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How the Fire Truck has Changed Through History

Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

Every year fire departments are estimated to respond to about 366,000 structure fires. The accumulation of damage created by these fires is estimated to be greater than $7 billion. Believe it or not, without the modernization of the fire truck, the amount of damage caused by structure fires would be much greater. Here, we are going to go over how the fire truck has changed through history.

Purpose of a Fire Truck

Fire trucks are multi-purpose vehicles used by first responders. While fire trucks can be used for many purposes, the main purpose of a fire engine is to transport firefighters to scenes and provide a limited amount of water to fight fires. Fire trucks also carry the tools and equipment firefighters need to fight fires. The types of tools carried on a fire truck vary greatly from one area to another. Standard fire trucks include the following equipment:

  • Ladders
  • Pike poles
  • Jaws of life
  • Floodlights
  • Halligan bars
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire hoses
  • Thermal imaging cameras
  • Self-contained breathing apparatuses
  • First aid equipment
  • Automated external defibrillators

Fire Trucks in the 1700s

The use of a fire truck can be traced back to the 1700s. At this time, a fire truck was simply just water pumps on wheels. When a structure fire would occur, firefighters would carry the moveable water pumps to the site of the fire. Although it served its purpose, this type of firefighting was difficult and extremely time consuming.

Fire Trucks in the 1800s

Not much with fire trucks changed until the mid-1800s. In the mid-1800s paid fire brigades were introduced and water pumps were soon drawn by horses to fires. However, firefighters still had to run to fires. In 1841, the first steam powered fire truck was introduced. The introduction of this fire truck reduced response times, but didn’t catch on quickly because many firefighters were weary of steam powered propulsion.

Fire Trucks in the 1930s

The 1900s led to a great deal of changes for firefighters. The first modern fire truck was created by Knox Automobile in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In the 1930s, truck ladders became a standard addition to fire trucks. In most situations, the addition of a fire truck ladder allowed firefighters to reach distances of up to 150 feet.

While ladders allowed firefighters to work more efficiently, it wasn’t until the 1940s that cherry pickers were added to fire trucks. The first cherry pickers were large buckets attached to a bending arm. Today, modern firefighter cherry pickers have the same design with better technology.

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Man Dies Shoveling Snow – Firefighters Finish the Job for Him

Posted by on Mar 10, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

When a Manchester, Connecticut, man died shoveling snow from his roof, the firefighters who worked to save him returned to finish the job for him. To many in the community, it was a simply amazing to see the firefighter’s compassion. But others that know the first responders involved in the incident aren’t surprised because the community is so tight knit.

Man Suffered Heart Attack on Roof

Officer Bernie Hallums was one of the first responders on scene after a 9:45 a.m. emergency call. When officers arrived at the home, they quickly climbed the roof and begin CPR. Miroslaw Dabrowski, 57, suffered a heart attack and never gained consciousness before he died. In total, there were 10 first responders that responded to the scene.

Firefighters Return to Finish the Job for Him

About an hour after the initial emergency call, Battalion Fire Chief Robert DePietro requested permission to return to the scene. DePietro wanted to return to the scene to clear the home’s roof of snow. Later that day, Officer Bernie Hallums, Officer Adam Desso, and Officer Tomacz Kaczerski returned to the home with Eighth Utilities District firefighters, and medics from the Ambulance Service of Manchester to finish the job the homeowner died trying to complete.

Tips to Prevent a Heart Attack While Shoveling Snow

Shoveling snow is not an easy task, especially when there is a ton of the white stuff on the ground. Below, we have included a variety of tips that can help you prevent a heart attack while shoveling snow.

  • Start slow
  • Take 15 minute breaks
  • Use a small shovel
  • Cover your mouth (don’t breathe cold air)
  • Drink water to avoid dehydration
  • Dress in layers
  • Cover head and neck
  • Know heart attack warning signs – call 911 if you think you are having a heart attack

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Should Baby Boxes be Installed at Fire Departments?

Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

Since 2008, all 50 states in the U.S. have some form of a Safely Surrendered Baby Law, also known as a Safe Haven Law. Under this state statute, parents can safely and confidentially surrender their baby at a pre-determined location without the risk of criminal charges. Safe Haven locations in many states include hospitals and fire stations. With the rise of infant surrenders through this program, some Indiana fire departments are considering having “baby boxes” installed to keep babies safe and warm.

