1. #1
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    Default Standardized Apparatus for USA???

    Stevedude brought this up in the LODD thread.

    The UK has standardized fire apparatus. I dont know if it is puchesed at the national level and issue dout or what (Steve?) but there are a few positive aspects that have come to my attention.

    - Standardized apparatus means that each piece of apparatus in service meets the required safety standards.

    - Each apparatus meets minimum performance requirements.

    - Standard apparatus means you can have standard training. You can take a FF, put him on any piece of apparatus in the nation and he should be able to run it if the apparatus and training are standard and a national certification.

    - The apparatus builders would probly cut a deal of they new they were going to be building 1500 standard apparatus a year.

    - Standard apparatus means standard parts. The military loves this system. Central supply warhouses, mechanics that can work on anybodies apparatus, they are all standard after all, etc...

    - The USFS/BLM already has proven that this system works in the wildland fire environment. Their standard apparatus are the same pretty much across the nation. They can fly firefighters into Montana from Alaska, and they can step off the plane and operate a Type 14.

    There are of course a number of fire environments that have to have a standardized apparatus to meet specific needs.

    These are the categories that might need a standard apparatus.

    Steve, how many standard apparatus does the UK run, in other word what different types?

    Just a thought:

    - Metro Pumper
    - Big ladder
    - Medium Ladder
    - Rescue heavy/med/light
    - Rural pumper more specificaly Interface pumper Type 14
    - Heavy wildland, maybe same as above Type 14.
    - Light wildland, Type 5/6
    - Airport crash truck Heavy/med/light

    You would have one metro style, full blown, spare no expense pumper. The ladders are another metro animal.

    The Rescues would be shared by the variouls levels of the fire service.

    The Interface engines can do all a Class a Pumper can do and all that a Heavy Wildland engine can do and IMO make a lot of sence for rural communities.

    The Type 5/6 could be beefed up enough to work as a quick attack for the Metro guys and as the bread and butter brush truck for rural/wildland agencies.

    Airports come in different sizes, so should the trucks.

    It will likely never happen.

    But it is an interesting topic given the success that the UK and other nations have had with standardization.
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  2. #2
    firefighter3531
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    first off that would make too muck sense. our county is made up of 16 departments and we purchased each department a new pumper last year and the savings was great on the trucks and all the equipment.For the first time in 30 years we have made progress county wide. we spent 2.3 million on 15 trucks and all iso equipment. i can go to any station and operate the trucks and know the have very basic equipment on them. and the nice thing about the deal is the county paid for the trucks not a penny came off our current budget. downfall to this was that the budgets were capped for 5 years but we will get our money back to where it should be in 3 more years. and to get all 16 departments to agree on the same truck and same type of equipment tokk nearly a yr to spec everything out.we ended up with a central states pumper on a 4-door frieghtliner. the trucks have been great the service from the truck reps very poor. service from central states company direct great.
    Last edited by firefighter3531; 07-13-2004 at 03:22 AM.

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    Default 2 cents...

    I dont know if this helps much, but the state
    of California has guildlines for apparatus. From
    engines to trucks to bulldozers.

    Here is your link...

    http://www.firescope.org/ics-big-fog...0-1Chptr11.pdf
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 07-13-2004 at 03:06 AM.

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    I hope SteveDude sees this thread and comments on the UK system.

    firefighter3531,

    Great example. I bet there was serious competition among the builders to get that contract, they probly cut their prices to try and get the bid.

    Here is a thought...

    Take the Fire Act Grant Money one year, all billion or whatever is allocated...

    Have a huge bid war between all of the builders for a contract for a standard Class A pumper on a 4 door comerical chassis...

    I bet you could buy a crap load of them, and a lot of departments could use one of those.

    Or you could do that with any of the various categories.

    I suppose many metro department/well off department would look down their nose at the standard apparatus, but many a small department would be lining up to get a decent pumper.
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    Posted my SamsonFCDES
    Have a huge bid war between all of the builders for a contract for a standard Class A pumper on a 4 door comerical chassis...
    I have to differ. Take a good look at the commercial chassis used for fire service applications.

    Most of them are used in real world applications as box delivery trucks, fuel oil tankers, utility company trucks and the occasional dump truck or garbage hauler.

    What is the average lifespan of one of these vehicles?

    About ten years.

    How long are we expected to keep a rig in service for front line and reserve status?

    An average of 20.

    These chassis were not designed with the fire service in mind. The ergonomics, in a word, suck.

    The Engine I am assigned to is a Central States built on an International Navistar 4 door cab/chassis.

    There is no room front seat area.

    Because of the location of the grab handles on the outside of the cab, two firefighters can not get in at the same time, as the rear doors in the open position will pinch the hand of the firefighter trying to get into the front seats of the cab.

    The turning radius, in a word .... sucks. Narrow streets abd driveways are a challenge.

    A "One size fits all" approach does not necessarily work for everyone.
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    Thumbs down I Don't Think So................

    America values individualism too much to get into that type of thing, besides, they'd probably want a standard color too. I'll opt out, thank you.
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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
    Posted my SamsonFCDES


    I have to differ. Take a good look at the commercial chassis used for fire service applications.

