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  1. #41
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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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  2. #42
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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 12:58 PM.
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  3. #43
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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.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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  4. #44
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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.

  5. #45
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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 06:57 PM.

  6. #46
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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.
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  7. #47
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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.

  8. #48
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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 09:28 AM.
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  9. #49
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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 09:53 AM.
    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 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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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    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.

    Never said anything about "Chiefs" teaching programs. if your Fire prevention/Education Division is large enough to justify a Chief Officer, he/sje should be the one spending his time managing the division, pushing smoke detector and sprinkler ordiances, working for and supporting fire safety inititives with state-level fire safety organizations at the state level, developing fire department partnerships with between local community groups and organizations asnd the fire service, working with the media to deliver firesafety messages and seeking alternative sources of funding and community based manpower for public education and prevention.

    Yes, that is a truly justifable expense.

    Never did I say that line personnel were not justifiable as there will always be fires, no matter how effective pub ed and prevention is, in addition to the other emergencies your department may respond to. What I did say was that there are places where much of a company's time is not spent on responses, and in that case, they could be very well utilized for public education and prevention functions.

    And yes, for many communities staffing 3-shift 3 or 4-man companies is a financial burden that, if can be eliminated, by a reducation in fires through effective public education, that is in fact a wonderful thing. The cost of paid supression is high, especially in smaller communities, and yes, if fires can be reduced and those paid staffs can be eliminated, or fires can be reduced to a point where they can be reduced and now possibly supplemented by volunteers, it is a win-win situation for the community and the taxpayers.


    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.

    That's your opinion. The fact is I see supression as a backup to prevention. IMO our primary purpose should be to teach the community how not to have fires, and how to respond to a fire should they have one. That certainly doesn't mean we abandon supression as there will always be a need, but it should be the priority of the fire department to reduce that need as much as possible.

    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.

    I don't display any disdain, especially since I have worked on the streets as you call it, as a line firefighter in a volunteer capicity for 31 years, and continue to today both in my full-time gig when needed and as a volunteer.

    However, I see that in many places there is downtime that can be used fmore efficantly than many departments use it. And yes, some of that downtime can be used for more community-based public education. the fact is that in many departments firefighters spend downtime behind the closed doors of the fire station. paying personnel is not a cost-effective way to deliver fire protection unless there are specified duties that occupy a career staffs time when not responding. In many department's that is not the case.


    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.
    I see many answers to problems. However, the the case of surburban and rural America, enforcing codes and teaching the public how to prevent and prepare for fires, and escape from fires, is a much better as well as a much more cost effective and realistic option than increased supression personnel.

    In surburban areas, increased public education and prevention is a large part of the answer in terms of reducing fires. While some esurburban departments may be able to afford to hire a limited number of career firefighters to reduce response times, they will unlikely be able to hire them in large enough n umbers to majke a significant difference in fireground effectievness. For most of the surburban departments, hiring any personnel is not a realistic option without a significant adjustment in taxes. For these communities response times and limited manpower will always be an issue that limits even the best surburban's department effectiverness. Because of that, preventing the fires through prevention and public education is the best option for reducing fires and fire deaths, and it can come at a fairly cheap cost - As cheap as one career member to deliver oprevention and education, as well as conduct inspections and handle other routine business. If a department doesn't want to go that route, public education can be delivered quite effectivly by motivated and trained volunteer and support members at a mimimum budget.

    Simply put, for many surburban departments, prevention and education is probably the cheapest, most cost effective and overall, most realistic option to reduce fires, and fire deaths.

    On the rural level, rural fire departments will never be able to significantly impact fire deaths. Extendwd notification times and nore importantly, extended response, times will always create huge obstacles, that in many cases simply cannot be overcome, for even the best trained rural VFDs. Throw in underfunded, understaffed, underequipped and/or undertrained rural VFDs into the mix and in many, if not most cases, the only way to effecivly and consistantly reduce the fire problem is through prevention and education. The reality is there simply isn't enough money in the world to build enough stations, to reduce response times, and recruit enough volunteers to adequatly staff those stations in the majority of rural America to make a damn bit of difference in terms of rescueing victims in the few minutes they have after a fire.

