Fire Safety Planning Editor's Dispatch

UK Government to Address Housing and Fire Safety Issues

The U.K. government is looking to apply the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire by strengthening the regulatory system for building safety, including regulations for high-rise buildings. By changing the industry culture to increase accountability and responsibility, proposed measures seek to ensure residents are safe in their homes. The new measures – Building Safety and Fire Safety Bills – expand on a pledge to “[bring forward] new measures to … improve building safety,...

Video Surveillance In Fire Stations: Is It A Good Idea?

Installation of video cameras has been proposed in the aftermath of a drug scandal at a fire station in New York. The firefighters’ union is resisting the cameras. The situation raises questions about the usefulness of video surveillance in fire departments: Is it effective? Does it solve the problem? Does it violate privacy? What is the impact on morale? In Middleton, N.Y., a former fire lieutenant was operating an illegal drug distribution ring out of the city’s Central Firehouse....

Massive Wildfires in Australia Defy Firefighters; U.S. Joins Response

Around 2,700 firefighters are working to stamp out the wildfires in Australia that have engulfed 24,000 square miles (about 15 million acres) and killed at least 28 people since the fire season began last July. About 3,000 homes have been destroyed since September, and hundreds more could be at imminent risk. More than 100 U.S. firefighters are among those at work in Australia. They include 59 from California who are assisting the Victoria Rural Fire Service, the largest in the Australian state...

Euralarm Study Considers False Fire Alarms, Their Causes And Prevention

The biggest causes of false fire alarms are older technology and systems that are improperly designed and/or not maintained. Modern technology, proper design and regular maintenance can minimize false alarms. Systems over 15 to 20 years old do not have the technical means to handle deceptive phenomena. Proper planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance should be provided by firms certified for such work as defined in the European Standard EN 16763 Services for fire alarm and s...

FIA’s Training Program Drives Greater Installer Proficiency

Dame Judith Hackett’s recommendations to the U.K. Government after the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 were that the competence of the individuals working in the construction and life cycle of Higher Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs) needs to improve and be clearer. Work had already started in many fire protection sectors to create fully recognized qualifications, and these help raise the benchmark. Improving fire safety training A force driving improvements in training is the Fire Industry...

Agile Offers A Secure And Interoperable Communications Solution For First Responders

After the World Trade Center attack, First Responders had difficulty communicating quickly and comprehensively. Other crises and emergency events such as the Sandy Hook School shootings, Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Parkland School shootings and many more have continued to validate the desperate need for interoperable communication among First Responders. First Responders, first line of defense In emergency situations, First Responders are the first line of defense f...

Grenfell Highlighted Need For Greater Competency Of Fire System Installers

One lesson of Grenfell is how many fire system technicians operate without the appropriate qualifications. Since the Grenfell tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt has called for all relevant trades to hold formal qualifications, and for industry to implement a system in which clients and end users can be assured that operatives are fully competent. Another lesson is that fire service audits of buildings are no longer fit for purpose. For instance, the current system does not require proof that a fire s...

Firefighters Save Notre Dame Cathedral From Total Destruction

Firefighters bravely worked through the night on April 15, 2019, to control and extinguish a fire that was threatening to destroy the beautiful and historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Working nine hours into the early hours of April 16 to extinguish the fire, firefighters are credited with saving the 850-year-old architectural masterpiece from complete destruction, and with rescuing the historic relics and artwork inside the cathedral. 500 Firefighters Involved Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo her...

Fentanyl: Danger To Firefighters & First Responders, Calls For Better PPE

Five Wilmington, Del., firefighters and two police officers were hospitalized last September when they inhaled the opioid fentanyl while responding to a drug overdose call. A family member had turned on a fan, which blew white powder onto the firefighters and police officers. Last August at a prison in Chillicothe, Ohio, there were 28 people – guards, nurses and one inmate at the correctional facility near Cincinnati – who were treated for exposure to a mixture of heroin and fentan...

A New Normal: California Wildfires Deadliest In History

The immense scope and scale of this month’s California wildfires are a timely reminder of a “new normal” that includes a catastrophic toll in human tragedy and presents new challenges for fire service professionals. Some have pointed to the increased frequency of wildfires as a consequence of global warming, and the resulting higher temperatures, less humidity and changing wind and rainfall patterns. President Trump has blamed “poor forest management” (an assertion...

School Shootings Highlight Need For Alternatives To Manual-Pull Fire Alarms

During the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, the gunman activated a manual fire alarm and shot at students as they left the building. The alarm promoted confusion during the calamity, in part because there had been a fire drill earlier in the day. It's not the first time a fire alarm has played a role in an active shooter scenario. Twenty years ago, a similar tactic was used at the Westside Middle School shooting in Jonesborough, Ark.  A fire alarm als...

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