Firehouse Friday Chat – with Jack & Mack

Jack & Mack

Jack & Mack Nov 27th, 2020

Meet Jack 30 years he’s been sniffing out gas leaks. He is not tall but built like a small Alp. It’s been remarked in the past, that he has a face like a cartoon character or a lego brick. He once lost all his clothes playing strip dominoes in a bed wetting clinic.

Meet Mack, as strong as an ox. His parents were simple folk. His father was the town blacksmith and his mother worked for him. She was very strong and when the shoes were ready, she’d hand her husband the horse. On weekends, his mother worked as a bouncer in a gambling club and every Sunday ran kick boxing classes at the state penitentiary. At aged 18 he joined the military and forged his way in the world of chemical and biological weapons to become the expert he is today, an expert in precision guesswork.

Mack: “Hey Jack, have you heard of the new Hazmat How firefighter’s identify a HAZMAT chemical using the new: “Tri-Cop-Scope Method”

Jack: “First I’ve heard?”

Mack: “ Yes we’ve just had a briefing on it.

Stage 1. Police Officer standing/Car running: Not hazardous

Stage 2. Police Officer unconscious/Car running: Toxic fumes.

Stage 3. Police Officer unconscious/Car stalled: Oxygen displacing chemical.

Stage 4. Police Officer/Car both melting: Acidic chemical.

Stage 5. Police Officer/Car on fire: Extremely flammable.

Jack: “Idiot! But that reminds me of a list that someone put up on the noticeboard in the firehouse kitchen – Titled; How to Simulate Life in the Army.

Mack:”What’s it say?”
Jack: “ 1. Dig a big hole in your back yard and live in it for 30 days straight.

2. Go inside only to clean the house. On weekends, you can eat in the house, but you can’t talk.

3. Pour 10 inches of nasty, crappy water into your hole, then shovel it out, stack sandbags around it and cover it with a sheet of old plywood.

4. Fill a backpack with 50 pounds of kitty litter. Never take it off outdoors. Jog everywhere you go.

5. Every couple of weeks, dress up in your best clothes and go the scummiest part of town, find the most run down trashy bar you can, pay $10 per beer until you’re hammered, then walk home in the freezing cold.

6. Perform a weekly disassembly and inspection of your lawnmower.

7. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays turn the water pressure in your shower down to a trickle, then on Tuesday and Thursday turn it up so hard it peels skin. On Saturdays and Sundays declare to your entire family that they can’t use the shower in order to keep it clean for inspection.

8. Go inside and make your bed every morning. Have your wife tear the blankets off at random during the day. Re-make the bed each time until it is time to go back outside and sleep in your hole.

9. Have your next door neighbor come over each day at 5am, and blow a whistle so loud that Helen Keller could hear it and shout “Get up! Get up! You are moving too slow! Get down and do push-ups!”

10. Have your mother-in-law write down everything she’s going to do the following day, then have her make you stand in the back yard at 6am and read it to you!”

Mack: “It’s all true!!”
This weeks question comes from Dave Seddon in Minnesota. “Jack. What is the most common Hazmat incident ?”

Jack: “ The most common hazmat incident that Hazmat teams have to deal with involves gasoline, diesel fuel, oil and natural gas in liquid and gas forms, we call these hydrocarbons.

Hydrocarbons account for over 75% of all Hazmat transported throughout the country, and that’s the most common situation, an accident. This can result in an explosion, lethal vapors, property damage and environmental pollution.

As of this week’s Mack & Jack, there have been 3525 Hazmat transport incidents with 3 fatalities and the cost is just short of $29 million. A further 8000 incidents have occurred in the storage , load and unload procedures of these materials, bumping that figure by a further $7 million. 80% of these incidents occurred on the highway. Less than 5% occurred on the rail network but those incidents were costly in terms of injury, fatality and accounted for 90% of the cost.

I just want to add that It’s crucial that teams have a range of portable identifiers available, an entry team can identify the substance and accompanying gases and vapors in seconds and calculate their explosive range, concentration levels and any additional hazards due to interaction with other substances on site. Training to achieve the necessary proficiency is critical and to train realistically I use and recommend the “HazSim” system. The instructor can replicate common devices and can change readings on the fly dispensing with the need to interfere with the student ‘down range’. It is as real as it gets and it’s 100% safe! Find out more at