"Tools and Everything for first responders including Federal Government, Municipality, Volunteer, Private contractors, Hazardous materials teams, structual Firefighters, wildland Firefighters and Rescue crews. Also articles on training and educational opportunities for the Fire Service, EMT, Rescue, disaster response. Please submit and comment on stories. Firefighting related Stories."

This site will focus on first responder safety equipment and gear including Fire fighting tools, personnel protective equipment, high angle gear, safety equipment anything and everything for first responders including Federal Government, Municipality, Volunteer, Private contractors, Hazardous materials teams, structual Firefighters, wildland Firefighters and Rescue crews. Also articles on training and educational opportunities for the Fire Service, EMT, Rescue, disaster response.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gas, Water, telescoping valve control tool

California Fire News: New valve control tools

Fire hydrant 2" square telescoping valve tool

We want to introduce you to our new waterworks tools for the public safety professional, contractor or the homeowner.

We are a family run Central valley California business that has been around for over 15 years. We are introducing our new line of waterworks tools which include the 3 in 1 pro waterworks tool, the 3 in 1 mini pro waterworks tool and the 3 in 1 pro pent head (San Jose style) waterworks tool.

Opens Curb box, controls water meter valve,

Controls gas meter valves

Wheel handle valve control

These tools are constructed for durability and ease of use. They are designed to do many jobs with just one tool. Both the pro pent head and the pro are suitable for professional use by waterworks, utility companies, landscapers etc.

Buy Now special pricing for California Fire News: Ace Fabrication presents the Three in One Mini Pro - Gas, water valve control tool, manhole and Curb box cover hook, Convenient storage, telescoping tubular construction, all steel, American made

Click here to buy the 3 in 1 Mini -Pro valve control tool, Special Internet sale price.

The mini pro is a smaller version designed for the professional but priced for home use.

Please check out our website and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.

SAR News: 21.5 and 243 MHz emergency beacons

SAR News: 21.5 and 243 MHz emergency beacons will no longer be monitored by satellite after February 1

U.S.C.G. - Get the Fix...Switch to 406

121.5 and 243 MHz emergency beacons will no longer be monitored by satellite after February 1, 2009

Where can I find more information regarding the the phaseout of 121.5 MHz beacons for satellite distress alerting?
Information regarding the phaseout is available from the NOAA SARSAT website: http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov
Who can I contact if I have questions regarding the switchover?
Individuals may contact LCDR Katherine Niles (katherine.m.niles@uscg.mil) in the Coast Guard Office of Search and Rescue (CG-534)

More Information:

121.5 MHz Phase Out: The International Cospas-Sarsat Program will terminate satellite processing of distress signals from 121.5 and 243 MHz emergency beacons on February 1, 2009. After this date, mariners, aviators and other persons will have to switch to emergency beacons operating at 406 MHz in order to be detected by satellites.

Coast Guard Message

Code of Federal Regulations
Press Release
Articles on Phase Out

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Satellites will stop processing signals from 121.5 MHz
emergency beacons (EPIRBs and ELTs) on 01 Feb 2009.

Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking:

SARSAT overview graphic
picture of an emergency beacon Is your emergency beacon registered?
To enhance protection of life and property, it is mandatory that emergency beacons be registered with NOAA before installation and that information be kept up to date.
Click here for easy online beacon registration information.
Beacon Registration Website

EPIRB registration form ELT registration form PLB registration form

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SARSAT Information:

Training Presentations:

Properly Dispose of Old Beacons To Prevent False Alerts
Discarded radio beacon triggers false alarm... [read more]

A Survivor's Story
A testimonial from Rudy Snel on surviving the sinking of Sean Seamour II, thanks to an EPIRB [play audio]

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Beacon Types
There are three types of beacons used to transmit distress signals:
an assortment of emergency beacons

EPIRB: Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon for maritime use

ELT: Emergency Locator Transmitter for aviation use

PLB: Personal Locator Beacon for land-based applications

Friday, January 16, 2009

Firefighters Now Exempt From Wearing High-Visibility Apparel

Safety News: CPF wins firefighter high-visibility safety apparel

Firefighters Now Exempt From Wearing High-Visibility Apparel

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today issued an Interim Final Rule to address safety concerns raised by the firefighting community regarding high-visibility safety apparel.

The Interim Final Rule:

• Revises the definition of "worker" to exclude firefighters when they are exposed to flame, fire, high heat or hazardous materials

• Exempts firefighters from the requirement to use high-visibility safety apparel, when the use of such apparel may increase the risk of injury to firefighter personnel

The rule is effective as of November 24, 2008. This amends the Worker Visibility rule (23CFR 634), which was designed to improve the safety of workers by providing increased visibility to approaching motorists and construction traffic.

"Firefighters across the country spoke out and were heard," said Lou Paulson, President of California Professional Firefighters. "The firefighter's job is dangerous enough without adding the risks that these high-visibility garments pose. Common sense has prevailed."

Click here to read this Interim Final Rule.

