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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Byrne View Post
    Fact is my brothers, we are not reinventing the wheel! Other countries have successfully identified ways to accomplish many of the things we have discussed. Have a fire in Japan and see what happens!!
    What are they doing that is so great?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    They need better information and too much unvetted data is not always useful.

    Think of it this way. If an inspection bureau were to decide to start reporting to insurance companies, they'd likely be obligated to report every violation to every insurance company every time. That would result in not only a significantly increased workload for them but also a huge amount of information -- most of it of little use --for the insurance companies to process. I just don't think the potential for improved compliance justifies the cost. We have better options.
    Yes, every violation... but so what? My company processes a HUGE amount of patient data on over 250k patients who get treatments 3 times a week and weekly labs.

    With the state of computer technology crunching, tracking, maintaining large amounts of data is not a big deal. I see very little workload, as a matter of fact.

    You want changes from commercial/industrial occupants, you have to talk financial. Period.

    Even fines are not enough. Fines, when even levied, are a 1 time hit that most companies write off. Adjust their insurance premiums in a meaningful way, and you'll see results.


    I'm not opposed to new ideas. I just won't support ideas that increase the administrative workload without promising a significant improvement in code compliance. Why should we be creating administrative work for ourselves to cajole the insurance companies to do our jobs for us instead of just doing it ourselves?
    "creating administrative work".. well, I don't see a way around that. What can you do that won't create "more work".

    Change is hard for most folks. However, status quo isn't working (the point of this thread).
    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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    jakesdad - you bring up a good point. Prevention due to governmental structure in contrast to fire ground operations is probably the difference, and when a fire DOES occur the advances end.

    What are they doing better? Being an NFA Alumni and graduate of classes requiring research, as well as being on Vision 20/20 work groups and meeting fire personnel from various countries, I would have to say - keeping jakesdad comments in mind - they are doing many things better.

    Here in the U.S. our solution to fire protection is get there quicker, get closer, put more water on it (Alan Brunacini). Fact is flash over today occurs in under 5 minutes in contrast to 15-20 minutes thirty years ago. So by the time we get the call it's already too late. So we buy bigger fire trucks, try to find ways to get there faster, and bring more water; but, we have reached a point where those advances are negligible.

    The only way to successfully battle fires today, and save live, is to put more effort and resources in prevention.

    SO! If we take the U.S.'s fire ground ability and technology, and increase our prevention efforts - imagine the fire service we'd have a difference we could make!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Byrne View Post
    jakesdad - you bring up a good point. Prevention due to governmental structure in contrast to fire ground operations is probably the difference, and when a fire DOES occur the advances end.

    What are they doing better? Being an NFA Alumni and graduate of classes requiring research, as well as being on Vision 20/20 work groups and meeting fire personnel from various countries, I would have to say - keeping jakesdad comments in mind - they are doing many things better.

    Here in the U.S. our solution to fire protection is get there quicker, get closer, put more water on it (Alan Brunacini). Fact is flash over today occurs in under 5 minutes in contrast to 15-20 minutes thirty years ago. So by the time we get the call it's already too late. So we buy bigger fire trucks, try to find ways to get there faster, and bring more water; but, we have reached a point where those advances are negligible.

    The only way to successfully battle fires today, and save live, is to put more effort and resources in prevention.

    SO! If we take the U.S.'s fire ground ability and technology, and increase our prevention efforts - imagine the fire service we'd have a difference we could make!!


    You mention being and NFA alumni and "20/20 work groups", yet you do not mention any actual fireground experience.

    If you honestly believe the "only way to successfully battle fires today is to put more effort into prevention", then you haven't a clue as to the work that is done day in and day out OUTSIDE of work groups on actual firegrounds across this country.

    Your posts read like ones from someone who has never actually crawled down a hot hallway. And your answer, like others that haven't, is always more prevention.

    Fact is, you ARE NOT going to prevent every fire. Not even close. So rather than throw your hands up and say that we can honestly do no more to prevent civilian and firefighter deaths you would be much better served to ackowledge the real problems facing the US fire service and work to fix them.

    But to work on the actual problems you must first understand what they are. No firefighter worth a damn cares at all about having a "bigger" firetruck or "getting there faster". Those are the imaginary problems mayors and city councils dream up.

    ACTUAL firefighters, the ones that DO the work of a firefighter, care about REAL issues such as having adequate company level staffing and proper response resources, real-life training, having solid tactical and strategic company and incident commanders and having procedures and guidelines that are built on sound firefighting practices.

    Prevention is a component of any comprehensive fire safety strategy. But to say that we as a country have reached our limit as to what we can do on the fireground is both naive and highly innacurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Byrne View Post
    jakesdad - you bring up a good point. Prevention due to governmental structure in contrast to fire ground operations is probably the difference, and when a fire DOES occur the advances end.

    What are they doing better? Being an NFA Alumni and graduate of classes requiring research, as well as being on Vision 20/20 work groups and meeting fire personnel from various countries, I would have to say - keeping jakesdad comments in mind - they are doing many things better.

