Thursday, June 27, 2013

Twitter Thursday!

Tweet Tweet!

I'm making a concious effort starting TODAY to use my Twitter account more. I read my Twitter feed daily, but I don't Tweet. Why? I have no idea, really. 

So in honor of my pledge, I'm sharing my Twitter here with you all! Follow me. Tweet me! Leave me a comment with your Twitter account so I can follow you back.

While I'm sharing my Twitter link, I'll share my other social media links as well. Like me, follow me... let's spread the fire wife love!

Twitter - 374sWife

Instagram - lifebetweenthetones

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sometimes a Picture is Worth 1,000 Words...

I snapped this picture last night with my cell phone and uploaded it to my Instagram on my way to bed last night. Something about the way 374's helmet was thrown on the couch alongside everyone else's random belongings from the day caught my eye. At first I wasn't sure what made me stop and grab my phone to take the picture, but then I realized it was the perfect symbol of the volunteer fire lifestyle.

When you really look at this picture, you see the basket of clothes I washed and folded, the Tractor House magazine Bubby grabbed at the gas station on our way to visit friends yesterday. There's also the necklace Sassy wore yesterday and the case to the Game Boy that kept her occupied on the previously mentioned trip  to visit friends. There's a water bottle the kids were drinking from while playing outside, and the shoes I wore while we ran errands.

In the middle of all those items from the various activities of the day is his fire helmet. Being the wife and kids of a volunteer firefighter means at any given time of day or night you know the tones could sound. It doesn't matter if we are at a party, having a family movie night, or we have just sat down to a much anticipated meal together - all those things could be, and routinely are, interrupted by a fire call. It amazes me how routine this life has become after three years. Most times neither the kids or I bat an eye as he runs out the door. Sure, some times are harder than others but no one complains anymore. We all know where he's going, what he's doing, and why. Through our firefighter we all have learned to be a little less selfish, and take a minute to remember that someone else is in a far worse situation and that's why our husband, our Daddy, our firefighter runs out the door.

This may not be the highest quality picture - after all it's a cell phone picture snapped in poor lighting at midnight, but to me it's a symbol of everything our life has become.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Highlight of Our Summer

A few weeks ago we camped out alongside the railroad tracks behind our house to welcome our friend - Nickel Plate 765 - home from it's trip east. The kids wanted to make signs. We spent 3.5 camped out in the back hatch of my car. The kids did not want to miss this. The crew was in the windows, and on top of the coal car waiting for the kids and their signs. I had tweeted them the day before with our location and they said they'd be sure to be on the lookout. This is probably one of the best highlights of their summer so far.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review - Foxfury Command 20 Fire Helmet Light

When my husband joined the fire department, one thing became clear. Gift giving got a whole lot easier. Whether it's a new t-shirt, or a new toy tool, firefighting related gifts are always welcomed by 374.

One of the first gifts I bought him was a helmet mounted LED flashlight. At the time he was still going through fire class and really didn't get the opportunity to go in a fire until his live burn training at the end of class. He responded with his department to calls, but he never went inside a working fire. Now that he's put adequate time in as a certified firefighter, the side mounted LED flashlight just isn't giving him the illumination he's looking for.

One of his major complaints is that the helmet mounted flashlight is a single beam that is off centered. He would have to turn his head and point his light where he needed it, and at times it was not producing wide enough coverage. 374 is usually one of the first firefighters on scene to any given call. Being one of the first on scene, he is usually one of the first in a building to perform a search and with a hose line. His single beam, off centered light was not working as effectively as he'd like during searches. In thicker, denser smoke he really had no light front and center where he was currently working. Additionally, most of the calls he runs are at night, and a good majority of them are motor vehicle accidents. There as been many occasions where he's assisted EMTs looking for victims who've been thrown from vehicles into fields. We live in a very rural area, and they are usually searching in complete darkness, with some light coming from the trucks parked on the road. Again, his current light was not giving him enough illumination in front of him, or covering a broad enough area.

As you may recall, we attended FDIC 2013 in April. 374 walked in the doors with a list of toys tools he wanted to check out. One of them being a light that would be more effective for him. One light that really caught his eye was at the FoxFury booth. He was really impressed with the headlamp design and the light it put out even under the bright lights of the Indianapolis Convention Center. He added their lights to his ever growing wishlist of items.

