Monday, November 5, 2018

Webcasting- Behind the Scenes

Since our inception in 1991, at the University of Maryland's Fire Rescue Institute (MFRI), we've had some sort of TV coverage. CBS TV affiliate in Washington, DC was at our first and only event that year. The next year was FETN (Fire and Emergency TV), a subscription-based training program distributed by satellite. In 1993 we found a place on ESPN.

The great thing about the Internet is the ability to webcast through a browser so that just about everyone gets a chance to have grandma watch their run. As technology added more and more capabilities our program became more stable and high quality- now viewable in HD.

Over the past week, I asked almost everyone from one of the 16 nations present if the folks back home were watching. The answer was in the affirmative.

If you weren't able to watch it live, you can now watch it on line. We have started the laborious process of uploading blocks of runs to our Vimeo account. We started with content from Thursday with Race Numbers 681-700.

You can start with this link.

There were 16 camera angles and a crew of 7 to capture all the action. We'd like to hear your thoughts about what you saw. Feel free to send your feedback by posting below.

There was a lot of local media coverage, but one of the best pieces was by the Sacramento Bee. Anthony Tank” McMurtry did an outstanding job explaining why we do what we do.

We’ll continue to update daily until all the races are posted. Thanks for watching.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Back Story

Torn Achilles 
Apparently, there are photos of me circulating about, where I’m in the hospital. “What gives?”

For those who were in Sacramento last week and did not hear my comments on the award dais, here’s the straight skinny.

So, this started out as a minor irritation while running in my Vibram toe shoes. Actually, something felt weird in my right shoe. That shifted my gait and the next morning I was crippled on my left leg.

So, having given away my Craftsman detail sander, (which I used as therapy for such inflammations) I had to go to SEARS and replace it with a Ryobi. No running and digital vibration for a week; but ride to work and observe each day as an improvement. Then, on Saturday, in anticipation of a slammed next week, I did a 16mi round trip on the bike. The next day, crippled again.

We had a physical therapy group as sponsors at our Challenge event, and I availed myself of their services, with slight improvements each day.

In Sacramento, walking down the street, in the dark, Saturday morning, a homeless character started screaming at me at the top of his lungs. I picked up the pace and he seemed to be following me. So, I decided to see if this was so by crossing the street. Stepped off the curb and heard it snap. Diaphoretic and in acute pain. Limped another painful block and had the Fire Chief, Walt White transport me to the Kaiser ED.

So, in about an hour turnaround, I left with a splint cast made with a plaster of Paris set in a plantar-flexion position. 600mg of Vitamin M 2x and no pain or swelling. Just a big pain in the ass on the airplane trip home.

BTW, this homeless dude had been threatening all of our staff every morning. I’d been riding my old Trek Antelope 400 to the site every day but the last, so I never encountered him.

Prognosis is no activity for six to eight weeks. Extreme Bummer.



Friday, October 19, 2018

These are the Best High-Fiber Foods, According to Experts



Time Health
By MARKHAM HEID
October 18, 2018

Your body doesn’t like things to be too easy. Challenging it from time to time—with exercise, with the elements, and even with short periods of going without food—is often associated with better health outcomes.

The same is true of your gut and the foods it digests. Foods that break down and slip through too quickly (namely, refined starches and sugars) tend to promote overeating, out-of-control blood sugar surges, and other disease-linked side effects. Meanwhile, foods that put up a bit of a fight against digestion are often the best ones for you. That’s certainly true in the case of fiber, which is the edible part of a plant that resists breakdown and absorption in your small intestine.

“The evidence from prospective studies is remarkably consistent that a higher intake of fiber is related to lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and weight gain,” says Dr. Walter Willett, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.

Almost every year, a new long-term review paper reaffirms the links between dietary fiber and lower rates of disease and death. Earlier this year, a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the consumption of dietary fiber was “convincingly” associated with lower risks for pancreatic cancer, heart disease-related death, and death from any cause.


But not all fiber is equal.

“Our FDA now allows purified and synthetic fibers to be included on the fiber line on [a food label’s] Nutrition Facts,” Willett says. For example, polydextrose is a synthetic fiber added to many packaged foods in order to boost the food’s fiber content and cut down its levels of sugar, fat and calories. Synthetic fibers also tend to pop up in nutrition bars or drinks, some breakfast cereals, and other ready-to-eat products. While the FDA has collected some evidence that suggests replacing unhealthy sugars and refined starches with polydextrose may lead to lower blood-sugar spikes and reduced appetite, Willett says synthetic fibers do not contain the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals found in natural sources of fiber—and so aren’t nearly as good for you.

