be used to spread the load, but this is an inexact science and it often wastes time (the cribbing moves). From a medical perspective, it is very often the case that cross ramming is required in order to remove a physical entrapment. For example, a patientâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arm may be trapped between the B-post and seat following a side impact. When this is the case, rescuers must understand that the initial placement of the ram head is vital. Unlike a dashboard roll where we make relief cuts, cross ramming rarely, if ever, allows us to make relief cuts in order to remove strength. It is therefore imperative to remember that once the cross ramming has commenced, any slippage of the ram head will likely result in the construction springing back and re-trapping the patient (as well as possibly worsening their injury). So, the initial placement of the ram head is vital; you only get one chance to position the ram. Operators must therefore be able to identify the ideal initial ram-head placement, and should also consider the following points. It is important to select a point of strength for the base, and this should be stronger than the area to be moved. This ensures the hydraulic forces travel in the desired direction. The ram head must also be positioned to ensure maximum contact with the construction and negate slippage, and to create maximum space once the ram is extended. Cross ramming requires good communication between rescuer and medic, especially where the operation is being carried out very close to the patient. In addition, communication between tool operators and the incident commander is vital. And the decision of initial placement must be carefully considered based on experience and acute awareness of vehicle construction. From a safety point of view, it is imperative that operators do not position the ram head with their hands as there is the very real possibility of injury. Always decide on the desired position of the ram head, mark the area, and allow the ram to extend without guiding the ram head with your hand. Now that we are aware of the finer points of cross ramming, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s return to the subject of training. Although in most places it is easy to obtain an old vehicle for training purposes, this is not the case everywhere. In some places it can be difficult to obtain vehicles with damage that will provide a useful basis for practicing cross ramming. And, for those who can obtain such vehicles, they will likely be old and will not respond in the way that new vehicles will because of their aged construction. This automatically disadvantages many rescuers when it comes to furthering their skills, their competence, and their confidence with the hydraulic ram. So, although it is far from ideal, the best place for rescuers to learn the skills required for cross ramming is often a live extrication, and we all know that a real incident is not the place to learn. Human nature dictates that confidence in a subject promotes discussion. The more we know about something, the more we talk, discuss and challenge the norm. A lack of confidence, awareness, and understanding leads to reticence and limits development. The extrication world is full of great information when it comes to spreading and cutting, but really lacking when it comes to information on the safe and effective use of hydraulic rams. We tend to train with rams in a one

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dimensional way and default to a dashboard roll, when in reality the ram can be used for far more applications, which are complex and require a high degree of training and preplanning. This kind of use enhances confidence. While training for cross ramming is difficult, we must endeavor to find a way to practise this vital skill by obtaining appropriate vehicles. Twenty five years on, I am now confident with the tirfor; once my nemesis, now I can use it in my sleep. The same should be true of rams for rescuers today.

Cross ramming is often required to remove a physical entrapment and allow medical access to the patient.

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Power at your finger tips In part two of his series on dash displacement, David Dalrymple discusses the rebirth of the hydraulic ram and how the latest models can help overcome the challenges of modern vehicle construction.


Cross ramming to open up a door space. Below: A combination of a central ram-push with a dash-roll evolution.


n this issue I want to return to the original powered rescue tool for dash displacements – the powered hydraulic ram. The dash-roll evolution was the initial dash displacement evolution. Basically, it was a roof removal or flap followed by a relief cut at the base of each A-post. A ram or rocker channel support was placed onto the rocker panel and the base of the B-post on the side you wished to displace first or most. A hydraulic ram was then placed with one end on the rocker channel support and the other end against the A-post, close to the top of the dashboard. The ram was then operated. As the ram pushed forward, the dashboard would tip upwards and the nose of the vehicle would tilt downwards. Sometimes the size of the vehicle meant that you needed a ram on both sides to get enough push to create sufficient lift. While this was relatively easy to perform, there were some problems with the evolution and this is even more the case as time has marched on. For example, the roof needs to be gone or at least both roof posts cut. However, the main problem that affects this tool evolution today is vehicle construction methodology. Modern vehicles readily absorb crash energy. In fact, they absorb crash energy

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to such an extent that the front end and its drivetrain crumple to the ground to scrub off energy, and the drivetrain actually stuffs under the firewall, away from the occupant’s feet. That’s great for occupants, but not so great for rescuers. The dash roll needs to have space for the vehicle’s nose to rotate downward, but with modern vehicles it is already on the ground. We also need the rams to stay in place. While we can move them out and crib the relief cuts, it is much easier and faster to leave the tools in place. Previously, the mechanism of entrapment in vehicles was the steering column and wheel, not the dashboard. Today, the dash and footwell area is the entrapment area. And in those earlier days, the steering column and wheel could be displaced much more easily with a chain set/webbing strap and a come-along or a tirfor. However, there is a way to make a dash roll still work effectively. Basically, we make the same relief cut into the crumple/ energy relief zone in the area between the front suspension and the firewall of the vehicle. As you may recall from my column in the previous issue, we will remove the vehicle’s fender on the side we are going to push to expose that crumple zone. We then make an aggressive and deep vertical cut, making sure it is complete and severed. Now when we operate the ram, the dash itself will pivot forward on that crumple zone cut, allowing the dash to lift upwards. In addition to a dash roll with a ram, you also can provide a central dash push with a large ram plus extensions. The concept behind this is simply making the crush/energy zones work in reverse, or for our purposes. Let’s look at this operationally. We need to sever both A-posts or remove or flap the roof. Next we need the largest ram with the longest extension, as the ram will usually be coming from the back seat through to the firewall. On this ram, the end that sits against the back seat needs to be well cribbed or have a special plate fitted. Even a rocker panel plate will work to seat the ram end. At the opposite end, we will use a C or a claw ram end, and as we operate this end we will support it until it makes contact with the dash, at about middle height.

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The idea is that as the ram pushes forward, it will capture the high-strength dash reinforcement bar and thus push the entire dash forward and off the patient. A ram of this size is very awkward and heavy, so care must be taken to protect the patient. One of the main issues with ramming is supporting the ram ends from punch through. You need to crib both ends in some way shape or form. I’m actually partial to the Lego block crib squares since these are about the right size, have different heights and are very durable. The power hydraulic ram is, in many ways, being reborn. Whereas in the past it was seen as a tool just for carrying out the evolution I described above, most rams today are telescoping. This allows for a small size initially while extending much further as required. This enables us to carry a greater complement of rams in a smaller number of actual physical sizes. The rebirth of the ram is good for vehicle rescuers because the problems we face today are different. It goes beyond simple extrication; we need to look at broader issues. We need to create space to disentangle our patients. Simple door displacement is not the norm. Because modern vehicles can be ‘squashed’ through crash damage and energy absorption, it is now commonplace for rescuers to have to ‘stretch’ the vehicle to create a pathway for patient removal. The best tool for this is the power hydraulic ram. In conjunction with our power hydraulic cutter or reciprocating saw, these are going to be our go-to tools now and in the future. We are witnessing an explosion of the use of ultra-high strength materials such as steels, alloys, and composites, and these are used in more and more areas of

