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Thread: Preparing for Live Burn

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    Default Preparing for Live Burn

    Looking for a little advice,
    This week I am doing my Level 1 burn for my department's internal FF1 program. I have a few questions, that whilst they will probably be sorted on the day of, perhaps you can clarify for me before hand:

    My first question is, how do I prepare myself for the off-air portion of the training? From my understanding we do a portion of it off SCBA, my guess is so that we can be prepared incase one day we do have an issue with our pack. Should I expect to cough my arse off, or is it pretty tame? I mean it is what it is, but I am curious if one of you more senior gents could fill me in, just for my own anxious-curiosity.

    My second question is, do I have to worry about my base-layer clothing? I mean it is cold out so I won't be going there in shorts and flip-flops, but I know in our PPE training they advised us against poly-type clothing since it melts-- is this really an issue that I have to worry about, or was that just more of a cautionary/scare-you type of advisory? Obviously I will leave my spandex mankini behind, but...

    My last question builds off the last one: should I worry about what is in my pockets heating up, or is it pretty 'room temperature' (obviously not that room!) under the bunkers? I don't carry anything really exotic, just a wallet, phone, change, zippo, and my keys. For training I will probably leave half that stuff behind simply because it is just training, but also for the future when I am on shift-- I have never worried before since I was just doing exterior operations, but since the theatre is changing I figured I should ask!

    I'd appreciate any advice that you can provide, it is like day one all over again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highschoolvolunteer View Post
    Looking for a little advice,
    This week I am doing my Level 1 burn for my department's internal FF1 program. I have a few questions, that whilst they will probably be sorted on the day of, perhaps you can clarify for me before hand:

    My first question is, how do I prepare myself for the off-air portion of the training? From my understanding we do a portion of it off SCBA, my guess is so that we can be prepared incase one day we do have an issue with our pack. Should I expect to cough my arse off, or is it pretty tame? I mean it is what it is, but I am curious if one of you more senior gents could fill me in, just for my own anxious-curiosity.

    The off air portion should be all exterior ops or walk throughs. I don't know of any instructor in this right mind that would put you in an IDLH atmosphere without the SCBA. They may do something with a smoke machine, but nothing that would be dangerous.

    My second question is, do I have to worry about my base-layer clothing? I mean it is cold out so I won't be going there in shorts and flip-flops, but I know in our PPE training they advised us against poly-type clothing since it melts-- is this really an issue that I have to worry about, or was that just more of a cautionary/scare-you type of advisory? Obviously I will leave my spandex mankini behind, but...

    Stick with cotton clothes. Jeans and t-shirts should be OK. I would stay away from under-armor type clothing. It shouldn't be an issue in training burns, they shouldn't get that hot. It could be an issue in the real world if you get in an emergency situation with higher heats.

    My last question builds off the last one: should I worry about what is in my pockets heating up, or is it pretty 'room temperature' (obviously not that room!) under the bunkers? I don't carry anything really exotic, just a wallet, phone, change, zippo, and my keys. For training I will probably leave half that stuff behind simply because it is just training, but also for the future when I am on shift-- I have never worried before since I was just doing exterior operations, but since the theatre is changing I figured I should ask!

    I usually have my keys, wallet, and a knife in my pockets. I've never had a problem I can see an argument that the keys could get hot and cause burns if you got in trouble with higher temps. In general, I would do whatever feels comfortable. Some people don't like their pockets full under their bunker gear.
    I'd appreciate any advice that you can provide, it is like day one all over again.
    Just relax and listen to the instructors and you should be OK. Remember, the training is to practice your skills, not see how hot you can get it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eng34FF View Post
    Just relax and listen to the instructors and you should be OK. Remember, the training is to practice your skills, not see how hot you can get it.
    Apparently they go for seeing how uncomfortable they can make it without you running for the hills!

    Yeah no not under-armour but rather Dickies is my concern-- our duty uniform requires us to be dressed in such, and whilst some guys lose their pants prior to the call, I don't, and I wasn't sure if they were poly-enough to cause issues.

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    Folks coming out of a flashover simulator (Rockland Co, NY?) are not allowed to remove their gear without assistance until it's cooled down - removing ones gloves and opening up one's coat bare-handed will result in some serious burns.

