Training & Education
Euralarm has released its Annual Report 2018-2019. The period was a year of change for Euralarm. With a new President, Board, General Director and sections leaders in place and the final integration of the extinguishing section in the overall structure, the association is ready for moving forwards into the future. The annual report covers the period running between the General Assemblies of the association. The report follows the structure of Euralarm, with every section and technical com...
The Fire Safety Event 2019 and its co-located shows have enjoyed the most successful event to date welcoming over 11,733 visitors across three days at the NEC, Birmingham. The Fire Safety Event has firmly cemented itself as the fastest growing exhibition in the UK for the industry, providing a platform that ensures its visitors are equipped to maintain the highest fire safety standards. High-profile incidents in recent years have put a spotlight on the industry and The Fire Safety Event recogni...
Infographics announced it has successfully streamlined and enhanced the mobilization processes used by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) within the Thames Valley Fire Control Service. By integrating FireWatch and Capita Vision, RBFRS can now automatically share intelligent vehicle availability data between systems and remove manual processes. The integration provides a level of live, connected management information and increased efficiency This latest phase builds on work undert...
Advanced is set to showcase its latest industry products at Firex International 2019 as it forms part of the annual event’s largest ever exhibition zone. Pioneer in the design, manufacture and supply of intelligent fire systems, Advanced, alongside fire brands Apollo, Argus, FFE and Klaxon have joined together to form the Firex Solutions Sector at this year’s Firex International, 18-20th June. Visitors to Advanced’s striking stand (FX610) at the Firex Solutions Sector can expe...
Once every 24 seconds, a fire department responds to an alarm somewhere in the United States. Two-thirds of these departments are all-volunteer. Most are also underfunded. That means many of the firefighters who risk their lives every day to protect people, property, and pets are doing their jobs with outdated or otherwise inadequate equipment. Georgia-Pacific launched its Bucket Brigade program to help support local fire departments and the brave men and women who strive to keep their communit...
The Communications Workers of America (CWA), a labor union, is promoting awareness of the benefits of FirstNet, an independent government authority established in 2012 to build and deploy the first-ever nationwide broadband network dedicated to first responders. “Once people know what it is, they get excited,” says Bianca Garcia, CWA's FirstNet Program Coordinator. AT&T, the only unionized wireless carrier, was chosen as the private company tasked over 25 years with building ou...
Bristol Uniforms, a designer and manufacturer of protective clothing for emergency services across the globe, has joined forces with its international distributor Rosenbauer Slovenia to secure a contract with Ljubljana Fire Brigade. Rosenbauer Slovenia and Bristol’s world-class design team worked closely to produce the winning design, which is based on Bristol’s ergonomic and lightweight XFlex design and customized to accommodate specific equipment. They used the latest fabric technology to create a quality, bespoke garment using a Hainsworth TITAN1220 outer layer, a GORE-TEX CROSSTECH FIREBLOCKER moisture barrier and a Hainsworth ECO-DRY ACTIVE lining. Customizing Garments Bristol’s experienced design team is well-versed in customizing garments and delivered to a high specification The XFlex design met Ljubljana’s core requirements - manufactured to European standards, fit for purpose, comfortable, ergonomic and durable - but was adapted to ensure it fully complied with their brief, including a special shaped collar, waist adjuster straps and additional padding on the shoulders. As well as having specific fabric and design requirements, the brigade also wanted the design to incorporate a number of different loops, hooks and pockets to accommodate a specific harness belt, radio and mic, torch, carabiner and Pax bag. Bristol’s experienced design team is well-versed in customizing garments and delivered to a high specification. Strong Competitors Aleš Vrščaj, Area Sales Manager at Rosenbauer Slovenia said: “We invested a lot of time into understanding the brief and requirements, and are very pleased with the finished design, as were Ljubljana. We were up against some strong competitors in the industry but in the end, our competitively priced tender, attention to detail and sound understanding of the brief gave us the edge.” Richard Cranham, International Sales Manager at Bristol Uniforms said: “We have a long history of supplying Ljubljana Fire Brigade, who procured PPE from us until the mid 2000s, and are pleased that they have once more opted for Bristol kit. The contract will see us supplying the Brigade with 220 sets of kit over three years, including warranty. They have already taken delivery of 114 sets and feedback so far is really positive.”