    So yes, in the rural world, effecitve public education is the only truly cost effective answer to the fire problem. Certainly increased training, staffing and equipment will make a difference, but the obstacle of often exteneded response times will, in many places, if not most, simply cannot be overcome.That is why stopping the fire through prevention and education is critical to reducing the fire probelm, in rural America
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-20-2011 at 11:37 AM.
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    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

    It's certainly not the only measure, and never said that it was.

    I pointed out the fact that recruits are given far more prevention and public education training during thier recruit school than in the US. I pointed out the fact the suppression companies in Europe and Japan, as indicated by several USFA reports, spend far more time on community based public education and prevention than supression companies in the US. I indicated that members wishing to transfer into prevention in Europe and Japan as entry-level educators and staff were required to have significant college-level training on educational theory and delivery before being considered for the positions, and that members looking for promation to Prevention Chiefs had far more in the way of college-level requirements to meet before promtion. I stated that members looking for department command-level positions were expected to have spent considerable time in prevention as a prerequiste for those promotions. I indicated that in Europe and Japan, prevention is a valid and prestigious career-path that personnel are assigned to because of skill and training, not because we have no place else to put them like often is the case an the US, and they are not referred to as "fire dodging cowards" like some are referred to by thier supression brother in the US.

    All of those things indicate a far greater degre of focus on fire prevention when compared to US fire departments.

    Signs are cheap and of dubious effect, but okay


    In a primarily rural area such as mine with no local newspaper and a very limited number of ways to deliver mass messages, they are very effective.

    Agreed, but not sure this "costs" anything.


    In a career department, pushing for sprinklers and other automatic devices does have a cost - time - and when somebody is being paid, that does mean money. And in a volunteer department, the cost is still time, which often is limited and certainly could be spent on issues on the supression side. So, yes, there is a cost to pushing for these things.

    And it goes back to priorities - How much time, which does have a specific value, is a department, paid or volunteer, willing to spend on prevention v. supression?

    Most of the things you reference require almost no money. So, perhaps your use of "percent of budget" as determining "focus" is flawed.

    See above. Time spent does have a value and does refelct the choices a department makes on where that time, and the value of that time, will be spent.

    If a Chief Officer not assigned to prevention spends 25% of his time on prevention issues, compared to a Chief in the US, that may spend 10% of his time on prevention issues, that 25% often reflects a greater focus on prevention as a whole, and even though it is not a cost attributted directly to prevention, it certainly can be considered an indirect cost.

    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.

    Agree to a point. There certainly is a point where hiring a member specifically to do public education is not cost-effective. In that situation, the cost effective solution is to train supression personnel to deliver the messages. There are certainly places, especially dense suburbs with department districts that are fairly homgenoeus and run together where multi-department or regional public education programs with financial and manpower contributions from each department to address common fire and life safety problems are extremly cost-effective. Certainly regional and state public education programs can also be a valuable tool and may justify some financial and manpower support by a department. Not every department needs a dedicated public educator. There are many areas where combined efforts of several departments, or one paid educator paid for by contributions from all the area departments, supported by trained line personnel is a very valid way of delivering public education.

    There are certainly multiple ways to deliver education, depending on the department's budget. the point is it needs to be delivered in some way by somebody, who has been trained to deliver effective programming.

    In both of my neighboring combo districts, there are no schools and very limited venues to deliver any type of public education. The schools happen to be located in my district, so the need for a public educator is not as great. That is why in many cases they ask me to come and deliver programs, and have trained some of the members to deliver some of the programs' themselves.

    In my case, I spend about 40% of my time and direct public education and pubed admin, and the remander is spent on training and training admin, as well as department admin. if we ever get into inspections, which is a possibility, that mix well become much more prevention heavy, and likely I will have to lose my training responsibilities.

