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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.QuoteQuote
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.
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Today I will be giving everyone tips to avoiding a controversy.
Part 1: Controversies in the LFC
There is almost always one controversy or another at any given moment within the LFC. They are caused by multitudes of reasons. All of these reasons will be discussed, and all of them broken down in to DDIY (Don't Do It Yourself) strategies to not causing controversies. Trust me, I know how to not cause a controversy, considering I usually start most of 'em. But I know why they were started.
Part 2: What Makes A Controversy
Many things make up controversies within the LFC.
- Using a design without asking and/or crediting.
- Gettin' "lippy."
- Usin' vulgar language, name-calling, bullying, and/or the pointing of fingers.
- Reacting badly to criticism
- Reacting inappropriately to constructive criticism/advice/tips.
- Using other people's photos without permission and/or credit.
- Writing something or posting something (such as some sort of deal or agreement) that the other part(ies) never actually agreed to.
- Using the name of someone else's department or pretending to be someone else.
- For example:
Part 3: Avoiding Controversies
In this part, we will look at how to not be involved in a controversy. The stuff below follows along with the list above.
1. First of all, try to come up with as many original designs as possible. If you absolutely must use someone else's design, make sure to ask before and credit after. This means that before you plan on using someone's design, ask first to make sure you have permission. There are "community designs" that pretty much everyone uses, but don't copy a whole cab or truck design. Also, make sure you include in your post credits, so that people don't think you used someone else's design without permission. If you purchase a truck, make sure that you say who sold it to you. If you don't credit, and somebody recognizes the other person's design, sometimes people can... (trying to think of how to put this lightly)... lose their stuff. A crucial part of the LFC is that most people can tell who designed most trucks just by looking at the apparatus and without even looking at the author's name, so keep that in mind.
2/3. Two and three pretty much go right together like peanut butter and jelly. As well as four/five, but I'll get to that in a minute. First, don't say stuff that'll offend people and anger them. Don't call someone a bad builder, or say that your trucks are better than theirs. People get really angry over stuff like that. Also, don't curse. There are a lot of young members in the LFC, and community leaders really crack down on it. Also, if you get in trouble for something, don't point fingers. Nobody likes a battle of he-said she-said. Just don't offend anyone, and nobody should offend you.
4/5. Four and five are cake, and the frosting that goes on top. If someone says something along the lines of "this is okay, but..." or "I think you should do this to improve...," they're not trying to be mean or impose their methods upon you. They are trying to help you improve. I will not mention the name of the user, but one time said user flipped on me for offering advice. Don't do that. Because then nobody's going to want to help you because they know you'll get mad at them. Don't tell somebody that your rigs are better than theirs because they are trying to help. If they see the flaws in your rigs, chances are you're only better at pissing people off. If they weren't as good as you, then why would they be able to see your flaws? That's like if Person A didn't know anything about cars, and Person B knew what was wrong with A's car, and instead of accepting help, said that his knowledge was better than B, that makes no sense. I mean, how are you suddenly the best or most knowledgeable when people offer help?
6. Don't use people's photos without permission. Although it's not exactly illegal to steal a LEGO design, it is illegal (at least where I live) to use someone's photos without permission, no matter what. People get very angry about this. Also, don't use other people's videos without permission. Someone stole my YouTube videos once, and the process to get the videos as rightfully mine nearly went to Hell and back. People get sued for using other people's stuff. I'll leave it at that.
7. Don't write about people without their permission. Don't say stuff life "John and Jane Doe signed this" or did that when one of the people did not agree. It causes many people to become quite angry. You'll pretty much be shunned by the community, and people will refuse to even contact you because they believe that you may write something about them. You can write about people, just don't say that you and them did something when you didn't.
8. Don't pretend to be other people. Don't use their department name without permission. That's called Identity Theft (the being other people part), and is highly illegal. That's pretty much all there is to say. Using their department name isn't illegal, but will usually land you in very hot water. If you want cold water, then create your own name or use their name, but don't copy their rigs and pretend to be that department. Need I say more?
This will conclude the first entry in my blog. Thank you for viewing!
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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.
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.
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.