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vehicles. So, while I can tell you about the concepts of ramming and cross ramming to create space, it is another thing entirely to practise these, and still another to apply those lessons to a current model vehicle. Vehicles from the scrapyard that are used in training will not react like current model vehicles because of the differences in construction and materials. Therefore it is important that these vehicles are damaged as realistically as possible for all training evolutions. Get your public works or road works department to come out and use a machine on your training vehicles. They will love it. And remember, as with any tool evolution, you should always carry out the following actions: protect the patient – Soft Pro should be in place unless tool action is close by, in which case use Hard Pro. Maintain sharp-edge protection. There are lots of options out there, such as Sharpswrap or Protecto Wrap. Use one. Make sure you advise the EMS provider about what is occurring. I shouldn’t really need to say that. And finally, conduct a crib/stabilise check after each tool evolution. This is a good habit to get into. Most importantly, please keep this primary safety rule in mind at every motor vehicle crash, no matter where it is in the world. Shut off the ignition and take the keys back to your apparatus. In 97% of vehicles this will power down the safety SRS system (airbags, etc) and begin power down of any high voltage system in an alternative-fuelled vehicle. Next, if possible, locate the 12V battery and double cut the battery cables so these cannot accidently reconnect. This is important. Take these actions at every motor vehicle crash where patients are still inside the vehicle. It protects you and it protects them. Be safe out there!

First QUARTER 2018 < FIRE & RESCUE <


foam summit

Solutions in foam ‘An opportunity, not a crisis’ was the underlying theme for the Foam Summit that took place in Budapest, Hungary, in October 2017. F&R reports.


‘cradle-to-grave’ approach to foam is imperative. The time for discussing the detailed environmental chemistry associated with AFFF has passed, and the industry needs to move on towards solutions. This was the message to delegates attending the Foam Summit in Budapest, Hungary, in October 2017. All aspects of dealing with large-scale atmospheric tank fires including both operational issues as well as tank-bunding design, protecting the environment and complying with national and international regulations, were covered in detail during the two-day conference. Niall Ramsden of Lastfire, the international forum of oil storage and processing companies related to storage-tank fire-hazard management, opened the conference with a comprehensive overview of the history of firefighting foams. He pointed out that although all of these classical AFFFs and their variants have stood the test of time, they are now being challenged by developments resulting from an increased environmental awareness and sensitivity. Although modern purer C6-compliant AFFFs as well as fluorine-free Class B foams have been appearing on the market for some time, he explained, it is not yet clear whether either of these recent developments are able to achieve the

operational efficiency of the older C6/C8 AFFF formulations. Hands-on research into the performance and characteristics of such foam formulations, coupled with the development of guidance on foam usage for the future, is one of the areas that Lastfire has taken on recently, including the establishment of a preferred partners list for its members. Modern C6 foams, with effective removal of C8 and higher components, represent re-formulations of original AFFFs, explained Ramsden. These reformulated foams sometimes do not change in product name, even if necessitating re-approval and testing to international standards. He cautioned against assuming that just because a product name remains, the efficiency is therefore also the same. . When choosing C6-compliant AFFF or a fluorine-free foam, Ramsden stressed that there are effectively no true ‘drop-in' replacements. It is important to consider not only firefighting efficiency, but also whether it will be possible to continue to use current equipment, such as inductors, because of differences between Newtonian and non-Newtonian concentrates. Another thing to consider is whether current standard operating procedures can remain unchanged. Even with foam concentrates, whether AFFF or fluorine-free, with all the appropriate international approvals and

Dr Niall Ramsden of Lastfire opened the summit with a technical history of foam. Attendance figures showed that the majority of delegates came from the petrochemical industry and the fire service.


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certifications – for example, UL 162, ICAO, EN1568, etc – it is still absolutely necessary to test any new foam concentrate operationally under the conditions in which the end user will be using it, together with the available equipment and personnel to establish whether the product is fit for purpose. Ramsden also outlined Lastfire’s ‘cradle-to-grave’ assurance process – available as published material from – which covers all aspects of foam management from procurement through to testing, operational efficiency, the fire engineering necessary for delivery and containment, environmental protection and correct waste disposal. These last two have become progressively more important because of heightened environmental sensitivity at a regulatory level as well as public perception. This has led to political, legal, financial, and reputational fallout in some cases, which are all aspects of the true lifetime costs of using firefighting foam.

Regulatory update The increasingly tough regulatory environments in Europe and further afield were summarised by Thomas Leonhardt, Eurofeu’s FFA chair and convenor of two ISO working groups. These included actions or positions taken on PFAS levels by the Nordic Council, in Australia and New Zealand, Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation, the OECD, and, most notably, the US Naval Systems Command setting maximum levels of PFOA and PFOS in foam at 800ppb. Leonhardt reminded delegates of the 10ppm limit placed in Europe on PFOS content as well as the more recent limitations placed on PFOA, its salts and precursors. Germany and Norway had originally been pressing for a PFOA limit of 2ppb, but it was realised that this was unrealistically low and

unattainable by the fluorochemical industry. A higher level of 25ppb with 1,000ppb for mixtures was agreed together with numerous important derogations, especially for firefighting foams already on the market prior to 2020. The German Federal Environment Agency is nevertheless pushing for more severe limitations on the use of fluorochemicals as sources of environmental contamination with persistent PFCs, including a proposal under the Reach regulations for a complete ban on the manufacture, use and import of C9-C14 PFCAs and their precursors within the EU. This would not only impact on older AFFFs but would seriously affect the textile and leather treatment industry and the production of PPE. The German Ministry of Health is also working towards establishing threshold limits for all PFCs in drinking water and

Rawmat technology consists of specialist PHB membranes that seal bund containment areas.

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foam summit

Myth busting

PHB membranes can be retrofitted beneath tanks through the use of hydraulic jacking systems.


food including short chain materials such as C4, with levels for C7+ of the order of tenths of a microgram per litre or kilogram. The very stringent controls on PFC contamination of the environment proposed by the German regulatory authorities includes: regulation or banning of PFOS as well as PFOA and its precursors (all C8 compounds), as well as those with chain lengths greater than C8; regulating C6 materials, including precursors; regulating down to C4 PFCs; and the ultimate aim of a 100% PFC-free environment by 2025. This last aim, although laudable, is almost certainly both impractical and unattainable, representing an extreme view of the issues surrounding the impact of perfluorochemicals. On human health and the environment, it may, however, help to drive the debate towards lowering the contamination levels to which the environment is exposed. How regulators expect industry to follow new requirements was exemplified by Nigel Holmes of the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, who explained how the department developed its Foam Management Policy, in force since 7 July 2016, and how this is being implemented. Key elements in the policy include: all foams for which the PFOS level exceeds 10ppm should be taken out of service immediately; modern C6 AFFF foams can continue to be used if the total level of PFOA and PFOA-precursors, including all higher PFCA homologues, do not exceed 50ppm; and that any runoff containing fluorinated firefighting foam was fully contained and disposed of as regulated industrial waste. Fluorinated AFFF should only continue to be used if there are compelling operational reasons for their use, based on verifiable evidence not marketing hearsay, rather than using fluorine-free alternatives. As part of the policy, the allowable transition period for changing the type of foam used could be extended, especially for large complex sites which might need substantial retro-engineering work or changes to discharge equipment to be carried out, with major financial implications. However, this is only possible with the agreement of the Queensland DEHP based on a concrete plan and timescale. This would then become part of the site’s legally enforceable operating licence conditions. Any changes to the nominal three-year transition period specified by the policy and ending on 7 July 2019 will have to be agreed on an individual site-to-site basis.

