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  1. #26
    APPROVED MEMBER goneshootin's Avatar
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnie View Post
    That's awesome!
    True story...I once had a police chief draw his gun and point it at me as I walked towards him to ask if I was in the right place.

    I got to the site a little early and there was another nearby park and some confusion on my part exactly which park we were doing the show at. I see guy dressed in regular clothes setting up what looks like a crowd line. So I head over towards him to ask if this was the park where the fireworks show was going to be held. I probably got about 50 - 75' away from him when he turned with his gun drawn and told me to stop. Then asked what I wanted. "Is this where the fireworks show is going to be held I'm part of the fireworks crew"

    He continued to be a douche nozzle for the rest of the night and never disappoints every year since then. The lead ends up in shouting match with him every year. He insists on trying to seat people 250' from the display area which has 4" shells until he is told that we will not shoot the 4" shells or the finale because we do not have the proper safe distances. The AHJ for the show couldn't be a nicer guy. He is the local fire marshal but will not say a word to the police chief when he starts trying to readjust the crowd line. So the poor lead has to deal with this guy.

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  3. Fireworks Forever

  4. #27
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    WOW! A police chief draws his weapon when there is obviously no threat at all. That's all kinds of wrong. It sounds like he doesn't know much about weapons safety either! I'd be more afraid of him than the 4" shells at 250'. Makes you feel sorry for the FM having to deal with this guy all year long.

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  6. #28
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    So how is "Fire Marshall" being used here? In NH, the Fire Marshall is from the State. He can inspect all NH shows. Usually shows up, inspects, and leaves. The town or city's FD is also required to be there. It's not uncommon for the locals to be in the display site. Usually, though, they're just support and stay out the way, which they seem happy to do.

    This fourth, I heard that the lead tech in our town allows/allowed family members (including a small child) to be in the display site. VERY close, and no PPE from what I understand. I heard this from 2 different people. Not sure what the town FD thought of that, but apparently they didn't make anyone move. I do not know if the State FM inspected that show, but even if he did, he probably wouldn't have been around for that.

    I happen to agree that in that situation, the lead would have been hung out to dry if something had gone wrong.

  7. #29
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    I had a fire department show up 1 time and was telling me that a Display Company trained them in laws concerning 1.3 shows and fireworks. When the show was being fired they were no were around to assist in fires. Half way through the show my brother had to do the Mexican hat dance and try to put out a small dried out pine tree. No firemen. After the show they came up and was telling us how much they knew about fireworks AGAIN.

    How about some of these so called firemen do the jobs they were supposed to do and let the BATF worry about the laws.

    And this was a small town- I could imagine what happens in larger cities- Legends in their own minds

  8. #30
    APPROVED MEMBER goneshootin's Avatar
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    NJ has state and local fire Marshal's, wouldn't be surprised if we have county FM's.

    I understand the PGI DOC has been updated and I haven't seen the new material.

    In the previous version I find it curious that they don't talk much , if at all about OSHA's rule concerning cell phones and other RF devices on an efired display . If I violate NFPA regs and nothing bad happens I'm not subject to fines. If OSHA shows up on a show and Tom is ematching shells while on his cell phone somebody is getting fined.

  9. #31
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrohobie View Post
    ...When the show was being fired they were no were around to assist in fires. ..
    Aren't the fire crews sometimes instructed not to respond to a fire unless contacted by the pyro crew? Maybe this was SOP for them to wait for the call. Just saying no fireman I've known will sit and watch if he thinks there's a problem. Overzealous attack of inconsequential fires inside the firing zone would concern me more. Partly the reason for this thread. That is, fire crew being inside the firing zone during the display. Or more generally, people not a part of the pyro crew inside the firing zone during the display.

  10. #32
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    Hobie, year ago I had some hazmat training in a FD. Depending on who the instructor was that they had in your scenario they may have been following what they were taught. The hazmat class we were told there are two things you really want for any hazmat call. A good pair of binoculars and a good pair of running shoes in case ya need to retreat further.

    I tell that story as they may have been instructed that you are the professional and let you deal with things until you ask them for there assistance. I can’t see them learning every possible scenario they may encounter in the day to day workings of their jobs. This would be even more compounded in a more rural area with a volunteer FD.

    I have to say so far so good I’ve not been a party to any major issues with any AHJ yet. I’ve had or witnessed some ask some strange questions. Some not show up. Some that were a pleasure to deal with.

  11. #33
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    The Fire Chief in the town our club shoots in twice a year is awesome. This is a very small town, not much over 1000 people, I think. Volunteer FD. This guy is in the club, but he's not too involved with the actual fireworks end of it. But he knows the rules, and he's great to deal with. Also, he makes sure that all new recruits get trained in fireworks by our club, They come down and all of them actually light a shell. THAT's the way to do it!

