Thread: Interesting

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    Lightbulb Interesting

    September 13, 2004 -- Firefighters are taking longer to respond to the public's emergency calls for help — and more people are dying in fires, a report by City Hall revealed.
    Fire engines took an average 4 minutes and 25 seconds to show up at infernos during the first four months of the 2004 fiscal year, which ran from July through October 2003, a preliminary mayor's management report showed.
    That's 11 precious seconds longer than it took during the first four months of fiscal 2003.
    The number of New Yorkers who died in blazes jumped from 18 to 29 during the respective four-month periods, the report stated.
    It also took firefighters and EMS crews an extra 15 seconds to respond to medical emergencies citywide, reaching patients in an average 6 minutes, 8 seconds.
    FDNY brass blame the longer response time on the August 2003 blackout, but union officials say the more likely cause is the May 2003 shuttering of six firehouses. Steve Cassidy, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, called the blackout excuse "an outright lie."
    "They had 1,000 extra firefighters on duty during the blackout," he said.
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    You've got to be kidding me.
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    Do you have a mandated response time to get the first due engine to the scene of an incident? If you do, and its above 5 minutes, whats the problem?

    We have an 8 1/2 minute attendance time, which we can make quite comfortably to anywhere in town.
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    NFPA 1710 states that the first arriving company must be on scene of a fire within four minutes 90% of the time, and the complete assignment within eight minutes 90% of the time.

    It also states that BLS must respond within 4 minutes and ALS within 8 minutes.

    If anyone is using a different nationally recognized standard other than the NFPA, what standard are you using?
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    Are all these inner city times? I work for a 'country' FD. Our district is so spread out that it takes us 6-8 minutes to get from one side to the other, and that's with little to no traffic. Plus you count in the time frame from dispatch to 10-8 and you can just about tack on an additional 3-5 minutes. I guess our problem is, our nearest FD units are injured at the moment and the majority of us live outside our district. The prices you pay for being understaffed....

    On a good note, we have several backup departments for those far reaches of our district. They're paid/vol guys and run in shifts. Our ambulance service is swift, though highly abused, and is stationed conventently around our district.

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    Default Re: Interesting

    Originally posted by E40FDNYL35
    Fire engines took an average 4 minutes and 25 seconds to show up at infernos during the first four months of the 2004 fiscal year... That's 11 precious seconds longer than it took during the first four months of fiscal 2003... It also took firefighters and EMS crews an extra 15 seconds to respond to medical emergencies citywide, reaching patients in an average 6 minutes, 8 seconds.
    so fire increase by 11 seconds? and EMS response by 15 seconds? without dealing with the total times, for 99% of the calls, do those small increases really make a difference?
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    What are they going to use as an excuse next? They can only use the blackout so many times........

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    Default Re: Interesting

    Originally posted by E40FDNYL35
    but union officials say the more likely cause is the May 2003 shuttering of six firehouses

    I dunno, but ......... GEE, do ya THINK????
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    Statistics

    I'm not worried unless you see that being a trend -- each year another 10 seconds...

    If we took those numbers from 1st Q of 2004 and applied them to the annual call volume (using 2003):

    -- 156 hours extra responding to fires
    -- 723 hours extra responding to EMS

    The city's 2003 summary: http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/pdf/sta...cwsum_cy03.pdf
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    My take on it is this - we go to great lengths to save precious seconds - eg putting SCBA's in seats, preconnects, etc, and we all should be continually looking for ways of configuring our apparatus stowage etc so as we can save another precious few seconds here and there - because when we arrive at a structure fire "Seconds are minutes, and minutes are days". So the last thing we want to do is add another 11 seconds to the time taken to get water on the fire.

    Another thing to consider is that by closing those firehouses they aren't just adding 11 seconds to the response to all fires across the city, the reality is that to cause an average of 11 seconds extra to every response across the city, the extra time taken to respond to fires in the areas where firehouses were closed has to be much greater than 11 seconds.

    And the other thing to remember is that most of the firehouses that were closed were in residential areas, and even an 11 second delay can make the difference between life and death, and between whether you stop the fire in the row frame of origin - or stop it at the end of the street!
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    stillPSFB, you bring up an interesting point. Is the response time in the areas where the houses closed longer/shorter/no change? I'd have a hard time believing that closing a house in one end of the city would have any effect on the response times at the other end of the city.
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    Bones,

    Absolutely it does. Lets say we look at Engine Co. 209 in Brooklyn which in its last complete year of service (2002) went to more fires itself than many Fire Depts in this country go to altogether. (9yr Avg. 270 OSWs/yr) Considering they only had something like 9 1st Due Boxes and a very small response area for 1st 2nd and 3rd Due it is interesting to note how many jobs they made it to.

