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  1. #1
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    Default Mittendorf class and LODDs

    I attended the "Fireground Academy" workshop held here in Portland
    recently. I would encourage anyone to take it if the opportunity
    arises. It's one day.
    Chief Mittendorf had some interesting views on some subjects. He
    really made some distinctions between East Coast and West Coast
    firefighting, and new vs old construction as it relates to flashovers
    and backdrafts. In general, the class was good review of some topics, good reinforcement of others, and provided new knowledge for me on
    others.
    One of John's more interesting opinions was on PPE. I hope I do
    it justice in my attempt to paraphrase here:
    He believes turnouts and hoods are good things...maybe too good.
    We have "encapusulated" ourselves, he said. This results in
    increased core temp and an increase in exactly what PPE was designed
    to prevent -- burns. At times, present-day PPE gives us a false
    sense of safety, prompting FFs to become too aggressive in dangerous
    situations. He mentioned the 100-to-1 disparity in LODDs in the USA
    and UK. He implied that one reason the UK has a much lower LODD
    ratio than us is because they don't wear Nomex hoods, or at least
    their headgear is perforated about the ears to alert them to fire
    conditions. (How the statistics are reported in each country also has an effect, in my opinion.)

    The workshop was sponsored by firenuggets.com. Portland Fire and
    Rescue paid the fees for over 60 of our members. Don't be surprised
    if you see this posted by me on some other boards, as I feel it
    definitely was worth my time.

    Jim Worlein
    Lt./paramedic, E19'B'

    "There are two kinds of men, those with guns and those who dig."
    THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY


  2. #2
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Default Quick 2 cents...

    I have written about this before and will try to be brief.

    #1. I plan on taking that exact same course. JM is a very, very
    smart Fireman.

    #2. I will never, never use my ears as a main indicator to what
    fire conditions are. There are so many other key factors, mainly-
    USE YOUR EYES!

    What do you see? Smoke color and density, flash over, back draft conditions, mushrooming, sounds, termal barrier, etc.

    Why retire out with burnt off ears? So you can say "Thats how
    I read the fire conditions." I hope not.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mittendorf class and LODDs

    Originally posted by LtTony

    At times, present-day PPE gives us a false
    sense of safety, prompting FFs to become too aggressive in dangerous
    situations. He mentioned the 100-to-1 disparity in LODDs in the USA
    and UK. He implied that one reason the UK has a much lower LODD
    ratio than us is because they don't wear Nomex hoods, or at least
    their headgear is perforated about the ears to alert them to fire
    conditions. (How the statistics are reported in each country also has an effect, in my opinion.)
    I hate to state (what seems to be) the obvious; how can one make a direct correlation between the number of LODD's in the UK and the number of LODD's in the USA? The UK is nowhere near as large as the United States, and their total population is about a sixth of ours. I read in another post here, that there are a total of 64 fire brigades in the UK. Of course, I'm sure they are all of varying sizes, but how many fire departments exist in the USA? How many firefighters are there in each country? How many fires occur in each country? There sure are a heck of a lot more here in the US.

    Just can't compare apples and oranges.

    BTW...Aren't those FireKnight helmets coming out of that part of the world? They sure seem to be a heck of a lot more encapsulating then a hood, collar, and a "traditionally styled" helmet.

    I think I'll stick with my hood...

  4. #4
    IACOJ Agitator Adze39's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mittendorf class and LODDs

    Originally posted by LtTony
    This results in
    increased core temp and an increase in exactly what PPE was designed
    to prevent -- burns.
    Yeah, but I'd rather have a sunburn coming out of a fire than a 2nd or 3rd degree burn!

    If you are burning through your gear, gee...I think you've gone too far...people complain that current PPE encapsulates you and gives you a feeling of false protecting, but they are pushing it too far. Instead of complaining, they should be teaching the proper indicators to use. Like Bou said, use your eyes. Also use your best tool...your brain! If you feel yourself burning, why would you stay in that environment?


    People have been complaining about current PPE being bad for you for as long as they've been manufacturing it.
    IACOJ Agitator
    Fightin' Da Man Since '78!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Default

    If population was the factor to compare...we'd be having to look at like Russia, India, China. They're not really that similiar to us, although the population ratios are closer.

    Yes, the U.K. only has 60,000,000 residents, and they pack them into an area about the size of Oregon. So when they say 64 Fire Brigades, think "County-wide" sized fire departments.

    I don't have the statistics handy, but if I recall correctly their ignition rate for fires is about the same per-capita.

