Prevention is contingent on enforcement

Prevention is contingent on enforcement

Ralph L. Lloyd

Acting Chief

Carrollton Village (OH) Fire Department

This is in reference to “The Core Mission Is Everything, for Now” (Editor`s Opinion, April 1997). To have successful fire prevention, we must have access to laws that give us enforcement power in all areas. Therein lies the problem. An individual`s house is his castle, and nothing presently permits us to enforce code requirements in that structure. If we pass laws that permit this, we force ourselves into a more restrictive society that infringes on our civil liberties and freedoms. I can see all types of problems with this, particularly with regard to Amendment IV of the Constitution of the United States, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

So, unless we become a more restrictive society, we will never be able to completely prevent fires and control them at their points of ignition via engineered building systems. Sure, you can make structures code-compliant, but you cannot regulate how a person lives or maintains code-compliant structures when it is his own personal abode.

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