    Now an all-hands fire around E209 in Bed-Stuy would require 4 Engine Companies to respond. So in most cases you would get the folowing Engines 230, 211, 230, 217 or maybe 210 to respond depending on where it is.

    Now one must remember our Dispatchers relocation policy. The CADS will note that an additional "response neighborhood" has opened up because when two compaines of the same type are unavialable for 30 min or more and they share at least 7 boxes where they are 1st & 2nd Due will need to be covered. Before that might have only required 2 relocated Engines to cover the respective area left by the 4 OOS at the All-Hands. Now with E209 out of the picture that will in all likely hood require a 3rd relocater.

    Now where do these companies come from? They don't pick the next closest companies as they don't want to make more moves than necessary. They pick from Neighborhoods that at that time have good availabilty. So the closure of the company not only affects that neighborhoods 1st Due response time but also far away neighborhoods where the relocaters will come from in the event of a fire.

    A fire in Bed-Stuy then affects the response times of relocated companies neighborhoods such as Park Slope, Crown Heights, Brownsville or Bushwick...

    The same could be said for Engine Co. 36. I've personally been to jobs in East Harlem because E36 isn't there anymore. There were no regular companies at our job as we were all relocaters. I was at a job on 1st Ave in Spanish Harlem and the 1st Due Ladder Company was Ladder 110 from Downtown Brooklyn! You could imagine my surprise humping hose in the stairwell when I saw a 3 numbered front piece and one from Brooklyn no less! The need for relocaters increases with the reduction in Companies.

    This in turn creates slower reponse times in the Upper West Side, Midtown, and Washington Heights where the relocaters would come from. So if Engine 74 now relocated to Engine 35 becasue of a job on E. 121 & 2nd Ave. The 1st Due Engine to another box in the West 70s and 80s would either be Engines 40, 22 or 76 depending on where it is.

    You also have to remember the city likes to play the numbers game by only keeping track of the 10-84(on scene) time of the 1st arriving unit, regardless if it is an Engine, Ladder or BC. So in the above example above you might have Ladder 25 arrive about the same time as Engine 74 would have, however there is no Engine there and thus no water or hose. The formerly 2nd Due Engine(22,40 or 76 assuming it isn't OOS on another box) would arrive much later.

    I'm not even taking into account, Medicals, Education day and other training that puts companies OOS.

    This is how closing a few companies affects Citywide response times. Every time they close a few Companies the times go up just a little. So they feel no one will notice. 6 seconds here, 7 seconds there, 4 seconds here... After awhile those seconds add up. And in this city as opposed to most of the country that is primarily comprised of Private Dwellings, it can mean the difference between stopping a room and contents in a Tenement apt on the 2nd floor and a shaft fire exposing the shaft and numerous apts in two buildings.

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    FFFred...

    Your explanation of the response time is, in two words, absolutely (expletve deleted) brilliant! (oops, that's three words!)

    The City is playing the numbers game to make it look like the FDNY is doing the job effectively with less. At the same time, they are playing "russian roulettte" and hoping that company relocation doesn't come up to bite them on the arse.
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    Arrow Here are some numbers

    Here is are exerpts from an article I found on http://www.nofirecuts.com/index.html .

    ASSEMBLYMAN KLEIN REVEALS DANGEROUS INCREASE IN FDNY RESPONSE TIMES

    Citywide response time increases by 13 seconds

    Assemblyman Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) released to the public statistical data showing huge jumps in Fire Department response times since the Mayor and Fire Commissioner closed six fire companies in May of 2003.


    The Assembly Committees have received from FDNY response time data in response to the Committees’ January 15, 2004 request for the data. The data compares actual, real-world response times before and after the closings.

    Some of the more striking increases in response times include:

    · The citywide average for all incidents increased by 13 seconds—12 seconds higher than forecast by Commissioner Scoppetta in May 2003.
    · The increase in the six neighborhoods for structural fires averaged 23 seconds. The highest increase was in Engine Company 212’s area—56 seconds.
    · The increase in the six neighborhoods for medical emergencies averaged 30 seconds. The highest increase was in Engine company 204’s area—51 seconds.
    · The increase in the six neighborhoods for all incidents was 27 seconds. The highest increase was in Engine Company 212’s area—46 seconds.


