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NFFF New Goals Discussion: A Passion for Prevention

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  • NFFF New Goals Discussion: A Passion for Prevention

    Firehouse Editor-in-Chief Tim Sendelbach explains why fire departments need to become more involved with community risk reduction. Read the article here: http://firehouse.com/12115370.

    Share your feedback on the questions below:

    1. To build support for fire prevention and community risk reduction, what qualifications/attributes should we look for in new recruits?
    2. Is the general perception toward prevention in your department positive or negative? Why?

  • #2
    Originally posted by FHEditor View Post
    1. To build support for fire prevention and community risk reduction, what qualifications/attributes should we look for in new recruits?

    Most departments mention fire prevention in the list of required tasks that a firefighter will participate in as part of the job. But let's be serious, how many require you to be a certified fire inspector to get hired initially, or to maintain, your job? Where I spent my career most suburban departments require paramedic and some level of firefighter certification, FFI, FFII, perhaps even driver operator. I don't recall seeing more than a few that wanted fire inspector and those tend to be much smaller FDs with limited staffing.

    Fire and medic companies did inspections that included most often apartment buildings for the public areas (hallways, lobbies, laundry rooms, and community rooms), parking garages, and storage units. Training for inspections was most often on the job with no requirement to be a certified inspector. Businesses and large occupancies were handled by the inspection division. They also did plan review.

    Perhaps a greater emphasis should be placed on recruiting with the knowledge that prevention and pub ed is part of the job. Secondarily, adding the certified inspector course to the recruit training could show recruits that it is an integral part of the job not just a pain in the butt side job we must do.

    2. Is the general perception toward prevention in your department positive or negative? Why?

    I would say necessary evil. The fact that it interferes with other tasks like training, hose testing, pre-incident planning, working out, and so on, is an issue. If you are on an ems unit it is difficult to get inspections in with the high number of ems runs.

    I believe if we were trained better on how to do inspections and what to look for we may have a better attitude about them.

    It is clear to me from other departments I have worked for that inspections are not taken seriously enough, almost to the point of pencil whipping them. I mean seriously, how can you expect to do a decent job inspecting a 16 unit, 2 story apartment building, when you never leave the first floor and spend a total of less than 10 minutes in the building?
    My current POC FD hires an outside inspector to perform our mandated inspections. No fire department personnel are involved with inspections.
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