Firehouse

JAN 2017

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BILLY GOLDFEDER, EFO, a Firehouse ® contributing editor, has been a firefighter since 1973 and a chief officer since 1982. He is deputy fire chief of the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department in Ohio, an ISO Class 2 and CA AS-accredited department. Goldfeder has served on numerous National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) committees. He is on the board of directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (representing the Safety, Health and Survival Section), National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, September 11th Families Association and National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System. Goldfeder and Gordon Graham host the free, non-commercial website www.firefighterclosecalls.com. T he hand wave. You've all seen it and probably have done it. It's when the tones go off and the dispatcher tells you to respond to some- thing that may not be on your agenda of what you want to do today. A person with a stubbed toe. A smoke alarm chirping. Or maybe it's the ever-popular gas leak. You give it the hand wave, acknowledg- ing the incident while subtlely dismissing its seriousness. And while any and all of those calls require us to be at our best, the gas leak needs to be respected as you would a full first-alarm fire. Gas leak = big deal When toned out on a gas leak, it's because of the possibility of patient rescue or the gas exploding. When the dispatcher alerts us to a gas leak, it's essentially a warning of what could happen next, and fire depart- ments must be prepared for any situation. A few considerations: • What companies/apparatus respond on your department's gas leak alarms? • Where do responding companies stage? • What/who goes into the hot zone and what/who stays out? • What is the hot zone for a leak, explosion and/or collapse? • What PPE, equipment and tools are required for members operating in the hot zone? • What are your meter capabilities? Can it read percentages? • What do companies in staging do if some- thing goes wrong at the scene? • What's the water supply plan? • What's the plan for victims? • What are the (or could there be) areas that allow the gas to travel (void spaces, pipes)? • What's the vent plans? • What's the relationship with your gas company? • When did your department last drill with the gas company? • What will the gas company do when they arrive? • Do they understand your command operations? • Do you understand the gas company expectations? Gas leaks can be complicated because we're responding into a serious unknown— and as such, we must take the opportunity to prepare and train beforehand. Historic and recent gas leaks Seattle made headlines in 2016 after an explosion at the scene of a reported gas leak resulted in several Seattle firefighters being injured. A building that housed a bagel shop and a beauty salon in the popu- lar NW 23 rd Street shopping district was reduced to rubble, and its smoldering roof was tossed across the road. Other communities such as Poland, OH; Prince George's County, MD; Haver- straw, NY; and Philadelphia have all expe- rienced gas leaks resulting in explosions. By Billy Goldfeder CLOSE CALLS BillyG@Firefighterclosecalls.com @BillyGFire @BillyGoldfeder firefighterclosecalls.com Connect with Billy Hardly Just a Gas Leak Part 1—PA firefighters burned in explosion The explosion sent a fireball through the home, blowing out the Bravo wall at the roof line. Photo by Bryan Felix/911 Photography 26 l Firehouse l January 2017

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