Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Fire Stations in Santa Clarita, California!!

Remember a series of huge wildfires burning across Southern California in October 2007?  If not, you can refresh your memory here!

Together these fires:

  • destroyed 1,500+ homes
  • burned 500,000+ acres
  • injured 85 people (including 60+ firefighters)
  • and killed 9 people

They were devastating to say the least.  Among these was the "Buckweed Fire" in northern LA County.  The Buckweed Fire alone burned 38,000 acres and destroyed 63 structures - all in our hometown of Santa Clarita.

Well, a little hometown news ... two new Fire Stations opened in Santa Clarita this week.  One of the fire stations is just a few hundred feet from the burn area of the Buckweed Fire.  And another new station is set to open in Santa Clarita later this year.

These stations are much needed in a dry part of Southern California with a long history of wildfires.

Keep in mind, this year is expected to be a very active wildfire season.  Choose your turnout gear carefully.  And stock up now with the proper wildland firefighting equipment.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Airway Management in EMS

EMS1 completed a recent survey of 203 Emergency Medical Responders, EMTs, Paramedics and other similar professionals.

Check out these stats to see what others are doing for Airway Management, you might learn something new!

  • 94% establish and maintain a patient airway with Oropharyngeal airways
  • 97% use a bag valve mask to assist patient with breathing
  • 56% are authorized to perform endotracheal intubation
  • 98% use auscultation of gastric and lung sounds to confirm tube placement
    • 91% use visual confirmation
  • 38% do not have access to a bougie (an endotracheal tube introducer)
    • 20% have access to a bougie
    • 22% do not know what it is
Click here to see the full EMS Airway Management survey from EMS1.

EMS is a busy profession and Airway Management is a crucial aspect.  This type of info keeps you updated on the EMS supplies and techniques others are using!

Monday, May 21, 2012

2 Keys to Turnout Gear


While its vitally important to prioritize heat protection when choosing turnout gear, its also important to remember added layers of protection can make turnouts much less comfortable and less breathable.  Too much protection can come at the cost of your ability to move and perform optimally.

Its a constant battle to find the right balance of Comfort and Protection when producing turnout gear for firefighters.  In fact, the TPACC (Textile Protection and Comfort Center) at NC State specializes in researching how these competing attributes can be balanced.  Take a look at their site for more in-depth research.


Structural Firefighting often incurs direct flame contact in bursts of 3 - 10 seconds.  Whereas Wildland Firefighting often incurs indirect radiant heat exposure over several minutes.  So the thermal protective performance of flame-resistant fabrics and fibers in turnout gear needs to be evaluated differently.

Keep this in mind when you go to choose your own turnout gear.  Consider the uniqueness of the fire conditions you'll be facing.  Find out how other firefighters have managed these factors when choosing their turnout gear.

Ask your turnout gear supplier for information about how their turnouts will perform in different conditions.  Its likely to be an active wildfire season, be informed when choosing your turnout gear!

Friday, May 18, 2012

An EMS event occurs in the US every single second!

In December 2011 the "National EMS Assessment" was released by  You can access it online ... but its 550 pages!  So here's a few nuggets:

The EMS industry in the US is estimated to have:
  • 19,971 credentialed EMS agencies
  • 81,295 credentialed EMS vehicles
  • 826,111 credentialed EMS professionals

Its a young workforce:
  • 70% of EMS professionals are between 20 - 49 years old

Its a busy workforce, in 2009 an estimated:
  • 36,698,670 EMS events occurred in the US
  • 28,004,624 EMS transports occurred in the US

But few states track the Health and Safety of EMS professionals:
  • 1 state (2%) monitors EMS on the job injury data
  • 7 states (14%) monitor EMS blood-borne pathogen exposure data
  • 18 states (36%) monitor EMS on the job fatalities

Each EMS event has risks, which is one reason why being a Firefighter is ranked the 2nd most stressful job in the US!

But your personal safety can often be protected with the right EMS supplies and PPE.  EMS supplies are made to help you do your job safely!

Its an emergency business, and an EMS event occurs literally every second (36 million events per year : 31 million second per year)!  So be prepared and keep your EMS supplies well-stocked!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Time, Distance, Shielding ... in EMS?

This 3-step approach is often used to reduce radiation exposure in HazMat incidents.  But it can also be helpful in handling EMS incidents.

  • Time:  adequate time should be taken with a patient to ensure the highest standard of care is being administered, and when the job is done its time to go

  • Distance:  onlookers and other people not treating an incident should be kept a significant distance from the scene

A simple approach, but very effective.  Try it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Most Stressful Jobs are in Public Safety!

