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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Fire Truck with a History

The LeSueur Fire Department had a problem. Their 1979 ladder truck was out of date and was costing them a good deal of money every time it went through its yearly inspection, as parts were failing and those parts had to be replaced to keep the truck in service. And like many departments, there was no money in the budget to replace it, as a new ladder truck can easily cost over $1 million.

Fire Chief Tom Obele turned to the department’s “truck guys” who worked together scouring the internet for a suitable used truck that would fit in to their fire station. They found four trucks that looked like they might work and continued doing their research until they had it down to one. They settled on a 1993 Simon Duplex with a 100-foot LTI platform. The truck was in Somerset, Pennsylvania and the price was $75,000.

Now it gets interesting.

Chief Obele was beginning a campaign to raise money from the city’s businesses to buy the truck. He was going to focus on the businesses that would potentially benefit from the city having a truck that could handle fire and rescue responses to their buildings. LeSueur, Inc. is a multi-generational family foundry business in the city of LeSueur, and they agreed to donate the money to pay for the truck and cover the expenses for a group of firefighters to pick it up and drive it back.

As they prepared for the trip, they learned that their “new” fire truck had been at the scene of September 11 United Airlines Flight 93 plane crash in nearby Shanksville Pennsylvania. The truck and the crew from Somerset had been assigned to “decon”—the decontamination of people and equipment at the site. It’s one of those important jobs that somebody has to do and is usually done in a restricted area.

When they arrived to pick up the truck, they said “it was loaded.” Fire departments usually remove the portable equipment off a truck when it is sold, and that was what the LeSueur firefighters had expected. However, Somerset had the truck turnkey ready and they included extra ladders, nozzles, hoses, pike poles, and hand tools.

It is interesting how it came together. The internet search, the generous gift from LeSueur Inc., the truck full of equipment, and the truck’s role at one of our nation’s historic and tragic events.

Up next: The TSO Class in Kentucky

Stay safe,

Monday, May 16, 2016

New LMCIT Public Safety Resources Online

The League of Minnesota Cites now has two new informative documents online—one a model policy for police departments with in-car camera systems, and the other a memo packed with tips on keeping your city’s computers safe:

LMCIT Model In-Car Cameras Policy

For police departments with in-car camera systems, we have a new model policy available. It is similar to the officer-worn camera policy in its format and allows police departments to customize the document to fit their needs and equipment. The model policy is marked with comments on the different approaches set forth:

LMC Computer and Network Loss Control Memo

There is also a new information memo on computer safety. Learn some of the risks in storing and sharing city data on computers—including portable devices. Find out how to protect your city from common risks such as data breaches, virus contamination, hacker attacks, and computer misuse by employees. Understand issues presented by social media such as Facebook, blogs, and Twitter, and get links to a model employee computer use policy:

Up Next: A Fire Truck with a History

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Hearing Protection

“Final check for ears and eyes!” The firearms instructor shouts those directions as she verifies that all of the officers on the shooting range have their hearing and eye protection in place. A nod from the safety officer confirms that everyone has their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on. Only after that confirmation does the instructor move on to the day’s firearms training or qualification. That ritual is so routine that most officers do not even think about it—it’s automatic.

But what about the safety check for PPE before an officer shoots an injured animal such as a deer that has been hit by car? Often those same officers forget or don’t think about using their safety equipment when they are not at the range. Why? Are they in a hurry, or do they not have the equipment with them in the squad car?

The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) officer injury statistics don’t tell us why, but they do tell us that many officers report hearing injures on these calls when hearing protection was not used. In addition to the officer shooting, it is sometimes an officer standing nearby that reports being injured.

The solution:

  • Make sure every officer has quick access to hearing and eye protection. Whether it is part of the squad car’s standard equipment or individually issued to the officer, this safety equipment has uses beyond the firearms range.
  • Follow the same procedures and use the exact same words used at the shooting range when shooting an animal. “Final check for ears and eyes” should be loudly announced so all officers can get their safety equipment on and prepare for the shot.
  • Designate an officer to be the safety officer to verify everyone has their PPE in place and to watch over the entire scene. It is very easy to be focusing on the animal with no one watching the big picture, including the perimeter or traffic.
Repeating the same words used at the range and having access to the proper PPE can reduce these unnecessary injuries. Eye and hearing protection is not limited only to one location.

Up Next: New Online LMCIT Public Safety Resources

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.