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Exciting Recent Posts

Fire Truck Chasers Get Warning in Apex - March 4, 1953
Transformer in Disguise? The Wasserwerfer 10000
Introducing the Leveraxe (3 comments)
Notes on Wake County's Fire Tax District Budget (2 comments)
Registration Open for South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo (2 comments)
Special Called Wake County Fire Commission Meeting - Thursday, April 24, 2014
The Curious Case of the Copied Patches
UPDATED: Raleigh Hose Thread History (5 comments)
Wake Forest House Fire - Fully Involved on Arrival
UPDATED: New Raleigh Police Cruisers Are Coming (1 comment)
Mounted and Unmounted
Photos From FDIC
Last Week's Specialized Rescue in Carrboro
Morning Reading - April 15, 2014
Dash Cam Captures Near Miss at Raleigh Car Fire (Video) (2 comments)
Wake County EMS Employees are Happy (Video)
Vintage Image of Charlotte Snorkel
NC at FDIC
Extra Alarms and Multiple Buffs in Indianapolis (8 comments)
Technical Support Unit 1 (4 comments)

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+ 0 - 0 | § Fire Truck Chasers Get Warning in Apex - March 4, 1953

From the News & Observer.

And, ahem, we all know a couple people with cameras who'd be breaking that law the day it was passed...
 

+ 0 - 0 | § Transformer in Disguise? The Wasserwerfer 10000

That's German for Water Cannon 10000, a futurist-looking police vehicle built by Rosenbauer in Austria. This Car and Driver blog post from 2009 featured the thing, but I saw this Daily Mail story today. The truck's purpose-built for riot response and is based on the Mercedes-Benz Actros 3341 all-wheel-drive truck chassis. Carries 10,000 liters of water (2,642 gallons). Weighs thirty-one tons. Powered by V6 turbo-diesel engine.

This translated Wikipedia page tells more. Climate-controlled interior, a first (?) for such units. Carries up to five people. Two forward nozzles and one rear. Can spray water up to 65 meters (213 feet) forward and 50 meters (164 feet back). Proportioning systems can add agents to the water, such as tear gas. Surveillance cameras record all sides.

Google for more images, both of this truck and numerous other European riot trucks of similar design. Such vehicles have been used for decades. (In the United States they're pretty rare, I think. Though you'll find the odd unit on the web, such as this ex-USAF Oshkosh crash truck used by NYPD. Scroll down this page to see.)
 

+ 0 - 0 | § Introducing the Leveraxe

Found via this Discovery story. Might be old news. Made in Finland. Here's the product page, and with a nifty diagram on the physics behind the thing. Don't tell anyone in the fire service. They might try to introduce a change!
  

 

 

+ 0 - 0 | § Notes on Wake County's Fire Tax District Budget

As this prior posting notes, the Wake County Fire Commission meets on Thursday, to discuss the proposed FY15 budget for the Fire Tax District.

Though I was unable to attend any of the budget committee meetings, the agenda packet provides useful insight into the issues presently facing the fire commission and county fire service.

Here’s my summary and notes on what’s included in the document. Since I am playing connect-the-dots, feel free to advise corrections or contextual omissions. Lots of moving pieces here.  

Fire Tax

Fiscal Governance

Two Budgets

Fiscal Goals

Lack of Standards

The FY15 Budget Recommendations

The FY15 Capital Projects

Revenue Limitations

What’s Needed for the Future?

How to Contain Costs

Ideas for containing costs in the system of fire departments funded by the Fire Tax District:

Make Sense?

+ 1 - 0 | § Registration Open for South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo

Registration is now open for the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo in Raleigh. This year's dates are earlier than last year's dates: July 23-26 for the conference, July 25-26 for the expo. (This year only. The show returns to August for 2015 and 2016.) Visit the registration site.

There are two web sites: one for attendees and one for vendors. The attendee site is optimized for both desktop computers and your tablets or phone. Super easy to use. Branding and an official graphic have also been released. Recognize those people shown below? Here's a clue: the number 14.

Added this year are firefighter competitions in the style of the annual tournaments held back in the day. (Held from 1889 to 1941. Read some of that history.)

Also new this year is the fourth annual Raleigh's Finest 5K, now scheduled the same weekend as the expo. 
 

