Biddle's Corner

Changes in the Fire-Rescue World

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 12 May 2017 21:23

As America’s lifestyles have changed, these new ways of work, transportation, recreation and play everyone has experienced new activities in safety, exercising, and living styles.  These changes have also fostered many forms of different training, education, and working practices for Newtown Square Fire and Rescue activities.

Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof commented the local fire and emergency services must learn from differing and various safety sources.  These lessons come from new changes in America’s lifestyle, play, recreational activities, and new hobby and work experiences.

These life- and property-protecting services must learn from differing and various safety sources.  These lessons come from firefighting history, reviews from current events, and advances of fire-science. Also, safety has come from discoveries of stranded citizens or trapped firefighters, as well as general firefighting advance.

Before: In the 1950 era, the common footwear worn by firefighters was very like the continuing and current wader boots worm by stream-wading people fishing.  The legs and feet were kept dry.  One early advance in this era of footwear and several later generations of footwear used in fires was an insert that prevented foot puncturing piercings of the sole of the boot.

Current: The modern footwear is both supportive and protective. It appearance may look like a builder type boots, but their design and construction provides both a modern form of a sturdy method of walking on various types of construction and debris as well as general safety.

Before: In that same era, the firefighting gear was more like a rain coat and with some later changes, there were vest-like inserts that helped become a warming help in after-fire, winter temperatures.

Current: Today protective outer wear used by firefighters is a very distant cousin of that used in the mid last century.  No longer is the firefighting outerwear “just like a raincoat.” Its construction is the product of modern science.  Through extensive research, both the fabric used and its weaving pattern found in ‘bunker coats,’ the name of the top, outer wear used in fighting fires, is resistant to burning.

Some modern firefighting gear also has incorporated another fabric which permits the firefighter to crawl on floors to escape from the heat and fire in a firefighting area.  This near-floor posture is used by searching firefighters as they look for stranded occupants, as well as fighting fires.

The interior of today’s firefighting gear has insulation that remains in place both summer and winter.  In the summer, this insulation helps prevent the firefighter from being over-heated in fires.

Before: Early methods of firefighting would not encourage long exposures to the smoke and combustible gases in an interior building fire.  The earliest form of purging smoke particle was done by filter-type devices.  As the firefighter breathed, his inhaled air passed through cartridges that attempted to “capture” the unwanted smoke particles.

These devices were replaced with a device that had applications in coal mine and US Navy fires. The exhaled air and its moisture were captured in rubberized containers.  This moist air aided in the generation of breathable oxygen that sustained life for the user.

Current: Larger, lighter canisters of compressed air (filtered air, not oxygen) stored in back-borne devices replaced the chemical devices. With local, air storage master bottles and their use in the easy refilling of emptied, fire ground-emptied air bottles can be refilled. This provides firefighters with better sources of potable breathable air. Firefighting history, reviews from current events, and advances of fire-science safety has come from discoveries of stranded citizens or trapped firefighters, as well as general firefighting advance.

By having available this bottled-aided, extended air source and the time spent in fire ground rehabilitation, firefighters are much safer than even a few years ago. In explaining the contents of these breathing bottles, Newtown Square’s Chief Everlof stressed, “These bottles are filled with filtered air, not oxygen as some people think.  As this air leaves the pressurized containers, this air is somewhat cooled. This is also a benefit.”

 

Looking Ahead

Written by L. James Biddle Monday, 01 May 2017 19:52

Both during their firefighting activities and in every possible community communications, the Newtown Square Fire Company members are attempting to find ways to share ways to help prevent fires. There are several damages in largely every fire.  One danger is the loss of lives and another is the loss of many differing forms of life habits and valuable possessions.

Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof volunteered one form of record keeping within a home or a business begins with an item-by-item inventory.  “How can this list be prepared?” This may be a question asked before a list of this type is begun.

One method of creating this type of list can become a family project. One person describes each item with many details as possible.   If this item is recent, there can be a copy of a sales receipt. The list dictated by the viewer can then be written by another family member.

Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof added another concept, “As more and more cellular phones can accept a spoken description, this information can be printed, stored, and shared. “

Regardless of whichever form of descriptive method is used, the local firefighters remind their neighbors, it must be constantly upgraded and maintained. Equally important is method chosen for safe storage of any methods used for information storage.

Some items may need special storage after they are listed.  Chief Everlof added fur coats or other expensive items that may require refrigeration or other items that may require secured storage.  Their listing must include where they are being kept.

Any future items that are ‘special’ or important should have sales receipts showing an appropriate description and prices.  These items must be included in the ongoing lists of items.

