Letters to the Editor: April 2020

Preplanning must precede codes

Mike Ciampo makes several good points in “Hazardous Duty” (On Fire, November 2019) concerning dealing with modern technology appliances on a rooftop and trying to maintain fireground safety. Very often, when we hear the word “preplanning” in the fire service, fire companies assume it is a duty of the Bureau of Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement.

Performing a fire unit building recon to gather building intelligence in your response district is more relevant today with new technologies and construction methods running ahead of the fire code. A case in point: An Energy Storage System (ESS) container that houses lithium ion batteries as an alternative power source is being installed in buildings ahead of any full-scale acceptance test on what would be an effective suppression system. Adopting a fire company “Know before you Go” (Recon = Intel) mentality will let firefighters know more about any potential threats and enhance fireground safety.

Jack J. Murphy
Fire Marshal (Ret.)/Former Deputy Chief
Leonia (NJ) Fire Department
Chairman, New York City High-Rise Fire
Safety Directors Association

Focus on the lesson

Chief Bobby Halton’s “Blame or Learn” (Editor’s Opinion, January 2020) about incident reviews and his ability to weave in examples of historical events like the sinking of the USS Indianapolis are “right on.” I was glad to see that Tom Brennan, one of the legends of the American fire service, was quoted as well.

A couple of years ago, then Connecticut Fire Department Instructors President Albe Bassett, Captain Mike Donovan of the Bridgeport Fire Department, Jim Carroll from the Connecticut Fire Academy, and I visited Battalion Chief Joe McHugh at the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Division of Safety. The Safety Division was doing a review of a tragic incident in which an FDNY battalion chief was killed in a gas explosion in the line of duty. Chief Joe McHugh impressed on us during that incident review pretty much the same thing that Brennan said … “The FDNY philosophy of incident reviews is not to place blame or highlight mistakes but, most importantly, to take back to our troops the lessons learned.” Great editorial!

Peter Buonome
Connecticut Fire Department Instructors Association

Applauds timely message

When I read Chief Bobby Halton’s “Pro Deo et Patria” (Editor’s Opinion, November 2019), I was flying from Indiana to New York. I nearly cheered out loud but restrained myself knowing that many passengers on the flight would likely not share my sentiments. I applaud Chief Halton for the courage to speak loudly and with commanding truth in the fight for and dedication to God and country. His words are timely and appropriate.

John Walker
Walker Fire Forensic Analysis, Inc.
Spencerville, Indiana

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