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Is Too Much Fire Prevention Bad?

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  • Is Too Much Fire Prevention Bad?

    In the City that I live, the fire rate has dropped significantly over the past 15 or so years. Of the last 5 or so years, it has remiained at a fairly constant level. This is primarialy due to the increased role of our Fire Prevention Division.

    I believe that this increased role in fire prevention has had a negative impact on our firefighters and Fire Operations in general. Meaning, that when a fire does hit, it seems that the Brothers aren't as efficient as they should or could be.

    Those departments that have opportunities to fight fires on a regular basis have honed their firefighting skills due to this real world experience. This is regardless of training. I believe that our department is one of the best when it comes to training and quality thereof. But training is no substitute for real fire experience.

    I am NOT advocating against fire prevention divisions at all. I believe that fire prevention has an extremely important role in the overall functions of a fire department and the community it protects.
    This post is just intended to get the opinions/constructive criticism of peers.

    So what say you? Do you believe that too much fire prevention may play a role in the quality of firefighting?
    "In Omnia Paratus"
    "The only shot you'll never make is the one you never take"
    "Men resemble Gods in nothing so much as in doing good to their fellow creatures"
    IACOJ Member #235

  • #2
    I don't know how to react to your statement..... BUT
    We are intrusted to save life and property. Fire prevention is a big part of that. I hope I never see another fire for the rest of my career. But I know it will come. So I drill for that day. So be careful in what you wish for.

    "Do you believe that too much fire prevention may play a role in the quality of firefighting?"

    No, It will save lives and property.BOTTOM-LINE
    NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
    CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
    LT. John Ginley Engine 40
    FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
    FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
    FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
    FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
    FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
    FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
    FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40

    Charleston 9
    "If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
    *******************CLICK HERE*****************


    • #3
      Is Too Much Fire Prevention Bad?

      In the wildland environment, yes. You've got to have some fires to reduce the threat of larger, uncontrolled fires.


      A very similar question was addressed in a recent thread about residential sprinklers . As was pointed out in that thread, our job is to protect lives and property. The best way to do that is to stop fires before they start.


      • #4
        I think I have a different take on what smitty is asking.

        I think the "Is too much fire prevention bad" question is meant to be somewhat facetious. I think the real point he was trying to make is in the days of high run totals you had firefighters with much real world practical experience. Today with lower run totals you have firefighters who are well versed in theory and training ground evolutions but with not much real world firefighting experience.

        Now I may be wrong in that assumption, heck I've been wrong today more times than I can count. But I think that is his point.

        I tend to agree with that point. While theory and training are more important than ever it can't replace the knowledge you get on real calls, working real fires. Training tower fires to me are a perfect example, usually clean fires, devoid of much smoke or even a good amount of heat. Despite my best efforts to instill the real world picture of smoke banking down and overbearing heat at the upper levels of a room, I have had students come back to me regularly and say how different the real thing was from the tower.

        Experience comes from just that experience. But am I calling for a return to those high run total days? Heck no because as it has been stated above our job is too save lives and protect property, if the prevention bureau prevented the fire from occurring our task was accomplished.

        Crazy, but that's how it goes
        Millions of people living as foes
        Maybe it's not too late
        To learn how to love, and forget how to hate


        • #5
          I was a little dismayed to read this to say the least, Fire Prevention is a wonderful thing. If the fire rate where you live has dropped that's great ...... no one in dying from smoke inhalation, no one is being burned to death or having to go thru months of rehabilitaion and surgeries to repair the damage of burns, no one has lost property, no one has lost years worth of memories when their house goes up ........ etc. I don't think I need go on.

          Worried that the firefighters aren't as "efficient" as they could be?? That's ludicrous...... TRAIN...... TRAIN ........ AND TRAIN SOME MORE. True you can never be FULLY prepared for the real thing, but with proper training you can be as prepared as possible. I'd far rather train and not have to use it, than to not have fire prevention keeping the numbers down.
          To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

          IACOJ-WOT proud

          GO WHITE SOX!!!!!


