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How hot is too hot???

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  • How hot is too hot???

    Let me begin by saying that this is my firt post here, and I think it is a great way to share info with Brothers and Sisters around the world.

    In addition, I do not wish to promote any unsafe practices with this post, I a merely to get opinions, and all opinions are welcome.

    Yesterday, I was part of the initial alarm assignment to a working apartment fire with a report of people trapped. Being on the first arriving truck company, my officer and I began a primary search of the apartment. As we pushed to the second floor, we were greeted with high heat conditions and zero visibility. After spending a short time on the second floor, my officer and I concurrred that it was just too hot,(his Cairns Iris shut down due to heat) and we retreated to the first floor w/ the engine co. until horizontal ventilation was in progress outside. We then completed our search, and found nothing.

    Along with the great technology and progress of PPE, I feel that it also can put firefighters at greater risk. With more plastics and tightly built houses,we can encounter higher temps. New PPE does'nt let us know just how hot it is. This can lead to us getting into places unsuitable for us to work in.

    Right or wrong, some of us wear a plain pair of Shelby pigskin workgloves for firefighting. The negative aspects of this are obvious. On the positive side, It gives an experienced firefighter a good guage of the heat you are in and provides better manual dexterity and less fatigue. Also,some use the hood pulled behind the ear. What is everyone's opinion on this?? What techniques (if any) do you use to guage heat? I realize that timely ventilation is a way to prevent this, but sometimes and other factors prevent proper venting techniques.



    [This message has been edited by FireStick (edited 03-21-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by FireStick (edited 03-21-2001).]

  • #2
    Your decision to pull out seemed like a good decision. You said that you use a thermal imager. Some on the market can read temperature. On the other hand I would never tell anyone on my crew to use their ears or non firefighting gloves in a fire situation. I feel that is just as unsafe as temperatures getting too hot. If you feel extreme heat then get out, no one would be able to survive anyway. We must realize when to say when. If everyone is confirmed out of the building and it is unsaveable then don't go in. Protect ourselves first.

    Comment


    • #3
      FireStick.

      I also agree with you on how great this is, and I also don't want you to get bent out of shape with my opinion. I do not bash I only state how I feel.

      From just reading what you posted, I have to say that I somewhat disagree. You stated in your post that as you reached the second floor you were met with high heat conditions, and zero visibility. Cairns Iris or no-Cairns Iris, the fact that you can feel the heat and have zero visibility should have been a clue that you needed to back out. Vent Enter Search, the second floor obviously wasn't vented. Now, I was always taught by my father years ago about "feeling" heat. He refuses to wear a hood because that's how he was taught. I went through the academy and that hood was like the holy grail. He knows temp on skin, I know temp. through the hood. Its more then just feel, its about being observant. I also find that the more seasoned (I don't use experienced, to me you get experienced when something happens that you don't want to, and in out business that's bad) don't like the hoods because 1. they hate any change, 2. they were trained differently than us in the past 10-15 years. While I don't know if your paid or vollie and your staffing if you are paid, but someone should have been outside either venting or laddering windows. If you got a report someone was trapped did anyone try to find out from who gave the report where the victim may have been? If told the second floor, I would start from that room from the second floor, via ground ladder. Finally, I wouldn't condone any of my crew not wearing their gear properly. For one if you get hurt and they know you didn't wear properly certified equip. or modified its use/construction you could lose benefits. I gauge heat through my hood, and through being observant through site/hearing/feel. I also can't see how wearing regular structural fire gloves vs. Pigskin will make you fatiqued. Rubber boots yes, that's why I wear leather, but they are NFPA/OSHA/NIOSH approved. Any seasoned firefighter can tell you (some of us can file this under being "experienced")that if you have zero visibility, and you have a hood on, its still hot and your on your stomach, if it isn't starting to roll its not far off, and after that you know whats coming, and there aren't too many guys around that can share how that looks. All I can say is wear all your gear, and if you can do some live burn training if you can. While its not completely realistic, it will help you gauge the heat through the equipment you wear. Trying some of these "tactics" that your senior firefighters tell you in the real world, can put you in the burn unit. Don't get the they've done it for years. They are only one fire away from losing their hands or the function of them. I don't screw with my hands, and I want my kids to be able to look at me with both ears attached. As a paramedic the rule is anyone with burns to their hands, feet or genitalia, are automatically critical burn cases. And I have to tell you, on my burn rotations I became friends with a firefighter who burned his hands, ever get a band-aid stuck to a scab as a kid, imagine 2nd and 3rd degree burns with leather stuck to it, and they have to peel and cut that off. He lost all but half his middle finger on his right hand, and his pointer on his left. He was on the job for 17 years when it happened. Now he goes around lecturing on why you should wear your gear. I've always understood why my father, and the other guys who've been around for 20 or so years don't like them, but today its no excuse, its all with training. You can't just hand someone a nomex hood who's been doing this for years and expect them to recalibrate their senses.
      ------------------------------------------
      The above is my opinion only, it doesn't reflect that of any dept./agency I work for, am a member of, or deal with. Also, I do not intend to bash anyone, I'm just stating what I do, and have seen. If anyone is offended I apologize.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think the question here is if you can feel that it is too hot isnt it too late. I too dont think it is a good idea to expose body parts to tell if it is too hot. I agree that many fire gloves are cumbersome and you feel like you couldnt feel for a coupling if your life depended on it. Many people in a related thread made the point that size up and a good working knowledge of fire behavior along with good ol' experience should be able to tell you when to get out without burning an exposed body part.
        IMHO the point behind the improved PPE is not to get us closer to the fire and be able to withstand more heat it is to protect us when things go wrong.
        I too agree that you made the correct decision to get out. But I agree even more with ALSfirefighter. Shouldnt have been in that situation to begin with. This is just how I see it from what you wrote. I dont like the shoulda, coulda, wouldas, because I wasnt there I wont tell you what I woulda done. I will just give you my take on what you wrote and let you take it as you like.