This inventory list must be stored in a special, safe location.  Only rarely does this valuable list need immediate sharing.  Share with family members where this list of valuable information is stored.

Chief Everlof explained, “This project is a special contribution in total family safety.”

 

Special Safety Steps

Written by L. James Biddle Thursday, 20 April 2017 07:11

A series of collections of local emergency alerts and a seeming increase in region natural gas leaks, steps have been taken to provide safety stops to protect the crews of the Newtown Square Fire Company.  In a post Easter e-mail messages, Chief Doug Everlof explained the simple, yet safety tools placed in service.

In this electronic message, Chief Everlof advised the crew members the two new safety tools will provide warnings about two individual, single gas levels.  These proven warning devices, tagged as “Crickets” will (a) notify dangerous levels of Oxygen (O2) and(b) Carbon Monoxide (CO) They will respond to the O2 level and CO (ppm).

Each of the two warning devices--”Crickets”-- have specific color identifiers and nomenclatures; (a) Oxygen (O2) visual identity color is Black MSA and(b) Carbon Monoxide (CO) visual coloring is Yellow BW clip

In explaining the new, multiple safety devices, Chief Everlof reminded the crew members “Crickets are not replacements for the current 4-gas meters.  Their simplicity and multiple storage locations will provide additional layers of crew safety when the firefighters are working in various levels.

The initial 4-gas meters will still be used to obtain O2, hydrogen [mono]sulfide (H2S)-an extremely hazardous gas, CO and Lower Explosive Limit (LEL%) levels on emergency incidents of a fire location.

These new, “Cricket” detectors have been clipped to the Officer seat-based Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) in the Fire Company’s Engine, Ladder, Squad and Utility Vehicle (No SCBA), as well as to the 3-Chief Officer’s personal, protective firefighting gear.

Chief Everlof added, “The single gas detectors will run continuously for 24-months and can be thrown away at the end of their life cycle.  There is no need to turn them on/off.  The CO Detectors will prompt you once every 24-hours to "zero" the sensor.”

Everlof continued, “To do this, simply press and hold the single button on the right side of the screen.  The meter will automatically zero out.

Devices of this type are rarely publicized; neither are their funding sources.   The response by the residents, commercial owners, and professional to the annual community funding appeal are the funding sources for safety devices, specific firefighting tools and emergency response apparatus.

Fire Company President Josh Potter volunteered, “Anyone finding a yet-to-be-returned funding request, or wanting to make an additional funding may do so by forwarding funding to the Newtown Fire Company, “Post Office Box 453, Newtown Square, PA 19073-0453.”

Easter Emergency

Written by L. James Biddle Wednesday, 19 April 2017 13:25

As many families may have been preparing for their Easter dinner, a collection of area residents had their day’s activities change.  This alteration was prompted by fire dispatch for an emergency at the SAP-America facility on West Chester Pike. The weekend area surrounding this picturesque property at 3999 West Chester Pike in Newtown Square soon became a magnet for arriving emergency providers.

The firm’s security personnel became aware of a very notable aroma within the modern, multiple story structure.  Their telephone call to the Delaware County 9 1 1 Center began responses by Delaware and Chester County apparatus and firefighters.

With the anticipation of a sizable collection of fire, EMS, and other support apparatus, the first instruction by Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof was to have all incoming apparatus enter onto the road adjacent to the SAP-America property.  This selection prevented an unnecessary buildup of fire apparatus on West Chester Pike.

Chief Everlof went to the SAP-America property and met the firm’s security personnel. Everlof then established his command force on loading area that was near the air contaminated structure.

Deputy Chief George Guyer, IV went into the structure and began assigning fire crews and overseeing the search of to specific areas of investigation. Aided by their Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) the multiple floors were examined during this Holiday Sunday.

As the interior fire crews made their deep-interior searches, there were some concerns about both a potential loss of dependable linking of all the firefighters as well as occupying a common regional fire communications frequency.  While the structure included the three well-constructed floors, choice of localized radio channel was a wise selection.

The task of doing a thorough search was completed, yet no specific, documented source of the telltale aroma could be found in either the initially tagged data center. section of the total interior of this facility, the repeating radio system was bypassed and the mobile and crew-used portable radio began their search by a direct, on-property “only” radio arrangement.

When no source of the original aroma, Newtown Square Fire Company Chief Doug Everlof and the SAP-America security personnel abandoned the group search. The structure was returned to the local operators.