    Here in the U.S. our solution to fire protection is get there quicker, get closer, put more water on it (Alan Brunacini). Fact is flash over today occurs in under 5 minutes in contrast to 15-20 minutes thirty years ago. So by the time we get the call it's already too late. So we buy bigger fire trucks, try to find ways to get there faster, and bring more water; but, we have reached a point where those advances are negligible.

    The only way to successfully battle fires today, and save live, is to put more effort and resources in prevention.

    SO! If we take the U.S.'s fire ground ability and technology, and increase our prevention efforts - imagine the fire service we'd have a difference we could make!!
    What are they doing better ... Hmmmmm .. Let's see ...

    Prevention is actually staffed ... Fully staffed.
    Suppression companies spend far more time in ... Prevention & Inspection.
    Far more public education.
    Greater use of the media .. Even if it costs $$$$ to deliver the message.
    Prevention is not only considered a valid career track rather than a dumping ground, like many US departments, but it's actually a requirement that Chief Officers have spent significant time in prevention and have developed a track record of success.
    Higher education in prevention is required to run prevention divisions.
    Higher education in prevention is required for promotion to Chief Officer positions.
    Being in prevention is a spot where members want to go, and it is seen as as an accomplishment not viewed as "ducking suppression duty".
    Prevention is heavily taught to all new members.
    Insurance companies and society punish folks who have fires through negligence.... Which by the way, covers a lot more causes than here in the US.

    The fact is the rest of the world, for the most part, do a lot more than we do in terms of prevention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    What are they doing better ... Hmmmmm .. Let's see ...

    Prevention is actually staffed ... Fully staffed.
    Suppression companies spend far more time in ... Prevention & Inspection.
    Far more public education.
    Greater use of the media .. Even if it costs $$$$ to deliver the message.
    Prevention is not only considered a valid career track rather than a dumping ground, like many US departments, but it's actually a requirement that Chief Officers have spent significant time in prevention and have developed a track record of success.
    Higher education in prevention is required to run prevention divisions.
    Higher education in prevention is required for promotion to Chief Officer positions.
    Being in prevention is a spot where members want to go, and it is seen as as an accomplishment not viewed as "ducking suppression duty".
    Prevention is heavily taught to all new members.
    Insurance companies and society punish folks who have fires through negligence.... Which by the way, covers a lot more causes than here in the US.

    The fact is the rest of the world, for the most part, do a lot more than we do in terms of prevention.

    The rest of the world huh? Do you mean communist China? Perhaps the muslim world? Or maybe Switzerland?

    What countries do you actually speak of? Or would that negate your argument?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    The rest of the world huh? Do you mean communist China? Perhaps the muslim world? Or maybe Switzerland?

    What countries do you actually speak of? Or would that negate your argument?
    Most industrialized countries in Europe, Scandinavia as well as Japan.

    Basically the rest of the industrialized world, which all by the way, have a lower per capita fire death rate than the US.

    Last I knew, we were about 14 per million, as compared to some countries that are as low as 2-3 per million. Even Canada is 3-4 fire deaths per million lower than the US.

    So yes, they are doing something that we are not in terms of fire and life safety.

    The fact is that in many countries, if you have a fire in your home that was caused by a chimney, as an example, and the insurance company discovers that it has been more than a year since it has been cleaned by a licensed chimney seep, they will not pay. Same if they discover it was an electrical fire and you did some do it yourself wiring, or a kitchen fire that occurred while you were out of the kitchen. And if you damage another's property through a fire caused by your negligence, it's you that is on the hook, not your or their insurance company

    Basically the definition of "negligence" in terms of fire, and the citizens liability resulting from that negligence, is far wider than here in the US. because of that, fire safety is considered far more important.

    True, those are cultural differences, but there are also some very significant differences in terms of how the fire department views their role in the delivery of prevention, and the importance of prevention v. suppression in terms their everyday role.


    Bottom line is the per capita fire deaths tell the story.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-18-2011 at 10:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Most industrialized countries in Europe, Scandinavia as well as Japan.

    Basically the rest of the industrialized world, which all by the way, have a lower per capita fire death rate than the US.

    Last I knew, we were about 14 per million, as compared to some countries that are as low as 2-3 per million. Even Canada is 3-4 fire deaths per million lower than the US.

    So yes, they are doing something that we are not in terms of fire and life safety.

    The fact is that in many countries, if you have a fire in your home that was caused by a chimney, and the insurance company discovers that it has been more than a year since it has been cleaned by a licensed chimney seep, they will not pay. Same if they discover it was an electrical fire and you did some do it yourself wiring, or a kitchen fire that occurred while you were out of the kitchen.

    Basically the definition of "negligence" in terms of fire, and the citizens liability resulting from that negligence, is far wider than here in the US. because of that, fire safety is considered far more important.

    True, that is a cultural difference, but there are also some very significant differences in terms of how the fire department views their role in the delivery of prevention, and the importance of prevention v. suppression in terms of what they do.

    Bottom line is the per capita fire deaths tell the story.
    You need to do a fact check.

    It is simply NOT true that the rest of the civilized world has a lower death rate than the US. Not even Japan...sorry Danial Byrne.

