Wednesday, December 21

Lesson Building Resources

Here is a Symbaloo Webmix of my favorite sites and resources when I am putting together a Fire Tech lesson.

Here is a link to the mix:

Saturday, December 17

Arsonists caught on tape

Redwood City CA Aug 1989 Segment from Unsolved Mysteries. Videotape of arsonist narrating his own fire is found. Video describes investigation and outcome. Also shows some amazing vintage mustaches.
Speaking of arson, here is a short clip discussing the profiling of serial arsonists:

Here are facts about arson and serial arsonists:

Exploring Arson Motives and Solutions, a discussion from Australia is here:

Interesting stuff on Pyromania at Stranger than Fiction:

Turns out they aren't all that bright:

Watch these guys set themselves on fire.

This guy runs into the lamp. Left side of the screen. It is awesome.

Arsonist Runs in to Lamp Post KO EPIC FUNNY FAIL OWNED - The best bloopers are here

The next video gave me goosebumps! The Moose and the Match,  the making of an arsonist. 

One day a moose found a box that said "match"
and he stumbled across an egg about to hatch
So the moose took a match and lit the egg on fire
and the life of the egg began to expire
So the moose went on to find something to do.
He found a cow-moose with eyes so blue.
Moose lit a candle for a romantic dinner-
or tried anyway- without her fur she looked thinner.
So the moose moved on-his matches beside him.
he burned everything so company was slim.
He got angry thinking of what he'd done.
so he lit another match and began to run.
He ran by the field, catching it in flame-
the whole forest burning he had no shame
He ran to the next woods, burning them all
every thing crumbling in ash- big or small.
So that's the story of the match-happy moose
who even burned off a part of his own caboose.
His profession is flames-he's an arsonist now.
How he ever lit that first match, I can't figure how.
Turns out the cats are in on it too!

Watch this baby's eyes. Future firefighter or fire setter? You be the judge.

Arson Resources
Juvenile Firesetters What Can You D?o Handout[1].pdf
SD Burn Inst. Juvenile Firesetting

Arson stories in the news


Certified Fire Investigator Training
USFA Arson
Firesetting by Children & Adolescents: Coffee Break Training

Friday, December 16

The Guy, The Deer, The Dog, And The Bambulance. Hysterically funny

Strong language. Laugh out loud funny. Enjoy.

Truck Ops Electrocution Close Call Video

Vintage footage of a truck company operations involving power lines.  Graphic Content.

Surgical Fires: Woman's face ignites during surgery

Miami woman's face ignites in 'flash fire' during surgery

The article about this incident, w/photos is located here:

Fires during surgery? Not as unusual as you might think! Here's the second one in the same week!

Washington man's face catches fire during routine surgical procedure: It's second such incident in a week nationwide 

Immediately followed by this post on a Legal Malpractice website: Two surgical fires in one week may lead to malpractice suits 

