By Bob Vaccaro and Greg Jakubowski and Homer Robertson and Mike Kirby
Published Thursday, May 30, 2013
| From the July 2013 Issue of FireRescue
Bob Vaccaro’s picks
Incident Response Technologies’ Rhodium Incident Management Suite
Incident Response Technologies has come out with a new Web-based incident management tool that’s an easy-to-use program for any novice computer user on the fireground or any incident scene—and the software can be customized to meet any end user’s needs. The Rhodium Incident Management Suite is compatible with almost any Web-enabled device, including PCs, Macs, iPads, Android tablets, Windows Mobile, smartphones and other devices. I saw this new software, as well as their new digital command board at FDIC, and they were amazing. They worked flawlessly, but don’t take my word for it; sign up to check out the free online demo at http://tinyurl.com/odqwlyb. With its impressive capabilities, this tool makes it easy for all incident commanders at the scene to share vital fireground information.
Incident Response Technologies Inc.
Scott Safety’s Air-Pak X3 SCBA
For all the firefighters out there who’ve worn just about every type of SCBA, the new Air-Pak X3 from Scott Safety may be just what you’ve been looking for. Featuring a smaller profile and a lightweight design, the X3 was designed with the firefighter in mind. As most of you know, the NFPA has released new standards (1981 and 1982) for breathing apparatus this year; the new X3 SCBA exceeds the new requirements outlined in both standards. Scott Safety incorporated end-user feedback in every step of the design process, increasing comfort through new shoulder strap designs, better weight management and improved hose and wire management. Fireground communications are enhanced with the introduction of the AV-3000 HT facepiece, EPIC 3 Communications, a new external HUD and optimally positioned buddy lights. The Air-Pak X3 can be ordered with either a CGA cylinder connection or a Snap-Change cylinder connection. If you’re looking to upgrade your SCBA in the near future, don’t pass the X3 by.
TFT Task Force Tips’ Blitzfire HE & Blitzfire Oscillating HE Monitors
There isn’t a year that goes by when Task Force Tips (TFT) doesn’t have a new product to introduce at FDIC. This year, they showcased two products that aren’t wholly new to the market, but their capabilities are: the Blitzfire HE and the Blitzfire Oscillating HE high-elevation portable monitors, which allow firefighters to go from 10 degrees above horizontal to nearly 90 degrees overhead—a gain of some 40 degrees of elevation over TFT’s Blitzfire and Blitzfire OSC products, but with the same 500-gpm water power, and the protection of the monitors’ safety shut-off valve. This simple, light and highly maneuverable attack low-elevation angle makes both monitors suitable for use indoors, while their expanded elevation makes them invaluable on almost any fireground application.
Task Force Tips Inc.
Shannon Pieper's Picks
TECGEN’s Dual-Certified Wildland/Tech Rescue PPE
The wildland/urban interface (WUI) is expanding rapidly, leading to more and more “structural” firefighters being called to fight brush fires. The problem: When firefighters wear structural PPE on wildland calls, they’re exposing themselves to a huge heat stress risk, yet the price of wildland-specific PPE is often outside the limited budgets of many departments. TECGEN may have the answer. It recently introduced its XTREME protective apparel, a single-layer lightweight garment that’s dual-certified to NFPA standards for both wildland firefighting (NFPA 1977, 2011 ed.) and technical rescue (NFPA 1951, 2007 ed.). This gear is lightweight—you can instantly feel the difference. More importantly, it has an edge on regular wildland gear because the dual certification means it can be worn on 70–80% of calls, making it a cost-effective option for many departments. The XTREME garment is available in a single-layer lightweight coverall or as a jacket/pants combo.