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    Seems that if those actions taken by the insurance companies in the other countries have had such a good impact on fire deaths that this isn't something that us firefighters can do anything about. If US insurance companies wanted to start putting the same limitations in their policies they could. If it actually reduced the amount of money they paid out, I'm sure they would do so. Sort of backward logic, but if they aren't doing something that should save them money by preventing fires, then perhaps it doesn't actually work as you describe.

    I think we all know that insurance companies will create as many loopholes as they can so that they don't have to pay out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    You need to do a fact check.

    It is simply NOT true that the rest of the civilized world has a lower death rate than the US. Not even Japan...sorry Danial Byrne.
    Incorrect.

    According the the US Fire Administration, who knows a thing or two about this, in a report "A Profile of Fire in the United States", published in 2008, the US has the 4th worst fire death rate of the top 25 industrialized nations.

    Or to put it another way, we are 21st out of the top 25 industrialized nations in per capita fire deaths.

    They did not list specifically a country by country breakdown.

    The fact is the data indicates that this has been the case for the last 25 years, with some very minor variations in our rank.

    Another fact is that as a country, we spend more on fire protection per capita than any other country in the world. The current economic situation has clearly stated that we can spend no more on suppression and in fact, most communities, especially urban areas, are being forced to spend less with no realistic chance of ever getting that funding and staffing back.

    Clearly the current suppression-based model has issues given the results, and given decreased staffing, will likely fail to function even less effectively than it has in the past .

    PS .. I will attempt to find specific data tomorrow while at work and I have my reference texts available.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-19-2011 at 03:40 AM.
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    Is someone trying to say

    Other countries are more prevention conscious

    Other countries build safer buildings

    Other countries are paid for only what is burned, so they try to prevent fires

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Is someone trying to say

    Other countries are more prevention conscious

    Other countries build safer buildings

    Other countries are paid for only what is burned, so they try to prevent fires
    Ya, something like that.

    And they have figured out that preventing fires is actually cheaper than having large suppression forces to respond to them.

    While I will admit there are some cultural differences between some of the countries that have the lower per capita fire death rates and the US, there is far more we could do on the prevention side that would greatly reduce (not eliminate) the number of fires we experience.

    Some of them are legislative fixes, and will require push from the fire service. Some are engineering fixes, which again, will require push and education by the fire service. Some are cultural fixes. And some are education and awareness issues, including the way the fire service portrays fire and delivers our messages. But they all involve the fire service changing it's approach to the way we do business. which will require far more emphasis on prevention and yes. will require more staffing to deliver the increased number of inspections and education needed to change our history of fire.

    Suppression will only take us so far.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    And they have figured out that preventing fires is actually cheaper than having large suppression forces to respond to them.
    Outside of reading some reports (probably online) and then drawing your own conclusions...

    What else do you have to support this claim?
    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 ChiefKN View Post
    Outside of reading some reports (probably online) and then drawing your own conclusions...

    What else do you have to support this claim?
    Given that they are able to deliver low per capita fire death rates at a cost that is lower per capita than the US fire service .....

    Bottom line is having large number of firefighters sitting around fire stations is not an efficiant way to deliver fire protection. Taking some of those resources and dedicating them to prevention and education is a far more efficiant use of resources, and will have the net effect of reducing the number of fires, which will reduce the need for suppression personnel.

    It's really not rocket science. And it's a conclusion that botht he USFA and the NFPA have stated in several reports - spending more of fire prevention and public education will reduce fires.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-19-2011 at 12:52 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Given that they are able to deliver low per capita fire death rates at a cost that is lower per capita than the US fire service .....
    So you are making assumptions about the cause and effect from other countries.

    There are so many variables that could be affecting the statement you made, that your assumption could be seriously flawed.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 12-19-2011 at 12:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    You need to do a fact check.

    It is simply NOT true that the rest of the civilized world has a lower death rate than the US. Not even Japan...sorry Danial Byrne.
    Here is the additonal information as promised.

    From the USFA report "Fire in the United States 2003-2007", which is the latest data:

    U.S. Fire Deaths versus Other Nations
    Although the United States no longer has one of the most severe fire problems among the industrialized Nations, it continues to experience fire death and property loss rates in excess of its sister industrialized Nations. Much progress has been made in 30 years—the death rate is less than half of what it was in the late 1970s and down 20 percent since 2003 (Figure 3). International data, however, indicate that the United States still has a fire death rate 2 to 2 1/2 times that of several European Nations, and at least 20 percent higher than many other Nations. The U.S. fire death rate, averaged for 2003 to 2005, was reported at 14.1 deaths per million population.16 Of the 25 industrial Nations examined by the World Fire Statistics Centre, the U.S. rate is still in the upper tier—the fifth highest fire death rate out of 25 Nations. This general status has been unchanged for the past 27 years.The declining U.S. trend in the fire death rate is not an extraordinary event; this broad declining trend applies to western European Nations and selected industrialized Nations of southeastern Asia. The United States has placed greater emphasis on fire suppression than other Nations, but these Nations tend to surpass the U.S. in practicing fire prevention. The United States would be well-served by studying and implementing international fire prevention programs that have proved effective in reducing the number of fires and deaths. The United States has excellent building technology; public buildings generally have good records. It is the combination of safety built into homes and safety behavior in homes where we fall short of some Nations. We have the technology in home sprinkler systems and knowledge of compartmentalization, but they are not widely used.


