Foxfire took its illuminating show out to the West coast. The land of perpetual sunshine, movie stars, beaches, babes, and this thing called most of us urban firefighters are unfamiliar with, wildfires. One of the parts of this job I love so much is not just meeting brothers in the fire industry but also learning new techniques and tactics in how they fight fire. Fire comes in many forms and based on the culture, location, budget, and attitude of your department, there is an infinite number of ways to combat the dragon. I started my trip in Anaheim, CA, home of the famous mouse and a sprawling industrial community. I had the privilege to join the men of Anaheim Fire Department’s Engine Company 4.
I spent quite a bit of time picking the brain of my host, Capt. Tim Adams. Capt. Adams is somewhat of a legend in the southern California area. He is the real deal and he “gets it.” He knows that the best leaders are not about how many bugles they have on the collar but rather are the ones who develop and educate those around them. Capt. Adam’s has both first hand experience and a deep scientific understanding of how to teach others how take the fight both safely and tactically to fire operations. Capt. Adams started a fire training company called Advanced Fire Control www.advancedfirecontrol.com. You will be hearing a lot more from Capt. Adams in the future as we are planning on creating a new curriculum around utilizing advanced photoluminescent technology in firefighting operations.
After making a few runs with the Mighty 4’s I was off to the O.C. For any of you that have heard about Orange County, it is not just their women that are impressive. In the 100s of Fire Departments I have visited, I have never seen such an impressive display of wealth and investment in a fire department. From the Hollywood back-lot inspired strip mall training village to the art museum quality firefighter tribute statue, I was stunned with this awe-inspiring facility and its professional firefighters.
The next day I met up with the Southern California’s Foxfire rep, Dave Hudson aka Woody. Woody has been working with photoluminescence in firefighting operations for over 7 years. Woody is well known and respected in the Southern California area and has been essential in helping educate his fellow firefighters on how these innovative products can increase visibility, assist accountability of personnel and tools, and increase positional orientation. We had the chance to present at the S.A.F.E.R. meeting. S.A.F.E.R. http://www.safer.org/ is a fantastic organization (Woody’s firefighter dad is a board member) of southern California fire departments that share technologies and best practices in fighting all kinds of dangerous incidents. I had the privilege to see how they were taking some of the military’s high tech approaches to fighting wildfires. They demonstrated the new Mobile Modular Tactical Command Kits. This is a fascinating way to increase communication by networking GPS, Google maps, voice, data, audio, and visual attributes to set up mobile command centers in minutes if and when a major Haz-Mat or wildfire incident arises.
The afternoon was spent with one of my new friends Scott Estrada of Fire Etc. http://www.fire-etc.com/ , California’s new Authorized Distributor of Foxfire.
We had the chance to share Foxfire’s illumination technology with the ubiquitous and legendary CalFire.
Scott is one of those remarkable people that words like hero don’t even touch the character of this man. Scott was the youngest Captain ever promoted in CalFire. I say was because even though Scott is young, his career was cut short by a danger much more lethal than fire, cancer. Scott never smoked or chewed but as he was quickly climbing through the ranks of the nations second largest fire departments, he found out that he had esophageal cancer as the result of this dangerous line of work. Before his injuries from this horrible disease forced him to leave, he made it his mission to tell as many firefighters as possible about the dangers of not wearing your SCBA. He now works for a well respected Southern california fire equipment distributor so he still has the chance to influence both young and veteran firefighters about the risk we face with cancer. I am continually humbled by the people I meet in this industry. A true hero is someone who puts the benefit of others above the comfort and safety of themselves. MN8 is privileged to help the heroes of the firefighting industry be better heroes by helping mitigate some the risks of this dangerous profession.