Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thermal Imaging Camera Drills


Thermal imaging cameras (TICs) have been around for years and have been a valuable tool for firefighters. Some are helmet-mounted. Most are hand-held devices that measure the differences in temperature of objects in its viewing path. TICs help firefighters see through dark, smoky rooms to find the seat of the fire that is often hidden by the smoke, and most importantly, find victims or injured firefighters who may only have only minutes to live.

All firefighters have been taught the basics of how to use Thermal Imaging Cameras. Hillsboro Fire & Rescue crews are undergoing advanced training on how to better use this tool in the early stages of the fire, particularly during fire attack. It is another way in which HFD continues to improve on existing skills and provide faster and better service to our citizens.

This week's drill is being conducted at a home that is slated for demolition later this fall. The home may be used in a few months for a live fire drill. If so, we'll be sure to bring you photos of that drill here on this blog.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mass Casualty/Decon Equipment Drill

With so many high technology manufacturing plants within the City of Hillsboro, Hillsboro Fire and Rescue must be ready to respond to possible spills or leaks of the toxic chemicals that are sometimes used in these companies' processes. Due to the large numbers of employees at these plants, there is a potential for mass casualties in the event of an accident. Hillsboro Fire and Rescue has a MASS CASUALTY DECONTAMINATION TRAILER in its fleet of apparatus that can bring the necessary additional equipment to help decontaminate workers who may have come in contact with any chemicals. The unit is also outfitted to respond to terrorism incidents, with chemcial, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) to provide triage and treatment equipment. Hillsboro Firefighters practiced setting up and operating the equipment this week.

The trailer carries additional trauma kits, radiological detection equipment, chemcial spash protection suits, and other gear. It also is equipped with two diesel-powered water heaters that can heat water coming from a fire engine so that it can be sprayed on patients who may have come in contact with chemical, biological or radiological materials. A tent that provides for modesty and protection from the weather allows patients to walk into one end, disrobe, walk through soapy and then rinse water, and emerge from the other end in temporary issued garments.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September is Preparedness Month

If all utilities were cut off to your home, would you be able to survive without outside help for a week? How about three days? If not, now is the time to start your Emergency Kit.

Think about it for a moment. If we had a violent earthquake.... If we had a repeat of the 1964 windstorm.... If....

Your emergency kit and a family communication plan would be your most important asset. Don't let the thought of creating an emergency kit overwhelm you. You can do it in short segments by visiting the Take Five to Survive website.

Otherwise, you'll need the following in one location, preferably in one or more containers that can be quickly retrieved:

Water - One gallon per person per day for three days minimum (7 days is better if you have the space.) Don't forget your pets!

Food - Nonperishable food the whole family will eat for three days (7 is better). Canned meats, peanut butter, crackers, granola bars and a manual can opener. Again, don't forget the pet food.

Medicines - An additional supply of critical medicines (such as heart or asthma meds)

Radio - Battery-powered or hand-cranked portable radio with NOAA weather radio tone alert and extra batteries.

Flashlight(s) - One for each person with spare batteries.

First Aid Kit - Start with a small one and add to it. Include a first aid book on dealing with common traumas and first aid issues.

Whistle - You'll need it to signal for help if you are trapped or lost.

Protective Gear - Dust mask because that will likely be a major issue following an earthquake. Plastic sheeting and duct tape for sheltering in place for a chemical leak.

Personal sanitation - Moist towelettes and garbage bags for sanitation use if the water and sewer lines are severed.

Tools - Wrench and/or pliers to turn off utilities, if necessary.

Documents - Copies of important family documents (birth certificates, home mortgage and insurance contracts, wills, banking records, etc.)

Cash - With power outages, ATMs and banks may not be able to dispense cash. You may not be able to make credit or debit card purchases. Cash will be your only means of making a purchase of possibly valuable resources.

And finally, the family communication plan is critical, with so many families having two income-earners, active children and distant family members. Visit the Take Five to Survive website.

You will always rest easier if you PREPARE, PLAN, and STAY INFORMED.