A Prevention Primer

In these economic times it seems that fire prevention is getting the short end of the stick. With vacant properties, stripped businesses, and neglected utilities and systems it is in these very circumstances that fire prevention is more needed than ever

In his article, "Preemptive Strike" (Fire Chief, May 2011), Gerald Hughes describes the purpose of fire prevention and how fire prevention interrelates to the day-to-day operations of the entire fire organization.  Utilizing the well-known fire triangle, Hughes inserts three points of prevention and how they can break up that fire triangle called, the Fire Prevention Triangle.

1.  Engineering Principles - What is fire? How does the fire triangle work?
     1.  Active suppression - onsite equipment that suppresses/extinguishes fire
     2.  Passive resistance - structural elements created to separate occupants from fire
     3.  Early detection - installed systems that provide advance warning of fire

2.  Human Responsibility  -  support of fire prevention and firefighting
     1.  Fire inspections - to determine compliance with fire codes, and create pre-plans
     2.  Code enforcement - to enforce the correction of violations
     3.  Firefighting - to suppress fires, and investigate to determine cause and origin

3.  Fire Safety Education - center of an effective fire prevention program
     1.  Public education - disseminates fire/life safety messages to the public, creates awareness
     2.  Training - technical training providing fire inspectors with the skills needed for effective job performance

Hughes closes his article with this, "Fire departments are being asked to do more with less these days and fire chiefs are charged with the responsibility to provide fire protection in a fiscally responsible manner. Remaining open to new possibilities is a good way to move forward in an economy that has many of us standing still."