Windspread V Report Released

Dec. 12, 2008

"The fire problem in the United States is a political problem not a technological problem."

"The continuing high levels of duty-related firefighter injuries and deaths are unacceptable. This problem needs to be addressed through a multi-faceted approach."

These are among the issues that emerged during Windspread V conference held in Atlanta.

The report -- released this week --was compiled following days of discussion on issues of vital importance to the nation's fire service.

The participants -- who included fire chiefs, federal fire officials, fire safety personnel -- identified a number of challenges facing departments across the country.

The group meets every 10 years to take a look at what's happened, and how the fire service is responding.

The full impact of technology has not been calculated. While GPS and mobile data computers are changing the way firefighters do business, the high-tech world also has its challenges.

"Electronics, automation, and safety systems will bring new hazards to the emergency environment...Knowledge, training and operational safety will be a key to keeping our people safe and utilizing technology to our benefit," the group wrote.

District of Columbia Chief Dennis Rubin, who hosted the group in Atlanta, said he has been honored to participate.

"I certainly was in the company of knowledgeable, talented people," he said, adding that the group understands the limited resources available to the fire service.

The "think tank" came up with statements of national significance as well as those of ongoing issues. Many of the topics are mentioned in previous reports.

The collection of Windspread reports are available at National Fire Heritage Center

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