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Coulson Companies are experiencing a rise in medical incidents for 2008 over the previous few years. Our Medical Incident Rate (MIR) expresses the number of injuries we have had that require medical attention divided by the man-hours that have been worked. Our MIR for year to date 2008 is about 21 vs 19 in 2007 and 12 in 2006. This number is always a good leading indicator that we need to pay attention and reduce the risk of further medicals, or more serious injuries. As an individual employee there are two key things that you can do to prevent injuries.
|1)||Review your Job Safety Breakdown and ensure you are comfortable with all aspects of your job. If you are not comfortable or familiar with a procedure, tool, process or chemical then take the initiative to seek answers.|
|2)||Don't become complacent or take shortcuts. This is still the largest contributor to workplace injuries. We will always be challenged by production and time pressures, but do not take this as a signal to put your health and wellness at risk. In reviewing workplace injuries we see many incidents where people have taken a shortcut and got away without an injury, only to turn that shortcut into a bad habit that eventually bites them.|
Aircrane has shipped both of the Bell 212's home from the Australia fire season, only to see the Southeast of the country enter into a late season heat wave. One of the 212's was air freighted home to get some airframe maintenance completed prior to start of the Canadian Fire Season (Yes it will eventually come). The second 212 is currently on a vessel and will arrive Vancouver Mid April. C-FCLM has been disassembled and is currently awaiting departure on the docks in Melbourne. C-FMAY gets the prize for longest run. We have received our 4th extension that takes the contract completion date into April. Rob James, Ted Bell and Ryan Forrester continue to man MAY on a long shift and have done a great job for our customer.
Wayne Coulson delivered our first round of tender documents to Melbourne in mid March for their next 5 years of contracts. We feel that the S-61 and the Coulson Teams have done an outstanding job over the past 3 years and should be well positioned for more work.
The MAY group have also been working with our S-61 tank at several demonstrations. See attached pictures of some of these events.
The Flying Tankers is now knee deep in their winter maintenance program. C-FLYL (Hawaii Mars) is getting the bulk of the attention. Hawaii has the Gel system installed and is the favoured tool for most agencies. We are continuing to work many other states and countries for additional work for the Phillipine Mars. If secured we would convert her to a gel system as well. Wayne, Britton, Darlene and I attended a State Aviation Fire Symposium in New Jersey last week where we were able to make a 20 minute presentation on the value the Martin Mars can bring to a fire. We have also been working with the US Tanker Board on receiving certification for the Mars. We will be doing some drop pattern testing in late April (probably in Port Alberni) to determine the exact coverage of the Mars drops from various heights and speeds. We will also be evaluating the effectiveness of a Mars Gel drop on structure protection. Our Goal is to have the Hawaii Mars in the water by last week of April to complete our training and test program.
|C-FMAY Lifting 1000 Gallons of water in new Coulson Fireboss 4000 Tank||Coulson Fireboss 4000 Tank in the stowed position|
The following article is from the ABC Ballarat News in Australia written by Jarrod Watt.
He's a far cry from the lantern-jawed, gung-ho types we might associate with flying aces, but American helicopter pilot John Coughlin has a reputation that precedes him. It's his Canadian employer, from the company who lease the massive Sikorsky S-61 helicopters to the Victorian firefighting services each summer, who tries vainly to think of an Aussie footballer or cricket star to use as a benchmark.
"Let's just say I'm the man who signs his cheques and he's the best in the business," says the employer. A little while later, in the passenger section of the S-61 helicopter, John Coughlin is told of this. "Well I hope so," he responds in his quiet voice, albeit with a chuckle.
John Coughlin has been flying this particular model of helicopter since 1975, but today he's at the Ballarat airfield, part of a day of orientation and briefing for CFA, DSE and Victoria police officers about the applications and capabilities of the different aircraft that form Victoria's unique State Aircraft Unit. He's being plied with questions by DSE firefighters in their distinctive green overalls, wanting to know specifics about where they store their backpacks, where they put their chainsaws, what happens with the fuel they need to drain from their chainsaws before travel, will he be in radio contact from the ground?
"Yes, that's correct. We have under floor compartments for chainsaws, fire tools, things of that nature, and then an area in the back where we put the packs that the firefighters use to carry their personal equipment," he says. "So we can accommodate 18 people plus our water bucket, or we can come out with that number of people or less, then do what we call rappelling, which is allowing people to go down a rope into the fire area one at a time to allow them to go and attack the fire... We have trained crews here in Victoria that do that very thing, and we're just introducing the S-61 as an additional aircraft type for their use."
John's been based in Australia for the last three summers, one of two helicopter teams based at Bacchus Marsh and Mansfield on standby in case of bushfire. Lately they've been on standby to fly to flood-stricken areas in Queensland. Today is about helping firefighters and their managers realise the potential of these huge S-61 helicopters - the civilian version of the SeaKing helicopter used by the Australian Navy.
"We use this helicopter for the firefighting role,and in other countries we've used it for RAP attack, which is rapidly attacking a fire with a large crew. This crew would be a crew of 18, with our water bucket. We'd go out to the firesite, land, unload the bucket, unload the crew, let them go directly to the fire, then we'll go back for water and come back and support that crew. We can take care of them and the fire at the same time."
John's career did start out in the military, but it's his experience in fires that has him sent across Canada and the USA in the northern henmisphere summer before being sent back down under for ours. The skills he has, though, aren't something they teach in any flying school right now. "I did start out in the US Army flying Hueys, and since then I've moved into flying the Sikorsky S-61, which I've flown most of my career, in firefighting and other types of flying. Firefighting is a speciality which we learn as we go along, and each part of the firefighting we have different specialties, like using the vertical reference, we call it - to be able to look down a hundred or 200 foot long line to watch our water bucket, so we can dip into creeks and rivers... from there, take it over to the fire and accurately either put it along the fireline or on a particular snag if that's on fire and we want to put it out. "You also want to stay out of the flames and the smoke, that's not a good place to be either," he says with a knowing smile. "It's just a matter of practice, this is a talent that you generate over a period of time, and as you go along you get better at it. Of course now we're doing two fire seasons; one will be in Canada and the US, and the other will be here in Australia... so we're getting a lot of practice".
|The new addition to the Victorian bushfire fighting arsenal: the S61 helicopter.|
|Bambi bucket, which is carried beneath the Sirkorsky S-61 to drop water on bushfires.|
|Controls which activate the water bombing on the S61.||Purpose-designed window to allow the pilot to watch and aim the water bucket swinging some six to ten metres below the helicopter.|
|Firefighters and media board the S61 at the Ballarat airfield.|
|Water control panel on the S61.|