    And there are firefighters inside that gear.

    If your car keys in your pocket are a burn problem, you've probably got bigger problems.

    I'll agree with the cotton clothing, although poly blends shouldn't be an issue, unless your bunkers are degrading, too.

    Emptying your pockets might make sense just so you have less to keep track of.

    In the end, if you're wearing your protective ensemble correctly, you should be just fine. The key is knowing your PPE and how to use it, then using it that way.
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    I have been out of the interior operations for more than 10 years, but if I were mentoring a new recruit / probie, here is what I would say. Modern T.O.G. is a 3 layer system designed to protect you from mechanical injury, Skin contact from Gasses and liquids and finally a Thermal barrier to prevent burns to the skin. Help this system by selecting your street wear to enhance the protection. One of the ways that you get burned is from your own sweat condensing on the INSIDE of your vapor barrier, and then being turned to steam when the outer shell conducts the heat onto the outside of the vaporbarrier. Since rubber & Urethane are good conductors of heat, any heat on the outside of the vapor barrier is immediately carried to the inside vaporizing the condensed sweat. In the old days of rubber coats with a thin cotton backer, you wouldn't dare make an agressive attack unless you were wearing cotton (jeans & a sweat shirt) under your coat and boots. Burn locations were usually forearms, shoulders & knees when kneeling in hot run-off. A "Hockmeyer" corderoy collar with sewn snap (Not exposed to your neck) was another nice feature. Have seen a lot of necks decorated with a 3/8" Bulls-eye from cheaper coats where the snap wasn't covered by cloth. We thought we died and went to heaven when we got Nomex and then Hoods. Most of the older helmets had very skimpy ear flaps that left a triangle between the face piece, era flap and collar exposed to steam. Why Cotton? The cotton will soak up a certain amount of sweat vapor before allowing it to migrate out to the back of the vapor barrier. It will also keep the entire TOG a little farther from your skin. If you are like me and roll up long sleeves, or pull the sweatshirt sleeves up, be sure to pull them down before putting on your coat. You are NOT dressing to stay warm, but to keep cool in the hot zone.

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    I can't see anyone conducting an off SCBA exercise in a live burn, ever.

    Wear cotton, it'll be the most comfortable, and bring some extra clothes.

    I don't carry ANYTHING in my pants pockets if I can help it. And definitely lose the Zippo. And I mean all the time. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health.
    CCFD615 likes this.

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    Was a career firefighter for 22 years and wore poly-cotton uniform t-shirts, and Dickies uniform pants for the majority of those years. I wear poly-cotton the majority of time underneath my turn-outs for both of my POC FDs because the majority of my t-shirts are poly-cotton. I am an instructor for the tech college and we are required to wear cotton t-shirts and long pants when in the burn tower.

    Honestly, I have many times worn the poly-cotton t-shirt and shorts both to calls and in training without any problems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Was a career firefighter for 22 years and wore poly-cotton uniform t-shirts, and Dickies uniform pants for the majority of those years. I wear poly-cotton the majority of time underneath my turn-outs for both of my POC FDs because the majority of my t-shirts are poly-cotton. I am an instructor for the tech college and we are required to wear cotton t-shirts and long pants when in the burn tower.