Baby Boxes Look Like Large Metal Bread Containers

The 2ft. long baby boxes being considered for use in Indiana look like a large metal bread box, at first glance. However, the interior of these boxes include features that could ultimately save a baby’s life including heating pads, cooling pads, and a sensor that will detect when the box is opened and when the weight changes inside the box. The theory behind installing these boxes is that a mother could safely surrender her baby, at an Indiana fire station, hospital, church, or other non-profit organization, allowed under law anonymously.

Anonymity and Safety are Main Reasons Baby Boxes are Being Considered

Since 1999, there have been more than 2,800 safe surrenders under the Safe Haven Law, according to the Abandoned Babies Foundation, in Chicago. However, there have been more than 1,400 children who were abandoned under dangerous circumstances, and nearly 2/3s of those children died as a result of their unsafe abandonment.

Baby Boxes Aren’t a New Idea

While Indiana legislatures call the addition of baby boxes to Safe Have Law locations a progression of the law, baby boxes themselves aren’t a novel idea. In fact, the use of these boxes, sometimes called angel cradles, or baby hatches, have been used since medieval times. Throughout history, these boxes were created with foundling wheels, which allowed the mother abandoning her child to turn a wheel, which then rotated the child safely inside the Safe Haven building.

Safe Haven Boxes are Being Criticized by Many

The new Safe Haven boxes will be much more innovative than the angel cradles used in medieval times and will be more like an incubator than a bread box, but the addition of these baby surrender boxes is not without its critics. In particular, critics of the boxes have urged that family planning and other social service options should be held in higher regard and urgency. Other critics of baby boxes in the US point out the fact that many surrendered children need urgent medical care, which they may not receive if the surrendered baby is simply placed in an exterior box. When a mother physically surrenders her infant at a fire station and hands her possibly ill child to a firefighter, the child has a better chance of survival since firefighters are trained to provide immediate medical care.

What do you Think About Safe Haven Baby Boxes at Fire Departments?

As of 2013, the only state to never have a child surrendered under state statutes is Alaska? This means that no matter where you are located, you could encounter a mother surrendering her newborn, less than 31 days old. With that in mind, what do you think about Safe Haven Baby Boxes being installed at fire departments?

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Firefighters Sue Manufacturer of 1044 Cairns

Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

A group of active and retired firefighters have joined together to sue the helmet manufacturer and distributor of their city-issued helmets. The product liability lawsuit claims that the design of the 1044 Cairns model, manufactured by Mine Safety Appliance Co, a Pennsylvania company, and distributed by Bradenton-based Ten 8 Fire Equipment Inc. has design flaws that led to head and neck injuries of firefighters.  The head and neck injuries were musculoskeletal in nature.

Five Firefighters Filed Suit

In total, there are five firefighters in the suit and each of the firefighters received their 1044 Cairns model helmet several years ago. The suit was filed in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court and does not include the firefighter’s employer, the city of St. Petersburg. The root of the problem with the Cairns firefighter helmet, according to the suit, is the fact that the helmet is extremely heavy, which causes it to be unbalanced. New Port Richey attorney, Jim Magazine, compared the 1044 Cairns helmet to a bobblehead toy. Retired firefighter Scott Crowell was the first to file suit in the product liability claim in 2013. According to Crowell, he had used the 1044 Cairns firefighter helmet three years prior and had received neck injuries as a result. In February 2015, four other firefighters; Francis Thomas, Christopher Henderson, Gregory Harvin, and Robert Henderson also filed suit.

Majority of St. Petersburg Fire Department Uses 1044 Cairns Model Firefighter Helmets

The city of St. Petersburg is not included in the product liability suit, but 90% of the firefighters actively in the department use the 1044 Cairns fire helmet. According to Fire Chief Jim Large, there have not been any complaints about that specific helmet. In fact, he went on record with the Tampa Tribune to say, “We’re not changing out any 1044 Cairns,” and went on to emphasize his support of the helmet by adding that the department was also not testing any new helmets. Not all firefighters in the department wear the same helmets because of the age of gear and changes in vendor contracts. However, it is important to note that just because the fire department changes vendors, it doesn’t essentially mean the helmets would change.

