Chapter 01-American Fire Service: Past, Present, and Future
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Chapter 01-American Fire Service: Past, Present, and Future

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• Examine how the history of our society has shaped the American attitude toward fire prevention and fire control efforts...

• Examine how the history of our society has shaped the American attitude toward fire prevention and fire control efforts
• Describe and explain how other countries approach the control of fires and compare and contrast their approach with U.S. efforts
• Describe new technologies and systems the fire service has implemented in recent years
• Describe the fire service of today, its successes, its problems, and its efforts toward improvement
• Examine and envision the challenges and opportunities open to the fire service in the twenty-first century

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Chapter 01-American Fire Service: Past, Present, and Future Chapter 01-American Fire Service: Past, Present, and Future Presentation Transcript

  • American Fire Service: The Past, Present, and Future Chapter 1
  • Objectives
    • Examine how the history of our society has shaped the American attitude toward fire prevention and fire control efforts
    • Describe and explain how other countries approach the control of fires and compare and contrast their approach with U.S. efforts
    • Describe new technologies and systems the fire service has implemented in recent years
  • Objectives (cont’d.)
    • Describe the fire service of today, its successes, its problems, and its efforts toward improvement
    • Examine and envision the challenges and opportunities open to the fire service in the twenty-first century
  • Introduction
    • U.S. culture and its rich and complex history has shaped the American fire service into what it is today
    • Reflection on the history of fire service is necessary to understand how it has evolved
  • Figure 1-1 The fire service of the past, present, and future has a tradition of many service challenges.
  • Fire Service of the Past
    • Early colonial settlements experienced several major conflagrations and a number of large fires
      • Conflagration: A fire with major building-to-building flame spread over a great distance
    • Pattern of occasional conflagrations and large fires has continued through history to present day
  • The Industrial Revolution
    • Focus on growth and expansion in cities
    • Increased growth in building construction
    • Corruption in building departments resulted in poor construction practices and little or no fire code enforcement
      • Resulted in large fires that destroyed entire cities
    • Growth and expansion took precedence over fire and life safety concerns
  • Two Great Fires
    • October 9, 1871: two major fires raged out of control
      • Wisconsin forest fire
        • Death of 1,152 persons; burned 2,400 square miles of forested land
      • “ Great Chicago Fire”
        • Death of 300 persons; destroyed buildings in a 2.5 square mile area
        • Buildings used quick, poor-quality construction with little or no fire-resistant materials
  • Insurance Companies Respond
    • The National Board of Fire Underwriters
      • Organized in 1874
      • Led to enforcement of ordinances by city council
    • Insurance Services Office (ISO)
      • Independently applies grading schedule to city fire departments
      • Sets the rate for fire insurance premiums for individual structures
  • The Decade of Conflagrations
    • The years 1900 to 1909 called “the decade of conflagrations”
      • Five of the most significant fires in U.S.
      • Earthquake and fire in conjunction in California
    • Triggered formation of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and ISO grading schedule
    • Cylindrical occurrence of conflagrations and rebuilding continues to exist
  • Fire Service of Today
    • We are still plagued with conflagrations that devastate our towns and cities
    • Today’s fire students need a better understanding of:
      • Fire combustion processes
      • Use of improved fire-resistant building materials and methods
      • Use of improvements in fire technologies
  • Discovering the U.S. Fire Problem
    • Studies by international associations pointed to causes and trends
    • Fire service realized need for public support
    • Recommendations from fire service conferences:
      • America Burning (1973); America Burning Revisited (1987); America Burning Recommissioned, America at Risk (2000)
      • National Professional Development Model: education and training requirements
  • Comparing the U.S. Fire Problem
    • Differences from other highly industrialized countries:
      • Low percentage of budget spent on fire prevention
      • Low or inadequate funding
      • Use of wood
      • Use of plastics: increase of BTUs; greater chance of flashover
      • Social acceptance of uncontrolled fires
  • Emergency Medical Services
    • Began in 1930s with first aid to firefighters
    • Radio communications improved
    • 70% of today’s requests for fire department assistance are for medical emergencies
    • Communication and scientific advancements will continue to increase opportunities for enhanced services
  • Building and Fire Code Enforcement and Improvements
    • 2003 World Trade Center study
      • Found a number of needed improvements in modern high-rise buildings
      • Discussed relationships between building construction methods, fire-resistant materials, fire combustion processes, fire behavior, and impact on firefighter safety
    • Improvements in one area of building construction can lead to unanticipated problems for firefighters
  • Training and Education
    • Firefighters are better trained today due to improved procedures, requirements, and techniques
      • Example: dealing with hazardous materials
    • Training requirements are strictly enforced
    • Higher education will soon be required for promotion into fire service decision making positions
  • Administration and Coordination
    • Resources need to be consolidated to deal with emergency incidents such as wildland/urban interface fires
    • Incident Command System (ICS)
      • Management system utilized on emergency scene
      • Designed to keep order and follow a sequence of set guidelines
    • National Incident Management System (NIMS)
      • Comprehensive; integrates resources from public and private agencies
  • Equipment and Personnel Protection
    • Fire equipment has improved significantly and will continue to advance technologically
      • Powerful diesel engines
      • Better braking systems
      • Larger capacity pumps
      • New larger-sized hose
      • Better designed nozzles
      • Safer protective equipment and clothing
  • Protective Systems
    • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
      • Available to greater numbers of citizens due to lower cost
    • Quick-acting fire sprinkler head
    • New and improved residential sprinkler systems
    • Increased use of protective systems in residential, commercial, and multifamily dwellings
  • Fire Service of the Future
    • U.S. must begin to use SI measuring system to effectively communicate globally
      • Meter: basic unit of length
      • Surface and volume relationships both divided and multiplied by factors of 10
      • Joule: unit of energy (work)
  • Fire Service and Technology
    • ERT advisory group established by a FEMA grant to identify needs of emergency responders:
      • Alternative fuels
      • Infrared imaging
      • Global positioning
      • Ultrafine water mist
      • Compressed air foam systems
  • Improvements in Building Safety
    • Research is being conducted in the following areas:
      • Increasing structural integrity
      • Enhancing fire resistance
      • Improving emergency egress and access
      • Cybernetic building systems
    • Preparation for higher levels of technology necessary for future challenges
  • Summary
    • Long history of conflagrations and large fires
      • Lack of social pressure; abundance of timber for construction; rapid growth of poorly planned cities; insufficient building and fire code
    • Continued improvement is vital
      • Must adopt SI measuring system
      • Continue enhancing fire resistance of materials
      • Require increased training and education
      • Embrace technological advances