Photo courtesy of the West Bend (WI) Fire Department

Photo courtesy of the West Bend (WI) Fire Department

Using oxygen increases the risk of fire and burns.  When oxygen is used in the home, the amount of O2 in the air, furniture, clothing, and hair goes up, making it easier for a fire to start and spread.

The West Bend (WI) Fire Department responded to a residential fire alarm on Saturday July 25th.  The occupant had dropped a cigarette onto the oxygen tubing where it subsequently started on fire.

If you or a loved one uses home oxygen

  • Do not smoke
  • Make sure the home has working smoke alarms.  Test them monthly.
  • Have a home fire escape plan with a minimum of 2 ways out of every room and an outdoor meeting place.  Practice the plan at least twice a year.
  • Keep oxygen and tubing 10-feet away from heat sources such as candles, matches, lighters, heaters, wood stoves, electric razors, hair dryers, cooking stoves, and smoking materials.
  • Do not use petroleum-based products such as oil-based lip balms or lotions.  They catch fire easily.

Here is the entire post from the West Bend Fire Department’s Facebook page:

***Smoking while using oxygen is dangerous!***

#20-2216 07/25/2020 03:29

At 3:29 a.m. on Saturday, July 25th, 2020, the West Bend Fire Department was dispatched to a residential fire alarm in the City of West Bend. A West Bend Police Department officer, Engine 1, Truck 2, and Battalion 1 responded to a two family side by side residence. A family member of the occupant was outside speaking to the officer upon arrival of fire department units.

The occupant had dropped a cigarette onto the oxygen tubing where it subsequently started on fire. The occupant stomped out the fire with their feet. While there were burn marks on the socks, luckily the occupant did not suffer any burn injuries. The occupant refused medical attention on the scene.

Please do not utilize smoking materials while using oxygen. The end result of this incident could have been a disaster. UW Hospital Burn Center in Madison had two admissions for burn injuries in March and April of 2020 for people who were burned while smoking and using oxygen. These incidents really do happen, they really cause damage, and they really do cause harm.


25 Years ESCAPE Logo


With the recent increase in youth-set fires throughout Michigan and across the country, Firefighter Michael McLeieer, president and founder of E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. spoke with Jim McKinney on the WKZO Morning Show on Monday July 27th at 9:10 a.m. about the dangers of youth firesetting.

Listen to the interview here:

For more tips on Youth Firesetting, visit:



Getting the right turnout gear for your department is critical, but it is just one component of firefighter health and safety. Firefighters need to understand not only the performance of their gear and proper donning and doffing techniques, but also the limitations of the gear. Today’s three-layer ensembles feature advanced protection using the most technically advanced materials; but the human body has not changed.

The 3-Layer System

A typical turnout has an outer shell, a moisture barrier, and then one, two, or three layers of fabric that make up the thermal lining package. Air is trapped in these thermal layers to insulate the firefighter from heat.

Outer Shell

The main purpose of the outer shell is to protect the firefighter from direct flame and heat; it also contributes to abrasion and cut protection as well as some thermal protection. Flame resistance is commonly measured by the Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI), which is the amount of oxygen required to make the material burn. Outer shells are blends of man-made petroleum products that have different LOI values. Many outer shells are blends of KEVLAR®, which has a low LOI, and PBI® or PBO, which have higher LOIs – the blend creating a synergy that enables the shell fabric to work at a higher temperature. The different mills that manufacture outer shell fabrics from these products also engineer additional attributes into their materials, such as strength, flexibility, and abrasion resistance.


Embrittlement is a total breakdown of the outer shell. Even with the highest level of flame resistance, an outer shell will eventually break down when exposed to flames and could result in serious burns.

Dye sublimation occurs when the dye in an outer shell fabric dissipates in heat, generally at about 450°F. This discoloration does not automatically mean the outer shell is compromised, but it is a warning that all three layers of the garment must be inspected to validate whether the garment is safe to remain in service. Another cause of dye sublimation is exposure to ultraviolet rays, which is an indication that the garment is being stored improperly and could eventually lead to a complete loss of tensile strength.

Moisture Barrier

The primary purpose of the moisture barrier is to protect the firefighter from what NFPA 1971 refers to as the “common liquids”: swimming pool chlorine, battery acid, aqueous film forming foam, surrogate gasoline, fire-resistant hydraulic fluid, and automobile antifreeze fluid. Additionally, the moisture barrier provides protection from blood borne pathogens; it should be noted, however, that these tests are performed on as new fabric and for a limited period of time. The other purpose of the moisture barrier is to allow perspiration to move away from the wearer, also referred to as “breathability.”

The moisture barrier is typically a bi-component membrane bonded to a lightweight fabric substrate.