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A number of myths and ‘myth-information’ was also corrected by Holmes. These included: • that foam spilt on waterways can be contained by oil-spill booms – it can’t, because the majority of the foam will dissolve in the water column; • marketing claims that some foams are 10 times more toxic than others – largely irrelevant as all foams are practically non-toxic to relatively harmless. The acute oxygen stress BOD5 is far more significant, all foams have extremely high BOD values, and there is little difference on average between fluorinated and non-fluorinated foams; • alternative short chain C6 and lower PFAS are harmless if released – significant evidence has emerged of potential health and environmental effects, including enhanced mobility, uptake in crops, bioaccumulation, binding to proteins, increasing levels of exposure, difficulty in capture, and great difficulty in clean up; • air emissions from smoke are environmentally more harmful than the use and release of firefighting foam – although smoke columns may be spectacular and give rise to political problems and adverse reaction from the public, these disperse rapidly and are diluted out to below levels of concern compared to the permanent local and broader long-term pollution and environmental harm associated with using fluorinated foams, which far outweighs transient short-term plume effects; • certain foams allow the mobilisation and dispersion of oil and other products from skimmers or separators – discharge of fluorinated foam to the aquatic environment is unacceptable, whilst on the other hand, detergents are used intentionally to disperse and aid the degradation of oil spills on waterways and at sea. He also explained legal obligations under the Precautionary Principle to which regulators and end users are subject, especially in the context of end-user liability arising from the ‘polluter pays’ principle embedded in environmental law. How the petrochemical industry is implementing the Queensland Government’s Foam Policy was outlined by Rod Rutledge of Caltex Australia, who also highlighted the extensive nature of the stakeholder consultation process. In implementing the policy, Rutledge pointed out that during the transition period, certain types of fire will still be fought using fluorinated AFFF type foams, such as deep-seated fires. However, where operationally possible, fluorine-free foam will be used for less critical applications, with a need for further testing of the newer C6 AFFFs and fluorine-free products appearing on the market to ensure effectiveness and safety under operational conditions. And, he asked, if an organisation decides to stay with modern AFFFs rather than using fluorine-free foams, and it turns out in a few years that these newer, pure C6 products suffer from the same environmental and health problems as the older AFFFs, would this give rise to ‘regret spend’?

Fluorine-free foam for ARFF The complex procurement and assurance process involved in changing from fluorinated to fluorine-free firefighting foam for ARFF at one of the world’s major airports was presented by Graeme Day from Heathrow Airport. This procurement process involved holding an e-auction, operational testing, awarding the contract, transitioning to the new foam, and the purchase of new appliances. This was all done in conjunction with a working group consisting of specialists for particular components of the project such as

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foam summit

those with legal, environmental, or technical expertise, guided by the regulator and the CAA. It also involved three areas of the business working together that had not previously done so in order to deliver an environmentally sustainable solution. Some of the key issues regarding firefighter training and choice of foam for aviation rescue and firefighting were presented by Brian McKinney of Dallas Fort Worth Airport, US. Dallas Fort Worth has excellent training facilities with fuel fire pits designed so that fuel and runoff do not lead to off-site contamination, including an impressive A380 fire pit. As all airports in the US are required to use only Milspec foams listed by the FAA on a qualified product list, they are unable to move to fluorine-free foams, however good their performance. Operational comparison of AFFF versus a commercially available fluorine-free foam testing was nevertheless undertaken by Dallas Fort Worth. The results demonstrate the importance of carrying out operational testing under real-life conditions, using standard equipment, appropriate operating procedures and normal fire crews, rather than just relying on test-house approvals or batch certifications. McKinney’s results for the fluorine-free foam were particularly notable in that the fluorine-free product extinction efficiency was virtually indistinguishable from that of the AFFF. Criticisms from some parts of the industry that fluorine-free products suffer from fuel pickup with foam flammability and poor burn-back resistance or drainage characteristics proved to be unfounded. As shown in a video, the fluorine-free foam blanket did not ignite when exposed to a propane torch, and disturbance of the foam blanket with either a water jet or by dragging a hose through it did not result in fuel re-ignition. In addition, breaking the foam blanket resulted in rapid flowing back or re-sealing of the foam coverage, in spite of

The Foam Tree slide from Dr Niall Ramsden highlighted the many evolutions of foam since its invention at the beginning of the 20th century. Image: National Foam.

the fluorine-free foam not being aqueous film-forming in the same way as AFFF. This suggests that film formation is not a necessary prerequisite for effective extinction and knockdown. This was especially noticeable in the A380 test pit results, in which knockdown using the fluorine-free product was rapid.

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foam summit

When excess fuel was burned off by injecting propane under the foam blanket, this promptly re-sealed after the source of ignition was removed. The operational testing carried out demonstrated that the fluorine-free foam used would be entirely suitable for aviation firefighting if this were to be permitted under the terms of the FAA qualified product listing.


Tests at Dallas Fort Worth Airport demonstrated that fluorine-free foam's extinction efficiency was virtually indistinguishable from that of the AFFF used.


The challenges of compliance with increasingly stringent regulations in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, were outlined by Martin Neuhaus of BP Gelsenkirchen. He described some of the ongoing work at the BP refinery areas of GE-Horst and GE-Scholven that is necessary to achieve Werkfeuerwehr compliance with the new regulations. A Works Fire Brigade, or Werkfeuerwehr, using professional firefighters is a legal requirement under German law for industrial sites. Compliance includes controlling the use of fluorinated foam operationally, prohibiting its use for training or system testing, and requiring containment and treatment of any firewater runoff. Key questions for the industrial fire service attending a simple spill are: ‘Should we be using (fluorinated) foam at all for this incident? Are there alternatives? Is it really necessary?’ The overarching operational considerations remain, however, safety first – and making the system straightforward to use and foolproof at 3am on a cold morning. Significant problems remain over suitable containment and disposal technologies if fluorinated foam are to be used.

Contamination and remediation Ian Ross of Arcadis explained some of the complex chemical background to the emerging problem of PFAS contamination. He also covered evolving technologies for developing remediation strategies.