Fiber can be broken down into two subtypes: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and the healthiest varieties of it tend to become viscous or “gel-like” during digestion, says Nicola McKeown, a fiber researcher and associate professor at Tufts University’s School of Nutrition Science and Policy. McKeown says soluble, viscous fiber is associated with lower blood cholesterol and better control of blood sugar levels.

Insoluble fibers, on the other hand, do not dissolve in water and so tend to pass through the digestive system largely intact. This is a good thing. “Insoluble fiber acts like little scrubbies on the inside of your colon to remove old and damaged cells, thus reducing risk for colon cancer,” says Dr. Robert Lustig, a metabolism researcher and professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Lustig says insoluble fiber also slows digestion and helps support the health of the microbiome.

These are just a handful of the many ways fiber is good for you. Unfortunately, most people aren’t getting nearly enough of the stuff. While the average American eats about 15 grams of fiber each day, the Institute of Medicine recommends that adult men eat 38 grams of fiber each day while women should aim for 25 grams. “I would say 25 is the bare minimum, actually,” says Wendy Dahl, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Florida. As long as it comes from whole foods or whole grains, “there is no upper limit on fiber—you can’t get too much.”

The best foods to eat to up your fiber intake are those that naturally include both soluble and insoluble fiber. “That’s everything that comes out of the ground and is not processed,” Lustig says. Think whole fruits, vegetables, seeds and legumes (beans and peanuts). Beans, in particular, are a cheap, eco-friendly and plentiful source of dietary fiber, Dahl says: “We should all eat more beans.”


Whole grains, too, are a particularly good source of fiber. If the inclusion of whole grains surprises you, you’re not alone. Many popular low-carbohydrate diets call for the elimination of whole grains and other fiber-rich foods. Willett says this is a concern. “We have no long-term studies of these diets,” he says. Meanwhile, “the evidence of benefits for dietary fiber, especially from grains, is strong. If we really consume our grains as whole grains, we can have a relatively low carbohydrate intake and still get plenty of fiber.”

The healthiest whole-grain foods are the ones that can be eaten more or less intact, such as brown rice, wheat berries or steel-cut oats. Other experts add barley, rye and popcorn to his list.

But while whole grains are great, “fiber from a variety of sources is desirable to minimize the chance of missing something important,” Willett says. For example, a breakfast of unsweetened oatmeal and berries is one healthy, fiber-rich way to start your day. (A cup of oatmeal and half a cup of berries include roughly 15 grams of fiber.) But eating other fruits and whole grains—as well as legumes, seeds, nuts and other fiber-packed plant foods—is optimal.

“A variety of plant-based foods ensures the fiber you get in your diet is not exclusively soluble or insoluble, so you can reap the benefits of both,” McKeown adds.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Still Need Convincing?

Long-Term Benefits Of Exercise On Men’s Body And Brain

menstylefashion.com/long-term-benefits-of-exercise-on-mens-body-and-brain

Men Style Fashion 3 August 2018

Think exercise is just about weight loss and toned abs?

Maybe you exercise in order to build your biceps, have bulging chest and 6-pack abs. But the benefits of exercise far encompass those aesthetic benefits alone.

Here are 9 long-term benefits of exercise on your body and brain!

Strengthen Your Bones

As we age, we lose a lot of bone mass and density which can lead to a huge risk of fractures and injuries. However, with regular exercise, you can strengthen your bone and avoid such risk. As a matter of fact, a study with 3,262 men involved— from 40 to 60 age range, strenuous physical activity significantly reduced the risk of hip fractures by strengthening the bones.

It Is A Powerful Antidepressant

There are numerous studies and research showing that exercise supports good mental health and helps reduce the symptoms of depressions. The antidepressant effects of a regular physical exercise are even comparable to a potent antidepressant such as Zoloft. And it only takes around 30 minutes of exercise every day for 3 to 5 days a week in order to dramatically improve the symptoms of depressions.

Cardiovascular Health

The lack of physical activity is among the major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in men. When you exercise, the heart is pushed to pump more blood and oxygen to the body, therefore making it stronger. A stronger heart will have no problem pumping more blood with less effort, making you less susceptible to heart diseases.

Improve Memory


Are you struggling to recall names or constantly misplacing your car keys? Well, allow exercise to help jog your memory. A study revealed that aerobic exercise such as swimming and running can boost the size of the hippocampus which is the part of the brain that is responsible for recognizing and memory.