    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.

    Again, agree to a point. Certainly there is value in using teachers to delver parts of and support our message, however, I disagree that firefighters cannnot be trained to effectivly and professionally deliver public education. Require Public Educator I/II for those wanting to go into prevention or make it optional with incentives for line personnel. Same with Juvenile Firesetter Intervention I/II. Require a teaching certfication for those firefighters who who primarily work in public education, and reward that certification. Require continueing public education training or general education training through local colleges. Whiel not required to, I work with the local school district to get enough continueing education to keep my state elementary teaching certfication current.

    Or take the route that may southwestern fire departments have and hire certified teachers and educators to deliver public education.

    The fact is in many places in Europe and Japan most fire department personnel have been trained to deliver public education as effectivly as teachers.

    I agree these things were probably paramount in that reduction in fires, where seen.

    I thought you attributed it to your fire prevention efforts


    I attributed the fact that in both my current combo and past department that rate of reduction was far greater than the national average. And yes, not only did I, but both my curreent and past Chief's have atrributed to the fact that both programs were very aggressive and multi-faceted.

    If you think hampering our response to structure fires by reducing manpower will reduce the death rate, I scratch my head...

    I am not talking about wholesale reduction is supression staffing, but asmall changes like going from 1% to 3% for prevention, inspections and public education. While you may consider that unreasonable, I consider it quite reasonable given that 15% direct expenditure on prevention is the norm in places with a lower per capita fire death rate.

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

    Never said they were exclusive. In fact, I feel that supression companies should be more involved in prevention and should require much more methodolgy and delivery training during the academy.

    You seem to see moving a few resources from supression into prevention as stealing. I see it as reallocating resources to carry out as critical part of our job, which is to reduce fires, and hopefully, allow the department to make additional reductions, down the line in supression, as the number of fires and fire-related responses drop. Bottom line is prevention is currently not getting a fair share of resources in most departments- volunteer and career - and until they do, the fire problem will not be solved by putting more and more monies into supression staffing without putting addtional money into stoppin g the fires from happening.

    The end goal of increased prevention will be decreased fires, injuries and fire related deaths. In some cases, this may result in a decreased need for some companies, allowing departments to reduce paid supression companies [and possibly supplementing with volunteers in needed] and personnel, saving the taxpayers money. If you call that hostility, so be it. The fact is that if we can reduce the fire problem to the point where we can reduce paid companies, and on the volunteer side, additional apparatus, and save the community money, we have done our job.

    My point is that throwing money and paid firefighters at a purely educational issue is a waste.

    Disagree. Changing behaviors is the key to reducing fires. Yes, inspections and requiring increased firesafety engineering is certainly a majort part of the reduction as well, but given that most fires and most fire deaths occur in the home, changing behaviors in the home is the key.

    Certainly that can be done by line personnel in some departments in addition to supression duties, as long as the department provides professional training for those members, and the member leading is the program has the certifications and training to do so.

    Some departyments have determined that they need full-time educators. Some departments,like mine, have determined they need educators with other duties. The fact is prevention and education does require some degree of specialization, and that does require a budget. To do it right, it requires more than the current 1% average.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-20-2011 at 02:30 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I see many answers to problems. However, the the case of surburban and rural America, enforcing codes and teaching the public how to prevent and prepare for fires, and escape from fires, is a much better as well as a much more cost effective and realistic option than increased supression personnel.

    In surburban areas, increased public education and prevention is a large part of the answer in terms of reducing fires. While some esurburban departments may be able to afford to hire a limited number of career firefighters to reduce response times, they will unlikely be able to hire them in large enough n umbers to majke a significant difference in fireground effectievness. For most of the surburban departments, hiring any personnel is not a realistic option without a significant adjustment in taxes. For these communities response times and limited manpower will always be an issue that limits even the best surburban's department effectiverness. Because of that, preventing the fires through prevention and public education is the best option for reducing fires and fire deaths, and it can come at a fairly cheap cost - As cheap as one career member to deliver oprevention and education, as well as conduct inspections and handle other routine business. If a department doesn't want to go that route, public education can be delivered quite effectivly by motivated and trained volunteer and support members at a mimimum budget.

