It's 2018 which means Emergency Bricks! has been around for 7 long years! In that time we've seen our ups and downs and grown our databases considerably thanks to community contributions from dedicated experts and novices alike. These contributions have been comprised of nearly 400 digital downloads, nearly 8,000 images and countless forum discussions sharing tips, tricks and techniques from all over the world.
Finishing out 2018 and going into 2019 our goal is to further refine and enhance the user experience here at EB! with all of you in mind. To kick it off, we've updated our software to the latest versions for enhanced user experience as well as user safety. We now operate using an encrypted SSL certificate meaning the data you choose to share is secure. We've also boosted the RAM in our server to provide a faster experience with less load times and lag.
Be on the lookout for brand new features soon too! Feel free to request any new features you think would benefit the community as well! We're all ears.
It's been quite a while since the last BlazingBricks entry. College and work are a deadly combination in the world of Lego, or other hobbies for that matter.
Open Letter to EMS
I'm sure you have all heard about the most recent terror attack in Nice, France. In this blog entry, I'll be discussing what that and other recent attacks mean for us in the world of Fire/EMS. The following copied from a personal post I made several months ago.
Now, these may paint a pretty grim picture of the world we live in. But remember, our likelihood of being caught in a terror attack or other major incident is still pretty slim. Higher than ever, but still pretty unlikely. Regardless, we as EMS providers have to keep a heightened situational awareness both at home and abroad.
The world of Tactical EMS is changing every day. Partially as a result of the San Bernardino terror attack, protocols are beginning to change around the United States for "hot zone" EMS. There is currently a push to get Rescue and EMS into the "hot zone"- an active scene- to provide care and extraction of patients as quickly as possible. Obviously, this is extremely high risk. Nothing is set in stone yet, but be aware of the paradigm shift that may be implemented in coming years.
In a post from a Dallas police officer, he quotes, "Fire did NOT get enough credit...they were moving with us in ambulances toward Market St towards the gunfire. Every single time we told them to get out of the shooting zone the driver would just keep yelling "Just tell us where they are," referring to our downed Officers.". Protocol, no. Probably not. But this is the start of the shift discussed above, on a personal level. When it's one of our own, or our brothers or sisters in blue, red, or otherwise, treatment takes on an increased sense of urgency. Keep your wits about you, and treat the injuries just as you would any other patient. Don't get flustered, and do your job.
What Do I Do?
Train. Practice. Know your protocols. Learn new skills. Keep your underutilized skills sharp. Keep your situational awareness up- we are a target too. Bolded, underlined, and italicized to instill just how important it is to remember that. The more knowledge and practice you have, the better you will perform in crisis- On duty or off duty. Additionally, practice using equipment you have at hand. You're out and about, without your rig or EMS bag, and an incident occurs- terror attack, mass shooting, etc. You have just the everyday things you carry on your person- make them work and know what you'd do with each item if the worst case scenario occurs. What do you or I do in that scenario? We do our jobs. Time to go to work.
"Learn, Train, Survive, Save. No excuses"
Capt. K out
James is a 6-year member of the LFC, and currently studies Natural Resources Management at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, NY. James is a certified Type 2 Wildland Firefighter and Hazardous Materials Technician. James is also a New York State EMT-Basic, and a pending National Registry EMT. James has worked for three fire departments and one EMS agency in his 5 years in emergency services. James is entering his 6th year in Fire & EMS in November 2016.
The crew, of above title fame are those who compose the riding compliment to fire apparatus everywhere. Unlike the popularly held belief held by the public and unfortunately some fire departments, firefighters don’t just jump on and off putting the wet stuff on the red stuff. It is in practice, a good deal more complicated than that. Each firefighter is a time tested technician, specialist and expert in a multitude of felids. From Firefighters and EMTs to Hazardous Materials Technicians and Paramedics, their skillsets are wide. As such the crew is a well oiled machine and not merely some guys thrown together, as famously said by District Chief of Special Functions for the Chicago Fire Department John Eversole, “Nobody calls the fire department and says, 'Send me two dumb-*** firemen in a pickup truck.' In three minutes they want five brain-surgeon decathlon champions to come and solve all their problems.” Hence there are set positions for each type of company in the fire service, which may vary by department are often roughly similar. These crews range in their manpower as dictated by the usual i.e. sick time, layoffs, etc. Hence what I dictate below are the average compositions in approximate order of importance.
