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  1. #1
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    Default Ala. City Wants FFs at Candle Services

    I very seldom read something which makes me say "Are you serious?" I've been a firefighter for 25 years and don't recall this ever being a problem. Do they use road flares instead of candles in the churches down South?? And a full engine company on top of it. Someone try to enlighten me on this. Smart alec comments always welcome. Peace Brothers.


    The Associated Press

    Posted: Thu, 12/17/2009 - 01:06
    Updated: Thu, 12/17/2009 - 01:24 ..

    HOMEWOOD, Ala. --

    Churches in an Alabama city better count on a few extra guests at Christmas Eve candlelight ceremonies.

    The Birmingham suburb of Homewood requires a permit and four off-duty firefighters to attend any service where candles are passed out to parishioners.

    Fire Chief John Bresnan says the rule has been in place for 10 years, but many churches didn't know about it.

    Pastor Sid Burgess of Edgewood Presbyterian Church says rule "does seem like overkill" and the cost of up to $400 to hire firefighters can be a lot for a small church.

    The rule doesn't apply if ministers and other church leaders are the only ones handling the flames.

    The fire chief says the rule is all about ensuring safety in crowded rooms with open flames.

    Information from: The Birmingham News, http://www.al.com/birminghamnews

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    What are the off duty guys going to be able to do? Stomp on a small fire from a dropped candle? Can the church goers not do that? I wonder if the city recieves that 400 dollars, or if it goes to the firemen?
    FF/Paramedic

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    Hmm.....although - from the NYS Fire Code at least (modeled after the International Codes) -

    308.3.4 - Religious ceremonies. When, in the opinion of the fire code official,, adequate safeguards have been taken, participants in religious ceremonies are allowed to carry hand-held candles. Hand-held candles shall not be passed from one person to another while lighted.

    So, it could be argued that the 'adequate safeguards' required is the FF staffing.....all up to interpretation!

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    WOW my church would have to have firemen in the church every time they are open when candles are lit. Don't think the Preist would go for the paying part.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Ever see the road construction where the lone patrol car sits with the cop inside reading the newspaper?

    This is the fire service version of the same scam. It's a union scam to generate OT for their members. Nothing more, nothing less.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Not going to say the name of the Department, but a department here in Mass has a similar policy for any restaurants who want to have candles on the tables. You have to have a detail FF on the premises if you want open flames. And they do it all the time.

    The law is not that uncommon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    Not going to say the name of the Department, but a department here in Mass has a similar policy for any restaurants who want to have candles on the tables. You have to have a detail FF on the premises if you want open flames. And they do it all the time.

    The law is not that uncommon.
    I just don't think that is right. When did candles become illegal? Sorry you can only use this with Firefighter supervision. Come on.
    FF/Paramedic

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    Not going to say the name of the Department, but a department here in Mass has a similar policy for any restaurants who want to have candles on the tables. You have to have a detail FF on the premises if you want open flames. And they do it all the time.

    The law is not that uncommon.
    Now THAT seems a bit extreme -

    At my job, we will allow candles under certain situations - basically as outlined in the Fire Code -

    F308.3 Open flame. A person shall not utilize or allow to be utilized, an
    open flame in connection with a public meeting or gathering for purposes of
    deliberation, worship, entertainment, amusement, instruction, education,
    recreation, awaiting transportation or similar purpose in Group A or E
    occupancies except as prescribed in this section.

    F308.3.1 Open-flame decorative devices. Open-flame decorative devices
    shall comply with all of the following restrictions:

    1. Class I and Class II liquids and LP-gas shall not be used.

    2. Liquid- or solid-fueled lighting devices containing more than 8
    ounces (237 ml) of fuel must self-extinguish and not leak fuel at a
    rate of more than 0.25 teaspoon per minute (1.26 ml per minute) if
    tipped over.

    3. The device or holder shall be constructed to prevent the spillage of
    liquid fuel or wax at the rate of more than 0.25 teaspoon per minute
    (1.26 ml per minute) when the device or holder is not in an upright
    position.

    4. The device or holder shall be designed so that it will return to the
    upright position after being tilted to an angle of 45 degrees from
    vertical.

    Exception: Devices that self-extinguish if tipped over and do not
    spill fuel or wax at the rate of more than 0.25 teaspoon per minute
    (1.26 ml per minute) if tipped over.

    5. The flame shall be enclosed except where openings on the side are not
    more than 0.375 inch (9.5 mm) diameter or where openings are on the
    top and the distance to the top is such that a piece of tissue paper
    placed on the top will not ignite in 10 seconds.

