Editor's Dispatch

FIA Survey Provides Insights Into COVID-19 Impact On Fire Protection Industry

COVID-19 has shaped and altered the fire protection industry in recent months, and the Fire Industry Association (FIA) in the United Kingdom has published a survey report on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The survey, conducted by FIA, sought to gain a greater understanding of how organizations have been impacted by COVID-19 and of the impact on the wider fire industry now and in the future. Resilience is a recurring theme in the FIA report. At the time of the survey (when the United Ki...

During The Pandemic, Technology Allows 911 Dispatchers To Work From Home

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend toward working from home has accelerated. New technologies are now making it possible for 911 dispatchers to work from home, too, whether to ensure social distancing or to supplement operations during evolving emergencies. The computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems offer web-based interfaces and mobile capabilities that enable public-safety answering point (PSAP) operators to work from anywhere. Other technologies that are paving the way for dispatchers to...

App Helps Firefighters Track Occupational Health Exposures On The Go

Tracking firefighters’ exposure to smoke and cancer-causing materials is important when it comes to assessing liability claims, workers compensation, and coverage for occupational health claims. In a broader sense, tracking exposure to carcinogens provides important data for research to evaluate exactly how these materials affect the health and safety of firefighters. Tracking and documenting exposure data for firefighters is easier than ever using the National Fire Operations Reporting S...

Helping Voters Understand The Value Of Grant Programs To Fire Departments

Federal grants are a critical financial component of fire departments and the fulfillment of their mission to protect their communities. The Firefighters Support Alliance is an initiative to help voters understand the local economic impact that fire departments have on their communities; it is part of the Firefighters & EMS Fund, a national political organization. Federal programs such as Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants...

COVID-19 Pandemic Disrupts Trade Show Schedule In Fire Industry

Among other impacts on the fire industry, the COVID-19 global pandemic has played havoc with the industry’s trade show schedule, with some major events canceled and other delayed. There are still several events planned for later in 2020 – fingers crossed! After canceling the FDIC International show in Indianapolis in April, Clarion Events is planning a new event, the United Fire Conference, September 22-24, at the Indiana Convention Center. The ‘fully immersive’ event w...

International Association Of Fire Chiefs Asks For Exception To Enable Volunteer Fire Departments To Receive EIDL Funds

Volunteer fire departments are ineligible to obtain funds from the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program because of their dependence on bingo games and raffles for fundraising. With the COVID-19 crisis destroying the ability of volunteer departments to raise funds, access to the EIDL program could provide needed assistance during a time of economic crisis. Under current rules, the assistance is unavailable. Economic Injury Disaster Loans program As the U.S. Small Business Administrati...

IAFC Promotes Awareness Of The Danger Of Heart Attacks

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is promoting awareness of the danger of heart attacks in the fire service. A toolkit provided by the IAFC includes information and resources to assist members and fire departments when responding to on-duty or duty-related cardiac events. The international campaign, titled ‘If You Don’t Feel Well, Don’t Make It Your Farewell,’ offers standard operating procedures (SOPs) including an example policy that departments can u...

Fire Service Likely To Suffer As Government Finances Stumble Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic presents new economic challenges to county and municipal governments. Fire departments are likely to be impacted as local governments respond to the economic downturn with spending freezes, hiring freezes and spending cuts. Some local governments are hoping for help from the state and/or federal level. Although some governments have “rainy day funds” to address economic downturns, not all of them do. Furthermore, the extent of the current economic crisis may ex...

IAFF Shows Support For Firefighters On The Front Lines Of U.S. Riots

Protests and riots spread throughout the United States in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman. Firefighters are on the front lines as rioters set fires and even attack firefighters seeking to do their jobs. In Richmond, Virginia, rioters blocked a fire truck from responding to a burning home. Protesters had intentionally set the fire at the home, and there was a child inside. In Philadelphia during a 24-hour period, the fire department responded to doze...

Best Practices to Avoid Spread of COVID-19 in Fire Stations

Fire stations are unique environments with conditions that could be conducive to the spread of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19. Firefighters live in close quarters for 24-hour shifts, and then return home to their families. Reports about “hot” firehouses have helped to emphasize the need to follow best practices to avoid the spread of the disease.  The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) has compiled a list of guidelines that departments can put into practice to...

Volunteer Departments Face Grim Finances As Pandemic Eliminates Fundraisers

Among volunteer fire departments, spring is a prime season for fundraising. But not in 2020. Concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus have ruled out the possibility of large public gatherings. A consequence of the coronavirus shutdown is cancellation of hundreds of volunteer fire department fundraisers across the United States – from fish fries to bingo to hog roasts to chicken barbecues. No more carnivals or spaghetti suppers or gun raffles. And departments are losing thousand...

Even with Firefighters Retiring Earlier, Pension Costs Remain Manageable

Because the physical challenges take a toll, firefighters tend to retire at earlier ages than other occupations. There is also a greater likelihood of workplace disability. Firefighter pension plans are often more generous to offset a lack of Social Security eligibility for some public safety employees. Also, more years of retirement translate into an overall increase in medical care costs for fire service retirees. Therefore, pension benefits for public safety workers are more expensive than...

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