Western Business Events (WBE), host of The Fire Safety Event, is in the final week of preparations before it opens the doors at the NEC on 9th-11th April for its largest edition yet. Now in its third year, The Fire Safety Event has seen phenomenal growth since its inception in 2016. The event, which began with 16 exhibitors now boasts over 50 exhibitors for its 2019 edition. High-profile incidents in recent years have put a spotlight on the industry and The Fire Safety Event recognises it has a role to provide ongoing education on new standards and legislation, best practice advice and help support the industry by providing them access to companies and products that will better prepare them. Tall Building Fire Protection The Fire Safety Event also features a Tall Building Fire Protection Area hosted by the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) The Fire Safety Event will provide a platform, which ensures its visitors are equipped to maintain the highest fire safety standards and will welcome back many of its exhibitors from previous years, cementing its place as the must-visit exhibition in the fire safety calendar. As it grows in stature, The Fire Safety Event has been able to attract a higher profile speaker line up, with Dame Judith Hackitt and former NYC Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano as two of the keynote speakers this year. New for 2019, The Fire Safety Event also features a Tall Building Fire Protection Area hosted by the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP). Bringing together expert speakers from across the industry, the seminars will focus on the highly contemporary issue that has drawn media attention in recent years following high profile incidents such as the Grenfell Tower fire and a series of tall building fires in Dubai. Chemical Storage Cabinets Alongside its comprehensive seminar program and other event features, The Fire Safety Event 2019 will feature dynamic, specialist demonstrations from many of its exhibitors, aiming to challenge and educate audiences. Safety storage cabinet manufacturer asecos (stand FS220) will be helping demonstrate the robustness of their chemical storage cabinets – highlighting the importance of safe secure units, particularly around hazardous materials. FirePro UK, will be bringing along their mobile showroom facility (stand FS140) and Kingspan on stand FS180 will be hosting a live burn test on its insulated panel core, showcasing its performance in real world scenarios. The Fire Safety Event team believe that with a line-up of prominent, industry-leading companies and its dynamic, specialist content, the event is set to become the must-visit exhibition for the industry. Fire Safety Calendar We’ve added more elements which aim to challenge and educate audiences and hopefully ensure the event is so pivotal in the fire safety calendar" Event manager Rachel Godfrey comments: “We really value feedback and have taken on board what visitors say, as well as understanding exactly what our exhibitors have said worked for them in previous years. We’ve added more elements which aim to challenge and educate audiences and hopefully ensure the event is so pivotal in the fire safety calendar that visitors count down the days until our next show.” The exhibitor line-up includes – Advanced, AMBIENT SYSTEM, asecos Limited, Association For Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP), Asset Protection Group Ltd, BAFE, Bilco (UK) Limited, Checkmate Fire Solutions Ltd, C-TEC (Computionics) Ltd, Detector Testers, Draggon, The Electrical Contractors’ Association, EMS Radio Fire & Security Systems Limited, Envirograf, Eurotech Fire Systems Limited, EvacLite Ltd, FFE Limited, Fike Safety Technology Ltd. Business Protection Fire & Security Matters, Fire Protection Association, FireArrest, Fireclass, FIRECLOUD365, FirePro UK Ltd, Firetrace Ltd, Firetronics, Fire and Security Association, FSi Limited, Global Fire Equipment (UK), Global HSE Solutions, Honeywell - Advanced Detection, The Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association (IFEDA), Illumino Ignis Ltd, Jactone Products Ltd, Jelf, Kingspan Limited, Klaxon, Miller Knight, National Association of Healthcare Fire Officers (NAHFO), QDOS, Rack System S.r.l, Safety Technology International Ltd, Securiton, SSAIB, The Institute of Fire Safety Managers, The Institution of Fire Engineers, Topscan, Trail Services (uk) Ltd, Turner & Townsend, WAGNER UK Ltd and Xact Training. With such a comprehensive offering, The Fire Safety Event and its co-located events are a must attend for anyone who has an interest in improving life safety, business continuity and business protection within their organisation. The Fire Safety Event will take place on 9th-11th April at the NEC, Birmingham.