    Simply put, for many surburban departments, prevention and education is probably the cheapest, most cost effective and overall, most realistic option to reduce fires, and fire deaths.

    On the rural level, rural fire departments will never be able to significantly impact fire deaths. Extendwd notification times and nore importantly, extended response, times will always create huge obstacles, that in many cases simply cannot be overcome, for even the best trained rural VFDs. Throw in underfunded, understaffed, underequipped and/or undertrained rural VFDs into the mix and in many, if not most cases, the only way to effecivly and consistantly reduce the fire problem is through prevention and education. The reality is there simply isn't enough money in the world to build enough stations, to reduce response times, and recruit enough volunteers to adequatly staff those stations in the majority of rural America to make a damn bit of difference in terms of rescueing victims in the few minutes they have after a fire.

    So yes, in the rural world, effecitve public education is the only truly cost effective answer to the fire problem. Certainly increased training, staffing and equipment will make a difference, but the obstacle of often exteneded response times will, in many places, if not most, simply cannot be overcome.That is why stopping the fire through prevention and education is critical to reducing the fire probelm, in rural America

    Your sea of words has done nothing to dissuade me from my thoughts on this topic.

    You can't even stick to your own word within this very thread in making your point.

    You have made your views on the topic known many times before. You are offering no new information to this debate, just a continuation of a debate circle that has no end.

    If this false divide you have created between the fire FIGHTING world and the fire PREVENTION world helps to justify your personal or vocational ambitions, then so be it. Please understand that for most intelligent, informed and critically thinking member of the fire service, no such divide exists.

    Also know that your passive/aggressive approach to anything within the fire service not directly related to YOUR fire prevention agenda is certainly not productive and negates any coherent point you might be making.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    Your sea of words has done nothing to dissuade me from my thoughts on this topic.

    You can't even stick to your own word within this very thread in making your point.

    You have made your views on the topic known many times before. You are offering no new information to this debate, just a continuation of a debate circle that has no end.

    If this false divide you have created between the fire FIGHTING world and the fire PREVENTION world helps to justify your personal or vocational ambitions, then so be it. Please understand that for most intelligent, informed and critically thinking member of the fire service, no such divide exists.

    Also know that your passive/aggressive approach to anything within the fire service not directly related to YOUR fire prevention agenda is certainly not productive and negates any coherent point you might be making.
    I likely will never change your thoughts.

    As far as the the divide, I find that interesting as in my combo department I function and have responsibilities on the both the prevention, administration and response supression areas, and on my volunteer department I function primarily on the supression side in both the command/control function as well as one of the department's 2 primary trainers..

    Do I see the need for specialized skills in prevention? Yes. Do I see the need for specialized manamgement with specialized training including a college degree possibly in education? Yes. Do I see them as competing? No, but the reality is that prevention is not getting it's fair share of resources given the task, which in the long run is to reduce the work of the supression side. If you see that as a divide, so be it.

    Until you see prevention as an equal to supression and training, and equally important as supression and training, with an equal right to funds and resources to do it's job, you are actually the one that is creating the divide.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-20-2011 at 01:37 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post

    Until you see prevention as an equal to supression and training, and equally important as supression and training, with an equal right to funds and resources to do it's job, you are actually the one that is creating the divide.


    Your post read alot better before you edited it to add this last paragraph.

    You don't know me, my position, my experience or my views on fire prevention.

    The only person on here saying to take money from "one-side" to give to the other is you. As for the rest of us, there simply isn't two sides.

    It is simply YOU that has created this divide and you have done it over and over again in thread after thread, making the same arguments and having the same litany of complaints about resources dedicated to things other than YOUR priorities. Your agenda is clear.

