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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Wheels—A Guest Blog by LMC Research Manager Jeanette Behr

In your city, do spring showers bring out a bevy of golf carts? A whole host of new low-powered vehicles—from mini-trucks to electric bicycles—are growing in popularity. City councils may decide to regulate some of these vehicles on city streets, like golf carts, mini trucks, utility task vehicles, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

If a city does not permit the use of these “special vehicles,” then they are not allowed on city streets. Running them around on private land is not something the city can regulate (unless the noise is an issue), but that is for another blog.

Hold your horses, though—not all low-powered vehicles are subject to city regulation! Cities cannot prohibit motorized foot scooters (like Razor™), pocket bikes, mini-motorcycles, motorized bicycles and electric assisted bicycles, or mopeds. These fun wheels are governed by state law and are subject to just limited city regulation.

And some devices used by pedestrians are not subject to much regulation. Examples include Segways, manual or motorized wheelchairs, scooters, tricycles, or similar devices used by people with disabilities as a substitute for walking. State law limits the use of these vehicles on sidewalks unless the rider is crossing the street.

For miles of information on how our city may deal with these new-fangled rides (have you seen an autocycle—basically a Batmobile?), see the LMC memo Specialty Vehicles Operating on City Streets.

This memo contains an appendix with definitions and a chart that displays types of vehicles, operator requirements, regulatory authority, and statutory citations.

Up next:  A report from the 2017 Spring Loss Control Workshops

Stay safe,

Friday, March 3, 2017

Firefighters and Protective Hoods (a guest post by LMCIT Loss Control Field Consultant Troy Walsh)

Guest blogger/LMCIT Loss Control
Field Consultant Troy Walsh
There is no argument that firefighting is a dangerous business. Now, new dangers are being researched to increase firefighter safety. Cancer among firefighters has unfortunately become more common, but so has the research and education on how to help prevent these cancers.

Routes of cancer-causing carcinogens vary with each person and type of personal protective equipment (PPE) the firefighter wears, but firefighter protective hoods may be the weakest link. The boots, protective pants and coat, gloves, and helmet typically have two or three layers of protection for the firefighter underneath. Even with those layers of protection the risk of exposure is still a threat, but the protective hood only has a single layer of protection.

The firefighter in the left-hand image is double-covered from the coat, helmet, and helmet rear flap. But look near the mask and notice the hood: under the hood is the firefighter’s skin.

Look closely at the hood pictured in the image to the right and you can see a definitive exposure line where the firefighter has the most exposure—and this hood has only been used in two fire situations.

Educating firefighters about the exposures is a start. Increasing maintenance and cleaning of PPE will also help in reducing these exposures. As research and education advance, firefighters will need to adapt to new procedures to reduce these exposures to remain long-term firefighters.

Here are some links to additional information:

  • This short news report helps explain these types of cancers and routes of exposure.
  • A 6-minute education piece for firefighters on protecting themselves and others from cancer-causing exposures.
  • A brief clip on firefighter PPE contamination and routes of exposure.
  • This bulletin from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discusses firefighter hoods. 

  • Up next: A guest blog on the regulation of lower-powered vehicles—“Spring Wheels”—from mini trucks to electric bicycles.

    Stay safe,
    Rob and Troy