    6. Chimneys shall be made of noncombustible materials and securely
    attached to the open-flame device.

    Exception: A chimney is not required to be attached to any open-flame
    device that will self-extinguish if the device is tipped over.

    7. Fuel canisters shall be safely sealed for storage.

    8. Storage and handling of combustible liquids shall be in accordance
    with Chapter F34.

    9. Shades, where used, shall be made of noncombustible materials and
    securely attached to the open-flame device holder or chimney.

    10. Candelabras with flame-lighted candles shall be securely fastened in
    place to prevent overturning, and shall be located away from
    occupants using the area and away from possible contact with drapes,
    curtains or other combustibles.

    F308.3.2 Location near combustibles. Open flames such as from candles,
    lanterns, kerosene heaters, and gas-fired heaters shall not be located on
    or near decorative material or similar combustible materials.

    F308.3.3 Aisles and exits. Candles shall be prohibited in areas where
    occupants stand, or in an aisle or exit.

    F308.3.4 Religious ceremonies. When, in the opinion of the fire code
    official, adequate safeguards have been taken, participants in religious
    ceremonies are allowed to carry hand-held candles. Hand-held candles shall
    not be passed from one person to another while lighted.

    F308.3.5 Theatrical performances. Where approved, open-flame devices used
    in conjunction with theatrical performances are allowed to be used when
    adequate safety precautions have been taken in accordance with NFPA 160.
    The use of liquefied petroleum gas shall conform with F3803.2.1.5
    of this code. Such precautions may include one or more of the following:

    1. Proscenium stages are separated from assembly seating by fire
    barriers having a 2-hour fire-resistance rating, and the opening is
    protected by a fire curtain designed such that it can be closed
    without the use of power in case of an emergency.

    2. The stage and assembly seating areas are protected by an automatic
    sprinkler system.

    3. Posting of a fire watch during the performance, with such fire watch
    being equipped with portable fire extinguishers of an appropriate
    size and type.

    4. Other fire safety measures required by the code enforcement official.

    F308.3.6 Group A occupancies. Open-flame devices shall not be used in a
    Group A occupancy.

    Exceptions:

    1. Open-flame devices are allowed to be used in the following
    situations, provided approved precautions are taken to prevent
    ignition of a combustible material or injury to occupants:

    1.1. Where necessary for ceremonial or religious purposes in
    accordance with F308.3.5.

    1.2. On stages and platforms as a necessary part of a performance in
    accordance with F308.3.6.

    1.3. Where candles on tables are securely supported on substantial
    noncombustible bases and the candle flames are protected.

    2. Heat-producing equipment complying with Chapter F6 and the
    Mechanical Code of New York State.

    3. Gas lights are allowed to be used provided adequate precautions
    satisfactory to the code enforcement official are taken to prevent
    ignition of combustible materials.
    Short form - if the votive jar self-rights when tipped over, flame does not extend above the rim, no combustibles are placed in close proximity.....we also do not generally allow them during events with 'kids' (prom, etc).....we generally ok the situation. BUT - this is on a case by case basis and if tehre is any issue with the people requesting permission we don't hesitate to 'Just Say No'......

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    Idiotic.

    Unless they are juggling them, give me a break.

    .
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pasobuff View Post
    Short form - if the votive jar self-rights when tipped over, flame does not extend above the rim, no combustibles are placed in close proximity.....we also do not generally allow them during events with 'kids' (prom, etc).....we generally ok the situation. BUT - this is on a case by case basis and if tehre is any issue with the people requesting permission we don't hesitate to 'Just Say No'......
    Anyone who calls the fire department for permission to light a candle lacks a brain. Any fire department who says people can't have candles in church or candles on a table without firefighters present is run by morons.

    Obviously, there are circumstances where candles wouldn't be permissible due to the amount of combustibles present, the size of the candles or the containers they were used in... But blanket policies saying that firefighters must be present anytime candles are burning is pretty ridiculous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    Any fire department who says people can't have candles in church or candles on a table without firefighters present is run by morons.
    And anybody who cares about having the candles enough to be willing to pay for a FF you could call a moron as well.

    The law is what it is, but you can simply avoid candles and save some money. There are plenty of simulated candles on the market that could work out just fine.

    And if you still want the real thing, then a FF makes some extra $$. That is a not a crime.