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Exercise itself does not melt down cholesterol as it does with fat. It can, however, influence blood cholesterol levels by reducing bad cholesterols, total cholesterols, and triglycerides and boost good cholesterols.

Control Or Prevention Of Diabetes

Got diabetes? Well, there is a strong evidence that moderate physical activity together with a balanced diet and weight loss programs can make up a 50 to 60% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes.

A Better Sex Life

Regular physical exercise can improve and maintain sexual functions, thus providing you with a better sex life. Physical improvements in muscle tone and strength, body composition, endurance, and cardiovascular function can all improve sexual functioning in men. A study revealed that men who regularly exercise are less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction or impotence than men who do not exercise.

A Longer Life

Add all those benefits and active lifestyles only mean a healthier and longer life! A study at the Finland University of Kuopio in 2004 followed 15,853 men aged from 30 to 59. Over the years, men who engaged in physical exercise and active leisure activities such as swimming, skiing, jogging, doing serious gardening or playing ball were up to 21 percent less likely to develop heart disease or die of any cause during the study period.

Boost Happiness Levels


Whether we are fully conscious about it or not, we always look for ways for us to be happy. However, exercise is the most obvious step you can take. Not only does exercise keep you happy because of a nice, toned body by keeps you there by helping you feel good about yourself. It is not a coincidence that you feel great after a workout- science proves it!

A study revealed that men who exercised, whether it is a vigorous, moderate or mild workout, had a more pleasant feeling than those who did not. Those same individuals were also happier on days when they were more physically active than usual. This only means that boosting your workouts can actually provide more happiness boost. What’s more working out can actually make you happier in the long term.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Staying Alive: The Origins of Firefighter Fitness

Original High Rise Carry: MFRI, 1975
It was 1990 and we were looking for a way to objectify fitness or lack thereof in the fire service. Clearly, this was an occupation that needed standards. And while a lot of fire chiefs claimed that they had a fitness program, what was missing was proof.

How do you validate the fact that your department is actually up to the task of interior fire suppression and rescue? I mean, beyond saying “we have a fitness program.” The Fitness Target, an ingenious invention of my then program manager, Al Starck, took the constructs of fitness (strength, power, aerobic capacity, etc.) and arrayed them on multiple axes, with an objective of getting into the bullseye of the target based upon “gym tests.”

We conducted well over 100, 40 hour Certified Fitness Coordinator training programs all over the country. But, what was lacking was a link to job performance. How does an ascendancy from poor to excellent on a fitness dimension predict actual job performance? Do pushups predict job behavior at the scene of a fire?

For an answer to this question, we returned to our roots at the University of Maryland’s Fire Rescue Institute (MFRI) and our published research in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. The Criterion Task Test (CTT) or “Combat Test” was immediately popularized by firefighters who being somewhat competitive, began to throw down, by way of posting their times to completion. So, we skipped the arcane, hard part of what’s called Criterion-related Validity and went to Duck Validity. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.
First Forcible Entry Task: MFRI, 1975

Original Hose Hoist: UoM Fire Rescue Institute, 1975
Same, same with the performance of critical, arduous or frequently performed essential functions. We no longer had to argue about body fat percentages, and other more abstract predictors of fitness and simply ask applicants or incumbents to demonstrate that they had what it takes to do the job.

Fast forward to today; the Challenge now circumnavigates the globe. There is no form of testing or competition using a tower and surrogates for actual job tasks that do not have its origins in our Combat Test™. The idea of objectivity has come. A measurable standard- the time it takes to perform the essential functions of the job- since time is the enemy of all firefighters. By definition, Emergency Services embodies urgency.

For a truly rewarding experience, it’s great to carry on conversations with Challenge competitors who “get it.” Staying alive is no accident. And the safest firefighter is a fit one. Welcome to the most elite global fraternity in the universal fire service, the 3M | Scott Safety Firefighter Combat Challenge.

(Author’s note: 1975 was a time memorialized in Black and White photographs, before digitial cameras, and cameras with ringtones.)








Friday, October 5, 2018

Who Was the Construction Manager or Engineer on this Job?

Keep watching...it just keeps getting better.

I have no idea in which country this happened, but if you were the insurance agent, you’d probably be thinking about leaving your office and changing your phone number.


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Wisdom of Will Rogers

Too bad Wiley Post crashed his airplane and killed himself and Rogers way back in the 1930s. We'd still be getting Will Rogers' fine advice even though nothing's really changed in the last 80 years, just like these 17 of the best quotes ever made.

Rogers was a Genius.