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    Default Fire Prevention in the USA?

    An interesting article today on the USstudy that says the US lags far behind in promoting fire prevention. Aside from the lives and property that can be saved, this could be an niche opportunity for depts facing brownouts, lay offs, station closures to get out into the community and promote fire prevention. Heck, even do some volunteer work to show the cities and the public your concerns and your comittment to their safety.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    An interesting article today on the USstudy that says the US lags far behind in promoting fire prevention. Aside from the lives and property that can be saved, this could be an niche opportunity for depts facing brownouts, lay offs, station closures to get out into the community and promote fire prevention. Heck, even do some volunteer work to show the cities and the public your concerns and your comittment to their safety.
    Yes, I saw that. I was kind of wondering why none of the folks here have jumped up to say we need to do more. I realize some departments are perfect and have no room for improvement, perhaps they should take the lead to fix the rest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Yes, I saw that. I was kind of wondering why none of the folks here have jumped up to say we need to do more. I realize some departments are perfect and have no room for improvement, perhaps they should take the lead to fix the rest.
    Bryan and Scarecrow... before you throw the proverbial stone, what do YOUR Departments do to promote fire safety and fire prevention?
    Inquiring minds want to know....
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Fact is, the fire service spends 1% of it's budget on prevention when compared to an average of 15-20% for the average European and Asian department.

    Suppression crews also spend far more time on prevention related tasks as part of thier daily job function in Europe and Asia than in the US.

    European and Asian departments have a career path in prevention and rising to the Chief level also requires time in prevention. Most US departments have no such career paths.

    College training specific to education is required to deliver and manage prevention in Europe and Asia. No such requirements here. in fact, it's often the guys who can't cut it on the line that are dumped into prevention, and this includes the management staff as well.

    Bottom line prevention is the bastard stepchild, both in terms of funding and staffing, including quality of staffing. It's no wonder we get the results we do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Fact is, the fire service spends 1% of it's budget on prevention when compared to an average of 15-20% for the average European and Asian department.

    Suppression crews also spend far more time on prevention related tasks as part of thier daily job function in Europe and Asia than in the US.

    European and Asian departments have a career path in prevention and rising to the Chief level also requires time in prevention. Most US departments have no such career paths.

    College training specific to education is required to deliver and manage prevention in Europe and Asia. No such requirements here. in fact, it's often the guys who can't cut it on the line that are dumped into prevention, and this includes the management staff as well.

    Bottom line prevention is the bastard stepchild, both in terms of funding and staffing, including quality of staffing. It's no wonder we get the results we do.
    Since you chimed in...what do YOU do for fire safety/prevention in a state with one of the worst fire fatality rates in the country? What are YOU doing to reverse this?

    PS: for the love of God or whatever deity or lack thereof, depending on your beliefs... please call it Public Fire Education instead of "pubed". Every time I see "pubed" it makes me cringe....
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Public Fire Education doesn't get far because of the attitude of our citizens-and by extension, us-that the government has no right to enter my home or stick their nose into it for any purpose without a warrant. Look at the opposition against sprinklers as an example. I know FFs who argue against putting them in their own home simply because 1, they oppose gov't regulation, 2, they think they are smarter than a possible fire and 3, they don't want to spend the money. Many other countries are more densely populated (apt dwellers vs single family dwelling) and more willing to regulate due to the potential impact to others living in the same building. Not to mention the impacts of, dare I say it, socialism and communism.

    Our citizens have different expectations of Fire/EMS. They want us to respond to their call, handle it as an emergency, and leave. Most never think twice about us, the open minded ones (mostly those with kids) come to the open house and the field days, while the rest write letters to the newspaper to complain about their taxes and how we get paid to sleep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnyv View Post
    Public Fire Education doesn't get far because of the attitude of our citizens-and by extension, us-that the government has no right to enter my home or stick their nose into it for any purpose without a warrant. Look at the opposition against sprinklers as an example. I know FFs who argue against putting them in their own home simply because 1, they oppose gov't regulation, 2, they think they are smarter than a possible fire and 3, they don't want to spend the money. Many other countries are more densely populated (apt dwellers vs single family dwelling) and more willing to regulate due to the potential impact to others living in the same building. Not to mention the impacts of, dare I say it, socialism and communism.
    This pretty much sums it up. Americans don't like to be regulated and have the government coming into their homes and telling them what they need to have. Even when we go out and do prevention and home inspections, most people don't want it.

    I think home sprinklers are nice, but personally I don't want to be told I need to put a system in if I build a house. I don't want to have to put one in if I remodel more than 50% of my home or whatever the proposed percentage is. I can look after myself, I don't need someone telling me what I need to be fire safe.

