Friday, March 4, 2011

Bad Fire Classroom

Bad Information Given at
Fire Service classes can get fireman hurt and killed.

As a long time Volunteer firefighter and now investigator I have sat in on hundreds of hours of various classes over the years and unfortunately there is a lot of bad information out there going around and the Fire service has failed to address it in particular right here in Allegheny County. Here are some examples.
In a discussion of sprinkler systems and stand pipes an instructor who is also a chief stated that standpipes supplying internal fire hose cabinets on floors and sprinkler pipes are always separate systems.
That statement is incorrect the fire hose cabinets you find on floors are often tied directly into the sprinkler system piping .
This is important to know when you are the Driver/Engineer on a Fire engine and running the engines pumps thru the external fire dept connection so proper pressure is applied and pipes are not burst ,or under supplied.
In another class when the question of water and electric came up, an instructor insisted that all electrical capacitor banks used in commercial buildings to balance the incoming power have automatic shorting bars which discharge the electrical charge when power is turned off.
This again is wrong. Capacitor banks do self discharge but it takes up to 15 or more minutes before they can be safely opened and worked on.
So once again this could have deadly consequences if after turning power off to a building a fireman thinks it OK to start putting out the fire in the room.

With the above 2 incidents I personally witnessed it is no wonder the amount of fire personnel who get killed and injured every year.
Many of these incidents would be a non issue but again because these instructors are not called on the carpet when they make bad statements the wrong answers are out there at the fire scene waiting to strike. All because some one never took the time to make sure
What they are saying is true.
Then take an elevator rescue class I was involved in which the instructor
Teaching the class failed to make sure students were following basic OSHA safety rules
When we entered the electrical and elevator machine rooms .
I pointed it out and was ignored I wrote the fire academy about it and was ignored and sooner or later a firefighter is going to get hurt by electrical shock because the rules were not gone over and followed.
And talking about the fire academy itself I pointed out a dangerous electrical condition at the academy involving how an air compressor was wired and was again ignored.
So every time I hear and see fireman doing things which can get them hurt or killed I
Just shake my head and wonder. Simple following of rules and common sense does not appear to be used in Pa. and it shows it self every year when Pa. heads the list of Firefighter deaths.

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