Luckily for him, Foxfury sent us a light to test out and review. 374 has had the pleasure of testing out the Foxfury Command 20 Fire Helmet Light for the past few weeks. He has used this light on a number or runs - fires and motor vehicle accidents as well as using in during search and rescue training - the one area where he really needed a better performing light. He has been happy with this light from the first use. It's been everything he was hoping it would be.

One of the first calls he used it on was a motor vehicle accident. A patient had been ejected from a truck along a county road. After they had all the patients loaded and were leaving the scene, everyone who responded with him was asking about his light. Everyone, including 374 was very impressed with the brightness and broad range the Command 20 put out. It was much more effective and helped him cover more ground quicker than his previous light.

While responding to structure fires, he has found his instincts were correct - this light would perform better in  smoke filled environments than the side mounted flashlight. Even though the smoke is thick and dense, he says his peripheral vision is increased with the Foxfury light. Rather than having as single stream illuminate one object across the room, he is now able to see more clearly what is right in front of him. Where he could have missed something off to his left side before with the beam of light cast off in the distance in front of him, he now has a broad range of light around him one either side.

This became much more apparent when he could test the lights in a controlled environment back to back. At 374's department search and rescue training, he used the previous side mounted flashlight first. They took turns searching for dummies hidden around a house filled with smoke. After 3 or 4 trips inside with the previous light, he switched on the Command 20. His times were significantly decreased with the Foxfury light. He was able to locate the dummies quicker and maneuver through the house more efficiently than with the single stream light. He actually found a closet that he didn't know was there before when searching a room he had previously searched when using the flashlight.

Again, everyone present at the training wanted a peak at his light. His helmet was passed around and everyone was equally impressed as he was with it's performance. One comment that was echoed multiple times was how slim the light is on the front of the helmet, and between the light and the battery pack there is not a noticeable change in weight of the helmet. They even set his light on the front step of the house while packing up their equipment after the training was over because the light covered such a broad area and provided ample light.

The only downfall 374 has come across with this light is it has taken him some practice to find the on/off push button with gloves on. The first few times he used it he had to pull his gloves back off to find the button. With thicker gloves, the button doesn't protrude up enough to be located quickly. He has also on more than one occasion forgot that his light was now at eye level, and whipped around to someone standing behind them and caught their eyes with the light. He has since learned to tip his helmet up a bit to avoid doing so now that he's used to the light being front and center where he needs it instead of off to the side.

So now you're probably wondering about the details of the Foxfury Command 20. The light features 72 lumens on high, 52 lumens on medium and 31 lumens on low. The push button switch is located on the left side of the light. Push one to turn it to low, again for medium and a third time for high, The fourth time you hit the button the light turns back off. While the light is on, there is also a blinking red LED light that aids in accountability. The light produces a 38* wide field of vision - allowing you to see up to 120 feet in front of you and casting it's illumination 48 feet wide. All this is produced with 20 LED lights, 18 white and 2 green. The use of white and green lights enhances depth perception and color rendition.

The Command 20 is made up of a Nylon housing and a polycarbonate lens cover. It is silicone coated and features a 1'' wide silicone strap with a high temperature nylon buckle. Another added bonus is 374 has found a way to use both his Foxfury light AND his MN8 Foxfire illuminating band at the same time. It took some wiggling and a couple different tries, but he was able to effectively install both at the same time on his helmet. He's a happy camper!

The Foxfury light is made from durable and high quality materials, allowing it to be rated fire resistant up to 500* for 30 minutes, and waterproof up to 20 feet. It is also impact resistant. The light runs on 4 AA batteries. Depending on the mode you use it in, it's rated for 8-16 hours. 374 has yet to need to replace the batteries, so we have found this is an accurate estimate.

The light retails on the Foxfury website for $95.99 plus shipping. Given 374's positive review of the light, I would comfortably say this light is definitely worth it's money. I have also passed the link on to fellow fire wives who were in the market for Father's Day gifts in the last few weeks. Putting a price on our firefighter's safety and their ability to return home to us safe in one piece after a call is priceless to us family members waiting at home.

Overall, the Foxfury Command 20 Fire Helmet Light has proven to be a light weight, durable and highly effective light for structural firefighting use. 374 is very happy with the broad range and power of the light that this product produces. He feels that this light enables him to perform his job more efficiently, while providing another tool to aide in his and his crew's safety.

Here's a run through of the different settings on the light -

A comparison of his single beam side mounted light (shown first) and then the wider reach of the Foxfury -