ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
79°
Partly Cloudy
H 91° L 75°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 91° L 75°
  • cloudy-day
    90°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 91° L 75°
  • clear-day
    89°
    Evening
    Sunny. H 95° L 75°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Behind the scenes look at Tulsa firefighter equipment
Close

Behind the scenes look at Tulsa firefighter equipment

Behind the scenes look at Tulsa firefighter equipment
Photo Credit: Russell Mills

Behind the scenes look at Tulsa firefighter equipment

After a Tulsa firefighter collapsed and nearly died inside a burning house, his equipment became a focus of the investigation into what happened, so KRMG decided to provide an in-depth look at the equipment firefighters use.

We met TFD firefighters Stan May and Tom Hufford, Jr. at Station 20 near E. 59th St. and S. Mingo Ave. for a demonstration of the equipment and to ask some questions.

May says Tulsa firefighters have to be able to don all of their protective equipment in 60 seconds or less in order to graduate from the academy.

The process literally begins from the ground up with the firefighter's boots and pants which are left sitting on the floor (see photo gallery) for instant access.

The coat comes next.

The clothing, including the pants, coat, and a protective hood, are made of fire-resistant Kevlar material and insulated as well.

May told KRMG the material can withstand temperatures approaching 1200 degrees F. for a brief time before burning.

Over the hood, the firefighter dons a mask which hooks into the self-contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA.

This is the equipment at the focus of the investigation into the injuries of Tulsa Firefighter James O'Neill, who collapsed while fighting an arson fire New Year's Eve.

O'Neil was not breathing and had no pulse when his fellow firefighters pulled him from the building.

May says he did still have his breathing equipment on when they pulled him out.

After a firefighter dons his helmet and breathing equipment, his company officer checks to ensure all skin is covered and all equipment is properly fitted and functional.

Tulsa firefighters' SCBA apparatus includes a valve in front which another firefighter can hook into so the pair can share a single oxygen tank.

Another valve on the backside, near the tanks, can be used to refill the tank.

Another important feature of the SCBA is its alarm system

When the tank is down to about five minutes worth of air, a loud bell, like an old telephone, sounds, alerting the firefighter.

"That bell starts going off, everybody in the room knows you're running out of air," May said.

Another system senses movement.

If the firefighter stops moving for longer than 15 seconds, the alarm goes off.

Every couple of seconds after it begins sounding, with the tones becoming more urgent and the volume increasing continuously.

As in the case of O'Neil, if a firefighter is overcome by fumes, or smoke, or collapses for any reason and becomes still, his fellow firefighters will be alerted by the sound of the alarm.

And fumes have  become a much bigger problem for firefighters in recent years.

May told KRMG, "There are nearly twice as many BTUs in a  square foot of modern household material than there was in the old style."

He said it's because of the synthetics now used for carpeting, furniture, draperies, et cetera.

"Thirty, forty years ago we didn't have an issue with that. Everything was wood and cloth and cotton. But now all the furniture's plastic," he said.

It remains unclear if O'Neil's injuries were due to malfunctioning equipment.

May says a firefighter's equipment is assigned to the individual, with the exception of the air tanks.

All of the breathing gear, the helmet, the coat and pants, all stay with the firefighter to whom they're issued.

We have posted photos of the gear and some of its special features in the photo gallery attached to this story.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • Delta Air Lines said for flights out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago in the Dominican Republic as approaches. >> Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria: Live updates Atlanta-based Delta is also adding two extra flights from San Juan to Atlanta for those who want to get out of the hurricane’s path. >> Read more trending news Delta is waiving change fees for travelers with flights booked to, from or through San Juan, Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago from Sept. 19-26. >> More hurricane coverage from WFTV, Action News Jax and the Palm Beach Post Southwest Airlines is canceling its flights scheduled to and from San Juan for Tuesday after 6 p.m. and Wednesday, and to and from Punta Cana on Wednesday.
  • Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, is giving up his Secret Service protection, according to a person familiar with the matter.  The person, speaking under condition of anonymity, was not authorized to comment publicly. The Secret Service said in a statement that 'to ensure the safety and security of our protectees and their families we will not confirm who is currently receiving Secret Service protection.'  » Donald Trump Jr. releases email exchange with Russian intermediary The New York Times reported Monday night that Trump Jr. is declining the protection so he can have more 'privacy.'  Yet Trump Jr.’s decision to forgo protection could be a big cost-savings for the agency already strained by President Trump's frequent travels and large family.  As USA TODAY first reported in August, the Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs for an expanded protective mission under Trump, who has spent almost every weekend traveling to properties he owns on the East Coast.  » Trump dictated son’s statement on 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer, report says Director Randolph “Tex” Alles said last month that more than 1,000 agents have already hit federally mandated caps on annual salary and overtime allowances meant to last the entire year. Congress would need to intervene to get these agents paid.  In an interview, Alles acknowledged the president's large, 18-member family but added that there was 'no flexibility' in the service's mandated protective responsibility. 'I can't change that,' he said. » 8th person at 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer identified Trump can't pay for his own Secret Service protection because it could raise legal issues under the Anti-Deficiency Act. Yet Trump's immediate family is allowed, under the law, to decline Secret Service protection or find other options, such as private security.  As Trump Organization executives, Trump's children – both Donald Jr. and his brother Eric Trump – take frequent trips to promote Trump-branded properties across the globe, from their home base in New York to places as far-flung as the United Kingdom and Dubai. Eric's business trip to Uruguay earlier this year cost the Secret Service nearly $100,000 just for hotel rooms, as one example. Under Trump, the service is protecting an unprecedented 42 officials, up from 31 during the Obama administration. » White House confirms that email ‘prankster’ tricked Trump administration officials
  • An environmental science teacher at Broken Arrow Public Schools has been named Oklahoma's Teacher of the Year for 2018. Gradel has taught at Broken Arrow Public Schools for 21 years. A 29-year veteran educator, Gradel began her teaching career after receiving one of the first women's basketball scholarships to West Virginia University. One of Gradel's biggest student project was instructing her students to design a large-scale aquaponics system.  The system provided clean water and a sustainable food system to raise fish and plants for impoverished orphans in a remote region of Kenya.  After months of research and data collection, Gradel and her students then traveled to Africa to complete the system.   The winner is chosen after extensive interviews with 12 finalists by a 20-member panel of judges.
  • Top Senate Republicans say their last-ditch push to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law is gaining momentum. But they have less than two weeks to succeed and face a tough fight to win enough GOP support to reverse the summer's self-inflicted defeat on the party's high-priority issue. 'We feel pretty good about it,' Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., a leader of the effort along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Monday. 'He's the grave robber,' No. 3 Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota said of Cassidy. 'This thing was six feet under' but now has 'a lot of very positive buzz,' Thune said. With Democrats unanimously against the bill, Republicans commanding the Senate 52-48 would lose if just three GOP senators are opposed. That proved a bridge too far in July, when three attempts for passage of similar measures fell short and delivered an embarrassing defeat to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. McConnell said he'd not bring another alternative to the Senate floor unless he knew he had the 50 votes needed. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote. A victory would let Senate Republican leaders claim redemption on their 'repeal and replace' effort. The House approved its version of the bill in May.