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    Default Future of Firefighting

    Some of you may have read my post from a while ago, about me questioning the fire service as a career for myself; and I have decided to pursue the career! I have a few applications in and I'm currently running ems in the rural community in which I live. Anyways, I do a lot of research and investigation before I dive into something, especially long term. I got to looking at departments, reading articles, and wondered "What will the future of the fire service be?" I had read articles about the sprinkler initiative and even watched the video demonstrations on them and was really taken back at how effective they where. With more sprinklers one would think that, clearly not now or within the next 5 or so years, fires (at least large working fires) would become a thing of the past. So, at that point in time, what would happen with the fire service? Although most departments operate ems, hazmat, and rescue teams, what other functions would there be for fire fighters? Would the engines go to 3/4 to 1 ton chassis outfitted with rescue gear and a smaller pump for the lesser occurrence of a fire? Will staffing numbers change? Will some departments change the name to fit an "Emergency Services Department" title (and operate as one, encompassing more than they do now) or, will everything stay the same, right down to the big red engines and ladders we see every day? Any thoughts of the future of the fire service? Funny how a simple video demo of fire sprinklers will get your mind turning.

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    Please excuse any typos etc. posting on the phone proved more difficult than I thought it would be.

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    I wish your dream would come true

    Fire sprinklers have been around for many many years but in a small per centage of biildings, I do not know what that per centage is .

    It would take federal, state, county, city retrofit mandate to get them in existing buildings.
    And that will not happen

    Even today on new construction the per centage of sprinkled buildings is low.

    So you do not need to worry about a sprinkler head putting you out of a job

    Enjoy your new career

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    Any reasoning behind the low number of sprinklers in construction? Too expensive or people would just rather take their chances?

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    If not required they normally do not install them

    Depending on location normally fairly cheap. Cheaper than installing carpet

    But what is more important sprinklers or carpet

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    I think fire49 pretty much nailed it. It's not like sprinklers are some new technology that is sweeping across the country. A guy 50 years ago could have made a very similar post concerning the "future" of the fire service. Builders and developers just don't want to include them. It costs money, and in my part of the country it is not an inexpensive proposition. Plumbers (most likely unionized) don't work cheap. They can't pass on the cost because tenants, occupants or buyers don't really think they'll need them. Ask any fire victim and they'll most likely tell you "I didn't think it would ever happen to me". Just human nature. Granite counter tops, home theatres, etc. and it's "hell yes we'll pay for that"!
    I think smoke detectors, alarm systems and cell phones have contributed to earlier notice and more rapid response, thereby reducing the extent of fire damage. The trend does seem to be more and more toward emergency response of all stripes. So be it. Someone has to do it.

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    As far as rescue, there will be vehicle accidents, that will require extrication. Seems like speed limits are raised and the crashes increase. Air bags, mandatory seat belt usage (including baby/child seats), etc. will continue to be used, but driver error, speed, alcohol usage, inclement weather (ice, snow, etc.) will continue to cause/contribute to crashes. The fire department will be looked upon to provide rescue and EMS for vehicle accidents.

    In many areas, people like to exercise and experience the outdoors. This includes diving, skiing, hiking, climbing and the like. If you have this terrain in your jurisdiction, you will need to be able to rescue people, whether they fall down a hill or experience an heart attack on a nature walk.

    I do not see rescue services going away. New technology will help rescue services, such as drones, that could help locate a lost hiker.

    Sprinklers have been popular for high value commercial and industrial structures. The efforts to have them installed in single family dwellings, will be dependent on building codes. Seems like some of the general public (and home builders) do not want them. It is ironic that people will have a sprinkler system installed for their lawn, but not for their newly built home. Codes usually push the way for changes. I see this for single family dwellings.

    As for fire suppression, CAFS will continue to be fine tuned, which will result in better foam, whether for a Class A structure fire or Class B Haz Mat situations. More structural pumpers and wildland firefighting units will have CAFS.

    Now for finances. Due to the financial situation, I see cuts in municipal fire protection. While fire protection should be cut last, it will experience cuts. Less manpower on apparatus, closing of stations, using worn out apparatus, etc. can be anticipated. Our brothers in Detroit are experiencing this. People will not tolerate higher taxes, so the pressure will be to cut services. In some cities, the tax base is not there to support a career fire dept. anymore.

    If you plan on being a firefighter, I would recommend that you also work toward paramedic. Big demand for paramedics on both the fire and EMS side.

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    Percentage

    Automatic sprinklers are highly effective and reliable elements of total system designs for fire protection in buildings. According to the 2009 American Housing Survey, in 2009, 4.6% of occupied homes (including multi-unit) had sprinklers, up from 3.9% in 2007, and 18.5% of occupied home built in the previous four years had sprinklers.


    Sprinklers are still rare in educational properties (36% of fires), stores and offices (24%), public assembly properties (23%), and especially homes (6%), where most fire deaths occur. There is considerable potential for expanded use of sprinklers to reduce the loss of life and property to fire.



    http://www.nfpa.org/research/statist...ith-sprinklers

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    Well, it'll be a wild ride of a career I suppose and I guess the true future will only reveal itself as it happens. We will never know for sure what's next. I just got done watching "Burn" a documentary about Detroit fire department. Very interesting situation there.

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    ^^^ This and the fact that most homes being built are someones "dream home" and they dont want a bunch of ugly sprinkler heads popping out all over the place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jvanorder View Post
    ^^^ This and the fact that most homes being built are someones "dream home" and they dont want a bunch of ugly sprinkler heads popping out all over the place.
    Normally only takes one to two heads a room, depending on size

    And can get concealed so you hardly notice

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    No matter what the future is with codes & sprinkler systems there will always be fires. However the fire service will remain ultimately what is it today - a public service. They call for assistance which involves everything from a rodent in a trap to a raging fire and the fire department responds and tries to solve their problem, and are surprisingly successful no matter the root cause. That is what you need to focus on when looking at the future. Firefighters will need to be educated, willing to learn, multi-skilled, adaptable, and have initiative to ask the questions you just did and conform their career to meet it. We are a public service and the public gets to define what they want, need, and expect from us. Departments who are smart will communicate with their public and adapt to this future and will thrive; others will hold the suppression only line, sit behind bay doors, grumble that they are unappreciated, and implode.

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