Avon Protection’s Deltair SCBA
The new edition of NFPA 1981 introduced major changes to SCBA, from the end-of-service time indicator to the facepiece integrity. Avon Protection’s answer to the changes is the Deltair, which offers clearer communications, optimal weight distribution, and a single power supply (six C-cell batteries in one unit that resembles a laptop battery) that can be removed and changed easily. Perhaps the most unique feature of this SCBA: a switch that allows you to shift between ambient air to cylinder air without removing your mask. Deltair also includes a quick-disconnect option that enables firefighters to replace their cylinder in seconds without removing their gloves. One other option that caught our eye: Avon sells a cap that sits on top of the cylinder and effectively blocks the space between the cylinder and the SCBA frame—an area that’s a common source for snags when you’re crawling through a building. The cylinder itself also sits lower on a firefighter’s back, further reducing snag risk.
BullEx’s Digital Fire Technology
BullEx has long been a leader in building training systems for both firefighters and the general public. Of course, nothing beats actually burning down a building for training, but with live-fire options becoming more and more restricted, many departments are turning to various simulators for the next best thing. BullEx Digital Fire Technology provides just that. It consists of panels of LED lights that react to water application. This allows users to use real hoselines in training and practice stream management and hoseline advancement. If the firefighter doesn’t apply the correct amount of water, the digital flames will grow. The panels can be installed in virtually any training trailer or burn building, and they’re corrosion-resistant, rugged and easy to set up. This is a great option for realistic and repeatable firefighter training.
Mike Kirby’s picks
HexArmor’s EXT Rescue Glove
HexArmor’s latest addition to the fire/rescue glove market, the EXT rescue glove, provides firefighters or rescue technicians with a high-quality extrication glove that meets the demands of the job and provides exceptional hand protection. These gloves are durable and rugged, but not stiff, bulky or uncomfortable. They also provide great dexterity so more work can be done while wearing them. But perhaps the most important safety features of the EXT gloves are their resistance to cuts, lacerations and punctures, and their exceptional impact resistance. The impact features provide vital protection from impact and smash injuries on all parts of the back of the hands, including the knuckles, where most of these types of injuries occur. I found these gloves to have a surprisingly high comfort level given all their safety features.
Red Head Brass’ HY-D Mass-Decon Nozzle
The Red Head Brass HY-D nozzle turns any fire hydrant or pump discharge into an instant mass-decon shower, making it a quick and easy way to provide mass decontamination for chemical exposure. One of the best features of this product: it decreases responders’ exposure by allowing victims to decon themselves, as the device can be hooked up and left by itself. It also doesn’t require a special trailer, structure or other device in order for it to be effective; just hook up to tools and/or equipment already in place (e.g., hydrants and fire engines), open it, and it flows water. The HY-D also comes with a kit that includes the decon nozzle, a hydrant wrench, a 30-degree elbow and a gate valve—and it’s all neatly carried inside a four-compartment bag. Additional benefits include low water usage and run-off, little to no maintenance, and the nozzle can easily be deployed by one person.
Red Head Brass
Globe’s SUPRALITE Fire Boots
Globe’s SUPRALITE structural pull-on boots feature a design that’s even lighter and more flexible than previous models. The new outsole provides the superior grip of the original Globe boot, while the uppers feature DragonHide, a Globe exclusive material that’s used to reinforce turnout gear. This boot comes the closest yet to feeling like your favorite sneakers, while providing the protection, support and slip-resistance you depend on—plus, they meet NFPA 1971 and 1992 standards. Additional features include a composite shank, which is more flexible than steel and doesn’t transmit heat and cold, and they come in a variety of sizes and widths. Overall, the SUPRALITEs were truly some of the most comfortable, lightweight pieces of firefighting footwear I’ve ever worn. They’re ideal for fire instructors who need to wear their PPE during all-day training evolutions.
Globe Manufacturing Company
Homer Robertson’s picks
On Scene Solutions’ Wellz Tool
One tool that you often see being used in different forcible-entry training programs and online videos is a wedge made from aluminum or other metal that, when used with a set of irons, assists the user in making a purchase area or holds the gain made while forcing inward- or outward-swinging doors. The Wellz Tool is a real multi-tasker; it takes the wedge concept and kicks it up a notch. The tool is made of case-hardened steel that will give years of service. It can be used to handle an assortment of jobs: from controlling gas shut-offs in both residential and commercial-style shut-offs, to removing plastic interior trim from vehicles during extrication operations, to breaking glass. It’s also a great door wedge for either under the door or over the hinges. It works well in areas with limited space, in areas where using conventional striking tools is difficult, or when a firefighter is working by themselves to force a door.
