FROM : National Wildfire Coordinating Group
REPLY TO : NWCG@nifc.gov
DATE : 04/09/2004
SUBJECT : SAFETY WARNING: New Fire Shelter Recall
In mid-March, a SAFENET was submitted describing rips occurring in two new generation fire shelters during deployment training. According to the SAFENET, the tears were in the floor material near the shake handles used to quickly deploy the shelters.
Equipment Specialists at the Missoula Technology and Development Center immediately researched the problem and confirmed that some shelters are tearing near the shake handles during deployment. Tearing occurs when shaking creates stress on the material near the handles. All tears are on the floor material. NO TEARS have been found in the shell material. Forest Service equipment specialists believe the problem is related to the stitch pattern used to attach the shake handles to the seam that joins the shelter floor and shelter shell. The stitch pattern may cause the cloth to tear more easily. During the development of the new generation shelter, shake tests did not reveal a weakness in the original design.
MTDC equipment specialists, in consultation with engineers at the University of Alberta, believe the added risk associated with the potential tearing of the shelter is very small because of the location of the tears on the underside of the shelter. However, interagency fire management leadership and specialists at MTDC are taking immediate action to fix the problem in order to ensure firefighters are provided with a quality product.
Upon notification of the SAFENET and verification of the problem in mid-March, MTDC instructed GSA to have the shelter manufacturers halt production until a remedy to the tearing could be found, and instructed GSA to put a hold on distribution of the shelters currently in stock. MTDC personnel worked with a contractor to develop a solution to the weakness in newly manufactured shelters by reinforcing the floor material adjacent to the shake handles. They also developed a retrofit solution to 'fix' the existing new generation shelters.
GSA and contractors are currently producing the new generation fire shelter design with the reinforced floor section. Fire management agencies will immediately recall existing new generation fire shelters for retrofit. Retrofitting should proceed quickly, at the rate of approximately 3,000-5,000 per week. Fire caches will not issue the new generation shelter until it has been retrofitted or replaced with units made using the new reinforced design.
The eleven National Fire Caches will act as collection points for shelters requiring retrofit. Instructions for submitting shelters for the recall are being finalized and will be issued next week in a National Cache Memo. Firefighters are advised to wait to return any new style shelters for retrofit until the cache managers are prepared to receive them.
Firefighters should carry the old-style shelter on the fireline until either a new reinforced shelter or a retrofitted shelter is made available. Further, firefighters carrying the older style shelters should review the training and deployment requirements.
Better get the new storm king mountain shelter because this is o nly the first of the troubles that will happen with the new gsa shelter
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Thread: New GSA Shelter
04-10-2004, 09:03 PM #1
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- In the woods
New GSA Shelter
04-11-2004, 08:48 AM #2
Does anyone know if they have a time frame on getting them fixed? They are running out of time if they expected it to be ready for this season. I just sent my pack off to get retrofitted for the new shelter, and they said they had over 3000 packs at the warehouse getting modified.
04-11-2004, 11:15 AM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- In the woods
Well being the gov, and how long it takes them to fix problems. I bet more then six weeks plus. But having seen the shelter at a few trade shows, i think that there is more wrong then just the pull handels.
WOW 3000 packs, what pack do you run?
And how much did it cost to have that done?
04-11-2004, 11:27 AM #4
I have a pack from Eagle Gear, it only cost $15 to get it changed.
I know a lot os areas are not going to the new shelters this year, and now some that were planning on it probably won't either.
The way I see it, if they do switch over at least my pack will be done. And if they don't I can put a foam block in there and use the old shelter.
04-11-2004, 11:48 AM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- In the woods
Sounds good, but take a look at the True North Pack www.truenorthgear.com look at the Firefly or the spitfire, what i like on my pack is that with a turn of four nobs i just put the old gsa shelter holder back on my pack, i was running the new shelter but took it off this morning.
i am going to run the storm king mountain shelter and i asked true north what the plans are and they said they will have a case out for the shelter.
I wore a eagle gear before they are in the 80's still.
And being in colorado, it sounds like you will have a busy season there.
04-11-2004, 12:04 PM #6
I agree about some problems with the eagle gear packs, but I like mine. A lot depends of your body type.
I actually got a job at the Grand Canyon for the summer. i am heading out there mid May. We are getting hammered with snow right now. The ground was just starting to dry from the last storm and I woke up this morning to 8" of snow. But we are so far into the drought it should still be a good season.
04-13-2004, 04:56 AM #7
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Federal firefighting agencies have recalled
68,000 new emergency fire shelters that can tear while being
About 19,000 of the shelters are being carried by state, federal
and contract firefighters, officials with the National Interagency
Fire Center said.
The Forest Service-designed shelters are used as a tool of last
resort for wildland firefighters trapped by oncoming flames. The
silver, tent-like shelters are designed to be folded to about the
size of a dictionary and can be quickly shook open in an emergency.
The shelters serve as a shield against the flames, heat and toxic
gasses created by wildfires.
In mid-March, according to a statement from the fire center,
officials received an anonymous report of a shelter tearing near
the shake handles.
"No rips occurred during the extensive testing we did before
the design went to the manufacturers. But we do acknowledge the
issue and have developed a fix in the design to strengthen the area
of the shake handles," said Leslie Anderson, a fire shelter
specialist with the Forest Service's Missoula Technology and
Fire center spokesman Randy Eardley said there were no confirmed
reports of problems with the shelters in the field.
The recalled shelters will be fixed and returned to service.
Eardley said each shelter cost $260 to purchase. It will cost
$20 to retrofit the handle area of each shelter.
The recall applies only to the newest fire shelter design by the
Missoula Technology and Development Center. Approved in 2002 and
distributed to firefighters the following year, the shelter was
made to reduce radiant heat temperatures 22 percent and convective
heat 81 percent in tests. It was also believed to be more resistant
to punctures and tearing.
In the meantime, officials said, firefighters should use the
older style shelter until fixed or newly manufactured shelters are
Fire managers acknowledged that there may not be enough of the
older shelters for all firefighters, but said between 3,000 and
5,000 of the newer shelters would be repaired a week, and as many
of 5,000 more would be newly manufactured each month. Any shortages
should be ended within the next two months, officials said.
State and federal firefighters should return the shelters to the
nearest federal supply cache, officials said.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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