Driver, aka Engine Company Chauffeur (ECC), Motor Pump Operator (MPO), Emergency Vehicle Technician (EVD), or Fire Equipment Operator (FEO) to name a few: Obviously the most important position despite often being looked over due to not actually seeing fire duty, but is responsible for the crew’s safety getting to scene. Also of close importance is pumping, so that those inside are getting the correct water, in amount and pressure to put out the fire.
Officer: Usually a Lieutenant or Captain, but sometimes a Sergeant or just the senior man. He is in charge of the crew as a whole and is responsible for all their on duty actions both on and off the fireground. In regard to operations he will usually assume the position of back up on the line (the guy behind the nozzleman).
Nozzleman: As the name suggests he is the one with the nozzle and is responsible for putting out the fire. He will pull the line off and advance it to the fire, at which point it will, hopefully, be charged and put in service.
Layout or Hydrant: He is the other man, along with the nozzleman who sit in the “bucket” or the back of the cab, often in jumpseats. Depending on how the riding assignments are set their positions are dictated by either the officer at the start of shift or by which side the fires on allowing the nozzleman to get off and always be on the same side as the fire. Hence the Hydrant man’s job is to pull the supply line off during the lay into a fire and then attach it to the hydrant. Once attached he will charge it on the order of the Driver unless a hose clamp is in place, in which case he can charge it immediately. Once charged he will return to the apparatus and will often become the third man on the line.
Backup: While the normal manpower on an engine is four, and unfortunately only three sometimes, on occasion there are more. In which case the fifth man will become backup to the nozzleman and relive the officer of some of his tasks so he came focus on the bigger picture.
Control: Will control the door to keep in the happy medium of two-thirds open, not enough to cause a flowpath but, open enough not to stop the hose line from passing by.
Driver, or Ladder Company Chauffeur (LCC), or Emergency Vehicle Driver (EVD): Again I consider this the most important position due its responsibility for the crew’s safety while going to the scene and the noticeable fact that someone always has to drive there. Unlike his engine counterpart, he doesn’t have to always be with his apparatus. Hence he may take up assignments such as venting the roof, along with vent, enter, isolate and search.
Officer: Usually a Lieutenant or Captain, but sometimes a Sergeant or just the senior man. He is in charge of the crew as a whole and is responsible for all their on duty actions both on and off the fireground. During an operation he leads the interior team of himself, the can / hook man, and irons. Opposed to the exterior team of the roof man, outside vent and driver.
Irons, or Barman: Responsible for forcing entry into the structure via the use of the iron set, composed of the halligan and flat head axe. When forcing the door, he opens the building not only to the ladder but the engine also, often also forcing a second door for egress / escape. Once inside he joins in the interior team’s objective of search and rescue through the primary and secondary searches.
Canman, or Hook and Can: Utilizing the water can (a pressurized water extinguisher) to suppress any fire which the interior team may encounter during their search. While he may suppress small fires, larger fires are to be put out with a dedicated hoseline.
Outside Vent Man (OVM): In charge of horizontally venting in coordination with the hoseline, along with laddering the building. Also the OVM will perform VEIS to search for victims independently of the interior team, due to this and that the majority of his duties are done alone based off initiative he is often considered the most independent of the crew. Also, if assigned to a tractor drawn apparatus, he is the tillerman
Roof Man: The second member of the exterior team, his job is to vertically ventilate a structure via the use of saws and axes. Has the secondary function of salvage and overhaul along with the OVM.
Driver: When assigned to a rescue or squad company, the driver will often perform much the same jobs as his truck company counterpart. Unlike the LCC, he also has the responsibility of setting up the tools, hydraulic and otherwise for use during rescue operations such as vehicle extrication.
Officer: Again during fire operations as for the rest of the rescue company, performs the same tasks as the truck company. Yet, when doing extrication, he is in charge of doing the 360* scene size up and then creating the action plan for the operation at hand.
Irons: During a technical rescue operation or TRI, he is responsible for the operation of the primary tool. This tool may be the cutters, spreaders, or the ram.
Canman: In conjunction with the Barman, he runs the secondary tool or backs up the the primary tool during extrication operations.
