Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Images from the Colorado Wildfires

This year was predicted to be an active wildfire season.  It is delivering early and often.  New Mexico saw its largest wildfire in state history.  Now the state of Colorado is under significant siege by wildfires of "epic proportions."  And much of the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Utah are under red flag warnings.

The numbers are stunning... 100s of thousands of acres burned... 10s of thousands of residents evacuated... 1000s of wildland firefighters deployed... 100s of structures destroyed.

But the images are staggering....


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

UPDATE: Southwest Wildfires

In our continuing look at this increasingly active wildfire season, we bring you up-to-date on the many wildfires burning across the Southwest.

Large incident wildfires are currently burning in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and California.  The high heat and tremendous winds are contributing to a rapid spread of these fires.

Hundreds of structures have been destroyed.  Thousands of residents and visitors have been evacuated. And hundreds of wildland firefighters are battling these blazes.

The 2011 wildfire season burned 8.7 million acres - making it the 3rd most destructive wildfire season in the last 50 years.  We all hope 2012 will not be a record-breaker.  But instead of waiting to find out, prepare now by stocking up on essential wildland fire gear!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another Sign Of An Active Wildfire Season?

In Southern California the hottest part of summer has not arrived (yet!), but over the weekend it was dry and windy enough for a brush fire to kick up.  In fact, I took the photo above from Santa Clarita - looking North.  You can see the fire burning in the background, with Six Flags Magic Mountain and College of the Canyons in the foreground.

This wildland fire is in Hungry Valley - near the Grapevine portion of the I-5 freeway just north of Los Angeles.  The fire quickly burned 1,500 acres and is currently 30% contained.

This is a fairly minor wildfire.  But given the likelihood of an active wildfire season and with the dangers of July 4th fireworks right around the corner, this could be another indication of significant wildland fire potential.

For the most up-to-date info on all current wildfires, check out the (free) Active Fire Map provided by the USDA Forest Service.  And check the (low cost) Smartphone Apps provided by Wildfire Pro.

And prepare now for this wildland fire season!  Stock up on your supplies of wildland fire gear and wildland fire equipment.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Drug Test Results - IN SECONDS

Here's a product recently released by Thermo Scientific, called TruNarc.

This handheld device produces a drug test result almost immediately!!  TruNarc takes the time to process a drug test from weeks or months down to seconds!  And the device does not need direct contact with narcotics, it can test a sample while its still packaged.

In 1980 law enforcement completed over 500,000 drug-related arrests in the US.  Nowadays law enforcement is completing almost 2,000,000 drug-related arrests per year.  And the long time for forensics to process drug testing results can be detrimental to law enforcement's handling of a case.

But TruNarc could put law enforcement ahead of the curve again, and take away the opportunity for a suspect to game the system while drug test results are being processed.

The device is currently being tested by police departments in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Let us know if you have questions or interest in the product, contact us at Public Safety Stores.

And here's an informative video from Thermo Scientific:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Current Wildfire Info - There's an App For That

Want the most up-to-date info about a current wildfire?  There's an iPhone/iPad app for that, called Wildfire Pro.

It provides detailed information about a wildfire, including:

  • Incident data from
  • Active fire perimeter mapping
  • Fire calculators with Weather and FDFM/PIG
  • Quick reference guides for Safety, Weather, Operations and Size Up reports
  • Fire maps with Custom overlays, Severe weather warnings and NEXRAD radar
Until now most of this data was not available until you arrived on scene.  But this app gives you vital information prior to arriving on scene.  That way you have more time to think through firefighting strategies and consider what wildland fire gear you'll need.

It has been (and is likely be) an active wildfire season.  Prepare now!

This app costs $4.99.

For Free, you can check out Wildfire Info

For $1.99, you can check out Wildfire Home.

All three pull data from

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fireworks Generate Temps in Excess of 1200 F

July 4th is almost here.  NOW is the time to educate people about the risks of private fireworks!!

According to the NFPA, private fireworks generate temps in excess of 1200 degrees F.  So the risk of starting a fire is real, on top of this year's being an already active wildfire season.

In a typical year (in the US):
  • July 4th is the day on which the greatest number of fires are reported
  • 40% of fires reported on July 4th are caused by fireworks
In 2010 (in the US):
  • fireworks caused 15,500 reported fires, resulting in...
    • 1,100 structure fires
    • 300 vehicle fires
    • 8 reported deaths
    • $36 million in direct property damage
But fireworks also cause EMS calls, a lot of them!  EMTs are busy already, fireworks just add to the load.

