Fire's Impact

When it comes to the issue of fire prevention, business owners fall into one of two categories.  There are the business owners who think that fire prevention/inspection/systems are unnecessary, a waste of money, and of little or no value ("after all we've been in business for ____ years, and never have had an incident"); and there are the business owners that desire the fire marshal's presence, they place a high value on fire/life safety processes/inspections/systems. 

What makes the difference? The bottom line is, education.  The accepting business owner knows that the following five fire impacts will cost much more later, than the cost of fire prevention now.

The 5 Impacts of Fire
  1. Economic Impact - higher insurance premiums, loss of jobs/income, loss of home/business, loss of investments, medical costs
  2. Organizational Impact - low employee morale (due to feelings of inadequacy, or that the company "just doesn't care"), recruitment/turnover (employees leave, hard to recruit new), cost
  3. Legal Impact - civil litigation (for monetary loss, injury, death, failur to comply with fire codes), substantial financial costs and lost time
  4. Psychological Impact - traumatic experience (for those injured, witnesses, family/friends, community-at-large)
  5. Political Impact - reduction in tax base, loss of property 'units', increase in insurance rates, abandoned buildings, derelict neighborhoods
Fire prevention is about a lot more than just an inspector showing up to get some money, or cost the business money, or go on a power trip.  Fire prevention is by and large in the business of ensuring the continued success and longevity of businesses in the community.

These 5 Fire Impacts provided by the United States Fire Administration.

Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse

This guest post provided by Roy Poteete.  Roy blogs about business safety issues and fire department issues. Check out his blog at

WOW! Stage Collapse, High Winds, Thunderstorms bearing down on your location with tens of thousands in attendance waiting for a concert in an outdoor arena. Minutes prior to the incident happening you contact the National Weather Service and you are advised that HIGH WINDS in excess of 60 +/- and thunderstorms bearing down on your location! You want to continue with the concert with a stage canopy about 60 feet in the air that will act as a Kite by catching the winds and could topple on the stage causing injuries and deaths. Concert Promoter/State Fair Organizer > How are you prepared to handle this situation and did you do everything correctly to prevent this incident from happening?

If I was a personal injury lawyer this is what I would ask of the fair organizer and concert promoter.

Well the answer is NO!

NO to all the questions that you could possibly ask regarding public safety with high winds, rain, thunderstorms and possible lightening. The concert promoter stated to State Police Investigators stated that they contacted the national weather service about 15 minutes prior to the winds collapsing the stage super structure killing several and injuring other. They were told that the storm was in the are and high winds of 60 +/- mph.

Ask yourself > If I allow this to go on with the threat of the weather and person being close to the stage and a possible death and or injuries what are my ramifications and what will my potential OSHA Fines be?

Ask yourself > I did get the super structure inspected to make sure that it will not topple in high winds or do I need to ask to some of the super structure to removed to protect life, and property?

What lessons can be learned for this incident? In any mass casualty incident(s) there is always lessons that can be learned for them. New lessons will come from this up to and including the way the State Fair is ran regarding Outdoor Concerts/Sporting Events, mass casualty and maybe even having Fire/EMS on standby at all events so the the response time is limited to less then a minute.

I do believe that even if Fire and EMS was on the scene prior to the incident happening and staged away from the stage that some of the deaths might of been serious injuries instead of deaths.

More on this I am sure to be posted by the State Fire Marshall's Office & State Police of Indiana, and OSHA.

OSHA > will investigate any deaths of this type and they will impose a final ruling and can include a penalty/fine. 

Critical Questions

From the Global Leadership Summit:

5 Critical Challenge Questions for Leaders (Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church)

1. What is your current challenge level at work?

All people fall into one of the three categories above. The under challenged do not have enough interesting work to keep them engaged. They are not provided with enough work to do. The under challenged usually leave organizations for a more challenging position. The appropriately challenged usually have just the right amount of work and task to accomplish. However, they are not being stretched and are only maintaining, not creating. The dangerously over-challenged are working themselves to death, often at a high cost to themselves and those around them.

Most employees fall into the upper under challenged/lower appropriately challenged area (see yellow box). People's best work is accomplished when they are working/functioning in the lower third of the dangerously over-challenged level (see red box).

As leaders - are those who work under you being challenged enough? What can you do to bring them up (or down) to the appropriate challenge level?

As employees - what are you doing for yourself? It is your responsibility to get yourself to the appropriate challenge level. If under challenged, create something new, start an initiative, launch a new venture, etc. If over-challenged, get help.

2. What is your plan for dealing with challenging people?

The Line Exercise

As a leader, how long do you tolerate bad attitudes?

As a leader, how long do you tolerate poor performance?

As a leader, how do you tolerate a good/loyal/hardworking employee when the organization outgrows the employees capacity?

Your organization should have a plan, and the plan should be followed, in order to effectively deal with these challenging people.

3. Are you naming, facing, and resolving problems in the organization?

When issues and problems arise, are you identifying them as such, or are you calling them something else besides problems? Call the issue/problem what it is, do not try to run or hide from it, face the problem and resolve it.

4. When was the last time you re-examined the core of your organizations purpose?

Do you remember why you do the work you do? Do you know what your organization exists for?