OVM: In charge of stabilizing the vehicle so that it is safe to work on and make patient contact. This is done with either box cribs, stair chalks, or struts. After initial stabilization he will continue to check and fix unstable cribbing. In this role, he is similar to a Safety Officer with the ability to stop operations if the vehicle becomes unsafe to work on.
You may nominate any creations or member who falls into one of the following categories:
Builder of the Year
Best Rescue / Squad
Best Police Vehicle
Best Brush / Wildland
Best Airport Rig
Best CAD/ LDD Creation
Best Pickup / SUV
Best Unique Vehicle
(wreckers, buses, flatbeds, and other emergency vehicles that don't fit into a category listed)
Other / Misc
Most Advanced/ Innovative Design Technique or Feature
Best Presentation (Includes photos, backgrounds and other elements.)
Best Accident/ Fire or Other Scene
Best Striping / Decaling
Remember to include the following when posting a nomination:
The name or alias of the member being nominated.
What category they are being nominated for.
A link to their creation either here on on MOCpages.
If you would like to be anonymous use a private message and let us know so we can honor this request.
We are excited to announce a new feature here on EB called "Feedback" for the community to use.
Now this is not feedback regarding community posts or content, but feedback regarding transactions with other members of the community, such as the purchasing/ trading/ selling of models amongst members.
We have always provided the Buy/ Sell/ Trade forum, but if you are new to the community it could be a bit scary entering into a deal with someone you know nothing about.
With our new Feedback system, users can rate their experiences and leave comments about the transactions, building up a buyer/seller reputation amongst members to get an idea of who are Grade A buyers and sellers, and who the flakes you should probably avoid are.
To add feedback you'll need the following info:
Name of who you are rating.
Rating you are giving the transaction. (Negative, Neutral, Positive, etc.)
Your position in the transaction. (Buyer, Seller, Trading)
Comment(s) about the experience.
And optionally, if there is a forum topic such as a for sale listing, simply type the title of the topic to link it to your review and it will autocomplete in the form.
Check it out now: http://emergencybricks.com/index.php?/feedback/
As you probably are already aware, we suffered some technical difficulties over the past couple weeks resulting in the loss of some data from our servers. We, fortunately, were able to restore just about everything, but in the process discovered that although all of our files were back in place, they had become corrupted somehow in the restoration.
There is a silver lining however, as we have an older backup that contains working versions of most, if not all, of the 300-400 submissions to our download database.
The biggest challenge will be going through each one, one item at a time, reuploading the files until everything is restored. We ask, and appreciate, your patience as we work to get this done as quickly as we can.
The downloads database is once again stable, and while you wait we encourage everyone to continue to share and contribute their creations for the world to see and continue to build EB into the largest one-stop-shop for all of your LEGO Police, Fire & EMS resources.
You've just walked into your fire station on your first day. As an Explorer, Volunteer, or Career firefighter, your career in emergency services begins now. I was there almost 4 years ago. I signed my Explorer Post application, grabbed some gear, and got ready to train for the first time. I knew my responsibilities, I knew the job, and I had the ambition. Here are a few things to expect from your first fire job, and a few things to avoid.
Know Your Job: If you're an Explorer or Junior Firefighter, your job is to train and learn. If your post allows you to respond to calls, prepare for that. Train in firefighting of course, but know your BLS skills. More than likely, you'll respond to a good number of medicals before you ever see a fire. If your post does not let you respond, train anyway! That's the job of an Explorer. Know how to take pulses and BPs for rehab. Know your scene assist tasks.
Know Your Rig: If you're responding, you have have have to know your truck inside and out. I recently started at Grand Lake Fire in CO for the summer, and first thing I did, even before being cleared to run calls, was memorize my truck. Start with the things you'll need the most: EMS bags, water and ABC cans, hand tools, ground ladders, preconnects and brass (nozzles and fittings), SCBAs and spare bottles (These are very important to know, whether you are exterior, interior, or support staff). Then move onto the lesser-used things: Haz-Mat equipment, absorbents, rescue tools, rope rescue gear, etc. If you memorize your rig you'll be much better off starting out. And don't stick to just one rig, make sure you can locate the PPV on the Ladder, the Denver bar on the second due Engine, the haz-mat gear on the Rescue, the command board in the Chief's vehicle... Know all of it.