    Note the highlighted areas which clearly demonstrate the problem, and how we rank compared to the rest of the world.

    I have also highlighted recommendations by the USFA for changing this situation.

    And this is from a nation that spends more per capita on fire protection than any other country in the world. We should be getting far better results.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    So you are making assumptions about the cause and effect from other countries.

    There are so many variables that could be affecting the statement you made, that your assumption could be seriously flawed.
    So are you disputing the fact that countries that focus less on suppression and spend more time, resources, and yes, funding as a percentasge of thier budgets on prevention and public education have a lower death rate?

    The statistics prove otherwise.

    Yes, there are external variables such as building construction. That being said, if the fire service was able to work together, we could likely force changes in building codes that would incorporate some of those construction features, and we could demand sprinkler ordiances. The issue is that as a service, we are simply not as concerned with doing these things as we should be. For far too many Chiefs and far to many departments, and yes, far too many firefighters, it's more about the response than it is about prevention. Prevention, inspection and education isn't sexy. It isn't glamaourous. But it could reduce the number of fires we respond to.

    And yes there are cukltural differences as well. That being said, we as a service, could make fire something that people will take the time and effort to prevent just as law enforcement has made people worry about crime enough to take the time to worry about prevention. Would it take a more aggressive appraoch? And would it likely force us to develop harsgher and more blunt messages regarding the concequences of fire? Yes. The fact is the fire service has really made an effort to almost not make people fear fire like they should. maybe a diffrent tact is needed to make this important in people's lives.

    If you want to despute that, fine. But the bottom line is the primary function of the fire department is preventing a fire, which yes prevents responses, and will allow for staffing reducations on the suppression side once the changes in the way we should be doing business take hold.

    Just in my little burg our annual structure fires have dropped every year for the last 6 years - from 24 to 10 this year - since we have aggressivly approached prevention.

    My past department saw the same reductions over the 10 years I was there and pushed prevention.

    And there are larger communities and even urban areas that have seen reductions as well.

    Yes, aggressive prevention will yield fewer runs.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-19-2011 at 01:58 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    So are you disputing the fact that countries that focus less on suppression and spend more time, resources, and yes, funding as a percentasge of thier budgets on prevention and public education have a lower death rate?
    Quite honestly, what is the basis for saying that other countries "focus" less on suppression? Is it simply money spent on suppression? You reference time, resources as well...

    You seem to be advocating for less "focus" (whatever that means) on suppression. Even the USFA's position isn't clear on this, so not picking on you. However, what exactly does that mean?

    Do you feel that reducing suppression budgets will help the death rate? Because, I have to say that makes me very nervous. In fact, it seems a bit reckless, without a better understanding as to the exact differences between countries. There are many variables that could be at play here.

    You want to spend more on prevention, go for it. However, I don't think more smokey bears suits or even LOCAL prevention will have an impact. What can one guy with some pamphlets and a sparky suit do?

    I think that a different and more effective code enforcement and better building codes (including residential sprinklers) could have an impact. A much bigger impact then what is traditionally thought of as "fire prevention".

    This was your comment:
    Given that they are able to deliver low per capita fire death rates at a cost that is lower per capita than the US fire service .....
    My rejection of that statement is that there are many things that could be affecting this disparity. Heck, just poor or different data collection could be skewing these numbers. I know for a fact having a hundred different little fire departments each with a 100' Tower Ladder is definitely driving up costs..Not to mention that "per capita" we probably pay public servants better.... who knows?

    If the yard stick is "cost" then we need a better understanding of what is included.

    The rest of your post, more or less backs me up:

    Yes, there are external variables such as building construction. That being said, if the fire service was able to work together, we could likely force changes in building codes that would incorporate some of those construction features, and we could demand sprinkler ordiances. The issue is that as a service, we are simply not as concerned with doing these things as we should be.
    For far too many Chiefs and far to many departments, and yes, far too many firefighters, it's more about the response than it is about prevention. Prevention, inspection and education isn't sexy. It isn't glamaourous. But it could reduce the number of fires we respond to.
    Tell me what the LOCAL fire departments are doing in those foreign countries in regards to fire prevention?

    It sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder about your role. I get it. But as I indicated above, I think most of what passes in the US as "fire prevention" is a waste of time/money.

    Just in my little burg our annual structure fires have dropped every year for the last 6 years - from 24 to 10 this year - since we have aggressivly approached prevention.

    My past department saw the same reductions over the 10 years I was there and pushed prevention.
    You attribute that to your local fire prevention activities. What initiatives did you take to affect fires in SINGLE FAMILY DWELLINGS? I know around here, the only time SFD's are even reviewed by ANY code enforcement is when it is built and to a much lesser degree when sold or resold.

    Yet, our structure fire rate also went down... why?