FirstResponderVoice.org, an educational website from the Communications Workers of America (CWA), issued a toolkit about FirstNet to help first responders and public safety decision-makers around the country become better advocates for their community’s emergency communications needs. “The goal of the toolkit is to educate first responders and decision makers so they can better advocate for their communities around the benefits of FirstNet,” said Bianca Garcia, CWA's FirstNet Program Coordinator. “It is crucial that first responders and community leaders are accurately informed about the nation’s first interoperable broadband network dedicated specifically to public safety. Public safety needs to be able to communicate during emergencies without worrying about network congestion, throttling or any other issues"“Now more than ever, first responders are in need of a platform that is robust, reliable and tailored to their unique needs. Public safety needs to be able to communicate during emergencies without worrying about network congestion, throttling or any other issues. We hope that this toolkit allows first responders to get the facts on FirstNet and be able to bring those facts back to their communities.” The Toolkit Lays Out: How first responders and public safety decision makers can inform their communities about FirstNet and the benefits it will bring to their public safety programs as the first interoperable LTE broadband network – including a FirstNet fact sheet, introductory PowerPoint, rates for FirstNet plans and a list of FirstNet compatible devices. A step-by-step look into how first responders can subscribe to FirstNet and share sign-up information with colleagues. Suggestions on how emergency response stakeholders – including fire department Chiefs, colleagues, city council members, volunteer first responders and other emergency-response workers—can educate one another on FirstNet. Additional resources and further reading for interested parties to dig deeper into the benefits of the network’s capabilities. Greater Reliability And Extensive Interoperability The mailer included a letter from a New York-based volunteer firefighter and CWA member about FirstNet and its promise of greater reliabilityThe toolkit builds on a recent series of advocacy efforts by FirstResponderVoice.org including ‘Intro to FirstNet’ webinars and Q&A sessions in December and informational packet mailings to over 3,700 volunteer fire departments in multiple states in November, including California, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. The mailer included a letter from a New York-based volunteer firefighter and CWA member about FirstNet and its promise of greater reliability and extensive interoperability for first responders. The launch of First Responder Voice’s ‘Becoming a FirstNet Community’ toolkit comes after Verizon drew criticism in major news outlets in February for running Super Bowl ads targeting first responders given recent network issues the company faced in California and Florida in 2018. The company has also been called out by stakeholders for driving misinformation about FirstNet to maintain its public-safety market share. Impacting Crisis-Response And Emergency Services In California, the Santa Clara County Fire District (SCCFD) Fire Chief said in August 2018 in a legal briefing that Verizon throttled the department’s data speed, negatively impacting the department’s ability to provide crisis-response and emergency services. SCCFD’s admission has led to the introduction of anti-throttling bills. In Florida, Former Gov. Rick Scott and state CFO Jimmy Patronis called out Verizon for not restoring service after Hurricane Michael in October 2018, even as Search and Rescue and First Responder groups needed the critical infrastructure. Resource For First Responders CWA represents tens of thousands of AT&T workers, public-safety professionals, and first responders across the United StatesFirstResponderVoice.org is poised to be a leading resource for first responders – professional and volunteer, urban and rural – and other public-safety stakeholders, including IT directors, emergency communications coordinators, private citizens, and elected officials, to learn how communities can take full advantage of FirstNet and stay abreast of developments related to emergency communications and public safety. FirstNet is being built, operated and maintained by AT&T, the union wireless carrier. CWA represents tens of thousands of AT&T workers, public-safety professionals, and first responders across the United States and was an active member of the Public Safety Alliance, a coalition of first responder groups that was instrumental in supporting the creation of FirstNet. CWA also represents the growing workforce of customer care agents in Cerritos, California and Greensboro, North Carolina who are trained to handle FirstNet customer service calls from first responders.
IFEDA, the Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association is celebrating 30 years of raising standards within the fire protection industry. The association was formed on a desire to bring fire extinguisher technician training to the independent fire trade beyond the confines of the manufacturing companies. Credit for the association should go to Mr Dave Hulse and his company National Fire Training. Through his good offices and at the direction of the founding committee members, IFEDA quickly added what was to become one enduring principle, which is the stated aim of raising quality standards within the fire protection industry through third-party accreditation, initially being BS5750 and lately ISO 9001. Fire Protection Service IFEDA members are fire protection service companies, and membership works on the democratic principle of one member, one vote To this day IFEDA requires that its members should achieve third-party accreditation as a means of continued membership. This ensures that the quality standards and workings of member companies and their technicians are independently assessed via UKAS approved schemes such as BAFE SP101 and BAFE SP203 etc. IFEDA itself, whilst being the first fire industry trade association to require members to achieve third-party accreditation, was also the first association within the fire trade to achieve ISO 9001 for its services to members and training courses. IFEDA members are fire protection service companies, and membership works on the democratic principle