    I am certainly not creating a divide because for me there IS NO DIVIDE. I perform fire FIGHTING and fire PREVENTION every day at work. The two skills are not in battle with each other because they are both interconnected and overlapping on just about every single level.

    Why you feel the need to separate the two and have these nonsensical debates is beyond me and just about everyone else on these boards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    Your post read alot better before you edited it to add this last paragraph.

    You don't know me, my position, my experience or my views on fire prevention.

    The only person on here saying to take money from "one-side" to give to the other is you. As for the rest of us, there simply isn't two sides.

    It is simply YOU that has created this divide and you have done it over and over again in thread after thread, making the same arguments and having the same litany of complaints about resources dedicated to things other than YOUR priorities. Your agenda is clear.

    I am certainly not creating a divide because for me there IS NO DIVIDE. I perform fire FIGHTING and fire PREVENTION every day at work. The two skills are not in battle with each other because they are both interconnected and overlapping on just about every single level.

    Why you feel the need to separate the two and have these nonsensical debates is beyond me and just about everyone else on these boards.
    Because there have been members on this board who have stated more than once that when the budget gets cut and supression comapnies are closed or reduced, the staffing should be taken from prevention to keep supression positions full.

    Because there have been members on this board who have stated more than once that when budgets are cut, prevention should be always cut before presuppression.

    And there have been members on this board that have openly complained about having to perform prevention and inspections tasks, either ebcause they see them as a waste of time, something that shouldn't be their job, or it simply puts them out of position to perform their supression role.

    I have also seen one 5-station northeastern career fire department cut it's only public educator on staff to save a position in supression, at the recommedation of the union.

    The fact is that there is a divide in some places There is a divide because when the budget gets cut, the prevention staff knows that the line firefighters generally scream "cut prevention" to save line positions, and you can't deny that is more often the case than not. They simply do not feel equal because they know that in many line staff sees prevention as disposable if it comes to that to save line positions. Is that the case everywhere? No, but you know there are places where it is the case.

    Bottom line is prevention is just as important than suppression in terms of the mission of the fire department. In Europe and Japan, It's often seen as more important, as demonstrated by their per capita fire death statistics. Yet, that often is not the feeling among line personnel who seem to feel thier positions in supression are of greater importance than the delivery of prevention and inspections, and often see them as an uneeded component of the department. I'm sure you will deny this, but there are many line members who do feel this way.

    So before you start looking at me for creating a "divide", look around you. It's often the line personnel that are screaming to cut prevention when it's supression positions on the line. That in greatt part is the reason I see the divide.

    when there are cuts, there should be no move by supression personnel and the union to cut prevention. Do all line memners feel this way? No, but there are enough of them that do see prevention as a seperate entitiy, that is not as supression as an equal and do feel that it is perfectly acceptable to cut positions when the budget gest cut, or even not add positions if positions are not added at the same time to supression companies.

    Bottom line is in most communities, including some urban areas, effective inspection and prevention will likely save far more property and lives than suppression ever will, and that same effective prevent fires and own the line, will likely reduce the demands on supression companies. The only problem is you can't document what never happened and the fires that never occurred because a building inspection prevented a fire or a citizen put out a stove fire before it became a kitchen fire because of what prevention taugh them - so this arguement is for all practical purposes, moot. If you beleive that public education fighting for the same access to manpower, funding and resources as supression , in many cases seesm to feel entitled to, is creating a divide, so be it.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-20-2011 at 05:52 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Because there have been members on this board who have stated more than once that when the budget gets cut and supression comapnies are closed or reduced, the staffing should be taken from prevention to keep supression positions full.
    It is odd that you will advocate for "US FIRST" in regards to firefighting operations... to the point where, at times, you will not even commit to an interior search.

    Yet, you advocate cutting suppression staff before fire prevention folks, when I think it is widely believed that cutting suppression staff will put suppression staff at risk.

