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Thinking you know more than training, NFPA & OSHA

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  • Thinking you know more than training, NFPA & OSHA

    What does everyone think?

    You know the people I'm talking about - the guys who think they know more than everyone who wrote the books, made the standards, etc.

    It is less than uncommon to hear someone in my area infer that "those guys at NFPA don't know what's going on around here" or "we don't have to follow that" or "sometimes you just have to break the rules".

    Now I agree that sometimes rules need to be bent or broken, but certainly not on a regular basis. While fire is an emergency to others, it's a standard work environment for us. There are exceptions - but they are rare and extreme.

    My opinion is that the "guys" who wrote NFPA standards and "the books" and all the articles in magazines are "guys" who come from the same roots as us. They've all had their noses to the floor and been in those "extreme" situations just like us. In many cases, they've been fighting fire for longer than many of their doubter's lives! I think they know what they're talking about - I think they say what they say for a reason. And I think that these guys are at the top making these ruling for a reason, not just for hoots.

    What do you think?

  • #2
    Your correct. Most codes or standards are the result of a firefighter or citizens life. They are not thought up and sometimes can be modified for local conditions but do not ignore them they are important.JHA


    • #3
      When it comes to OSHA I would have to agree with you. For an example the confined space, trench regs, and two in two out resp protectionregs were written after countless people had died. Thoes standards were written in my opinion in the best intrest of workers.

      As for some of the NFPA standards, they have been poisoned by the manufacturers of various products like, warning lights, apparatus, gear...

      As an example does the warning light part of 1901 realy make a safer vehicle? Their is evidence that a vehicle parked along side of a road with its warning lights on actually draws intoxicated drivers towards it. Ask any state police or highway patrol about that. Is a vehicle actually prone to more breakdowns because the warning lights are from different manufacturers?

      Multiple studies are and have been conducted about heat stress and full turn out gear. Their is some good evidence that full turnouts may be contributing to firefighters deaths. Keep an eye on Boston for more info on that.

      I'm not suggesting that everything NFPA puts out is bad but I think we need to look at the possible motivating factors behind some of their standards.

      OSHA we have to follow, it's the law. NFPA we need to look at and weigh the value of the standard. Also NFPA is a minimum standard, and at liest in the case of 1901 is different from the requirements of other agencies like ISO.

      The standards shouldn't just be discarded but evaluated for their usefulness in your spacific department.


      • #4
        It's easier to be critical than it is to be correct....

        Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting our tomorrows....
        Captain Gonzo


        • #5
          The rules and standards are all there for a specific reason. Yes, sometimes they seem to be a pain in the A**, but they were created for one reason - US. I do agree that maybe some need to be bent (even broken) ocassionally, but never on a routine basis.

          It is VERY unfortunate that the majority of things that 'govern' our line of work are all the direct result of a serious injury or death of a fellow FF. Nothing ever seems to be proactive in our line of work so I suggest adhering to the regs. since they are a direct result of a probably tragic event that we don't want to repeat.


          • #6
            FFTrainer, just a question

            What tragic event could have been prevented by the warning lights on our rig being from the same manufacturer? It seems that every new 1901 standard reduces the min amout of ground ladders on an areal, how can that be good? Did NFPA look at firefighter injuries and deaths prior to requiring full turn outs, or was it one or two incidents?

            OSHA I would have to say you need to follow. As for NFPA until someone explains why some standards are the way they are then I'll remain skeptical.

            Rope rescue equipment falls under that questionable status. Over a relativly short period of time NFPA has made several sugestions for a rack to be used for rope work. Each of these NFPA approved racks are harder to use than the older ones. They obviously weren't hanging a hundred feet in the air when making their choices.


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