Go Navy!

The fire service can learn from the Navy's experience in culture and accountability.

The Navy fire prevention programs include comprehensive plans reviews, intensive inspections and code enforcement, near universal public education, and fire warden programs. For example, a larger percentage of structures are equipped with sprinkler systems than in the civilian sector, and families who live in base housing are indoctrinated from the outset about the expectations for maintaining safe quarters...

Another critical element of the Navy's fire prevention program is fire safety education for personnel, dependents and contractors. In general, public education promotes the Navy's cultural value of personal responsibility. It also provides information on how to prevent fires and reduce injuries, and what to do to reduce damage and casualties after ignition. A major difference between the Navy and civilian practice is that the Navy reaches more than 90% of personnel during indoctrination lectures when they first arrive at a new base; a large percentage also is reached through a variety of programs throughout the year...

Good prevention really does pay off. Although civilian fire departments don't operate in a military environment, the Navy model can be emulated in many ways, with the likelihood of an equally dramatic reduction in fire-related losses."

Our military's professionalism and high performance has always provided us in the fire service with great examples to follow. My friend Phil said it so well. We can't just simply copy the Navy's model that is based on the autocratic decision making and implementation processes into our democratic society of government of the people, by the people in America. Similar to the fact that due to the many cultural differences; we might not be able to merely copy the successful fire prevention models of the many other countries in Europe and Asia. But the key point is, that we can and must learn from them all; with the hope of developing our very own model/ or models, to better address the fire problem in our own country.

We can learn from the Navy's experience as an American model still in the developing stages. Navy should take pride in their accomplishments. Go Navy!

But we in the civilian fire service should not be mere cheerleaders on the sidelines. We should roll up our own sleeves, learn and then implement their successful fire prevention program.

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AZARANG (OZZIE) MIRKHAH P.E., CBO, EFO, MIFireE, a Firehouse.com 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. To read Ozzie's complete biography and view his archived articles, click here. 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 amirkhah@lasvegasnevada.gov.