Shout Out to City of Scottsdale (AZ) Fire Department!



The Congressional Fire Services Institute and Masimo (NASDAQ: MASI) have honored three fire departments for best practices and innovative solutions in the delivery of emergency medical services with the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award. The award presentation took place on April 16th at the 27th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner in Washington, D.C.

We’re very pleased to share that one of our customers was among the honorees:  City of Scottsdale (AZ) Fire Department.  Congratulations for your innovative practice of establishing an alternate care site at large events to take care of patients in need of medical attention.

The three fire departments to receive the 2015 Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Awards were:

  • Caribou (ME) Fire and Ambulance Department: Improvements in staffing to provide better emergency medical care to patients, and enhanced rehab protocols to insure the health and wellbeing of responding personnel.
  • County of Henrico (VA) Division of Fire: Cooperative relationships with the U.S. Military and Department of Defense that have enabled the agency to gain access to equipment and training used by the military to treat soldiers in combat. Through these efforts, Henrico Fire has improved its trauma care.
  •  City of Scottsdale (AZ) Fire Department: Establishment of an alternate care site at large events to identify and treat alcohol intoxication so patients could be safely discharged to home and bypass the emergency department.

“CFSI takes great pride in co-sponsoring the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award with Masimo,” said CFSI President Bill Jenaway. “Through this program, we are able to recognize important innovations in fire service-based emergency medical care that other fire departments can adopt to enhance their own emergency medical care systems.”

Awesome Resource on Fire Safety

Don’t miss this great resource on fire safety: UL | New Science | Fire Safety

“For more than a century, UL has advanced Fire Safety with the goals of helping prevent fires, injury and loss of life and to minimize property damage. Advances in materials, design and construction techniques offer new benefits but also present new challenges and risks, making fire more dangerous today than in the past. UL continues to progress safety science across the increasingly complex Fire Safety ecosystem. We analyze field data and conduct live burn experiments to expand our understanding of fire behavior. We develop new firefighter tactics to help make firefighters safer and better prepared. We innovate computational modeling techniques to more extensively examine potential fire risks. And we study electrical fires to gain new insights about this growing hazard.”

Getting Engaged by Jesse Roman

Author, JESSE ROMAN, is staff writer for NFPA Journal.  Article first published in NFPA Journal May 1, 2015

Boosting fire service involvement in the codes + standards process.

MORE THAN 100 NFPA codes and standards affect firefighters—including the training they receive and the equipment they use—but the vast majority of fire service members do not participate in the code-development process. Many don’t even know they can.

To address that disconnect, NFPA has launched a campaign called “NFPA Standards in Action: Your Voice Matters.” Through a just-launched website, fire service members can quickly find and review public fire protection standards and see which ones are currently open for public input and comment. They can also leave feedback and comment on proposed changes.

As part of the initiative, NFPA will also work with the fire service to help members become more involved in the creation of these standards, which can have a significant impact on their day-to-day operations. “If one of NFPA’s standards has requirements that make firefighters’ jobs more challenging or doesn’t help them do their work in the most effective way, we want and need to know about it,” said Ken Willette, NFPA’s division manager of public fire protection.

At the moment, though, not enough of that feedback is taking place. A recent NFPA survey found that most firefighters either don’t know how to get involved in the standards-making process or don’t think their voices will be heard. According to the survey, 86 percent of respondents had never participated in NFPA’s codes and standards process. Meanwhile, 75 percent said they want to know more about how the process works, while 81 percent said they want to be notified on deadlines for input and comments.

Learn more about the NFPA codes and standards that relate to the fire service, as well as about how to get involved and provide input at the Standards in Action webpage.

The Exposure Factor by Ken Willette

Author, Ken Willette, division manager for Public Fire Protection at NFPA.  First printed in the NFPA Journal: First Responder

Firefighting, Hazardous Environments and NFPA Standards
I recently learned that, almost 40 years ago, hundreds of airport rescue firefighters may have been exposed to a toxic hazard as part of their training and response duties. Investigations had found that the aircraft used in this training had been part of a fleet that previously sprayed Agent Orange, a dioxin-based defoliant, during the Vietnam War, and that traces of the cancer-causing chemical remained in the airplanes.