    Honestly, I have many times worn the poly-cotton t-shirt and shorts both to calls and in training without any problems.
    Alright thanks. I figured that it was a 'text-book bad, real life okay' situation. I suppose if your clothes start melting, you have a much bigger problem...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highschoolvolunteer View Post
    My last question builds off the last one: should I worry about what is in my pockets heating up, or is it pretty 'room temperature' (obviously not that room!) under the bunkers? I don't carry anything really exotic, just a wallet, phone, change, zippo, and my keys. For training I will probably leave half that stuff behind simply because it is just training, but also for the future when I am on shift-- I have never worried before since I was just doing exterior operations, but since the theatre is changing I figured I should ask!
    I try to pull everything out of my pockets before I don my TOG. Not because I'm worried about them heating up.. but because if the call is anything of significance then anything in my pocket will get banged up, wet, and probably destroyed. I usually throw most stuff in my shoes before I put my gear on.. or in my maskbag in case I need them later on the call.
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    Good article on under clothing in this month's Firehouse!!!! tested various materials for comfort and safety. From what I got, it really doesn't make a whole lot of difference what we are wearing. I'll personally stick with the basic cottons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deputybuxton View Post
    Good article on under clothing in this month's Firehouse!!!! tested various materials for comfort and safety. From what I got, it really doesn't make a whole lot of difference what we are wearing. I'll personally stick with the basic cottons.
    Ahh thanks! Excellent article. Yeah cottons are preferential, I mean just from a comfort level too, but unfortunately it seems most of my clothes now have some kind of poly-content to them, and I figured burns on the first go would be bad!
    --In regards to that article, kudos to the bloke who got stuck with the wool undergarments lol... wasn't wool what they used, atleast for bottoms, prior to TOG? Or was that something treated...?

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    Well I figured I would update you now that is done.

    As thought we did a portion of it off air-- we had our masks on but the regulator not clipped in. I guess they wanted to show us how the air is indeed breathable initially anyway at floor level. Had a slight panic-y moment when I couldn't get the regulator to catch in the lo-vis conditions with too big of gloves on (didn't have any that were the proper size). I also had one issue with my coat where I thought I would get an exposure burn due to the collar being buggered, but my hood did it's job! They said they would indeed get that fixed. But otherwise things went well!
    ---If it were a real incident I'd either go in on air from the get-go or with my mask hooked onto the regulator: I find it is easier to put the mask on and mess with the straps than to try and fiddle with the regulator; obviously a retreat out of the fire-room would be in order! But hey that is why we have officers!

    We did the whole kneeling and feeling routine. I was surprised how hot the regulator got-- how you could actually feel the air begin to warm up. Also while we were off air I couldn't see a bloody-clear thing due to the condensation. And then we did the pop up into the 1500* above atmosphere for a second, that was interesting. Ultimately I was surprised how warm you actually get-- I mean we were only a few feet from the fire so obviously it was a little warmer than you'd probably want to sit and sing kumbaya, but still pretty tolerable. I wore jeans underneath as well as a cotton tee. Surprisingly It wasn't too bad, especially since we were on our knees, so it helped a little with the heat coming through the skin-contact spots, but I can see why you'd want to doff that prior to a summer full involvement! I can also see why that waist strap is important on the SCBA-- mine was done, and I thought it would be good, but it was slightly loose, and it took all that much more effort to get the pre-alarm to shut up.

    Anyway I figured I would simply update

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highschoolvolunteer View Post
    Well I figured I would update you now that is done.

    As thought we did a portion of it off air-- we had our masks on but the regulator not clipped in. I guess they wanted to show us how the air is indeed breathable initially anyway at floor level. Had a slight panic-y moment when I couldn't get the regulator to catch in the lo-vis conditions with too big of gloves on (didn't have any that were the proper size). I also had one issue with my coat where I thought I would get an exposure burn due to the collar being buggered, but my hood did it's job! They said they would indeed get that fixed. But otherwise things went well!
    ---If it were a real incident I'd either go in on air from the get-go or with my mask hooked onto the regulator: I find it is easier to put the mask on and mess with the straps than to try and fiddle with the regulator; obviously a retreat out of the fire-room would be in order! But hey that is why we have officers!

    We did the whole kneeling and feeling routine. I was surprised how hot the regulator got-- how you could actually feel the air begin to warm up. Also while we were off air I couldn't see a bloody-clear thing due to the condensation. And then we did the pop up into the 1500* above atmosphere for a second, that was interesting. Ultimately I was surprised how warm you actually get-- I mean we were only a few feet from the fire so obviously it was a little warmer than you'd probably want to sit and sing kumbaya, but still pretty tolerable. I wore jeans underneath as well as a cotton tee. Surprisingly It wasn't too bad, especially since we were on our knees, so it helped a little with the heat coming through the skin-contact spots, but I can see why you'd want to doff that prior to a summer full involvement! I can also see why that waist strap is important on the SCBA-- mine was done, and I thought it would be good, but it was slightly loose, and it took all that much more effort to get the pre-alarm to shut up.

