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Fire shelter

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by jato, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. jato

    jato

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    Location:
    San Diego County, Ca.
    [​IMG]
    Model: SKM StormKing MNT Fire Shelter $330

    I am looking for a portable fire shelter to use in case of emergency. I am in San Diego County & brush fires are quite common.

    Are they worth the money?

    What is the best type?

    Where should I go (online) to get the best deal?
     
  2. IrishBob

    IrishBob

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    try the supply cache web site.

    ben meadows or forestry suppliers may have them.

    these new shelters are VERY expensive, large and heavy.

    if you work for a dept. in San Diego county, wait until it is issued.

    if you fight wildland fires in Calif., you cannot be on a fire without a shelter!
     

  3. jato

    jato

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    Thanks for the response.

    Do you have a link?

    Those websites have them at $337 & $345 per shelter (I only need one). I guess that is the going rate (seems expensive).


    Large and heavy I can deal with. I don't like the expensive part ;)

    We had a series of large brush fires in my area in 2003. Since then, we were issued a set of lightweight cheesy turnouts, a bandana & goggles. There is no way my (Sheriff's) department is going to issue fire shelters for 2000 deputies.

    We don't really fight fires, but we do operate inside fire zones. We almost lost some deputies in the 2003 fire. Several civilians and fire fighters were killed.
     
  4. mtncat

    mtncat

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    I can see them maybe not issuing PPE to all the deputies but they need to issue it to those who are working in fire prone areas.
    Here in my jurisdiction all deputies working in the mountains are issued all the same wildland fire equipment as a fire fighter. Not only for there safety but they will be ordered off a fire scene if they are not properly equiped!
     
  5. jato

    jato

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    Location:
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    Not where I work. But I am supposed to carry with me:

    Dedicated beanbag (less lethal) shotgun
    Pepperball (paintball) launcher
    Tazer (getting it next month)
    Rifle (I'll keep this one)
    Shotgun (lethal)
    Turnout gear
    Helmet w/ visor
    Gas mask
    Level C chemical suit (on order-comming soon!)

    + my other gear that I actually use every day.

    The best part is: We don't have equipment lockers and I get to load and unload it every day. From my patrol car to my POV.

    [/rant]
     
  6. TerraMedicX

    TerraMedicX

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    I may be wrong...but I was under the impression that if you were working within a fireline...you were required to have an NWCG red card AND have a fire shelter in good shape the entire time you are in the fire zone.

    I know a few years ago Alaska had to ask for red-carded paramedics from around the country because some giant percentage of the state was entirely considered a fire-zone, and only red-carded medics could work in that area.

    Like I said, could be wrong, but that was my impression.

    Nate.
     
  7. IrishBob

    IrishBob

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    Red Card not necessary, your agency SHOULD make arrangements for you to be given fireline safety and survival training as well as training and regular drill in the use of fire shelters.

    Get in touch with CDF or the USFS in your patrol area, they may be willing to help you out.

    I would advise you NOT to put yourself at risk in a VERY unforgiving environment.

    Be safe, not sorry!
     
  8. Tvov

    Tvov

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    I am a little lost here. In Connecticut, realistically we don't have wildland fires. So, as a non-firefighting person, you want to / are supposed to carry firefighting gear? Police are issued fire gear?

    I don't mean to ask stupid questions, but in my area if the police were required to carry firefighting gear a huge fight would erupt between the police and firefighter unions.
     
  9. jato

    jato

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    Maybe we're splitting hairs, but we don't carry firefighting gear, we carry "safety equipment". That is to say we carry equipment for operating in different adverse environments.

    During the Paradise Fire (see below), our 2 patrol deputies (spread over 350 square miles) evacuated homes starting at +/- 0130 in the morning. The "Santa Ana" winds drove the fire so fast, 2 civilians were killed as they rushed out of their homes. Later more deputies arrived from other stations to assist (+30 minute ETA).

    One of my fiends (a deputy) became encircled by fire. Luckily he found a clearing and took shelter inside his Crown Vic patrol car.

    It was dark with high winds blowing smoke and dust. Visiblity was a huge problem at times.


    Paradise Fire (my patrol area):
    Last updated: November 6, 2003 at 7a.m. - FINAL UPDATE
    Start Date/Time: October 26, 2003 at 1:30 a.m.
    Administrative Unit: CDF San Diego Unit
    Location: Valley Center
    Acres Burned: 56,700
    Containment: 100%
    Control: Expected control November 15, 2003 at 8 a.m.
    Structures Destroyed: 221 residences, 192 outbuildings, 2 commercial properties, and 75 vehicles destroyed. 10 residences and 5 outbuildings damaged.
    Injuries: 2 civilian fatalities and 24 injuries - 4 of those were civilians.
    Cause: Human (Under Investigation)
    Cooperating Agencies: CDF, US Forest Service, Dept. Fish and Game, local government agencies
    Total Fire Personnel: 788
    Costs to date: $ 11.3 million

    Also note that the Cedar Fire was also in progress in San Diego County at the same time as the Paradise Fire:

    Last updated: November 5, 2003 at 6 a.m. - FINAL UPDATE
    Start Date/Time: October 25, 2003 at 5:37 p.m.
    Administrative Unit: Cleveland National Forest/CDF San Diego Unit/Cedar Fire
    Location: Southern San Diego County
    Acres Burned: 280,278
    Containment: 100%
    Control: Estimate for control is November 16, 2003 at 6 p.m
    Structures Destroyed: 2,232 residences, 22 commercial properties and 566 outbuildings destroyed. 53 residences and 10 outbuildings damaged. 148 vehicles destroyed.
    Evacuations: All evacuations lifted.
    Injuries: 13 civilian fatalities, 1 firefighter fatality, 104 firefighter injuries.
    Cause: Human (Under Investigation)
    Cooperating Agencies: CDF, U.S. Forest Service, Local Government
    Total Fire Personnel: 1,478
    Costs to date: $ 27 million

    3 years later and we still don't have fire shelters. Our fire training after the incident consisted of watching a 20 minute video.

    [​IMG]

    Amber Roach was killed 100 yards from CDF Station 73 as she tried to evacuate. Her sister was critically burned but survived.

    Some Paradise Fire pics
     
  10. jato

    jato

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    To come back OT:

    Are fire shelters worth the money. Does anyone know of an instance where it saved someone’s life?

    I have heard rumors that they don't work. I don't want to waste my own money.

    Comments?
     
  11. jato

    jato

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    Location:
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    [​IMG]

    My county has frequent fire activity.
     
  12. IrishBob

    IrishBob

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    JATO,

    I fully understand your point, but without real safety training in wildland fire survival, you have become a rescue problem for firefighters.

    The best thing for you and your fellow deputies is to get out of the way of the fire sooner rather than later.

    Fire shelters are a last resort, your life and the lives of other deputies are the first thing you should worry about, not residents refusing to leave the fire area.

    I will not sacrifice myself or my crew or LE folks for anyone while a major wildland fire is making a run through a subdivision.

    All we can do is try to get these people to leave the area as soon as possible.

    We are not expendable.

    I don't mean to suggest we leave these people behind, I just want you to understand the reality of severe fire conditions and your chances of coming through in one piece.

    You should speak to your command structure and try to impress upon them the very real need for deputy fire safety and survival training.

    IrishBob
    Captain
    CDF Fire