    Most of them are used in real world applications as box delivery trucks, fuel oil tankers, utility company trucks and the occasional dump truck or garbage hauler.

    What is the average lifespan of one of these vehicles?

    About ten years.

    How long are we expected to keep a rig in service for front line and reserve status?

    An average of 20.

    These chassis were not designed with the fire service in mind. The ergonomics, in a word, suck.

    The Engine I am assigned to is a Central States built on an International Navistar 4 door cab/chassis.

    There is no room front seat area.

    Because of the location of the grab handles on the outside of the cab, two firefighters can not get in at the same time, as the rear doors in the open position will pinch the hand of the firefighter trying to get into the front seats of the cab.

    The turning radius, in a word .... sucks. Narrow streets abd driveways are a challenge.

    A "One size fits all" approach does not necessarily work for everyone.
    One size doent have to fit all, there can be various standard apparatus, IE the list I gave earlier on.

    When I was pondering the commercial chassis pumper I didnt have high volume/narrow streets in mind.

    I had the American small fire department in mind.

    The ones that run on 100+or- fire calls a year...

    That have wide open spaces...

    That already have apparatus older then 20 years still working the front line, 2 man cabs, open tops, etc...

    Major improvement for those departments IMO.

    I agree that any area with significant call volume or Metro areas needs a custom chassis engine. That is why you have a variety of standard apparatus.

    But they still could all be made to operate the same way, same pump pannel, same tool storage, etc...
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    Default Re: I Don't Think So................

    Originally posted by hwoods
    America values individualism too much to get into that type of thing, besides, they'd probably want a standard color too. I'll opt out, thank you.
    DOH!

    I never thought about the color, OMG, it would cause the second civil war!!!



    Actualy, I dont think there needs to be a standard color, maybe a standard warning light package (wackers are freaking right now) and a standard reflective trim package.

    If a department has a certain color they like, what the heck, the truck will still work the same...

    But Red ones go faster...
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    Just a random thought...

    900,000,000$ from the fire act grant (figuring in admin costs off the billion and other margin of error)...

    Put toward a standardized Class A 4 door commercial pumper...

    Estimated at 150,000$ a copy due to volume bid...

    Gives you...

    6000 Class A pumper trucks.

    There were 22,250 fire departments listedin the USFA census, that is estimated to be 75% of the total departments in the US.

    Roughly 30,000 fire departments in the US.

    So, in 5 years every since fire department in the US could be equiped with a standardized Class A pumper.

    In a lot of departments those pumper would last a good 20 years, with poly tanks and good maintenance maybe more.

    How about brush trucks. DNRC MT just built us a very nice one. It is a type 5 wildland engine on an F550 Chassis.

    We paid 30,000 for the F550 auto diesel 4x4 regular cab.

    Costs MT State 13000 to build the bed, 500 gallon tank, pump combo, foam system, etc... 250 GPM pump.

    We used grant money to put wildland remote control monitor on the front, 5500.

    GVW legal straight foward brush truck, meets all safety standards, and performs well enough for a quick attack. The wildland monitor is a safety feature since it get firefighers off the bed/walking beside the truck to catch running prairie fires.

    So you are looking at about 50,000 a unit if you want 4 doors.

    900000000/50000= 180000 brush trucks.

    180000/30000 departments= 6 standard brush/quick attack engines for each fire department in the USA.

    LOL, to crazy to work, to crazy.
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    I think you'd find there's a lot more regional variation than you think in needs.

    We have no, zero, need for "grass nozzles" mounted to bumpers -- we're not going to be chasing down range fires, ever.

    Other areas may have no need for 3000' of LDH since they don't have any water sources near their buildings anyway and have to rely on tankers.

    The 3000 gallon tanker that shuttles efficiently in one area may not make it over bridges in another.

    Units going to places like the Arizona desert or deep in the humidity of Florida probably gonna want heavy-duty air conditioning for rehab purposes. Pumpers destined for Northern Minnesota need to be designed with prolonged sub-zero operations in mind.

    Pump Operations:
    Find a transfer switch, engage it.
    Find the label that says what gear to have engine in.
    Go to pump panel,
    Find thing labeled "Tank to pump", open it
    Find thing labeled "pump to tank", open it
    Find red thing labeled, "Throttle", turn it up.
    If needle on big guage doesn't go up, find thing called "Primer" and give it a pull. You should see pressure start to come up pretty darn quick after that. If not, find things labelled "Drain" and make sure their closed. If still having problems, do you have water in the tank?
    Open discharge you need.

    That's pretty much pump ops 101 for Hale, Waterous, Darley or anyone else -- am I missing anything guys?

    The bottom line is people aren't moving from station to station or across the nation with any frequency. If I'm in East Bumrush and end up having to run their pump, things are so FUBAR already the extra minute to read the labels ain't gonna change the outcome.

    There's no need to standardize nationally. We're not a national service. Citywide, even region-wide for m/a compatibility? Good idea. Most manufacturers already offer some kind of "stock" plain jane apparatus lineup, some even have "GSA" lists.
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    I agree that one size does not fit all, thats why there needs to be a variety of standard designs of different sizes.

    I dont consider standardization for the situation described, IE I am on vacation in "Bumrush" and need to run their truck.

