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Warm Water For On Scene Decon Question

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  • Warm Water For On Scene Decon Question

    At one time I watched a webcast on reducing cancer in the fire service and the presenter explained how their department spent about $50 per apparatus to run water from the pump to the engine that warmed it up and supplied it to a garden hose fitting on the side of the truck for decontamination post incident. They wound up converting the fleet. Think they tapped a discharge or the pump manifold, ran a hose to a heat exchanger then to the hose bib but I can't recall exactly how it was done.

    Has anyone done something similar? Did you happen to watch the same webcast and remember the name?

    Thank you for your assistance,
    Train like you want to fight.

  • #2
    Walt, hows that going to work in the winter??? You're still outside. I think the best thing is to use wipes on scene, then go back to the station and take a proper shower.


    • #3

      By no means am I supporting not taking a shower. It was just something that I found rather interesting because it would allow you to wash up without needing to use cold water. If your hands aren't freezing then you are more inclined to do a good job of washing up your hands, face and possibly neck while still on scene. We have the wipes, encourage our members to shower and wash their gear after a call but every little bit helps. It was just something that I found intriguing and wanted to revisit.

      Aside from health reasons, having warm water available on scene could possibly help mitigate some of the winter challenges such as a frozen valve because you may be able to thaw it enough to operate. Who knows?

      Thanks for the question.
      Take care,
      Train like you want to fight.


      • #4
        Walt, another consideration is that who knows what kind of crud or bacteria is in your tank or pump. I know sometimes we have to run some bleach in our tanks if we draft water, the tank will get that skunky sulfur smell. I think there's more risk of some bio hazard than it's really worth, other than washing the big chunks off of your hands. Even with city water, you get a bit of rust or grit sometimes. My paid dept. does have a decon unit that you could shower in for Haz-mat stuff, but it could be a hassle dragging that huge trailer out to every fire.


        • #5
          I can see where there would be benefits. This would be especially true for wet rescues or similar apparatus. The idea of thawing in the winter or other similar weather related issues is one that could be very valuable.

          For us, not so much. Since we have no hydrants and the vast majority of our mutual aid has no hydrants. That means the water in our tanks could be from the stream, the pond, liquid manure pits (that we try to flush out several times, but it has happened), or even swimming pools. So for us to use tank water for decon may actually be worse than what we are washing off.


          • #6
            Starting to see more departments actually spay down the firefighter after a structure fire call like we do for Hazmat. They are using a booster line but just normal tank water. Gear is then bagged and kept out of the passenger compartment until they get back to the station to finish washing the gear.


            • #7
              Originally posted by mitchkrat View Post
              Starting to see more departments actually spay down the firefighter after a structure fire call like we do for Hazmat. They are using a booster line but just normal tank water. Gear is then bagged and kept out of the passenger compartment until they get back to the station to finish washing the gear.
              Unless you've been flushing a lot of water through your pump from a hydrant, I don't really like the idea of using stagnant water from a tank. Depending on where you are, there can be some really bad microorganisms in water you've picked up from ponds and such. I think we need to think about bio hazards as well as the normal toxic materials from fires.


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