    What they do share with the U.S. at one-sixth scale:
    Similiar cultural background
    Similiar educational levels
    Range from rural to major Metropolitan is similiar, although the U.S. does have much more rural & remote...then again that means more of our fires have already flashed and gone fully involved prior to arrival...
    Similiar industrial, commercial, and agricultural practices.
    Similiar weather most of the time to most of the U.S. although we do get much more on either extreme.
    We can communicate pretty clearly & effectively with each other.

    Overall, not perfect but one of the more comparable countries.

    If you look at LODDs that occur in active firefighting -- not your heart attacks, not your responding to/returning from/at training/yada yada yada -- from trauma, asphixation, etc. They have 2 or 4 a year it seems, sometimes more sometimes less. Multiply that by 6 you get a rate per population of 12 to 24. Versus the U.S. which is pretty consistently at 50 -- about 2 to 4 times the U.K. rate adjusted for population. Mittendorf's 100-to-1 may be a bit of an exageration, but not that much, and close enough to open eyes. I don't believe it's building construction alone making the difference there.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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  6. #6
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    Default CALLING STEVEDUDE

    This debate just raged in another thread. Anyone who thinks we have nothing to learn from, or shouldn't be compared to the UK needs to check their facts. Dollar for dollar they do their share of fire duty. Its not apples and oranges, more like Macintosh and Macouns.

    I think that the PPE and too much encapsulation comes down to training and experience. I was taught in a class, not that long ago, that its very difficult to crawl or run with both hands holding your ears as you try to protect them from burning. Training in how to read conditions, knowing your enviroment, what too much heat feels like through your layers(and not too much that you can't get out).

    You know we constantly see training offered on "Saving Our Own", and "Self Survival". I am not knocking this training as I feel it important. But what about preventing us from getting there in the first place. I think the focus has swung a little to far to the rescue side and lost in that has been the need to train firefighters to read and understand conditions, so that they don't become a victim.

    Dave
    Last edited by hfd66truck; 06-28-2004 at 11:44 PM.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    Default

    I have taken John Mittendorf training. The man knows his stuff. I have his book on ventilation. One of the best.
    Turnout gear. They need to come up with gear that lets heat through at approximately 400 degrees. That way, your body core temperature won't reach 106 degrees, you become delirious, make poor decisions and ultimately die in the fire. Since we are not capable of making the best decision to get out when it gets hot, we need gear that will literally burn off of our backs, so we have no choice to get out. We found out with alarms on SCBAs that they are easy to ignore. We found out with PASS devices that we forget to turn them on. If our turnouts are designed to withstand 1200 degrees, then by god, I'm stayin' in.
    It's not about making better equipment; it's about making better decisions.
    I agree with you 1100 degrees, Dave.
    CR
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  8. #8
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    Default REPLY & CLARIFICATIONS (long)

    This was John Mittendorf's opinion not mine. Me not smart
    My (his?) replies:
    [B]CALFFBOU[B] -- That's exactly what JM was saying! Use all your senses.
    Short story (analogy, mine): A wily, veteran cop once told me that younger cops often rely on technology (TASERs, ASPs, pepper spray, etc) too much to control situations at times, rather than verbal skills. We may do the same thing with PPE, thermal imaging, etc.

    Catch22 & Dalmation90 -- The UK had one LODD last year. I don't believe they count MVAs, heart attacks and the like, which may skew comparisions. The 100-to-1 was my approximate ratio. I didn't bother to go thru USA LODDs to eliminates some causes.
    The following is pasted from another board --

    "...if the UK has 20% of the population of the USA, all the other figures should be about 20% too - any large variation is noteworthy). The first 3 lines are just general reference figures, followed by fire service-specific data."
    "Item USA UK %
    Population 293,040,846 58,789,194 20%
    Fatalities 3,380 562 17%
    Injuries 18,425 16,600 90%

    Fire service
    W/Time 291,650 35,000 12%
    Part-Time, Volunteer, Retained 816,600 15,000 2%
    Total Calls 3,850,500 996,500 57%
    Dwelling fires 398,935 65,000 16%
    Secondary fires 867,250 286,800 33%
    False alarms 2,116,000 477,100 23%
    Ff Fatalities 100 1 1%
    Ff Injuries 43,000 565 1%
    Ff injuries per employee 0.03879991 0.0113 29%
    FF Injuries per 1000 calls 11.16738086 0.566984446 5%
    FF deaths per 1000 calls 0.025970653 0.001003512 4%

    "All figures relate to 2002 (the latest available set of full figures), and are taken wherever possible from central govt stats."

