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Is Too Much Fire Prevention Bad?

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  • #31
    Once again, I was not, and I don't believe Smitty, was calling for cutbacks in prevention. It would take some really twisted thinking to want more fires instead of less so we could be better fire fighters.

    My take on his comments was the relation of firefighter skills to real world firefighting experience. I believe there has been some degradation of skills due to less real world fires. BUT, is that trade off worth the lives of the civilians saved by fire prevention? Probably yes, BUT, we need to find a way to reduce the number of Firefighter deaths each year. As for being one of those 5 extra LODD's in order to save 1000 civilans, I am not interested in being one of them.

    I believe more realistic training that involves real fire type of smoke may help. Teaching better building construction and size-up skills may help. Mentoring as a way of fire service culture versus informal mentoring may help. And for the Love of GOD no more training fatalities.

    FyredUp
    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

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    • #32
      Too much?

      No firefighter ever died in a fire that was prevented.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by FyredUp
        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.

        FyredUp

        I apologize for the delay in getting a response out. But I am glad that numerous comments have been made regarding my original post. I was able to see many different views and see how easily people become lost from the original post or don't even get the original post. For that, I apologize for not conveying what I was trying to ask more sufficiently. FyredUp hit the nail on the head. Apparently some people don't completely read through posts as I originally stated that I was not advocating for the reduction in fire prevention functions/activities. Again, I didn't adequately convey what I was asking.

        For those that may be interested, I am a Fire Protection Engineer for a municipal fire department. I have also been a firefighter for 13 years back in NY (state not city). I have been on both sides of the "debate" and feel there is a balance between adequate fire prevention and real world expereince. As originally stated, my department has one of the best training departments in the state, if not THE best. Yes, training will prepare responders for the "real deal." But as other responses have stated, today's training environments, do not adequately provide a "real world" atmosphere. In order to get that "real world" training, one must fight fires in the "real world." The days of stuffing the fire tower full of excelcior, pallets, tires and torching it off with kerosene are all but gone. As stated, I believe there is a balance between fire rates and training and fire prevention.

        I realize that everyone won't agree with my views. And I may not be conveying my thoughts adequately again. For that, I again offer my apologies. I do believe fire prevetion is ESSENTIAL as well as training. I also believe that no amount of training will FULLY prepare responders for what may happen in the real world.
        "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"
        F3D4N7Y
        IACOJ Member #235

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        • #34
          Originally posted by FyredUp
          My take on his comments was the relation of firefighter skills to real world firefighting experience. I believe there has been some degradation of skills due to less real world fires.

          FyredUp
          Thanks again FyredUp for stating what I could not.
          "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"
          F3D4N7Y
          IACOJ Member #235

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          • #35
            I saw a documentary once about one of the NYC Rescue Cos. One of the members stated something along these lines: "We have a terrible job because the only way we get better at it is to go to fires but fires cause death, destruction and hardships to the people we serve."

            We need more realistic training. For example, It's like pulling teeth to get an Ohio EPA permit for live fire training in an aquired structure! Propane fired burners in a concrete training building is not a realistic scenario of the fires we face most often: wood frame dwellings.

            Less fires should mean more and better training.
            Last edited by WTFD10; 07-29-2003, 04:22 AM.
            FTM-PTB-DTRT

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            • #36
              I will say right now that I absolutely loved getting on the end of the nozzle and fighting a good worker. But, our #1 priority is saving lives and property. I started as most do as a firefighter on the end of the line to a fire prevention officer. I never once complained about going to work. As FPO, even though I wasnt fighting the actual fire, I was fighting the fires before they had a chance to start. Think of the lives that would be lost if it were not for fire prevention.

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              • #37
                I think Smitty and Fyredup are taking unwarranted hits here. No one in there right mind could argue against fire prevention efforts. Certainly all of the fires we don't go to evey year prevent more deaths and LODD's. What ever we're do still isn't enough. Our fire death rate is terrible as compared to other industrialized nations.

