The RELAY by wuyunqing


									                       The RELAY
         The e- mail Newsletter of the New Jersey State Fire Chiefs’ Association—a member benefit
March 26, 2007                                                                                     No. 2007-8

Recipients of Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG)
     The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the 21st round of the FY 2005 Assistance to
Firefighters Grants (AFG) on March 16th. One grant was made to New Jersey Fire Departments.
   Highland Park Volunteer Fire Department              Operations and Safety          $ 60,800

    Two grants were made to New Jersey Fire Departments in the 22nd round announced March 23rd.
   North Caldwell Fire Department                      Operations and Safety         $ 7,163
   Scotch Plains Fire Department                       Operations and Safety          146,610

For additional information, go to and

Guidelines for Not-For-Profit Organizations Seminar
      The Bergen County Fire Chiefs Association will be sponsoring a seminar to assist fire departments and
fire company officers on their fiduciary responsibilities regarding corporate status including annual report
filings, federal and state tax-exempt status, and charitable registration requirements including registration
and annual renewal.

    The instructors are Robert Ricco and William Quirk, Attorneys-at-Law. It will be held on Saturday,
April 14th from 9:00 am to noon at the Bergen County Fire Academy. The cost will be free for Bergen
County Fire Chiefs Association members and $10.00 for non- members. Continental Breakfast will com-
mence at 0815 Hours

For registration information go to

In The Pine Barrens, Fighting Fire With Fire
     For a couple of generations, Smokey the Bear has been a cute—and effective—mascot for the US Forest
Service. At the entrances to many forests, including the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Smokey appears with his
smiling face and ranger hat next to a chart that warns of the relative danger of forest fires. Smokey's charts
in the Pine Barrens often seem incongruous. They often point to high danger of fire even after a period of
substantial rain.

     The Pine Barrens have their most fires in April and May, two of the wettest months of the year. There is
a lot of flammable vegetation on the forest floor. The needles are flammable and then they can ignite the
shrubs, which in turn cause the trees to burn. The Forest Service tries to do prescribed burns—over about
20,000 acres from October through March—before the ground cover gets too volatile.

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For the complete article, go to

Firemen’s Home Golf Tournament
     The First Annual New Jersey Firemen’s Home Golf Tournament will be held Tuesday, May 15th at the
Neshanic Valley Golf Course, Neshanic Station. The proceeds will benefit the present and future firefighters
residing at the Firemen’s Home. You can golf, have your fire department sponsor a hole, or get other spo n-
sors. Sponsorships range from $200 to $2500. The player charge, $135, includes a golf shirt, hat, sleeve of
balls, tees, greens fee, cart, range, lunch, on course refreshments, cocktail hour, and dinner. For additional
information or a Registration Form, call Hugh E. Flood at the Firemen’s Home, (973) 224 0024, Ext 18.
Player Registration deadline is April 30th.

Researchers Say They Found New Evidence Linking Global Warming to Stronger
Atlantic Hurricanes
     Atmospheric scientists announced on February 28th they have uncovered fresh evidence to support the
hotly debated theory that global warming has contributed to the emergence of stronger hurricanes in the A t-
lantic Ocean. The unsettling trend is confined to the Atlantic, however, and does not hold up in any of the
world's other oceans, researchers also found.

     Working with an existing National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) archive that holds global satellite in-
formation for the years 1983 through 2005, the researchers evened out the numbers by essentially simplify-
ing newer satellite information to align it with older records. Once the NCDC researchers recalibrated the
hurricane figures, the scientists took a fresh look at how the new numbers on hurricane strength correlate
with records on warming ocean temperatures, a side effect of global warming.

     Sea-surface temperatures may be one reason why greenhouse gases are exacting a unique toll on the At-
lantic Ocean. Hurricanes need temperatures of around 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit) to gather
steam. On average, the Atlantic's surface is slightly colder than that but other oceans, such as the Western
Pacific, are naturally much warmer. So it might be that imposing only a small (man- made) change in condi-
tions, creates a much better chance of having a hurricane. The Atlantic also is unique in that all the physical
variables that converge to form hurricanes—including wind speeds, wind directions and temperatures—
mysteriously feed off each other in ways that only make conditions more ripe for a storm.

For the full article, go to

Hybrid Headaches
      Hybrid cars and SUVs represent an important evolutionary step in the development of fuel-efficient ve-
hicles. They also accidentally point out the difficulties facing local volunteer emergency personnel as they
try to train and adapt to changing technology. Emergency personnel usually can tell if a combustion engine
is running by the sound, vibration, and exhaust. A hybrid vehic le, however, can be both on and silent—with
the batteries ready to supply a big push of voltage to the electric motor to get the combustion engine up and
running in a hurry.

