Thread: NFPA - IS IT BOGUS?
01-10-2001, 10:16 AM #1ChiefMcDFirehouse.com Guest
NFPA - IS IT BOGUS?
NFPA standards are a great guidline that should be considered when making purchases. But if every department and firefighter followed every guildline that NFPA puts out the entire industry would be happy but the end users would be broke. There is entirely to much influence from the bussiness owners that belong to NFPA. I think that the NFPA standards should be devoloped by bussiness owners but should come before a committee of firefighters to delete the unnecessary things that pass through each guidline.
NFPA --------------> BOGUS
01-10-2001, 07:31 PM #2dfwscottyFirehouse.com Guest
They do go before a board of ff's. All of us. Drafts of proposed NFPA guidlines are available to us to review. The drafts I've seen have sections where ff's have proposed changes in the wording or guidelines.
01-11-2001, 12:45 PM #3athenaeumFirehouse.com Guest
As far as I can see looking at my NFPA 1901 Standard For Automotive Fire Apparatus 1999 Edition, I see 10 out of the 27 Committee members, the chairperson, and 2 alternates out of 12, that represent fire departments all over the US. The rest is made up manufacturers, Universities and I think some insurance type companies. What is so Bogus about that? Are you saying the FF on the committee are selling out?
[This message has been edited by athenaeum (edited 01-11-2001).]
01-11-2001, 01:57 PM #4Mary EllenFirehouse.com Guest
Yes, the FF representatives to the NFPA are either complete fools or they have "sold out". Their standards are so far outside the realm of reality for most US departments that their only use in is litigation when one of us is being crucified by the public.
01-11-2001, 03:03 PM #5ChiefMcDFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks Mary Ellen, it is nice to see that someone else has their two feet on earth.
01-11-2001, 04:41 PM #6MetalMedicFirehouse.com Guest
I vote "BOGUS" too... Have any of you ever been a member of the NFPA? I was for one year. The dues were outragous. Got a beautiful certificate and their advertisement filled magazine, and a sticker. Not much for what it cost me. It was obvious from reading the drafts on proposed standards during that year that the representatives in the "industry" were always in attendance and involved while those in the fire service seemed to be absent or without comment.
I hold the same opinion for Underwriter Laboratories... did you know that all you need to do to get an UL "listing" is to pay a "listing" fee? Pay U.L. their fee, and you can put their logo on anything you want to sell.
Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.
01-12-2001, 02:20 PM #7athenaeumFirehouse.com Guest
Why the hostility tword NFPA? I can't see what apparatus recomendations they make that are "so far outside the realm of reality" that we would think are foolish and not follow them. Some things just don't apply but the intent is not bogus. I think we may be confused as to what NFPA standard are and how they mix with laws. The only time you may get crucified is when you choose not to follow part of the standard knowing that it could cause an injury like not putting any steps on the back of a pumper and somebody falls after using the hand rail as a step.
01-12-2001, 04:20 PM #8MetalMedicFirehouse.com GuestOriginally posted by athenaeum:
Why the hostility tword NFPA? I can't see what apparatus recomendations they make that are "so far outside the realm of reality" that we would think are foolish and not follow them.
Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.
01-12-2001, 09:05 PM #986RescuetechFirehouse.com Guest
NFPA Standards. Those words will make any Department Line Officer and President quake in their boots. Yes, they may go overboard with some things, but as a former Battalion Chief, I stressed the importance of them. Most of the ones geared towards training and certification are good tools to teach from. They provide information on the basics to be learned. If we were to try to keep up with lets say the NFPA 1500, a small volunteer company would go broke. And god forbid someone got hurt or even killed. The laywers would put microscopes you know where. They are the "bible" in our business wether we like it or not. They are a good standard to follow, but 100% compliance is so far fetched. And Richard, you hit the nail on the head for UL. Their testing for ground ladders is, bend them til they break. This job we do is all about safety. Plain and simple! If you have about six months of nothing to do, read all of the NFPA Standards that pertain to you and your department. And don't forget the updates and meetings. Be safe
01-13-2001, 01:44 AM #10STATION2Firehouse.com Guest
To call NFPA bogus is not right, and damn near argumentative...........maybe your real motive. I'll admit I don't agree with everything NFPA has done: 1) Ever decreasing ground ladder compliments on Truck Co.'s and Quint Co.'s. 2) Telling me as a department officer where I have to put warning lights on my rigs and what color they can be. 3) Decreased required booster tank size on quints. 4) Etc. On the flip side NFPA brought us four (4) door cabs and 2 in and 2 out. What about grab rails (Peter Pirsch?) and reflective striping to help the fire fighters when responding and returning? I don't know where you are from (Please tell me its England), but the American Fire Service benefits more than it is hurt by NFPA. NFPA covers far more than apparatus. Look into it TOTALLY before coming off half-cocked.
