Today’s Responder is focused on the needs of all first responders regardless of uniform or badge. This blog is produced by NFPA’s Public Fire Protection Division, staffed by fire fighters, paramedics, fire marshals, emergency managers and safety professionals. Together, they work on more than 90 NFPA documents, standards and guides ranging from personnel protective equipment and professional qualifications to emergency management and public safety communications centers.
The mission of the international nonprofit NFPA, established in 1896, is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.
NFPA just released an updated report on the total cost of fire in the U.S. which showed that the total cost of fire in 2011 was estimated at $329 billion, or roughly 2.1% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Adjusted for inflation, the total cost represents a 34% increase over 1980, while its proportion of U.S. gross domestic product has declined by about one-third.
However, both the total cost of fire and its associated percentage of GDP have been roughly steady for the past decade and a half.
Although the core total cost of fire has increased by 40 percent from 1980 to 2011 to a total of $108.4 billion, the economic loss due to fire decreased by 31 percent, totaling $14.9 billion, with all figures adjusted for inflation.
Fires in 2011 caused $13.3 billion in direct property damage (reported or unreported), which represented 89 percent of economic loss that year. The other 11 percent was indirect loss, such as temporary housing and business interruption.
New building construction for fire protection was estimated to cost $31 billion in 2011.
The loss of lives, homes and businesses in recent wildfires across the country serves as a sobering reminder of a fire's destructive effects. It is not a matter of "if" a wildfires strikes an area but when, and many residents are looking for more information about what they can do to reduce their risk before the next wildfire burns.
Now, we may be a wee-bit biased, but we think NFPA’s bi-annual Backyards & Beyond Wildland Fire Education Conference is the premier place for wildfire safety and preparedness education! Community leaders, researchers, insurance professionals, emergency responders, homeowners and others involved in wildfire issues can share their knowledge and best practices on key topics that they can then take back to their communities and workplaces.
That's why it's our pleasure to announce the 2015 Backyards & Beyond conference date and location is confirmed:
October 22-24, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Mark your calendars now and save the date!
Do you have a great story, experience or case study you would like to share at the 2015 conference? Submit your session proposals through NFPA's webpage. The deadline is Friday, August 29, 2014.
As we get more information about the 2015 conference including sessions and speakers, and all the great things you can do while visiting Myrtle Beach, we'll post it on the conference web page. Be sure to check back often. We look forward to seeing you there!
How many times have you responded simultaneously with other units to a fire or other emergency? Do you communicate your location as you are approaching intersections in or around the incident? This information can make all the difference between arriving at the incident safely and becoming involved in a separate emergency. Check out this news report from yesterday’s apparatus crash in California. Access the complete article here.
Do you use the NFPA 1 Fire Code?! NFPA is looking for consumers to try out a new ‘Code Builder’ product that we are considering releasing into the market place. To preview this ‘Code Builder’ and participate in user testing please email Jason Chou, Product Marketing Manager, at [email protected].
We value your feedback and look forward to hearing from you!
Congratulations to Captain Mark Ware, Sandy Springs Fire Department, Sandy Springs, GA and Lieutenant Rodney Brooks, Henry County Fire Department, McDonough, GA, winners of a national contest held by NFPA with 15 total entries and over 2,700 votes!
View their winning entry video:
Fellow brass players in the Stockbridge High School band in their hometown of Stockbridge, Georgia, Mark and Rodney soon discovered their talent for singing duets would bring life-long opportunities. They worked their way to the Henry County Fire Department where—when they weren't busy training or saving lives—they began singing the national anthem. Their regular appearances at private functions and small community events soon turned into invitations from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to sing for larger events such as Firefighter Recognition Day at the state capitol, the Georgia Republican Party Convention, the Georgia Public Safety Center's Firefighter Appreciation Day, Georgia Association of Fire Chief's Convention, and more. They hope to continue singing together well into their retirement years and are honored to be chosen by NFPA and the public to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the 2014 annual NFPA Conference & Expo!
Michael "Mick" Mayers, battalion chief with the Hilton Head Island (SC) Fire and Rescue, says that during a recent discussion with fellow firefighters, he was surprised - and encouraged - by the fact that no one brought up "the usual" complaints about standards developed by NFPA and other consensus standards organizations.
"As a participant in the standards process, I get a little frustrated when people complain about standards," he writes on his blog Firehouse Zen. "Why, you may ask? Well, because while standards may seem to be prohibiting aspects of our jobs, the fact is, standards are necessary to help us define things, to establish our expectations in regard to a certain item, title, or discipline."
Chief Mayers, who also serves as an Emergency Response Coordinator with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Disaster Medical System Incident Response Coordination Team, says he's heard complaints about standards being developed by those who don't understand the firefighting profession.
"In fact, the standards are actually written by those who have a vested interest in the job," he writes. "People like you and I are invited to come sit on committees and working groups to help define these standards, and the committees go to great lengths to ensure balance between users, enforcers, manufacturers, educators, and any other number of interest groups, to act as a check and balance to the accusations that the only people writing standards are those making a buck in the effort."
Teams from NFPA's Public Fire Protection and Public Education groups are exhibiting at the FDIC Conference this week in Indianapolis. FDIC gives attendees the chance to view the latest products and technologies in today's fire service industry and provides a place to gather and exchange information about today’s changing world.
NFPA will be in booth #2601 this week, and we would love to have you stop by to learn more about our standards and our public education tools and resources. See you there!
Three out of five home fire deaths in 2007-2011 resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms, according to a newly released report, “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires.” The report examines the number of reported fires in U.S. households with and without working smoke alarms, as well as the effectiveness of smoke alarms in preventing fire-related deaths.
Working smoke alarms in homes are key to saving lives from fire since you may have as little as three minutes to get out before a fire becomes deadly. The early warning provided by smoke alarms gives you critical time to escape safely. Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms so when one sounds, they all sound.