On behalf of the Executive Board I would like to
congratulate Paul McCorkell (Vice President), Bert Vergara (Secretary), Greg
Wommack (Steward), and Adam Canfield (Steward) who were reelected by
acclimation at the March General Membership Meeting.
Their new term(s) will be effective May 1, 2017 until April
New Study Shows Larger Fire Fighting Crews Save More Lives and Property
New Study Shows Larger Fire Fighting Crews Save More Lives and Property
We already know that cuts to fire department resources can jeopardize public safety.
Now we know that the risk to the public – and to fire fighters – increases exponentially for those who live and work in high-rise buildings. And now we know the potentially catastrophic effects that inadequate staffing can have in high-rise building fires, thanks to new federal government study conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
This first-ever comprehensive study of the tactics used to attack high-rise fires serves as a red flag as too many elected officials put politics ahead of public safety by not funding the right level of fire fighter staffing.
Unlike structure fires in single-family homes, high-rise fires can cause significant civilian casualties and catastrophic property losses if they are not contained swiftly.
The NIST study – Report on High-Rise Fireground Field Experiments – outlines the difficulty of fighting fires in high-rise structures by quantifying the time it takes for fire fighters to respond to an emergency. Even adding a single fire fighter to a crew can result in a substantial reduction in emergency response times.
Having more fire fighters respond to an emergency in high-rise buildings results in a measurably faster, safer and more efficient emergency response, according to the report, and that has a direct impact on the safety of the public.
It’s not just that larger crews have more people.Larger crews can actually use different tactics and as a result are more effective.
There are on average 15,700 fires in high-rises annually, according to the independent National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), with an average of 53 deaths each year. The risk of high-rise fires increases every year as our city grows and commercial and residential development spreads.
Forty-one percent of U.S. high-rise office buildings, 45 percent of high-rise hotels and 54 percent of high-rise apartment buildings are not equipped with sprinklers, as compared with 25 percent of hospitals and related facilities, according to the NFPA.Moreover, sprinkler systems fail in about one in 14 fires.
Researchers measured 14 “critical tasks” required when potential risks to building occupants and fire fighters are greatest, and found that three-member crews took almost 12 minutes longer than crews of four, 21 minutes longer than crews of five, and 23 minutes longer than crews of six to complete all tasks. Four-person crews took 9 minutes and 11 minutes longer than five and six-member crews, respectively.
According to the study, a crew of six fire fighters responds nearly twice as fast as a three-person crew.
Simply stated, smaller crews and longer response assembly times are a direct threat to the safety of the public. When a fire department lacks adequate resources to effectively fight fires in tall buildings, those who live and work in these buildings – and the fire fighters who respond to high-rise fires – are put in greater danger.
This study serves as a warning that our community should closely examine our ability to respond to fires in tall buildings and take steps to ensure a safe, efficient emergency response to protect the public.
We realize times are tight, but we cannot ignore this independent new research that outlines the threat to public safety created by cuts to our resources. Our community deserves to have a fully staffed, fully resourced fire department. Your fire fighters will do all we can to make sure you have one.
OSCEOLA COUNTY PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS IAFF LOCAL 3284
Osceola County Professional Fire Fighters Local 3284 is a strong and proud labor organization dedicated to the welfare of our members and the citizens of Osceola County who we protect.
I.A.F.F. Local 3284 has made extraordinary accomplishments through it's organized strength, collective unity, and collaborative teamwork. Our success has always been dependent upon the diversity of our membership and their solidarity.
It is the resolve of I.A.F.F. Local 3284 to stay the course in ensuring that when Osceola County Firefighters respond to an alarm they will equipped with the most up to date equipment and the apparatus will be properly staffed.
Our main mission is to gain fair, equitable, and just treatment of our members in all aspects of their employment; secure just compensation, assure equitable settlement of all grievances, and promote safety as our #1 issue.
WASHINGTON D.C.--A landmark study issued today by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that the size of firefighting crews has a substantial effect on the fire service's ability to protect lives and property in residential fires.
A fire fighter conducts a second-story ventilation at a controlled fire during a fire fighter safety and resource deployment study funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Performed by a broad coalition in the scientific, firefighting and public-safety communities, the study found that four-person firefighting crews were able to complete 22 essential firefighting and rescue tasks in a typical residential structure 30 percent faster than two-person crews and 25 percent faster than three-person crews.
The report is the first to quantify the effects of crew sizes and arrival times on the fire service's lifesaving and firefighting operations for residential fires. Until now, little scientific data have been available.
"The results from this rigorous scientific study on the most common and deadly fires in the country-those in single-family residences-provide quantitative data to fire chiefs and public officials responsible for determining safe staffing levels, station locations and appropriate funding for community and firefighter safety," said NIST's Jason Averill, one of the study's principal investigators.
The four-person crews were able to deliver water to a similar-sized fire 15 percent faster than the two-person crews and 6 percent faster than three-person crews, steps that help to reduce property damage and lower danger to the firefighters.
"Fire risks grow exponentially. Each minute of delay is critical to the safety of the occupants and firefighters, and is directly related to property damage," said Averill, who leads NIST's Engineered Fire Safety Group within its Building and Fire Research Laboratory.
"Our experiments directly address two primary objectives of the fire service: extinguishing the fire and rescuing occupants," said Lori Moore-Merrell of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and a principal investigator on the study.
