Sat, 24 Jan 2009|
Chief Bobby Halton discusses the major stories of the week, including a fire at a New York City hospital and questions regarding the Tulsa (OK) Fire Department's EMS training.
Hello she's -- Alton and welcome to fire engineering as we can review. That we can review is being brought you this week by the FDNY high -- symposium. This year's that the Dwight -- symposium will be held on March 19 and twentieth at Randall island FDA and wise world class training facility. This wants a lifetime opportunity to study and share with the members of the FDNY is filling up fast. Firefighters in the greater New York area are well aware that this is a high rise symposium. However -- -- tactics and techniques that are being shared -- useful fire departments across the country in a variety of firefighting situations. All firefighters are all too aware of the dangers of wind driven flame fronts in fighting fire in any type of structure. We all remember sadly the conditions that claimed the lives of Prince William county firefighter. Kyle Wilson. In the early mornings of April 16. 2007. In a residential structure with fire fueled by high winds. To register for the FDNY -- symposium. Go to FDNY foundation dot com. That's FDNY. Foundation. Dot com. And now for the news. Fire the second -- -- -- at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan spread quickly to an emergency room. Causing the evacuation of over 600 patients. New York city's bravest quickly brought the fire under control. The FDNY reported six minor injuries however no patients and hospitals reported to have been injured as result of the evacuation. A -- itself poses several challenges -- mount Sinai did to the FDNY. Covering four city blocks and housing over 12100 beds and eleven floors the FDNY had a stressful with this fire. Firefighters everywhere need to be extremely well aware of the challenges facing them regarding fires in hospitals. Good -- plans a thorough working knowledge and built -- fire protection systems and good relationships with the hospital staff are critical to success in these events. Prearranged staging areas for evacuation points for hospital residents should be included -- all pretty -- plan. Understanding the storage in control of the various gases that are used for sterilization. And welfare of patients must be readily available and routinely drilled. Among command staff. And all responding officers. We cannot take the dangers of hospital firefighting lightly. We only to be well aware of how many patients how many bids and what we will do in the case of fire in -- hospital and our own communities. Also Oklahoma. Fire chief -- -- reported that an independent group will be investigating claims. That over the last twelve years Tulsa firefighters may have been incorrectly recording continuing education credits towards their EMT certifications. Chief -- -- stated. That the investigation is a black eye for the department however it will make the department better once it's over. She -- -- issued to citizens of Tulsa. Had a better record keeping system and more supervisory oversight would be in place and that any corrective actions required would be done in a timely manner. The proper record keeping especially in regards to our EMS certifications is a must in today's fire service. Cleveland Tennessee. Bradley county commissioner -- actually is calling for the removal of county fire chief do we would. Following an incident last week -- county fire crews refused to help private ambulance workers -- patient. Actually who serves with the Cleveland fire department stated that there is a bond between firefighters. And the people they serve and that bond has been broken. Other county commissioners are calling for an investigation. Into the incident. Apparently there's some type of dispute between the ambulance workers and the county fire service. These types of grievances should never interfere with patient care or -- The -- or should always supersede. Any political -- personal differences we may have. It's unclear whether removal of achievement search resolve the differences between the ambulance and the county fire department. A better course of action would probably be to discover why the animosity exists. And mediate those differences. But -- -- -- scene. Our duty should always come first. -- -- we can review has been closely following the black Sunday fire trial. This fire plan was to do you actually firefighters and severely injured four others. Part of the trial. Is the illegal modifications done to the -- apartments in order to make more money -- so dividing the rooms and to multiple living areas. This practice is fairly common and high density housing projects. Although to be done properly it requires permits and review. By both building and fire officials often times owners and managers such as in the case of black Sunday fire fail to do so. What results is an unpredictable maze of tiny spaces. Which can contain -- code compliant electrical work. Locked doors and substandard materials. All of these issues lead to rapid unpredictable fire behavior. As well as extremely difficult conditions. In regards -- remaining oriented -- structural firefighting. With limited visibility conditions. Building managers and owners. As those from the black Sunday fire. Need to be held accountable and responsible. When tragedy strikes. As a result of their reactions. As the economy continues to struggle and housing becomes ever more expensive. We need to be ever more vigilant regarding illegal and improper modifications. Of existing house. Yet another case of where the economy is directly affecting our ability to provide world class fire protection. In Minneapolis Minnesota this week officials may decide to turn down a federal grant through the safer program to improve the stepping -- Minneapolis fire units. Minneapolis fire chief Alex Jackson stated that he would use the extra firefighters to bring the stepping up to four firefighters each. That means he intends to use the grant money to be NFPA 1710 compliant staffing. Chief Jackson citizen -- hesitation is result of the fact that the program requires the city to eventually assume the full burden. And cost of the additional firefighters. How the federal safer program works is this. The grants provided to fire hire firefighters. Over a period -- four years the amount provided decreases from 100% in the first year to zero at the end of four. The city or town at the end of that for years is that required to retain the firefighters hired -- -- grant program. The city of Minneapolis however is getting reduced statewide funding which is causing this city to hesitate. In accepting this grant. Perhaps the congress -- review the -- parameters and investigate whether or not some other conditions could be outlined for the safer program. Given our nation's current economic conditions perhaps the safer program to be extended over ten years. Allowing cities and towns to more gradually absorb the cost of these critically necessary firefighters. Perhaps federal funding can be extended to assist in the hiring and funding of fire service professionals. In communities with certain conditions can be identified. And verified. Consolidation is being considered by the council of governments in Manatee County Florida. Consolidation is always contentious topic for the fire service we've all witnessed consolidations that was successful and others that were less than successful. Consolidation is always presented at first as -- cost saving measure although many fire officials can point to numerous examples where little or no savings -- -- -- Gary Lawson chairman of the east manatee fire district board so that he has been following consolidation. For a long time. To quote chairman Lawson I'm ready to attack -- having looked at other counties that have consolidated. And the cost to taxpayers have climbed. -- -- -- on the issue believe that the departments and Manatee County are running effectively now. Fire chief Byron -- suggested that the county needs to look at two issues efficiency and cost. To quote -- -- -- these things don't necessarily. Go hand in hand. As the American first service continues to compete with other pressing community issues for funding. We can expect to see more and more ideas such as consolidation. Routes furloughs and alternative scheduling being presented. In an attempt to lower the cost of fire service protection. However reducing public safety always comes at a high price. As firefighters we must continue to educate the public in particular our elected officials -- how much work does to reduce the burden. On our communities in terms of cost and many other ways. Whether it be preventing comply duration is providing prompt and effective medical care -- responding to natural disasters. The fire service will always be. The point of the sort. In protecting American communities. We must never falter and our efforts to ensure that our continuous improvement. Is our main goal we must always remind our elected officials that are professionalism. And our dedication. To our work is what makes our communities safe places to work and live. I'm chief Bobby -- That's the news. And remember. Be careful out.