Monday, February 19, 2018

What is a company?

NFPA 1710 provides guidelines on the number of personnel required to staff a fire department. It further requires that these personnel be “organized into company units”. When we have our personnel, we then must organize them.  But what is a “company unit”?

I first learned of a fire company from the IFSTA Essentials of Firefighter, 4th edition. This basic fire academy curriculum defined a fire company as “the standard operating unit of a fire department...a group of firefighters assigned to a particular piece of apparatus or to a particular station. A company consists of a company officer, a driver/operator, and one or more firefighters.”

Essentials provides a great general definition. However, NFPA 1710, more clearly defines what a fire company is. A company is a group of fire department members who:
  1. Are under direct supervision of an officer
  2. Are trained and equipped to perform assigned tasks
  3. Operate with one piece of fire apparatus, or multiple apparatus assigned and dispatched together, and under control of a single fire officer
  4. Arrive at the incident scene on fire apparatus
These fire companies must be organized and identified. Companies are organized by task and are commonly identified as: 
  • Engine company
  • Ladder company
  • Rescue company
  • Squad company
  • Multi-functional company
Chapter 5 of NFPA 1710 defines the makeup of each of these company types. This section also requires that “each company shall be lead by an officer”. 

Engine Companies. Responsible to pump and deliver water, and perform basic firefighter functions.  Staffed with a minimum of four on-duty personnel. More personnel may be required based on call volume or high hazard target areas, up to six on-duty personnel.

Ladder Companies. Responsible for forcible entry, ventilation, search and rescue, overhaul and salvage, and a variety of other truck work. Staffed with a minimum of four on-duty personnel. More personnel may be required based on call volume or high hazard target areas, up to six on-duty personnel.

Other Companies. Provide specialized equipment and apparatus to assist engine and ladder companies. These are provided and staffed in accordance with the risk/hazard analysis as required by the AHJ and department SOP’s.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

International Aircraft System Fire Protection Working Group

The International Aircraft System Fire Protection Working Group was originally formed to develop minimum performance standards and test methodologies for non halon aircraft fire suppression agents/systems in cargo compartments, engine nacelles, hand held extinguishers, and lavatory trash receptacles. The groups focus has been expanded to include all system fire protection R&D for aircraft.

Their most recent meeting was held in Atlantic City in November 2017. All of the presentations are available from the working groups website. The below sampling are five that I found valuable.
  1. Improvements in Aircraft Fire Detection
  2. SAE: Fire Containment Covers and Fire Resistant Containers
  3. Research Into Fire, Smoke, or Fumes Occurrences on Transport Planes
  4. Engine Nacelle Halon Replacement - Reconsidering CO2 
  5. High Energy Fire and Cabin Safety Risk Management

Monday, February 12, 2018

NFPA 101 Code Changes for Aviation Facilities

The new editions of any code or standard often bring significant changes. The 2018 edition of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code has several changes to life safety at aviation facilities. Though there were multiple text deletions and revisions, there were several instance in which new material was added. Listed below, are the most significant revisions that may require action or operational changes.

  • Terminology changed from “air traffic control tower” to “airport traffic control tower” (11.3.4)
  • Language changed to clarify permissible uses of tower accessory levels. Language now clearly states, “uses that support tower operations”. (
  • Added two additional requirements for allowance of a single exit (
    • Fire alarm system is required in accordance with 9.6
    • Smokeproof enclosures are to be provided in accordance with 7.2.3
  • New requirement has been added for the provision of an emergency command center (
    • Only applies to towers having an occupiable story 75’ above the lowest level of fire department access
    • Provides a list of items and control functions that are to be located within and controllable from the emergency command center
  • New requirement has been added for the development and provision of an Emergency Action Plan.
    • The EAP should be developed and written in accordance with the guidance of NFPA 101:4.8.
    • Annual fire drills for tower employees are required.
    • Tower employees are to receive annual training on the emergency action plan

Two other sections of the Life Safety Code specifically apply to aircraft storage and servicing areas.  These are Chapter 40, Industrial Occupancies and Chapter 42, Storage Occupancies.  While their are no changes to the aviation specific sections of these chapters the chapters, as a whole, do have a few changes that should be observed.

  • During construction, alteration, or demolition operations the requirements of NFPA 241 must be met. Sections 101: and 101: provide a directional pointer to this standard as referenced in NFPA 101:
  • If hazardous materials are used the additional egress requirements of NFPA 101:7.12.2 must be met. (;
  • Integrated testing is required in accordance with NFPA 101:9.11.4, which points to NFPA 4. (40.7.4; 42.9.4)

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Church Facility Management Solutions

Of the nearly 350,000 church facilities in America only a small fraction have a full-time skilled facility manager.  Even less have proactive plans or tools for maintenance and management. To remedy this situation, Tim Cool, founder of Cool Solutions Group, has created Church Facility Management Solutions. This is a community of church facility practitioners, professionals, volunteers, paid staff, pastors, deacons, trustees and nearly every type of church personnel. 

Church Facility Management Solutions is an online membership community.  Member benefits include:

  1. Weekly Information sent directly to you to help you be proactive and intentional with the care of your facility.
  2. Online Community so that you can get input and feedback from hundreds of other church and facility leaders.
  3. Monthly Webinars by industry professionals to provide relevant information and resources for your church facility management.
  4. Vetted Vendors have a list of qualified vendors at your fingertips with the assurance that they have been pre-qualified by our team…and they do not pay to be on this list!
  5. Free Resources will be developed and made available to members including worksheet, forms, policy docs, job descriptions, and more! 
  6. Availability to Consulting and Training Services.

Church Facility Management Solutions is committed to providing the best and most timely information to church facility stewards across the nation, and is THE resource for your intentional facility stewardship.