As for Mary Ellen, your feet may be planted on earth..........but look to see what your standing in. You show me fire fighters that want positive change and are willing to sacrifice their time and effort and I'll show you an NFPA member. Are you saying Fire Chief McMillan (Possible typo) in Fort Worth is a sell out? March yourself up there and volunteer your time to the NFPA. The FWFD has come along way. No department is perfect, eventhough some act like it. Like I said, NFPA doesn't do everything right, but they are trying. Are you? Or would you and Chief McD rather finger point, complain and change the television station during the commercials? NFPA isn't only used when litigation comes our way from the public. It can, has and will improve your and my fire service careers and safety. What department are you with? I hope your not one of those types that wears a FD shirt but doesn't try or care to understand the job. Be safe.
[This message has been edited by STATION2 (edited 01-13-2001).]
[This message has been edited by STATION2 (edited 01-13-2001).]
01-13-2001, 10:06 AM #11ac52Firehouse.com Guest
Well I can tell this post is going to get hotter than a six alarmer!! Better get my two cents in early.
We, the fire service, asked for it! WE ARE OUR OWN WORST ENEMY!!! For years we, as a whole, turned our back on safety, training and just plain common sense. Riding tailboards, substandard, if any, turnouts, no manditory SCBA use and not properly maintained apparatus, to start the list!
We needed some outside agency to set the bar higher because we were unable (unwilling ?) to do so ourselves. Simply put we were a professional outfit with an unprofessional attitude. So enter the NFPA. They were around for years, but in the background. Then came NFPA 1500! Talk about rocking the boat! It got the ball rolling down the path of no return. They are now involved in our everyday life. Like it or not.
Now, let me state that I am not walking around the station with a NFPA hat and shirt on. I look at some proposed or current standards the same way the rest of you do, scatch my head and curse them up and down. Then I see how it effects me or mine and try to impliment it.
My biggest complaint is the added cost some of these standards cost a small dept. But, can you put a price on safety vs. cost of a lawsuit or death? No fight there.
In closing, I think many depts (large and small) could us NFPA to their advantage by showing elected officials the cost of doing business in todays fire service. They want the service. They pay for it.
Remember, We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.
No matter where you stand on this issue you still have a job to do. Do it smart. Do it safe.
01-14-2001, 12:52 AM #12MetalMedicFirehouse.com Guest
NFPA - Borkes Shields.... that ought to stir the pot a little...
Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.
01-14-2001, 01:04 AM #13InfernoFirehouse.com Guest
What makes everyone think that they have to follow the NFPA guidelines?
Yes, the ISO rating is partially affected by how compliant you are to these guidelines, but I'm sure that they don't check if you have tin snips on your truck company (an NFPA requirement).
In my opinion, the NFPA Guidelines are suggestions that they give to keep everyone safe, and a way to communicate with the fire service about new techniques and innovations. You don't have to follow the NFPA. But, there is more good in them then there is bad. Just because they suggest doing something one way, it doesn't mean that you can't do it another way that better suits the needs of your department.
When In Doubt, Blitz it Out!
01-14-2001, 09:46 AM #14HHoffmanFirehouse.com Guest
One of these days the Fire Service will wake up!! We keep telling everyone we can do more with less and it is catching up with us. If your department is so broke that it can not meet the safety standards why are you still operating? The Chief Officers should look out for the safety of the members before the budget. We should be mad that the Fire Service is not funded at a level that we could meet the safety standards. The Fire Act is the first step in a long road to solve the problem.
Yes I know we don't have the money to buy all the new toys we want. I have been to departments that have $1000's of rope gear that will never get used, and are still useing sub-standard turnouts. All manufactures of gear and apparatus are meeting the standards for our safety. I can tell you that if NFPA did not require closed cabs and seatbelts that department would buy them without. Also if departments could buy cheaper sub-standard gear and not the gear that meets NFPA they would.
If the Fire Service as a whole gets off it's butt and demands the funding it will be given to us. Look what Law Enforcment has done over the years.
Henry C. Hoffman Jr.
01-14-2001, 12:21 PM #15LHS*Firehouse.com Guest
/// The Fire Act is the first step in a long road to solve the problem.
Boy have you been mislead. The wildland guys increase this year and will go up evry year here after is 29 times higher than our fire bill.