In 2010 (in the US):
  • 8,800 people went to the ER for fireworks-related injuries
    • 52% were burns
    • 21% were contusions and lacerations
  • 40% of people injured were less than 15 yrs old
  • Sparklers, fountains and novelties accounted for 43% of the injuries
Prepare now by (1) educating the public (2) equipping your department with the right firefighting gear (3) and stocking up on enough first aid supplies

Have a safe 4th of July!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

9/11 The Miracle of Stairwell B

At the NFPA Conference this year (retired) NYFD captain Jay Jonas delivered the feature presentation.  It was his story of surviving the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Center with his company of Ladder 6 and a few others.

It is a stunning story of bravery and heroism, and more than worth your viewing.  These are links to the six YouTube videos which collectively re-tell the story:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Significant Wildland Fire Potential

As we and many others have said, expect this wildfire season to be active!

For current evidence, see the Active Fire Map provided by the USDA Forest Service.   As of today (6/12/12) there are 23 large incidents listed.  The most significant of these:

  • the Whitewater-Baldy fire
  • in New Mexico
  • has burnt nearly 280,000 acres
  • is less than 40% contained

And further evidence can be found in the June 2012 National Wildland Significant Fire Potential Outlook report from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).  This report points primarily to the Southwest quarter of the US as being highly vulnerable to wildfire due to its "severe to extreme drought" conditions.

Read up and prepare adequately, you might be working some Overtime this summer!!

Get the right wildland firefighting gear early, including turnout gear, boots, helmets, gloves and more!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fire Chief of the Year

Have you submitted your nomination for Fire Chief of the Year?  The deadline is June 15th!!

This 17-year tradition (dating back to 1995) is publicized by Fire Chief magazine.  And the 2012 award will be presented at the Fire-Rescue International Show in Denver this August.

Your Fire Chief is likely a brave individual who takes on many responsibilities - like FirefightingEMS, managing your Department and purchasing your Fire and EMS supplies.  Its no wonder being a Firefighter is one of the most stressful jobs of 2012!

Take this opportunity to show your Fire Chief your support!  Click here for more information, and check out this video...

Monday, June 4, 2012

A little Firefighting, a lot more Doctoring

As you know, Fire Departments respond to far more EMS calls than actual Firefighting calls.  In fact, an EMS event occurs literally every second in the US!  60-70% of all calls to a Fire Department are for "medical" reasons, not "fire" reasons.

But most firefighters joined the Fire Department not for the gentleness of doctoring ... they joined for the action of firefighting!!

So, to rub a little salt in the wound, firefighters often grow weary of medical patients who become "frequent flyers."  These are medical patients who call on the Department so many times they might as well get a loyalty card and a frequent flyer number!

Firefighters get frustrated that this takes away from their first love - firefighting.  But sometimes their loud complaining can have unintended consequences - by leading Politicians and the Public to believe the EMS function should be privatized.  And perhaps parts of it should, but keep in mind the EMS work brings in quite a lot of money to a Fire Department.  It would be a tremendous loss of resources, and potentially jobs, if Fire Departments began to loose out on the EMS side.

Marc Scrivener wrote a terrific article about this in the Fire Chief Blog.

For now, Fire Departments offer both excellent EMS and firefighting services.  And the complexity of being superb at both is one of the reasons being a firefighter is ranked among the most stressful jobs of 2012.

So to firefighters everywhere ... you do a great job, keep it up!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Quick Stats on the Largest Wildfire in New Mexico History

The current wildfire burning in New Mexico is the largest in state history.

Here are the quick stats so far:

  • been burning for 2 weeks in the Gila National Forest
  • burned 200,000+ acres
  • destroyed 20+ structures
  • being fought by 1,200 firefighters
  • injured 6 people

But ... only 10% contained!

Some say this could be a preview of what's to come.  Given the dryness of this past winter in the Western US and several state's drought conditions, this could be an especially active wildfire season.

It is important to be sure the public is prepared to respond to local wildfires.  For example, look at the awareness campaign from CAL FIRE: ReadySetGo!

And remember, it is also important to be sure wildland firefighters stock up on wildland firefighting equipment, like turnout gear and other firefighting supplies.