  12. #34
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    Quote Originally Posted by rbarbourbisfx View Post
    Aren't the fire crews sometimes instructed not to respond to a fire unless contacted by the pyro crew? Maybe this was SOP for them to wait for the call. Just saying no fireman I've known will sit and watch if he thinks there's a problem. Overzealous attack of inconsequential fires inside the firing zone would concern me more. Partly the reason for this thread. That is, fire crew being inside the firing zone during the display. Or more generally, people not a part of the pyro crew inside the firing zone during the display.

    The problem with this shoot is that we had a parachute shell(2 of them) that had a long lasting waterfall effect and the fire was way outside the shoot area. It was so bad that my brother seen a glow and took off.-probably 400'. I didn't realize I had them in there until it was too late(shouldn't been shot over land). They should be observing stuff outside the "safety area" where I'll agree that they shouldn't enter until the crew wanted them to.

  13. #35
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    Quote Originally Posted by rbarbourbisfx View Post
    Aren't the fire crews sometimes instructed not to respond to a fire unless contacted by the pyro crew? Maybe this was SOP for them to wait for the call. Just saying no fireman I've known will sit and watch if he thinks there's a problem. Overzealous attack of inconsequential fires inside the firing zone would concern me more. Partly the reason for this thread. That is, fire crew being inside the firing zone during the display. Or more generally, people not a part of the pyro crew inside the firing zone during the display.
    I always tell them we'll take care of the fires and call them in when needed. I explain to them we have wires and explosives everywhere and don't want them running through the show, that a lot of times we'll let cakes burn, and that we have water cans and people that know the site that will put out most fires. I basically tell them they are there for if we start a grass fire or something we can't control.

    So yea..I'd say they are waiting on us to call instead of being proactive because that's what we told them to do.

    I've never ran into anyone that's had a problem with that either.
    KCAP / MoPyro Member
    Kansas City Area Pyros

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  15. #36
    APPROVED MEMBER Donnie's Avatar
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    Quote Originally Posted by pyro chris View Post
    I always tell them we'll take care of the fires and call them in when needed. I explain to them we have wires and explosives everywhere and don't want them running through the show, that a lot of times we'll let cakes burn, and that we have water cans and people that know the site that will put out most fires. I basically tell them they are there for if we start a grass fire or something we can't control.

    So yea..I'd say they are waiting on us to call instead of being proactive because that's what we told them to do.

    I've never ran into anyone that's had a problem with that either.
    Same here. I also NICELY let them know that if they go on the field unexpectedly, I'm stopping the show.
    Donnie Hoggatt
    Independence, KS U.S.A.

    Cobra, Finale
    KCAP, TotP

  16. #37
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    I realize I am late coming to this thread, but it is some very good discussion and conversation.

    In my opinion for this scenario (and I admit I could be wrong on certain things), you can have all the laws, rules, NFPA guidelines in place that you want and when the unfortunate happens, it all goes out the window in regards to YOU. The decision you have to make is how much risk and how much of your own butt do YOU want to put on the line by making a decision? When something bad happens, you are the only person looking out for yourself. I am always going to default to the company's insurance - what will they cover/not cover if X happens? I would much rather piss off a bunch of people and lose my "job" by refusing to start a display than put my butt on the line and allow someone to violate NFPA OR do something that our insurance wouldn't cover. NFPA isn't going to issue payment if something goes wrong, the company's insurance is the one to make that decision based upon lawyers, courts, etc. With our company, we even have different requirements with insurance (for 1 example, distance to audience of 100' per inch vs 70') that we have to explain to sponsors and AHJs.

    I think that you can actually have control over some of these scenarios with the proper effective communication and ensuring that your stance is firm on your role with sponsors and AHJs. They are not the ones providing the product/service of a fireworks display or the insurance - they have their roles, but the business provides the service & insurance and needs to be the expert and decision maker. Proactive communication with all parties BEFORE the day of the display has allowed us to limit our issues with these parties directly. If you find that your AHJ is not knowledgeable, I think you should assert yourself as the expert and educate them politely but firmly. Wield the tool of "company policy" and say nicely (like people stated above) "Just so you know, if X happens (like someone walks onto the shoot site besides us), our policy is that we are going to stop or refuse to start the display".

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  18. #38
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    Re: fire crew inside firing zone

    For the most part we've had excellent cooperation and support from County/City FM's and municipal & VFD's. We try to do our part by seeking AHJ permission and/or permits with a full display packet: description of planned display, site plan, certificate of insurance, contact numbers, licence copies. We do this ahead of time to assure we're in compliance, but also to discuss any issues the AHJ may have. We also inform the local fire authority about the display, sometimes they will volunteer or it is SOP for them to attend with an engine or brush truck. If the FD is attending, we review the site perimeter and ask them to stay out of the fallout area unless we ask their help, but we also ask them to help us keep an eye on the whole display area, leaving them free to attend to any issues outside of the fallout area. Often times they'll lend us one of their radios for quick communication. Nothing's perfect, we've certainly had some issues, but being prepared and involved with the Fire Authorities ahead of time has certainly helped us perform displays more safely and smoothly.

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