Train Like Your Life Depends On It: It does. Firefighters, train hard and train every day, for every scenario. Station Pride posted an article a while back detailing how to train to respond to the unimaginable. It may seem silly or pointless, but trust me from experience: there is no "routine" shift, or day on the job. Saturday nightshift on the ambulance, expecting many alcohol-related calls, responded to an evisceration stabbing less than a block from quarters. There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. A. Routine. Shift. Our profession is chaotic, and we all need to do better preparing for the thing we never expect. Train train train!
Don't be "That Guy": There's one in every firehouse. Eventually, you'll understand what I mean. Don't try to act above your knowledge or skill level. Don't be a know-it-all. It's okay to know it all, but remember that someone will always know more than you, and there is always more to learn. It's also okay to say "Well, I haven't done this before, and it makes me a little nervous, but I'll give it a try!". Strive to do more, learn more, be more. Ask to try new things. Ask to try a different riding position. Show the initiative and you will be held in high regard. But make sure you are competent in your current duties before trying to advance.
Pranks And Hazing: Oh yes, there will be pranks. Some fire service traditions never die. A little pranking and good-hearted joking is all okay and all in good fun. BUT there are some pranks that I feel cross a line. One is pranks involving gear. A while ago, a female firefighter found her boots filled with water as a part of a prank. Think about what could have happened if they dropped a call and she had to wear those boots inside a structure? Steam burns are nothing to joke about. The gear we wear is designed to save our lives. If you feel like a prank crosses a line of safety, or makes you feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, speak up. TL;DR? Do not mess with gear. Do not put others at unnecessary risks with pranks. Do not be afraid to speak up if a prank crosses the line.
Pride: My first helmet was a red leather Lion American Heritage. Throughout 3 years in the department, I made it my own. Swapping out my Bourkes for clearer, unscratched ones; adding stickers and new tets, polishing my brass eagle, keeping my leather helmet shield and leather helmet in good condition, even giving it my own signature bend. I often got asked by fellow Explorers why I did so much to my lid, and often picked up some teasing for it. But it's a good question: why did I do it all? Well, it's the same reason we almost religiously clean and polish our trucks, and go to shows and parades. It's all about pride in the Job. With the fire service comes a certain pride in the work you're doing, never let your Pride in the job die. (But never let your pride get you into trouble. Don't be afraid to call the mayday or give you a big head).
Brotherhood: "In this Brotherhood, no one fights alone". We go in together, and we come out together. Someone always has your back. It becomes an unspoken bond, a band of brothers, if you will. The fire service is built on Brotherhood, and it is still as present today as it ever has been. Embrace it.
If You Don't Know...: Ask! There will always be someone wiling to be your mentor or give you advice and tips, or even just answer simple questions. We all start somewhere.
Eventually you will stop calling it a Fire Station "because everyone knows that they aren't called firehouses anymore!", and you will call it a firehouse. It will become your second home, and your Brothers and Sisters will become your second family. You'll know their lives, their kids' names, what they like to do on their days off, and they will know yours. You'll stay an hour after a twenty-minute call just to talk to your old friends you haven't seen in a while and shoot the bull. Fire will be a part of your life forever, even if you decide to take a different path in life later on.
Welcome to the Brotherhood, probies. Let's get to work.
James is a 4-year member of the LFC, and currently studies Natural Resources Management at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, NY. James is a certified Type 2 Wildland Firefighter, Hazardous Materials Technician, and Driver/Attendant and EMT Student at Syracuse University EMS. James has worked for three fire departments and one EMS agency in his 4 years in emergency services. James is entering his 5th year in Fire & EMS in November 2015.
*How am I doing? Send in your Questions, Comments, or Suggestions to me here, or on Facebook!*
Welcome readers to Blazing Bricks! Before my first column, I'm going to introduce myself to those of you who don't know me. My name is James K, and I've been a part of the LFC since early 2010. Back in the "Good Old Days" of County  Command on MOCpages, studded roofs on trucks, and only a very select few members using any sort of SNOT. I started my fleet with a commercial chassis engine, aerial purchased from NBEA, a Utility unit, and a Battalion unit. I now have 6 departments with 7 unique color schemes, and approximately 60 total fire and EMS units.