On Scene Solutions
Akron Brass’ HydroFX Flow Indicator
Every firefighter understands the importance of getting the correct amount of water on the fire. The HydroFX flow indicator puts a tool in our toolbox that can help firefighters achieve both needed fire flow and firefighter safety. It would work well during any fireground application, but especially during standpipe operations where pressures and flows may be hard to judge, providing the crew with “go/no” information. This flow-indicating device allows the firefighter on the nozzle to quickly determine if they have the proper amount of water to start their fire attack, or if they need to stop the attack and withdraw if the water flow drops below an acceptable level. This, of course, puts more crucial knowledge in the hands of the operators. The bright LED display, which is powered by AAA batteries, can be seen even in heavy smoke conditions. The battery life provides 40 hours of operational use while flowing, and the device goes into “sleep” mode when not in use. The HydroFX can be added to existing nozzles and can be customized to meet your department flow requirements.
Akron Brass Company
Super Vac’s Smoke BlockAid
Some of the most popular, talked about training classes in the fire service are those presented by the FDNY, NIST and UL, due to their live-burn operations and research findings. One of the most popular areas of discussion during the training classes: limiting the amount of fresh air into a structure while releasing the super-heated unburnt gases during a structure fire by controlling the entrance point, thereby controlling the airflow path to the fire. The Smoke BlockAid by Super Vac is a very simple, yet smart product that controls the amount of air that’s allowed into a structure. The design includes a curtain that’s made of silicone-impregnated fiberglass and installs in seconds with a quick-action ratchet. It comes with an adjustable rod, which holds the curtain in place over the opening. The curtain material, which is rated up to 500 degrees F, allows firefighters, hoselines, equipment, etc., to move through the opening quickly and safely, while minimizing the amount of air that comes in.
Cattron Group’s Laser Collision Avoidance System
If you’ve ever attempted to move the tip of your aerial to the roof of a building or to a window to rescue someone during a fire at night, then you’re going to like this product. The Laser Collision Avoidance System (L-CAS) includes a group of lasers that allows the aerial operator on the turntable to better determine the distance between the building and the tip while positioning; it also allows the operator to see when the tip of the aerial has crossed over the edge of the roof. The L-CAS uses retro-reflective Class 1 laser technology and features a simple push-button set-up that allows the user to activate its alarm output and stop functions at exactly the distance required. The system is effective in all three aerial movements: extending, rotating and booming in. The lasers are mounted on either side of the aerial tip, can be protected inside an optional armor package and are operated by 12 volts of power.
Cattron Group International
Greg Jakubowski’s Picks
The Hawk Hook Quick Response Tool
The Hawk Hook Quick Response Tool might be the coolest extrication tool to come on the market in a while for stabilizing vehicles in the water. The Hawk Hook allows you to simultaneously break a tempered glass window, securely hook onto any vertical pillar or horizontal post, and be connected by lifeline to a victim and their property without liability or injury to your team. The tool package includes a center punch at the tip for breaking vehicle windows when needed, and a hook end that can attach to both an A, B or C post, as well as a winch or other safety line to help keep the vehicle from moving too far; the winch can also help pull the vehicle from an unstable environment. This strength-tested tool is lightweight (11 lbs.), made of high-quality aircraft-grade aluminum and works nicely in conjunction with existing equipment, such as a pike pole. It’s easy to use and best of all, it allows for more of a “reaching” approach to a sinking car rather than the more risky “go” approach. (Note: To read about rescuing victims from submerged vehicles, visit http://tinyurl.com/k7275rs.) In short, it does what few, if any, other tools do.
