Chapter 1


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Chapter 1

  1. 1. The Basis for Fire Prevention Chapter 1
  2. 2. Objectives <ul><li>Upon completion of this chapter, you will be able to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss the fire problem in the United States and give reasons for its existence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contrast the fire record of the United States with the records of other countries </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Objectives (cont’d.) <ul><ul><li>Name organizations that have been instrumental in our nation’s fire prevention efforts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss the effect that timing has on the adoption and enforcement, or lack of enforcement, of fire prevention regulations </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Call for Fire Prevention—When and Why <ul><li>History of fire prevention/reduction: one of reaction and inaction </li></ul><ul><li>Politics has not solved fire problem </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance industry has had an impact on fire prevention </li></ul>
  5. 5. The American Fire Problem <ul><li>U.S. fire record one of the worst in the Western world </li></ul><ul><li>Documentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>America Burning (1973): milestone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>America at Risk (2000) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. no t applied/funded loss reduction strategies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fire in the United States (2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2 million fire calls/year </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The Current Trend <ul><li>U.S. Fire Administration Statistics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Downward trend </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Number of fires </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Number of injuries/fatalities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>D irect dollar loss </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increasing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indirect loss </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult to quantify </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Fire in the Early Days <ul><li>H umans used fire for heat/light around 500,000 BC </li></ul><ul><li>Harnessing the power of fire </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Milestone in evolution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Impact of hostile fires on prehistoric civilization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Insignificant </li></ul></ul><ul><li>With civilization, fire became a tool </li></ul>
  8. 8. Technological Progress in Making Fire <ul><li>Matches </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Primitive matches existed since Roman Empire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Friction m atches first available in early 1800s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>F riction match later replaced by safety match </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fire used as weapon against other cities </li></ul><ul><li>S ociety made attempts to prevent fire disasters </li></ul>
  9. 9. Fire Prevention in 300 BC <ul><li>First fire prevention attempts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Familia Publica: Rome </li></ul></ul><ul><li>First municipal fire department </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Corps of Vigiles: Roman Emperor Augustus, 24 BC </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Roman law assigned responsibility to “incendiaries” or arsonists </li></ul>
  10. 10. Fire Prevention in AD 1000 <ul><li>Early attempts traced to England </li></ul><ul><li>William the Conqueror, 1066 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Home fires to be extinguished at bell ringing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Couvre feu -> “curfew” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>England’s first curfew: Oxford in AD 872 </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Fire Prevention in AD 1500 <ul><li>English cities passed regulations for bakers/candle makers, 1500s </li></ul><ul><li>Laws enacted to regulate wooden chimneys and thatched roofs </li></ul><ul><li>D iffering levels of success </li></ul>
  12. 12. Fire Prevention in AD 1666 <ul><li>Great Fire of London, 1666 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approximately 17,000 deaths/year at the time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parliament enacted London Building Act </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Commissioners appointed to enforce regulations in 1774 </li></ul><ul><li>Barbon promoted insurance of buildings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>London Fire Office </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fire brigade </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Fire in American History <ul><li>Jamestown’s buildings destroyed, 1608 </li></ul><ul><li>Nine fires before the American Revolution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Boston </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most famous conflagration: Chicago 1871 </li></ul><ul><li>Safeguarding the Home Against Fire </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National Board of Fire Underwriters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Given to over two million schoolchildren, 1918 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Effective prevention of fire not a tradition </li></ul>
  14. 14. Early Prevention Efforts in the U.S. <ul><li>U ndertaken by state/local governments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually in the aftermath of devastating fires </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Smoking outdoors prohibited, 1638 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Massachusetts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Efforts by nongovernmental organizations also occurred in the American Colonies </li></ul><ul><li>Friendly Society for the Mutual Insuring of Houses Against Fire, founded 1735 </li></ul>
  15. 15. FIGURE 1-6 The Hand-in-Hand firemark of the Philadelphia Contributionship. (Courtesy of The Philadelphia Contributorship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire) FIGURE 1-4 Governor Peter Stuyvesant instituted the “Rattle Watch,” fire wardens that carried wooden rattles to sound an alarm of fire. (Courtesy National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution)
  16. 16. Early Efforts of the Stock Insurance Industry <ul><li>Worked for uniformity in commissions/rates </li></ul><ul><li>Attempted to standardize regulations in the U. S. </li></ul><ul><li>Attempted to force Congress to develop federal regulations </li></ul>
  17. 17. The National Board of Fire Underwriter’s Accomplishments <ul><li>Failed at maintaining rates/commissions </li></ul><ul><li>National Fire Protection formed in 1896 </li></ul><ul><li>National Electrical Code published in 1896 </li></ul><ul><li>Surveys of city fire departments after 1904 Baltimore conflagration </li></ul><ul><li>National Building Code published in 1905 </li></ul>
  18. 18. Efforts of the Factory Mutuals <ul><li>Mill owners organized into mutual fire insurance company </li></ul><ul><li>Mutual fire insurance: not-for-profit company with policyholders as members </li></ul><ul><li>E. Atkinson presided Factory Mutual, 1877 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A pplied scientific methods to study fire causes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prohibited combustible void spaces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developed the tin-clad fire door </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Fire Prevention Today <ul><li>Approach and methods vary greatly </li></ul><ul><li>National Bureau of Industrial Protection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Axioms that guided inspectors still valid </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interests of business community in fire prevention goes directly to the bottom line </li></ul><ul><li>Businesses protect their financial interests </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Success in protecting property/saving lives </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Summary <ul><li>Fire record one of worst in Western world </li></ul><ul><li>Annual losses from natural disasters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A fraction of losses from fires </li></ul></ul><ul><li>F ailed to implant prevention of fire as individual’s obligation to the community </li></ul><ul><li>C osts associated with hostile fires </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased insurance premiums, loss of jobs, and erosion of the tax base </li></ul></ul>