I first entered the emergency services field in November of 2010 as an Explorer with Topsfield Fire-Rescue in MA, and soon after an explorer with Boxford Fire Department in nearby Boxford, MA. I ran with Topsfield for 3 years, and Boxford for around 2 1/2. Then, off to college, where I am now! I am currently running in my second year with Syracuse University Ambulance as a Driver/Attendant and EMT student. This past summer, during an internship with the National Park Service in Colorado, I joined the Grand Lake Fire Protection District as a Volunteer Firefighter and Wildland Technical Specialist. As of now, I am still running with SUA, and hold a Wildland Firefighter Type II "Red Card".
I decided to start this column to pass along the knowledge and advice I've gotten over the years from the "Vets" of the LFC and from working in Fire/EMS. You new members are the future of the LFC and of the fire service, and sometimes us older members forget that in order to keep going we must share the knowledge. So, that's what I'm here to do.
See you all tomorrow with the first edition!
I was going to leave this bit till the end, but i thought it should go up top, its quick tips, and might save you from reading my long and possibly geeky and self absorbed little piece.
1: Stabilize, Stabilize, Stabilize.
For the love of all that is holy, keep that camera still. Stuff in the frame can move, the camera really shouldn't, it leads to nasty blurry photos that even a dog would pronounce dodgy. Do it by any means, wedge you iPhone up with random objects, use a tripod, use tape, anything, just don't let it move.
Light is everything, you could get freaky like me and start using flashlights to augment you lego shots, or just use a set of flashes to get a nice clean shot. Experiment with it, and make sure you have enough, otherwise blurry or noisy photos will result.
3: Its ALIVE!
Your lego is alive, you've created a fire department that goes to fires and races down the wrong side of the road, don't be afraid to get down on the carpet with your lego and take pictures of your fire trucks like the local fire buffs would.
Firstly before we jump headlong into pressing shutter buttons, a little bit about how photos work, please skip ahead if you know what i'm about to say. And remember that i'm only any good at taking them, i'm no photoshop expert, on all things graphic design and photoshop i'd say Dakota would be your man.
A photograph is an exposure of light onto an imaging area, IE Film, or a digital sensor. If we just assume that no one is shooting lego on film (if you are brave soul, i commend thee) we assume that that imaging area is a sensor. I doubt you want to read the geekyness associated with imaging sensors on a lego page so i will skip all but the bare necessities.
So we have a sensor and we have a lens to project your image onto it. from this point onwards 3 main things control the exposure that hits that sensor.
Shutter Speed: How long the photo took to make
Aperture: How wide the opening that allowed light into the camera was.
ISO / ASA / Film speed: How sensitive the camera was.
These things explain why your pictures may be blurry, dark, too bright, noisy, and how much is in focus.
So Shutter speed, shutter speed affects both brightness, and motion. A fast shutter speed in a well lit space will freeze motion, catch that baseball tack sharp as it leaves the bat. Show shutter speeds will allow anything bright enough that moves to create a blur, the classic shots of the head and tail lights turning into trails on the freeway.
Fast, freezes the plant.
Slow, everything that moves turns to blur.
How does this effect lego then? Lego doesn't move right... Hmm, we'll talk about that one later.
Aperture, Aperture is the size the iris on your lens, or the hole is that lets light to the sensor. it is measured in a F stop. if your experiencing lenses with a T stop, your looking at movie lenses, and should't be having to read my explanations. The smaller that number, the bigger the hole and more light gets in, backwards I know... It affects again overall brightness, and it affects how much of the image is in focus, IE depth of field.
This one is really important to lego, i notice it time and time again with people that shoot their lego on DSLRs. Because lego is so tiny what would be a large depth of field when taking a picture of your cat, now becomes tiny again, this is why only the front bumper of your truck is in proper focus.
An example, of how just changing the aperture put the whole truck in focus.
ISO / ASA / Film speed.
This is that overlooked little setting on pretty much anything that takes a picture, my crappy nokia has it, my 35mm film camera has it...
This controls how sensitive the camera or film is, and therefore controls how bright the exposure is, and has the side effect of controlling, grain, noise and dynamic range.