    Copies of the chart supplied by the Fire Department, and containing the response time data are attached.
    On May 25, 2003, Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Scoppetta closed fire companies in Harlem (No.36), Cobble Hill (No.204), Bedford-Stuyvesant (No.209), Greenpoint (No. 212), Astoria/Long Island City (No. 261), and Sunset Park (No. 278) due to the City’s “dire fiscal crisis.”

    On May 5, 2003, Fire Commissioner Scoppetta told the City Council that the cuts’ effects would be negligible and that “average response times...will rise…overall in the city by one second” (Testimony before City Council, 5/5/03, at p. 5).

    The Commissioner’s 2003 presentations in advocating for the cuts did not always make clear when the Fire Department’s statistics for the affected neighborhoods were “real” numbers or “computerized” numbers. Assemblyman Klein explained, “One of our first orders of business has been to straighten out what the real response times were for these neighborhoods before the closings, and what the response times have been since the closings. That clear real-world data is what we have for the first time from the Fire Department in these charts.”

    “Now that we have this data, it’s quite clear that Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Scoppetta were wrong. Whether it is one second or fifty seconds, it is never a good time to close fire houses. It is not worth the savings to endanger New Yorkers' lives" said Assemblyman Scott Stringer, Chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Cities.

    “The ultimate question is what these response times mean in terms of life, safety and property. Last year the number of people killed by fire increased 23 percent over 1992--from 97 to 119.” Klein said. “Only when we have established the real facts about response time increases, can we intelligently address that question. What does an increase of one second, ten seconds, or thirty-three seconds really mean?”

    The Assembly Committees conducted a hearing on the firehouse closings on March 4. At the hearing, expert witnesses testified that seconds can mean the difference between life and death in fires and medical emergencies. The Commissioner was invited to the hearing, but declined to appear. The Committees are in the process of arranging to hear from Commissioner Scoppetta.

    “The primary responsibility of government is life and safety—such as protection from death by fire,” said Klein. “We need to know what the real-world effects of these cuts have been, and we are going to find out.”


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    The Greenhouse defect Mike Lupica NY DAILY NEWS 3 28 04

    The other day City Council Speaker Gifford Miller announced that he was going to find $8.3 million in the Council's budget so that six city firehouses, four in Brooklyn and one each in Queens and Manhattan, could be reopened. Miller, who wants to be the next mayor of New York City, was doing this in clear opposition to the current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who closed the firehouses as a way of balancing his budget. That's between the two of them. For the rest of us, the point is pretty clear: In the life of the city at this time, politicians have to grub around for money to keep a firehouse working.

    Bloomberg's response? "It really is not appropriate," he says, "to try to pander to unions and seek their endorsement."

    Bloomberg, of course, would rather pander to the owner of a football team, Woody Johnson, and the deputy mayor of New York in charge of being obsessed with the 2012 Summer Olympics. So now we hear that the city and state are joining forces to build a new football stadium for the Jets on the West Side of Manhattan and, in the process, expand the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Oh, and by the way, these are called "expansion projects" now in the city of New York, not "stadium projects." So taxpayers will not confuse them with the new-stadium hustles that have gone on all over this country in the last 20 years.

    The taxpayers always hear that these stadiums will be a great benefit to them. And ultimately, they benefit one taxpayer: The one who owns the team, and wants the new stadium. These new stadiums do not create economic growth, as fans and taxpayers are constantly told. On the contrary, they are taxpayer burdens.

    I read all these newspaper stories this week about how Johnson, who paid $675 million to buy the Jets, is now going to put up $800 million as his end of the stadium. Where is that money going to come from? Somewhere, that's where. But don't worry. It is a nice big number and doesn't make it look as if Johnson wanted a handout from the city or the state.

    This is all about the Jets getting out of Giants Stadium, where they have been nothing more than tenants, and getting what Johnson and team president Jay Cross consider to be a prime location in Manhattan. When Cross was interviewed by T.J. Quinn and Michael O'Keeffe and the Daily News editorial board this week, he was asked just what kinds of events are going to sustain this new Jets Stadium when the Jets aren't using it for 10 football games a year. Cross said that they would book acts like "Snoopy Dogg, or whoever's big at the time." Right. The kind of act the Garden has been booking a few blocks east. We need more options for old Snoopy Dogg.

    More than anything, this always comes back to Daniel Doctoroff's obsession with the Olympics, which began before he ever had his current job. Understand something: Doctoroff has never been elected to anything. He just seems to have the run of City Hall and the city all of a sudden, even though there has never been a single public hearing to determine whether or not the people of this city actually want the Olympics. Of all the new-stadium hustlers around, Doctoroff seems to work harder than anybody, working the mayor, working the governor. Trying to work public opinion. And nobody stops him.

