NFIRS Web-based data entry tool introduced

The Data Entry Browser Interface (DEBI) tool will facilitate the entering of data into the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) database. It eliminates the need to download and install software on the NFIRS user’s computer and runs on standard Web browsers. It is available without charge to all users.

“Because DEBI does not need to be downloaded, installed, and configured, it requires much less time and technical knowledge from the NFIRS user,” explains Glenn Gaines, acting U.S. fire administrator.

To obtain the tool, fire departments must complete the user registration at www.nfirs.fema.gov/users/ and the department’s NFIRS state program manager must grant the necessary permissions to use the new tool and activate the department’s account. If a department does not already have an active NFIRS user account, it should contact its NFIRS state program manager. To use DEBI, you must have Internet connectivity, an Internet browser version compatible with the application, and a computer that meets the necessary system requirements as outlined at www.nfirs.fema.gov/webtools/.

Departments that prefer to do so may continue to use approved third-party commercial software or the USFA client data entry tool (DET) if desired. Additional information is available at www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/nfirs/. For technical assistance or answers to any questions you may have regarding NFIRS or DEBI, contact the NFIRS Support Center at (888) 382-3827.

Line-of-Duty Deaths

July 12. Engineer Charles Hornberger, 60, Milmont Park (PA) Fire Company Station #49: heart attack.

July 14. Firefighter Richard L. Springman, 20, Trout Run (PA) Volunteer Fire Company: injuries sustained when his truck reportedly struck a guardrail while responding to a fatal two-vehicle collision.

July 24. Firefighter Michel Baik, 49, Bridgeport (CT) Fire Department: trapped in a burning residential structure while performing search and rescue.

July 24. Lieutenant Steven Velasquez, 40, Bridgeport (CT) Fire Department: trapped in a burning residential structure while performing search and rescue.

July 25. Firefighter David Sullivan, 70, Otis (MA) Fire Department: cause to be determined.

July 26. Chief Posey Dillon, 59, Rocky Mount (VA) Fire Department #1: vehicle collision.

July 26. Firefighter William Daniel “Danny” Altice, 67, Rocky Mount (VA) Fire Department #1: vehicle collision.

July 30. Lieutenant Steven N. Costello, 46, Burlington (VT) Fire Department: cardiac arrest.

August 2. Firefighter/Ranger Christopher W. Adams, 25, Arkansas Forestry Commission, Little Rock: vehicle collision.

Source: USFA Firefighters Memorial Database

Sprinklers mandated for new Baltimore City homes

Beginning July 1, 2010, all new one- and two-family homes built in Baltimore City, Maryland, are to have fire sprinklers installed, in accordance with City Council Bill 10-0437, Residential Code—Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems. The legislation is part of a multifaceted plan to reduce fire-related deaths that includes installing reduced rotating firehouse closures in firehouses and ongoing efforts to provide free smoke alarms to city residents. More than half of Maryland’s municipalities and nine counties have adopted sprinkler requirements for one- and two-family homes.

“Home blazes are the leading cause of fire death in our city, and residential fire sprinklers will give our citizens crucial time to escape,” says Chief James Clack. “Working smoke alarms only alert occupants to a fire, but residential sprinklers act quickly to control blazes before they become deadly.”

The City increased its funding for the fire department’s free smoke alarm program from $80,000 last year to $100,000 for the upcoming year. The smoke alarms installed by the fire department have lithium batteries that last 10 years. The fire department has installed more than 15,000 lithium battery smoke alarms as part of this program. Residents can request a smoke alarm for their home by calling a Smoke Detector Hotline number.

Agreement protects persons with disabilities

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) signed a Memorandum of Agreement to coordinate public efforts on preparedness, response, and recovery that incorporate “the community as a whole,” including persons with disabilities. FEMA works regularly with state and local officials and has a number of initiatives to ensure people with disabilities are integrated into all levels of disaster planning. NCIL is a member organization that works to advance independent living and supports the interests of people with disabilities.