    Anyway I figured I would simply update
    Glad you got it done. Probably wasn't near as nerve-racking as you thought it would be. Let that be part of the lesson going forward.
    I totally disagree about the regulator. I find it much quicker and easier to snap the regulator in and out than to remove and don the entire facepiece. I think most would agree with me. You just need to practice (like most things on this job). You'll be able to do it in your sleep before you know it.

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    We once had a guy go through a training burn with an artificial eye in place. He was concerned not so much about it trapping the heat as possible damage to an expensive prosthesis, but his ophthalmologist assured him that it was tougher than the original eye...I heard later this same guy had a red LED embedded into an eye so he could dress up like a Terminator for Halloween. Of course, I didn't believe for a minute that anyone as mature as a firefighter would do any such thing!

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    So today I did another burn for another station I am at, in the same location, and it was so much more different-- instead of a campfire scenario we did a full attack and search type thing.

    We had smoke to the floor, to the extent that at one point we couldn't even find the fire let alone the guy in front of us-- I mean visibility measured in inches. Is this normal in a residential fire? I mean we had no ventilation or anything so it was intentionally thick but how about normally, is there normally some visibility at the floor. ?

    Secondly I noticed as I was showering that I managed to get burned on my knee from crawling all day on the hot concrete. Is there a way to prevent this? I mean it is just a minor 1st to the point that it is tender but not actually blistered. Or is this just par for the course? Not really complaining just looking for some advice...

    Lastly, is there any real ideal strategy for dealing with hose? I mean we were dealing with wet hose so we didn't have nice dry flat-packs to deal with, but at one point I ended up getting a 'spider-web' of charged line that I simply could not fix; when I went to follow the hose (I was backup, so follow it to nozzle) I ended up pretty disoriented, a little bit scary, although better there than in a non-controlled environment... On another run someone ended up charging the line while I was again trying to flank it, and I ended up getting my glove pinched by the hose to the point I wasn't sure I'd get it free without taking it off--any real way to deal with issues like this apart from having to take your glove off and possibly back out; I mean that hose is under a pretty good amount of pressure, and when your finger gets caught in the bight....

    All and all very eye opening. I mean last burn was kind of 'awesome-wow' this was kind of 'awesome-oh s*@#!'

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    I have held off trying to figure ut exactly how I want to respond to your post...so here goes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Highschoolvolunteer View Post
    Well I figured I would update you now that is done.

    As thought we did a portion of it off air-- we had our masks on but the regulator not clipped in. I guess they wanted to show us how the air is indeed breathable initially anyway at floor level. If I tried to do that where I teach I would be done that day. It is completely ridiculous and dangerous to have you do that. The truth is in the tower they were probably burning wood pallets, cardboard or newspaper, and hay which while hazardous in its own right is simply nowhere near the toxicity of the hydrocarbon based contents of most homes today and the multitude of toxic and deadly gasses they give off. Had a slight panic-y moment when I couldn't get the regulator to catch in the lo-vis conditions with too big of gloves on (didn't have any that were the proper size). Frankly, that sounds like you needed more practice with your SCBA before attempting to use it in a hazardous atmosphere, but then again if it had been donned before you entered it wouldn't have been an issue at all. I also had one issue with my coat where I thought I would get an exposure burn due to the collar being buggered, but my hood did it's job! They said they would indeed get that fixed. But otherwise things went well! So let me see if I have this right...You were allowed to enter into the burn tower with defective gear and the fact that you wore the rest of your gear properly stopped you from being burned? If your gear was defective I never would have let you in the tower...PERIOD, END OF STORY.

    ---If it were a real incident I'd either go in on air from the get-go or with my mask hooked onto the regulator: I find it is easier to put the mask on and mess with the straps than to try and fiddle with the regulator; obviously a retreat out of the fire-room would be in order! But hey that is why we have officers. There is no way once PROPERLY trained and skilled that you can put the entire facepiece on as quickly as attaching the regulator to the facepiece. I STRONGLY suggest you do that until you can't do it wrong then close your eyes and do it until you can't do it wrong. Because if we were going inside together and as the officer I said facepiece on regulator hanging you best do as I say because you won't have time inside to do it your way. Think about the sequence doing it your way...1) Helmet off, 2) hood down, 3) facepiece on, 4) hood up, 5) helmet on. Now do it the right way all your steps done outside in a safe environment and then click the regulator in as you enter the hazardous area. Which one makes more sense?