    What standarization does is let you send your rookie to to standardized training and get a national certification in "Standard Class A Pumper Operation" that is good for anywhere they have standard apparatus. Much like a nation certification in other areas of emergency service.

    The buy in bulk also is a huge benefit IMO.

    Local variations, IE seting up an engine for cold or hot weather, does not realy change the standard design.

    Nobody said you cant have modifications localy.

    Heck, you dont even need to build on the same chassis. There is no reason a commercial standard pumper cant operate the same as a custom chassis pumper.

    So maybe I am stating this wrong.

    I hope Steve comes along and gives us a rundown of the UK system. I dont know that much about how their standardization works.

    That would probly clear up a lot of questions that I am shooting in the dark at.
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    When departments have all kinds of wildly different trucks within there own departments fleet,I dont think your going to have much luck with the rest of the country. We cant even agree on a helemt,much less a standerd pieice of appartus.

    I dont think you will ever see one either,needs vary wildly even in the next town. Example: The town of Boxford has NO hydrents and is a pond only operation and there is no aerial,they protect a only residential. Next to them is Haverill which is a large city consisting of all three major hazards and a hydrent only operation and they even have a reserve department there so big.

    Its a nice idea,but things are just too different even from town to town.

    It better to spec for more money to serve you well than to buy a cookie cutter truck for less money and do only half as well.
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    Originally posted by stm4710
    When departments have all kinds of wildly different trucks within there own departments fleet,I dont think your going to have much luck with the rest of the country. We cant even agree on a helemt,much less a standerd pieice of appartus.
    LOL, so true...

    I want a smoothbore leather traditional red pumper...

    NO!

    I want a combination kevlar quint lime green pumper...

    I dont think you will ever see one either,needs vary wildly even in the next town. Example: The town of Boxford has NO hydrents and is a pond only operation and there is no aerial,they protect a only residential. Next to them is Haverill which is a large city consisting of all three major hazards and a hydrent only operation and they even have a reserve department there so big.
    Yes, but they dont need to have the same piece of standardized equipment.

    Like I said, there would have to be:

    - Metro pumper/aerial
    - Tender little/med/large
    - Rural Interface Pumper
    - Brush Truck
    - Etc....

    But there is nothing to stop from standardizing pump panels, layout, features, etc...

    Its a nice idea,but things are just too different even from town to town.
    Yes, and that is what standardized apparatus is supposed to eliviate.

    I am still curious as to what all the reasons were for the UK to go a standard system.

    It better to spec for more money to serve you well than to buy a cookie cutter truck for less money and do only half as well.
    There are some FDs that couldt spec for a motor scooter with a **** pump on the back let alone spec for more money for a bells and whistles show truck.

    Those FFs would be thrilled to have a run of the mill, no bells and whistles cookie cutter truck that may be only half as good as the show truck, but is twice as good as their 1970 POS they have in front line service as we speak.
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    google is incredible...

    Here is how and why the UK Nationalized its fire service:

    'Our fire and rescue service': a local, regional or national responsibility?


    Shane Ewen


    Executive Summary
    The current political debate concerning the local, regional and national status of the fire service has many parallels with similar debates during the late 1930s and early 1940s. These culminated in the nationalization of the service in 1941, radically altering the structure and powers of local fire authorities.
    The current proposals claim to strengthen existing powers, modernize administrative and operational practices, and stabilize the officer structure. But comparison with the 1940s suggests that this may not work out as intended.
    The renewed proposal to reorganize the Fire Service on a regional basis is likely to result in a complex, multi-layered structure with blurred division of responsibilities. This is precisely why regionalization was abandoned in 1947.
    While on paper regionalization can be also presented as a way of saving on personnel, in practice even regional control rooms will still need staff with detailed local knowledge.
    Moreover, attempts to rationalize the officer structure are only likely to lead to demotions, redundancies and widespread dissatisfaction within the service.
    Especially in the light of historical experience, it is not clear why today's new needs cannot be met by reformed local fire authorities.
    At the very least, the smooth running of the fire service during any process of reform requires that it be evolutionary, carefully-planned and inclusive of the suggestions of professional stakeholders.
    Introduction
    History can deepen contemporary policy debate, and it demonstrates that questions over the local, regional and national status of the fire service are not new. It also reveals that the fire service has already undergone comprehensive reform during periods when national security has been threatened. Indeed, amidst heightened concern about terrorism, the service is currently undergoing reform that will radically alter its structure and powers, particularly as a result of proposed regional fire and rescue authorities. Regional fire protection is not a new concept: reforms between 1938 and 1941 involved the regional co-ordination of existing resources and the creation of national standards of cover. This paper will contrast these earlier reforms with current proposals by examining the strengths and weaknesses of regionalization and focusing on the historical lessons for this aspect of the Labour government's new strategy.
    Fire protection before 1939
    Before the mid-1930s there was virtually no national political debate about the status of the fire service. Organized fire protection was a purely local responsibility left to the discretion of local authorities, private enterprise (especially the fire insurance companies) and volunteers. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade, originating in 1865, was Britain's sole mandatory fire brigade. Moreover, there was no exchequer funding for provincial fire protection, while very few minimum standards had been prescribed, with the exception of those concerning water supplies for extinguishing fires, the fire-fighter's right to force entry into a burning property, and the provision of pensions to a certain class of fire-fighter. Of those local authorities that undertook responsibility for fire protection, a great proportion (Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield, Portsmouth, etc.) simply made their police forces responsible for fire-fighting to save money.
    Sustained pressure during the 1920s and early 1930s from local authorities, professional associations and certain politicians and civil servants culminated in the establishment of the Riverdale Committee on Fire Brigade Services in 1935. Riverdale's report was published the following year, in which it recommended the overhaul of the existing ad hoc system of fire protection in favour of a uniform organisation in readiness for a future aerial war. During the First World War there had been limited aerial bombing of London and provincial towns, which had led to the creation, in 1917, of area schemes whereby local brigades would provide assistance during heavy air-raids. Although this move had been made too late to affect the home front, the principle of mutual assistance remained popular within the Home Office after the war, with attempts made to establish peacetime co-ordination agreements in parts of the country. Moreover, the development of air-raid precautions from the early 1920s, particularly as military technology became more advanced, served as a warning that the existing system of approximately 1,450 fire brigades, many of which were equipped with obsolescent appliances, notably manual or steam engines, and manned by unpaid fire-fighters with little training, was wholly inadequate to deal with the threat posed by incendiary bombing.