Bills support firefighters and improve fire safety

Legislation signed into law in Illinois in July will benefit the state’s firefighters and improve safety for residents. Among them are the following:

House Bill 5139 bans the sale of novelty and toy lighters. Offenders will be charged with a petty offense and be fined up to $500.

House Bill 5285 increases an existing fee for serious traffic violations such as driving under the influence and excessive speeding. The fee, which supports the fire service, will increase from $20 to $35. Revenues support the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Fund, which helps local fire departments to purchase trucks, and the state’s Fire Prevention Fund, which supports the Illinois Fire Service Institute, Chicago (IL) Fire Department Training Programs, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

House Bill 5412 ensures that 2.5 percent of the Fire Prevention Fund will support the Cornerstone Regional Training Program, a grant program which provides firefighters with training in core skills.

Senate Bill 3722 provides expanded authority to the state fire marshal to assign temporary fire protection in unprotected areas within the state. Before this law, the state fire marshal could make assignments only in counties with a population of less than 500,000.

NFPA offers Certificate of Educational Achievement

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has introduced the NFPA 70E® Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® Certificate of Educational Achievement. Note: The certificate does not fulfill all requirements of NFPA 70E 110.6(D)(1) for “Qualified Person.” For general information, including purpose and limitations of the NFPA Certificate, go to www.NFPA.org/certificate (FAQs)/. Candidates would attend a three-day seminar that concludes with an exam.

During the first two days of the certificate program, the focus will be on applying NFPA 70E requirements in the workplace and the relationship between NFPA 70E and the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Among the topics covered will be the following: identifying the electrical safety hazards in the workplace, explanations of electric shock, protecting against arc flash and arc blast, safety policies and procedures employers are obligated to provide for workers, and how to maintain electrically safe work conditions. On the third day, students will engage in self-assessment and problem-solving exercises and then complete an open-book exam in which they will use and apply NFPA 70E.

Certificate participants will earn 1.8 continuing education units (CEUs), or 18 hours, for the three-day program. They will have the option to attend only the two-day seminar, for which they will earn 1.4 CEUs, or 14 hours.

Courses will be offered in a variety of locations including Quincy, Mass.; Secaucus, N.J.; Oak Brook, Ill.; and Cincinnati, Ohio. Call (800) 344-3555 (8:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday) to register, or register online at www.nfpalearn.org.

USFA releases residential fires topical reports

The U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) reports One- and Two-Family Residential Building Fires and Multifamily Residential Building Fires, developed by the USFA’s National Fire Data Center, present the causes and characteristics of fires in one- and two-family and multifamily residential buildings, respectively. One- and two-family residential buildings include detached dwellings, manufactured homes, mobile homes not in transit, and duplexes. Multifamily residential buildings consist of structures such as apartments, townhouses, row houses, condominiums, and other tenement properties.

According to the USFA, an estimated 253,500 fires occur each year in the United States in one- and two-family residential buildings. They cause 2,150 civilian fire deaths, 8,775 civilian fire injuries, and $5.3 billion in property loss annually. An estimated 108,400 fires occur in multifamily buildings each year, resulting in 450 deaths, 3,800 injuries, and $1.1 billion in property loss.

The reports, part of the Topical Fire Report Series, are based on data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System for 2005 to 2007. According to the reports, cooking is, by far, the leading cause of residential building fires in one- and two-family and multifamily residential buildings; heating is the second cause. The complete reports are available at www.usfa.com

FDA approves vaccines for the 2010-2011 influenza season

The vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the 2010-2011 influenza season in the United States offer protection against three strains of influenza, including the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, which caused the 2009 pandemic. This year only one vaccine is necessary.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between five and 20 percent of the U.S. population develops influenza each year, leading to more than 200,000 hospitalizations from related complications and about 36,000 deaths.

