Fire Service Section news

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Attack Fire Hose

There is a lot of interest in the design criteria of attack fire hose and research is underway to  look at the current design and testing criteria. When the results are available, NFPA® will provide them to the Technical Committee on Fire Hose, which develops NFPA 1961, Standard on Fire Hose. NFPA will also facilitate any revisions to the Standard  that the Technical Committee feels necessary. Our process allows for this to happen at any time, regardless if the Standard is in its revision period  or not.

You play a vital role in the development of our Standards. There are two ways you can be part of the discussion on attack fire hose. NFPA 1961 is open for Public Inputs until July of 2015 and this is an opportunity for you and the members of your Department to share your needs and thoughts about fire hose with the Technical Committee. Visit next edition accepting Public Inputs at www.nfpa.org/1961.

The Committee on Fire Hose is seeking members in the interest classifications of Installer/Maintainer, Applied Research/Testing Laboratory, Insurance, Consumer, Enforcer, Labor, Special Expert and User. Your voice and that of your Department is needed and welcomed. To learn more visit submit Fire Hose TC Application online. Enforcer members are eligible for 80% reimbursement of their travel expenses. More information available at Enforcer Funding Program.

You can also view this short video. Feel free to share this with your contacts and network.

Thank you for your continued support of NFPA and please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Kenneth R. Willette
Division Manager,Public Fire Protection
National Fire Protection Association
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA 02169-7471
Phone +1 617 984-7299

Chair’s Message

As we approach the holiday season, the NFPA Fire Service Section Board would like to wish everyone a safe holiday season and Happy New Year. I hope 2015 brings the fire service great opportunities and foremost safety for all. 

The Fire Service Section has several objectives, and we strive to accomplish these objectives annually. Three of the section objectives are, Stimulate awareness of the need for continually improving programs in management, training, and education within the profession, Encourage and assist it’s members in conducting meetings, conferences, seminars, and such other forums as may be practicable for the exchange of information and the encouragement of professionalism within the service, and Advance and encourage the development of improved fire suppression equipment that meets appropriate performance standards.  As we strive to meet our objectives each year we are proud to help sponsor the F.I. E. R. O. Fire PPE Symposium.  NFPA is one of the sponsors of this biennial event.  The symposium will be March 16-18, 2015 at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.  Please take time to go to their Web site and get additional information about the PPE Symposium. 

The symposium includes presentation by industry and fire service PPE experts, a networking forum, an exhibit area and a tour of T-PACC (Total Protection and Comfort Center), the leading PPE research facility in the world at North Carolina State University. 

Please join the Fire Service Board of Directors at this Symposium in March. We look forward to meeting you.  

Please be safe, and thank you so much for the opportunity to serve you.

Gary L. Neilson Chair Fire Service Section Board of Directors

The Non-Glamorous Side

by Robert Tutterow, Vice Chair, FSS Executive Board

If you engage in any serious discussion about reducing fire fighter death and injury, someone will inevitably say the best way is to reduce the number of fires.  The statement will usually get a head nod and the discussion will go to the more glamorous aspects of firefighting.  In fact, the number of fires is decreasing while the number of fire fighter deaths is fluctuating.  Why are the number of fires decreasing?  The fire prevention folks are s-l-o-w-l-y winning the war.  Through building and life safety codes (and the enforcement of those codes) we live in a “fire safer” country, though we lag behind several other developed nations.  And, there is a tremendous amount of needed improvements.  Buildings are built to the following codes:  The International Building Code, NFPA 5000, and NFPA 101 (Life Safety Code).  Buildings are maintained to the International Building Code, NFPA 1 and NFPA 101. 

If the fire service is to survive, it must acknowledge and embrace the work of fire educators and code development and enforcement personnel.  Perhaps the best way to get insight into this world is to attend the annual NFPA Conference and Expo.  It is not like any other fire conference or exhibit.  In fact, when people visit the Expo, they will struggle to find exhibits with fire and emergency response equipment.  One exception might be nozzles and fire stream appliances.  The exhibit hall is all about fixed systems and fire prevention, etc. 

However, fire fighters who wish to advance their career will find the NFPA Conference is full of educational offerings not found at other conferences.  It provides insight and understanding about the greater fire and emergency services arena.  And, it provides a perspective into the fire service role in this greater arena.  There is a huge emphasis on research and data collection.  With over 150 educational offerings, the biggest problem is deciding which presentations to eliminate.  The NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation usually sponsors a presentation during every time slot.   

A prime example of how the fire service connects to this non-glamorous world was illustrated by Sean DeCrane, Battalion Chief and Director of Training for the Cleveland Fire Department.  Chief DeCrane represents the IAFF on the “Code Process”.  He provided extensive information on how codes need to be strengthened due to the early failure of wood truss construction.  He illustrated how this parallels the increase in fuel loads for the present-day fires compared to the legacy fires.  He underscored his message with the following points:  1.  The fire station is our staging area.  2.  The “built community” is our work environment.  3.  We need to take ownership of our work environment.  4.  We need to be responsible for our own safety.  5.  We cannot rely on industry to protect us because they just don’t understand. 

The Conference is where NFPA announces its latest findings in the previous year’s line-of-duty deaths.  Unfortunately, there were 97 on-duty deaths as counted by the NFPA in 2013.  (19 of the deaths were at the Yarnell Hill Fire.)  This is the most since 2008, when there were 105 LODD’s, and bucked a downward trend.  In 2009, there were 82; in 2010, there were 73; in 2011, there were 61, and in 2012, there were 64. 

Jeff Stull gave a presentation titled “Improved Liquid Integrity Test of First Responder Ensembles”.  This presentation provide insight into the importance of liquid protection in turnout gear as well as haz-mat suits.  While many firefighters dismiss the value of liquid penetration in turnout gear because of body sweat, it is important to keep in mind that liquid barriers are a big shield against carcinogens.  I’m sure he could now expand on this report with the recent Ebola crisis. 

Other “unique” presentations of interest to the fire service included a presentation from Jim Reidy and Brandon Murray from the San Antonio Fire Department titled “ Sheltering Our Own:  first Responder Emergency Sheltering”.   They provided guidance on the logistics of providing shelter for emergency responders during disasters.  There was a presentation about fire fighters serving people with disabilities; a presentation on educating emergency responders about hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles; the next generation of PASS devices; intrinsic safety for fire fighter electronic equipment; a case study on the West Fertilizer Explosion; photovoltaic system fire hazards; the future of emergency management and NFPA; and, a special NIST project titled “Creating the Research Roadmap for Smart Fire Fighters of the Future”.   

It is important to note that many of the fire service personnel who attend the NFPA Conference and Expo are repeat attendees. This is the testament to the quality of the experience. The next NFPA Conference and Expo will be June 22-25 at McCormick Place in Chicago.