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Leather Lungs
By Gerald "Jerry" Tracy
Battalion Chief (ret.), FDNY

That was a term used to distinguish those firefighters who, through years of fighting fires, had hardened their lungs to the point of withstanding exposure to thick nasty smoke. Ergo, "Leather Lungs." I was in awe of these men when I joined the ranks of FDNY in 1977. It was an interesting time. Because of civil unrest and arson-for-profit, the FDNY was battling hundreds of fires per day thought the city, many of which were multiple alarms. It was also the period in which the Scott Air Pack, the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), was being introduced to the department. 

RescueAir Donates FARS to
Sunnvyale, CA DPS Training Facility

To help firefighters in Sunnyvale, CA battle fires in large buildings like high- and mid-rises and big box-style structures, RescueAir recently completed installation of a firefighter air replenishment system (FARS), which the company donated to the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (DPS). The system was installed at the DPS Training Center at Sunnyvale Fire Station #2, located at 795 E. Arques Avenue. It will allow firefighters to train on this important life safety system, which Sunnyvale requires in new high-rise construction. The donation is valued at $45,000.

Plano, TX  Adopts Appendix L,   2015 International Fire Code

We were pleased to hear that FARS are now required in Plano, TX in the following occupancies:

  • Any new building 5 or more stories in height
  • Any new building with 2 or more floors below grade
  • Any new building 500,000 square feet or more in size

The City of Plano Fire Department adopted Appendix L, the FARS code, with the 2015 Edition of the International Fire Code. It took effect April 1. Plano is located 20 miles northeast of Dallas, and with 269,800 residents, it is the ninth most populous city in the state.


Contaminated Air
In Cylinders

By Ronny J. Coleman
California State Fire Marshal (ret.)

How many people today know what the term “black damp” means? I learned the term at a very young age because black damp could be deadly when you were cleaning out water wells. We were living in a relatively rural area. Many of the homes had their water supply coming from hand-dug wells. Most of these wells were about 4 to 6 feet in diameter and were either lined with stone or wood. Frequently, roots would grow into the wells and cut off the water supply. Somebody like me was often hired to climb down a ladder into the well and cut off the root tentacles to restore the water flow. One of the most important things we learned was not to go below the grade to without first checking the quality of the air. 

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