The news was of interest to me, since I was one of those firefighters.

While our exposure was far less than that of the aircraft crews, we did frequent training and familiarizations in these planes, often with no personal protective equipment (PPE). We never decontaminated our PPE, and routinely washed our station uniforms at home with the family laundry. I thought of my fellow firefighters from this era of my career and how many of them have been lost to cancer.

I use the term “IDLH”—short for “immediately dangerous to life and health”—to describe the work environment firefighters operate in. The term conveys the potentially severe impact this environment could have on firefighters—cancer, respiratory afflictions, and other problems—if they do not protect themselves.

What they should protect themselves against varies depending upon whom you ask. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, for example, focuses on exposure to airborne contaminants that are “likely to cause death or immediate or delayed permanent adverse health effects or prevent escape from such an environment.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration warns against situations that pose “an immediate threat to life, would cause irreversible adverse health effects, or would impair an individual’s ability to escape from a dangerous atmosphere.” In short, an IDLH area is a bad place to be.

For over 40 years, NFPA has sought to protect firefighters against the IDLH atmosphere, producing a library of PPE standards that provide protection from airborne contaminants as well as atmospheres of low oxygen, toxic gases, and high temperatures. NFPA 1971, Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, and NFPA 1981, Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services, form the backbone of this protection by stating design, testing, and certification criteria. The recommendations have evolved to improve levels of protection, exemplified by embracing advanced textiles for PPE and improved materials for SCBA facepieces.

To ensure the PPE worn by firefighters achieves the intended protection, NFPA supports development of NFPA 1851, Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, and NFPA 1852, Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). These documents list routine inspection criteria, as well as when PPE requires a simple cleaning, decontamination, or removal from service. Equal responsibility is placed on the user and the agency that supplied the PPE, because they each bear a high level of risk if the equipment fails.

PPE is an important part of a firefighter’s protection against exposure to carcinogens, but it needs to be maintained and cleaned, as recommended by NFPA 1851. SCBA should be worn during overhaul as well as active firefighting. As my own experience illustrates, you never know what you’re exposed to.

Let’s Talk Airbags!

There have been many changes to the Maxiforce Paratech Airbags during the last year or more.  So, let’s talk about how and when it is a good time to upgrade, change or replace old or existing airbags.

Airbags have a life span associated with them, generally 10-15.  Similar to a truck or car tire, these tools for lifting loads also have to be replaced when the rubber is worn out. We have been asked several times and/or advised by many departments, “I never used my bags” or “we have only used these bags in training” or “so do I still have to trade or upgrade…I just purchased these bags a ‘few’ years ago (now a 20 year old bag)”.  THESE BAGS FALL INTO THE MUST GO CATEGORY!

How can we tell when an airbag is ready for retirement? Serial numbers assist us with this discussion. Each airbag has or should have some serial number attached to it. In Paratech’s Maxiforce bags there are distinct serial numbers. These serial numbers have taken on different sequences over the years:

1) 1025
The top number (1025) represents that this bag was the 1025th bag manufactured in
that year. The second row of numbers (201989) represents that the bag was made in
the 20th week of 1989.

2) 991245   The first two digits represent the year the bag was manufactured. In this case the bag was made in 1999. The last four digits (1245) represent that the bag was the 1245th bag manufactured that year. Other examples: 910245, 932428, etc.

3) 84321   The serial numbers that are only 5 digits were produced in the 1980s (well beyond the bag’s life span). The first digit of the number represents the last digit of the year it was made. The number in this example begins with 8 which means that it was manufactured in 1988. The last four digits (4321) represent the number bag manufactured that year. In this case the bag was the 4321st bag manufactured in 1988.

4) MMYYxxxxx  This series of numbers are the current way Paratech places serial numbers on their Maxiforce bags. Month, Year and a serial number: could be bags made in a series, bags made in that numbering category. Much easier to read and understand when an airbag is due to retire.

