Please allow me to invite you to a site designed by responders for responders... the crew that is doing it is CISM multilevel trained and are there for the guys after the bad calls. It helps the responders that do not yet have a team or would be worried that they asking for help would be seen as weakness. Please join and share it when you can. As a chaplain with over 25 years of service to fire departments I am excited with it's potential to provide support.
Chris First of all we need to change our mind set when it comes to flashover. We go to a lot of fires that show signs of rapid fire development (I.E. Flashover) but rarely have a flashover. So we start to believe this will be the norm when it is the farthest from the truth. All too often we see the signs but don’t act on them and then flashover happens and firefighters get injured, burned or die. We need to learn to read smoke better as well as spend time in a flashover container learning the signs and practice looking for them. Instead of the tunnel vision approach we take now. We need to expect the worst and be happy when it doesn’t happen, not the other way around. We need to know that we will see more and more violent fires in our career and have to make some really hard decisions that some don’t deserve the risk we l take. If not, Flashovers and rapid fire development will continue to take firefighters lives.
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. The Spanish fire services are somewhat varied. Firstly, the public FD's or "Servicios de Extinción de Incendios y de Salvamento" (S.E.I.S.) are managed at diverse levels; municipal SEIS in neraly all of the 50 provincial capital cities, plus regional or provincial services run by the governments of these areas. There are approximately 16.000 firefighters in these public SEIS. There is no unified national fire service except at the 39 airports managed by the national aviation authority, with some 1,000 FF's. Another some 1,600 volunteers are located in specific regions; Catalonia, Galicia and a few more. There are paid FF's at the 6 nuclear plants, 10 petrochem plants and some 50 other major industrial complexes. The totoal number of firefighters here is some 20,000. The public service troops generally do 24 hour duty shifts with up to 120 hours off (labor unions have influenced labor laws which permit only some 1,700 working hours annually, so that these guys can't retire before they reach 60 or so years of age.There are hundreds of first responders in their late 50's and early 60's.
Pumpers are rear mounted PTO driven units, most commonly 400 gpm models. Aerials are either rear-mounts, 65, 75 and 100 foot length, although there are 5 or 6 160 ft. units, or articulated / telescopic hydraulic platforms from 70 to 140 ft.
All are mounted on commercial chassis. There are also a number of special service vehicles; rescue, haz-mat. air support and most recently, incidend command units.
Staffing is the major drwback here. While major municipalities will respond with up to 15 FF's on first response with a capability of mustering upwards of 49 - 50 more within 15 minutes, the world's highest density hi-rise city has one station manned by an average of 10 including officers, and cannot count on reinforcements in less than 1/2 hour. There are many FD's in smaller towns responding with normally 3 and occaisionaly 2 or even 1 on first response engines.
Senior officers here are a breed of their own. Nearly all are technical university graduates; architects, engineers, etc., but with NO in-depth fire fighting experience. Nearly all have learned OJT, from command positions.
There are some recent national standard qualifications for FF's, and the Bastional Firefighters' Association, ASELF is working on common training criteria.
I hope this gives you some useful info.
Keep safe over there.
I would like very much to join your Flashover forum. I have developed a 2 day HOT course on this for Spanish FF's, with what has been considered as one of the most complete texts available here. If you're OK let me know.
Where to start?..... We have a Chief who is the complete pawn of city hall. A Training Officer who does not train. He "facliltates" the training(gets someone else to do it). We are unable to attend the New York State Fire Academy (20 miles away and courses are $25) because it may create overtime. However, we can go across the country for Haz Mat courses that are DHS reimbursed. We don't do fire suppression skills training unless it is done at the company level. Officer's can't get any new training because it may cause OT. Morale Sucks. Constant threat of layoffs, while the PD is fully staffed and funded.
On the plus side, My shift does do fire training as I am a NY State Fire Instructor and use all of my resourses to ensure my crews are WELL trained and we all go home at the end of the shift. I have made it my purpose to be a pain in the ass to all who don't want to help us do well, including command staff. I've already been screwed over for promotion to Captain once, so I may as well as fight for my crews safety. Oh yeah, our Fire Chief and Safety/Training Officer just changed our apparatus policy so that seat belts use is not required and left up to the individual FF, not the Officer. What do you think about that fine leadership?? Done ranting for now, thanks for letting me vent. Stay safe and I hope to talk to you later.
To be honest I was just a small part. I am lucky to have really smart friends like Frank, Leif and Lyle who keep me believing we can be more. Thanks for joining please send the word out this is a place for serious firefighters who want to share.
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