of one member, one vote. From humble beginnings, IFEDA board members now sit on various industry committees including British Standards workings groups for fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire safety signage. Cost-Prohibitive In addition they also sit on various BAFE scheme committees including fire extinguisher technicians, fire alarms, kitchen suppression and the dry/wet riser scheme. This ensures that IFEDA members’ voices and points of view are represented across the industry. Graham Ferris, General Manager at IFEDA commented: “There are simply too many people who have made massive and telling contributions to this association over the past 30 years to try and name and pay tribute to their efforts and input, to do so would risk offending an omission who was equally deserving. However, special mention should be made with regards to my immediate predecessor Mr Ray Griffin and our long-time Chairman and now Executive President Mr Colin Payne. Both, in the early 2000’s, were at the inception of major changes in IFEDA not least in making the, then cost-prohibitive, attainment of ISO 9001 available to all the membership, irrespective of their company size.” Authentic Trade Association 2019 marks an important milestone in this fast paced and ever-changing industry" Mike Tobin, Chairman of IFEDA remarked: “2019 marks an important milestone in this fast paced and ever-changing industry. I am honoured to be part of the IFEDA journey which has been built from the heart. With sustainable foundations that are built with human spirit, and a drive to continually improve the relevant industry standards. We believe IFEDA is possibly the most authentic trade association within the fire safety sector. Our aim going forward is to direct our operations to assisting members in a fast-moving market, backed with applications to assist in the day to day engineering of systems and services.” IFEDA continues to raise standards within the fire protection industry, and achieves this by running training courses across a number of disciplines, including: fire alarms, fire extinguishers, dry risers, hose reels, train the trainer, and fire safety signage. All of IFEDA’s training courses have Continuing Professional Development status from the Construction CPD Certification Scheme.
Western Business Events (WBE), host of The Fire Safety Event, is pleased to release further developments on this year’s exciting seminar program. Now in it’s third year The Fire Safety Event features a powerful combination of education, networking and business support designed to help organisations maintain the very highest standards of fire safety management. Curated and delivered in partnership with Fire & Security Matters magazine, The Fire Safety Event free seminar program will cover and challenge critical topics in fire safety management today. Across two theatres, content will feature a mix of case study presentations, white paper presentations, thought-provoking debates and legal updates all presented by government officials, lawyers and industry professionals. Fire Safety Training Co-speaker Desmond Burke has acted as chair to the New York Building and Managers Association The Fire Safety Event are excited to welcome high profile speakers at this year’s event including former Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive, Dame Judith Hackitt and Sal Cassano, a decorated firefighter who has gained worldwide recognition for his development of NYFD after the 9/11 attacks. In the wake of the Grenfell Tower Fire disaster, Dame Judith Hackitt will explore her independent review of Building Regulation and Fire Safety as well as provide an overview of key recommendations direct from the Government following this review. Alongside Desmond Burke of Firetronics, former Fire Commissioner Sal will discuss the enhanced fire protection, stringent fire safety training and building inspections which were implemented following the 9/11 disaster. Co-speaker Desmond Burke has acted as chair to the New York Building and Managers Association. Real-Life Prosecution Together the pair will review the effectiveness of good code enforcement programmes, how to develop the safest buildings, offer practical solutions to evacuate occupants during fire, bomb or chemical release attacks as well as exploring how New York rebuilt in the wake of 9/11. Many of the events exhibitors will also be hosting dynamic, specialist demonstrations and seminars. On 11th April 12.00-13.00 the audience will act as both judge and jury whilst Pinsent Mason conduct a live, engaging and dynamic mock trial based on a real-life prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Hosted by Advanced’s Neil Parker ‘Thinking compliance: Fire solutions for greater peace of mind’ will help visitors to understand their legal responsibilities, ensuring fire detection systems are not only reliable but compliant with the law. Tall Building Fire Protection As well as this and sponsoring the events Keynote Theatre, Advanced will be hosting regular live demonstrations on how to ensure your fire alarms are reliable. Following the spotlight placed on industry after the major Dubai skyscraper fires and the Grenfell Tower tragedy - Kingspan’s Tony Ryan aims to focus on reducing the risk of fires in cladding systems in the UK. Fire safety of insulated panels and facade systems’ will provide insight into how to ensure safe cladding systems are selected ‘Fire safety of insulated panels and facade systems’ will provide insight into how to ensure safe cladding systems are selected. Alongside this, Kingspan will also be demonstrating live burn tests on panels, helping show visitors first-hand the suitability and robustness of their cladding systems. Further addressing the challenges covered in Kingspan’s presentation, the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) will be hosting a Tall building fire protection area at the Fire Safety Event, focusing on this highly contemporary issue that has drawn media attention in recent years. Improving Life Safety Bringing together expert speakers from across the industry, sessions will consider tall building fire safety, Common tall building fire safety concerns and Ensuring competency of installers. Speakers will discuss training and qualifications and best practice for compartmentation and the correct installation and maintenance of firestopping and fire doors. Co-located events at the NEC have on offer a range of seminars that are especially relevant to a fire safety audience, including ‘Digital Voice: the next step in the UK's digital transformation and how alarm signalling will be affected’, taking place on 10th April at The Security Event. Alongside a host of engaging speakers and demonstrations, visitors to The Fire Safety Event will be able to see the latest products and receive hands-on advice from 40+ major fire safety brands exhibiting. Co-located with The Security Event, The Health & Safety Event and The Facilities Event, this year’s exhibition is a must-attend for anyone who has a focus on improving life safety, business continuity and business protection for their organisation.