    I know, you'll argue to just modify tactics and reduce suppression to supporting the backhoe during foundation saving.... however, that is not acceptable.

    Lastly, in most departments where all firefighters are involved in fire prevention, cutting suppression staff IS cutting prevention staff.
    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
    It is odd that you will advocate for "US FIRST" in regards to firefighting operations... to the point where, at times, you will not even commit to an interior search.

    Yet, you advocate cutting suppression staff before fire prevention folks, when I think it is widely believed that cutting suppression staff will put suppression staff at risk.

    The reality is that having those prevention folks still in place can very easily prevent the fire if in an apartment or a business, by identifying a code violation that would have caused of the fire and having it corrected before it even takes place preventing the fire from occurring. The prevention staff could have delivered a message which gave the residents the knowledge to spot the fire hazard before it took place, preventing the fire, and preventing any risk at all to firefighters, including the risk of simply responding. They could have taught the occupants how to properly use a fire extinguisher, which may have prevented the fire department from even responding, or greatly reducing the risk to the firefighters by making what could have been a working structure fire into a simple mop up and overhaul. They also could have taught the residents where to install additional smoke detectors, and how to develop a family escape plan, which allowed to family to successfully escape before the fire department arrived, which allowed the firefighters to not have to make entry to perform a search, and allowing firefighters to make a lower risk defensive attack.

    In other words, the prevention staff could have eliminated or greatly reduced the risk to firefighters by simply doing their job, and their mission within the agency.

    So by keeping that pro-active prevention staff in place, rather than cutting them and moving them to a reactive line positions, there is a possibility that we may very well have made the fireground a safer place for the suppression staff by lessening or even preventing the incident.

    What I do advocate is that prevention positions are no more or less important than line positions and have equal value in the organization, and that suppression functions are no more important than prevention functions, and again have equal value, which means that in the events of cuts, the elimination of prevention positions as a trade-off for keeping suppression staffed in totally unjustified as both functions have equal standing.

    As far as your premise that eliminating suppression members at risk, suppression personnel should conduct operations that they are staffed for. if they are not staffed for rescue, they should not conduct those operations. If they are not staffed to operate interior, they should not. Nothing forces them to act beyond their means.I know that we disagree on that but our primary responsibility to to our families, and if the staffing doesn't allow us to perform certain functions, that is a choice that we can make.


    I know, you'll argue to just modify tactics and reduce suppression to supporting the backhoe during foundation saving.... however, that is not acceptable.

    Exactly. Tactics are based on manpower. And if the manpower is not available to justify interior operations, that is simply the world that the department must operate in. That reality does not justify the elimination of prevention positions that could very easily prevent the incident from happening in the first place.

    I guess what I find unacceptable is the mentality that says we need to have enough manpower to respond to the incident,but it is perfectly fine to gut prevention and inspection and leave them without enough manpower to prevent the incident from occurring, or lessen the impacts of the incident. Sorry. I think that if asked, most residents would prefer that the incident never happen as compared to having it happen. Again, both sides need the manpower to perform their mission. It is not alright to steal positions from prevention to cover suppression. It's simply not acceptable.

    The problem is that is the mentality that has us ranked where we are in per capita fire deaths v. the world. We have tried the suppression heavy method as demonstrated by the fact that we spend more on fire protection than any other nation in the world, and based on the fact that we rank near the bottom in per capita fire deaths, it should be pretty obvious that it hasn't worked out very well.


    Lastly, in most departments where all firefighters are involved in fire prevention, cutting suppression staff IS cutting prevention staff.
    I agree to some extent. That is making the assumption that line firefighters do play a critical role in prevention.

    However, given the choice between keeping a full-time educator or inspector v. a line members that performs prevention, as well as many other tasks, it's pretty obvious that the full-time prevention personnel are more critical to that end of the operation.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-20-2011 at 07:52 PM.
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  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    However, given the choice between keeping a full-time educator or inspector v. a line members that performs prevention, as well as many other tasks, it's pretty obvious that the full-time prevention personnel are more critical to that end of the operation.
    The third leading cause of fire deaths are from intentional fires.

