During my recent visit to Vancouver for the Fire Chiefs of British Columbia conference, I had the honor to meet and speak with Wayne Jasper. Wayne is the Director & LODD Chairman of the CFFF (Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation). Wayne is one of those people you meet that from the second you meet him, you know there is something unique about him. You could look in his eyes and see both the intensity and compassion he has for serving his fellow firefighters and especially the families of the fallen.
I was very moved by our conversations on how we are all connected by our service to the fire industry. Wayne and I had several great discussions both at the show and later at dinner on how innovative new technology like MN8-Foxfire helps firefighters. We also talked about how the growth of synthetic combustibles have increased the hazards to firefighters. It seems as advanced as our gear, education, and training is, we are still losing too many of our brothers to unnecessary injuries. Even though we all accept the risks that go in to this job, it seems like the most dangerous thing we encounter is not fire or cheap construction but rather a very silent and invisible hazard; cancer.
Unlike smoke, fire, and collapsing building, cancer does not kill you quickly. Rather it sometimes raises its ugly head later in life and in some cases long after we put away our turnout gear for the last time. What is even more frustrating is that almost all types of cancers created from exposures on the fire ground are preventable. Early in my career, I wanted to look tough by fighting auto fires without my mask and taking my mask off during overhaul. After learning more about how dangerous this is and meeting firefighting cancer survivors like Scott Estrada of Cal Fire, I no longer make those types of poor decisions.
WEARING YOUR MASK is one of the best ways to ensure that cancer will not cut your life short as you enjoy retirement or during your later years in the fire service.
To learn more about programs for cancer education, awareness, and prevention please take some time to visit the:
Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation
One thing that Wayne shared with me is how the CFFF treats cancer deaths, even during retirement, as a LODD. When a firefighter goes down as the result of their service even during retirement, Wayne explained that the CFFF will be there for their family.
Our conversation shifted to the importance of brotherhood and how Wayne said how impressed the Canadian fire service was when during a multiple LODD several years ago a contingent of the FDNY helped cover a shift for a rural Canadian fire department. He also talked about how Canadian firefighters have attended multiple 9/11 events (several even voulteered at the WTC rubble pile) and US LODDs.
I was both embarrassed and frustrated to hear that there was virtually no representation from US firefighters (the last event had only two firefighters from the US in attendance) during the last several national Canadian Fallen Firefighter ceremonies. Wayne told me about their national memorial service in the Canadian capitol of Ottawa. We have over 10 times more firefighters in the US than they have in Canada. They make the trip to the US for LODD funerals, they buy our products and they support our causes. In a few months from now on Sept. 9th they will dedicate the national Canadian firefighter’s memorial in Ottawa. I will be making the trip in my class A’s. The badge on my chest will represent my department but the flag on my shoulder will represent my beloved country. I would be honored if we could field a big presence from the US. It would be great to spend some time with you and introduce you to our brothers up north.
With that in mind MN8-Foxfire along with the help of Capt. Willie Wines of the IronFiremen Blog will be arranging a bus trip to Ottawa for this special event. If you can make it, please do. Click here to buy a seat on the bus that leaves from Cincinnati, Ohio on Friday 9/7 travels up I-75 to Detroit, MI to Ottawa comes back early Monday 9/10. The ticket will include lodging, breakfast and travel. You will need a valid passport and not have a criminal record. There will even be a few extras from MN8-Foxfire and a few other surprises in store.
Again, click the link below to purchase your tickets for this very exciting trip:
MN8 Foxfire had another opportunity to visit our firefighting brothers up north. I was hosted again by my fellow firefighter and good friend Troy Munch of our largest Canadian distributor, Commercial Solutions at the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia. It was hosted in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia. The show was held at the incredible facility built for the speed skating portion of the 2010 Winter Olympics. This place was not only a architectural masterpiece but it also has a indoor climbing wall, several ice rinks, basketball courts, weight room, gymnastics, volleyball, and even a ping pong facility.
Even though the show was somewhat small, sales were outstanding. Every chief that saw our products in the blackout tent were very impressed with our advanced photoluminescent technology and it's ability to reduce disorientation, increase accountability of tools and personnel, and illuminate search sectors. What was even more impressive then our positive comments and strong sales were how many people had not only heard of our products but have already been using Foxfire. It really hit me on what an impact we are making in every corner of the fire service when several Foxfire users from some of the most remote locations of northern Canada told us what a positive additional our products were to their tools and personnel.