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Millions of people are now exposed to PFAS contamination of groundwater used for drinking water and agriculture. This has resulted in elevated population blood levels for PFCs and a number of class actions and litigation worldwide. Ross highlighted two legacy case histories involving PFOS contamination to illustrate the substantial costs of actual or potential groundwater contamination and its impact on drinking water supplies. The case histories were analysed from the point of view of the fate and modelling of PFOS contamination in a fractured chalk aquifer, as in Buncefield, and the use of risk assessment and remediation technologies to protect a vulnerable drinking water supply from multiple sources of PFAS contamination, as in Guernsey Airport. The currently available technologies for remediating soils and groundwater were summarised by Ross in terms of their state of development and feasibility. An additional method currently under development by Geocycle, part of Cement Australia, was highlighted by a delegate at the end of Ross’ presentation. High temperature incineration at 1,000-1,500°C in cement clinker kilns can deal with 100-200-tonne charges of wet slurry containing fluorochemicals. This method is by far the cheapest available and is environmentally neutral, resulting in the fluorine content ending up as harmless calcium fluoride in the clinker, which is then used to make cement. It also results in minimal emissions of hydrogen fluoride HF in the flue gases, reducing the need for efficient scrubbing, unlike other incineration methods. An established method for remediation using Perfluorad technology for enhancing the efficiency of absorption using granulated activated charcoal (GAC) was described by Martin Cornelsen of Cornelsen Umwelttechnologie. The Perfluorad technology can be containerised and is easily mobile. It is widely used, especially in Germany, for remediating contaminated groundwater at sites contaminated with PFCs. This includes airports such as Dusseldorf and Nuremberg, contaminated as a result of foam use for training or operations. It also includes agricultural sites such as BrilonScharfenberg at the head of the Ruhr Valley catchment area in the Hochsauerland district in the east of North RhineWestphalia, where contaminated top-dressing was applied. Cornelsen made it clear, however, that although GAC treatment is reasonably effective for the longer-chain PFCs such as PFOS or PFOA, it is very poor at removing shortchain material, ie, less than C6 in chain length. This is especially relevant as recent research internationally has confirmed that PFC chain lengths C2-C6 are poorly absorbed by GAC and are not removed effectively by wastewater treatment plants. In addition, these shorter chain lengths are far more mobile in the aquatic environment, becoming concentrated preferentially in grasses and crops with the potential to contaminate the food chain. The latest technology for the sealing of bund containment areas or previously contaminated ground was presented by Steve Flynn of Rawell Environmental. He explained how the use of pre-hydrated, polymer-stabilised bentonite membranes – Rawmat technology – gets around many of the problems of using untreated bentonite, such as ion-exchange and on-site contamination during installation leading to sealant failure. The PHB membranes can be retrofitted to tank bunds or contaminated ground without necessarily having to remove contaminated soil; this can be backfilled onto the membrane and thus isolated. Flynn showed an impressive example of retrofitting sealant PHB membranes underneath tanks up to 80m in diameter. This was made possible by hydraulically lifting the tank using a ring of hydraulic rams to allow installation underneath the suspended tank.

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firefighting agents

Scope for Firescape

A water-soluble firefighting agent for domestic and professional use is currently undergoing testing with London Fire Brigade and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. F&R reports.

T LFBE has endorsed Firescape's domestic product range.


he water-soluble compound has been formulated by Firescape and developed into a range of products for specific firefighting needs. London Fire Brigade has tested the products and its commercial arm – London Fire Brigade Enterprises – is endorsing the company’s products that are aimed at tackling class B fires in the home.

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UK fire and rescue service statistics show that nearly 20 people are killed or injured every day in accidental fires that start in the kitchen. The most common cause of kitchen fires is cooking oil, and these fires are difficult to safely extinguish using conventional methods. Many injuries occur when people attempt to put out this type of blaze. Pan-Safe is an in-home firefighting product developed by Firescape that is designed to be easily accessible in the kitchen. As the name implies, it offers a relatively safe and rapid way of extinguishing dangerous pan fires within seconds. The long sachet enables users to place it in a pan to extinguish the fire quickly without getting too close and risking injury. Spray-Safe is a lightweight, directional aerosol designed to be kept around the home for dealing with small fires started by things such as cigarettes or DIY activities. The canister is made from plastic to reduce the risk of denting, rupture, or rusting. Finally, Extinguish-Safe is a fire extinguisher built using deep-draw cylinder technology with heavy-duty brass valves and components. The valve has been specifically modified for the flow of the Firescape agent, which is more viscous than traditional foam. The company’s product range also extends beyond the domestic market to professional fire and rescue services. Bulk-Safe enables fire departments to induce the product directly into their on-board tanks that are normally reserved for foam. Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is currently trialling this system. Firescape business development director Richard Squire, a former borough commander for London Fire Brigade,

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firefighting agents

explains that the Firescape product is a water additive that not only suppresses the fire, as foam does, but also cools the temperature rapidly. ‘It has a number of environmental benefits, including a near-neutral pH of 7.7, and it does not have any corrosive properties once it is deployed. Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Brigade was concerned about its environmental impact as there are sites of special scientific interest in the counties. So we commissioned an independent report into its impact, which concluded that the agent poses no significant threat to the environment.’ In terms of performance, Squire claims that the product extinguishes fires as quickly as foam, but it is not a sealant. So, for example, in the case of a liquid fuel spill, foam would still be used to stop the evaporation of the liquid and prevent re-ignition of those fumes, breaking the cycle of the fire. ‘It is not a like-for-like replacement for foam, but we think it could become a key weapon in the firefighting armoury. Previously, as firefighters, we would just use foam and deal as best we could with the pollution issues resulting from that. With the addition of the Firescape agent, it is now possible to quickly and simply consider the options. Using foam in every situation can sometimes be like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut.’ Firescape is developing its products for specific applications and markets as enquiries arise. Key to the success of the three domestic products is the endorsement of the London Fire Brigade’s trading arm London Fire Brigade Enterprises. This began life as a project to create a revenue stream to fund the brigade’s important activities that weren’t directly related to fire and rescue operations, such as youth intervention effort Life Project and the more extensive Fire Cadet programme. LFBE was looking for commercial partners when Firescape approached the trading arm with its products, which LFBE has now endorsed. ‘Testing has been carried out at the Fire Service College, which saw good results,’ says Squire. ‘And this endorsement is important to us. London Fire Brigade is held in enormously high regard by the public, which is our target market for these domestic products. And in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, domestic fire safety is a high priority for many people.’ One of the key characteristics of the Firescape agent is that it can be used in smaller quantities than conventional water additives, so smaller storage vessels are required. This means it is easier to transport and cheaper to produce. In the case of the company's Bulk-Safe system, the agent can also be diluted with water at high pressure, while the viscosity of the product means that it does not have to be expelled at such high pressures. ‘This has a significant impact on cost,’ says Squire. ‘It also means the time taken in the firefighting process can be greatly reduced. Dorset and Wiltshire FRS is using the system for its main deliveries.’ Squire explains that Firescape had to carry out multiple tests before Dorset and Wiltshire FRS would trial the system, including tests on the service’s PPE. ‘The firefighters have a triple layer uniform, and although it is only likely to be the outer layer that comes into contact with our agent, we had to test all three layers to make sure that the agent does not compromise the protection provided by the garments. However, the results of the testing show that the agent is safe to use and does not pose a risk to the firefighters in this way. The only hazard is the run-off that you get from whatever is ablaze.’

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However, Firescape is already looking beyond these products and markets. Managing director Gavin Cornelius says the company is providing training and other services for users. ‘All of the products have a QR code and a call to action. Scan the QR code and it will take you to an app that will show you a brief training video to ensure that you understand how to operate the product.’ The company is also utilising smart technology to enhance customer safety. ‘This will enable us to tell the customer where their fire extinguisher has been positioned so we can make sure it has not be put away in a cupboard or used to hold the door open.’ This works using technology such as Bluetooth with radio frequency identification tags to trace the products. Cornelius explains that Firescape will also use the system to carry out virtual servicing for customers. ‘What’s key is that customers will be able to track their estate – it is simple asset management, which is something that this industry hasn’t always been very good at.’ As for the future, new markets are arising from enquiries all the time. The company has already been approached by a business in the aviation engine industry interested in Spray-Safe. And it is looking at a simple adaptation to produce a specific product for tackling the growing hazard of lithium-ion battery fires.