The four-person crews were able to complete search and rescue 30 percent faster than two-person crews and 5 percent faster than three-person crews, Moore-Merrell explained. Five-person crews were faster than four-person crews in several key tasks. The benefits of five-person crews have also been documented by other researchers for fires in medium- and high-hazard structures, such as high-rise buildings, commercial properties, factories and warehouses.
This study explored fires in a residential structure, where the vast majority of fatal fires occur. The researchers built a "low-hazard" structure as described in National Fire Protection Association Standard 1710 (NFPA 1710), a consensus standard that provides guidance on the deployment of career firefighters. The two-story, 2000-square-foot test facility was constructed at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville, Md.Fire crews from Montgomery County, Md., and Fairfax County, Va., responded to live fires within this facility.
NIST researchers and their collaborators conducted more than 60 controlled fire experiments to determine the relative effects of crew size, the arrival time of the first fire crews, and the "stagger," or spacing, between the arrivals of successive waves of fire-fighting apparatus (vehicles and equipment). The stagger time simulates the typically later arrival of crews from more distant stations as compared to crews from more nearby stations.
Crews of two, three, four and five firefighters were timed as they performed 22 standard firefighting and rescue tasks to extinguish a live fire in the test facility. Those standard tasks included occupant search and rescue, time to put water on fire, and laddering and ventilation. Apparatus arrival time, the stagger between apparatus, and crew sizes were varied.
The United States Fire Administration reported that 403,000 residential structure fires killed close to 3,000 people in 2008-accounting for approximately 84 percent of all fire deaths-and injured about 13,500. Direct costs from these fires were about $8.5 billion. Annually, firefighter deaths have remained steady at around 100, while tens of thousands more are injured.
Researchers also performed simulations using NIST's Fire Dynamic Simulator to examine how the interior conditions change for trapped occupants and the firefighters if the fire develops more slowly or more rapidly than observed in the actual experiments. The fire modeling simulations demonstrated that two-person, late-arriving crews can face a fire that is twice the intensity of the fire faced by five-person, early arriving crews. Additionally, the modeling demonstrated that trapped occupants receive less exposure to toxic combustion products-such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide-if the firefighters arrive earlier and involve three or more persons per crew.
"The results of the field experiments apply only to fires in low-hazard residential structures as described in the NFPA Standard 1710, but it provides a strong starting point," said Moore-Merrell. Future research could extend the findings of the report to quantify the effects of crew size and apparatus arrival times in medium- and high-hazard structures, she said.
The next step for this research team is to develop a training package for firefighters and public officials that would enable them to have both quantitative and qualitative understanding of the research, a project also funded by FEMA's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
The study's principal investigators were Averill, Moore-Merrell and Kathy Notarianni of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Other organizations participating in this research include the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Commission on Fire Accreditation International-RISK and the Urban Institute.
The report was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and released today in Washington, D.C., before the start of the annual Congressional Fire Services Institute meeting that draws top fire safety officials from across the nation.
The Report on Residential Fireground Field Experiments, NIST Technical Note 1661, can be downloaded here.
Founded in 1901, NIST is a nonregulatory agency of the Commerce Department that promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.
Who is the NFPA?The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a non-profit organization established to create standards of operation for fire departments throughout the country. The codes written by the NFPA are considered the standard that fire departments are expected to meet. These codes include everything from safety equipment worn by fire fighters, apparatus and equipment used in the fire service to minimum staffing of a career fire department. These codes not only protect fire fighters, but also protect citizens by giving cities standards of operation that are expected to be met. NFPA codes are not laws, but rather standards of quality to ensure the health and safety of everyone affected by any fire department. NFPA guidelines are set up based on research performed by trained members of the association. Scientific research, such as fire behavior in different environments and how different synthetic materials affect the burn process, is used in part to establish these guidelines. Previous history of fire department responses across the country can help the NFPA to have standards of how many firefighters it takes to effectively perform necessary tasks. Independent studies performed by groups like the American Heart Association help the NFPA in writing codes regarding EMS response. NFPA is such a respected organization in the fire department community that many cities and departments are adopting strict NFPA guidelines to make their fire departments up to national standards.
Why does this matter here?NFPA Code 1710-Standard for Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments- involves staffing of career fire departments. In this code, the NFPA has used scientific evidence, past history and first hand experience to establish the minimum number of personnel required to safely and effectively operate on a fire scene. NFPA 1710 guidelines say that a first arriving company must consist of 4 fire fighters and arrive within 4 minutes of the initial 911 call. For an initial full alarm assignment (any structure fire) minimum personnel on scene should consist of 15-17 fire fighters arriving on scene within 8 minutes of the initial 911 call.
International City Managers Association (ICMA) StudyUnderstaffing of fire departments is a nationwide problem. So much so in fact, that the ICMA has conducted studies to determine the effectiveness of fire companies based on staffing. This information was published Managing Fire Services, 2nd edition. This international organization of city leaders recognizes the importance of a properly staffed fire department. This publication included this information:
1. Fire suppression operations have three basic functions:
(2) work involving ladder, forcible entry, and ventilation; and
(3) the application of water. To raise ladders, ventilate, search, and RESCUE simultaneously takes quick action by at least FOUR and often EIGHT or more firefighters, each under the supervision of an officer.
2. If about SIXTEEN trained firefighters are not operating at the scene of a working fire within the critical time period, then DOLLAR LOSS and INJURIES are significantly INCREASED as is fire spread.
3. As firefighting tactics were conducted and judged for effectiveness;