NFPA announces theme for Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 5-11

The theme for Fire Prevention Week 2014, October 5-11, will be “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!” “Smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a fire, but they need to be working,” said Lorraine Carli, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Unfortunately, many home fire deaths result from fires where a smoke alarm is present but does not operate.” The NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for the past 90 years.

Additional information on Fire Prevention Week is available at www.fpw.org.

NFPA: Firefighter fatalities increased in 2013

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported a total of 97 on-duty firefighter deaths in 2013. This total reflects an increase from 2012 (83 according to the U.S. Fire Administration preliminary database). The 2013 fatalities included 19 firefighters killed in the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona and nine firefighters killed in the West, Texas, explosion.

In 2013, 56 of the fatalities occurred while firefighters were operating on the ground; half of them were at 10 wildland fires.

Line-of-Duty Deaths

June 5. Assistant Chief Donovan Garcia Jr., 52, Hungry Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Sparks, NV: heart attack.
June 8. Firefighter Robert “Hawk” Meyer, 54, Union Beach (NJ) Fire Department: unknown.
June 19. Chief Todd Allen Rummel, 44, Three Forks (MT) Volunteer Fire Department: injuries sustained in apparatus collision.
June 30. Captain Robert Thomas, 52, Bienville Parish Fire Protection District 7, Saline, LA: apparatus crash.
July 5. Lieutenant Gordon “Matt” Matthew Ambelas, 40, Fire Department of New York: injuries sustained while trapped in residential fire search.
Source: USFA Firefighters Memorial Database

Line-of-Duty Deaths

June 5. Assistant Chief Donovan Garcia Jr., 52, Hungry Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Sparks, NV: heart attack.
June 8. Firefighter Robert “Hawk” Meyer, 54, Union Beach (NJ) Fire Department: unknown.
June 19. Chief Todd Allen Rummel, 44, Three Forks (MT) Volunteer Fire Department: injuries sustained in apparatus collision.
June 30. Captain Robert Thomas, 52, Bienville Parish Fire Protection District 7, Saline, LA: apparatus crash.
July 5. Lieutenant Gordon “Matt” Matthew Ambelas, 40, Fire Department of New York: injuries sustained while trapped in residential fire search.
Source: USFA Firefighters Memorial Database

WTC Health Program marks third anniversary

On the occasion of the third anniversary of the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, Program Administrator John Howard, M.D., issued a statement that included the following remarks:

  • During its three years in existence, the WTC Health Program has been a leader in 9/11-related healthcare and research. More than 67,000 people have been served; nearly 4,000 new members were added this year (July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014).
  • High-quality member care is the most important priority.
  • In the past year, more than 8,000 new health condition certifications were issued; more than 1,700 of them were for cancer.
  • Medical monitoring is a cornerstone of the program. The benefits were expanded to include cancer screening.
  • In February of this year, four types of cancer were added to the list of WTC-Related Health Conditions: malignant neoplasms of the brain, cervix uteri (invasive cervical cancer), pancreas, and testis. Also, the definition of rare cancers was revised to include all cancers with incidence rates less than 15,000 cases per 100,000 U.S. population. (A list of rare cancers is at http://www.cdc.gov/wtc/pdfs/WTCHP_PP_RareCancers05052014.pdf.) This new rule also defined childhood cancer as a cancer diagnosed in a person under the age of 20 years old.
  • In the past year, the program’s Web site underwent a major redesign, members with treatment benefits were issued new member ID cards, and the privacy statement was updated.
  • A member services handbook was to be made available within about a month from press time (July). It will be available on at www.cdc.gov/wtc/handbook.html. Printed copies will be available on request.
  • The program is attempting to reach individuals who are eligible for care but are not yet enrolled. Cooperative agreement partners have been engaged in community outreach efforts, including expanding the program’s presence on social media. The program’s new educational materials may be viewed at www.cdc.gov/wtc/outreach-materials.html.
  • Through extramural research grants, the WTC Health Program studies the unique risks and medical needs of the 9/11 population. In fiscal year 2013, six new projects were added; a total of 24 are underway. Researchers are studying concerns such as post-traumatic stress syndrome and asthma and are investigating potential emerging threats such as heart and autoimmune diseases. In February 2014, the Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) released recommendations for future research priorities, which are posted at www.cdc.gov/wtc/pdfs/RecommendationsforResearchfromSTAC.pdf.

Questions about the WTC Health Program may be directed to WTC@cdc.gov.