    Because most of the crappy old homes burned down... people smoked more... venus was aligned with Mars. Who knows. But I will never be convinced it was because we had better pamphlets or bought a Sparky outfit.
    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 Daniel Byrne View Post
    Fact is my brothers, we are not reinventing the wheel! Other countries have successfully identified ways to accomplish many of the things we have discussed.
    We don't necessarily need to look to "other countries;" we just need to get off of our collective backsides and educate the public (and much of the fire service) about fire safety as well as adopting and enforcing realistic fire codes. How many of the people reading this are active in the code development and adoption process?

    Stop worrying about legalities (within reason) and simply do the right thing.
    Doing the "right thing" includes adhering to those pesky legalities. Code enforcement is based in legality. When we start ignoring that we lose our credibility.

    In the fire service we are in the prevention business - or we should be.
    "The fire service" is a broad field with multiple disciplines. Some are more prevention oriented than others.

    Our job is to prevent period.
    Since we obvioulsy can't prevent them all our job goes rather further than that.

    So if it takes a whole tree of paperwork, thousands of phone minutes, and dozens of meetings to simply correct that one hazard - is it worth it?
    Not if the same result could have been achieved without it and not if it means leaving a hundred more hazards uncorrected because we've used our limited resources inefficiently.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Yes, every violation... but so what? My company processes a HUGE amount of patient data on over 250k patients who get treatments 3 times a week and weekly labs.
    I would be willing to bet that your company has more resources than the typical inspection office. I return to my original question: Why work so hard to try and get the insurance companies to do our job for us?
    1. Inspect
    2. Document
    3. Enforce

    With the state of computer technology crunching, tracking, maintaining large amounts of data is not a big deal. I see very little workload, as a matter of fact.
    All the data in the world is useless without someone doing the tedious job of collecting, classifying, and entering it. Data collection for its own sake is a futile pursuit.

    You want changes from commercial/industrial occupants, you have to talk financial. Period.
    Okay. Why does that need to involve the insurance companies?

    Even fines are not enough. Fines, when even levied, are a 1 time hit that most companies write off.
    So fine them again. Better yet, take them to court. Or close their business if the violations are that egregious. These are all legal recourses available and directly related to the code enforcement process.

    Adjust their insurance premiums in a meaningful way, and you'll see results.
    Take a few building owners and CEOs to court and you'll get their attention, too.

    "creating administrative work".. well, I don't see a way around that. What can you do that won't create "more work".
    It's not about not creating work; it's about creating the wrong work. If the AHJ's office is incapable of enforcing the code without enlisting a private company from the outside, there's something wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    It is simply NOT true that the rest of the civilized world has a lower death rate than the US.
    Much of it does. The rate of fire deaths in the US continues to be among the worst among industrialized nations. The rate of deaths in the US has improved but is still above average.

    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Here is the additonal information as promised.

    From the USFA report "Fire in the United States 2003-2007", which is the latest data:

    U.S. Fire Deaths versus Other Nations
    Although the United States no longer has one of the most severe fire problems among the industrialized Nations, it continues to experience fire death and property loss rates in excess of its sister industrialized Nations. Much progress has been made in 30 years—the death rate is less than half of what it was in the late 1970s and down 20 percent since 2003 (Figure 3). International data, however, indicate that the United States still has a fire death rate 2 to 2 1/2 times that of several European Nations, and at least 20 percent higher than many other Nations. The U.S. fire death rate, averaged for 2003 to 2005, was reported at 14.1 deaths per million population.16 Of the 25 industrial Nations examined by the World Fire Statistics Centre, the U.S. rate is still in the upper tier—the fifth highest fire death rate out of 25 Nations. This general status has been unchanged for the past 27 years.The declining U.S. trend in the fire death rate is not an extraordinary event; this broad declining trend applies to western European Nations and selected industrialized Nations of southeastern Asia. The United States has placed greater emphasis on fire suppression than other Nations, but these Nations tend to surpass the U.S. in practicing fire prevention. The United States would be well-served by studying and implementing international fire prevention programs that have proved effective in reducing the number of fires and deaths. The United States has excellent building technology; public buildings generally have good records. It is the combination of safety built into homes and safety behavior in homes where we fall short of some Nations. We have the technology in home sprinkler systems and knowledge of compartmentalization, but they are not widely used.


    Note the highlighted areas which clearly demonstrate the problem, and how we rank compared to the rest of the world.

    I have also highlighted recommendations by the USFA for changing this situation.

    And this is from a nation that spends more per capita on fire protection than any other country in the world. We should be getting far better results.

    So I guess Figure 3. within the exact same report must be some sort of a typo??

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/p...tics/v12i8.pdf

    That's the figure where it lists SEVERAL industrialized nations with a higher per capita death rate from fire...including Japan.

    According to that chart, the US ranks 15th out of the 24 countries listed which puts them statistically in the middle.
    Last edited by jakesdad; 12-19-2011 at 07:57 PM.

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    Quite honestly, what is the basis for saying that other countries "focus" less on suppression? Is it simply money spent on suppression? You reference time, resources as well...