Source: http://www.cpf.org - Link

1 - Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
is recognized as the national standard for all traffic control devices
installed on any street, highway, or bicycle trail open to public travel. It is available at - Link

2 - ANSI 107-1999 is the nationally recognized standard for
high-visibility garments developed in conjunction with the
International Safety Equipment Association. Copies may be obtained at: - Link
Safety News: CPF wins firefighter high-visibility safety apparel exemption

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Haz Mat News: Hydrogen Sulfide is a new method of suicide

Trics of the Trade: New Hazmat Threat Comes to the US Hydrogen Sulfide is a new method of suicide

Firehouse.Com Contributor

A popular means of suicide, is there such a thing? Well apparently there is now.

In the first six months of 2008, the press reports that in Japan more than 500 people have killed themselves using hydrogen sulfide created by mixing chemicals commonly available over the counter in supermarkets and drug stores. Japan's government has long battled to contain the country's alarmingly high suicide rate. A total of 32,155 people killed themselves in 2006, giving the country the ninth highest rate in the world.

Suicides first passed the 30,000 mark in 1998, near the height of an economic slump that left many bankrupt, jobless and desperate. The Japanese government has earmarked 22.5 billion yen ($220 million) for anti-suicide programs to help those with depression and other mental conditions. Last year it set a goal of cutting the suicide rate by 20 percent in 10 years through steps such as reducing unemployment, boosting workplace counseling and filtering Web sites that promote this despicable act.

According to official statistics, about a million people die by suicide annually, more than those murdered or killed in war. According to 2005 data, suicides in the U.S. outnumber homicides by nearly two-to-one and ranks as the 11th leading cause of death in the country, ahead of liver disease and Parkinson's disease. According to a 2008 report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Injury Research and Policy, the rate of suicide in the United States is increasing for the first time in a decade. The increase in the overall suicide rate between 1999 and 2005 was due primarily to an increase in suicides among whites aged 40-64, with white middle-aged women experiencing the largest annual increase.

Worldwide suicide rates have increased by 60 percent in the past 50 years, mainly in the developing countries. Most suicides in the world occur in Asia, which is estimated to account for up to 60 percent of all suicides. According to the World Health Organization, China, India and Japan may account for 40 percent of all world suicides.

Many of these incidents have occurred in apartments, private houses and vehicles. Authorities, (you and I), are concerned that it could become "more popular" in the United States as the publicity about these incident spreads.

In fact, in August 2008 the Pasadena, CA, Fire Department responded to a suicide involving Hydrogen Sulfide. The victim, found dead in his car, had mixed a fungicide and a toilet bowl cleaner in a plastic tray creating a bright blue liquid and placed the tray in the back seat of his vehicle. The man that killed himself placed a note on the vehicle warning first responders of the hazard. A subsequent investigation revealed that this person may have been to multiple web sites of Japanese origin that provides information on how to use Hydrogen Sulfide as a tool to commit suicide.

Although this incident is a suicide, it demonstrates the potential for anyone to easily produce the chemical and use it as a weapon in a terrorist attack. The Pasadena incident led to the evacuation of several businesses in the immediate area and left bystanders stranded for as much as five hours while the first responders assessed the scene.

In another incident in Japan, 90 people in an apartment building were reportedly sickened when a teenage girl killed herself using a mixture of household chemicals that produced the Hydrogen Sulfide in the bathroom of her apartment.

Hydrogen Sulfide is also known by the following names; hydro sulfuric acid; sulfuretted hydrogen; sewer gas; sulfane; sulfur hydride; sour gas; sulfurated hydrogen; hydrosulfuric acid; stink damp; and rotten egg gas. Its chemical molecular formula is H2S. H2S is a colorless, toxic, flammable gas with a strong odor of rotten eggs or flatulence. Odor is not a reliable indicator as to the concentrations because the sense of smell becomes rapidly fatigued and can not be relied upon to warn of the continuous presence of the gas. H2S is a by product of the decay of organic material and accidental exposure has occurred in situations involving sewage, liquid manure, natural gas, and animal and vegetable matter storage and processing. It can also be found at certain industrial facilities, such as waste water treatment plants, petroleum refineries, pulp and paper manufacturers, and plants producing sulfur or sulfuric acid. Small amounts of hydrogen sulfide occur in crude petroleum but natural gas can contain up to 80 percent. It is shipped as a liquefied compressed gas, bearing the placard 2.3, and the UN 1053.