Thermal Liner

The thermal liner provides a majority of the thermal protection from the ambient heat in the room. Thermal liners consist of a face cloth and batting. The face cloth can be spun fiber or a blend of spun and filament fibers. The filament adds slickness to the face cloth, which makes it comfortable to wear and work in. A spun fiber means that the mill converts bales of fiber by spinning them into yarns. The yarns have protruding random fibers, which help wick moisture off the skin. The batting is typically NOMEX® and/or KEVLAR® fibers and can be a single-layer product like a felt, called needlepunch, or multiple layers of spun lace, which is produced by using water jets to entangle the filaments of the fiber.

Performance Testing

NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, has established minimum performance levels for personal protective equipment (PPE). This standard defines structural fire fighting as “the activities of rescue, fire suppression and property conservation in building, enclosed structures, vehicles, marine vessels, or like properties that are involved in a fire or emergency situation.’’ Fire departments respond to all types of activities and emergencies which is why NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, requires every fire department to perform a risk assessment in order to determine the appropriate gear for their specific firefighting tactics. This risk assessment should include, but not be limited to, the hazards that can be encountered by firefighters based on the following:

  1. Type of duties performed
  2. Distinguishing response activities for different potential incidents
  3. Organization’s experiences
  4. Incident operations
  5. Geographic location and climate
  6. Specific physical area of operation
  7. Likelihood of or response to CBRN terrorism incident
  8. Need for two sets of ensemble elements or spare ensemble elements

Structural turnout gear must pass numerous performance tests outlined in NFPA 1971, a few of which are:

  • TPP (Thermal Protective Performance) ‒ is used to measure the insulating performance of the three-layer system by evaluating how quickly heat is transferred from the outside of the garment to the inside when exposed to both convective and radiant heat.
  • THL (Total Heat Loss) ‒ is used to evaluate the amount of heat that can be transferred out of the garment composite via both sweat evaporation from the wearer’s skin and conduction through the garment to the outside environment.
  • Flame Test ‒ specifies time in seconds for materials used in construction to self-extinguish after exposure to direct flame, as well as allowable char length.
  • Heat and Thermal Shrinkage Test – is a 500°F for 5 minute oven exposure which is used to evaluate specific materials for shrinkage, melting, separation, ignition, or dripping. Hardware evaluated against this test must also remain functional following the exposure.
  • CCHR (Conductive, Compressive Heat Resistance) ‒ specifies minimum protective insulation in knees and shoulders, which are more likely to become compressed; thermal insulation is reduced under compression.
  • SET (Transmitted and Stored Thermal Energy Test) – is used to evaluate the ability of sleeve enhancements to store and then transfer heat through the composite to the skin.

Seconds vs. Minutes

All testing to the NFPA standards is intended to help keep firefighters protected in perilous and volatile environments where conditions can change in seconds. As explained above, one measure of turnout gear performance is the TPP test, which simulates a flashover condition.

If you take the TPP value of the garment composite and divide it in half, the result is roughly the number of seconds before a second-degree burn would occur. With a minimum requirement of 35, anything beyond 17.5 seconds (minimum TPP value ÷ 2) is sufficient to meet the standard. But firefighters cannot assume they have 17.5 seconds to escape a flashover. TPP testing is conducted in a controlled laboratory environment with an ambient temperature of 70°F. When a firefighter becomes trapped in a burning room, how hot is that fire? How hot is it when crawling on the floor? It is literally hundreds of degrees and getting hotter by the second. Additionally, during the time the firefighter is in that room, the gear is absorbing heat. A firefighter in a flashover might have only seconds before suffering second-degree burns because the temperature in the room is constantly escalating.

Visit the Globe website for more educational resources on turnout gear care, maintenance, materials, and more. You are also encourage to visit and review the NFPA standards for a complete listing of all of the multiple tests and requirements that gear must be evaluated against in order to be labeled as NFPA compliant.

Globe is located at 37 Loudon Road, Pittsfield, NH 03263.




07-14-2020 Jake with Kids

by:  Firefighter Michael McLeieer, President and Founder, E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety

Wednesday, July 15, is National Pet Fire Safety Day and Jake the Fire Safety Dog is teaching kids and adults how to stay safe in the event of an emergency!

Get Low and Go is what children and families learn when they watch demonstrations by Jake the Fire Safety Dog, a black Labrador retriever service canine dedicated to teaching fire safety techniques.

Jake was introduced in June of 2007 at the Maranda Park Parties and he was the newest addition, at that time, to the E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety program.  E.S.C.A.P.E. stands for Education Showing Children and Adults Procedures for Evacuations and this year marks the 25th anniversary for the non-profit fire safety charity.

Each year, children are seriously injured or killed in home fires.  Jake is able to bridge the educational gap, engage children and teach the traditional fire safety messages in the classroom and at large community events in a non-traditional way through his vivid demonstrations.