Overview of Surgery Fires

Authorities suspect the Fire Triangle might be responsible. According to the FDA: Fires can occur when the three elements of the “fire triangle” come together. In the surgery room it looks like this:
 Oxidizer: Gases used during surgery, such as oxygen and nitrous oxide, and room air
 Fuel: Flammable objects, including surgical drapes, alcohol-based skin preparations, airway tubing, and even the patient’s hair or body
 Heat: Tools such as electrosurgical (tissue-cutting) tools, lasers, fiber-optic lights and cables that can generate heat or sparks and cause a fire
 Surgeries of the head, neck and upper chest pose a greater risk of fire, especially if the patient is receiving extra oxygen through a breathing mask or nasal tubing.
I know you want to know more about it. From "The Patient is on Fire!" A Surgical Fires Primer (
Most people have heard of the fire triangle: heat, fuel, and oxidizer. When these three components come together in the proper proportions, a fire—the rapid chemical reaction of fuel with oxygen, resulting in the release of heat and light energy—is bound to occur. Diminish or remove any element of the triangle, and a fire can be prevented or extinguished.
 Each side of the triangle contains obvious (and some not-so-obvious) components that are commonly found in the OR environment. Each member of the surgical team controls a specific side of the triangle: surgeon, heat sources; nurse, fuels; anesthesiologist, oxidizers. By understanding the fire triangle and how to properly manage its components, the surgical team can prevent fires.
Heat and ignition sources. Heat input from a variety of sources increases the oxidation rate of a fuel-oxygen mixture until combustion occurs. In addition to the overhead surgical lights, some of the heat sources found in the OR are defibrillators; electrosurgical or electrocautery units (ESUs, ECUs); heated probes; drills and burs; argon beam coagulators; fiberoptic light sources and cables; and lasers used with the free-beam (bare-fiber) method or with contact tips or fibers. These sources produce temperatures from several hundred to a few thousand degrees Fahrenheit, enough to ignite most fuels, including most drapes. In addition, incandescent sparks can be produced by ESUs or high-speed drills and burs; lasers can also cause sparks when the energy hits instruments or the laser fiber becomes damaged. These sparks, or even glowing embers of charred tissue, can provide enough initial heat to ignite some fuels, especially in oxygen-enriched atmospheres (OEAs).
Also, for a few seconds after deactivation, a heated ESU or ECU probe tip, fiberoptic cable tip, or laser contact tip can retain enough heat to melt plastics or ignite some fuels. While these devices must be in contact with a material to heat it, a laser can heat a fuel from a few centimeters to several meters away. A fiberoptic light source may take a minute or so to heat a drape to the point of combustion, while a laser can cause almost instantaneous ignition. By ensuring that these heat sources are not directed toward or allowed to come in contact with fuels, OR staff can prevent fires.
Fuels. A fuel is anything that can burn, including almost everything that comes in contact with patients, as well as the patients themselves. As shown in the "Fuels Commonly Encountered in Surgery" table below, fuels abound in the OR; note that, in addition to the many items that are generally known to burn, many other items that are not generally thought of as flammable are listed.
Some prepping agents and a few ointments required during surgery are volatile and extremely flammable, more so than many other fuels. For example, liquid alcohol from a wet, dripping prep can pool under the patient and generate vapors beneath the drapes for quite some time. Concentrated alcohol vapors trapped under drapes or above areas still wet with alcohol can be easily ignited by heat or sparks (see "Proper Prepping Techniques," below). Open bottles or basins containing volatile solutions (e.g., alcohol from suture packs, acetone degreaser) should be closed or removed from the sterile area as soon as possible after use.
Under the right conditions, some surgical ointments can burn. For example, petroleum-based ointments used in an OEA will ignite when enough heat is present to cause vaporization. These materials must vaporize and mix with oxygen to allow ignition. Globs of ointment are not easy to ignite because their mass absorbs considerable heat before vaporizing. Thin layers, however, have a low mass per area and need less heat to cause vaporization; thus, they are more ignitable.
 In contrast, water-based lubricants, such as K-Y Jelly, are mostly water and will not burn; heat simply vaporizes the water in the lubricant, cooling the area. In fact, water-based lubricants can be used to coat hair to make it fire resistant.

I DID NOT know that about lube! I'm thinking, KY could save some eyebrows not only during surgeries but BBQ season...Sure when you show up to the BBQ with a Costco sized container of KY Jelly, people WILL wonder, especially if they were expecting you to bring the pasta salad. But the conversation about fire safety has to start somewhere. I'm just thinking, starting with some lubricant is not a bad idea. At a bbq or in a surgical suite...

Preventing Fires in the Operating Room

But I digress, this post is about Surgery Fires. Turns out, Surgery Fires are preventable. I know. Such a surprise. Here is how to prevent them (in case you are asked)

Extinguishing Operating Room Fires
Because fire prevention is NEVER 100% effective, here is how to put OUT a surgery room fire from the ECRI Institute :

More info is available at:

Surgical Fires in the News
FDA Surgical Fire Initiative
Inside Edition Reports on Surgical Fires
Surgical Fires: Chronological Bibliography 1949-2009

Wednesday, December 14

What would you do when EMTs Won't Help Distressed Woman.mp4

Do things right, or do the right thing?

Medics literally "phone it in" when a pregnant woman experiences a medical emergency while they are on their break.  Sure, they have a right to take their break, but was phoning it in the right thing to do? What would you have done? This investigative piece reports on the incident, then sets up a similar situation and records what people will do when EMTs refuse to help.

Do things right, or do the right thing?