CareerCast recently ranked the most stressful jobs of 2012.  The factors were things like Competitiveness, Hazards encountered, Own life at risk and Lives of others at risk.

These are the five most stressful jobs (and average incomes):

4 of the 5 most stressful jobs are in Public Safety!!

Firefighters, Police Officers and Military serve the public under extraordinary demands ... and now, with super tight budgets and limited resources.

To all of you Police, Fire, EMS and Military members ... we support you!!  Let us know how we can help!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Its Wildfire Awareness Week!  And CAL FIRE has a 3-step strategy for people to prepare for the dangers of a wildfire: Ready, Set, Go!

Get Ready - protect your home with defensible space and fire-resistant materials.

Get Set - protect your family by preparing for a potential evacuation.

Now Go - actually evacuate.  Your home and your family have prepared for this, now its time to Go!  Properly close up your house.  Leave as soon as fire personnel tell you to.  Activate your Wildfire Action Plan.  And keep your Emergency Supply Kit handy.

Wildfires are dangerous and firefighters are working hard to contain the fire itself.  Homeowners should be the least of their worries.  So get Ready, Set and Go!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Get Set!

When it comes to wildfire preparedness CAL FIRE says step 1 is Being Ready!  Step 2 is Getting Set!

Getting Set means preparing for the potential of evacuation.  We all hope it doesn't happen, but living in denial is never a good idea.  So Get Set!

Every family should have a Wildfire Action Plan put in place - well before a wildfire happens.  This should be complete, yet simple.  It should tell everyone in the family where to meet in the event of an evacuation.  And its a process the family should practice from time to time.

A Wildfire Action Plan should also name a friend or family member (who lives out of the area) to be the main point of contact if the family gets separated.  CAL FIRE even offers a form you can fill out to keep track of this info.

The family should know where to find its fire extinguisher and how to use it.  The family should know where the main shut-off is for water, gas and electric mains.  And the family should have an Emergency Supply Kit on-hand, if not two kits - one in the house and one in the car.

Protect your home by Being Ready!  Protect your family by Getting Set!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ready, Set, Go!

Its Wildfire Awareness Week in California and CAL FIRE offers this as step 1 in wildfire preparedness - Being Ready!

Being Ready means homeowners should surround their homes with "defensible space."  In fact, at least 100 feet of space between the home and the surrounding wildland area must remain cleared.

Wildfires can spread by flying embers landing on homes up to a mile away.  Being Ready also means homeowners should cover their homes with fire-resistant materials.  The roof is most vulnerable to wildfire dangers, so roofs should be made of materials such as composition, metal or tile.

This is expected to be a very active wildfire season, prepare now to Be Ready!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Get Ready! Its Wildfire Awareness Week!

The state of California has designated this week (May 6-12, 2012) as Wildfire Awareness Week.  Four of the last seven years have been the most destructive wildfire seasons in US record-keeping history:
  • 2011 - 8.7 million acres burned
  • 2007 - 9.3 million acres burned
  • 2006 - 9.8 million acres burned
  • 2005 - 8.6 million acres burned
And this past winter has been especially dry in California.  As of May 1 the statewide snowpack was only 40% of its normal level.  And from January to April 2012 CAL FIRE has responded to 2.5 times as many wildfires (800) as in the same period 2011 (when there were just 300).  So this is expected to be a very active wildfire season in California.

CAL FIRE is continuing its theme of "Ready, Set, Go!" in which residents are asked to take fire safety measures such as Defensible Space, Family Communication Plans and Evacuation Steps.  We'll look at these in more detail this week!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wildfire Season

Did you know 2011 was among the most destructive wildfire seasons on record?

According to the USA's National Interagency Fire Center, more than 8.7 million acres burned in 2011.  This is third most in 50+ years.  And the two worse years occurred recently - over 9 million acres burned in both 2006 and 2007.

So how many acres will burn due to wildfires in 2012?  And how will firefighters prepare?

We don't know how many acres will burn this year, but we certainly know a wildfire season is coming.

So preparation is important, especially in wildland firefighting.  It includes continuing education, skills training and acquisition of wildland firefighting equipment.

Continuing education should occur in the classroom and in the field.  Principles learned formally should also be tested in real-life scenarios.  Skills training bring firefighters both the physical and mental instincts to make increasingly better decisions.

And strategic acquisition of wildland firefighting equipment is part of how firefighters prepare to do their job safely.  We know a wildfire season is coming.  Start preparing now!