As with this trip and all other trips, I wanted to make sure it was not all about work so I had to take in some sight seeing. Troy was very gracious host and offered to show me around downtown Vancouver during a lull in the show. We had a great meal of Vancouver's famous fish and chips overlooking the bay.
He took me to Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park. This massive park overlooks the bay of Vancouver and has some incredible views and sights. I had the chance to see actual totem poles and some of the largest cedar trees I have ever seen. I even had the chance to watch a game of Cricket being played in the park.
When I was in the US Marine Corps I had the chance to work in artillery and I have always been fascinated with cannons. I was in for a real treat when I got to see the famous Nine O'clock Gun. The Nine O'clock Gun is an antique cannon that is still fired every day at 9:00 PM. The cannon used to be out in the open so people could actually touch it and climb on it. Several years ago, a few vandals put some metal springs and items in the cannon shortly prior to it being fired. When it was fired, the shrapnel sailed across the bay and slammed in to the hotel on the other side of the bay. Ever since then, the cannon is now safely secured behind a steel cage....
That night Troy invited all of us to a team dinner at his favorite lesbian Mexican restaurant. The night was filled with mojitos, incredible Mexican cuisine, and quite a few good natured comments to the very attractive female partner/owners about how much us obnoxious firefighters were all in love with them. As the night wound down, we even got to visit with some friendly Vancouver Police officers on our stumble back to the car.....
A few weeks ago, I had the the privilege to visit two fire departments in the same week. On the outside they looked very different but the reality is they were both almost identical. I had the chance to spend a 24 hour shift with the men and women of the Detroit Fire Department.
Just a few days later, I had the opportunity to visit the incredible men and women of the Hilton Head Island Fire Department. Although their communities, budgets, apparatus, and gear could not be more different there were a few things that were identical; pride, brotherhood, respect for others, professionalism, and the firefighter tradition of always helping others.
This trip was a little different than most of my other trips, this trip's primary purpose was not to share Foxfire’s advanced photoluminescent technology that helps reduce disorientation and increases accountability but it was rather our annual family vacation to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
I always like to visit local fire departments no matter were I go and this trip was no exception. My 8 year old son Bryce and I were invited to have breakfast, though Facebook, with the great guys of Truck 6 and Firefighter Jeremy Yerkes. Jeremy, in my opinion, has one of the best jobs in the fire-service; Tillerman.
It was more than just breakfast, it was a meal that was so immense I could not eat until that evening. Southern hospitality was on full display with homemade biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon, hash browns, eggs, etc. I not only felt like I was part of their family but my son Bryce was in heaven, having a warrior’s breakfast and being able to watch Spongebob in a recliner !
I was told by my good friends and brothers Capt. Willie Wines of Iron Firemen Blog and Lt. Rhett Fleitz of The Fire Critic Blog that I needed to visit Battalion Chief Mick Mayers of the Hilton Head Fire Department. Chief Mayer's has a great blog Firefighter Zen and I was particularly impressed with his recent series on "Leadership That Matters." His series talks about several different themes that separate mediocrity from greatness in almost all areas of the fire service.
A few days later, Chief Mayers picked me up from our hotel in his staff car and took me on a tour visiting each of the seven stations on the island. Chief Mayers has been with the Hilton Head Island FD for several decades, he has seen a department and community grow from a small town department to a model department that virtually all of us could learn from. Of all the departments I have visited throughout the US and abroad, Hilton Head Island FD should be the model for the fire service. I learned a lot from Chief Mayers on not just being a better fire leader but also on being a great father, husband and person. Hilton Head Island Fire Department has highly motivated and trained members, state of the art fire apparatus, and top of the line facilities. What is even more impressive is that each apparatus is identically set up. When you see any engine or ladder on the island you know that every compartment has the same tools/equipment in the same place.
Each station is also the same so if you are covering another station you know the flow of the building. The outstanding service of the Hilton Head Island Fire Department has not gone unnoticed, as they recently received a very special honor of becoming one of 148 global fire departments to be internationaly accredited.
One of the greatest prides I have in the fire service is getting to meet such incredible brother firefighters that go so far out of their way to help a stranger. In this particular case, I got to witness a rescue, not the type of rescue we typically see but in this situation the grab was a few baby birds that could not have been more than a few days old. When Chief Moore and I went to the station to see the new visitors, the firefighters had set up a mobile “baby bird intensive care unit” equipped with syringes, catheters full of warm milk, a hot pad, several towels, and even some fresh worms cut up in bite sized pieces.
These rough and tumble firefighters could have just left them in the bucket that they found them in and let mother nature take it’s course but they went above and beyond. They saw something in need and they did what firefighters are supposed to do, they helped.
