By Peter Sells
April 2, 2008
First of all, some statistics recently released by the U.S. Fire Administration reflect very favourably on residential sprinklers.
By Peter Sells
Studies conducted by USFA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have concluded that:
• When fire sprinklers alone are installed in a residence, the chances of dying in a fire are reduced by 69 per cent when compared to a residence without sprinklers;
• When smoke alarms alone are installed in a residence, a reduction in the death rate of 63 per cent can be expected, when compared to a residence without smoke alarms.
• When both smoke alarms and fire sprinklers are present in a home, the risk of dying in a fire is reduced by 82 per cent, when compared to a residence without either.
So, in non-statistical terms, it’s a good idea to have smoke alarms in your residence (especially if they are operational). It’s an even better idea to have sprinklers installed in your residence. And it’s a grrrrrrrrrreat idea to have smoke alarms AND sprinklers installed in your residence.
News flash for you – early detection, early warning and early suppression will increase your chance of survival and reduce damage at the same time.
Apparently putting water on a fire when it is small is a good idea (who knew?).
More details at the USFA site www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/focus/index.shtm
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It’s a small world after all . . .
There was a big fire last week that you may not have heard about. It seems that a warehouse owner was illegally storing large quantities of smuggled fireworks, which allowed a small industrial fire to get real big real fast.
The warehouse was destroyed along with several neighbouring properties. At least three people were killed in the initial explosions, with two people missing at last report and dozens injured. Damage estimates are in the hundreds of millions. Firefighters from five cities were involved in the operation. You haven’t heard about this incident because we generally focus our attention close to home. This fire was in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. So, why am I bringing this up on a Canadian website? Two of the first officers on the scene of this fire, captains Othman Ahli and Abdul Rahman Bel Shalat, were trained in Canada 10 years ago. They, along with all 10 of their former classmates, took part in the direction of a large team of responders from multiple agencies, which, ultimately, was successful in bringing the incident to a safe conclusion. No injuries or fatalities were reported other than those associated with the initial stages of the fire.
Looking at fire incidents and responses from around the globe is always of value. This incident involved problems with securing an adequate water supply in the initial stages, which could easily be the case for a similarly sized incident right here. Teamwork and co-operation among the different agencies was cited as a critical factor in the success of this operation, just as it would be here.
But the main reason I wanted to tell you about this was to remind you that every class we teach, every building we inspect and every textbook chapter that we write has the potential for positive impact in terms of firefighter and public safety. That impact may not manifest itself locally, or may never be known to you, but the potential is there in the good work you do.
Keep it up.