 

 

Prepare For Spring Work

Written by L. James Biddle Monday, 20 March 2017 08:55

As the calendars show, Monday, March 20 ushers in an official beginning of spring.  With potential hopes for warmer temperatures and a return to outdoor activities, the Newtown Square Fire Company reminds yard mechanics that returning to outdoor work demands both proper tools and plans.

Some of these seasonal plans include some simple, yet effective ways of returning to ways of “being in shape.”  A part of this” reconditioning” is finding a gradual way of returning to outdoor activities. These pre-seasonal procedures are begun as a slow, but energetic return to “outdoor work.”

Anyone wondering why this conditioning is important only must look at a companion statistic—heart disease is the number 1 killer of men and women. Growing statistics are demonstrating that when many women suffer from a heart attack, they tend to be 10 years older than men.

Women are also experiencing increases in other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. These new health conditions for women translate to the need for increased pre-event diagnostic evaluations for them. If there are any suspected health emergencies, never hesitate—activate promptly 9 1 1-assisted medical help.

Gas Leak

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 17 March 2017 17:33

While many residents were either planning for the end-of-the-day, pre-bedtime plans for school age young children or possibly preparing to view the televised Villanova college basketball game on Thursday, March 16, one Newtown Square family was required to make an emergency telephone call for help.  Both the interior and the exterior of their northwestern Newtown Township home was filled with the added, telltale smell included in non-combustive natural gas.

Safety is a combined theme shared by the Delaware County 9 1 1 Center and the Newtown Square Fire Company.  A part of the responding radio exchanges between the Delaware County Fire Dispatch and responding local firefighters shared this potential danger had been reported to PECO Energy.  This high-energy type of call in near 20 degree temperatures also used predetermined responses from nearby Chester County fire and EMS apparatus.

With the occupants removed from their Bridal Lane home, instrument readings were made in all areas of the multiple-level, areas of the residence.  The upper level areas did not display serious readings on the Fire Company’s gas reading apparatus.

In the first-floor cooking area, the telltale aroma was noticed.  In the home-heating area in the home’s basement, there were reports of serious natural gas levels. This source became a serious source of an ongoing investigation.

While these interior searches were being done, fire crews working on ice-coated and packed snow could smell the warning odor. While unable to initially see the exterior gas meter, firefighters from Chester County’s Berwyn were making progress in their active digging search for the weather-buried gas meter and its shutoff valve.

When the snow removal was complete, the exterior firefighters and PECO Energy discovered the cause of source of the warning aroma.  A pipe near the gas meter had broken and this aided in the gas entering the home as well as providing the outdoor warning smell,

At approximately 8 p.m., the combined EMS crews from both Delaware and Chester counties and the Berwyn fire apparatus were released from their Newtown Square emergency location as the Newtown Square Fire Company began their final activities.  When one local firefighter was asked by a local resident about why this call was an emergency.

The supplied response from the firefighter provided the reason,” Haven’t you ever seen what happens when escaping gas becomes ignited?  The prevention of this type of an explosion and fire always need to be prevented.”

 

Check The Dates On Smoke Detectors

Written by L. James Biddle Saturday, 11 March 2017 12:17

The recent time change that ushered in the return of Eastern Daylight Time was a key to alterations to our habits.  For some, complaints about the earlier time of darkness may have been obvious   The Newtown Square Fire Company, along with the nation’s FEMA, stresses there is a companion to this change-of-time activity—the replacement of the Smoke Detector battery in each of the non-newer style “watch dogs.”

Continuing a long-standing, reminder practice shared by the Fire Company, this Century-plus-year old organization of professional service providers is once more issuing its second-in-a-year “Second Chance invitation." Through this reminder, those residents failing to follow the life- and property- saving practice of changing clocks and the powering batteries found in Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide warning devices are putting homes in a danger.

Using a small flashlight, if necessary, look for a very important date the is imprinted in the interior of Smoke Detectors.   This simple task will help determine the remaining life of each Smoke Detector. This imprinted date shares the date of manufacture of each of these warning devices. As a Smoke Detector ages, its effectiveness diminishes over its projected life span.

This interior, imprinted date is the manufacturing date of each date.   National research stresses the effective capabilities of a Smoke Detector lessens as they age.

FEMA’s US Fire Administration states, “Smoke Detectors should be replaced every eight to ten years.”  Chief Doug Everlof added, “If any of your Smoke Detectors are in this age bracket, please install a replacement warning device immediately, using the newer 10-year Smoke Detector.

 

Do It Now

Written by L. James Biddle Tuesday, 07 March 2017 12:02

On Sunday, March 12, the region will undergo a change of time that has an historical path.  At 2 a.m. on March 12, an hour of sleep will be lost.  While some people may complain about the sixty minutes of sleep. What these momentary complainers may forget is this loss of sleep has several forms of safety influence.  As shared by Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof, “The most important event associated with the time change is the simple suggestion to add a fresh battery to the home’s Smoke Detectors.”

