The Three Little Pigs & the Big Bad Wolf

When the elected officials are better informed about the basic concepts of community risk assessment and integrated risk management, they could then make better decisions in their responsibilities of protecting their communities.

I guess the second little pig had thought that the strength and durability of his lightweight construction stick house would suffice and could protect him from hazards during such emergency encounters. Not quite. Thus, he did not live with the consequences of his poor decisions, quite literally. Would he have made the same decisions if he had known? I don't think so.

Being on the success streak, the big bad wolf then decided to visit the third little pig living in the brick house. The third little pig heard the knocking on the door. He took a quick peek out of the little peep-hole and decided to decline the big bad wolf's invitation for lunch, and barricaded himself in.

The big bad wolf, not accustomed to rejection, decided to use his old proven huff and puff strategy to bring the third little pig to submission. But, the third little pig's wise decision to build his house based on the safety requirements of the latest edition of the building construction codes proved to be the smartest thing he ever did to save his life! All of the big bad wolf's huffing and puffing did not have any impact on the structural integrity of the house at all.

Not giving up so easily, the big bad wolf decided to revise his strategy and tried to sneak in the house through the chimney. That proved not to be the smartest decision that the big bad wolf had made. Not being aware of the big pot of boiling water in the fireplace below him, the big bad wolf descended down the chimney. Suffice to say that the consequence of the big bad wolf's final decision was quite tragic.

You see my friends, it all boils down to (no pun intended) being well-informed, making the right decisions, and being able to live with the consequence of those decisions. This applies to the wolves and the pigs just the same. It is that simple.

The "Three Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf" is great to entertain the kids, but as you can see, it can also be quite an important and useful tool to educate audiences of all ages about the importance of the building construction codes.

I don't know, but just maybe, if 62 years ago, Bugbee had expressed his perspectives about the importance of fire prevention and public education by writing a similar story titled "The Three Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf"" by now our public might have truly grasped the wisdom in his views that "once every man, woman, and child realizes and accepts in daily life the responsibility for simple fire prevention measures, death, injury, and destruction by fire will be substantially reduced."

Maybe, just maybe, if our legendary Francis Brannigan, the author of the famous "Building Construction for the Fire Service" book, had watered it down a tad and written a simplified version of it and titled it "The Three Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf" our firefighters would have finally grasped his wisdom by now and would truly "know their enemy". Maybe, just maybe, we would then not lose firefighters lives in the lightweight construction structural collapses.

One thing is for sure though. There are always wolves around in a variety of shapes, sizes, forms, appearances, organizational alliances, special interest groups, etc. We will always have opponents whose interests contradict the safety of our public, communities, and our very own safety. Today, it might be the homebuilders that want to have full control of the building construction codes and oppose the residential fire sprinkler and the carbon monoxide detector requirements in the residential codes. But then who knows what will come tomorrow?

The point is we must first fully recognize the importance of fire prevention and building construction codes ourselves. We must then educate our public and our elected officials about the risks and the consequences of their decisions in adopting these codes. And we must request that they don't bow down to the political influences of these special interest groups in pressuring them to adopt local codes that are lower than the nationally developed building construction codes.

I truly believe in Truman's challenge to the 1947 Fire Prevention Conference, in which he stated that "it is the clear responsibility of every State and local official, and every citizen, to aggressively support this national war against the growing menace of fire."