    Any public hearings on this new "expansion project" will be limited because we're talking about state land here. Nobody has properly explained to a single taxpayer or voter about tax-increment financing. Wonderful. This is great work if you can get it. Doctoroff sure has it.

    To balance the budget in this city in a 9/11 world, we close firehouses. Bloomberg just raised property taxes by 18.5%. Then the mayor and the governor and Woody Johnson - with Doctoroff always lurking in the background - congratulate themselves on an expansion plan that is supposed to cost nearly $3 billion. The politicians, as usual, act as if the public has been shouting about bringing the Jets back across the river. Where has that shout been, exactly? Only neighborhood activists, sometimes the best of the city, speak back to them.

    While all this goes on, George Steinbrenner and Fred Wilpon, who have been waiting to make their own new-stadium deals, continue to wait, and wonder when they get their "expansion projects." Or don't they fit Doctoroff's agenda?

    Doctoroff is an Olympic champion at coming up with ways to spend everybody else's money. Somehow he convinces actual elected politicians that they should spend this kind of money on a stadium that will be used for three weeks in 2012, and for 10 weeks every fall. That is more than a hustle. It is insane.


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    FFFred, thanks for the thorough response. I was aware of the "on scene" time not truly reflecting, but was not aware of the move up policy skipping companies to cover. Certainly would have an effect more city wide. With responses increasing in areas of 46 seconds, there must be some that are decreasing quite a bit to bring the average down to 13. It sucks that your city (and I bet others) plays this crap of seconds here and there trying to save a buck.
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    Since FFFRED uses E-209 in his examples, lets not forget recent history

    TRAGIC LOST SECONDS

    By GEORGETT ROBERTS, ERIN CALABRESE and CYNTHIA R. FAGEN
    NY POST

    May 23, 2004 -- The Brooklyn fire unit that would have been the first to respond to the horrific blaze that killed a couple and their two grandchildren was out of service for the night, away from its firehouse for a scheduled training session.
    If firefighters from Ladder Co. 119 hadn't been away on training, their rig would have been just two minutes from the raging inferno at 626 Wythe Place in Williamsburg, and those lives might have been saved, claimed Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

    "You can't take companies out of service even for the night now. That's playing Russian roulette with people's lives," he said.

    Ladder 119 had been away at the Fire Department's Randalls Island training center Friday when the fire broke out, according to officials.

    Two other companies, Engine 209 and Engine 212, would have provided backup, but they were shut last year due to budget cuts, said Cassidy, who has been critical of the closings since they went into effect a year ago.

    Dead are Murlene Williams Newton, 60, and her husband, Joe Newton, 67. Their grandkids, Dayshon Williams, 7 months, and Weda Williams, 9, also died.

    The inferno, which officials and relatives said was caused by a child playing with matches, broke out at 8:25 p.m. in a sixth-floor apartment in Williamsburg.

    Bedford Street Ladder Co. 102, located about a minute farther away than out-of-service Ladder 119 on Hooper Street, arrived at the scene four minutes after the alarm was raised.

    In a statement, the FDNY fired back, saying: "Shame on union officials for suggesting that the outcome could have been different in this tragedy. Their own members arrived swiftly, acted aggressively and heroically, but despite their best efforts, these lives could not be saved."

    The Newtons' daughter, Diana Williams, 32, was in critical condition last night. Her mentally disabled daughter, Ivory, 14, was upgraded from critical to stable condition.

    Off-duty cop Enrique Rodriguez, 39, who kicked down the locked door where the family was trapped just as firefighters arrived, suffered from minor burns and smoke inhalation.

    Additional reporting by Tatiana Deligianna kis

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    Angry

    People have died because of NYC Mayor Bloomberg's Cuts and the city's policy of taking companies out of service for training and medicals.

    People are DEAD. Doesn't that mean anything?

    Loo, wasn't there another death in Brooklyn about a year ago while the first due co. was at medicals?

    The simple solution (so as to not endanger the civilians with lack of proper fire protection) would be to have the guys perform their mandated training and medical exams on overtime, and leave their companies staffed and in service.

    But it's all about the Benjamins!! Peoples' safety and welfare mean nothing to bean counters.

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    Thanks Loo for mentioning that fire. I forgot that one involved E209.

    I also remember one last year that occured in Sheepshead Bay or somewhere nearby. I'm thinking it was either Ladder Co. 153 or 156 was OOS for Medicals and an older couple died in a fire near the firehouse. You never really heard much about that one.