The first decision this time of the year is a wonderful opportunity to make the safest choice—change the Smoke Detector to the more modern, 10-year battery powered safety watchdog.

If this is not the first choice of the time-change season, there is another safety hint.   If the existing, plastic case has “yellowed” with age, that sign of age has prompted Chief Everlof to comment, “That coloring sign of aging plastic case is another sign this detector is near the end of its protective age.”

If there is one additional sign that should help in the motivation of exchanging the older type of Smoke Detector for the newer style.  The combined cost of the older style safety watch dog type Smoke Detector and the cost of batteries over a ten-year period that is the projected life of the now ancient watch dog warning device.

“Now is the time to add safety to the home and family,” added the members of the Newtown Square Fire Company.

 

Three Important Numbers

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 03 March 2017 11:04

One of the most rewarding stories shared by the local and national firefighters are the important messages of young children dialing the most import three emergency telephone number 9 1 1.   In describing the importance of having children know the how to summon help in an emergency prompted Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Everlof to volunteer, “The use of calling 9 1 1 is a proven skill to save both life- and property in emergencies”

Many emergency service providers strongly suggest the initial first step in sharing the use of 9 1 1 is a simple way to dial the three number 9 1 1.  These three numbers are an immediate way to get help. This message should also suggest this is not a toy telephone call but a way to get help from the fire, police, and medical service helpers.

One message that has an important endorsement is telling children the use of 9 1 1 is an important way to “get help” when people might become seriously helped, if there is a fire, crimes, injuries, or sickness.  Adults might also add if a child is unsure whether to call 9 1 1, these three numbers are the best thing to do.  The skilled local staff at the Emergency Call Center are schooled in how to communicate with young callers.

There are adult lessons that help children in being safe.  Children should be taught to never play with matches or lighters.  Adults wearing bike helmets helps teach an important safety lesson for young bikers.  Everyone must buckle up with a seat belt.  Have children “teach” family members the fire lessons learned at school. This can begin with Stop Drop and Roll if anyone has a fire in their clothes. Know the address and any medical problems that might occur.

These three numbers are a simple tool in saving lives. Chief Everlof added, “Teaching 9 1 1 is a simple way to obtain help if a child sees an emergency of any kind. Remember. this message also applies to adults as well.”

Unit Citation

Written by L. James Biddle Friday, 03 March 2017 10:35

Many of the Newtown Square Fire Company activities have only the short public notice as the apparatus responds to the emergencies. From time to time, these emergencies become true tests of the training and experiences that have become earned through education and activity.

During the near midnight evening of Tuesday, November 8, the Newtown Square Fire Company was dispatched to an assist in a residential fire in the 1000 block of Cedar Knoll in neighboring Edgmont Township. In addition to full fire ground services, special building-saving activities earned for responding crews a special recognition- a Newtown Square Fire Company Unit Citation.

In the assembled activity held at the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors Meeting on Monday, February 27, the presentation of a Newtown Square Fire Company Unit Citation for the crew members was shared with the media, family, and the community.

UNIT CITATION

On November 8, 2016 at 23:43 hours, The Newtown Square Fire Company along with the Edgmont Fire Company and Rocky Run Fire Company were dispatched to 1025 Cedar Knoll in Edgmont Township for a reported dwelling fire.  The Newtown Square Fire Company arrived on scene with the Edgmont Fire Company and the Rocky Run Fire Company to find a 2-story Single Family Dwelling with heavy fire from all sides of the dwelling.  Crews stretched numerous hand lines in an attempt to save the building.  The crew members from the Newtown Square also protected an adjacent home as embers landed on the cedar shake roof of the home, lighting small fires on the roof. Crews worked throughout the night to extinguish the fire and restore equipment. Crews operated for six hours before returning to station.  The outstanding effort of the following members reflects great credit upon themselves and the Newtown Square Fire Company.

Engine 41 Crew:                                       Ladder 41 Crew:

Asst. Chief Brian McNeill                         Chief Doug Everlof

FF Joseph Certo Jr.                                FF Peter Williams

Lt. Eric Harper                                      Capt. Chris Young

Lt. Zach Conan                                     FF Will Hewes

FF Greg Amato                                     FF Vincent Mazzotta

FF Joel Certo                                        FF Joseph Bail


Fire Police:

Capt. Carl Ewing

Thomas Ford

Nathan Glazer

 

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