Phenix Technology Teams with MN8-Foxfire In Offering Foxfire Illuminating Fire Safety Products as Upgrades on all Phenix Fire Helmets
Phenix Technology, the manufacturer of Phenix Fire Helmets, is pleased to announce its partnership with MN8-Foxfire, the developer of Foxfire illuminating fire safety products for firefighters, in offering Foxfire products as an upgrade on all of its helmets.
Foxfire illuminating helmet bands and tetrahedrons will be available as upgrades on all Phenix Fire Helmets, effective immediately. Foxfire products utilize an advanced photoluminescent technology that possess the unique capacity to absorb and store light and then release it as a bright luminance in the dark. The bright glow emitted from Foxfire’s helmet bands, tetrahedrons and other products illuminates surroundings and serves as a light emitter, enabling firefighters to keep track of their crews in dark environments. When fully charged (by any light source), Foxfire products can glow for up to 17 hours.
“At Phenix, our mission is to provide firefighters with top quality, safe and comfortable head protection,” said Ray Russell, president at Phenix Technology. “Foxfire products enhance the safety of firefighters. Once we saw the glow from the products in the dark, we knew that they were a perfect compliment to our mission of providing products that keep firefighters safe.”
Phenix offers three different types of helmets and a variety of helmet accessories. Phenix Helmets include:
- TL-2 Traditional Leather Firefighting Helmet, which weighs about 55 ounces and is the lightest NFPA leather helmet made. Foxfire illuminating helmet tetrahedrons available as an upgrade to standard tetrahedrons; Foxfire illuminating helmet bands also an available accessory.
- TC-1 Traditional Composite, which offers a low profile and ideal center of gravity, providing an ergonomic design. Foxfire illuminating helmet tetrahedrons available as an upgrade to standard tetrahedrons; Foxfire illuminating helmet bands also an available accessory.
- First Due Series Contemporary, which brings together style, durability and comfort and can be customized to meet a department’s needs. Foxfire illuminating helmet bars will soon be available as an upgrade to standard helmet strips; Foxfire illuminating helmet bands also an available accessory.
“Phenix helmets have an outstanding reputation in the firefighting industry,” said Zachary Green, president of MN8-Foxfire. “We are honored that Foxfire products will be offered as accessories on all new Phenix helmets. We look forward to working with Phenix in keeping more firefighters safe by utilizing our technology to reduce disorientation and increase personnel accountability in low light environments.”
Phenix Helmets are available through the Phenix distributor network. Visit www.phenixhelmets.com to locate a distributor near you.
About Phenix Technology
Phenix Technology was founded in 1972 by two firefighters who had the desire to make safe helmets that incorporated balance, longevity, lightweight and ergonomics; and were usable for all types of emergencies. Now operating for more than four decades, Phenix Technology has accumulated a wealth of design knowledge and is a recognized manufacturer and seller of high quality professional fire helmets built to NFPA industry standards. Phenix Technology’s fire helmets are used by thousands of firefighters in the United States and worldwide. Proud to offer only products that are American made, Phenix Technology operates out of its headquarters located in Riverside, California. For more information, visit www.phenixfirehelmets.com
MN8-Foxfire is a firefighter owned company offering energy efficient and eco-friendly products utilizing breakthrough advanced illumination technology. MN8’s product offerings for the fire safety industry, marketed under the name Foxfire®, have earned a reputation for safety, high quality and performance-proven. This is readily apparent in Foxfire’s photoluminescent helmet bands, coating kits, grip wrap, equipment bands, T-shirts, helmet tetrahedrons and other products. Both the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and Cincinnati Innovates have recognized MN8-Foxfire for its efforts in developing technology that keeps firefighters safe. The company is headquartered in Wyoming, Ohio, a Cincinnati suburb. For more information, visit www.mn8products.com.
Meet Kelly of MN8 Foxfire.
Kelly is an illumination expert, give her a call at (513)761-7614 if you have any questions, comments or if you need help purchasing any of our advanced photoluminescent products.
Another day another trip on an airplane.... I’ve been home for about 2 days out of the last 14 but at least I have had the chance to visit some warmer climates. My current travels take me back out to the West Coast. About nine months ago, some of you may remember me talking about my visits with Los Angeles Fire Department. Part of the reason for this trip was to follow up on how their evaluation has been progressing in addition to attending Firehouse World in San Diego. I will not only be exhibiting at the show but I will also be participating in some live fire evolutions (I’ll try and post that blog on the airplane when I return Friday)
I pulled into the station and the guys of Engine/Rescue 7 greeted me with open arms. They all immediately retrieved their illuminating helmet bands and also showed me how they had been used over the last several months.
