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Public & Private Fire Prevention Organizations and Functions

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1 Public & Private Fire Prevention Organizations and Functions
Chapters 2 & 3 from Principles of Fire Prevention

2 Public Fire Prevention Organizations & Functions

3 Public Fire Prevention Organizations & Functions
Business and industry are largely responsible for the level of fire prevention we have today. It was their desire and efforts to prevent loss that led to the establishment of the technical codes that we have in place today. Last week we discussed many of the major fires in the U.S. that forced changes to code as individual events, but there were many more instances of fire that moved our country towards making fire prevention a priority on different governmental levels as well as the private sector.

4 Traditional Fire Prevention Bureaus
Traditional fire prevention bureaus – associated with what we have today in our local fire departments, got their start in the late 1800s in Columbus, OH. Soon afterwards most major city departments began establishing fire prevention bureaus with various levels of staffing and duties. (see chart on p. 22) Duties ranged from making tenement inspections, to hosting drills, to what has now evolved into company level inspections. National Board of Fire Underwriters developed first known model code in 1930.

5 State fire prevention and protection programs
Massachusetts was the first state to establish a “state fire marshal” position in 1902. The only problem with this system is that these duties can be housed in a number of different state agencies and the powers will also vary greatly. Regardless of location, they are all involved in some facet of code development, enforcement, engineering services, and often training and/or certification. State fire training programs can be housed in many places including state colleges or other designated training agencies.

6 Catalysts for Federal Fire Prevention Programs
To help protect the federal government’s interests, NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology) was created in 1904. That same year the NFPA was formed which has led to the standards we have in place today. The recognition of Fire Prevention Day dates back to Wilson in 1920 but in 1922 Harding increased it to a week long event. World War II increased the concerns and need for various types of insurance companies to protect the government’s assets.

7 The U.S. Steps Up Efforts Under Nixon, America Burning is released. Historically, the issue of fire prevention, like many other services, was thought to be the responsibility of the local government. America Burning shifted that burden to other levels of government and helped establish some of the most important agencies/organizations we have today. Among the are the U.S. Fire Administration, The National Fire Academy, and the Consumer Products Safety Commission. USFA’s efforts fall into four basic areas: public education; training for fi re and emergency response personnel; fi re safety technology, testing, and research; and the collection, analysis, and dissemination of pertinent data.

8 Additional Significant Agencies
The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) is charged with arson and bombing investigations and oversees the CFI (Certified Fire Investigator) program. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is responsible for worker safety among other things. OSHA issues standards for fire and explosion hazards and fire brigade staffing, training, and operation. OSHA’s respiratory protection regulation 29 CFR (g)(4) is the basis for the two-in/two-out structural firefighting mandate.

9 PRIVATE Fire Prevention Organizations & Functions

10 PRIVATE Fire Prevention Organizations & Functions
Private fire prevention and risk management – this is the fastest growing sector in the fire service related professions and is where the most money can be made. Industrial fire brigades and departments, private contractors who provide training and resources, and insurance companies are those earning the most in this part of the business.

11 The Birth of the Insurance Business
After all of the major conflagrations and fires that we experienced in the U.S. beginning in the 1800s, insurance companies tired of repeated losses banded together to sponsor the formation of some of our more significant private and independent organizations. Among these organizations is the ISO, NFPA, and Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) among others.

12 Insurance Services Office (The much-dreaded ISO Rating)
Fire departments are all too familiar with the ISO rating. It dictates what insurance premiums citizens pay based on several factors that are under the control of the local fire department. The ISO’s system of rating a jurisdiction’s system of public fire protection, including the fire department, water supply, and communications system. The lower the ISO rating, the lower the premiums charged by the insurance company. This system was designed to uniform ratings across the U.S.

13 The Use of Government Contractors
Even the U.S. military tends to contract most of its firefighting work out to civilian employees. The Air Force typically uses a combination of enlisted and civilians while most of the other branches hire civilians to protect military installations and other assets. Overseas, often the work is contracted out to various companies such as Wackenhut Protective Services and other similar companies.

14 Other Specialty contractors
There are certain specialties that require specialized training and certifications including suppression system designers, installers, engineers, maintenance personnel, extinguisher servicers, etc. Each state has its own requirements to ensure that all NFPA standards are followed and all systems and components of fire protection systems comply with state and local codes. Engineers and third party inspectors can earn very high salaries do to the expertise required along with the fact these services must be performed by licensed professionals.

15 Private Associations and Not-for-Profits
Underwriter Laboratories has been around since They are the organization that tests and certifies certain manufactured items as being “tested and safe”, such as electrical cords, building materials, etc. Additional codes and standards groups also formed during this heightened period of fire prevention including ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) including steel, medical supplies, consumer items and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) overseeing things such as fire- related building materials and safety equipment. Most inspector code enforcement exams will reference these standards.

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