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     That makes hybrids a tricky proposition in a crash. Handled the wrong way, extracting someone from a
mashed up hybrid can be a shocking experience—up to 500 volts worth of shocking. This is not to say that
hybrids are all bad. They're mostly good. This is to say that volunteer first responders have found yet a noth-
er potentially costly hurdle in their way. Dealing effectively with hybrid rescues requires more training in
recognizing which cars are hybrids and what to do with them.

For the full article, go to

Mold Detrimental to ESS Organizations
     After considerable research on the topic of mold in Emergency Services Sector (ESS) facilities, the
Emergency Management and Response—Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC)
understands that the presence of mold commonly degrades operations, endangers the health of sector
members, and creates substantial financial burdens for affected emerge ncy departments and agencies.
In the many cases where mold infected ESS stations, those organizations experienced the same three
outcomes: workers sickened a on short- and long-term basis, employees displaced from quarters for periods
of weeks to months, and costs that ranged from $15,000 to $75,000 and more.

    All types of mold have the potential to cause health effects. The allergens they produce can trigger
asthma, and set off myriad allergic reactions: skin rashes, chronic headaches, bronchitis, rhinitis, sinusitis,
fevers, respiratory infections, nose bleeds, allergic conjunctivitis, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, among
others. Exposure occurs through skin contact, inhalation, and ingestion.

For the full article, go to
and tab down to this title.

National Fire Academy Training Opportunities
     Vacancies exist in the several NFA courses at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg,
Maryland. All vacancies are filled on a first come, first served basis and qualified by using the Student Se-
lection Criteria listed on the Website.

For the full notice and list of course vacancies, go to

Firefighters' Heart Attack Risk Soars at the Scene
     Firefighters face a much higher risk of death from heart attack when battling a blaze—up to 100 times
the normal rate—and are more likely to be struck even when they're doing less-strenuous tasks, according to
a Harvard study published March 22nd. Looking at firefighter heart attack deaths nationwide over a decade,
the researchers found that the risk of heart attack is highest when firefighters are working at a fire scene—
with increased odds ranging from 10 to 100 times the normal risk of heart attack.

     Although firefighters spend only 1 to 5 percent of their time putting out fires, 32 percent of firefighter
deaths from heart attacks occur at fire scenes, the study found. The authors hypothesize that the risk of dying
from heart disease may increase during fire suppression because of the effects of strenuous exertion on fire-
fighters who have underlying coronary heart disease. Also, many firefighters are overweight and lack ade-
quate physical fitness, which may be contributing risk factors.

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For the full article, go to

National Effort to Eliminate Novelty Lighters
     Oregon State Fire Marshal, Nancy Orr, is leading a nationwide effort in calling for the Consumer Prod-
uct Safety Commission (CPSC) to prohibit the sale and distribution of novelty lighters. Her office has par t-
nered with The Idea Bank to create a video-based Web page to gather fire incident data. The sale of novelty
lighters has already been banned in Europe. Gathering incident reports is pivotal to getting novelty lighters
banned because the CPSC requires nationwide data before considering changes to existing regulations.

For the full announcement and a link to the video-based web page, go to

National Operations Center Fire Desk
     The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has been designated as the lead agency for staffing the
newly created Fire Desk at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Operations Center (NOC).
Having qualified USFA personnel located at the NOC addresses two critical needs: to serve as a Subject
Matter Expert (SME) for the Nation's fire service that provides valuable first responder insight to decision
makers in support of the DHS mission; and to act as a vanguard for the fire service in information sharing
and intelligence information analysis.

     The primary role of the Fire Desk staff is to provide technical assistance directly in support of the DHS
core missions to provide situational awareness and a common operating picture for the entire federal
government, and for state, local, and tribal governments as appropriate, in the event of a natural disaster, act
of terrorism, or other man- made disaster; and ensure that critical terrorism and disaster-related information
reaches government decision- makers.

For the complete notice, go to

NOAA Deploys Smoke Forecast Tool into Operation
     The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service has deployed
its Smoke Forecast Tool into operations, following successful experimental testing over the last 10 months.

     The Smoke Forecast Tool integrates the NOAA Satellite and Information Service’s satellite information
on the location of wildfires with NOAA National Weather Service weather inputs from the North American
Mesoscale model and smoke dispersion simulations from the NOAA Research HYSPLIT (HYbrid Single-
Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory) model to produce a 48-hour prediction of smoke transport and
concentration, updated daily. The model also incorporates U.S. Forest Service estimates for wildfire smoke
emissions based on vegetation cover.