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) announces the 2019 Safety Stand Down theme. This year’s ‘Reduce Your Exposure: It’s Everybody’s Responsibility’ campaign will take place June 16-22, focusing on increasing understanding of occupational cancer risks and implementing recommendations in the Lavender Ribbon Report, developed by the IAFC Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) and the NVFC. Firefighters face many health risks, but cancer has emerged as one of the most prominent concerns. Importance Of Firefighters Safety Stand Down resources and materials emphasize the importance of firefighters educating themselves, their physicians, and their coworkers about job-related risks; point first responders to the latest information on exposure to carcinogens, including how to limit exposure; and provide best practices and resources regarding reducing the risk of cancer to firefighters. Firefighters have a responsibility to protect themselves, their coworkers, and the public from the cancerous byproducts of fire This important initiative encourages everyone to refresh their techniques and learn new skills based on recent research and proactive protocol. Firefighters have a responsibility to protect themselves, their coworkers, and the public from the cancerous byproducts of fire, and this year’s Safety Stand Down provides tools and information to help reduce line-of-duty deaths and critical illness. Non-Emergency Activities Agencies across the country are encouraged to suspend all non-emergency activities during the week of June 16-22 in order to focus on training and education related to this year’s theme. An entire week is provided to ensure all shifts and personnel can participate. Topic information, resources, training downloads, and videos will be available at, the official web site for the Safety Stand Down event. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a Safety Stand Down partner, will once again host the Fire Service Safety Stand Down Quiz to generate greater awareness of first responder health and wellness issues. Everyone who completes the online quiz will be automatically entered into a sweepstakes, with 200 randomly selected participants winning a specially designed commemorative Safety Stand Down challenge coin. The Safety Stand Down is coordinated by the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section and the NVFC, and is supported by national and international fire and emergency service organizations, including the NFPA.
I gave a lot of thought to identifying the biggest challenge facing the American fire service in 2019. Many things came to mind: funding; fire prevention - if every building was sprinklered and all had working smoke alarms, it would solve a lot of other problems; political influences; initial, regular and ongoing training, and a bunch more. But the one constant that kept popping up is the people issue. Staffing. This obviously isn’t the first time you’ve heard that. Normally, when we talk about staffing, we talk about the number of firefighters on the apparatus. That is not exactly what I'm talking about. What I mean is, in 2019, we better figure out where our next group of recruits is coming from. Measurable Drop In Applicants If one fire department is paying more than another, members jump ship On the career side, numerous areas are reporting a measurable drop in applicants—in other words, they need people who want to be firefighters and medics. In some areas, it’s a bidding war. If one fire department is paying more than another, members jump ship. And who can blame them? They have families to take care of. But when the dust clears, there are still far fewer people interested in this job than we need. Some theories are that the new generation: Doesn’t like helping people Are self-focused Aren’t into doing physical things Are lazy Can make the same money without shift work Can make the same money without risk None of these theories gets us far in addressing the problem. The goal of any fire department is to deliver staffed, trained interior firefighters just a few minutes after someone dials 9-1-1 Big Picture Focus On the volunteer side, all you have to do is listen to a fire radio nearly anywhere in the U.S. (and Canada) and you will hear volunteer fire departments toning out... toning out... and toning out—with little response when members are responding from home or work. It, too, is a measurable problem. There are volunteer departments with little funding and others with plenty of funding. Regardless, there seems to be little “big picture” focus on solving the problem based upon what’s best for the people having the fire. Some say to simply hire career firefighters. Is it that simple? What are the pros? And are there any cons? There certainly are. Trained Interior Firefighters Some departments solve the problem by having their volunteers on duty, in quarters, ready to roll The old model of volunteers responding from home or work doesn’t work very well when you consider the proven fire spread in 2019 vs. fire spread even just 20 years ago. Some departments solve the problem by having their volunteers on duty, in quarters, ready to roll. That may be the least expensive option depending upon the local model. Some hire part-time firefighters. Some unfairly and regularly rely on mutual aid. Some have a fair and balanced mutual aid system. Some have their heads in the sand. The goal of any fire department is to deliver staffed, trained interior firefighters just a few minutes after someone dials 9-1-1. If we don’t have people knocking on the fire station doors to become career firefighters or to volunteer, that goal is in jeopardy. I simply can’t see a bigger, more immediate challenge for 2019 than the “people” issue.