                That being said, who do you or I generally think of as Good Firemen? Guys from dept's that see a ton of work. No way Kentland would get away with some of their antics if it wasn't for the amount of work they do and subsequently how well it gets done. I don't too many of us here picking apart Detriot's tactics. Or Camden NJ, Boston, Indy, Gary, S.F., Chicogo, NY, LA? Wonder why they're so good?

                It's easy. Fires are dyanamic. It takes going to fires to develop skills and knowledge to base future decisions on. When people are hanging out the windows at 0300 hrs. it is quite rare to see the IC from a dept that does 100 calls a year be as calm and collected as the IC who's been to 25 workers this month. Training can and should be better than many dept.s do, but it rarely gives true fireground experience because we don't allow our training fires to be dynamic as we will not (and should not) accept injury or worse in training scenarios. See Dominic Colletti's article on live fire training this month.

                Give the guys a break here, a reasonable person can distinguish between questioning whether we as a whole are losing true experience due to fewer working fires vs. advocating less FP to ensure our skills are honed. The Thread name worked like a charm, it sucked us in! Only some of us couldn't see through the red to truly read the orginal post.
                Last edited by RFDACM02; 08-20-2007, 10:51 PM.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by engine23ccvfd View Post
                  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!
                  You are an idiot and you are dangerous. Resign immediately!!

                  Now then....

                  I agree with both Smitty and FyredUp. There is no substitute for prevention. Like George said, the best fire department has no runs. However, there is something to be said about "real world" experience too. The only way to be "good" is to have lots of fires. If you don't have lots of fires, you must do lots of training to be "good."

                  Fires are greatly reduced due to lots of things. Fire prevention education, smoke detectors, more fire alarms, better manufacturing of materials with fireproofing, better building construction practices, better designs of buildings for exit routes and fire stops. I could go on and on.

                  Be happy you don't get lots of fires. Fires mean that someone could lose their life or life of a loved one and at the very least they lose all their property. Not to mention now you have to put your life and your fellow brother's life at risk. I would never wish that on anyone.

                  Our job is to preserve life and property. The best way to do that is with a super prevention program.
                  Jason Knecht
                  Firefighter/EMT
                  Township Fire Dept., Inc.
                  Eau Claire, WI

                  IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
                  http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
                  EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

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                  • #39
                    So what say you? Do you believe that too much fire prevention may play a role in the quality of firefighting
                    Smitty, if you aren't advocating trading off some fire prevention for fire fighting experience, why did use the phrase "too much?" You could have jusk asked if successful fire prevention degrades firefighting skills, but you seemed to show your hand by adding the "too much" comment. Maybe you didn't, but it sounds like your taking a position.

                    I would say, yes, I would agree that there might be some degradation, but if the overall goal of the collective fire protection/prevention efforts are to reduce civilian fatalities, property loss, and to enure mission continuity and those objectives are being met, then so what that there is some degradation in skills? If fire protection/prevention are successful and making up for any degradation in manual suppression skills, then what's the problem for the public? Fire and life safety is a lot more than manual suppression (your probably familiar with NFPA 550) although I think the fire service generally doesn't recognize that.

                    And I don't buy any signficant LODD relationship. Fireground deaths are a strategic, capabilites, and risk assessment/management problem, not a tactical/skills problems. Look at Charleston and Worcester - those guys died because they didn't have the skills, didn't see enough fire? Not in my book, they died primarily because those were high hazard bldgs, high challenge fires and what did they lack? They lacked the built in fire protection, construction features, etc. that would have very likely prevented the LODDs. The interior attack strategies failed, the FDs overestimated their capabilities, and realistic and appropriate risk management wasn't used. "Too much" fire protection/prevention would have those 15 guys still with us today. Smitty, you might have a point regarding some skills degradation, but you've made no case regarding what the impact of that is or isn't.
                    Last edited by kfactor; 08-23-2007, 10:19 PM.

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