As creative firefighters are, they also showed some new uses for our grip wrap. These were the same guys that showed me how they reconfigured a BBQ rotisserie to spin their tools as they applied the Foxfire Illuminating epoxy so it would not drip. These innovative dragon slayers took our grip wrap and sewed it on to the roof kits straps so if someone would happen to fall through the roof they could throw this in after them and the interior crew could use our advanced photoluminescence to locate the man down.
They invited me for lunch and we had a great discussion about the current state of the fire service. One comment really stuck with me as we were discussing brown-outs and layoffs. One of the firefighters talked about how easy it is for politicians to attack firefighters because no matter how much they take away from us we always find a way to accomplish our mission. I remembered seeing a great cartoon from Paul Combs about this exact issue.
After a great meal with these guys and a ride-a-long, I bid my adieus and headed north to Santa Barbara. I was off to visit my best friends from college and wanted to stop by a nearby winery to pick up a bottle of Santa Barabara’s finest fruit of the vine. Across the street from the winery was a small fire station. I decided to stop in and drop off a few tetrahedrons and a few brochures. The men of Carpinteria FD could not be more welcoming and friendly. It turns out that one of the guys was born in Cincinnati and the other was a big Cincinnati Reds fan. It never ceases to amaze me how connected we are to one another in the fire service.
As soon as I walked into my friends new home, their kids told me about the fire station around the corner. We visited some of the men of the Santa Barabara Fire Department. We happened to drop in as they were having dinner so we were brief but we did get a few minutes to talk about how our products improve accountability, reduce disorientation and help illuminate search sectors.
The next day I awoke very early and took the scenic drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. I watched the beautiful sunrise appear over the mountains and shine it’s beautiful colors over the ocean. I had to pull my car off the side of the road and take a moment to soak in this beauty.
As I sat on the rocks and took in this vista, I began to reflect on how blessed I am to have this incredible opportunity to travel this country and share with my fellow firefighters the benefits of this innovative technology. Just two weeks ago I was in New York City looking at Lady Liberty in the Atlantic Ocean, last week I was in Tampa, FL looking at the Gulf of Mexico and today I was sitting, feeling the mist of the waves of the Pacific. I thought of my time over the last year spent with firefighters from all over this great country. I reflected over the brotherhood I encounter as my travels take me from coast to coast and I thought of the sacred words of last two lines of “America the Beautiful”
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
As a young kid, I dreamed about one day becoming a firefighter. I still get excited everytime I respond to the station and ride the engine or ladder to help our local citizens. As much as I feel like I'm living my childhood dream on every run, the greatest pride I have is knowing that I'm helping my fellow firefighters.
The mission of MN8-Foxfire is for firefighters to help our brother firefighters be better and safer firefighters. Everything we do, every products we develop and every dollar we spend has 100% alignment with our mission.
One of the top recommendations we have received from our fellow firefighters is that they would like to see reflectivity to be combined with our advanced photoluminescent technology. Specifically, firefighters want to see helmet tetrahedrons that utilize the Foxfire’s Advanced Photoluminescent Technology. This is something that has intrigued us because we have always felt that we offer a great compliment to retro-reflectivity but not a replacement. Retro-reflective works great with light, we work great in the dark.
It is with great pride that we can now announce the combination of these two technologies; Foxfire’s Illuminating Tetrahedrons. This patented design utilizes some of the best materials from some of the industry leaders in their respective fields. These helmet tets utilize state of the art micro-prismatic technology from Reflexite® that reflects back up to 250% of light. We use 3M’s industrial grade adhesive to ensure that they stay strongly bonded to your helmet. They are built off of a high tempreature resistant fire retardant cloth to hold up to high heat conditions. Combine all of this with the advance photoluminescent technology that you have come to expect from MN8-Foxfire and you have the most advanced product in the history of our company.
Click Here for the MN8-Foxfire Illuminating Helmet Tetrahedrons Product Sheet
The new tetrahedrons will be available in set’s of 8 for $24.95 or individually for $4.95. They can be purchased directly from the MN8-Foxfire store http://store.mn8foxfire.com/
These innovative products are another step in keeping our brother firefighter’s safe by increasing accountability and reducing disorientation. Let us know what you think, this product is because of the feedback you gave us. As always, please post pictures of you and your crew using Foxfire products on Facebook. It’s always great to see firefighters from all around the world illuminating the fire service.