Maxiforce Airbags have also gone through a substantial upgrade in that they are now able to hold up to 150psi versus the older 118psi bags. Some confusion did occur when Paratech also changed the design of bags and controller equipment at the same time thus causing some real headaches. To clarify, the GEN2 series or G2 was really a change to the “DESIGN” of some of the systems – i.e. Single, Dual Deadman and Air Regulators, and then with the re-design of the airbags many of us thought it was just the bags. So we still had or have some regulators that are G2 but only perform in the 118psi range. Hence the confusion.  When ordering or upgrading the system we must also include a
“-150” to the part number in order to make certain we get the correct equipment to run with the newer bags.

If uncertain about what equipment you have or what new equipment can work well with your current system, please give us a call.

Did you know that Paratech is one of the only manufacturers of bags and equipment that when an air hose fails in the field such as at an accident scene, the hose can be “field repaired” and put right back in the mix of lifting and moving equipment? This is a great strength in their product line that many end users might not know.

Please remember that ALL L.N. Curtis & sons rescue team members are a phone call, text or even an email away to help answer any questions you may have.  For in-person educational opportunities on airbags, please reach out to us — our Rescue Team loves training and teaching about rescue equipment!

Choosing the Right Breathing Air System!

(Admittedly LONG, but really worth the read — stick with us here!)

The Highly Variable Demand Approach to Choosing the Correct Product
By: Anthony M. Gonzalez, Owner, Eagle Compressors
(excerpts taken with permission)

What are your needs?  High pressure breathing air systems are used by fire depart­ments to refill their Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) cylinders. It is difficult, even for the most experienced organiza­tions, to determine how many and how often they will need to refill cylinders during any given period of time. Understandably, this is or should be of significant concern to the Fire Department as the consequences of the approach taken to get to the answer will determine how successful or undesirable the equipment selection will be.

How much do you have to spend?   This response is not only universally despised but also has the very realistic potential to lead to a very short-sighted decision. Even if the question is en­tertained by the prospective customer, the amount mentioned can usually be counted on to be highly inadequate. Further­more, the response ends the discussion and little else can be learned by either party that can lead to a good decision.

The real challenge is to develop a method by which users can compare the real value of one machine size over another. For example, any of us would have difficulty in understanding the real value of a compressor with a charging rate of 21 cubic feet per minute (CFM) over one with 14 CFM charging rate. Other than the obvi­ous difference of 7 CFM, no one can see the value of one over the other without at least two other factors of performance for comparison.

One of the best ways to compare the value of machinery is to determine how fast they can do their job compared to how much they cost. Time and money are the two variable factors that would help lead the customer to a fundamentally good decision. I call this the System Calculator process. This requires obtaining critical information from the department. The steps are as follows:

 A. Data Collection
The following is information required for the System Calculator process.

1. The number of SCBA and or SCUBA gear that the depart­ment has. Do not count spare cylinders, just the apparatus that would be used if all were manned. It is important to know if the department fills for other organizations. If so, count that gear also.

2. Determine the volume of the cylinders used with the apparatus above.  Typical cylinder volumes are as shown below:

4500 PSI SCBA Cylinders

  • ½ Hour cylinders =45 cubic feet
  • ¾ Hour cylinders = 62 cubic feet
  • 1-Hour cylinders = 88 cubic feet
  • Scuba cylinders (the most popular size, 85% of the market) = 80 Cubic feet

5500 PSI SCBA Cylinders

  • ½ Hour cylinders = 45 cubic feet
  • ¾ Hour cylinders = 62 cubic feet
  • 1-Hour cylinders = 88 cubic feet
  • 75-Min. cylinder =111 cubic feet

*It can be noted in the calculation for time to fill that the SCBA working pressure is not part of the equation.  However, it is imperative to know if the customer is using or planning to fill any (5500 PSI) SCBA cylinders.  The compressor manufacturer must know about the use of the 5500 PSI SCBA as the compressor will need a different design air pressure switch that is normally used on compressors filling 2216/3000/45000 PSI cylinders.  Pressure switches on the lower pressure SCBA cylinder compressors do not normally restart until the storage pressure drops to approximately 5400 PSI, so attempting to fill 5500 PSI cylinders will not work as the compressor will not re-start to get the 5500 PSI pressure needed. 