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    Originally posted by UsingAllHands
    [BThe simple solution (so as to not endanger the civilians with lack of proper fire protection) would be to have the guys perform their mandated training and medical exams on overtime, and leave their companies staffed and in service.[/B]
    and how will this be paid for? initially, all sides win, as the FF get more $$$ in OT, and the public doesn't lose any of it's protection. but the reality is, it all comes down to $$$. Bloomberg closed firehouses in hopes of balancing the budget. I don't think that was right, but that was what he thought would be best. he might have been wrong, but that's what he felt would be best. now your simple solution will make OT costs skyrocket. so it's not as simple as you think.
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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    and how will this be paid for? initially, all sides win, as the FF get more $$$ in OT, and the public doesn't lose any of it's protection. but the reality is, it all comes down to $$$. Bloomberg closed firehouses in hopes of balancing the budget. I don't think that was right, but that was what he thought would be best. he might have been wrong, but that's what he felt would be best. now your simple solution will make OT costs skyrocket. so it's not as simple as you think.
    So you don't care that people burn to death in order to save a few bucks. Nice.

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    Default Question.....

    How many times have you had your training interrupted by calls?

    While a large department can shift it's resources around (also adding to response times to their respective districts), small to medium sized departments do not have that luxury. They have to respond, the firefighters lose out on a training opportunity, the community loses by increased response times.

    Overtime costs to cover for training that will keep a company out of service is a legitimate expense.

    It's funny... when training for the "fancy stuff" is being paid for out of a grant or by a donation by a private enterprise...there's plenty of $$$ and OT to go around, but for our "bread and butter ops"... zero, zilch, nada, nein, nyet, non, nothing...
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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    and how will this be paid for? initially, all sides win, as the FF get more $$$ in OT, and the public doesn't lose any of it's protection. but the reality is, it all comes down to $$$. Bloomberg closed firehouses in hopes of balancing the budget. I don't think that was right, but that was what he thought would be best. he might have been wrong, but that's what he felt would be best. now your simple solution will make OT costs skyrocket. so it's not as simple as you think.
    I can see what I think DrParasite is saying: If the mayor is shutting Houses to save money, wouldn't rising overtime negate that savings. I do not agree with shutting the houses, but I can see the point. I do not know the dollar values of closing a house vs. the overtime costs for training, but I am sure they will be comperable. If I had my way, the six closed houses would be re-opened,and all training that requires companies to go OOS would be conducted on overtime. But, I dont think that is the reality of the situation.
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    I found FFFRED's post insightful!

    To Parasite's point -- our resources are limited. People died before the cutbacks because every block didn't have 2 Engine Companies, a Truck, and an ALS Ambulance sitting on it ready to go...never mind lack of sprinklers in the buildings or AEDs sitting next to every fire extinguisher.

    So we've got to find a reasonable point the public is satisfied with between how much they want (the world) and how much they will pay.

    Without knowing the detailed breakdown of where that extra response time came from, in a City the size of New York an increase of 11 seconds is much more likely to have had fatal outcomes then an 11 second increase in my town -- just a function of much greater number of calls that those seconds could've made a difference.

    Things work both ways, too -- people were probably dying before for lack of early AED, while fire engines were sitting a block or two away waiting for a fire. The Fire Service has the best model for both rapid and consistent delivery of government services -- better than ambulance or police. Certain things like EMS first response to critical calls fit well into that. And just to play devil's advocate for those feeling that having companies on medical calls reduce fire protection (now donning by Nomex underwear, PBI bunkers, Aluminized Airplane Firefighting Suit, placing myself in a concrete vault, and being lowered to the bottom of Lake Quinsig...) having companies performing extrication also make them unavailable for response to fires -- even though the ESUs are able to handle it.

    That said, proper staffing should include time to cover training that requires units to go out-of-service; and staffing for medical response vehicles in areas with very high call volumes.

    Arguement's like those in FFFRED's post explaining the cascade effect of company closings and companies working fires are a much stronger and tougher to defeat arguement than "people died because (fill in specific incident)" 'cause people died before, they'll die in the future since we can never deploy enough resources to be perfect. But we can look at the big picture -- and figure that if we keep seeing slow downs city wide of 10 seconds here, 2 seconds there, 5 over there over time that adds up to a significant reduction in quality of service.
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  25. #25
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    The Fire Service has the best model for both rapid and consistent delivery of government services -- better than ambulance or police.
    I don't follow... can you clarify? The primary missions and jobs of each are all quite different, so how can one model best fit "government services" as a whole?
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