        "Its not how you die that makes you a hero, its how you lived." -Unknown


        ------------------
        Shawn M. Cecula
        Captain
        Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

        Comment


        • #5
          Well stated, ALSfirefighter. I think in today's day and age we should rely on our training and our knowledge of fire behavior. Using body parts for thermometers is a thing of the past. Contrary to what many people think, heat can be felt through turnout gear. The only problem is it takes longer to feel it than bare skin, obviously. When your flat on your belly, as you should be, and the heat keeps pushing on you, start looking for a way out. Don't wait for the signs of flashover such as rollover. Bare skin can suffer second degree burns at 130 degrees of dry heat. Our PPE is tested and approved for a reason, so please use it. Rely on your training and instincts and you shouldn't have to sacrifice you body parts for thermometers. That's my opinion, and that's how it should be taken. Good luck!

          Comment


          • #6
            The Hood and no Hood debate again. I work for a city department, A city that still does not issue hoods to there members. I work for the state fire academy, which mandates hoods. While doing the burns in the burn building i have taken a temp ga in to the room, at the ceiling it got close to 1100 degree's, while standing, I could barely feel the heat thru my HOOD. In a real wood building with combustabiles this fire was about as close to flash as you are going to get. But yet i still felt no heat! With out the hood, i would have been on the floor, which is the safer position?

            What i like to do is listen to these hooded heros who tell me how the hood saved there life in a flash over. But when questioned about if they think they would have been in that position had they not been wearing a hood, they walk away. Could it be that the hood put them in DANGER? How could that be, they trainind in a building that will never flash, no matter how hot it got. They never had a problem with the hoods in the burn building.

            The point of this is this. If you want full body armor be my guest, If you want to protect yourself against a flash over, leave a little heat sensor out. It's better to have a mild burn to your ear, then get caught in a flash over and suffer burns to your entire body!! Remember, Even your bunker pants wont save you too long in a flash over. I also know that this will **** a few people off, Most likely those same hooded heros.

            ------------------
            ** The opionions are mine and mine alone, they are not that of my dept or the local**

            Comment


            • #7
              I guess I wasnt understood. Just because we can stand that much heat doesnt mean that we should be in that situation. By watching the fire and smoke conditions we shouldnt be in the position to have the gear save our lives. How hot is too hot? I wouldnt go by heat but by the signs the fire is showing you to say things are not getting better. Lets Go! I agree with some of what BFD says but I wont be using my body parts as a thermometer. I like them just the way they are, and I hope to be out of the situation before I need to put my gear to the test.