Social Media Workshop

Yours Truly will be co-conducting a workshop on Friday, July 25. Here are those details:

The World Is Watching Your Department. Who Will Tell Your Story, You or Them?
Friday, July 25
3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Social media is everywhere, and everyone is a reporter. Camera phones are taking pictures and recording videos of your actions and activities. Facebook, Twitter, and news site submissions, etc. are putting your department on display.

Fighting this trend is futile, but you can take control of your story and guide the narrative to your department’s benefit. Join Wake County EMS Community Outreach Chief Jeffrey Hammerstein and Raleigh/Wake County fire blogger and photographer Mike Legeros for a discussion on how to make social media work for you and your department.
 

Big List of Everything

Here's the full list of events, activities, and features (see also this Schedule at a Glance), in addition to the conference (meetings, workshop, keynote, banquet, etc.) and expo (exhibitors):

See you there!

+ 0 - 1 | § Special Called Wake County Fire Commission Meeting - Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Wake County Fire Commission will have a special-called meeting on Thursday, April 24, at 7:00 p.m. The location is the Wake County EMS Training Facility, in the lower level of the Wake County Commons Building, 4011 Carya Drive.

The purpose of the special-called meeting is for the Fire Commission to receive and discuss the Budget Committee's recommended FY 2015 Fire Tax Budget.

Here's the document packet (PDF) for the meeting, including the agenda and budget information.

+ 0 - 1 | § The Curious Case of the Copied Patches

First was Burlington's design, which was copied by Raleigh in 1986. These were the first uniform patches for the Raleigh Fire Department. There was a committee that proposed and discussed designs, as the story goes. The Burlington patch was chosen, and not coincidentally due to the fact that new Fire Chief Sherman Pickard was a former member of BFD. (Pickard was appointed as Raleigh’s chief in 1986. He started his fire service career in Burlington. He was a member from 1949 to 1955 and left the department as Director of Training.)

Burlington has since adopted a new design. What year? And when their prior patch adopted? And did they copy from another department? (In the earlier decades of the fire service, there were generic patch designs that were used across numerous departments throughout the state, and probably the country.) Maybe readers can help.

Eight years after Raleigh adopted Burlington’s emblem, the Stony Hill Fire Department in Wake County followed suit. In 1992, the membership cast their votes for a design, also their first. Asst. Chief A.C. Rich, who was (and still is) a member of the Raleigh Fire Department, wasn’t at the meeting. He learned of the decision later, but only after the produced patches had been received. SHFD used the design until 2007. (Read a prior posting about their new patch.)

Archer Lodge Fire Department in Johnson County also copied the patch design, though they copied Raleigh's emblem. They adopted the patch in October 2000, and used the design for four years. The department proposed a new design in March 2004, and it was accepted in October 2004. (That's their current patch, and the design was credited to former Fire Chief Pete Barnes.)

The Raleigh Fire Department is still using their patch. The design also appears on apparatus, signage, and printed materials. The other three departments, as noted above, have adopted different designs.

And that’s the story of that.

Thanks to AC and Duane, for the historical assist. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 8 - 7 | § UPDATED: Raleigh Hose Thread History

April 18, 2014
Was teaching class last night on North Carolina firefighter history. While discussing the first fire hydrants installed in Raleigh, questions were made about the "Raleigh thread." What's the history there? Here's a blog post from 2009 that provides a bit of information.

I've been told that Raleigh's thread is the same that New York City uses. (Correct?) And I've seen historical references to Raleigh and Durham adapters, carried on each city's engines, for those mutual aid occasions. (Can recall a pair of instances when Durham sent engines to Raleigh, for fires at Dorothea Dix and at the Yarborough House in the 1920s.) 

As memory serves, city engines in more recent decades carried adapters for "other hydrants." That a correct memory there? Would those have been county hydrants? (But there aren't such things, right?) Private hydrants, with different threads? Maybe I'm thinking of adapters for Cary or Wake Forest or...

September 14, 2009
Question of the day. When did Raleigh start using its own hose and hydrant threads? From this 1924 report, there were 464 hydrants in the city on May 31, 1924. All were Mathews pattern, except for 64 Columbia and one Glamorgan. What are or were those patterns? Don't know. Nothing found on Google (yet). Hose couplings sizes were listed in the below chart. And that chart is repeated in this 1931 report, which lists 557 public and 133 private hydrants in the city on February 28, 1931. By that time, the report added, adapters for Durham hose were carried on Raleigh's Engine 1.
 