One of my favorite speakers at our Fire Academy Graduations was Fire Chief Mark Martin, Santa Ana Fire Dept (Ret.) Not only was he an eloquent speaker, but he told the best stories. My favorite is about compassion. Compassion is not on the curriculum in any of our Fire Service training manuals. It isn't even listed in the "Desireable" section of the job flyer. But Chief Martin told the following stories about compassion (my apologies to Chief Martin and anyone else who wants to tell me I messed up the stories. This is how I heard it. This is how I tell it.)

As a young medic, he told us about a call he received early one morning, at the end of a very busy shift. It was a man in his 50's that had suffered a stroke, while sitting on the toilet. Not an unusual event. Except this was a very large man, almost 400 lbs. He had fallen from the commode and become wedged between the vanity and the toilet. And yes, there was feces. Quite a bit. After removing the victim and ensuring his medical condition was stable (he was alert, frightened and unable to communicate) They then took the time to clean him up and change his clothes before transporting him. Not in the job description, but the made one of the worst days of this man's life just a bit more tolerable.

He told another story of a local fire crew that responded, again, early in the morning,at the end of a shift, and found a mother of 4 children, all under the age of 4, who had been dead at least 3 days. The children were with the body and unsupervised during that time. The PD informed them that social services would come for the children, but they wouldn't start work for another hour or so. The police officer offered to take the kids to the police station to wait for social services. The Firefighters, realizing the trip to the police station, would not be in the best interest of the kids, chose to stay with the kids and wait for Social Services to show up. They made them breakfast and watched cartoons. Not in the job description, but they made one of the worst days of those children's lives, just a little bit more tolerable.

The last story was about an engine crew that worked for him. They were on their way back to the station early one summer evening and they were stopped at a light. An elderly woman, crossing the street pulling one of those little wire shopping carts, tripped and fell, right in the middle of the crosswalk, and her groceries went everywhere. The firefighters got off the rig and checked her out and picked up her groceries. She was uninjured. They loaded her, and her groceries onto the engine, and gave her a ride home. Chief Martin called the Captain into his office the following day.

"I know what you did last night," he opened with. Then he went on to list the SOPs that were broken and the legal liabilities the Captain had exposed the department to. And then he told him that if it ever happens again, he would hope the Captain would do exactly the same thing. Because sometimes it is more important to the the right thing, rather than to do things right.

Recently, one of the first firefighters I met when I joined the fire service, passed away. I realized how lucky I was to get to know him first. He was one of those guys, that if your wife or your daughter or your mother, were having the worst day of their life, and found themselves in a predicament, naked, and vulnerable, you would hope that Don - or Mark, or someone just like them would show up. Not only would they treat them with kindness and compassion, they would probably give them their jacket. The idea of finishing their coffee break or taking a photo of the victim and posting it for others to see would never have occurred to them.

I like that. We should hire more like them.

What are your Ethics? Try this quiz (without cheating) and find out. (If you don't like the results you can always take it again and change the answers)

Teaching a lesson? Here is a full lesson plan Ethics in the Fire Service complete with media, handouts, activities and more! From CTE Online.

Do you have underlying beliefs about people from other cultures or religions? Physical disabilities or age? Find out with these tests from Harvard.

How do you deal with problems? Are you a "decider"? Find out more about yourself with these Personality quizzes from

What do you really think about people with mental health issues? What are your unconscious or uncontrolled reactions when you think about anxiety, depression, alcohol, eating disorders, or persons with mental illness? Try these quizzes from Harvard and find out!

What about your religious beliefs? Check it out at

How Not To Drive A Fire Truck

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

Sunday, December 11

The 12 Minutes of Christmas by LAFD

Listen as The Los Angeles Fire Department discuss the '12 Minutes' of holiday safety. Keep your family protected from hidden hazards as LAFD Firefighters share seasonal safety secrets.

Listen to internet radio with LAFD on Blog Talk Radio

"The Visions of Students Today" 2011 Remix One (trailer)

Saturday, December 10

Peeing On An Electric Fence |

Two lessons to take away from this video: 1) Read the signs 2)Urine IS conductive!