1/2-Hour cylinders = 45 cubic feet (CF)
3/4-Hour cylinders = 62 CF
1-Hour cylinders = 88 CF

3. Determine the working pressure of the cylinders. If the cylin­ders have a working pressure of 4500 PSIG or 5500 PSIG, it will be necessary to offer a compressor with a 6000 PSIG working pressure. If the cylinders are low pressure, 2216 or 3000 PSIG, a compressor with 5000 PSIG working pressure can be selected.

However, I don’t recommend 5000 PSIG compressors in any case unless the customer has very limited funds to work with. Right or wrong, it seems the SCBA cylinder manufacturers are trying to entice all customers to go to 4500 PSIG working pres­sure as they can store the same or more volume in a lighter and smaller cylinder.

4. If the customer is seeking a stationary, electrically driven unit, determine the electrical service available in the installa­tion building. The most likely possibilities are as follows:

Single phase, 208/230 volts
Three phase, 230 volts
Three phase, 460 volts

Be aware that if the installation building has only single phase available, the largest compressor that can run on this current is 10 horsepower.

B. Target Volume

In order to compare the value of one compressor size over another, a baseline factor is necessary. The best way to do this is by developing a target volume that is calculated as follows: Target Volume = # of SCBA Cylinders x Volume of Cylinders

This can be calculated from the number of cylinders and their volume obtained from the customer in item #2 above.

C. Layout of the Options

Now armed with the data collected, generate a spreadsheet that will demonstrate the value of each com­pressor size in terms of speed to fill and cost. For an example of what this looks like, let’s assume the following data was obtained from the customer:

Target Volume Calculation:

Number of and Volume of Cylinders:

40) 4500 PSIG, 1/2-hour (45.0 CF) cylinders
15) 4500 PSIG, 1-hour (88 CF) cylinders (for Hazmat team)
Target Volume = 40 x 45 x 88 = 3,120 CF

Compressor CFM Time to Fill* $
14 3.7 hours $45,000.00
21 2.5 hours $51,000.00
24 2.1 hours $53,000.00

*Time to Fill = Target Volume/Compressor CFM/60

It is human nature to compare two related factors. When presented with a table as the one shown above, the natural focus is on the time versus cost columns. NOW, there can be an intelligent assessment about the value of each compressor size.

So, this begs the question once again:  what are your needs?

Playing the Word Game: Fire Hose Construction

Some hose manufacturers who may not be able to measure up in quality or durability will play word games with their sales brochures. Phrases are strung together using words like “lighter weight”, “higher flows”, “increased picks per inch”, “high strength”. All of these phrases, taken independently, can be good characteristics when it comes to fire hose construction. However, some are mutually exclusive when it comes to the world of physics and reality.

Let’s look closer!

Phrases on Page 1 of one of those Sales Brochures
“Weighs Less”, “Kinks Less”, and “Flows More Water”

Let’s break these down:

  1. Weighs Less:  How do we make hose lighter?  We take material out.
  2. Kinks Less: Hose that is lighter weight, gives up resistance to kinking as compared to ‘standard’ weight/construction hoses.
  3. Flows More Water: High performance liner?  Not at low end prices.  Oversize hose?  Yes…

And, let’s look at these claims:

Phrase on Page 2 of one of those Sales Brochures
“Increased the picks per inch for greater strength and abrasion resistance.”  (Remember, this statement is preceded by “Weighs Less” on page 1 of the brochure!)
  1. But I thought you said the hose is lighter? How do we make hose lighter? Again, We take material out…
  2. But it says the “picks per inch have been Increased”.  If there are more Picks and more Weft (Filler) AND the hose got lighter…That means there is less Warp. (Warp is the expensive part of the materials in the hose jackets.)
  3. How does making the warp weaker, increase strength?  It doesn’t. Remember, in hose testing, Filler Fails First. But if Filler is added, and Warp is removed, how can the hose fail correctly/safely?
  4. Abrasion Resistance? Making hose lighter (and not changing materials of construction) , cannot increase abrasion resistance. Removing warp from a fire hose does not increase abrasion resistance. The warp material, its quality and physical characteristics, determine the resistance to abrasion.
CORRECT FAILURE Failure of Filler/Weft: Weft goes Left/Right (around) hose