London Fire Brigade recently demonstrated the Firescape agent to other fire services and private-sector organisations.

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Handing over air incidents

Are handovers the weak link in major air-incident operations? Jon Hall from the Resilience Advisors Network argues that airfields are behind the times in terms of communications interoperability, making the seamless transfer of incident-management information all but impossible.


Base Camp Connect is a solution that can help avoid communication failures when an incident happens.


wo recent and very different major incidents at US airports have highlighted the difficulties of managing effective handovers for ARFF incidents from the initial incident commander to the secondary-phase response agencies. In both cases, initial attendance at the incidents drew the full capacity from local ARFF crews and stretched airport resources to their limit. In accordance with every airfield’s emergency plans, the next stage of operations following the search and rescue efforts drew on the multi-agency response appropriate to each incident, each led by the respective local authority – the legally responsible body – for the surrounding community and incident recovery. Among the many stories of success, however, both incidents reached a critical point at which operations were adversely affected. During the secondary phase of each incident, both commanders experienced communication challenges during the handover from local command to the integrated command arrangements implemented by the local authority. Face-to-face, commander-to-commander handovers were no problem, but the simple transfer of enabling capabilities such as radio channels, incident logging, document control, and data sharing proved challenging at best, and impossible at worst. With the experience and professionalism of today’s responders, we find it simple to describe the phases of an incident as though they will always

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naturally proceed in logical succession, just like the episodes of a binge-watched television series. When episode five finishes, episode six will immediately follow – when response finishes, recovery commences. Too often in reality, however, either circumstances or individual service capabilities result in the equivalent of someone coming in and changing the TV channel mid-episode. Although we can quickly recover – or so we would have everyone believe – vital parts of the plot can be lost. In other words, continuity of command can fracture. Of course, we work hard to overcome the problem and always manage to ‘get by’, but hindsight is the most critical judge and hindsight

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incident command

teaches that this is a recurring issue that we have yet to seriously address. As fire and rescue commanders, we are often faced with increasing communication challenges as incidents develop, but the last thing we need is an expectation that we will demonstrate our expertise as computer experts at the very time we are managing an unfolding disaster. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a useful phrase that alludes to a solution we would all welcome: managing the emergency, not the communications. Gone are the days when it was sufficient to brief those within our immediate command, supplemented with an occasional message over the radio. Communication lines now are increasingly complex and demanding. Technological advancements drive the expectation for all agencies to not only receive timely information, but also to be able to interact in real time with command decisions. Whether it is environmental concerns, the reasonable demands of business continuity plans, air crash investigations or law enforcement, the need to ensure that all agencies are fully apprised of the developing situation on a minute-byminute basis is real. And the number of agencies requiring information is growing exponentially, alongside our evolving understanding of the impact of a major incident and the beneficial impact that the early involvement of the appropriate authorities can have. Immediate rescue considerations are, of course, paramount. However, 10 to 15 minutes into an incident, the problems faced by a commander will always be compounded by the need to consider the effects on the surrounding population and the environment, as well as the impact that a developing news story will have on the commercial operation of both the

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airfield and the airline involved. Most importantly, however, how can the commander transfer the incredible amount of knowledge and information gathered thus far to the myriad of interested parties now clamouring for that knowledge? The incident commander will usually have been present from the initial call. By now, they will inevitably be carrying an enormous amount of information in his or her own head. Broad awareness of ongoing operations and actions taken so far will have been passed by voice, but coordination of the broader information outputs from the incident will be a challenge beyond even the keenest technologist. Information and data streams such as aerial footage, truck dashcam video, the state of the ground, the presence of hazmats, media used, duration of continued operations, weather information, casualty recording and triaging, social media activity, actions taken by all agencies, command structures and decision logs â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in fact, far too much for any single agency to process. What are the chances that even the smartest commander will be able to package all of that into a reliable, recorded, and useful handover? Experience has taught us that we need some help relating a single, unified command picture for incoming resources. In a perfect world, the next phase of operations would be for oncoming agencies to mirror exactly the communications, data and command structures established in the initial stages. These can then be grown as the number of agencies increases and data requirements become more complex. This would ensure a seamless transfer of incident management information. However, the reality is that this will never happen. Local authority and first responder agencies are increasingly

First QUARTER 2018 < FIRE & RESCUE <


incident command

The Digital Dashboard Management Interface from Excelerate Group provides one interface for all data streams during a major incident.


geared up for sharing information with each other on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes they specify systems together, but even where this is not the case, they will have procured systems with this need in mind. Experience shows us that this is unlikely to be the case on any but the largest airfields, leaving the ARFF commander as the poor relation at best. At worst, they will be simply unable to participate in modern methods of multi-agency working. Whilst total integration would be an aspiration, more basic interoperability and information sharing capabilities are a far more reasonable and affordable target, and one that should be on the agenda of every airfield ARFF operator. Shared command post information, voice integration, logging protocols, and even shared hubs for automatic sharing of basic risk and response information, would be a great start. All of these are available. Unfortunately, these basic technical capabilities are still being overlooked by those specifying both new vehicles and refurbs of existing command capability. Local authority responders in the UK increasingly use JESIP principles to integrate their decision-making processes and communication of outcomes. Increasingly, we are seeing them share command software solutions to enable improved transparency between agencies. There are, however, more affordable approaches available. Integration systems are designed less to replace all current systems than to take many existing technologies and combine them through a single interphase or dashboard. Combining digital streams such as video with legacy analogue, such as legacy voice communications, to produce a single output available to all responders can massively reduce the burden on the over-stretched commander. It can also vastly increase the volume of information exchanged between agencies. The opportunity exists for airfield safety operators to mirror some of the capabilities increasingly deployed by local authorities. They can do this by ensuring that their responders are using cut-down and affordable versions of what will invariably be deployed on arrival by the broader emergency management and recovery response. Although there are more suppliers coming into this market space, we are witnessing a standardisation of approach whereby multiple diverse data streams are pulled together into a single dashboard. While there is a broad array of available solutions, the most widely deployed solution in the UK and Middle East is a digital dashboard management interface (DDMI) from Excelerate.

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The Excelerate DDMI takes a range of information feeds and data storage capabilities and integrates them into a single screen. The operator can rely on the logging and transmission of all information to approved agencies without any direct action on the part of the incident commander â&#x20AC;&#x201C; effectively allowing them to manage the emergency, not the communications. A similar solution, which majors on voice, is designed to integrate analogue radio systems. It is used extensively across the Americas under the name Base Camp Connect. As the company itself puts it: 'it is important to allow commanders to manage the emergency, not the communications.' Ignoring the technical or service-specific language used to describe such products, the interesting thing is the critical capability enhancement they can offer to ARFF operators. At a fraction of the overall cost of a command system, both systems are vehicle-independent and can be deployed in anything from a staff car to a full-scale command vehicle â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a massive technical capability uplift without the cost of a bespoke vehicle. Regardless of the product, the principles remain the same â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that airfields will wish to mirror the command information capability of the agencies around them as these will invariably take over emergency management and recovery as soon as initial firefighting and rescue operations are completed. Airfields should be prepared for and equipped to facilitate this handover and better able to stay engaged following it. While airport rescue firefighting technology is reaching new levels of complexity and effectiveness, integrated command and communication solutions are here today and are worthy of consideration by all airfields.