And what about that Mythbusters episode you saw? They revisited the episode ...shocking results.
This wasn't a revisiting as much as it was a variation. The myth the first time around was that you could get shocked by peeing on an electrified third rail. Their slow-motion video from the first time showed that the stream breaks apart too much falling to the ground. This time around they built an electric fence with small charge, which would be closer to the person peeing. Once again, Adam volunteered as the guinea pig and peed directly onto the fence. It was only a couple seconds before he felt a little shock.

Here is the original

Friday, December 9

TAC Campaign - 20 year Anniversary retrospective montage "Everybody Hurts" music by REM TV ad - YouTube

Warning: Graphic Content. A powerful message, please share it and be safe!

On December 10th 1989 the first TAC commercial went to air. In that year the road toll was 776; by last year 2008 it had fallen to 303.

A five minute retrospective of the road safety campaigns produced by the TAC over the last 20 years has been compiled. The montage features iconic scenes and images from commercials that have helped change they way we drive, all edited to the moving song Everybody Hurts by REM.

This campaign is a chance to revisit some of the images that have been engraved on our memories, remember the many thousands of people who have been affected by road trauma and remind us all that for everyones sake; please, drive safely.
Transport Accident Commission Victoria.

By comparison, in 1989 the US Department of transportation reported 22.424 alcohol related driving fatalities. ()IN 2008 it had fallen to 11,711 Here is an example of our campaign:


Friday, November 18

A rookie firefighter's life in Las Vegas

A rookie firefighter's life in Las Vegas
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Clever PSAs encourage adoption of shelter pets [video] - Holy Kaw!

Clever PSAs encourage adoption of shelter pets [video] - Holy Kaw!

The Firefighter is Your Friend: A Lesson Plan

A colleague recently asked me for a Firefighting presentation for a kindergarten class. I sent him the lesson we used to present. I figured I would share it here as well. 

This program is called "The Firefighter is your Friend". The purpose is to introduce the very young students, preschool - Kindergarten, with the role of a firefighter in an emergency and to familiarize them with the protective clothing and equipment first responders wear.

Monday, June 27

FF Suicides, Remembering Boston

Reposted from
As you read yesterday, Philadelphia Firefighter John "Jack" Slivinski Jr. lost his life to suicide. A beloved Firefighter, he had followed his father into PFD's Rescue 1, but on Saturday, the former Marine was found dead. He was found, reportedly, by his father, Jack Sr, who is still an active Firefighter. Jack Sr also had served in Rescue 1, and the son slept in his old bunk. Word is that they were inseparable. They did everything together.

In 2004, a friend of Slivinski's, Lt. Derrick Harvey, died when he went into a house fire to help Slivinski and another Firefighter. A friend said Slivinski kept a small memorial to Harvey in his home, using Harvey's helmet. Besides his Dad, he is survived by his wife, Carla; his mother, Gerry; and a sister, Jennifer Wysocki.
In our area (greater Cincinnati) we also had a young and very promising Firefighter/Paramedic take his own life last week. The young Firefighter was dealing with some personal issues and, for reasons that perhaps we'll never know, took his own life. He too was "close" to an actual Line of Duty death issue as was FF Slivinski, in Philadelphia.

Suicide is a very real issue in our service-but one we struggle to talk about, reach out about-or certainly even deal with personally. But it is very real. It may be easy to suggest people "suck it up" - but it's not that simple. Whatever the issue is, it is their issue, not ours or yours-but one we can sometimes help with when we sense "something" is wrong. Suicide is pretty subjective, in other words, what may be a "life ending" consideration for some people may be something that you and I may be able to blow off. It all depends on how we each cope with "stuff", the reasons are as different as people are different - but without question, it is an issue in our business.

For example, 4 Phoenix Firefighters took their own lives in a 7 month period:
Here is a USA Today article on rescuer suicide:

HERE is information from the IAFF on SUICIDE:

Sunday, May 8

Cee-Lo Video: Cee Lo re-records 'Forget You' hit to thank firefighters

Turns out his mom was a firefighter! Who knew? This version is even better than the original-enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8

HowStuffWorks Videos "How to Survive: Fire"

HowStuffWorks Videos "How to Survive: Fire"

Whether it's a house or forest fire, you've got precious little time to react to a blaze. This video from Discovery Channel's "How to Survive" outlines the best ways to get out safely.