A Kansas man has created a new tool to help rural fire departments fight field fires.
The fires can spread quickly with the hot and windy Kansas weather, taxing rural fire departments on limited resources. Pump and roll tactics could put firefighters at risk while riding unrestrained on the exterior of the truck. The National Fire Protection Association said there's too much danger because firefighters could fall out of a moving truck.
Greg Blanchat, Blanchat Manufacturing, created a restraint system to keep the firefighter within the safe zone in the event of impact or roll-over. As a veteran volunteer firefighter in Harper County, he is trying to convince the NFPA that riding fire tact positions are the only way to get ahead of fast-moving grass fires.
"It used to be that we didn't worry about it because it's just a recommendation and it doesn't work for us so we didn't care about it," he said.
But now, those recommendations are becoming mandatory if the departments want funding.
"They want us to stand on the ground and walk," Blanchat said. "There's absolutely no way we can walk these fires and catch them, we just burn the county up."
He invited the NFPA to a controlled burn in Harper County Tuesday to demonstrate how difficult it can be to walk and battle a fire. He is also asking that local fire departments write the NFPA to voice their opinions on riding fire tact positions.