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.
Obesity is still a problem in the fire service.According to a recent study, at an even greater rate than the general public. This article highlights the problem and offers some suggestions to combat it.
At last year’s NFPA Urban Fire Forum, fire department chiefs took turns recounting for the group how they had dealt with the pain and shock in the aftermath of one of their firefighters committing suicide. Sadly, it wasn’t an uncommon experience.
“It was stunning to hear how every current and retired chief had dealt with the issue of firefighter suicide,” writes Gregory Cade, NFPA’s division director of government affairs.
In his new “Outreach” column in the July/August issue of NFPA Journal, Cade looks into the issue of firefighter behavioral health and where opportunities exist in government to address the problem. For instance, legislative efforts are underway to provide worker’s compensation benefits to first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder. Cade is also currently speaking with members of Congress and staff members at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to explain the scope of the problem and brainstorm what can be done to help.
Cade’s column is in part a response to “Trouble in Mind,” a feature article published in the April/May edition of NFPA Journal about behavioral health in the fire service. Acknowledgement of the problem is long overdue, he says.
“We’ve seen the value of providing mental health support following large-scale incidents,” Cade says in the column. “We need to expand those efforts to responders who may suffer from the long-term effects of smaller, continuous impacts that can build quietly until they explode.”
NFPA 1401, Recommended Pratice for Fire Service Training Reports and Records, NFPA 1402, Guide to Building Fire Service Training Centers and NFPA 1403, Standard on Live Fire Training Evolutions as ope for public input. The public input closing date is January 5, 2015. Click on the link above, then click on The next edition of this standard is now open for Public Input (formerly proposals). to submit your suggested changes.
Now that the quiz period has ended, 200 randomly selected winners were chosen based on completion of the quiz, to win a specially designed challenge coin (shown above)! Check the website www.nfpa.org/fireservicequiz to see if you are a winner. Congratulations!
International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week is a joint initiative of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and sponsored by NFPA. The event is coordinated by the NVFC Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program and the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section, and is supported by national and international fire and emergency service organizations as well as health and safety-related organizations and agencies.
The 2014 event is taking place this week, June 15-21. Fire departments are encouraged to suspend all non-emergency activity during Safety and Health Week in order to focus on safety and health training and education. An entire week is provided to ensure all shifts and duty crew can participate.
The theme of this year's Safety and Health Week is "Train Like You Fight." The IAFC and NVFC have provided many resources and tools to help your department focus on health and safety through the website, including resources to help your department keep a safe training ground as well as get the proper training to prepare for fireground operations.
Two free webinars will also be held during Safety and Health Week. Plan to attend as part of your Safety and Health Week activities. Learn more and register on the Planning page of the Safety & Health Week website.
NFPA Conference & Expo education sessions have kicked off this morning and one of the first attendees got a chance to sit in was done by Casey Grant of the Fire Protection Research Foundation. Casey's presentation covered an ongoing Foundation research project funded by NIST, titled, "Creatng the research road map for the smart firefighter of the future."
The key concept of this project, SMART, refers to specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and timely items. Gathering of data (using sensors), processing the data (computation), and use of the data (targeted decision making) are the three areas that the world of cyber physical systems cover. As a point of reference, in 2013, we produced 5 exabyte of data every 10 minutes, however from the dawn of civilization to 2003, humankind generated 5 exabytes of data in total, so you can see the progression of how much faster and more readily available this information is becoming.
Smart clothing, augmented reality, robotics, satellitel information, drones, smartphone apps, fully interoperable equipment are all examples of smart, data rich tools that firefighters may use to make their jobs safer, more efficient, or reducing loss of lives and property. PPE and equipment, apparatus and equipment, building systems, and infrastructure & community data systems can be utilized to gather this data.
To learn more or stay up to date on future research, the project's status and information is available on the Foundation website.
NFPA has numerous documents dealing with Incident Management. NFPA 1026, Standard for Incident Management Personnel Professional Qualifications, NFPA 1561, Standard on Emergency Services Incident Management System and Command Safety and NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program to name a few. View this video that explains incident command is a comical way.
Tom Lia is executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board
Controlled burns are a useful tool for firefighting training and public awareness. They effectively teach the public about home fire dangers and the need for smoke alarms, escape planning, and home fire sprinkler systems.
This type of demonstration is a great example of how communities can make use of homes that are earmarked for demolition. Not only can fire departments use these homes for training and simulation, such as ventilation and rescue scenarios, but they can also use these structures for public demonstrations about the effectiveness and importance of home fire sprinklers.
For more information on these demonstrations, read the rest of this post by Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.
In a recent article featured in the May 2014 issue of FireRescue, the issue of firefighter safety and response for solar power systems was discussed. Saving money and being energy conscious are big topics on the minds of people these days, and one of the most popular home power options has been solar panels. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, “A solar project will be installed, on average, every 4 minutes in the U.S.”
However, solar panels on buildings present several challenges to firefighters. The NFPA recently published a report that was referenced throughout this article, on “Firefighter Safety and Emergency Response for Solar Power Systems,” authored by Casey Grant. Some of these challenges include electrical hazards, potential ignition source, inhibiting vertical ventilation, increased roof load that may not have been originally designed for the structure and more.
Take a look at the article and the referenced report for more information on tackling these challenges to maintain firefighter safety.