Some of the techniques Jake performed include:

  • Crawl Low Under Smoke
  • Get Out and Stay Out from a smoke-filled building
  • Assemble at a meeting place away from the home
  • Children should never go up to a strange animal without a trusted grown-up’s permission

“All kids love animals so when they see Jake the Fire Safety Dog come into the classroom and perform his demonstrations and crawl low under the smoke and fire, it just hits home more with them and they remember what to do in an emergency,” said Adam Munoz, a West Michigan elementary school teacher who has seen Jake in action in his classroom many times.

For more information about fire safety and Jake the Fire Safety Dog, visit: or

Remember to practice fire safety with everyone in your family everyday Where You Live!


07-05-2020 Hagar YFS images

During the COVID-19 pandemic and Stay at Home order, fire departments and fire safety experts across Michigan and throughout the country have reported an increase in firesetting and a heightened interest in fire by youth and adolescents.

Nationwide, more than half of all intentionally set fires are started by youths under the age of 18. According to the United States Fire Administration, each year in this country fires set by children and adolescents are responsible for hundreds of fire deaths, thousands of painful burn injuries, and hundreds of millions of dollars in property loss. Young children are also the victims in these fires.

“Fires set by children are common and a problem affecting many families, said Firefighter Michael McLeieer, a leading fire safety expert and President of the non-profit organization E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. “While curiosity about fire is natural, firesetting is dangerous and deadly. It is not safe to think that youth firesetting is only a phase,” according to McLeieer.

Why Children and Adolescents Set Fires

Most experts agree that the best way to understand why fires are set is to look at the motivations for firesetting. Motives can involve curiosity, experimentation, a cry for help, thrill-seeking, willful intent to cause destruction, or from mental or emotional disorders.

Four Factors Influencing Firesetting

  • Easy access to lighters and matches— In many homes where a child or adolescent was involved in starting a fire, they easily discovered the matches or lighter or knew exactly where to find them. If you smoke, always keep your matches or lighter in your pocket or in other secure locations. Inform your child that you will be randomly checking his/her pockets, backpacks, and rooms for matches and lighters.07-05-2020 youth_firesetting_bg.1800x1200
  • Lack of supervision—Providing supervision is important. Parents are often shocked to learn their child was engaged in firesetting over a prolonged period of time.
  • Failure to practice fire safety—Young children, teens, and parents often lack understanding of the dangers associated with firesetting and safety rules about fire. Have clear rules rather than relying on vague threats or warnings.
  • Easy access to information on Internet—Technology has made explicit media available to youths about many dangerous and often illegal activities for them to replicate.

What To Do If You Suspect A Child Of Setting Fires

If you know of a child who is displaying firesetting behavior, the child and family are at a higher risk for suffering the consequences of fire. Remind the parent that they are not the only person to ever to face this problem. Have the parent or caregiver contact their local fire department immediately. Explain the situation to them. Many fire departments offer youth firesetting prevention and intervention programs.  Those departments that don’t offer comprehensive intervention may be able to refer the parent / caregiver to another agency that does offer these services.

Youth Firesetting Program Benefits Include:

  • A contact person in your area.
  • Determination of potential level of risk for repeat firesetting incidents.
  • Fire education for the youth and their family.
  • Referrals for additional services.

What Parents and Caregivers Can Do To Reduce Firesetting

  • Supervision by adults decreases the opportunity for youth to set fires.
  • Teach children of all ages that fires, even small ones, can spread quickly.
  • Teach young children that fire is a tool, not a toy, and only used by adults.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach of children.
  • Always use fire with care and set a good example by using matches, lighters, and candles carefully.
  • Never use threats or scare tactics when talking to the child.
  • Teach children to show you when they find matches and lighters.
  • Teach older children proper techniques for using fire.
  • Point out to your children the fire safety rules you and others follow throughout the day.
  • Talk to your children about the legal consequences of firesetting.
  • Be sensitive to what the child may be feeling while addressing their firesetting behavior.
  • Provide love, comfort and compassion when talking to the child.07-05-2020 Mom&Girl

What Families Can Do To Prevent Fires

  • Regularly inspect your home for fire hazards.
  • Install and maintain working smoke alarms throughout your home.’
  • Plan and practice home fire escape drills that include two ways out from every room.
  • Install residential sprinklers in your home.

What Communities Can Do

  • Prevent firesetting in the first place by providing fire safety education from preschool through high school.
  • Raise awareness in your community about youth firesetting.
  • Form partnerships between local fire departments and private sector organizations to help support firesetting prevention and intervention programs.’
  • Support community-based programs to provide services such as fire safety education and counseling using community resources.
  • Educate parents/caregivers and all who work with children about where they can go for help about firesetting.

For Further Information:

Contact your local fire department or visit or