The brand names and manufacturers of the approved vaccines include the following: Afluria, CSL Limited; Agriflu, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics; Fluarix, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals; FluLaval, ID Biomedical Corporation; FluMist, MedImmune Vaccines Inc.; Fluvirin, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited; and Fluzone and Fluzone High-Dose, Sanofi Pasteur Inc. Vaccines for the 2010-2011 seasonal influenza contain the following strains:

  • A/California/7/09 (H1N1)-like virus [pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza virus].
  • A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus.
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

 

The CDC has published recommendations for annual influenza vaccination to include all people ages six months and older. The expanded recommendation is to take effect in the 2010-2011 influenza season. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which advises the CDC on vaccine issues, voted on the new recommendation during its February 24, 2010, meeting in Atlanta. Prior recommendations for seasonal influenza vaccination focused on the vaccination of persons at increased risk for complications from influenza including people with underlying health conditions, children six months through 18 years of age, and those with close contacts of high-risk persons, among others. The new recommendations can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr59e0729a1.htm/.

CFSI video promotes AFG and SAFER video

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) has prepared a video fire departments can use to help make local and state officials and federal legislators aware of the importance of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs to the fire service. Featuring prominent fire service leaders and firefighters from various fire service fields, the video highlights the benefits of the two programs—from enhancing the response capabilities for all types of emergencies to stimulating local economies through the manufacturing of equipment and apparatus. The video may be viewed at the CFSI Web site.

The six-minute video can be played during meetings with elected officials and their staff or mailed to congressional offices, CFSI suggests. To receive a copy of the video, send an e-mail request to CFSI at update@cfsi.org/. Include your name and mailing address. For more information about the CFSI, visit www.cfsi.org/.

NIOSH Releases Reports

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’ (CDC) National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released in June the following Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) reports:

  • 2008NY021: “Day laborer at boat dock drowns after falling into river”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/ny/08NY021.html/.
  • 2009CA005: “A maintenance worker dies when he falls into a baling machine that bales cardboard for recycling”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/ca/09ca005.html/.
  • 2009CA006: “Print machine operator is strangled when his shirt is caught on a rotating knob”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/ca/09CA006.html/.
  • 2009CA009: “Janitor dies when he falls into a baling machine that bales cardboard for recycling”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/ca/09CA009.html/.
  • 2007MA058: “Mechanic dies while changing a tire mounted on a multi-piece split rim wheel – Massachusetts”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/ma/07MA058.html/.
  • 2008MA1NF: “A cooperative placement 11th grade student was injured while operating a jointer in a millwork shop – Massachusetts”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/ma/08MA1NF.html/.
  • 2009MA020: “Municipal laborer dies after falling off the back of a forward moving refuse collection truck – Massachusetts”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/ma/09MA020.html/.
  • 2008MI134: “Farmer entangled in unguarded rotating motor drive-shaft on farm-modified ear-corn elevator”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/mi/08MI134.html/.
  • 2008MI169: “Air museum volunteer died from complications of a head injury sustained after falling from an aircraft tug”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/mi/08MI169.html/.
  • 2008NY067: “Contractor crushed against the cab of a dump truck by the dump body”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/ny/08NY067.html/.
  • 2000WA011: “Flagger fatally injured when struck by a car at a highway work zone in Washington State”; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/wa/00wa011.html/.

 

In August, the CDC’s NIOSH released the following Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation reports:

  • F2010-04: “Fire fighter suffers probable fatal cardiac arrhythmia during on-duty mandatory physical fitness training – North Carolina,” Dec 29, 2009;
    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face201004.html
  • F2009-31: “One fire fighter killed and eight fire fighters injured in a dumpster explosion at a foundry – Wisconsin,” Dec 29, 2009; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200931.html
  • F2009-30: “Career fire fighter/paramedic dies 2 days after being ejected during an ambulance rollover incident – Georgia,” Dec 26, 2009; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200930.html
  • F2009-17: “Fire fighter trainee suffers fatal exertional heat stroke during physical fitness training – Texas,” Apr 20, 2009; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200917.html/.

 

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