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    Since you chimed in...what do YOU do for fire safety/prevention in a state with one of the worst fire fatality rates in the country? What are YOU doing to reverse this?

    Legitimate question.

    in January, I was hired primarily to perform public education functions. To the best of our knowledge, we are the only combination in the state with a staff our size to have a person with public education as their primary responsibility.

    Previous to my hiring, we have been told by the rating agencies reps that our public education hours and student contact numbers exceeds by 4-5x any other department our size in the state. With my hiring we expect our hours will double.

    We deliver 4 30-minute programs per year in pre-K through grade 3 and 2 30-minute programs per year in grades 4 & 5.

    We have several active community outreach and commercial programs, as well as a juvenile firesetting prevention and intervention program.

    On the state level, LA does very little, and that is something that needs to change. We have passed a novelty lighter bill that will make a slight impact.

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    Default Fire Prevention

    Here are my observations on this issue:

    1. From what I have learned from industrial safety training, safety is behavior
    based. People who smoke in bed, do their own electrical work and
    other "dangerous" behaviors will change those behaviors when there is
    education convincing them to change that behavior or some type of
    regulation/law (adoption of the National Electrical Code) that forces them
    to.

    I have done numerous fire prevention/safety presentations over the years.
    The easiest crowd to educate is the school age population. They are
    impressionable and after telling/showing them what the dangers of fire are,
    they seem to adopt a safer behavior toward fire.

    For adults, unless they are convinced to change their behavior (like blocking
    fire exits) they will continue to behave their way of blocking fire exits.

    2. In my area, what has really cut down on alot of fires, is the requirement
    and enforcement of the National Electrical Code. The requirement to use
    the NEC and its enforcement by inspectors has reduced those, do it
    yourself "electricians" that formally rigged up some electrical "system", that
    eventually required a visit from the FD for fire suppression.

    3. In the US, from what I can see, the most important force to convince
    property owners to practice fire prevention and observe the fire and
    electrical codes, is the insurance carrier that covers their property.

    When an insurance company notifies the property owner that something
    needs to be corrected or just plainly requires them to have their electrical
    work done by a certified electrician, then the property owner knows their
    fire insurance premium will be raised or coverage will be cancelled if they
    fail to comply. It is in the best interest of the fire insurance company to
    minimize its risks. Paying out a claim reduces their profitability, therefore
    they have a vested interest to ensure their policy holders change their
    risky bevavior, in regard to unsafe practices.

    4. Some departments bypass fire prevention to keep high fire run statistics.
    If a community has numerous severe fires, then the FD can justify
    recieving more funding and grant funding. My FD has conducted a fire
    prevention program and since we have reduced our fire runs and losses, it
    is harder to recieve grant funding.

    While we may think that the open houses at the fire station/hall, school
    fire safety presentations, station/hall tours and other fire prevention activities are the same over and over again, they are helping people to form or change their behavior. I have seen dividends paid back with fire prevention activities. The biggest dividend is the reduction of human suffering from burns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Bryan and Scarecrow... before you throw the proverbial stone, what do YOUR Departments do to promote fire safety and fire prevention?
    Inquiring minds want to know....
    I'm not throwing stones Capt, merely commenting and sugessting. but its a fair question. I've been retired for 17 years now so I'm certainly not active in my old depts fire prevention program. My Son is now on my old dept and they are pretty active. Every school in each district has presentations by the FD usually 3 times a year at least. Concentration is on the K to 6 grades and each child is issued an invitation to give their parents for a free home visit and inspection. I think every grade from K to 6 visits their local hall every year. Quite often these are carried out by a volunteer group of which I am a member, retirees. Theres probably about 50 or so, who, when we aren't sitting around bitching about the changes to the fire service and how little the young ones know, are out in our communities strongly promoting prevention. Unfortunately, because of my career and where I live, I can't participate like I would like to.
    In the schools, the emphasis is on the importance of smoke and CO detectors, having an escape plan, and especially about not using smoke detector batteries for toys etc.
    Each year when we change times, the radio & TV stations are very good about reminding people to check their smoke detectorsand install new batteries. Most of the stations have read a boards out front reminding people as well
    The retirees group passes out lots of detectors free every year. We use our own funds for that although we get a big boost and cut on price from Home Depot.
    Each station does do home inspections regularly, I believe at least twice a week, sometimes more. They concentrate on areas of high occupancy, seniors living accommodations, single family homes where seniors live alone
    One of the ex Chiefs in Alberta has been instrumental in getting changes to the building codes regards zero lot line development and mandating sprinkler systems. I've never heard of anybody railing about govt interference as far as sprinklers, building material codes, electrical codes so that may just be a regional thing. I cannot understand FF being against it though.
    Theres probably quite a lot more that the guys and gals do on duty and off for fire prevention, but for alot its just a personal thing and doesn't get a big hoorah.
    Last edited by BryanLoader; 10-10-2009 at 11:17 PM.

