Saturday, August 15, 2009


I was recently contacted by Jesse Herman, who is the awareness coordinator at the Mesothelioma Cancer Center. He has been reaching out to fire fighter bloggers in an effort to get their message out with regards to asbestos, and in lieu of the work that is in progerss at the "Capital Plaza" complex with the asbestos removal, his timing couldn't have been any better. The following article is one he has forwarded to me. If you would like some more info on the subject you can visit their site at They have a lot of good information to read through.

His text is as follows:

Asbestos Exposure a Concern for Firefighters

The life of a firefighter brings many potential threats that can be easy or hard to see. Kids at a very young age realize the profession itself takes a great deal of courage. But the reality of the profession, along with so many things in life, is not always so appetizing. One of the hidden threats that are not so glamorous is asbestos exposure.
Firefighters are exposed to many risks on a daily basis, but one that can go unnoticed is the danger of asbestos exposure. A naturally-occurring mineral, asbestos was used throughout the 20th century in a number of industrial, military and construction applications due to its innate resistance to fire and highly durable qualities.
The threat of asbestos for firefighters is subtle and there are seldom warning signs to allow a firefighter to know whether they are or have been exposed to asbestos. Firefighters who have been exposed to asbestos usually have been in situations where they had reasons to believe they are safe.
The mineral was mixed into paint, combined with cellulose to make fiberboard and wallboard, mixed with cement to make siding shingles and formed into felt for use as roof felting and backings on vinyl flooring. Asbestos was even used in joint compound, which was used in dozens of different kinds of applications.
Tips and Important Info

The mere presence of asbestos in a home or a building is not hazardous. Most professionals suggest leaving the asbestos alone. If a firefighter located any asbestos, the best thing to do is leave it un-disturbed, as this will not allow its fibers to become airborne.

Any home or building built before 1980 has a good chance of still containing asbestos. Even firehouses should be inspected for asbestos as many of them were constructed prior to any asbestos ban.

The inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to the development of a rare, but severe form of asbestos lung cancer known as mesothelioma. Due to the fact that symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to less serious conditions, diagnosis is a difficult task for physicians. Mesothelioma has and continues to affect firefighters who were unknowingly exposed while on duty. Mesothelioma diagnosis has been a difficult task because many of its symptoms appear in other less serious conditions.

In the case of a fire, asbestos fibers get released and when breathed in, can scar the lungs. While asbestos has been banned for most of its uses since the early 1980s, there is still a probability that asbestos fibers can be released in the air. This can only happen when asbestos-laden materials are deteriorated or broken down.

If you are a firefighter and believe you have experienced asbestos exposure, it is important to receive regular screenings by physicians to identify a possible disease. It should be known asbestos exposure does not always lead to a disease, but because the latency periods associated with asbestos illnesses can last 20 to 50 years, a regular check up is advisable.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Portsmouth St. fire

Jan 30, 2009

At 2250 hrs. Engines 1, 4, 5, Tower 1, Ambulances 4, 5, and BC were dispatched to 5 Portsmouth St. for a reported couch fire. Engie 7 was assisting Ambulance 7 with a medical transport, making Engine 1 the first due piece into 7's ditrict. The BC was the first to arrive, reporting heavy smoke coming from a 2 story SFD with an attached single story "L". Engine 1 made an aggressive attack on the fire while Tower 1 performed vertical ventilation. After about 20 minutes, the fire was controled, and companies were searching for extension into the main structure. Central companies made fast work with their attack, and contained the fire to the "L" section of the house.
This was a good fire to play "What if" with, because typically Engine 1 is out of service during the night shifts due to budget restaints. Had that been the case on this night, Engine 4 would have been first due, making their arrival another 4 minutes later. Without a doudt, this particular fire would have flashed with companies very near, or worst, inside the structure, and extension would have been more probable as well. If this pracrice is continued for a lenghty period of time, the above scenario is bound to pop up at some point. Something has to happen to change this practice, and I pray that it isn't the loss of a fellow Brother or Sister..


I will attempt to track down some pictures later this week.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chief Andrus in action?

All I can say is WOW! Since the arrival of our new fire chief, there have been a few building fires in the city, at which he has been able to operate, and showcase his skills. He was caught on video during one of those fires, and this is a clip of him in action. Or at least I think it's him. It could be my good friend Brother Souther. It's hard to tell with all the gear he's wearing, and the speed at which he is moving. Anyway, enjoy the clip.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ice storm

Beginning late Thursday evening, and on into the early hours of Friday, an ice storm came through the northeast, covering everything with ice. Some areas had as much as a 1/2 inch. Everything from trees to power lines and poles were falling, creating a mess. An estimated 450,000 residents lost there power, and as of today, three days later, there are still a couple hundred thousand residents still powerless.

Between midnight and 7 a.m., battalion 2 responded to 24 bells, and when battalion 3 releived them we answered another 41 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oddly enough, there were very few mvc's. A majority of the calls were for wires down, transformers burning, and water in the basement. I think the two day total for responses from the storm are somewhere around 150. I didn't get any pictures, but WMUR 9 news has a slide show with some very impressive photos. Here is the link

If you have any pictures, please forward them to me, and Iwill post them on here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Flashover demo video

This is probably one of the better flashover videos I have seen, and now tha I know how to embed videos (thanks to our resident Senator), I can now post it. Enjoy the show.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Top Secret info!!!!!!!!

SHHH!!! If you decide to read this article, you have to promise not to let anyone know what you know after you are "in the know"'. Especially the ones who know, cause' they don't know that we know. You know?

While working at the Manor station today, we were privy to a sneak peak at the future of the fire service. What we had seen will undoudtedly change the fire service forever (we think). We were kept in the dark for the most part, but were able to put our collective thinking caps on, and theorize about this "NEW and IMPROVED" way of fighting fires.

When fighting the beast the most important weapon in a firefighters arsenal is water. If that water is applied incorrectly, the thermal balance will be disrupted. But WHAT IF we were able to use cold AND hot water. The cold water being applied at the base of the fire, while simultaneously applying hot water to the ceiling. The possibilities of this new attack could be endless (or not), one of which could be a minimal agitation of the thermal layers. Now this is just our theory. After all, we were not permitted to hear the in-depth discusions between those involved with the experiment.

If this new technique somehow takes off unexpectedly, and you find yourself sitting in a classroom nodding off during a powerpoint presentation on the "Proper Techniques of Hot and Cold Water Firefighting", you can say that you saw it here first.

This is a look at the preconnects.

For those of you who can't recognize humor, or understand mine, that was my feeble attempt at it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Second fire of the tour

At about 0200 hrs, Engine 5 was dispatched to a single engine fire. After we had left the barn, dispatch notified us of a change in address. We quickly made a u-turn, but the extended length of our response would turn out to be costly. Upon arrival we found a single family structure with heavy char markings. Lt. Robidas had me pull the 1/2" line with a smooth bore plastic tip, which turned out to be ample enough water for this particular fire. We managed to save the support members of the structure, and the home owners will be able to rebuild with little aggrevation to their daily lives. This was Lt. Robidas's first fire as an officer, and after seeing him in action, I have no doudt he will make a fine line officer. He kept his decision makings simple, and relied on his keen instincts and expertise to mitigate the incident. Keep up the good work Lieu.

They say fires typically come in three's. If true, we can expect another one during our last night on tonight. I just hope it's a little bigger than this one.