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T'was the Night Before Christmas

The year is almost over and a new one is right around the corner. I am an optimist and believe that despite the negative economic impacts that all the communities across the land have taken during this devastating recession, and the brown outs, station closures, and layoffs that the fire service has experienced in many jurisdictions; we still must count our blessings and work even harder for a brighter future.

As I mentioned in my previous article "Plenty to Be Thankful For" last month, we made great strides and accomplished a great deal in the fire and life safety code development arena last year.

Through the well-coordinated efforts of all of the national fire service organizations, the requirements for the installation of carbon monoxide detectors and the residential fire sprinkler systems in all new dwellings are one step closer to being finally adopted in the 2012 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC). We must participate at the ICC's Final Action Code Hearing in Dallas, May 14-23, 2010, to defend our success and once again vote for these life saving technologies.

One of the most important proposals that will be voted on in Dallas is the requirement for better protection of the lightweight wood construction that is of enormous concern to the fire service. One of our own most dedicated members, Sean DeCrane, representing the International Association of the Fire Fighters has been championing this cause for many years. And with our support this May, his proposal for better protection of the lightweight construction will finally be adopted into the construction codes. Undoubtedly, many firefighters' lives will be saved in future, thanks to the tireless efforts of our dedicated brother Sean DeCrane.

Sean believes that continuous and systematic fire service participation in the code development arena would undoubtedly lead to consistent improvements in the construction codes, resulting in better protection of the public and our own firefighters alike. From that perspective, Sean is leading the national Vision 20/20's Strategy 5: "Refine and improve the application of codes and standards that enhance public and firefighter safety and preserve community assets." Please visit the Vision 20/20 website to assist Sean with this effort.

My friends, we need to continue and intensify our efforts in the future. Our success with the residential fire sprinklers is not the end of the line, but only the start of the journey. The fire service must continue being involved in the national code development arena, and must fight for the adoption of these codes at the local levels throughout the 50 states. Remember that our efforts save lives.

Finally, I would like to share a poem that a friend of mine sent  (check out the attached pdf Christmas card). Neither him, nor I know who wrote this beautiful poem, but it definitely deserves being shared for all to read.  Send it to all your families and friends.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

AZARANG (OZZIE) MIRKHAH P.E., CBO, EFO, CFO, MIFireE, a Contributing Editor, is the Fire Protection Engineer for the City of Las Vegas Department of Fire & Rescue. Ozzie served on the national NFPA 13 Technical Committee for Sprinkler System Discharge Design Criteria and serves on the IAFC Fire Life Safety Section Board of Directors. He was the first recipient of the IAFC's Excellence in Fire and Life Safety Award in 2007. Ozzie has participated in two Radio@Firehouse podcasts: Six Days, Six Fires, 19 Children and 9 Adults Killed and Fire Marshal's Corner. You can reach Ozzie by e-mail at