What Do We Have to Lose?

The perfect applicability of President Truman's statement to our current conditions clearly reveals the fact that we are still struggling with the same problems and trying to overcome the same obstacles, and that we are not much further along as we...

In addition to the operational components - the "back end" of the fire safety process-a new presidential conference would focus the appropriate attention on the "front end" - preventing fires and better utilizing technologies to limit the spread of fire. Truly, as the USFA and NFPA positions strongly underscore, fire prevention efforts and fixed fire protection systems in the built environment are the keys to the reduction of America's fire losses. Such a conference would be to take a giant step forward in safety and property conservation in a way we haven't done before. It would bring all members of society-from government to private enterprise to American taxpayers-into the effort.

To win this battle, heavy artillery is needed, and the big guns need to roar. A single person will not be able to do much, but if the grassroots support is there, then there is a better chance of success. There is a Japanese saying that "vision without action is a dream; action without vision is a nightmare." We have the vision, so we need to act; otherwise it is only a dream.

What do we have to lose? As Americans, annually about 4,000 lives and one quarter of a trillion dollars-two percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). What do we have to lose? As fire protection professionals, nothing but the complacency that has shackled us down.

Azarang (Ozzie) Mirkhah, Firehouse.com Contributing Editor, is the Fire Protection Engineer (FPE) for the City of Las Vegas Department of Fire & Rescue. His responsibilities include reviewing all building fire and life safety system designs and submittals to insure compliance with the federal, state and local fire and life safety codes and standards. Mr. Mirkhah is also involved in the development of fire & life safety codes and standards for the city.

Mr. Mirkhah is a registered professional engineer with more than 25 years of work experience in the field of fire protection engineering. Mr. Mirkhah joined the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue (LVF&R) more than 12 years ago. Prior to that Mr. Mirkhah worked as a consultant designing fire protection systems for some of the most internationally recognized fire protection consulting firms.

Mr. Mirkhah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering (BSME), and a Masters degree in Public Administration (MPA). Mr. Mirkhah is a 1999 graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program. Mr. Mirkhah is a Certified Building Official, Certified Fire Inspector, Certified Mechanical Inspector, and Certified Plans Examiner through the International Code Council (ICC).

Mr. Mirkhah is a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and serves on the national NFPA 13 Technical Committee for Sprinkler System Discharge Design Criteria. Mr. Mirkhah is a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) - USA Branch. Mr. Mirkhah is also a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). You can contact Mr. Mirkhah at: amirkhah@lasvegasnevada.gov. To view all of Ozzie's articles on Firehouse.com, please click here.