    It's a known documented fact (as stated in several USFA reports) that Europe and Japan spend far more on prevention, as a percentage of their budget, than the US. Studies by the USFA indicate that the average US fire department, including career departments, spend 1% on direct public education and fire prevention salaries and operating costs.

    In much of Europe and Japan, the typical department will spend in excess of 15% of their budgets on direct costs associated with prevention. In addition, European and Japanese fire departments spend far more on media to deliver thier messages to the targeted audiences through targeted media at specific times, unlike US fire services that simply hands-off PSAs and print ads to the media to be run for free, at the times the media has open, which is generally no the times or places the intended targets will see the messages.

    In addition, suppression companies spend far more time on fire prevention and inspection within their response areas than does the typical US fire company.

    This also includes far more prevention and public education by volunteer brigades as well, when compared to volunteer departments in the US. This is all documented in several USFA reports dealing with this topic.


    You seem to be advocating for less "focus" (whatever that means) on suppression. Even the USFA's position isn't clear on this, so not picking on you. However, what exactly does that mean?

    It simply means that the fire service needs to take some of the energy, focus, and yes resources from the suppression side and put them into the prevention side. For example, take one man per shift off a slow engine, and reassign that one position (which would be three in a typical three platoon system) to prevention. Take the effort being spent to spec out new piant jobs for the engines and put that time into talking to developers about voluntarily putting in sprinklers. Basically take some of the time that we spend on things on the suppression side that really, don't matter, and put that time and effort into prevention.

    Do you feel that reducing suppression budgets will help the death rate? Because, I have to say that makes me very nervous. In fact, it seems a bit reckless, without a better understanding as to the exact differences between countries. There are many variables that could be at play here.

    Again, increased prevention will lead to reduced fires and deaths. And yes, to achieve those results that may mean slightly reducing suppression strength to increase prevention and inspection staffing

    You want to spend more on prevention, go for it. However, I don't think more smokey bears suits or even LOCAL prevention will have an impact. What can one guy with some pamphlets and a sparky suit do?

    I really thought you had more of a grasp on the concept of prevention.

    True, part of the puzzle is education at the grade school level. But it's also delivering education to the adult community through community venues and workplace firesafety and extinguisher education. It's about delivering messages to the senior population through senior citizen presentations and through home health and support agencies. It's also using all facets of the media to again, deliver messages to the adult and senior community. And yes, it's about installing smoke detectors to those that cannot afford them.

    In that community it also means having signs in front of 3 of our 6 stations delivering firesafety messages.

    It's also about the leadership pushing and driving sprinkler ordinances. it's about those same leaders driving local code changes. It's about those leaders talking to the business community

    It's about suppression companies visiting any and every community event in their response area, as well as local business, and handing out those pamphlets. it's about those same suppression companies being tasked to check occupancy loads in their district and checking up on local businesses after the inspection folks have gone home for code vocalizations.

    It's about all components of the department being involved, but all of this does take commitment, resources, time and drive. And all of that requires more than 1% of the budget.



    I think that a different and more effective code enforcement and better building codes (including residential sprinklers) could have an impact. A much bigger impact then what is traditionally thought of as "fire prevention".

    Codes and ordinances are part of fire prevention. And yes, they can have a huge effect, but the department has to have the willingness to pay for inspectors and spend the time at the top of the organization to drive the sprinkler ordinance process.

    My rejection of that statement is that there are many things that could be affecting this disparity. Heck, just poor or different data collection could be skewing these numbers. I know for a fact having a hundred different little fire departments each with a 100' Tower Ladder is definitely driving up costs..Not to mention that "per capita" we probably pay public servants better.... who knows?

    If the yard stick is "cost" then we need a better understanding of what is included.

    Certainly agree that there may be comparison issues. Certainly agree that we may pay our personnel better. And certainly agree that there are areas with duplication of equipment, but IMO, there are enough areas that are under-standard in terms of apparatus that I see that as a wash overall.
    The fact is though is per capita we are spending more than anyone else and we are certainly not where we should be in terms of per capita fire deaths when given that fact.


    Tell me what the LOCAL fire departments are doing in those foreign countries in regards to fire prevention?

    It sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder about your role. I get it. But as I indicated above, I think most of what passes in the US as "fire prevention" is a waste of time/money.

    Part of the difference in that many of these countries, the fire service are national entities and speak with one voice, meaning nationwide public education programs, messages and delivery methods. As I understand it there are also local programs which each specific department does tailored to the needs of their specific community, but they are strongly supported by prevention resources and campaigns on the national level, which quite frankly is not the case here with the USFA, again, due to funding.

    You think fire prevention is a waste of money. I see it as potentially very effective if delivered in the right place at the right time in the right way by the right people who are properly trained.

    The fact is in Europe and Japan, everyone who delivers public education is trained to do so, including volunteers. Rank and file firefighters spend far more time at the academy and in recruit training learning about and actually delivering public education as a significant part of their rookie training, as compared to a 4 or 6 hour block, like in the US. Members who are in command of prevention and public education are expected to have college degrees and have spent considerable time at the college level preparing to assume control of these activities. Bottom line is they put far more money and resources in the hands of trained chief officers and trained public educators to deliver thier messages and perform prevention duties. We simply do not do that, and hence, we wonder why our programs in many cases yield minimum results.