For more information on the Smoke Forecast Tool, go to

Flame Retardant Raises Health Concerns
     Minnesota lawmakers are considering banning a flame retardant commonly found in electronics and
furniture. Supporters of the ban say the chemicals are toxic, and closely related to chemicals already banned
in the European Union and California. Manufacturers say flame retardants save lives, and there aren't good
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     Bromine has been widely used in flame retardants since the 1970s in everything from TV sets to
upholstery backing. But recently some scientists have become concerned. They're investigating the flame
retardant's potential links to cancer, developmental problems in children's brains and interference with the
immune system.

    The Minnesota Professional Firefighters say they would support the ban. A coalition of other fire safety
groups, including the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association, opposes the ban, but supports a study.

For the full article, go to

Common Fireground Noise May Cause Unintelligibility of Digital Radio Transmissions
     The International Association of Fire Chiefs is alerting its members to a potential issue and soliciting
their input to a solution. The IAFC has received reports of firefighters experiencing unintelligible audio
communications while using a digital two-way portable radio when operating in close proximity to the low-
pressure alarm of their SCBA. In addition, other common fireground noise, including powered tools, appara-
tus, and PASS devices, may affect voice intelligibility.

     Due to these reports, the IAFC board of directors has asked the Communications Committee to form a
working group to work with other IAFC committees and sections and other appropriate organizations to in-
vestigate and provide recommendations to address this concern. The IAFC is asking you to contact the
Communications Working Group if you have experienced similar issues.

For the full notice and instructions on how to contact the Committee, go to

Officers Denied On-Duty Death Benefits
     More than three years after President Bush signed a law granting federal benefits to families of firefight-
ers, police officers, and EMTs who die of heart attacks and strokes on the job, not a dollar has been paid. In
the Hometown Heroes Act of 2003, Congress said that heart attacks and strokes on the job should be pre-
sumed to be line-of-duty deaths. No claims have yet been paid, while 34 have been denied and about 206 are
pending. A spokeswoman said the delays are caused by the complexity of the cases, not by any disagreement
with the intent of the law.

     About 11 of the 34 Hometown Heroes claims denied so far were filed by the families of law enforce-
ment officers. Most of the remaining denied claims have been filed by fa milies of firefighters. At least some
of the denials were based on Justice Department judgment that some of the duties the firefighters were pe r-
forming at the time of their deaths do not meet the law's requirement of "no nroutine strenuous activity."

For the full story, go to

Authorities Want To Survey City Radiation
     Homeland Security and Energy department leaders urge cities vulnerable to terrorism to undergo an in-
ventory of all radioactive material within city limits, so authorities can detect "dirty bombs" terrorists might
plant. Maps of each city would be created by a Department of Energy team that uses helicopters, small

Relay No. 2007-8                                                                                            Page 5
planes, and ultrasensitive radiation detectors to pinpoint areas where radioactive materials are legit imately
stored, such as hospitals and laboratories.

    With a baseline survey in hand, authorities could quickly check for new sources o f radiation if intelli-
gence suggests a terrorist is assembling a dirty bomb, in which radioactive material is mixed with explosives.
Any new radiation blips on the survey could be flagged as potential rogues and investigated. Baseline sur-
veys also could be used to guide cleanup crews to heavily radiated areas if a bomb is set off.

For the full article, go to

NVFC Testifies on Homeland Security Before House Subcommittee
     Cherryville (NC) Fire Chief Jeff Cash, a member of the National Volunteer Fire Council Executive
Committee and NVFC North Carolina state director, testified earlier this month before the House Appropria-
tions Subcommittee on Homeland Security at a hearing on disaster preparation. Cash's testimony focused on
issues of particular concern to the volunteer fire service.

      "Full funding for the AFG program is the top legislative priority of the NVFC," Cash told the subcom-
mittee. Another important DHS program for improving national preparedness is Citizen Corps. Cash also
testified about the U.S. Fire Administration, credentialing, and the SAFER Grant program.

For the full article and a link to Cash’s testimony, go to homeland-security-

Maritime Security, Liquefied Natural Gas
    With the projected increase of imports of natural gas, many more LNG terminals are proposed.. Con-
cerns about LNG tankers becoming terrorist targets causing spills and potential explosions generated this
study. GAO was asked to (1) describe the results of studies on the consequences of an LNG spill and (2)
identify the consequences of a terrorist attack.

     Experts agreed that (1) the most likely public safety impact of an LNG spill is the heat impact of a fire,
(2) explosions are not likely to occur in the wake of an LNG spill unless the LNG vapors are in confined
spaces, and (3) some hazards, such a freeze burns and asphyxiation, do not pose a hazard to the public.

    The results are contained in Maritime Security: Public Safety Consequences of a Terrorist Attack on a
Tanker Carrying Liquefied Natural Gas Need Clarification (GAO-07-316). Washington, DC

The report is found at

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