About the Author: Jon Hall, QFSM, is the former Chief Fire Officer for Gloucestershire and head of UK fire and rescue resiliance. He is an emergency and disaster specialist running the Resilience Advisors Network, a specialist organisation supplying expertise from the emergency, defence, and security services. The network tries to ensure that organisations and companies in the UK and across Europe have access to the very best technical and market advice when supporting emergency services.

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conference report

Highlights from AFOA 2 The AFOA Annual Conference 2018 highlighted the rapid way in which the aircraft rescue and firefighting sector is evolving. Part one of the F&R event report includes an update on the regulatory landscape, disaster victim identification, the importance of improved HRET training, and the latest thinking on ventilation. Gavin Watts Keynote address 'The fire service has never before faced change on the scale it faces today,' said Gavin Watts, Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, in his keynote speech at the Airport Fire Officers Association’s annual conference in January 2018. And it is facing such large-scale change against the backdrop of a government that is aspiring to be strong and stable whilst dealing with Brexit, ongoing austerity, and the ever-present threat of terrorism. ‘The fire in Grenfell Tower changed everything in every aspect of the fire and rescue sector,’ he added. ‘From how we look at risk, to how we interact with those responsible for building standards, how we respond to incidents, and how we deal with the aftermath.’ Watts also praised the inspirational response of the London Fire Brigade to the tragedy. As the National Fire Chief Council Lead for Aviation, he added that mental health and wellbeing should be at heart of organisations. 'We must be aware of our own feelings, our own vulnerability and the need to ask for help.'

Jon Round and Neil Gray CAA regulatory update The CAA regulatory update was this year delivered jointly by Jon Round (left) – head of Airspace, Air Traffic Management and Aerodromes (AAA) – and Neil Gray (below), principal aerodrome inspector. Jon Round provided a strategic view of the areas of the aviation industry that fall under the regulatory oversight of AAA. Talking about the predicted growth in air transport over the next 20 years, Round advised the conference that this would require regulation and policy changes. Airport expansion in the UK's southeast, for example, could only happen if airspace, air traffic management, and aerodrome design and operations work collaboratively to develop the necessary changes, and also manage the associated risks.


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A question often raised is what impact Brexit will have on the UK aviation sector and the country's relationship with EASA. Addressing this matter, Round advised delegates that the CAA is explicit in its desire to retain full membership of EASA, and that however the Brexit transition plays out, the UK CAA will seek to remain aligned to EU aviation rules. In the aftermath of the tragic events of 14 June 2017, when 71 people lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire, CAA, like other regulators, has been looking to see what parallels can be drawn, and what lessons can be learned from the tragedy. CAA board members raised the question of whether the current standards of rescue and firefighting are still appropriate. Commenting on this, Round said that the CAA view is that current levels of RFFS are compliant with international standards. He added that the dilemma for CAA is that while a risk assessment may show that the risk of an aircraft accident at an aerodrome is relatively low, if one does occur the resource required to deal with it will remain the same, regardless of likelihood. To conclude, Round challenged the industry’s perception and understanding of its risks and encouraged delegates to ensure that RFFS provision at aerodromes remains proportionate to the types of emergencies that may credibly occur in these locations. Neil Gray updated the conference delegates on the current workstreams of the ICAO Rescue and Firefighting Working Group (RFFWG), which met in February 2017. The agenda topics for the next meeting were: proposed changes to ICAO Annex 14 Vol 2 (Heliports); provision of RFFS for general aviation and all-cargo operations; development of provisions for aircraft door numbering; and provisions for lithium battery fires. Turning to EASA, Gray updated delegates on the transition of UK aerodromes to the requirements of Commission Regulation (EU) 139/2014; a trial standardisation audit of UK-CAA carried out by EASA in March 2017; the development of medical fitness standards for RFFS personnel; and the forthcoming removal of concessions to reduce the quantity of dry powder provided by an aerodrome operator when a high-performance type is used.

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conference report

AFOA 2018 brought together experts from across the ARFF and RFFS sectors to share the latest thinking and best practice in all aspects of airport emergency response.

A 2018 With regard to the transition of aerodromes, Gray provided a pan-European view, which showed that the UK completed the transition task ahead of the 31 December 2017 deadline, while some EU member states had not yet started. Commenting on the development of medical fitness standards for RFFS personnel, Gray provided an overview of the recent regulatory impact assessment, and the expected next steps in the implementation of the new standards. Referring to the publication of a notice of proposed amendment, Gray encouraged all delegates to fully engage with the process and have their say. To conclude, the regulatory update, Gray provided data drawn from mandatory occurrence reports that were submitted between November 2015 and September 2017 and which related to aerodrome occurrences that could have been precursors to an RFFS response.




Andy Woodward Disaster victim identification Andy Woodward of the College of Policing explained how a police response to a major incident involving mass fatalities works, as well as the disaster victim identification (DVI) process. This is always a a multiagency approach involving many different organisations and specialists, along with the coroner. And the response always requires close liaison with fire and rescue services at the scene of disasters. Woodward explained that DVI teams attend all incidents where there have been multiple fatalities. These include road accidents, marine incidents, air crashes, terrorist incidents and major fires. Their role is to recover and identify deceased individuals as well as body parts and tissue. Everything

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conference report

they recover is treated with respect and dignity and nothing can be left behind at the scene. Disaster victim identification is a process by which disaster victims are identified scientifically; it never relies on visual identification. The DVI process identification methods involve ante-mortem and post-mortem data being compared by investigation teams. Ante-mortem data is obtained by family liaison officers from surviving relatives and could include DNA samples, fingerprints, or dental records. Post-mortem information is everything obtained directly from the deceased victim and can include personal effects, identifications cards, and jewellery. The investigation teams then physically match the ante-mortem and post-mortem data to establish identification on behalf of the coroner. Specific and unique international documentation is used during the process to capture all information. A unique number is assigned to each victim at the point of recovery and this is used throughout the process until a formal identification has been established. Woodward explained about the importance of gathering all the data at the scene, and also about the potential movement of victims, in order to save lives and protect forensic evidence. Everyone must be aware of their movements on the site of an incident and the potential for contamination of the scene and the evidence. Woodward added that a DVI team normally consists of six trained staff, including a team leader, two searchers, two safety officers, and a photographer. However, the teams can be reduced in size if working within a restricted environment, such as the confines of an aircraft cockpit. He ended his presentation by fully explaining the specific documentation used throughout the process and the reasons why it is so important, along with the importance of full post-incident procedures specifically around staff wellbeing and multi-agency debriefing.