    The Fire Brigades Act, 1938, sought to address some of these problems. Firstly, fire protection was made compulsory for every local authority. Secondly, a Fire Service Commission was appointed to review the provision of fire cover in the country. Britain was soon divided into twelve regions under the command of Chief Regional Fire Officers to co-ordinate resources, including manpower and appliances. However, no exchequer grant was provided, nor were the existing brigades reduced to a more manageable number. The act also failed to abolish the police brigades despite criticism that they could not devote their whole time to fire prevention. The effectiveness of the 1938 Act in improving peacetime services was never ascertained, yet its wartime effectiveness was soon tested, and found wanting, with the declaration of war in 1939.

    Furthermore, in 1937 local authorities had been compelled to recruit and train a volunteer body of auxiliaries to supplement existing manpower, which culminated in the formation of the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) in September 1939 comprised initially of 89,000 men and 6,000 women. This was an enormous change to the existing service, which comprised less than 5,000 professional fire-fighters and approximately 50,000 volunteers or retained fire-fighters, and caused tension between the professional and auxiliary fire-fighters, especially over the latter's lower standards of training. The Civil Defence Act of 1939 gave local authorities additional wartime responsibilities for the provision of air-raid shelters, first aid, and repair of bomb-damaged houses. Fire-fighters, like the police, were prevented from retiring for the duration of hostilities. The Home Office was confident that the reformed service would provide adequate protection against the impending incendiary attacks.

    The Blitz and the nationalization of the fire service
    In August 1940, one year after the declaration of war, German air-raids began on oil installations at Pembroke Dock and Thameshaven. London was bombed for 57 consecutive nights between 7 September and 2 November by an average of 200 bombers every night, and also heavily bombed during December 1940, and April and May 1941. In November 1940 the main ports and engineering cities were targeted. Coventry, for example, was bombed by 30,000 incendiaries and 500 tons of high explosives on 14-15 November, while other cities, notably Hull and Plymouth, were raided during 1941. Reinforcement schemes were co-ordinated by the Regional Commissioners, although these were hampered by differences in organization, equipment and, especially, service command. In Coventry and Birmingham, AFS crew complained of being left to combat dangerous blazes without support from the professional cadre. Water supplies and telephone lines were cut. Transport links were blocked by falling debris. Many fires were left completely unattended.
    Criticism was levelled at the government for providing insufficient leadership during 1940 and early 1941. In fact, the only action taken by the Home Office was to send inspectors to provincial cities to report on bomb-damage, and to distribute a series of memoranda to local authorities encouraging careful preparations to combat incendiary fires. The absence of a direct chain of command between the Home Office and the 1,450 brigades further undermined resource co-ordination. Pressure from several senior officers in the London Region about the inadequate level of protection in provincial cities culminated in the appointment of the Labour MP Herbert Morrison as Home Secretary in October 1940. Formerly leader of the London County Council, Morrison was sympathetic to the demands for greater government control of the service. Negotiations, however, lagged, and it took the heavy raids of April 1941 to force Morrison to propose nationalization to the War Cabinet, which duly ratified the scheme on 8 May. During parliament's debate of the Fire Service (Emergency Provisions) Bill, Morrison insisted that there was a clear difference between peacetime and wartime fire protection, stating that 'fire-fighting, in substance, had become a military operation, and, certainly for the period of the war, had ceased to be a municipal one.'