Connection Nominal Size,     
Inches
Outside Diameter,
Male Threads, Inches    
Threads,
per Inch
Raleigh Hose 2 1/2 3 21/64 6
Raleigh Hydrants 2 1/2
4
3 21/64
4 55/64
6
6
Durham Hose 2 1/2 3 8
Goldsboro Hose
Fayetteville Hose
Wilson Hose
2 1/2 3 1/16 8
Henderson Hose 2 1/2 3 7/32 8
National Standard     2 1/2 3 1/16 7 1/2

 
What does the above chart tell us? First, that Raleigh wasn't the only department with its own hose thread. In fact, none of the above departments list coupling specs that exactly match National Standard. When did Raleigh adopt their coupling size? Good question. The city's first fire hydrants were installed in 1887, with hand reels and sections of hose also purchased. Hose had appeared earlier, for the 1870 steamer, and possibly even earlier for the city's hand engines. But it was 1887 that hydrants appeared, and when far more hose was added to the fire department. Hose was subsequently standardized, and by 1924 at least. Alas, Sanborn Maps from the 1880s to the 1910s don't help. There's no information on hose or hydrant threads.

+ 1 - 0 | § Wake Forest House Fire - Fully Involved on Arrival

Even with the proliferation of camera phones and reader photos on news sites, it's reasonably rare that we see an arrival photo as dramatic as this image posted by FireNews.net. That's from Saturday's house fire in Wake Forest.

The photo is by Teresa Martens and appears in a story submitted by Wake Forest News Editor Steve Rhode. Arriving units found the front of the structure fully-involved at 417 Cottesbrook Drive. The two-story, single-family dwelling measured 2,485 square-feet and was built in 2010.

Read more about the fire from FireNews.net, including the list of Wake Forest and Rolesville units that responded. The Wake Forest News has also posted a trio of stories about the fire, the family's praise for the firefighters, and community efforst to raise money for the family: April 13 #1, April 13 #2, and April 16.
 


Teresa Martins/FireNews.net photo

+ 0 - 1 | § UPDATED: New Raleigh Police Cruisers Are Coming

April 18
Lee Wilson has posted photos from the April 2 event, that saw the uneviling of the Raleigh Police Department's new Ford, Chevy, and Dodge cruisers. This News & Observer story from after the event told me about the vehicles and the evaluation process. 
 




Lee Wilson photo

April 2
Today's News & Observer has a story about Raleigh's new police cruisers. The city will unveil their new Ford Police Interceptor sport-utility vehicles at a media event today. (When? Where?) That's one of three new vehicles that'll replace the now-discontinued Ford Crown Victoria. (The other two vehicles are officially undisclosed, but we've talked about before. We won't spoil the secrecy, at least for today!) The city purchased some 70 of the remaining Crown Victorias after production ceased in 2011. They'll be patrolled for a few more years, as their service life is five to seven years. Then they'll the public auctions. You can get your own Bluesmobile. Read the story.


Corey Lowenstein/News & Observer photo

+ 0 - 0 | § Mounted and Unmounted

Seen last week in Indianapolis, a pair of Methodist Hospital vehicles. One is an ambulance with yellow lights (indicating convalescent unit only?), and one is apparanetly a former ambulance missing the body. Always wondered what a chassis looks like, once the "box" is gone. Click to enlarge these phone photos:
 



+ 0 - 1 | § Photos From FDIC

Have posted my photos from FDIC last week. Here are the links:

Still in processing are pictures from the IFD museum, twenty-eight historic or former firehouses, and one of the old training facilities.

Still to be posted are a few hundred mobile phone photos, that need sorting and parsing.
 

+ 0 - 0 | § Last Week's Specialized Rescue in Carrboro

From a reader comes this photo from Carrboro, after a kid's toy was accidentally thrown to the roof of a park shelter on Friday. Firefighters came to the rescue from the station next door. The child was heard to say "This was the most exciting day ever!" Click to enlarge. Thanks, Scott!
 