Failure of Filler/Weft: weft goes left/right (around) hose

INCORRECT (UNSAFE) FAILURE Failure of Warp: Warp run Lengthwise with Hose

Failure of Warp: warp runs lengthwise with hose

Our team of Water Flow  Specialists are available to walk you through each phrase and answer any questions you have!

Think Performance, Think Safety, Think Bullard!


Are you looking for a lightweight, low profile, high performance structural helmet? Are you concerned for the safety of your firefighters? Are you looking to cut weight, but want to maintain a high level of protection? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, look no further than the Bullard LTX Helmet.

Bullard LTX Helmet

Bullard LTX Helmet

The LTX Helmet has been re-engineered as a result of 20-years of Bullard engineered polymers technology and expertise. The LTX Helmet features a streamlined design, low center of gravity and increased headroom for more comfort, making the Bullard LTX helmet the most comfortable low profile helmet on the market. The Bullard LTX Helmet includes key safety features, such as an M-PACT Shell with SmartRidge design which provides thermal and impact protection while offering more headroom for a comfortable fit.
The Bullard LTX Helmet is equipped with the U-Fit System, which allows for 12 points of adjustment that allows you to adjust the ride and balance of your helmet. It’s like having a custom-fitted helmet, designed just for you. Available in Black, Red, White, Yellow, Blue, Orange, and Lime-Yellow. So when you think lightweight, performance, and safety…..Think Bullard!



Product Features:

  • M-PACT Shell with SmartRidge design
  • High-heat thermoplastic outer shell
  • Comfortable Sure-Lock® ratchet headband
  • Balanced 4-point nylon crown straps and crown pad
  • Nomex® chinstrap with quick-release buckle and postman’s slide fastener
  • Rip-stop Nomex® ear/neck protector
  • Leather ratchet cover
  • Removable fire-resistant, absorbent cotton brow pad
  • Quick-Attach faceshield or goggle system
  • 12 comfort settings
  • Scotchlite® reflective markings
  • Certified to NFPA 1971-2013 standard

WIN $5000.00 Worth Of Firefighting Equipment!

FEMSA and FAMA’s 11th Annual State of the Fire Service survey is open! This Assistance to Firefighter Grants Survey yields valuable insight for all members. AND all those that take the survey are entered in for a chance to win $5000.00 worth of valuable firefighting equipment. Don’t miss this superb opportunity to be a hero for your department!

GOOD LUCK and thank you for participating.  Your answers assist FEMSA/FAMA in determining how you, the end user-customer, assess needs and pursue grant funding. Their ultimate goal is to help us all be successful as we go forward in the current state of the fire service economy.

Click on either the FEMSA or FAMA
logo to get started!



Don’t Forget the Step Cribbing!



Step cribbing is something that should always be considered for the toolbox!  It is reasonably priced and something that every apparatus should have on it.

The Shark from Rescue 42 is made of steel and arguably the best product on the market for quick stabilization.  It doesn’t take up much storage space and by simply pulling one pin you can go from the collapsed stage to ready-to-use. Unlike wood or plastic cribbing, the Shark has a load capacity of 7000 lbs. or 14,000 lbs. if used with a picket.  Some people like to use wood cribbing because it is cheaper and easily made, but you can’t guarantee the load capacity of wood, it can split and you cannot decontaminate it.  An excellent feature of the Shark is that both sides are usable for different situations. The flat side is great for level or smooth surfaces.  Flip it over and use the teeth/step side for more traction on soft or slick surfaces. The baseplate accepts ratchet straps or pickets to prevent slipping in icy or muddy rescue conditions. Quite simply this tool is easy to use and extremely versatile!