    It took just thirteen weeks to nationalize the fire service. Even the Treasury, notoriously resistant to allowing exchequer support for fire protection, agreed to fund all emergency costs as well as a quarter of each brigade's peacetime costs. Yet, like so much public policy towards fire protection before, during and after the war, nationalization was a knee-jerk reaction to fire disasters. Furthermore, although it was national in name, in practice the National Fire Service (NFS) was a regional structure. Britain was divided into 39 Fire Forces, each commanded by a Fire Force Commander; each Fire Force was divided into separate divisions and further sub-divided into 'Columns' and, finally, 'Companies'. The Fire Force Commanders were responsible to Chief Regional Fire Officers, who exercised extensive powers over the deployment of manpower and equipment within their boundaries. There were between 2 and 4 Fire Forces in each region. The best officers were stationed in those areas deemed of the highest importance, which meant many existing officers were relocated, demoted or pensioned off. Furthermore, the AFS was incorporated into the NFS, which went some way to ending the animosity between the auxiliary and professional fire-fighters, and abolished the police brigades. The only brigades which remained outside the NFS were the hundreds of works brigades that protected industrial premises and were funded by their parent companies (many of which had rendered valuable assistance during the air-raids of 1940-41, especially in the West Midlands).

    In fact the relative rapidity of nationalization, when it came, was only possible because of the series of preceding piecemeal reforms of 1937-40. The establishment of the Fire Service Inspectorate in 1937, and the formation of the Regional Commissioners in 1938 helped to lay the groundwork for nationalization by centralizing responsibility for fire policy, dividing the country into manageable regions, and inspecting local standards. Moreover, the Home Office had been involved in the procurement of appliances, especially pumping and ancillary equipment, and the improvement of water supplies as well as the standardization of hydrants, since 1938, and had ordered local authorities to draw up risk-assessment plans (as they are now known) in order to allocate resources. Evidently, the Home Office had also learned from the delays in establishing mutual assistance schemes during the First World War by creating 12 special area schemes in 1939 under emergency powers. The creation of a separate Fire Brigade ('K') Department within the Home Office (previously the fire service had been the administrative responsibility of the Police Department) and the hiring of a Fire Adviser to the Home Secretary were the final 'preparatory' steps.

    Owing to the threat to national security, Morrison only gave 'K' Department three months to make the transition from local to national footing, during which time the constitution and organization of the NFS was formalized. By the autumn of 1941 the NFS was fully operational, with 'K' Department issuing instructions and conducting inspections on a frequent basis to co-ordinate service delivery. This transition, however, was undertaken during a period of virtual inactivity by the Luftwaffe. Indeed, the NFS never faced air-raids to the extent of those experienced in 1940-41, although the Tip-and-Run and Baedecker raids and the 'Little Blitz' all challenged the new structure. In fact the performance of the structure was far from a glowing success, largely owing to its multiplicity of tiers. Disputes between the 'K' Department, Regional Commissioners and some Fire Force Commanders over the powers of setting conditions of service, the mobilization of appliances and other operational procedures such as procurement led to friction at the higher levels. At the operational level, Column and Company Officers argued over who was responsible for directing fire fighters during incidents, while Divisional Officers clashed with Fire Force Commanders and their assistants when implementing policy.

    Morrison always stated that nationalization would be a temporary measure and that fire protection would be returned to local control after the war. This was because local government still retained power and influence over national policy. From 1943 discussions began concerning the post-war status of the service. There were suggestions that the service should remain a national responsibility, especially as the Labour Party promised to nationalize health and public utilities, although this was resisted by Morrison and his successor, Chuter Ede, because of the animosity it would generate within local government. It was eventually decided that the service would be returned to local control, yet with some important reforms. Under the Fire Services Act of 1947 fire protection became the responsibility of the county boroughs and county councils, which drastically reduced the number of peacetime brigades to 135. Moreover, the Home Secretary was given power to fix national standards (under section 19). A Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council, consisting of the main professional and governmental organizations, was also formed to advise the Home Secretary on national policy.

    New Labour and reform of the fire service
    Since the 1947 Act there has been little reform to the service despite frequent complaints that it needs structural and financial reorganization. Local authorities have struggled to maintain the high standards set by the NFS after 1947. The exchequer grant only covered a quarter of local expenditure, and many authorities responded to this by arguing that fire defence was a national responsibility that should be supported equally by taxpayers and local ratepayers. Recommendations for reform from departmental inquiries were shelved during the 1970s and 1980s. Even during the 1990s, two independent reports on the cost-effectiveness of the service were not acted upon. The service remained the responsibility of the Home Office until 2001 when it was transferred to the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (now disbanded) and, since May 2002, has been the responsibility of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). This has created confusion and consternation amongst certain sections of the profession. In stark contrast to the period of reform of 1938-47, for the past two decades the fire service has been in a state of inertia. Coupled with this, the ODPM has recently sent mixed messages to the fire service community by advocating the empowerment of local communities to have more say over local fire protection (by rescinding section 19 of the 1947 Act), while, in response to the national fire-fighters' strike in 2002, giving the Minister of State power to fix or modify the conditions of service of fire-fighters and to direct fire authorities in the use of property.
    The British fire service is currently undergoing reform that will radically alter its structure, powers and responsibilities. The proposals, published in a White Paper in 2003 entitled Our Fire and Rescue Service, are based on the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Fire Service (popularly known as the Bain Report), published in December 2002 during the second national strike. Alongside the government's drive towards regional assemblies, regional fire and rescue authorities will be created and managed by regional management boards. The Fire and Rescue Service Bill also proposes to abandon national standards of fire cover and empower fire authorities to identify their own risks locally. Moreover, an emphasis is placed on 'community fire safety', with authorities expected to refocus their resources on fire prevention as well as protection. This, it is envisaged, will free up further resources to concentrate on fires in 'high' risk areas, environmental challenges posed by fire and flood, and the growing threat of terrorism. To reflect the diverse responsibilities of the twenty-first century fire service, it will be renamed the Fire and Rescue Service.