A low ISO will give the cleanest shot, it will also effect how much difference in light levels your camera can see, google dymanic range to get geeky here.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/38285596@N02/8543721454/ A shot with a high iso, showing how the image has become grainer, just as it would with film, it also has a little bit more digital noise.
How does this one affect lego photos.... Its what lets you stop them being so horribly noisy!
These three things all affect how bright the image is and must be successfully blended to create the shot. A slower shutter speed would allow a brighter frame so that you could use a smaller iso to get a more finely detailed shot, or so you could use a smaller F stop to get more of the photo in focus. In reverse, you might decide to use a really high iso and have noisier and grainer shots so you could freeze the action at a basketball game, or in my case freeze the dog before she ran off.
And before we finish the geeky section another setting that all cameras have, White balance. This is why sometimes your photos look a bit blue or maybe look like the burning pits of a very orange hell. This tells your camera what white is supposed to be when being lit by whatever is lighting your shot, IE a lightbulb or the sun, we can sometimes see this color difference but most of the time our brain is set on very good automatic.
For example normal tungsten lightbulbs are very orangey, so the camera sets its self a bit blue to compensate, when set incorrectly the camera gets things a little muddled, simple rule of thumb, set it to Auto, unless shooting videos or until something looks weird, at this point set the camera to the most appropriate setting. the reason for video being that the camera might decide to change halfway through your shot and all your colors go a bit weird.
Now thats the geeky bit over with phew...
So taking pictures of your creation first of all, Tom i'm sure has said much of this before, his shots are always perfectly lit and you know what your looking at, go look at his gallery and see how nicely its all lit.
This sort of setup of camera on tripod and being well lit is perfect for showing the world what you built. My only tip here ontop of looking at Toms shots is to try to use a longer shutter speed as nothing is planning to move allowing you too use a deeper aperture, bigger F stop to get the whole thing in tack sharp focus.
Where you position everything is really up to you, just try to not make it distracting, if backgrounds are distracting, just open up the aperture to blur it all out if you can. And be aware of shadows if using single light sources.
But where i'm really interested is creative photos of lego, and of lego scenes.
here all the rules for taking creative photos apply, but with a special twist of your protagonists being about an inch tall
So... some examples of cool things to try, i use the examples to demonstrate my ideas, i'm not saying i actually took good shots here at all, its the idea that counts.
Taking these sort of shots really helps give a human quality to your lego world. try zooming in a long way to get a nice shallow look and creatively light the figure, be careful of glare of the plastic though, i often have trouble with this. Take note from seriously cool portraits on proper photography sites and try and get the same thing across, remember composition ideas here too, try to avoid dead centre shots unless its a specific look your going for. example (Up in the face with a fisheye).
Slow Shutter Speeds.
Slow shutters help you to add motion to your work, here i've got a police car that I shot in focus and then moved under the lights to give the idea of speeding to a call. The other is the spinning chopper blades, spin the blades and set of the shutter, job done.
When you use wide lenses, or zoom out a long way most lenses suffer from whats called barrel distortion, where everything looks a bit bendy, it also exaggerates the spacial difference between items, this can lead to some very dramatic shots.
Just remember to really get the effect you need really wide lenses, in the case of the quantum the shot was just way too big, so i cropped the truck out of the centre.
At the extreme end fisheyes or a fisheye effect, either screwed onto your camera, or done in post in some very scary photo editing software.
All about showing the department is alive.
Just try to imagine being a journalist or fire buff on your scene and try to get the camera low and into the action, i often can't get as close or as low as I want, this is something i'm really working on.
Shallow Depth of field.
Using a bigger aperture, small f stop lets you make things shallower, if you on a dslr or decent compact this allows to isolate the thing your showing to the viewer, here in a crowded trauma room Bruce is introduced to someone, i only really want you to look at the things in focus, but i still want you to feel like your in the room, so i blurred it all out.
Cool action shot lighting.
I have no idea where the ideas for these sort of thing come from, just start messing around with a flashlight I Hope thats given you some ideas, I really love taking pictures of lego Don't be scared to take the camera out of auto and have some fun.
Times are changing now, it is sad to think that fire and ems have to wear body armor now or have police escorts. I hope in time my self to get EMS or First Responder training. The article was well written and makes you think about things differently.