In order to recruit and retain, you must change your mindset to that of a business. While we continue to scratch our heads on how to recruit and retain members among the ranks of our departments, we might want to take a look at ourselves. Sometimes looking in the mirror is a hard thing to do, as it may give us a clear view of who and what we are as an organization. For years, the volunteer fire service has had to overcome many obstacles such as funding, a not-so-friendly environment or poor leadership, to name a few. They may even have had to re-create themselves. Business Mindset And Reputation Whether you are in a rural, suburban or urban area, what drives us? Is it pride? Is it fulfilling a need to belong? Ultimately, it is the end user, the customer – the resident, the taxpayer. In order to target new membership, we must be able to sell ourselves as a good, a service and a product. Business models have been around for years and, if followed, yield positive results We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful. Businesses that are successful have a great reputation. People want to work for them and they easily retain and recruit top talent. Business models have been around for years and, if followed, yield positive results. Building Community Of Employees Let’s take Google for an example, a company with more than 64,000 employees with growth to the tune of billions of dollars each year. When looking at Google’s performance, it raises the question: what is Google’s success secret? How can a company amass $9.7 billion in revenues mostly from advertising? How can they keep great help and recruit? The answer is its leadership being innovative, actively advertising, creating a unique and rewarding work environment as well as creating and executing their business model daily. A business that goes above and beyond by treating their employees great will in return get motivated and loyal employees. Google allows their employees flexibility to work on passion projects and tap into their creativity. Google also encourages its employees to become teachers and coach one another to help build a more creative, satisfied and intimate community of employees. One needs to make fire departments attractive to potential recruits, there are small moments of observation that are then used to make bigger decisions are called “thin slices” Positive First Impressions In this day and age, we need to be ahead of the curve. People want to be informed and they want it now. They want a quality product and will shop around until they find it. They also want to be part of something big. They want to be recognized. Remember the statement, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? Well, it was the tagline for a Head & Shoulders shampoo ad campaign in the 1980s. Are we continuing to make our fire department attractive to potential recruits? How do we expect to garner new membership if we don’t make that “first impression” a positive one? These small moments of observation that are then used to make bigger decisions are called “thin slices.” Potential candidates for membership are constantly assessing us, slice by slice, as “recruiters". Business Model For Your Demographic We need to create a business model and execute it at all times Is the fire station in good shape? Is it clean and orderly? Is the organization structured? Is the leadership strong and decisive? Or are there cliques and groups that work against the common goal or the command? These are easily seen and quickly discovered by potential candidates. They are looking to see what we are offering them: why should I risk my life, my health, my safety – what’s in it for me? How do we take all of these “thin slices,” package them together and make them attractive for potential recruits? We need to create a business model and execute it at all times. In order to sell, we need to advertise. In order to advertise, we need the leaders of our departments, the innovators and recruiters, to all come together and develop a business plan that works. It should work for your demographic. It should pour information to the masses. It should build on a reputation that you are a place that you’d want to work for! We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful Utilizing Current Volunteer Membership We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful. So, what does this mean for “my fire department”? Simply put, it means that you need to rely on the staff you have in place; lean on them and their expertise. Your current membership may hold the keys to your success. Develop a mission statement that is creative and energetic Canvass your current membership for professionals who could be utilized. You may have trained CPAs, human resource professionals, CEOs of corporations, advertising and marketing experts or veterans already inside your organization. They may remain quiet as they are unsure that they are needed to assist. Ask for the help and utilize them! Learning From Shortcomings Do not hesitate to implement them into your business plans. Help them look at how to target demographics in your area. Remember that great leadership will work to identify an individual’s strongest points and work to utilize them for maximum effectiveness. When you create a plan, be sure that you set obtainable goals. Develop a mission statement that is creative and energetic. Don’t eat the elephant in one bite: set a timeline in your plan. Meet often with your team, as you will learn more from your shortcomings than from your successes.