    The current ODPM proposals would undoubtedly create a more complex, bureaucratic, multi-layered structure than currently exists, with worrying similarities to the NFS structure of World War II. The proposals involve a three-tier structure, with the ODPM setting national policy under its new National Framework, regional management boards co-ordinating resource deployment and, when (or if) elected regional assemblies are established, regional fire authorities replacing existing county authorities for service delivery. As noted, one of the weaknesses of the NFS after 1941 was the blurring of responsibilities between the various tiers created. Clearly the service needs strong leadership to ensure the successful implementation and management of reform. There were perhaps understandable reasons why this was not achieved by the NFS under the pressures of wartime haste, but the Labour government today does not have this excuse and appears to be intent on repeating these mistakes at its leisure.

    The ODPM needs to demonstrate how the proposed regional authorities will be different from and, more effective than, local authorities. Many of the procedures currently governing the local authorities will simply continue, including inspection by the Audit Commission, the pattern of financial arrangements (the service is jointly funded by an exchequer grant and local taxation), and the adherence to Best Value Practice. The additional layer of bureaucracy represented by regional authorities contradicts government policy advocating the empowerment of local communities, and fails to address how it will produce freedom and flexibility within service delivery. While the NFS was quickly established due to the suspension of normal party politics during the war, a resurgent Conservative opposition has warned that reform could vest the Secretary of State with powers to 'change local authority arrangements at will', and the Labour government's proposals will face stiff opposition during a likely third term.

    The 2003 White Paper notes that existing arrangements for managing the service are 'confused and inefficient.' However, history informs us that alleged weaknesses in administrative management are not new. Councillors were criticized for their parsimonious attitude towards investment before the NFS was formed. Indeed, this was one of the chief reasons why, when the service was returned to local control in 1947, it was limited to county borough and county council control. Accusations of the decline in the quality of elected councillors cushion ministers against criticism that the service lacks national direction. By adding an additional tier to central-local government relations, issues of accountability, management and resource co-ordination are in fact likely to become less, not more robust than they are currently. The experience of the previous episode of regionalism between 1938 and 1947 strongly indicates that, if it is to reduce costs, increase viability and improve transparency, regionalization must be simple in its structure and clear in the delineation of responsibilities.

    The nerve system of any fire authority is the communications network to report incidents and direct resources. The NFS depended on direct telephone communications between the Regional Commissioner, Fire Force and Divisional Headquarters. The Home Office established a Communications Directorate which collaborated with the General Post Office to ensure that the network could handle the predicted level of use. There was some investment in new wireless technologies, although this was slow and had little operational impact. Other hi-tech equipment, such as two-way radios, was not invested in owing to the high costs of civil research and development during wartime. The ODPM's proposals, if implemented, will similarly depend on investment in communications. It is proposed to create regional control rooms: this will, it is suggested, augment savings by spreading the cost of cover per incident. However, one of the advantages of having local control rooms is that the telephone operators have greater knowledge of their locality, and are able to direct resources more effectively. By creating integrated regional control rooms, the ODPM would need to invest not only in new equipment such as the latest GIS systems, but also in staff training to offset any loss of local knowledge.

    The ODPM proposals also claim to stabilize the officer structure and strengthen operational leadership, yet attempts to achieve this during the 1940s serve as a warning that this could weaken the service. Many chief fire officers were demoted to lower ranks or pensioned off and replaced by officers who were more compliant to the new NFS regulations. Officers, some of whom had joined the service through the AFS, were also externally appointed to the new regions, which caused dissension amongst long-serving fire-fighters who felt that they were more experienced and had greater local knowledge to serve as senior officers. While the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers Association (CACFOA) publicly supports the current proposals, during nationalization in the 1940s the Home Office bypassed existing professional organizations, notably the Professional Fire Brigades Association, and simply established its own association of officers (the Chief Fire Officers Association) loyal to its proposals. CACFOA would be wise to consider the impact that regionalization today could have on its members, not least the need for redundancies or demotions of many existing senior officers, a process that occurred in 1941 amidst great tension.

    Conclusions
    The main positive lessons learned from the earlier episode of nationalization of the fire service in 1941 concerned the development of truly national standards of service, replacing the disparate system of local fire brigades. The introduction of uniform procedures within training, inspection, technology and funding certainly improved the efficiency of fire protection nationally. Yet fire protection remained, and remains today, an inherently local activity requiring detailed local knowledge. Although standards of fire cover were nationally produced from 1947, the identification and control of risk was conducted locally. Some of the government's reform proposals have merit, not least the desire for fire authorities to be vested with greater powers to produce local standards of cover, and the 'New Dimension' of adequate readiness to respond to terrorist attacks. But one is left wondering why such responsibilities cannot be met by reformed local fire authorities. History has shown that to ensure the smooth running of the fire service, reform must be evolutionary, carefully planned and inclusive. Bulldozing reform through parliament without considering the suggestions of professional stakeholders will only create dissension and lack of coherence, as it did with the National Fire Service in 1941. Nationalization was the last time a Secretary of State used sweeping powers to direct the service and fire policy. Even then the NFS was built on past experience to deal with contingencies that did not arrive. The current proposals are not based on past experience, but are an inflexible extension of the government's fashionable commitment to devolving power to regional authorities, as a principle to be pursued for its own sake, regardless of whether it makes any practical sense in the light of experience and the history of the fire service.
    May 2004