    We did the whole kneeling and feeling routine. I was surprised how hot the regulator got-- how you could actually feel the air begin to warm up. Also while we were off air I couldn't see a bloody-clear thing due to the condensation. And then we did the pop up into the 1500* above atmosphere for a second, that was interesting. I would be VERY surprised if you stood up in 1500 degrees, even for a second. Ultimately I was surprised how warm you actually get-- I mean we were only a few feet from the fire so obviously it was a little warmer than you'd probably want to sit and sing kumbaya, but still pretty tolerable. I wore jeans underneath as well as a cotton tee. Surprisingly It wasn't too bad, especially since we were on our knees, so it helped a little with the heat coming through the skin-contact spots, but I can see why you'd want to doff that prior to a summer full involvement! I can also see why that waist strap is important on the SCBA-- mine was done, and I thought it would be good, but it was slightly loose, and it took all that much more effort to get the pre-alarm to shut up.

    Anyway I figured I would simply update
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    I'm surprised. I thought it was pretty much standard to "cheat" a little. Let 'em have a little taste while in training so they can handle it just a little when it's real.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    I'm surprised. I thought it was pretty much standard to "cheat" a little. Let 'em have a little taste while in training so they can handle it just a little when it's real.
    Not here if you want to keep your job as an instructor.
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    Fyred: For me doing the mask-reg at the same time works better simply so it doesn't fog up too. That is half the problem too-- I mean it is all situation dependent, reports of possible smoke vs room and contents. We had a TIC in with us, and the ceiling was at about 1500. Ours isn't a tower, it is a Cape style building that burns hay-stuffed pallets. They knew the collar was buggered, most of them are, hence why they are working on getting new gear.

    Here we tend to be a bit more conservative about SCBA, we have some people that don't actually attach the face piece unless it is an inferno, same with overhaul some don't use it, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highschoolvolunteer View Post
    Fyred: For me doing the mask-reg at the same time works better simply so it doesn't fog up too. That is half the problem too-- I mean it is all situation dependent, reports of possible smoke vs room and contents. We had a TIC in with us, and the ceiling was at about 1500. Ours isn't a tower, it is a Cape style building that burns hay-stuffed pallets. They knew the collar was buggered, most of them are, hence why they are working on getting new gear.

    Here we tend to be a bit more conservative about SCBA, we have some people that don't actually attach the face piece unless it is an inferno, same with overhaul some don't use it, etc.
    I'd listen to what Fyred is trying to say. There appears to be some issues with the training. Listen to what he is saying regarding masking up. I also wait as long as I can to go on air. Usually I will mask up in the yard, but wait until just before I step in side the door to go on air. Much easier to click in the resperator than don the whole mask. I also don't have to worry about getting the chinstrap tangled in the hose that way.

    I will also question the instructor letting you go inside with a collar that was "buggered" or letting you stand up if the temp was 1500. I doubt that the air you actually stood up in was 1500, but it may have been right at the ceiling.

    Your last sentence got my attention. That's not what I call being conservative. I think of being conservative as being safer. If guys are not on air unless it's an inferno, there's an issue. Overhaul is slightly different and the need for SCBA depends on the circumstances.