    The reality is I beleive in public education and prevention as I have seen it work. The problem is that often it is not given a chance to work in many departments due to underfunding, understaffing and under-emphasis.


    You attribute that to your local fire prevention activities. What initiatives did you take to affect fires in SINGLE FAMILY DWELLINGS? I know around here, the only time SFD's are even reviewed by ANY code enforcement is when it is built and to a much lesser degree when sold or resold.

    Yet, our structure fire rate also went down... why?

    Because most of the crappy old homes burned down... people smoked more... venus was aligned with Mars. Who knows. But I will never be convinced it was because we had better pamphlets or bought a Sparky outfit.

    The structure fire rate has gone down nationally simply due to the general requirements for residential smoke detectors in new homes and rental property. In addition, many states that have enacted requirements for lighters and banned novelty lighters have seen drops as fires resulting from juvenile fireplay has decreased overall because of this.

    If your idea of prevention was pamphlets and a Sparky suit, it's unlikely that your fires didn't decrease a rate much different than the national average.

    Mine did .. here and in my previous department .. because we increased spending, increased educational programs to all levels, implemented a smoke detector installation program, delivered prevention messages at the majority of my community's events, implemented a juvenile firesetting prevention and intervention program, used the media in a much more pro-active, targeted, effective and timely manner, and got the department as a whole involved in prevention and public education.


    Bottom line is if you beleive that we can reduce the per capita fire death rate with more firefighters and more trucks responding after the fire4 has happened, have at it. In the rural world, that certainly won't make a lick of difference, and I would suspect that even in a city enviroment, fire kills most quicker than all the King's horses and King's men can get there.

    Reducing the fire death rate is about enforcing codes, educating residents about how to escape and pushing sprinkler ordinances, not about response.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I would suspect that even in a city enviroment, fire kills most quicker than all the King's horses and King's men can get there.

    Reducing the fire death rate is about enforcing codes, educating residents about how to escape and pushing sprinkler ordinances, not about response.[/COLOR]

    You would suspect wrong.

    Please do not speak of things you do not know about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    You would suspect wrong.

    Please do not speak of things you do not know about.
    I would disagree as there have been urban areas that have reduced their fire problem through improved prevention, but that's your community, and your problem, not mine, and if you beleive the best way to save lives is through putting 99% of your budget into response and supression, which is the statiistical norm for the fire service in the US, then have at it.

    As far as surburban and rural enviroments, there is no doubt in my mind that a strong, comprehensive public education and prevention program is far more effective at preventing fires, limiting fire damage and limiting fire injuries and deaths than any far department ever will be. If more surburban and rural departments put more effort into this area, we would definatly see the number of fires and fire deaths drop significantly.

    The fact is you prevent the fire, you have eliminated the problem and the need for response, which should be our primary focus and function.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-20-2011 at 10:28 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    It's a known documented fact (as stated in several USFA reports) that Europe and Japan spend far more on prevention, as a percentage of their budget, than the US. Studies by the USFA indicate that the average US fire department, including career departments, spend 1% on direct public education and fire prevention salaries and operating costs.

    In much of Europe and Japan, the typical department will spend in excess of 15% of their budgets on direct costs associated with prevention. In addition, European and Japanese fire departments spend far more on media to deliver thier messages to the targeted audiences through targeted media at specific times, unlike US fire services that simply hands-off PSAs and print ads to the media to be run for free, at the times the media has open, which is generally no the times or places the intended targets will see the messages.
    Okay, so the yardstick to measure focus is a "percent of budget". Again, I don't know that this adequately measures "focus". However, I can't dispute this as I have no information telling me what is included in these budgets and other disparities between entire countries. Even local communities account differently for various aspects of their fire departments.

    True, part of the puzzle is education at the grade school level. But it's also delivering education to the adult community through community venues and workplace firesafety and extinguisher education. It's about delivering messages to the senior population through senior citizen presentations and through home health and support agencies. It's also using all facets of the media to again, deliver messages to the adult and senior community. And yes, it's about installing smoke detectors to those that cannot afford them.
    I'm all on board with both. And the schools have been doing this for a long long time, without the Fire Department's involvement. My child in the first grade had numerous sessions at school during fire prevention week that were run by the teacher using NFPA (in addition to other) resources.

    As for smoke detectors... can't agree more. When we do an investigation or ANY time we enter a SFD, we should be doing a "complimentary" smoke detector inspection, provide if not adequate and replace batteries, etc. I started this as a Chief and unfortunately, the next Chief didn't follow through... shame, I thought this was a critical service. Some complain about liability, but that can be EASILY managed. It was complimentary and while we didn't promote the fact that we couldn't enforce it, we had no legal authority to force the homeowner of a SFD.

    In that community it also means having signs in front of 3 of our 6 stations delivering firesafety messages.
    Signs are cheap and of dubious effect, but okay.