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    My FD has an active public fire education program called FireSAFE (Fire Safety Awareness and Fire Education), presenting fire safety in the schools utilizing the NFPA's Learn Not to Burn and Risk watch programs and NFPA's "Remember When" for our senior citizen population. We have active partnerships with our local businesses, including our local cable access TV station, who produces PSA's for us. We have also had segments on fire safety and the Department "Marlborough Magazine", a monthly show produced by Marlborough Cable Trust.

    Fire prevention duties are shared between three of our four Deputy Chiefs. we do plans review and inspection details for building commissioning and occupancy. On the company level, we do annual inspections of apartment and condominium complexes, quarterly inspections of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and group homes and compliance inspections for new home construction and home reales as well as inspections of all restaurants and social clubs holding liquor licenses . We also work closely with the City's Code Enforcement officer, the Police Department, Board of Health and the Building Department as part of a task force to target potential problems.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    I'm partial, but there is no other country I'd want to be a citizen of than the United States of America. With that said, we're not perfect. We're a cowboy nation. But the reason that we're the USA and not the United Colonies of England is because we don't like people telling us what to do. It's in our DNA. That's a big obstacle to overcome -- especially when it comes to things like fire prevention.

    I disagree with the poster who says fire departments intentionally neglect prevention so that they can pad their fire stats. I think prevention gets neglected in a lot of cities because the departments are being led by guys who came on the job during the "good old days" when suppression had to be the #1 priority.

    Of course, it's hard to ask departments to increase prevention and education work when firefighters are being laid-off. A department needs the same number of first-alarm firefighters whether they've got a roster of 50 or 500. When the numbers of firefighters on companies are down, where do you go to get guys to fill the prevention duties? Yes, there are lots of things that can be accomplished at the company level (we do that here)... but in-service companies don't perform prevention functions the same way dedicated employees can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Since you chimed in...what do YOU do for fire safety/prevention in a state with one of the worst fire fatality rates in the country? What are YOU doing to reverse this?

    PS: for the love of God or whatever deity or lack thereof, depending on your beliefs... please call it Public Fire Education instead of "pubed". Every time I see "pubed" it makes me cringe....
    What in the love of god are you smoking?? Where does he say "pubed"?

    The topic isn't about what we do, it is the lack of what we do. Getting awful defensive there sunshine

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Since you chimed in...what do YOU do for fire safety/prevention in a state with one of the worst fire fatality rates in the country? What are YOU doing to reverse this?

    PS: for the love of God or whatever deity or lack thereof, depending on your beliefs... please call it Public Fire Education instead of "pubed". Every time I see "pubed" it makes me cringe....
    I had a pubed cought in my throat once....
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnyv View Post
    Public Fire Education doesn't get far because of the attitude of our citizens-and by extension, us-that the government has no right to enter my home or stick their nose into it for any purpose without a warrant. Look at the opposition against sprinklers as an example. I know FFs who argue against putting them in their own home simply because 1, they oppose gov't regulation, 2, they think they are smarter than a possible fire and 3, they don't want to spend the money. Many other countries are more densely populated (apt dwellers vs single family dwelling) and more willing to regulate due to the potential impact to others living in the same building. Not to mention the impacts of, dare I say it, socialism and communism.

    Our citizens have different expectations of Fire/EMS. They want us to respond to their call, handle it as an emergency, and leave. Most never think twice about us, the open minded ones (mostly those with kids) come to the open house and the field days, while the rest write letters to the newspaper to complain about their taxes and how we get paid to sleep.
    I understand what you're saying Gunny, and that attitude and resourcefulness has probably allowed the US to suceed so well in the last 60 or 70 years. If that said FF lived alone in a house away from others and relied on his own resources to rebuild and relace in the event of fire, then I'd agree with you. If, however, that same FF lives in a home in the suburbs with his family and carries insurance, then all of those factors come into play
    1. His family may not have any say or input into the use of sprinklers or if a FD comes into his home for a fire inspection. They will be impacted by that decision in the event of fire.
    2. His neighbors may be affected, either minimally in having to evacuate during the fire, or the fire could spread to their homes. His unilateral decision will affect these as well.
    3. If someone is hurt during or from this fire, health insurance will be affected, thereby affecting many people.
    4. If said FF claims loss on his home and posessions from his insurance co. many policy holders will be affected by a raise in rates.
    5. Worse case, a fellow FF is injured or killed fighting this fire. How many does that affect.

