From time to time, hazards that we may have previously recognized as low-frequency encounters become something we are much more likely to face on a fire or other emergency response. Technology or culture evolves. A particular process or type of equipment becomes more prevalent in society. And we get to deal with that.
While the particular changes or improvements may be deemed to make life easier, cheaper, or otherwise more efficient or friendly for society — new hazards may manifest, leaving firefighters and other emergency personnel with dangers we must take into account when responding to an incident. If you have not already done so, I would add compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles to the list. While generally recognized as a safe fuel source, like anything we encounter, a fire situation may put us in danger if the equipment or safety features are compromised.
This week, firefighters in Indianapolis responded to a fire in a garbage truck. This particular truck was fueled by natural gas, compressed into carbon fiber tanks. During the response, the tanks failed resulting in an explosion that reportedly shot debris up to a quarter-mile and damaged five businesses. One firefighter was hit in the head by debris but suffered only minor injuries....
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