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Working Fire: Preventing the red stuff

Preventing the red stuff

December 7, 2007 
By Harold Harvey

haroldharveyIt has been said that if we do too much fire prevention we soon will be out of our jobs. Having been in the fire service since the 1970s, seen and worked with fire prevention programs that have won honours from the National Fire Protection Association and served on committees promoting the use of smoke detectors and sprinkler systems, I can assure you that there will be no shortage of jobs for fire fighters!

Remember experiencing a similar feeling once the Cold War was ended in the late 1980s and the Berlin Wall came down, the military had perhaps the same feeling as we do now but along came the problems associated with rebuilding a new world, without the threat of the Soviet Union.

With architects and engineers designing structures that lack built-in fire protection features combined with the work of plumbers and roofers we can rest assured that fires will continue to happen and personnel will continue to be active.

We must not be pessimistic, however, as certain programs have been successful in reducing loss of life due to fire. An obvious example is the reduction of civilian deaths following the introduction of smoke detectors.


Deaths do occur, however, and in most cases faulty or absent detectors prevented early warning for the occupants.

Of course a properly installed detection device or system will not prevent loss of life unless the fire people are ready to train the civilians on how to react once the alarm sounds.

Improvements have been made in the devices in an attempt to prevent false activation. And the market abounds with the newest types hoping to increase confidence. The fire service hopes the same but will continue to stand by to respond to the fires when they are reported.

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