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“Get With The Program” – FossilMedic

FossilMedic prods us again:  

FAILING TO LEARN DISRESPECTS THEIR SACRIFICE

Phase II of the “Routley” report was issued in Charleston last week. If you want to honor the sacrifice of the nine that died at that commercial fire, it will take more than buying a t-shirt, putting a sticker on your helmet or posting a snarky remark on a discussion board.

WE need to accelerate the rate of change in the institutions that codify our work and develop the reference and teaching materials.

MAKE SURE NFPA STANDARD 1021 REFLECT THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM OUR LOSSES

In 1971 the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) expanded their consensus code process from buildings, materials and industrial processes and into the firefighting occupation. Prior to this, firefighter training did not have a national standard set of knowledge, skills and abilities.

Oklahoma State University has been publishing the “Red Books” since 1931, generally aimed at rural and small city departments. Large departments like New York and Los Angeles wrote their own manuals. Warren Kimball used the Boston Fire Department drill manual when he wrote Fire Attack 1 in 1966.

The updated NFPA 1021 Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications is up for adoption at the July World Conference. While there was a struggle over the fire inspection section of the standard, there are no substantial changes to the Job Performance Requirements (JPR) or areas of knowledge within the 2008 version of the standard.

I wrote a textbook covering the 2003 version of Fire Officer I and II. There are few changes in the 2008 version. That means much less work for me in writing the second edition. The original manuscript came from the fire officer I and II courses I taught at the community college, using the 1997 version of the standard. While there was a shuffling of some tasks between fire officer I, II and III, there is no significant change in the 1021 standard since the 1997 standard was revised into the Job Performance Requirements format.

HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING SINCE 1997?

It is troubling that, from a standards perspective, no new knowledge has been developed in fireground operations or the lessons learned from the investigations after 400-some brothers and sisters who have died in burning buildings.

Let’s consider four structural fire events with a single LODD that generated reports in addition to NIOSH:

Firefighter Brett Tarver, Phoenix, 2001 (Carbon monoxide poisoning in supermarket)

[photopress:mike20may_a_phoenix.jpg,full,centered]

http://phoenix.gov/FIRE/report.pdf 

 *  *  *

Captain Jay Jahnke, Houston, 2001 (Carbon monoxide poisoning in residential high-rise)

[photopress:mike20may_d_texas.jpg,full,centered]

http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/reports/fltr.pdf

 *  *  *

Firefighter Oscar Armstrong III, Cincinnati, 2003 (flashover in residence)

[photopress:mike20may_c_cleveland.jpg,full,centered]

http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/cityfire/downloads/cityfire_pdf8213.pdf

 *  *  *

Technician I Kyle Wilson, Prince William County, 2007 (structural collapse in residence)

http://www.pwcgov.com/default.aspx?topic=020016001470004566 You should read these reports after you have finished the Charleston Phase II report.

After reading these reports consider what should be added or changed for the 2013 version of NFPA 1021 Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications. If we promised to “never forget” we need to institutionalize the changes that these reports recommend.

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