    Further Reading
    V. Bailey (ed.), Forged in Fire: The History of the Fire Brigades Union (London, 1992)

    G. V. Blackstone, A History of the British Fire Service (London, 1957)

    C. Demarne, The London Blitz: A Fireman's Tale (London, 1991)

    S. Ewen, 'Central government and the modernization of the British fire service', Twentieth Century British History, 14:4 (2003), 317-338

    T. H. O'Brien, Civil Defence (London, 1955)
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
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    Standardized fire apparatus and nationalized fire service....yeah,the government is just who I want telling me what I can and cannot buy and how to run my fire department. This by the same people who brought you the Department of education and the welfare dept. just to name a few.

    Need I say more?

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    Originally posted by mallethead
    Standardized fire apparatus and nationalized fire service....yeah,the government is just who I want telling me what I can and cannot buy and how to run my fire department. This by the same people who brought you the Department of education and the welfare dept. just to name a few.

    Need I say more?
    Your fire department? Do you pay the bills? Is you name on the title of the fire trucks?



    Anti goverment people need to take a step back and look around...

    By the people for the people.

    The citizens of the USA ARE the goverment. They own and pay for "your" fire department.

    And guess what, if you are on a fire department...

    YOU are part of the goverment too.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    "yeah,the government is just who I want telling me what I can and cannot buy and how to run my fire department."

    Perhaps the government should have a say in how depts are run, especially in such areas as what a Training a fire fighter needs, and
    how the officers are selected, the good old boy system worked in days gone by, but todays fire service needs officers and firefighters that know their head from their butt. Electing the chief because he or she is popular is no longer the way to go.

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    Excellent points.

    Perhaps there needs to be more acountability on dollars spent for fire protection.

    I am sure there are places that spend tons of taxpayer money on their FD, but they do not meet the standards set forth in regaurds to the fire service...

    I know some of those FDs!

    One good thing about Fed money, IE Fire Act Grant, is that there is some requirments that you have to meet...

    And those are REALY EASY!!!

    I have a gut feeling that if the dollars that are currently spent on the US fire service were used a little more efficiently/wisely, then the entire nation would be up to par...maybe.

    Maybe we also need more money...right?
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Ok lets look at why this won't work...even if you had a metro style pumper, Rural style...etc.

    Take and Engine Co. from each of the following cities:

    San Francisco,CA
    Dallas, TX
    Milwaulke, WI
    FDNY
    Fairfax, VA
    DCFD
    Miami, FL
    St. Louis, MO
    Seatle, WA
    Boston, MA
    Chicago, IL
    Kansas City, MO
    Billings, MT
    Detroit, MI
    Alberquerque, NM
    Portland, ME

    Now take a ladder company from Each of those cities as well.

    I think we can all agree that the cities listed above are all urban or Metropolitan at least in relation to the region they are located in.

    Some have multiple preconnected lines, some almost none. Some have seating for 6 or more men in the rig...some less, 4 or 5. Some carry hard suction hoses, others do not. Some have front and/or rear suctions inlets, others do not.

    Some have traditional trucks. Some have pre-piped waterways on their aerials...some do not. Some have tillers others do not. Some have Truck companies assigned to Quint Appartaus. Others don't have a single Quint in service. Some like Tower ladders, or Ladder Towers, Some prefer straight stick aerials. I know of one larger midwest city where the majority of thier "Truck companies" don't have aerials at all and are in more or less little rescue boxes.

    Overall some cities buy cheap S#%@ because they can't or won't afford any better, others only accept heavy duty top or the line rigs and equipment. Some buy all the fancy bells and whistles while others design a very simple and functional vehilce.

    Also as for rural standardization, I would imagine Rural Kansas or Oklahoma has much different needs than Rural California or NM. Kansas and Oklahoma don't really have forests...Ca and NM do.

    While it may work for England with its largely identical geography throughout and scale, I don't think this will ever or should ever come to be in the USA.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 07-13-2004 at 03:16 PM.

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    Originally posted by FFFRED

    Take and Engine Co. from each of the following cities:
    St. Louis, MO
    Might be tough to find an engine in a city that's all quint.
    ullrichk
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    I think we can't go and having FDNY's Engines and the townships of bucks county running similar trucks...they just do to much to differently to have them the same. But if were going to standardize anything it should be what everyone learns at the basic level and the ability of the trucks.

    You and a ff should be able to do: A,B, and C
    An Engine should have: A,B, and C

    It just makes more sence that way. Say the **** goes down in DC or somewhere big and it takes whole counties of trucks to carry out the task then everyone should know the same things at the lowest level and every truck should at least have the same basic things. But doesn't the NFPA have these guildlines already?
    Bucks County, PA.

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    "While it may work for England with its largely identical geography throughout and scale, I don't think this will ever or should ever come to be in the USA."