First step, no it is silence money. Ask for 5 billion get 100 million the other guy gets 4 billion every year extra over the year before.
01-15-2001, 09:06 AM #16HHoffmanFirehouse.com Guest
You may not agree with my statement about the Fire Act, but I was not mislead. I have attended the IAFF Leg. Conference and National Convention. I have attended meetings on Capital Hill on this issue. You tell us when in history that we have ever been given money like this from the Feds. The problem I see is most people would rather cry then go looking for the money that is available to us.
If you use this program send a letter to your Senators and Congressmen thanking them or invite them to your station to see what you did with the money.
[This message has been edited by HHoffman (edited 01-15-2001).]
01-15-2001, 10:09 AM #17Mary EllenFirehouse.com GuestThey are the "bible" in our business wether we like it or not. They are a good standard to follow, but 100% compliance is so far fetched.
For legal reasons, I post under a bogus name. I'm the chief of a small volunteer dept that receives about 100,000 per year from our Town. That money puts us ahead of many "pure" volunteer depts that raise their own funds. We fight tooth and nail to get equipment as cheaply as possible and to get as much training as possible. We can't comply with everything NFPA issues in the way of rules and one day something is going to go wrong and the lawyer suing my *ss off is going to say "Why didn't you implement NFPA Standard XXXX?" My response is going to be notably obscene but cover the following points:
1: In order to know what NFPA standards are in place, I have to buy them. That's $500 (roughly) that I can't spend on equipment or training. OSHA can't do that nor can any other "regulatory" agency. If NFPA is my "friend and advocate" why do I have to pay so $amn much money?
2: The standards are written with full time big city departments and budgets in mind. Most of America (geographically speaking) is still protected by volunteers. The hourly commitment required to meet NFPA will eliminate most potential volunteer FD members if we rigorously enforce it. While that is probably a desirable social goal, so long as we have volunteers lets be realistic.
3: The industry representatives on the board have lined their own pockets shamelessly. Why do all of the lights on a new vehicle have to be made by one manufacturer? Quite frankly, I never gave a *amn where they came from as long as they worked, but to be told, if you want a Framitwitz lightbar, every other light on the truck must also be a Framitwitz cannot be justified. They standards have helped me enormously when we are in the design phase of equipment acquisition. The knowledge they pass on is the result of hundreds and thousands of people working together. It just aggravates me to no end when the process is abused.
4: Sorry, but you just can't convince me that NFPA gives a #amn about the volunteer fire dept's role in America. It is a big city measuring tool that has no application to my dept.
And with those arguments, I'm sure I'll still lose the case.
01-15-2001, 10:59 AM #18Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
I'm amazed at the depth of understanding in what the NFPA does! First, 1901 merely says you have to have a lighting system that is certified to provide a certain level of warning to each side while responding and parked, these lights also can only draw a maximum amount of power to protect the apparatus from shutdown. Is that an unreasonable requirement? The manufacturers choose to only certify a top or bottom level system of their own.
Since you are bemoaning the cost of equipment because of NFPA, I'll focus on that. If you could buy a non-NFPA SCBA would you? I saw some other guys looking for steel scba cylinders on here, you could get a group purchase and buy all your equipment from Ebay! How bout non-NFPA turnouts? You know, that bad stuff about our gear kills us because we're too well protected, you could go right back to duck! Who needs that closed cab, back step works fine. It's time for volunteers to stop crying the money blues. Don't blame the NFPA because you are poorly funded. Either do something about the lack of funding or get out of the business. People pay taxes for everything, fire protection is an essential service. If residents don't want to pay, then they need to accept the consequences.. no protection.!.. and yes, I am a volunteer and wouldn't raise one dime in a fund raiser to pay for fire suppression.
01-15-2001, 12:16 PM #19STATION2Firehouse.com Guest
1)In regardeds to the the quote from 86RescueTech, I agree. No department can realistically expect to be 100% compliant. But we must all try for our members safety and protection.
2)Obsenity in the court room will not endear yourself to the public, the judge or the jury. Proffesionalism. I think that word means something.
3)First of all $500.00 to know what standards are in place doesn't sound like an unwise investment to me. How can you slam NFPA and what it stands for when you won't get the material to know what is covered.
4)Standards are written for the fire service. The chips on shoulders attitude is getting old and has to got be getting heavy. I too am a member of a volunteer fire department and understand funding issues.
5)I agree about the light issue, but it has to do with certification of the different zones by a single maker.
6)As Halligan84 says, don't blame the NFPA. Talk to LHS about how they funded all new rigs and equipment without an increase in their budget. It is all in how hard you want to try to fix the problem. Do your research and talk to people who have been there. There are ways to get what you need.