    You will not prevent those.

    The FD is a catastrophic insurance policy.

    There will always be a need for suppression in a form that will be effective. Even the countries that "focus" more on prevention still have fire deaths and still have suppression.

    I think that line personnel should continue to do the fire prevention they do.. and that we should dedicate more funds not to local FD's for prevention but to more global efforts (school based and non-fire personnel).

    Considering that cooking and smoking are the leading causes of fires related to death/injuries, I would focus on making those activities as safe as possible....
    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
    The third leading cause of fire deaths are from intentional fires.

    You will not prevent those.

    True, that being said it's primarily an urban issue. In my experiences in my suburban and rural enviroment, I have seen only a handful of arson fires in 31 years, and several of them were owner-arson with no life safety issues.

    The FD is a catastrophic insurance policy.

    There will always be a need for suppression in a form that will be effective. Even the countries that "focus" more on prevention still have fire deaths and still have suppression.

    Never stated otherwise.

    I never talked about gutting suppression and even cutting it back. But i do feel that any cuts in suppression required by decreased budgets should never be replaced with cuts in prevention. Cuts in both areas should be proportional based on the staffing, not balanced to favor suppression.

    The fact is that prevention can do as much as suppression in terms of saving property and life. problem is you can't document what never happened, because it was prevented.


    I think that line personnel should continue to do the fire prevention they do.. and that we should dedicate more funds not to local FD's for prevention but to more global efforts (school based and non-fire personnel).

    Disagree.

    Honestly, national efforts do not have the impact of local programs. While they do serve a purpose a national campaign does not replace local boots on the ground delivering programs to the community.

    What is truly needed is a significant effort to increase the public education training available at the state level, especially for volunteer personnel in small departments. They need to have greater access to training that will give them to tools and confidence to effectively deliver and managed community-based public education. The simple fact is that proportionally, more fire deaths occur in rural areas as compared to urban areas, and right now, in most states, volunteers have limited or no access to public education delivery and management training.

    Career departments also need to include much more training in the way of public education and inspection delivery in the recruit academies. the few hours being taught now are simply not doing the job. it is critical that line firefighters feel comfortable doing public education, and do more of it. They need to be able to deliver programs, and understand the structure and methodolgy of the program, even if they are delivering a standardized "canned" program developed on the state or national level.

    While I agree that non-fire school based personnel can have a role in critical role in delivering firesafety education, I disagree that they should be the primary educators. That role should be fire department personnel trained and certified at the Public Educator I level, and preferably with some college-level methodology requirements, who deliver the programs. That being said, I have no issue with a system that is used in the southwest where trained educators are hired and trained by the fire department to deliver public education. They do receive some fire training so they have some basic knowledge, and often they are paired with fire personnel, often from line companies taken out of service, who are on-hand to answer the fire-related questions they may receive.

    Bottom line is that the fire service now requires very specialized training for technical rescue, special operations and haz-mat as examples. it's time that we take public education just as seriously as require not only Inspector I/II for inspection personnel, but also Public educator I/II for delivery personnel, as well as college level classes.


    Considering that cooking and smoking are the leading causes of fires related to death/injuries, I would focus on making those activities as safe as possible....

    And right now there is the focus in many places.

    LA just joined several states in mandating fire-safe cigarettes, but there are still many that have not. LA also passed a ban on novelty lighters last year, which should have an impact on juvenile fireplay.

    Cooking is always a focus of my programs. I teach cooking safety in 4th grade as it has been identified as a local problem, and I know many other departments are similar. In fact, Shreveport made it mandatory for all apartments to have the stovetop suppression canisters that hang from the hood. They have already had several successfully deployments.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-20-2011 at 08:43 PM.
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