    It's also about the leadership pushing and driving sprinkler ordinances. it's about those same leaders driving local code changes. It's about those leaders talking to the business community
    Agreed, but not sure this "costs" anything.

    It's about suppression companies visiting any and every community event in their response area, as well as local business, and handing out those pamphlets. it's about those same suppression companies being tasked to check occupancy loads in their district and checking up on local businesses after the inspection folks have gone home for code vocalizations.
    Companies should be out doing district inspections, no doubt. Most around here, do that...

    Community events are nice, but again, I don't know that has a profound effect. I think most departments are doing this to some degree.

    It's about all components of the department being involved, but all of this does take commitment, resources, time and drive. And all of that requires more than 1% of the budget.
    Most of the things you reference require almost no money. So, perhaps your use of "percent of budget" as determining "focus" is flawed.

    Citing Japan doesn't really help your argument.

    Part of the difference in that many of these countries, the fire service are national entities and speak with one voice, meaning nationwide public education programs, messages and delivery methods. As I understand it there are also local programs which each specific department does tailored to the needs of their specific community, but they are strongly supported by prevention resources and campaigns on the national level, which quite frankly is not the case here with the USFA, again, due to funding.
    I think the NFPA programs can be very effective, when rolled out. If you want to fund these at a national level and get the information distributed out to local FD's, I'm all on board.

    The focus each year from the NFPA changes and I'd love to see statistics about those specific areas. For instance, one year it was candles... was there a drop that year in Candle related fires?

    I'm sure someone on here knows the answer.

    You think fire prevention is a waste of money. I see it as potentially very effective if delivered in the right place at the right time in the right way by the right people who are properly trained.
    I think "traditional" fire prevention (aka the guy in the sparky suit) is a waste of money... I still support them as I don't see anything else filling that dubious void (and I'd hate to be wrong).

    If you want to talk about national or regional initiatives with one message reaching a broader audience, I'm on board.
    Bottom line is they put far more money and resources in the hands of trained chief officers and trained public educators to deliver thier messages and perform prevention duties. We simply do not do that, and hence, we wonder why our programs in many cases yield minimum results.
    Take those salaries and apply them to a broader media campaign. You'll reach a lot more people. Again, paying someone a full time salary to teach 30 first graders/day is a waste.

    Also, why use firefighters at all for that local fire prevention message? Support the schools with grants and additional information and let those professional educators take on this message.

    The structure fire rate has gone down nationally simply due to the general requirements for residential smoke detectors in new homes and rental property. In addition, many states that have enacted requirements for lighters and banned novelty lighters have seen drops as fires resulting from juvenile fireplay has decreased overall because of this.
    I agree these things were probably paramount in that reduction in fires, where seen.

    I thought you attributed it to your fire prevention efforts?

    Mine did .. here and in my previous department .. because we increased spending, increased educational programs to all levels, implemented a smoke detector installation program, delivered prevention messages at the majority of my community's events, implemented a juvenile firesetting prevention and intervention program, used the media in a much more pro-active, targeted, effective and timely manner, and got the department as a whole involved in prevention and public education.
    Most of those things require almost no additional monies compared to a departments operating budget... so?

    Bottom line is if you beleive that we can reduce the per capita fire death rate with more firefighters and more trucks responding after the fire4 has happened, have at it. In the rural world, that certainly won't make a lick of difference, and I would suspect that even in a city enviroment, fire kills most quicker than all the King's horses and King's men can get there.
    If you think hampering our response to structure fires by reducing manpower will reduce the death rate, I scratch my head...

    Why you think these two things are mutually exclusive is bizarre and just downright hostile.

    My point is that throwing money and paid firefighters at a purely educational issue is a waste.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 12-20-2011 at 10:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I would disagree as there have been urban areas that have reduced their fire problem through improved prevention, but that's your community, and your problem, not mine, and if you beleive the best way to save lives is through putting 99% of your budget into response and supression, which is the statiistical norm for the fire service in the US, then have at it.

    As far as surburban and rural enviroments, there is no doubt in my mind that a strong, comprehensive public education and prevention program is far more effective at preventing fires, limiting fire damage and limiting fire injuries and deaths than any far department ever will be. If more surburban and rural departments put more effort into this area, we would definatly see the number of fires and fire deaths drop significantly.

    The fact is you prevent the fire, you have eliminated the problem and the need for response, which should be our primary focus and function.

    Salaries for "chiefs" to teach elementary school students about fire safety is a justifiable expense, yet salaries to safely and adequately staff fire companies is a burden? It is both illogical and contradictory.

    You have made it clear time and time again that while you may have many years in the fire service, your actual experience is quite limited.

    The disdain you display towards those who actually work on fire apparatus as opposed to those who work in fire prevention is unwarranted. You create this false divide between the two that comes across as both juvenile and condescending.

    For the great majority of us, fire prevention IS important and is an everyday part of what we do. It is performed professionally and is given a high priority. It is just not the ONLY thing many of us do, but I hardly think it makes us any less effective.

    "If the only tool you have is a hammer, than every problem is a nail"...which may explain why your answers to every problem facing the fire service is of such narrow focus.

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