List five things that your organization is about (without using terms associated with your industry). Working through this exercise, will help bring you back to the core purpose of your organization.

5. When was the last time your leadership bell was rung?

What was the last book you read, or conference that you attended, or interaction with other leaders that you had that made you see something new, or gain a new view of your leadership? If your leadership is lagging, perhaps it is time to seek out a "bell ringing" opportunity.

High Cost of Non-Compliance, Nashville, Indiana

Read other accounts of the high cost of non-compliance.

NASHVILLE, Ind. -- A judge has decided that the owners of a southern Indiana concert hall destroyed in an arson nearly two years ago aren't owed any insurance money because they didn't properly maintain the sprinkler system.

Brown County Judge Judith Stewart ruled that the insurance company had no obligation to pay for the $3 million fire at the Little Nashville Opry.

The Herald-Times of Bloomington reported the concert hall had received a nearly $10,500 insurance payment in 2006 to repair frozen pipes, but instead disconnected pipes to the sprinkler system.

The September 2009 fire leveled the 2,000-seat hall near Nashville that had hosted many of country music's most famous acts since it opened in 1975.

"That's a shame because it really was good for the town and it brought big name music people to town, which drew a crowd, and that's what we survive off of here is numbers and people," said resident Alan Everroad.

"I work in one of the stores and we see the difference. We used to have buses come to stay here. Now we don't have that anymore," said Irene Lecy.

The ruling also makes it very unlikely that hundreds of people who bought tickets to future shows will get their money back.

"I think with the Opry situation, the thing that's most disappointing for us is that people don't get their ticket refunds back," said Jane Ellis, executive director of the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It's been a hard situation for us because people call wanting their money back and there isn't anything we can do for it."

No charges have been filed in connection with the fire.

Article from

Global Leadership Summit 2011

This past week I had the opportunity to take part in the Willow Creek Association's Global Leadership Summit.  Each year the GLS brings together an amazing faculty of spiritual, business, and political leaders to share what they have learned about leadership with others.  This years Summit featured:
  • Bill Hybels, Founding/Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
  • Len Schlessinger, President, Babson College; Action Trumps Everything
  • Hon. Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
  • Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter Mcneil, Speaker, Thought leader
  • Seth Godin, Author, Marketing Blogger, Poke the Box
  • Steven Furtick, Lead Pastor, Elevation Church
  • Mama Maggie Gobran, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Founder of Stephen's Children Ministry
  • Michelle Rhee, Fmr. Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, Founder of
  • Dr. Henry Cloud, Psychologist, Author, Necessary Endings
  • John Dickson, Director at the Centre for Public Christianity, Humilitas
  • Patrick Lencioni, The Table Group, Getting Naked
  • Erwin McManus, Activist, Filmmaker, Founder of Mosaic, Chasing Daylight
This was an amazing experience, and an awesome opportunity to hear from these leading experts on thought and leadership!

One of my passions is to equip other people to be great; I love to pass on valuable information that more than just me can benefit from, to that end, the next few blog posts will feature some of my Evernote notes from this event. 

If you attended, what are some things that you took away from this event?

Ian Morgan Cron

I am never gravitate toward the memoir style book. However, Michael Hyatt, Chairman of Thomas Nelson publishers, in his blog, stated that Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: a Memoir...of Sorts by Ian Morgan Cron  was the best book he has read all year.  BAsed on this recommendation I had to read this book.

I was not disappointed.  Ian Cron is a gifted writer, the words on the page flowed seamlessly in an almost poetic manner.  Ian chronicle his life, or the way he perceived it to be, starting with his dad's funeral and then going back to the time of his childhood.  He bares his heart when talking about his alcoholic father, that seemed to be barely present in his life, even when he was home.  He shares his experiences, feelings, and thoughts from what it was like to be raised Catholic.  He delves into his years long battle, and seemingly constant struggle with alcoholism. He ends the book sharing his joys of being a father, and a person that has experienced true freedom in Christ!

You can read his blog at

Mimeo Level of Service

The July/August edition of Inc. magazine contains an article entitled No Time To Spare.  This article describes the operations of a printing company called, Mimeo.

"It was already late afternoon when the call came in...a client needed 250 financial analyst presentations...printed and delivered to a conference in Houston by 8 a.m. the next day. The problem: The content for the books wasn't ready yet. And the client wouldn't be able to send the information until 11 p.m.

When it became clear that the order wouldn't be done in time for FedEx's cutoff for overnight delivery, Mimeo's employees scrambled to book a private plane...Mimeo's employees worked into the night, printing and assembling the books. At 2 a.m., they drove the boxes of books to an airport in Memphis and loaded them onto the plane, which landed in Houston with just two hours to spare."

One may expect this from a small company trying to get the big client, or maybe a once in a business occurrence, but for Mimeo, this is normal operating procedures.  Customer service is king.  The client is happy to pay extra for this service, and Mimeo is happy to do this (even sometimes taking a loss for this type of service).

The fire service should strive for this mind set.  How can we best serve the community?  Perhaps, if we went above and beyond more often, operated outside of our normal job descriptions, the communities we serve may not fight so hard to cut our budgets and benefits.  Perhaps, they would even be happy to pay a little (or a lot?) extra for "all we do".