Fire Safety Planning - Editor's Dispatch

No Easy Solutions: Complex Causes Surround Growth Of Wildfires

Understanding the underlying causes of wildfires enables us to control them better over the long haul. One element is climate change, which has created conditions prone to wildfires by increasing heat, changing rain and snow patterns, and shifting plant communities. But there are also other contributing factors in the growing scale and intensity of wildfires. One is the condition of the forests in Australia, California, and other areas where the incidence of wildfires has increased. In Californ...

Fire Doors Serve An Important Role To Protect Life And Property

During the Grenfell Tower fire incident in 2017, ineffective fire doors allowed smoke and toxic gases to spread through the building more quickly than should have been possible. Sir Martin Moore-Bick made this finding in the conclusion to Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. It serves to highlight the importance that fire doors play in protecting life and property. Grenfell Inquiry findings The Grenfell Inquiry findings have impacted subsequent United Kingdom government guidance and proposed...

The Origin Of One California Wildfire Was A Gender Reveal Party

An explosion of blue-colored smoke on Sept. 5, 2020 in Yucalpa, California, was the beginning of a large wildfire in El Dorado Ranch Park. The pyrotechnic device was essentially a smoke bomb designed to send plumes of pink or blue smoke rising into the air, designating the gender of an expected baby. The expectant dad had packed the target with a highly explosive substance called Tannerite and shot it with a high-powered rifle. The target was designed to explode in pink or blue to reveal whethe...

In A Busy Wildfire Season, Researchers Seek New Approaches

It makes perfect sense that a horrific wildfire season would come in the year 2020 on the heels of a pandemic. Dozens of major fires burned across North America in September, including 85 large uncontained fires and six contained fires across 12 states. Active fires have burned more than 3 million acres already, and 41,417 fires have burned almost 5 million acres year-to-date. The severity of the wildfire season is on track to surpass the 10-year average. Better understanding wildfires Globa...

Should Firefighters And First Responders Use Face Masks?

Should firefighters and other first responders be exempt from requirements that they wear face masks to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? The City Council of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, seems to think so. They are proposing an amendment to exempt first responders from complying with the city’s face mask ordinance. Amendment to Exempt first responders from face mask rule Specifically, the proposed amendment states, “Exempted from the requirements of the ordinance r...

The International Association Of Fire Chiefs’ ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ Program Helps Residents Address Risk Of Wildfires

The biggest risk of property damage and injury from wildfires comes at the wildland-urban interface (WUI), which is defined as areas where structures and the built environment begin to intermingle with wildland vegetation. More and more such areas are being created as humans move near wildland areas to take advantage of their natural beauty and privacy. As a result, fire departments are fighting more fires along the interface, and there is a greater need for citizens living in these areas to be...

DHS Promotes Smart City IoT Solutions for First Responders

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding the variety of technical capabilities deployed in the interest of public safety, and smart cities are leveraging IoT data to provide insights and improve operations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is promoting technology development through its Science and Technology Directorate’s SCITI (pronounced “city”) solutions lab. SCITI stands for Smart City and Internet of Things Innovation. SCITI innovations promote public safety in...

Research Foundation Developing Computerized Tool for Crowd Management

Crowd management can be critical in a fire emergency – or in almost any other emergency situation. The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) has undertaken a project to develop a computerized tool to provide data and situational awareness about crowds based on computer vision analysis of video. Crowds have become an unusual occurrence during the COVID-19 pandemic, but sooner or later, life will be returning to normal. When it does, the safety consequences of poor crowd management wil...

When A Global Pandemic Collides With An Active Wildfire Season

The global pandemic presents complications for firefighters during what will likely be an active wildfire season. Firefighting manpower could be diminished by the pandemic; training sessions have been cancelled, postponed, or conducted remotely. And travel risks undermine the traditional approach of calling on firefighters from throughout the country or around the world to help fight the wildfires. Social distancing is at odds with the teamwork and camaraderie that characterize firefighting uni...

Camp Fire Disaster in 2018 Inspires New Research on Wildfire Risk Assessment

Ignited by a faulty electric transmission line in November 2018, the Camp Fire burned for 17 days in Butte County, near the city of Paradise, Calif. When the blaze was finally contained, it had burned more than 150,000 acres, destroyed 18,000 buildings and taken 86 lives. The question is if the fire could have been predicted and if the damage could have been minimized through greater understanding of risk factors. Also if there is a scientific way to reduce the risk of fires, analogous to advan...

‘Fund the First’ Provides Verified Crowdfunding Platform for First Responders

When the Cardwell, Missouri, Volunteer Fire Department needed to raise money for new equipment and to build a new fire shed, they posted a request online. When the residents of Massapequa, New York, wanted to raise funds to provide food to show their gratitude to the local fire department, they also posted an online fundraising request. Both requests used Fund the First, a new crowdfunding platform for first responders. Unlike other online fundraising tools that can be subject to fraud or abus...

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...

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