Want to know an easy way to judge the quality of a fire department? Look at how much they train. Career, volunteer or combination, fire departments become successful through training. Yet all training is not equal. Focus too much on hands-on training (HOT) and you could be missing important legal and compliance updates. Lean heavily on web-based training and you may fail to identify shortcomings in skills proficiencies. Keep students confined to a classroom and you may lose their interest quickly. Not surprisingly, a balance of all three types of training is needed to produce competent, empowered firefighters. For this article, I was challenged to think about what’s missing from our current fire training programs. As I thought about the varied way we approach fire training, three issues jumped out at me. Base training on facts and statistics Take advantage of new technologies Incorporate policy into your training Your training program should also be strong in the types of calls you respond to most Base Training On Facts And Statistics If your department has a robust training program, outlined by a calendar of various topics and employing a mix of HOT, online and classroom training, you’re ahead of the curve. But even in departments with well-developed training programs, training is often based on preference or habit, not data. Think about the topics in your training program. Do you know why they’re included? Do they match your call make-up? Are they targeting specific skill shortcomings? (And yes, we all have them!)What’s missing from many fire department training programs is a detailed needs assessment What’s missing from many fire department training programs is a detailed needs assessment that in turn establishes a factual basis for the year’s training topics. The needs assessment should include: Surveying the members to determine the types of training they want or feel they need. Measuring firefighter proficiency on basic tasks, such as NFPA 1403 drills, NFPA 1710 drills and EMS patient assessment skills audits, to assess personnel by mandate or by industry best practice. This will identify skills deficiencies to address through training. Incorporating call volume statistics and details. A significant percentage of the calls fire departments respond to are EMS and vehicle extrication But I’d venture to guess the training programs of most departments don’t match those percentages. Yes, you need to train for the high-risk, low-frequency tasks. But your training program should also be strong in the types of calls you respond to most. Incorporating these “facts and stats” into your training program will help you keep it fresh, relevant and interesting. Firefighters can use their phones and tablets to access department training information and complete training assignments Take Advantage Of New Technologies There is something to be said for back-to-the-basics, keep-it-simple firefighter training. But it’s a mistake to ignore technological advances. From teaching safe apparatus backing procedures to practicing hoseline deployment and Vent/Enter/Isolate/Search (VEIS) tactics, instructors have more options than ever before. Some instructors regard simulators as second-rate to “the real thing.” Certainly, simulation and other forms of technology-driven instruction can’t replace the value of hands-on experience. But they can augment it in important ways. Driver simulators, for example, not only save money because apparatus don’t have to be taken out of service or sustain wear and tear; they also provide an environment where firefighters can learn without risk of injury. If sitting behind a computer isn’t your kind of thing, live-burn simulators, vehicle fire simulators and hazmat simulators are available—and they all significantly boost training efficiency.Technology will never replace hands-on instruction, but it can facilitate it But you don’t need fancy simulators to incorporate technology into your fire training program. Learning management systems (LMS) are another important tool that can increase training program efficiency. Although they’ve been around for a long time, LMS continue to improve. The ability to integrate with mobile devices is huge, allowing firefighters to use their phones and tablets to access department training information and complete training assignments. Leveraging this technology can allow you to more efficiently manage information, schedule training and free up valuable time needed for other important tasks. If you’ve attended some of the larger regional or national fire conferences recently, you may have had the opportunity to see audience response technology in action. By capturing the firefighters’ responses to questions in real-time, instructors can adjust the material to reflect students’ knowledge level. Audience response is also simply a great way to keep firefighters engaged. Technology will never replace hands-on instruction, but it can facilitate it. If you’re using training methods that haven’t changed in decades, something’s missing from your training program. Without incorporating policy into your training, you’re only giving your firefighters half the equation Incorporate Policy Into Your Training I saved the biggest and best for last. When I work with fire departments across the country, I repeatedly discover the failure to incorporate policy into training. Think about it: Training curricula are almost always designed around procedures—the how of doing something. But isn’t the why just as important? And that’s what policy is all about. Without incorporating policy into your training, you’re only giving your firefighters half the equation.Inevitably firefighters will encounter times when following the procedure isn’t possible Inevitably firefighters will encounter times when following the procedure isn’t possible. That’s when policy training kicks in—firefighters understand the fundamental objective, and they can think on their feet about how to achieve it. Training on policy also helps departments address the issues that so often get firefighters into trouble. How many of your firefighters