The gas can be detected at a level of two parts per billion. To put this into perspective, 1 mL of the gas distributed evenly in a 100-seat lecture hall is about 20 ppb. The IDLH for this gas is 100 ppm. Remember that in determining IDLHs, NIOSH figures the ability of a worker to escape without loss of life or irreversible health effects being considered along with severe eye or respiratory irritation and other deleterious effects (for example: disorientation or loss of coordination) that could prevent escape. Although in most cases, egress from a particular worksite could occur in much less than 30 minutes, as a safety margin, IDLHs were based on the effects that might occur as a consequence of a 30-minute exposure. However, the 30-minute period was NOT meant to imply that workers should stay in the work environment any longer than necessary following the failure of respiratory protection equipment; in fact, every effort should be made to exit immediately.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines an immediately dangerous to life or health concentration in their hazardous waste operations and emergency response regulation as follows: An atmospheric concentration of any toxic, corrosive or asphyxiant substance that poses an immediate threat to life or would cause irreversible or delayed adverse health effects or would interfere with an individual's ability to escape from a dangerous atmosphere. [29 CFR 1910.120]

Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic and flammable gas. Being heavier than air, it tends to accumulate at the bottom of poorly ventilated spaces. Although very pungent at first, it quickly deadens the sense of smell, so potential victims may be unaware of its presence until it is too late.

Hydrogen sulfide is considered a broad-spectrum poison, meaning that it can poison several different systems in the body, although the nervous system is most affected. The toxicity of H2S is comparable with that of hydrogen cyanide. It forms a complex bond with iron in the mitochondrial cytochrome enzymes, thereby blocking oxygen from binding and stopping cellular respiration. It's kind of the opposite of Carbon Monoxide, when CO is inhaled; it combines with the oxygen forming carboxyhemoglobin. Since hydrogen sulfide occurs naturally in the environment and the stomach, enzymes exist in the body capable of detoxifying it by oxidation in to (harmless) sulfate.

Exposure to lower concentrations can result in eye irritation, a sore throat and cough, nausea, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs. These symptoms usually go away in a few weeks. Long-term, low-level exposure may result in fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, irritability, poor memory, and dizziness. Concentrations of 700-800 ppm tend to be fatal.

Toxicity levels are:

  • 0.0047 ppm is the recognition threshold, the concentration at which 50 percent of humans can detect the characteristic odor of hydrogen sulfide, normally described as resembling "a rotten egg"
  • 10-20 ppm is the borderline concentration for eye irritation
  • 50-100 ppm leads to eye damage
  • At 150-250 ppm the olfactory nerve is paralyzed after a few inhalations, and the sense of smell disappears, often together with awareness of danger
  • 320-530 ppm leads to pulmonary edema with the possibility of death
  • 530-1000 ppm causes strong stimulation of the central nervous system and rapid breathing, leading to loss of breathing
  • 800 ppm is the lethal concentration for 50percent of humans for five minutes exposure
  • Concentrations over 1000 ppm cause immediate collapse with loss of breathing, even after inhalation of a single breath.

Hydrogen sulfide has been used for well over a century as a method of qualitative analysis of metal ions. In fact, the Chemistry Building at the University of Illinois in 1915 had a built-in supply of hydrogen sulfide to the various labs, i.e., H2S "on tap"! The gas was stored in a 500-gallon tank! The density of hydrogen sulfide is 1.393 g/L at 25 oC and 1 atm. This is 18 percent greater than that of air.

Hydrogen sulfide dissolves in water to make a solution that is weakly acidic. So what do we do? Know your enemy. When responding to incidents, especially suicides, be aware of the possibility of hydrogen sulfide gas. You leave the rig and someone comes up to you stating that they feel dizzy or perhaps nausea, and they have a slight smell of rotten eggs, what do you suspect. As you get on the rig, you read the dispatch ticket and it states "unusual odor throughout bldg. Multiple persons sick", you got your first clue.

Remember we may need to evacuate, this is a highly flammable gas with properties that make it heavier than air. The vapors may travel along the ground finding a source of ignition and flash back. The gas may collect in a basement, sewage system or a ravine. And most importantly, our fire fighting gear offers only limited protection, it is not effective in a spill situation or where direct contact with the chemical will be made.

An interesting diagnostic clue of extreme poisoning by H2S is the discoloration of copper coins in the pockets of the victim.

Speak to the members at roll call and company drills. Discuss the properties of this gas and make everyone aware of the necessary changes in tactics to increase our survivability. Expect the unexpected. Stay focused. Transmit the proper codes to get the hazmat team on scene and have the proper meters available.

Have everyone in SCBA, and if it's a large operation, like, perhaps an apartment building, transmit additional alarms or call for mutual aide early, and don't forget the apparatus that supplies or refills the SCBA.

Should you have an encounter with a suspicious incident involving Hydrogen Sulfide notify the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. You can find them on their websites.

In closing I would like to leave you with a thougth to ponder, a buildup of hydrogen sulfide in the atmosphere may have caused the massive extinction event on our planet 252 million years ago. This is just one more...Tric of the Trade.

Source: Firehouse.com article - Link


This site will focus on first responder safety equipment and gear including Fire fighting tools, personnel protective equipment, high angle gear, safety equipment anything and everything for first responders including Federal Government, Municipality, Volunteer, Private contractors, Hazardous materials teams, structual Firefighters, wildland Firefighters and Rescue crews. Also articles on training and educational opportunities for the Fire Service, EMT, Rescue, disaster response.