7)I am astounded that you, as a chief officer, are being so outspoken about not wanting the best for your people, your department and your citizens.
01-15-2001, 12:55 PM #20fireman14usFirehouse.com Guest
I personally feel that if NFPA was as concerned with safety as they say they are, then they would give everyone FREE access to their "safety standards". A person can go to OSHA's website and get their Fire Protection standards ( http://www.osha-slc.gov/OshStd_data/...T_L_APP_A.html ) for free. A lot of times I think that NFPA might put $ before safety.
01-16-2001, 11:29 AM #2186RescuetechFirehouse.com Guest
Boy, who ever said there were no politics in firefighting! This discussion has been great. As a former Battalion Chief, it was our goal and my department's Safety and Health Committee to implement the NFPA 1500. We came real close to doing so. It didn't cost us that much to get into compliance either. We were a progressive company ( I am not there anymore)and took pride in safety. The OSHA is a good guideline, but in PA, we are not an OSHA state. Yes I know they still will follow their guidelines, but NFPA will supercede OSHA in a court room. This forum is all about opinions, and I have seen alot of different views. Some good, and some that make me sick. Having said that, we should not attack our brothers and sisters for their own opinions. If you don't agree, just say so. No two people are alike. Like I said before, it is all about being safe and going home after the call. If we don't make it back, who is to blame? Ourselves!!!! The guidelines are here to make things safer. You can implement them, view them and take in the info, but please don't ignore them just because you think they are BOGUS! As for funding issues, that is a whole other forum. If you don't present it to you township or borough with the correct numbers, you will lose the battle. Ask the people what is more important, fire protection or a park? For the people who say a park, show them figures for a "compliant" paid fire department. The numbers will astound you in the difference $$$. The only way to make a positive change is to believe in what you are fighting for and having the knowledge to do so. I ahve been a firefighter for 15 years, 8 as an officer, and have seen some different ways to go about things. I am a member of the NFPA and proud of it. There are some standards that may not pertain to me or my department, but they weren't written for just my department. Just be safe when you do things and you have won half the battle.
01-17-2001, 09:44 AM #22athenaeumFirehouse.com Guest
(Sorry Scott I have been busy but thanks for the e-mail) I also think this is a great topic but shouldn't we stick to NFPA standards that apply to Apparatus Innovations. Question, how many departments have purchased a copy of 1901 and read it before designing new trucks?
01-17-2001, 04:45 PM #23JohnMFirehouse.com Guest
NFPA would have a better reputation if the standards were a bit more common sense oriented. NFPA requires a folding ladder to be placed on an engine. That is silly for us. Our truck companies carry one each, and that is plenty for our operation. Some of the safety items are good, but many other standards seem driven by the non fire service people on the committee. I saw a few years back for example that the Streamlight rep on the committee wanted 12 volt rechargeable hand lights to be required equipment. I like them, but give me a break. That put a bad taste in my mouth.
01-17-2001, 07:21 PM #24OrenTaz69Firehouse.com Guest
for your info there are many large metro departments(mainly on the East Coast) who dont comply with the NFPA standards that is because NFPA is mostly just a guideline to go by
01-17-2001, 07:59 PM #25WRENCHFirehouse.com Guest
For as much as we complain NFPA is one of the most widly used standards. Electrical code,building codes, alarm systems.
Most apparatus is built to it, pumptested to it, aerials are tested to it and you test hose to it among others.
It is a nationwide standard where it is adopted instead of a mish-mash of local and state policies laws and rules.
Yes there are areas that need overhauling, but like everything, participate, join and work to change them. God forbid the unthinkable happens, accident, death ,f/f loss like in Mass.etc the lawyerys are going to be citing NFPA EVEN if you havent adopted it. They are going to cite NFPA as THE nationaly recognized standard.. You can explain till your blue and the question and answer is did you follow and why not!
The last thing is on 1710, like it or not it is looking out for your welfare. The majority of FD's in the counrty are experiencing manning problems career and vollie. The cities and towns are doing absolutly zip for us as oppossed to the cops.Money should not be our problem, they spend millions and billons on other things , we need to up the fire service spending on a more even par with the cops.
Maybe the answer is being more creative in financing or the need to merge FD's in to county or regional depts. The Fire service bill is a start but a dropin the bucket, start pressuring congress to up the money available. A lot people thought 2in 2out would help with manning ,bunk. This only lead to more mutual aid calls and still no increase in company manning. This standard wwill force them to reasses ther thinking and make the s--- or get off the pot.
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