    Hope that comes through. I'm guessing that if one would remove MVAs, forest FFs, etc. in the US stats the structural comparisons with the UK would be much, much closer. Maybe even similar.

    Adze39 & ChiefReason-- I'm certain JM wasn't proposing burned off ears. Further, when I joined my metropolitan FD 18 years ago, I don't recall any old-timers w/o ears. In fact, they told me they used'em to monitor conditions.
    One thing that JM did say and that I doubted (if I understood correctly) that PPE manufacturers are aware that the interior of their bunker gear interior reflects heat back on to the body, causing "second and third-degree burns." First-degree I could believe.
    Hfd66truck -- JM said that this encapsulation has a tendancy to cause some FFs to think they can stand up in existing conditions, resulting in injury (he had vids of accidents demonstrating this phenom.) He said we are moving away from the first rule we were taught, stay low.
    Like I suggested, take the class.

    Out

    Jim

  9. #9
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    Default

    Originally posted by Dalmatian90


    If you look at LODDs that occur in active firefighting -- not your heart attacks, not your responding to/returning from/at training/yada yada yada -- from trauma, asphixation, etc. They have 2 or 4 a year it seems, sometimes more sometimes less. Multiply that by 6 you get a rate per population of 12 to 24. Versus the U.S. which is pretty consistently at 50 -- about 2 to 4 times the U.K. rate adjusted for population. Mittendorf's 100-to-1 may be a bit of an exageration, but not that much, and close enough to open eyes. I don't believe it's building construction alone making the difference there.
    Actually, your figures are off the mark. According to the NFPA, 29 firefighters were killed on the fireground in 2003. Nine of those died fighing wildfires. That brings the number very close to what you estimate the rate per population to be.

    I don't disagree that today's firefighter may be too well protected. That is an important discussion. I also feel that it is important to learn from our brothers across the pond. My problem is with those who throw out numbers like 100-1 without examining the details behind those numbers.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Default

    Acckkk...can I cite the posting time 06-28-2004 11:37 PM for less than my normal statistical accuracy?

    Just ran the numbers at the USFA site. 1994-2002, excluding 9-11 (no disrespect, just that event really skews the numbers).

    255 non-stress related fatalities on the fireground, out of a total of 890 LODDs. 28%, or about 30 per year instead of the 50 per year I was using.

    Whack that by 6, that's 5 a year.

    UK is doing a couple on average it seems (I can't find the figures).

    So we're only twice as likely to kill someone.

    Are we facing that many more instances of unforeseeable events, or are we doing that much worse at approaching fires from a careful & controlled way?

    Yeah, it's not the bulk of the LODDs, but it's the part of the LODDs that's fustrating because this is the stuff we're supposed to be trained to do well.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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  11. #11
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Default

    Bou,John is a great firefighter but more importantly he is a well respected Chief and trainer.I've had the pleasure of doing lunch with Chief Mittendorf and his concern for FF safety everywhere is always apparent.I really love the wheel on his axe!As far as UK vs USA operations are concerned it's a whole new ballgame across the pond.Our brothers and sisters over there have a well defined system that works and they don't spend immense amounts of time and energy screwing with it.Their ops are truly a thing of beauty,you should see it sometime.Kinda like their equipment.Now lets compare aerial devices.We'll use a Metz vs a Sutphen(incidentally I like both)Now the Metz isn't really UK but for my comparison it will work.Metz,small,compact and agile.Sutphen,huge,bulky and rugged with massive waterways.In the time it takes you to set the jacks on the Sutphen,the Metz will be set,levelled,and 100' in the air.Where do you suppose Angus LDH came from?Can you say UK?And their attitudes toward the job are different,I'd like to say more safety oriented but that really isn't proper word choice.But today,like every day, is a learning day:Go get some. T.C.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: REPLY & CLARIFICATIONS (long)

    Originally posted by LtTony
    Hfd66truck -- JM said that this encapsulation has a tendancy to cause some FFs to think they can stand up in existing conditions, resulting in injury (he had vids of accidents demonstrating this phenom.) He said we are moving away from the first rule we were taught, stay low.
    Like I suggested, take the class.
    Which is kinda what I said. The problem lies in re-enforcing the basics. Stay low, look high, be aware of your surroundings. I guess I would rather be fully encapsulated, trained on what to look for and how to operate; rather than having my ears of legs exposed and getting caught short.

    If everyones was doing a job a day....we probably wouldn't even be talking about some of this. Experience is a huge factor. I know there are some places that are against the total encapsulation, for a variety of reasons including heat stress. I guess in my mind the pros outweigh the cons.

    Dave

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