John Sulek HRET User Group John Sulek, fire service operations manager at Manchester Airport, took delegates through the complexities of the use of high-reach extendable turrets. He explained that the HRET is a highly effective firefighting tool and one that is seeing increased use across Europe. Its primary function is to puncture the fuselage of an aircraft, or punch out the aircraft window, and then deliver a firefighting medium as a jet or spray. The high and long reach of this piece of equipment means that these operations be achieved from a safe distance. However, Sulek added that the technology has proved to be complex and that operators are in need of extensive training. To illustrate this point, he outlined examples at two airports in the US where HRET use was not as effective as it should have been. In one incident, a Boeing 767-200 cargo plane had a fire just behind the cockpit and, although the two crewmembers escaped through a window and there were no casualties, there was still extensive damage to the aircraft that might have been prevented if the HRET operator had been better trained. On the other occasion, a fire in an Air Asiana Boeing 777-200 passenger aircraft resulted in several fatalities and many more were severely injured in the fire. The report on this incident highlighted the need for more training on the use of HRET.


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A UK HRET User Group has been set up with representatives from airports in Birmingham, Liverpool, Cardiff and Manchester. Its objective is to share information; develop standard training and operation; introduce accredited training courses; establish safe working practices; and enhance the group’s knowledge by using HRET on sample training ground aircraft. The group attended a four-day FAA accredited ‘train the trainer’ course at Dallas Fort Worth Fire School in Texas, US, and then moved to a UK base where a salvaged 747 was used. The result of these exercises has been the creation of a two-day training course with eight separate modules, including a case study, written assessment, and practical assessment. A three-day instructor course has also been developed. Sulek finished his presentation by explaining that knowledge of the benefits and capabilities of HRET has the potential to open up its use by fire services in such areas as industrial building and warehouse fires as well as fires in multi-storey car parks.

Lee Johnston Ventilation at fire incidents Lee Johnston from West Sussex Fire and Rescue has been heavily involved in formulating new guidance on firefighting in the UK. He told delegates that a new booklet looking at ventilation is now available. Johnston informed the conference that the basic premise in existing guidance should be reversed. Where the strategy until now has been to ventilate and then extinguish, this should be changed to preventing ventilation as much as possible and fighting the seat of the fire first. Johnston began his presentation by outlining the example of a fire on an aircraft at Heathrow Airport some four years ago. The fire was in an under-ventilated location with a range of composite materials, some of which melted at higher temperatures than aluminium. The fire was contained and his conclusion was that a fire on an aeroplane is more likely to be under-ventilated. The guidance manual for 18 years until 2015 stated that firefighters should ventilate the area of the fire and then proceed to putting the fire out. This was based on the procedure carried out by US fire crews, which was ventilate first before moving on to extinguishment. 'A problem with this method,' Johnston explained, 'is that once you ventilate, the temperatures become higher.' He added that when he looked at the background of the guidance in the manual, alarm bells started to ring. He realised that the guidance that had been used for 18 years was based on firefighters’ experience, not experimental verification. James Braidwood, founder of the world’s first municipal fire service in Edinburgh in 1824, had stated that if the amount of oxygen present was consumed by the fire, then this would reduce the fire’s ability to continue. In short: ‘If you open the doors and windows, you get more air and more fire; close them, and you get less fire,’ said Johnston. He concluded by saying that the best scenario for firefighting is to make sure that everything is in place before entry, from prepared and equipped firefighters to hoses and any other equipment that might be needed. When the door or access point is opened, the stopwatch starts to put the fire out before it grows in intensity.

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APRIL 23-28, 2018

The legal legacy of Yarnell

mmy The Yarnell Fire of June 2013 killed 19 firefighters and caused widespread property damage. In the aftermath, affected residents sued the State of Arizona and the Forestry Commission for negligently failing to protect them. While their case has so far not been successful, there are clear implications for fire and rescue services from this ongoing legal action, writes Stephen Tuck.


ate in the afternoon on 28 June 2013, a lightning strike touched off a wildfire on public land in central Arizona. When the wind picked up two days later, disaster was unavoidable. Nineteen firefighters perished during the fire that followed, and many people around Yarnell, Arizona, lost homes and property. These residents subsequently sued the State of Arizona, alleging that the State and its agency, the Arizona State Forestry Division, negligently failed to protect them. In Arizona law, a party needs to establish the following to prove negligence: that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to take a particular level of care; that the defendant failed to reach that degree of care; and that the failure caused actual harm to the plaintiff. The matter was dealt with in first instance by Judge Gama. He dismissed the claim against the Forestry Division on the grounds that the Arizona legislature had never declared it able to sue or be sued. More interestingly, he also dismissed the claim against the State itself on two grounds. First, he accepted that the law requires a person who voluntarily undertakes to protect people or property from harm to exercise reasonable care in doing so. Such a person is liable to pay compensation if their failure to take reasonable care increases the risk of harm or leads to harm because of another’s reliance upon that undertaking. However, he noted that Arizona Revised Statutes §37-623(A) says that the state forester can provide wildfire suppression anywhere in the state ‘if the state forester determines that suppression services are in the best interests of this state and are immediately necessary to protect state lands’. Judge Gama considered that the State, through its Forestry Division, was obliged to protect only the State’s interests, and not those of neighbouring properties. He further found that the plaintiffs had not relied upon the State to undertake activities to protect their property. The plaintiffs also claimed the court should recognise a duty of care as a matter of public policy. Judge Gama rejected this, stating: 'Decisions of how to properly fight a particular fire, how to rescue victims in a fire, or what and how much equipment to send to a fire, are discretionary judgmental decisions inherent in this public safety function of fire protection.’


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Appeal decision The plaintiffs in the Acri v Arizona case appealed and reiterated their argument that a duty of care requiring the State to protect its people should be recognised as a matter of public policy. It was contended that the State had assumed a duty when it began attempting to fight the fire. The court declined to recognise a duty on the basis that it would be counter-productive, saying: ‘Imposing a tort duty based on the State’s undertaking to provide an emergency response could instead encourage inaction: the State could shield itself from liability by simply doing nothing. Such a result is contrary to the overriding needs of the public.’ The plaintiffs also argued that the State, being the owner or occupier of the land where the fire started, was obliged to prevent its spread. In the court’s view, no such duty was created. In Arizona law, an owner or occupier of land is not liable for harm to others outside of the land when the harm was caused by the land’s natural condition. In this case, the land was in its natural condition and the lightning strike that triggered the blaze was a natural cause. In April 2017 the plaintiffs’ lawyers filed a motion asking the Court of Appeal to reconsider its decision. At the time of writing the motion is pending. However, two issues covered by the latest decision may be relevant to Arizona firefighters and their legal advisors.

Public policy and immunity from suit It may be an open question whether courts in Arizona or elsewhere will accept that public policy requires the State to control wildfires (or not). A court may consider that arrangements and procedures for fire control at a strategic level are inherently a political matter. They concern proper allocation of public resources, determinations of what public and private assets must be protected, and what citizens’ property and other rights may need to be infringed. This would bring them within the realm of a ‘political question’, where a court may not intervene without breaching the separation of powers. On the other hand, the finding of the Court of Appeal in this case that imposing a duty of care was against public policy because it would generate perverse incentives is open to challenge. The English case of Hill v Chief Constable of West

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care to remove or reduce natural or artificial hazards – including fire – on their land that may endanger their neighbour. In a jurisdiction like Arizona, courts may be reluctant to impose this burden on the State. However, their concerns may be assuaged by the board’s formula for quantifying the standard of care: that which is reasonable in the occupier’s circumstances. ‘What is reasonable to one man may be very unreasonable and indeed ruinous to another...One must say in general terms based on knowledge of the hazard, ability to foresee the consequences of not checking or removing it, and the ability to abate it...Less must be expected of the infirm than of the able-bodied: the owner of a small property where a hazard arises which threatens a neighbour with substantial interests should not have to do so much as one with larger interests of his own at stake and greater resources to protect them.’ This argument may be pressed strongly by the plaintiffs in Acri. Their position is that the Arizona Court of Appeals erred by concluding that landowners owe no duty to neighbouring landowners to control the spread of fire from their land.