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    I don't know about Homewood, but a city close to them, if the policy has not changed required a security guard for all permitted functions with more than ten people. The city would then use off duty police officers to fill the security position. The police officer was paid by the city and considered a city employee. The officers made good extra money and the city also made money off the deal. This may be something along that same line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    The law is what it is, but you can simply avoid candles and save some money. There are plenty of simulated candles on the market that could work out just fine.
    I'm thinking that in the seating areas of the churches in my district and in the church I attend, there is very little to burn. The pews are wooden. They do have upholstered pads, which could be a concern. However, the small candles used for these type of services are sometimes have trouble staying lit while you hold them... a perfect storm would have to occur for them to be dropped on the cushion, ignite and no one extinguish it with a coat or a foot.

    I think requiring the presence of an engine company is overkill and would offend most people's sensibilities. The perception of firefighters sitting around the firehouse playing checkers all day is bad enough... requiring that you pay them to come to church and sit around makes it worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    Anyone who calls the fire department for permission to light a candle lacks a brain. Any fire department who says people can't have candles in church or candles on a table without firefighters present is run by morons.

    Obviously, there are circumstances where candles wouldn't be permissible due to the amount of combustibles present, the size of the candles or the containers they were used in... But blanket policies saying that firefighters must be present anytime candles are burning is pretty ridiculous.
    The Fire Department of which WD6956 speaks happens to be an ISO class 1 department.

    If I recall correctly, the "candle detail" resulted from a large loss fire. the detail consists of one or two firefighters who are there not only for the candles but as a public safety detail.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 12-17-2009 at 05:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    The Fire Department of which WD6956 speaks happens to be an ISO class 1 department.
    Captain knows exactly where i am talking about!

    No shortage of $$ there to pay that detail either!

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefuss View Post
    How they got the ranking with only 2 on an engine I have no idea.
    Who said they are running 2 on an engine? 3 at a minimum. Often 4. No FF's on ambulances either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefuss View Post
    Don't think too highly of those class one ISO'ers. I used to work for one, and moral-wise, it's all about the city. They could give a rats *** about anything but getting all .023785 points they need for that class 1 rank. Your happiness on this job included. I could totally see that department I used to work for sending some whacker out to a restaurant with a portable radio to "supervise" the candles. If it got em the point they needed for that Class 1, you bet. How they got the ranking with only 2 on an engine I have no idea. Oh wait, number magic, on a fire call, the 2 guys in the ambulance count towards the engine crew, so you see theres really 4 per engine. B.S. CLASS 1 !!!
    Firefuss... I work with a few of "those "Class 1'ers" at the Massachusetts Fire Academy. They are an aggressive FD that get a lot of fires... some of them in bio labs that deal with some really nasty@$$bad$#!t, both chemical and biological.

    No whackers there, either....
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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    requiring that you pay them to come to church and sit around makes it worse.
    That's the only way you'll get me to go.

    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Back in maybe the 1960's there wasn't too many class 1's depts. Now everyone wants to be one, but who cares if we are a 2 or 3, we still answer the call and fight da fires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnee View Post
    Back in maybe the 1960's there wasn't too many class 1's depts. Now everyone wants to be one, but who cares if we are a 2 or 3, we still answer the call and fight da fires.
    BUT BUT BUT you dont get to do it in a truck with "CLASS 1" on the side!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Firefuss... I work with a few of "those "Class 1'ers" at the Massachusetts Fire Academy. They are an aggressive FD that get a lot of fires... some of them in bio labs that deal with some really nasty@$$bad$#!t, both chemical and biological.

    No whackers there, either....
    Aside from all the Biolabs, they also have the tallest prison in the US, a small nuclear reactor, a very busy subway line, an extremeley busy railroad line with freight and passenger traffic, museums, many college campuses and plenty of other activity that makes it a pretty busy department.

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    Ever see the road construction where the lone patrol car sits with the cop inside reading the newspaper?

    This is the fire service version of the same scam. It's a union scam to generate OT for their members. Nothing more, nothing less.
    When an arson guy of George's caliber says it's a scam. It's a scam.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    The only time I can think of where a FD was present during candle usage was at my Fathers 90th birthday. There was an engine and a tanker there with 7 FF including the Chief in Dress Blues. They were there to honor him, nothing to do with fire safety. What the hell happened to a little personal responsibility and common sense?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    Aside from all the Biolabs, they also have the tallest prison in the US, a small nuclear reactor, a very busy subway line, an extremeley busy railroad line with freight and passenger traffic, museums, many college campuses and plenty of other activity that makes it a pretty busy department.
    Tallest prison? Like this one?

    http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Nor...hoto243983.htm

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    every church in my area would alreayd have several firefighters in it so it won't be a big deal, but don't expect to get paid.

    Hmmmmm 4 firefighters required? Sounds like a goverment job alright. one firefighter stamps out the fire the other 3 stand around and watch. lol

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