    Not quite true Fred, Apart from the desert areas, the UK is very similar geographically to the USA, albeit on a smaller scale and there is more rain. Also the set up is different than here in the USA. London which is a big city uses aerial apparatus in a different way than here in the USA. London has a mere fraction of aerials than FDNY. at one time there were only 16 aerials to cover the whole of London, and the last I heard the Commissioner was talking of reducing this number down to 8. Can you imagine what the FDNY truckies would say if the FDNY Commissioner said he was cutting FDNY aerial fleet in half.

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    OK here we go...

    Firstly with regard to the big post by Sampson regarding then & Now, regionalisiation etc... I don't even want to go down the route of modernisation. Everything we have acheived since the war will decline into a third rate Service... in 1998 the Audit Commission reported that the UK Fire Service was the best of all services...it was 98% efficient. Unfortunately being this good costs money, the UK Fire Service will probably be halved more and more people will die our LODD Figures will no doubt quadruple.. but you know what, compared to people getting killed by violent crime fire never has or never will be a vote winner.

    THe UK Fire Service as a whole package is among the best in the Wolrd, (OK I am biased) we train people from everywhere, the country is bursting at the seams, fires are running high in every built up town and city but still we have low Fire Death figures and LODD Figures.

    This my friends will not be the case in a decade or so, unless something drastic happens over by us soon, things will change. Every proud British institution has been cut to the bone, Schools are overcrowded, Hospitals are full of 'sick immigrants' while the guy who worked his whole life waits a year for an operation. Crime is spiralling the Police cannot cope...the one remaining untouched institution was us...the British Fire Service...is soon to join the list.


    Anyway back on message


    Fire Applainces in the UK are not quite standardised, equipment generally is, for exapmle you can take hose from Cornwall right up to Scotland and it will fit together, all Firefighters are trained to a similar standard and so on. If a Firefighter transferred from say London to Greater Manchester, they would still need a couple of weeks familiarisation training , although not the whole 20 weeks.

    We wear different gear, have different BA, still have smooth bore vs Combi arguments dutch roll hose versus standard roll.

    Basically there are 'loose standards' for Fire Service vehicles and equipment that lay down certain specifications. These are known as JCDD specifications (Joint commitee on design & development)

    For Pumps for example they will specify that it should have a 300 gal Water tank or 500 gal in the case of a water tender (same thing, more rural) the pump will be a multi stage (Hi & Low) capable of pumping at 1500gpm with a high pressure pump capable of delivering at 40 Bar (580 PSI). It will have a safety cab for a crew of 6 it will be capable of...etc...etc..

    That is as far as it goes. You cannot have a Pumper in London fitted out the same as a Pump in the Highlands of Scotland. Stand in the middle of London you may well be in Downtown Manahttan, stand on top of a Mountain in Scotland you may well be in Colorado.

    The only thing we don't have is a desert. We have everything you have only much smaller (apart from our cities that have all grown so much they are all bigger than all but a handful of World Capital Cities)

    So for all the doubters, it can work, But things are so devolved over in the US I cannot see how it would ever work, a bit of regional standardisation across County or States may be a beginning. There is no way I can see Nationalised standards.


    I also saw a reply here about no thank you I like to choose...You can have any chassis/cab combo any colour as long as the basics are similar.

    The UK only has 63 Fire Departments but they are BIG Fire Departments (up to 7000) no Chief can be bothered picking his engines..they have procurement departments for that, they will put out a tender for 60 Pumps to be supplied over 2 years. Imagine the cost savings and competition among the manufactures. Like New York people fallover themselves when London puts out a tender... freebies, sample Fire Engines/equipment. If London buys the salesman is off to lay a deposit on his new House...we are big business. Unlike the US where ther are only a handful of Big City Departments that cal the shots, the power of large county brigades as well as the Mammoth Departments like LFB still have big spend power. Even the very small UK Fire Brigades have about 20 Fire Stations, that is still a big order when they need new Apparatus/PPE/SCBA etc.

    The standardisation also acts as a 'barrier' to ensure corrupt Chiefs/Cities/ do not order a piece of ***** for a Fire Truck whilst pocketing the money. They have to put a tender out under JCDD spec ??? so a quality standard is guaranteed.
    Steve Dude
    IACOJ member
    www.fireservice.co.uk

    London Fire Brigade...."Can Do"


    'Irony'... It's a British thing.

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    And if you think they all look identical have a look here...

    Fire Engines1

    Fire Engines2
    Steve Dude
    IACOJ member
    www.fireservice.co.uk

    London Fire Brigade...."Can Do"


    'Irony'... It's a British thing.

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    And now, a voice from rural America.
    Many of us in the smaller departments depend on the DHS grants for major buys. We don't need a new truck, but our (donated) 30+ year old SCBA need to be replaced. If you cut off the DHS grants, we have to go longer with gear that is literally falling apart. And a fill station that actually filters the air would be nice.

    As for the "small, medium, large" standardized trucks, none of the 9 departments we interact with on the mountain have the same equipment. So what? The engineers stay with their units, while the FF do the generalized tasks FF do everywhere.

    No thanks.
    Last edited by Sleuth; 07-13-2004 at 04:47 PM.

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