Conclusion Yorkshire took a similar approach to the duties of police. However, the South African Supreme Court of Appeal has strongly doubted its correctness, pointing out that in two cases the European Court of Human Rights has found against the 'immunity approach' of the English Courts. These are Osman v United Kingdom, and Z and Others v United Kingdom. Doubts as to the immunity in Hill have also been expressed by the Supreme Court of Canada. Its status in Australian law has not been authoritatively decided. The plaintiffs' lawyer in the Acri case has said: ‘We...believe that the Arizona Court of Appeals incorrectly concluded that it would be bad public policy to hold the State liable for negligence in fighting wildfires. The best public policy is, we believe, to hold the State as liable as any private citizen for any negligence that it commits when it decides to act.’ A blanket immunity from suit for fire services in Arizona cannot be assumed while Acri remains unfinished.

Responsibility to control wildfires The second matter is that managers of fire services should not assume that a person in charge of land will be under no obligation to prevent the spread of a fire. The Arizona Court of Appeal found that Arizona’s state law presently denies such liability. However, there is an alternative common law position. The leading Privy Council case of Goldman v Hargrave declared that an occupier of land is under a general duty of

Emergency response inherently involves dealing with extreme situations. Sometimes this will include weather and terrain. When the Yarnell fire broke out, there was always a serious risk that it would cause a great deal of harm to many people. The decisions of the Superior Court and Court of Appeal have tended to lighten the burden on state authorities to control fire on public land. However, their decisions are based on common law positions that are open to challenge. Fire service managers and their lawyers would be well advised to monitor any further proceedings in this matter with interest.

About the Author: Stephen Tuck is a lawyer in Victoria, Australia, a Red Cross volunteer and a peer support volunteer for the State of Victoria. From 2016-2018 he was controller of the Tatura Unit of the Victoria State Emergency Services, a Red Cross volunteer and a peer support volunteer for the State of Victoria in Australia. He is also a regular freelance contributor to international trade media.

Top: A recent Arizona wildfire. ©Shutterstock Left: The Yarnell wildfire inspired the Hollywood production Only the Brave, which premiered in November 2017. Here, representatives of the fire department attend the event. ©Shutterstock

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cyber security

Training for cyberattacks

Cleveland Fire Brigade hosted the TARGET TC3 trial.

With a category one cyberattack expected within the next few years, a new pan-European project using innovative serious gaming techniques is delivering realistic simulated training scenarios to help European security-critical agents and agencies respond effectively to incidents, writes Rob Monroe.


yberattacks are becoming an ever-present threat to critical national infrastructure (CNI) operators and major corporations. A category one cyberattack, the most serious possible, will happen ‘sometime in the next few years’, according to Ian Levy, technical director of the National Cyber Security Centre, speaking at a recent conference. In the year since the agency was founded, it has covered 470 category three incidents and 30 category two incidents. These include the Wannacry ransom worm, which infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries and severely impacted the UK’s National Health System. ‘The only way to prevent such a breach,’ said Levy, ‘is to change the way businesses and governments think about cyber security.’ As part of the preparation for such an eventuality, a major and sustained attack on a region’s powergrid was simulated in a recent exercise hosted by Cleveland Fire Brigade. This was one of six trials held during September and October 2017 as part of Target (Training Augmented Reality Generalised Environment Toolkit), a project that has received funding from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Innovative serious gaming techniques and a range of training scenarios are being developed as part of Target. Using a combination of augmented and virtual reality (AVR), virtual reality, and command post exercises, Target is delivering a pan-European serious gaming platform that features new tools, techniques and content for training. It also incorporates methodology to assess the skills and competencies of security-critical agents (SCAs), including first responders, counterterrorism units, border guards, and CNI operators. Mixed-reality experiences immerse trainees at operational, tactical and strategic command levels, using a combination of real and training weaponry, radio equipment, command and control software, decision support tools, real command centres, and vehicles. A web-based geometry store already contains more than 250 AVR human models of first responders and civilians, as well as vehicles and equipment. A new photogrammetry survey drone has also been deployed to generate high-resolution 3D modelling of landscapes and buildings. The beta versions of the Target solutions were put through their paces last year in a series of trials hosted by each of the end-user agencies in the project. By evaluating them in real-life training environments with operational SCAs, the six trials provided extremely useful feedback to the technical teams for the continued development of the software.

TC1: CBRN incident in a clandestine lab This was an AVR exercise with field-based components, hosted by the International Security and Emergency Management Institute in Slovakia. Police officers in gas-tight hazmat suits, wearing hololens headsets projecting 3D imagery, collected forensic evidence in a mock clandestine lab containing simulated radioactive and chemical materials.


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TC2: Protecting CNI during mass demo This was a senior-level, command-post exercise, hosted by Fachhochschule der Polizei des Landes Brandenburg in Germany. CCTV and heli-teli views of the incident, radio communications, social media, and information from their own command and control systems were fed to the command team. Asset location and status information was presented on the Target user interface from Fraunhofer IVI.

TC3: Cyberattack on energy grid A sustained attack on a region’s powergrid was simulated, which was delivered to a senior multi-agency command team in Cleveland Fire Brigade’s strategic command centre. The scenario focused on the critical infrastructure components and key locations, including the effects on power stations, hospitals, railway stations, residential areas, resultant major incidents, and the prioritisation of responses.

TC4: Tactical firearms in confined spaces Firearms teams, wearing hololens headsets but using real weaponry equipped with blank rounds, had to break into a building and carry out rescues or interventions against possibly hostile and armed individuals, who appeared as digital holograms. The Institut de Seguretat Publica de Catalunya with Guardia Civil hosted TC4 in Barcelona, Spain.

TC5: Police respond to violent individuals Police officers at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Police near Lyon in France were asked to resolve a complex and threatening situation after a car accident, involving a potentially violent individual and a bystander. The tactical-level exercise used AVR technology with small arms instrumented with trackers to record weapon deployment.

TC6: Major RTC with multiple fatalities Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei in Münster, Germany, hosted this command-post exercise in a simulated command unit. Operational commanders had to contend with a motorway RTC involving more than 80 vehicles. A monitor inside the command unit showed commanders the scene from its location. Participants could also use a VR headset. Target aims to deliver a realistic and flexible AVR simulation solution incorporating a range of dynamic and variable scenarios. A multilanguage, online exercise creation and management tool will be available, allowing agencies in Europe to use the content and support will be provided to translators to assist the creation of local language versions of the modules. The vision is to make the Target Open Platform the reference for SCA training using serious gaming across Europe. Further information is available from the project website and F&R readers are invited to join the Target community at

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