Thursday, March 15, 2012

Richardson Citizen's Fire Academy

Class 17, Week 3

We had dinner from Golden Chick. Four of us that had done Ride-Outs over the past week reported on our experiences. We were introduced to Captain Younger from Station 5, and he talked about their Engine #3 that was on site. It's an E-One HP78 Quint. Loaded with equipment and full tanks, it weighs about 63000 pounds. The model number indicates that the aerial ladder has a 78' reach from the ground. It's capable of pumping between 2000-2500 gallons per minute. It carries a 500 gallon water tank and a 15 gallon tank of class A foam. Equipment includes 1 3/4" and 3" ground hose and 1000' feet of 5" hose (for hydrant hookup). It also is stocked with a full set of ground ladders (16', 24' and 35') plus "A" frame ladders. It also has a smaller tank of Class B foam used for hydrocarbons such as gasoline.

We learned that fire requires four things: fuel, oxygen, heat, and a chemical reaction. Fires can be extinguished by removing any of those four things. For example, forest and brush fires often are left to burn out, but roadways are used and trenches are dug to create borders, removing fuel. Putting a lid on a pan in a kitchen fire removes oxygen. Water not only removes heat, but slows the chemical reaction. Fog and foam can also be used, and we learned that foam has many advantages. It permeates porous materials like wood very well. It "coats" very well, so can create an excellent defensive barrier (e.g. coat the wall of the house next door to keep a house fire from spreading). It is also very lightweight. Water weighs 8.33 pounds per gallon and is incompressible. Filling an attic with foam will prevent a fire from spreading through that space, but also dramatically decreases the possibility of a roof collapse, which is very common when water is sprayed into an attic. A mixture of 0.2% to 0.5% of foam is all that's needed, and that's often mixed with air to create a larger foam surface area. Also, in more northern climates, foam is more resistant to freezing than water. We learned that moving a 5" hose full of water takes a lot of strength. Most modern fire engines are now equipped with CAFS (Compressed Air Foam Systems).

We all went out to the equipment room and found bunker gear to fit us. Pants, coat, boots, helmet, and gloves. A full set of gear weighs about 40 pounds, and keeps you really warm. Even though it was 70 degrees outside and we weren't doing anything very strenuous, it got really hot later. Imagine fighting a fire when it's 100 degrees outside. Most of the gear was hand-me-down stuff, and some of the pieces had names embroidered in them (I even recognized a couple names), so they duct-taped the coats and pants with our names so we could locate them easily next time.

Then we went outside to learn about pumps and hoses. We split into two groups. My group went to the quint to learn how to control the outriggers and the aerial ladder and its spray controls. We learned how to tap a hydrant and run a hose to the pumper. Then learned how to switch from the onboard tank to the city water supply and direct it to the aerial monitor. You have to extend, lower and adjust the outriggers before the aerial ladder can be moved. You have to rotate, then raise, then extend the aerial ladder to avoid undue wear and tear. We all got to climb on top of the quint and learn to work the controls.

Then we switched vehicles and went to the engine to get a chance to work the ground hoses. We each got a turn aiming and adjusting a smaller hose and a larger one while seated.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Richardson Citizen's Fire Academy

Class 17, Week 2

Dinner was provided by "Steve's Deli", which consisted of make-it-yourself sandwiches, chips and drinks. Since the weather was a bit bad, they switched week 2 and 7. We were *supposed* to be outside most of this session, but the change will keep us indoors instead. Not only that, but next Sunday's switch to DST will give us an extra hour of daylight outside.

We heard from Matt Garrett, from the office of emergency management. He had a lot of information from various agencies, and we got a lot of information that was provided by, including a DVD, booklet, and reference card. We got handouts and learned about the SNAP program. SNAP also provided us all with a first aid kit. They gave us a refrigerator magnet with the poison control number (1-800-222-1222) listed on it. The KnowWhat2Do philosophy is based on Think*Prepare*Act, and we learned about Richardson's plans along those three lines. We learned about Richardson's plans in all kinds of emergencies, and the likelyhood of them all. Matt advised us about our own home and car "kits", and how we should prepare ourselves for an emergency in which we lose services like water and power. He talked about water, food, camera, battery-operated or crank-up radio and flashlight, Leatherman, first aid kit, medications. If you have pets, don't forget their food and dishes for their water and food. If you've got kids, diapers, formula, wipes, etc. Whistle, filter masks, maps, Clorox wipes, space blanket... He mentioned that there is government funding coming soon that will help provide up to half the cost of a storm shelter (safe room), bringing the cost of such a thing from about $6000 to a little more affordable $3000.

Steve Jennings talked to us about the Trash Bash coming up on April 23 and passed out information about that.

We learned about the Ride Out program's rules and procedures, got information in writing, and were given the opportunity to sign up. We have to wear closed-toed shoes (tennis shoes), jeans, and our Academy T-Shirt. We were told about good optional "bribery items" to bring along. Station #2 likes Blue Bell ice cream. Station #6 likes chips and salsa and peanut butter. Go figure. I signed up for a Ride Out on Tuesday 3/13 from 9-5 at station #2. I'll get to spend the whole day at the station, work with the firemen, and will go along on any alarm calls they receive.

At 9pm we all convoyed down Greenville Aveue and got a tour of the 911 Communications Center. When we arrived, they informed us that they were handling two separate "in progress" calls upstairs, and we could come up, but we'd have to be very quiet until the excitement was over. So we hung around outside a glass wall and watched what was happening, and got a demonstration of the computer hardware and software on an extra workstation that was set apart from the main area.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Richardson Citizen's Fire Academy

Class 17, Week 1

We got Dickey's BBQ for dinner. Signed waivers and filled out contact information forms. Introduced to Chief Palomba, Chief Dossett, and CFA Alumni Association members that were there. We learned about the mentor program, the ride-out program, and found that we'd get shirts the following week that we should wear for all group pictures. Lots of pictures! During the last class over 1400 pictures were taken. At the end of the class, we'll receive a flash drive containing all the pictures. Signed up for announcements of photos available on Google. Since 1999, there have been 320 participants. In 2011, the RFD responded to 8,845 calls, 220 more than in 2010. In 1926, the RFD got its first fire engine - a Reo with 35 HP, a 24' ladder, capable of pumping 300 GPM. It cost $2500. In 1958, the RFD responded to 173 alarms. We learned why Fire Prevention Week is in October (the great Chicago fire was October 9, 1956). We learned why fire trucks are still red. We learned why fire hydrants are still sometimes called "Fire Plugs". We learned why Dalmations are associated with the fire department. Met at Firestation #4 and got a tour. We should dress comfortably next week. We'll be issued our "suits".

Thursday, November 15, 2007

18) Pat's Matching Pairs

Pat's pulling socks and mittens out of the closet. There are six identical mittens (they can be worn either on the left or the rigth hand) and nine identical-looking socks in the closet.

How many pieces of apparel had to be taken out of the closet in order to be sure to find: 1) a matching pair; 2) 3 identical matching pairs; and 3) 4 pairs of socks?

17) Little Freddie

In a few weeks little Freddie will celebrate his tenth birthday. In 11 years Freddie will be half the average age of his parents. His mother is only 17 years older than her son. How old are Freddie's father and mother?