              ------------------
              Shawn M. Cecula
              Captain
              Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

              Comment


              • #8
                BFD...you are one of the "Old Schoolers" apparently. That is what everyone is saying...the old guys don't want hoods. You don't know what to do with them and how to react. However, those of us young fellers that have been trained with a hood don't know anything but fighting with a hood. With the innovations that have been made in the construction industry, can you see fighting a modern day fire in garb built and used in the 1950's? I can't and don't want to. I will stick with my hood thank you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  CPR4U-

                  I have been on the job as a fireman for about 10 years. I am not an old timer. I don't wear my hood at all. I agree with BFD1071. And I would like to add that a flash hood is simply a "flash" hood. It cannot take that much heat so I don't know why you all are putting so much faith in a nomex hood. The earflaps in my leather helmet will hold up to more heat than a hood will. But come to think of it I only pull that down in the winter to protect my ears from the cold when I'm standing there wet...not the heat! To protect myself I just keep my collar up on my coat. I have never been burned.

                  If proper ventilation is conducted upon arrival your chances of a flashover are drastically reduced. One other guy mentioned Vent, Enter, Search, (VES) In that order!

                  Glen B.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here's an idea ... why don't we forget the macho "hooded heroes" bit and use some practical knowledge. The preference of not wearing a hood is just that ... a preference. If you don't want to wear a hood, go ahead. If you walk into a flashover wearing a hood, you shouldn't have been there anyway. Certainly anyone who says a hood saved their life is missing something. But the hood didn't put them in danger, they put themselves in danger. There's more to telling whether or not a room is going to flash than feeling the heat. I've been in several different situations where my team and I backed out within a couple of minutes of a room flashing. You know why? By paying attention to what was happening around us. Not because we felt too much heat ... on the floor (yes, with the hood on), it wasn't that hot. Once the fire hints at rolling over above your head, if you don't get it cooled in the next few moments, you've got to back out. That's how you tell. If you don't wear a hood and never will, fine. Go right ahead. To try to tell someone else not to is just ignorant. That's like telling President Bush that we don't need money for more TIC's because they make FF's feel too comfortable. Remember, a hood is a tool, just like the rest of your PPE, and a tool is only as good as the person using/wearing it. The bottom line is, wearing your hood will save you from the small burns. You, and only you, can prevent the big burns from not recognizing a flashover BEFORE it happens. Wear a hood, and at the same time, get the realistic, practical training necessary to be a good firefighter.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RescueCoFireman:
                      CPR4U-

                      I have been on the job as a fireman for about 10 years. I am not an old timer. I don't wear my hood at all. I agree with BFD1071. And I would like to add that a flash hood is simply a "flash" hood. It cannot take that much heat so I don't know why you all are putting so much faith in a nomex hood. The earflaps in my leather helmet will hold up to more heat than a hood will. But come to think of it I only pull that down in the winter to protect my ears from the cold when I'm standing there wet...not the heat! To protect myself I just keep my collar up on my coat. I have never been burned.

                      If proper ventilation is conducted upon arrival your chances of a flashover are drastically reduced. One other guy mentioned Vent, Enter, Search, (VES) In that order!

                      Glen B.
                      I just have one question (sarcasm). If as you state, they can not with stand high heat, how can one stand up in 1,100 and not feel heat? Personally? The flash hoods I wear in the Navy, I can feel the heat from the boiler (about 500 inside) through the hood. I think there might have been a "little" exaggeration in the one post.

                      Doc DC3

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Each to his own. But I'm not going in with out my PBI hood, and Structural Firefighting gloves. They are the two least expensive parts of PPE, so to me they are just cheap insurance. Firefighting is inherently dangerous, the safer we can be, the better off we are in my opinion.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I see both sides of this.

                          As chief of department I mandate the wearing of hoods. But I understand bfd1071's point on the thread. I am old school. I was trained under the no hood, just started wearin BA times. By people that wore treated duct turnout coats, without liners and without hoods and they went farther, faster than I ever imagined a human could in those conditions. You learned from them, with them, in those conditions. We trained at what we did. We saw flashovers then, but it was more due to delayed alarms than it was the speed at which the burning material ignited.

                          The newer members are trained with the PPE they are going to be using. They become accustomed to working in the environment in that turnout, with hood and BA in place. The newer PPE is a good thing, we need to protect our members, but they need to be aware the wearing of this new and better PPE it may allow them to reach places in fire incidents that are not tenable without possible severe consequences. They need to be trained to reconize the signs and symptoms before crawling or walking into that atmosphere.

                          [This message has been edited by CHIEF500 (edited 03-22-2001).]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Very well put Chief!

                            All the best,
                            Glen B.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I whole heartedly agree Chief 500. Well put.


                              ------------------
                              Shawn M. Cecula
                              Captain
                              Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

                              Comment

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