+ 0 - 1 | § Morning Reading - April 15, 2014

Recent Twitter activity includes...

Tuesday

Monday

Last Week

+ 0 - 1 | § Dash Cam Captures Near Miss at Raleigh Car Fire (Video)

From this FireNews.net posting, here's a video from YouTube user NC DashVids, of a van swerving to avoid an IMAP truck positioned ahead of two Raleigh engines on the ramp from southbound I-440 to westbound Highway 64. The vehicle swerves to the right of the truck, enters the shoulder, and returns to the roadway as it encounters the cones ahead of Engine 2. This happened on April 11.
 
 

+ 2 - 1 | § Wake County EMS Employees are Happy (Video)

This one made the rounds last week, an employee appreciation video created by the Wake County EMS Community Outreach office. They're dancing and lip-synching to the Pharrell Williams song "Happy", released in November 2013 on Back Lot Music. Or click here if the embed doesn't work.
 
 

+ 1 - 1 | § Vintage Image of Charlotte Snorkel

Found for sale on eBay, a 35mm slide scan of Charlotte's Ladder 1, a 1984 Duplex-Grumman/Snorkel articulating platform. See our data from December on all snorkels that have served in our state, including four for Charlotte. Click to enlarge:
 

+ 2 - 0 | § NC at FDIC

Left to right, top to bottom: American Emergency Vehicles for Stanly County EMS, Guilford County EMS, and Cherokee Tribal EMS; Hackney for Blowing Rock; Smeal for Charlotte; Ferrara for Wilson. Click to enlarge the collage:


+ 0 - 0 | § Extra Alarms and Multiple Buffs in Indianapolis

Was a good day for buffing in Indianapolis today. Started with the second day of exhibits at FDIC, and ended with an extra-alarm fire at 1545 Van Buren Street (previously cited as 2009 Draper Street) east of downtown. (Been nice 'n' confused about this one. Called it three-alarms on Twitter, after seeing news reported. Posted here as two-alarms, as seen on the IFD feed. Now back to three-alarms, via Tri-State Fire Alerts FB page. Plus reader mail that says it went higher than three!)

Four aerial streams, three monitor nozzles, and four hand lines were used, reported @IFD_NEWS via Twitter. Plus multiple buffs and visiting firefighters. Building measured 250 by 300 feet. Defensive operations and wall collapses. One firefighter injured. First due companies were Engine 27, Engine 23, Ladder 14. Building was unburned section of extra alarm fire last fall. 

Yours Truly was en route to the 2014 Firefighter Turnout when he saw the plume of smoke from some ten miles out. Couldn't possibly be a major working fire with so many firefighters in town? Well, yes it was. See more pictures from Mike Legeros, posted to his Flickr page and also accessible from www.legeros.com/firepics. They start about forty-five minutes into the incident. 
 
 

+ 1 - 1 | § Technical Support Unit 1

The Raleigh Fire Department has placed its new rescue pumpers in service. The 2014 Pierce Arrow XT engines were activated on April 4 (Squad 15) and April 8 (Squad 14). Also, the reserve rescue at Station 14 has been designated Technical Support Unit 1.

The 2007 Pierce Enforcer, a sister to the truck operated by Rescue 1, is both a reserve unit and a second piece of equipment for Squad 14. (What does it carry? Readers, can you advise?) There's also a second unit staffed by Squad 15, a tractor-drawn trench rescue unit at Station 15.

See photos of the new squads at the station and in action at Lee Wilson's Flickr site. Updates also forthcoming to my photo site, which links to Lee's photos on a per-set basis.
 

+ 0 - 0 | § Some Former Firehouses of Indianapolis

Reporting from the road and my first visit to FDIC. Awaiting the start of the "show" tomorrow, when the exhibit floors open at noon and 1:00 p.m. (Among the attractions are the unveiling of a new Pierce chassis.) Been here since Tuesday, and been busy crisscrossing the city. Locating and photographing former and historic firehouses, as usual. Also first time in Indianapolis. What an interesting city! Ample attractions for the urban explorer, plus a very vibrant downtown. Here are a couple of the engine houses found so far. Left to right, top to bottom:

Many, many more photos forthcoming. Read my research notes, to be updated. See other firehouses in other cities. Click to enlarge:







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