Infinity Bridge’s Rescue Access Tool (RAT)
The Rescue Access Tool (RAT) by Infinity Bridge is one “rat” that can really come in handy during a rescue scenario. It’s a tool with a significant mechanical advantage that requires no power source other than the firefighter. It’s quick, quiet, controlled and reliable while obtaining purchase points on vehicles and machinery for rescues; it also breaks padlocks and chains. How it works: The RAT spreads and expands an opening as small as one-quarter of an inch, gaining access to Nader pins, hinges, locking mechanisms, and other critical components during extrication and forcible entry operations. The tool’s design dictates that the first three turns pull the tool into surrounding surfaces; the remaining threads are set up to more aggressively grab material and force it out and away from an opening. The RAT weighs 17 lbs. and can provide up to 13,000 lbs. of force at the tip, with 200 lbs. of force on the handle. It comes with a two-year warranty.
Infinity Bridge Corp.
Want to quickly contain your next hazmat spill or leak? Look no further than the RuptureSeal, a simple tool that quickly and easily seals punctures in vehicle fuel tanks and other containers of hazardous materials. What’s particularly notable about this product is that it comes in multiple sizes to handle a variety of holes/punctures in a tank and works with a variety of chemicals, which frees up companies rapidly from a scene with a leaking tank. The three-piece starter kit, which can be opened only at the time of use, includes a 1" plug, a 2" plug and a 2" x 6" plug. I highly recommend getting the practice plug as well, which allows firefighters to easily reset for training purposes.
Streamlight’s 3AA ProPolymer HAZ-LO Helmet Lighting Kit
The versatile helmet lighting kit from Streamlight is the complete package for firefighters. It’s a universal lighting kit that fits both traditional and modern-style firefighting helmets. It’s also a low-profile, lightweight, economical alternative to other helmet-mounted lighting options. The kit includes the light, two helmet mounts (both aluminum clamp-on and rubber helmet strap), three AA batteries and Allen wrenches for mounting. The strong LED light delivers 120 lumens or 14,000 candela peak beam intensity, with a reported run time of 6.5 hours. The light is also Division 1 intrinsically safe and according to the manufacturer, is waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
Editor’s Picks: TICs
FLIR’s K-Series TIC
FLIR, well-known in the military and law enforcement circles for their thermal-imaging cameras (TICs), has released their new, rugged K-Series for the fire service. The series, which includes two TICs, features improved visibility for firefighters, easier operation and a compact design (they weigh just 2.5 lbs.). Other features include five imaging modes, which optimize the cameras’ sensitivity to higher (up to 1,200 degrees F) and lower temperature ranges for search and rescue ops and hotspot detection. Bright, 4" LCD screens provide optimal clarity, and large, oversized buttons allow firefighters to operate them easily with a gloved hand when toggling through the modes and using the zoom and other functions. But what’s really nice about these units: Not only can they can store 200 thermal image jpegs, which can be reviewed later from the camera’s archives or exported via USB for reports, they’re also cost-effective. The K40 is just $3,995 and the K50 is $4,995. Note: The units don’t yet meet the new NFPA 1801 standard, but this pricing can make thermal imaging a possibility for departments that simply don’t have the budget for higher-end cameras.—BV
MSA’s Evolution 6000 TIC
The Evolution 6000 thermal-imaging camera (TIC), which is due to hit the market soon after receiving NFPA compliance, will be available in three models to meet the individual needs of responders. The camera is lightweight and comes with some of MSA’s best and well-known TIC features, such as a dual-handle design for easy hand-off, carabiner attachment points for securing the tool to your PPE, and a large display screen—and it’s cost-effective. But the 6000 boasts many new key features as well, such as a laser pointer, a range finder, a compass for improved situational awareness and a video capture for post-fire training purposes. The TIC also allows users to select different color palettes and provides high-quality image resolution. MSA has once again proven themselves to be a leader in the TIC industry. The Evolution 6000 is a high-quality tool that optimizes imaging capability on scene. If you’re in the market for a new TIC, be sure to check out MSAs latest offering.—MK
Want More Info? If you're looking for more information on quality thermal imagers, check out Chad Allison's review of the Drager UCF 9000 thermal imaging camera.
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