    I realise that some of that is over exaggeration, but unless someone chooses to live as an island, their acts, lifestyles, actions will affect others, quite simply, they are a part of society and society or at least their little area of it may decide on actions which he is not in 1oo% agreement on. Nevertheless, he may have to follow the dictatesof the majority as this is supposedly a democracy.

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    Gunny is right on track. This issue will not go away with us adding some bucks tot school fire prevention programs. This is about code compliance and building safety systems. Most of the countries who are listed under the "best practices" models have more nationalized government oversight of fire prevention codes.

    While in Scotland I was told by many B&B owners that they wouldn't even dream of non-compliance with the fire regulations, for two basic reasons: it's the right thing to do and it's law. Here, we enjoy questioning any authority that causes us to spend money or time on things we ourselves determine non-essential.

    I would not trade our freedoms in for anything, but they are part of what makes fire prevention a difficult topic. If we cannot convince our own, like Nameless, how do we convince the public that sometimes these codes are for the greater good. Pay me now or pay me later...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    What in the love of god are you smoking?? Where does he say "pubed"?

    The topic isn't about what we do, it is the lack of what we do. Getting awful defensive there sunshine
    I'm not smoking anything, strawbrain. If you read my post, you will see that my FD does take a proactive stance when it comes to fire prevention and education, as do most of the FD's in my area. We had our open house yesterday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, over 600+ people came by to view the rigs, learn about fire safety and cpr, residential fire sprinklers and home esccape plans and get treated to pizza, popcorn and ice cream.

    LA always calls public fire education "pubed".. go back and look at his pror posts and you will see that I m right.

    I'm not defensive, either. I just find the irony that LA lives in a state with one of the worst case of lack of fire codes and fire fatality rates in the country. Bryan Loader lives in the Ukraine... and the former Soviet bloc countries don't exactly have a stellar record when it comes to fire prevention efforts, public fire education and lfire deaths, either.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Delivery to young children has results.

    A few years ago we had the pleasure of delivering one of the pre-school campaigns designed for nation wide use here in Kiwi Land.

    Over two days we delivered it to 5 pre-schools in our area and got great responses from the kids.

    Now the smoke alarm, get down - get out message must have got through.

    A couple of weelsl later I was dropping off my young fella when an irate father came up and the conversation went like this.

    "Hey you are the guy that gave the fire lecture right"

    "Yup".

    "Man that P!ssed me off. My Daughter came home and ranted so much I had to go out and get three smoke detectors"

    He was confused when I burst out laughing and walked away.

    The more times you present consistent safety messages to children, the better thy will take that message to their parents, get at them young and keep it going through their school years.

    Over time you will see results.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    Delivery to young children has results.

    A few years ago we had the pleasure of delivering one of the pre-school campaigns designed for nation wide use here in Kiwi Land.

    Over two days we delivered it to 5 pre-schools in our area and got great responses from the kids.

    Now the smoke alarm, get down - get out message must have got through.

    A couple of weelsl later I was dropping off my young fella when an irate father came up and the conversation went like this.

    "Hey you are the guy that gave the fire lecture right"

    "Yup".

    "Man that P!ssed me off. My Daughter came home and ranted so much I had to go out and get three smoke detectors"

    He was confused when I burst out laughing and walked away.

    The more times you present consistent safety messages to children, the better thy will take that message to their parents, get at them young and keep it going through their school years.

    Over time you will see results.
    Be careful, Ian... some people will call that indoctrination...

    When I was doing the FireSAFE program in the schools, I had a homework assignment for the third grade, based on the NFPA's "Hunt for Home Hazards".

    I gave each third grader a checklist for their home to look for hazards, such as use of extension cords, proper storage of household chemicals, working smoke detectors, etc. I had an arrangement with the 3rd grade teachers io that each child that returned the checklist would have their worst test grade in any subject "disappear".

    One child returned the checklist unfilled.. across the paper, in red magic marker were the words "I DONT UNDERSTAND THIS!!!", and yes, it was in all capital letters.

    Were the parents illiterate? No.
    Was English their second language? No.

    The parents of the child were both engineers.. one in computer software, the other in electrical engineering... I guess I should have made up a list in binary code and schematics for them!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    I would not trade our freedoms in for anything, but they are part of what makes fire prevention a difficult topic. If we cannot convince our own, like Nameless, how do we convince the public that sometimes these codes are for the greater good. Pay me now or pay me later...
    maybe there are reasons you can't "convince" your own. although convince is a good word to use

    Home fire sprinklers don't address the problem at all. They are just a way of putting water on the fire sooner, they don't stop fires from happening. Same line of thinking, but just a more expensive version that will take a long time to have any appreciable effect.

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