Do You Wear a 1044 Cairns Helmet?

Do you wear a 1044 Cairns helmet on the job, or have you in the past? If so, we would love for you to weigh in on the controversy surrounding this firefighter gear in the comments below.

911 Signal USA is a supplier of LED emergency vehicle lights. Our online inventory is stocked with the best dash lights, lightbars, and surface mount lights on the market and are priced to sell.


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Florida Firefighters Save Manatees from Storm Drain

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

When manatees were found to be caught in a Satellite Beach storm drain, firefighters jumped into action to save the endangered animals. Working diligently into the night, Satellite Beach firefighters were able to save 19 manatees.

Manatees were Stranded in Central Florida’s Satellite Beach

Satellite Beach is a warm destination nestled uniquely between the Atlantic Ocean beaches and the Indian River Lagoon. Residents and tourists of the area are accustomed to seeing manatees, especially along the city’s canals and Banana River.

All Manatees Were Rescued and Alive

Although it took some strategic planning, the Satellite Beach Fire Department was able to save all 19 manatees from the storm drain. Early reports of the manatee’s situation stated that there were only 15 manatees in the storm drain, but the final count found there were actually 19 manatees rescued.

More About Manatees

Manatees are often called sea cows. These herbivorous marine mammals can measure as long as 13 feet and can weigh up to 1,300 lbs. Slow moving, gentle Manatees have paddle-like flippers and are endangered. On average, a manatee can live about 60 years, but the most common cause of manatee mortality is human-related. In the United States, it is illegal to hunt or harass a manatee.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Provided a Manatee-Rescue Team

While the Satellite Beach Fire Department worked to save the manatees, they were assisted by a manatee-rescue team from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Together, the two organizations, and Florida police officers helped to save the endangered marine animals. As part of the rescue, heavy earth-moving equipment was brought into a Satellite Beach neighborhood and placed on an Atlantic Ocean barrier island.

At 911 Signal USA, we salute the first responders efforts and success in saving the 19 manatees. 911 Signal USA is an online retailer of LED emergency vehicle lights for first responders. Our online store features everything from basic LED surface mount lights to sophisticated, stealthy full-size LED light bars.


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Ohio K-9 Officer Home After 60+ Days on the Run

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015 in Latest News | 0 comments

Not many people can understand how close a K-9 and their handler are unless they have seen it firsthand. The folks in Wilmington, Ohio, recently rallied to help Karson, a K-9 officer and his handler Officer Jerry Popp reunite after Karson escaped from a boarding facility and couldn’t be found for more than six weeks.

Karson was Missing for 61 Days

Shortly before Christmas 2014, Officer Jerry Popp took his K9 to a Wilmington boarding facility while the human officer and his family visited relatives over the holidays. Karson escaped the facility and was on the run for 61 days. Popp credits social media efforts for helping get Karson home.

Karson was Found Near Interstate 71 Near Port William

Officer Popp created a Facebook page to help bring Karson home and a $2,000 reward was offered for the canine’s safe return. Through the page, Officer Popp would routinely get sightings and tips on Karson’s whereabouts. In addition to the Facebook page, volunteers showered the city with Missing posters, and a  professional search team arrived in Wilmington from New Jersey to aid in bringing the K9 officer home. On Sunday, around 1pm in the afternoon, Karson, a Belgian Malinois, was spotted near Interstate 71 and reunited with his handler shortly after.

Karson is Okay and Happy to Be Home

Immediately after being reunited with Karson, Officer Popp let Karson’s 24,000 followers on Facebook know that he had been found safe. With nighttime temperatures dipping into the subzero range, everyone was worried about Karson’s overall health. The K9 officer was immediately checked out at a Wilmington veterinary clinic and was found to be in good health. The K9 was mildly hydrated and had lost quite a bit of weight, about 14 lbs.

911 Signal USA is a retailer of quality, LED emergency vehicle lights and accessories. We pride ourselves in keeping our prices low and offering an industry-leading warranty.


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