          • #6
            From what you describe, the problem is not with the fire prevention program, it is with the training program.

            a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for


            • #7
              Ditto ullrichk

              I believe that this increased role in fire prevention has had a negative impact on our firefighters and Fire Operations in general. Meaning, that when a fire does hit, it seems that the Brothers aren't as efficient as they should or could be.
              One of the dumbest posts I have seen outside of the Jr.'s page.

              "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."



              • #8
                Cant ever have too much.


                • #9
                  Knew a feller up in the hills from me--- feller wanted ta be one of them doctorsurgeon fellers--- kinda made a point
                  ta be acarless when he was a whittlin. Got him a lotta practice--wuz gettin where he could stitch a cut purtier tan ma could a quilt. Woulda been real good but he up and run out of thread -- and up and bled ta death.


                  • #10
                    WAIT A SECOND

                    Everyone take a second and review the questions smitty asked and see Fryedup's comment..... Maybe it wasn't worded the best, but I don't believe Smitty was sayinjg anything against fire prevention or training.... He was putting forth the hypothesis that without as many "real" fires are we loosing valuable expierence, as when we fought more fires, before we got so good at prevention. I don't think he is saying that we should do away with or decrease fire prevention, just asking if the lack of real life expierence, decreases the 'fine edge' that only true 'been there done that' can provide.
                    Its not all about expierence, but it sure helps.

                    Everybody be safe out there.
                    (should now be CharlieRFD,past,Pres.), but I've had this screen name for so long, I'm keeping it..., besides I'm Deputy Chief now.
                    BE SAFE OUT THERE
                    NEVER FORGET


                    • #11
                      Let me add that I wasn't suggesting that the blame lies entirely with smitty91's training department. Given the technology available and the ability to use it safely, we accept some pretty second rate training.

                      Think Hollywood would be so famous if their effects weren't pretty realistic?

                      a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for


                      • #12
                        The best FD in the world never goes to a fire. Fire prevention is the name of the game. Police departments are charged with crime prevention. To follow this convuluted logic, too much crime prevention would be bad because the SWAT Team, or the Vice Squad or the Homicide Unit would be out of practice in dealing with these activities.

                        With a reduction in fire activity, it stands to reason that the FD should actually have MORE time to train and should be BETTER trained because of the efforts of the FPB. If the training is not keeping the guys sharp, change (improve)the training.


                        • #13
                          The subject of Fire Prevention has been one that has gone round and round in the fire service for many years over here. Do we spend lots of money and resources (staff) on educating the public at large, or do we use the money to provide more firefighters, vehicles and equipment to respond to the fires that will occur if we dont.

                          In this country, we have tried for years to achieve a balance of providing the necessary education to the population in order to reduce the number of fires, especially domestic ones, whilst staving off the reduction in funding that less fires brings us.

                          The UK fire services are funded centrally by Government and by local community charges. If you are successful in reducing fires, malicious calls, and calls for assistance, the amount of funding is reduced, as in the Governments eyes,"if you are'nt doing as much, you don't need as much".

                          Therefore, we are in a Catch22 situation, do we have lots of fires, putting ourselves and the public at risk, and get lots of money for doing it, or do we eradicate fire risk through education, and suffer the financial penalty for being very good at that also?

                          In answer to the original question, every fire is different, so even if you are attending lots of them, there will always be some that will make even the most experienced f/f stop and think. Training to go to fires, as well as training the public not to have them is the balance you have to achieve.
                          United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.


                          • #14
                            Assuming Smitty's real question was... will less fires equal less cabable FF's? I would say a resounding yes and I believe it will lead to an increase of FF deaths over the years. However I am of the unpopular opinion that five additional line of duty deaths a year would be worth the thousand or so saved lives by having an informed public.....flame away!


                            • #15
                              One fire prevention officer and a code book can save more life and property than 15 engines, and 100 firefighters. Protecting life and Property is our job. God bless Fire Prevention in the Fire Service.


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