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    Sorry, but there is no way that donning the entire facepiece is quicker than snapping in the regulator. Reasons were explained in a prior post. You just need to practice more. I don't find doing it this way has any effect on fogging. That's a separate issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eng34FF View Post
    I also wait as long as I can to go on air. Usually I will mask up in the yard, but wait until just before I step in side the door to go on air.
    This^^^I don like this as well and was taught that you never know when you'll need those last few breaths of air that you save by going on as you hit the porch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highschoolvolunteer View Post
    Fyred: For me doing the mask-reg at the same time works better simply so it doesn't fog up too. I am not suggesting getting off the rig masked up. I am saying mask up prior to entering the structure, and before you enter the hazardous area click in the regulator. That is half the problem too-- I mean it is all situation dependent, reports of possible smoke vs room and contents. If you are being taught to enter a smoke filled environment without having your facepiece on with your regulator clicked in you are being taught something not only WRONG but dangerous to your long term health. We had a TIC in with us, and the ceiling was at about 1500. So unless you are roughly 8 feet tall you were not in 1500 degrees when standing up. Ours isn't a tower, it is a Cape style building that burns hay-stuffed pallets. Inconsequential to my points. They knew the collar was buggered, most of them are, hence why they are working on getting new gear. This is going to sound harsh, and you may think that I am a dick, but whoever decided that it was appropriate for ANYONE, especially a student, to enter a burn facility with faulty turnout gear needs a swift kick in the *** and removal from any responsibility for live fire training.

    Here we tend to be a bit more conservative about SCBA, we have some people that don't actually attach the face piece unless it is an inferno, same with overhaul some don't use it, etc.

    We don't call that conservative, we call that idiotic. Ever hear of Carbon Monoxide? How about Hydrogen Cyanide? Both VERY commonly found in the atmosphere during overhaul. How about the fact that most homes are filled with synthetic materials and when they burn and all those toxic fumes mix and become a witches brew not even scientists can predict what they are and what they will do to your body. As an officer you, or anyone else, would be inside with me in a hazardous environment without your scba facepiece on, your regulator clicked in, and breathing air from the cylinder.
    You may think me a safety sally, but let's be honest, I have 37 years in the fire service, how long do you have? I have NEVER been treated for smoke inhalation, not once, not ever. I have no lung related problems. I wash my gear after significant exposure at a fire, including my helmet. I believe WE as firefighters have an obligation to take care of our health. Proper use of SCBA, including wearing it when we are in hazardous atmospheres, cleaning our gear, and cleaning our bodies after exposure. The day of the dirty smoke encrusted helmet, filthy, sooty, smoke smelling gear, being a badge of honor need to be gone for ever.

    The last piece of advice I have for you is be VERY careful who you emulate.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 10-22-2013 at 11:59 PM.
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    It may sound like I am being dismissive, sorry that wasn't my intention. You are right, the ceilings were obviously higher than me, so true perhaps the temperature was a bit different my apologies for that. The day I joined I was told to forget everything I had learned prior because this departments way is different than anyone elses, and whilst it sounds unsafe, the only LODD they ever had was an accident involving some machinery.

    We do check for HCN and CO and stuff like that, however if those levels are in the green then most do it off air.

    If having the facepiece on is not the reason for the fogging, than what is? I mean I definitely get what you are saying, but as it sits right now, for me anyway, not being able to see due to a foggy mask (without ****ing through air trying to purge-dry it) is more dangerous-- I mean if you go through the roof because you can see where you are walking than usually burning to death is going to trump the exposure, no?

    Again I am not trying to sound arrogant, and I realise I may have, so my apologies Fyred if it seems like I was dismissing you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highschoolvolunteer View Post
    It may sound like I am being dismissive, sorry that wasn't my intention. You are right, the ceilings were obviously higher than me, so true perhaps the temperature was a bit different my apologies for that. The day I joined I was told to forget everything I had learned prior because this departments way is different than anyone elses, and whilst it sounds unsafe, the only LODD they ever had was an accident involving some machinery.

    We do check for HCN and CO and stuff like that, however if those levels are in the green then most do it off air.

    If having the facepiece on is not the reason for the fogging, than what is? I mean I definitely get what you are saying, but as it sits right now, for me anyway, not being able to see due to a foggy mask (without ****ing through air trying to purge-dry it) is more dangerous-- I mean if you go through the roof because you can see where you are walking than usually burning to death is going to trump the exposure, no?

    Again I am not trying to sound arrogant, and I realise I may have, so my apologies Fyred if it seems like I was dismissing you.
    Good luck kid. If I were you I wouldn't waste anytime as a firefighter, go right to chief.

    I do mean to sound dismissive, I am done with you. You don't want help you want to brag and show how tough you are. Buh Bye!
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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