Free Neural-Based Learning for Fire Fighters video

The Firefighters Support Foundation’s Neural-Based Learning for Fire Fighters video demonstrates five techniques based on advances in neuroscience that can enhance a firefighter’s performance under stress: increasing peripheral vision, using kinaesthetic awareness to improve performance, visualization skills, mistake mitigation, and stress breathing (“reset breathing”).

Marcus Wynne, a prominent training designer for high-stress occupations, presents the information. Wynne is a military veteran and a federal law enforcement veteran who served with the Federal Air Marshal Program and has taught at numerous law enforcement and military academies. His work has been adopted at the national level in South Africa, Sweden, and Norway. He continues his research in consultation with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Naval Research, and other cutting-edge military research institutions in the United States and abroad.

The 36-minute video is free to members of public safety and emergency management agencies. It may be downloaded at www.ffsupport.org.

Support for FCC rule to find wireless 911 callers

Groups representing 911, law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical services, public safety, the deaf/hard of hearing, and public health have voiced their support for a rule proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would assist emergency responders to more quickly and accurately identify the locations of 911 callers using wireless phones indoors.

The FCC estimates that at least 10,000 lives a year could be saved by improving the response time as a result of this proposed rule. The comments submitted in favor of the rule are at http://bit.ly/Te00NS. Additional information on the coalition of organizations and individuals, FindMe911, supporting this rule may be obtained from Andrew Weinstein at (202) 667-4967.

NFPA: Cost of fire up 34 percent from 1980

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released an updated report on the total cost of fire in the United States in 2011 was an estimated $329 billion, or roughly 2.1 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Adjusted for inflation, this figure represents a 34 percent increase over 1980; its proportion of the U.S. GDP declined by about one-third. The core total cost of fire is defined as the sum of economic loss (e.g., property damage, business interruption) and the cost of provisions to prevent or mitigate the cost of fire (e.g., fire departments, insurance, and the fire protection part of construction). The total cost of fire and its associated percentage of GDP have been roughly steady for the past decade and a half.

The complete total cost of fires adds costs that cannot be measured every year or do not involve direct payments such as compliance with fire safety standards for equipment and other products, the value of the time donated by volunteer firefighters, human loss (e.g., lives lost, medical treatment, pain and suffering), and federal government costs for fighting wildfires.

Following are other key findings from the report:

  • Although the core total cost of fire increased by 40 percent from 1980 to 2011 to $108.4 billion, the economic loss caused by fire decreased by 31 percent, totalling $14.9 billion, with all figures adjusted for inflation.
  • Fires in 2011 caused $13.3 billion in direct property damage (reported or unreported), which represented 89 percent of economic loss that year. The other 11 percent was indirect loss, such as temporary housing and business interruption.
  • New building construction for fire protection was estimated to cost $31 billion in 2011.

A fact sheet on the total cost of fire is available at www.nfpa.org/TotalCost.

iCERT issues policy on emergency alerts and warnings

The Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT) has developed the following policy on emergency alerts and warnings.

Local police and fire departments, emergency managers, the National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and private industry are working together to make sure the public can receive alerts and warnings quickly through several technologies regardless of location-whether at home, at school, at work, or even on vacation.

In 2006, Presidential Directive, Executive Order 13407, was enacted to ensure that the President can communicate with the American people under all conditions. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created, based on the 2006 Executive Order, the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS), to disseminate alerts and warnings over a wide variety of existing and emerging public alerting systems; it was to serve as a presidential alerting tool during national emergencies. However, state, local, territorial, and tribal authorities are not required to adopt IPAWS, creating what iCERT describes as “an inconsistency in messaging that the federal and local governments should address together.”

iCERT proposes the following:

  • The federal government engage and collaborate with the state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities to determine their alert and warning needs to assist in setting alert and warning technology policies and procedures for use.
  • DHS or FEMA grant funding be directed to the state, local, tribal, and territorial levels to support the adoption of alert and warning technologies.
  • State, local, territorial, and tribal entities adopt, review, and adhere to national policies, regulations, and standards related to public alerts and warnings and be authenticated to send alerts and warnings through IPAWS by selecting IPAWS compatible software, applying for a Memorandum of Agreement with FEMA, applying for public alerting permissions, and completing IPAWS Web-based training.

iCERT’s policy position statements on this and other matters can be found at http://bit.ly/1mdkAuF.

 

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