really understand your department’s social media policy? What about the rules surrounding sick time usage? These are things that trip up firefighters time and time again. If you’re not training on policies, it’s unlikely firefighters remember them. How many of your firefighters really understand your department’s social media policy? In addition, normalization of deviance is a risk to every organization. When personnel fail to follow policies and no negative repercussions result, it can quickly establish a new normal. Policy-based training resets the “normal” and makes sure that members of the organization comply with the policy and not what they think the policy says.Most line-of-duty death reports cite failure to comply with policy or lack of adequate policy Fire instructors often avoid training on policy because they regard it as boring or unrelated to what really matters—firefighter safety and survival. Yet most line-of-duty death reports cite failure to comply with policy or lack of adequate policy as contributing factors in the incident. If you’re worried that policy will make your training program dry and uninteresting, link it to real-world events. An online search provides lots of examples of when things went wrong and how adherence to policy might have produced a different outcome. And limit policy training to small chunks. Take out a 10-page policy and go through it line by line, and your students’ eyes will glaze over in seconds. Instead, look for ways to enrich your current training by bringing relevant pieces of policy into it. Your firefighters will be learning the department’s policies without even realizing it! Focus On Continuous Improvement Fire chiefs and fire instructors have a challenging job. Budgets are tight, and training is often one of the first things to be cut. Yet we need firefighters to be proficient in all-hazards response. Every department has a long training wish list. But if we focus on continuous quality improvement, we can get a little better each year. Looking for opportunities to incorporate statistics, technology and policy into our training is a good place to start.
Tamworth-based trade association, DHF (Door & Hardware Federation) is emphasizing the importance of making fire safety an ‘absolute priority’ in new-build homes, following an investigation into potentially dangerous fire safety issues in houses developed by Persimmon Homes and Bellway Homes. Fire Safety In New-Build Homes The BBC’s Watchdog discovered serious breaches that had gone undetected during the construction process" The findings, by BBC Watchdog Live, highlighted that a number of new builds constructed by the firms were sold with missing or incorrectly installed fire barriers, which are used to form a complete seal between different areas of a home, and prevent the spread of fire. Without them, experts say, fire and smoke can spread five-to-ten times faster. “The BBC’s Watchdog discovered serious breaches that had gone undetected during the construction process, leaving homes and lives potentially at risk in the event of a fire,” explains DHF’s Commercial Manager, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens. “In many new builds, particularly timber-framed buildings, fire barriers are a vital part of fire protection and we would urge house builders to ‘get it right’ at the construction stage and to have a workforce that is trained in, and understands, the importance of installing the fire barriers required to prevent potential problems down the line. Ultimately, responsibility for ensuring that buildings are compliant with Building Regulations lies with the house builder.” Importance Of Fire Safety Following the investigation, Bellway Homes stated that it was ‘committed to improvement’ with regards to potentially flawed fire safety issues in developments in Kent and West Lothian, and that mandatory training on, amongst other subjects, fire stopping, has been introduced for all relevant construction staff.Following the Grenfell disaster in June 2017, DHF’s voice has been one of the loudest and most passionate in its call for third-party certification by a UKAS-accredited body of manufacture, installation, maintenance and inspection of fire, smoke and security doors, in order to offer complete assurance on their performance. With a history and heritage dating back to 1897, the federation is undoubtedly one of the most revered organizations, widely respected as the industry’s independent authoritative voice. Fire Door Training Courses DHF works assiduously with BRE Academy to offer fire door training courses Fierce advocates for appropriate levels of training across all the sectors that it serves, DHF continues to place the importance of training firmly ‘up-front-and-center’. The organization works assiduously with BRE Academy to offer fire door training courses; this has been central to its on-going fire safety campaign. Additionally, in March 2019, DHF announced a high-profile collaboration with Secured by Design (SBD) and Fire Industry Association (FIA) to publish a guidance document on fire safety. Named A Guide for Selecting Flat Entrance Doorsets; A publication for housing associations, landlords, building owners and local authorities in England, the publication accentuates the key issues of fire safety for those selecting fire doorsets, recommending all fire doorsets are factory-prepared (as opposed to prepared on-site), that all work be completed under factory production control, and in addition, audited by a third-party. Fire Doors “Since Grenfell, the wider issue of fire safety has been thrust into the spotlight and we are delighted that progress is being made in this regard,” said Patricia. “We continue to stress that the use of fire doors, correctly installed and with robust fire door maintenance procedures, are an essential part of fire safety and urge those in positions of responsibility (such as house builders) to ensure that they are not only fulfilling regulations, as well as legal and moral obligations, but insisting upon appropriate levels of training with regards to installation and maintenance.”