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147 Posts authored by: mikehazell Employee

A - Sam hoffman fin #394919 (2)by NFPA's Lisa Braxton

The public education division of NFPA is accepting applications for the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award, which includes a $1,000 honorarium for the recipient, travel to the NFPA annual conference for an award presentation, and a $1,000 donation to the local fire department to support public education activities.

I talked with our current Educator of the Year, Samantha Hoffmann, public fire and life safety officer for Barrie Fire and Emergency Service, Barrie Ontario, about what the award has meant to her.

LB: What has happened for you since winning the award?

SH: Being named Educator of the Year has definitely elevated my profile in both my department and community. Receiving this award helped to build my credibility. I have been contacted by numerous departments and companies across Canada and have been asked to join different boards, panels and organizations, which has allowed me to share my experiences and knowledge and promote educational messaging. 

LB: What has the award done for your fire department?

SH: Aside from the bonus of the $1000 donation to support public education activities, the broader benefit to the department is that we have been give more freedom corporately.  It has given us positive public relations, heightened exposure in the community, and helped strengthen our public messaging. 

LB: How did it feel to walk across the stage at the NFPA conference to receive the award?

SH: I found it humbling. Since I have been in the fire service and fire safety field for so many years, I am well aware of the number of excellent fire safety educators we have in Canada, let alone North America. 

LB: Why is this award important?

SH: It  helps to reinforce program direction, recognizes the talent and hard work of the entire department, motivates educators to look at their programs and compare them to best practices, and provides public relations opportunities and value.

The application deadline for the NFPA Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award is February 20, 2015.

Take a quick glimpse into the life of smokejumping...


Read more here….

 -Ryan Depew


Welcome to the second News Letter from Surrey Fire & Rescue Service. It has been especially busy over the last few weeks with Firewise meetings and presentations and other Wildfire related projects here in Surrey in the UK.

At the end of July, Area Commander Alan Clark and Watch Commander Dave Medley visited the Peak District In Derbyshire. Alan was a guest speaker at the MoorLIFE launch of their new project “Be Fire Aware” & Wildfire Awareness day, an exciting new prevention/ education initiative The visit was a great success with the chance to network with other Fire & Rescue Services and other agencies and to inform them of our work with regards producing a Fire Adapted Community here in the UK.

In the middle of August, a further meeting was held by Dave and Alan with the Thursley Parish Councillors who unanimously gave the go ahead for Thursley Village here in Surrey to become the first Firewise Community not only in Surrey but in the whole of the UK. Dave is now working closely with the councillors to identify the properties most at risk from wildfire in the village and surrounding areas. In October there will be an event in Thursley to promote the Firewise programme to the local residents and we are hoping to attract substantial media attention for the event. It goes without saying that it is the local communities ‘buy in’ that we need and – whilst early indications are good – we are taking nothing for granted!

Alan had a request from Cat Edgely, who is currently studying for a Masters at Durham University (focusing on identifying and communicating wildfire risk within Northumberland National Park), to be involved in the Firewise launch in Surrey / the UK. She attended the Thursley Firewise meeting and gathered a lot of information that she hopes will help her realise her dream to be offered a fully funded PhD at the University of Idaho in the States, looking at community resilience and wildfires. She is looking to compare and contrast the US and the UK's community approaches to Firewise and the lessons we can learn from its application in the UK. During her visit, Dave took her to the local fire stations to see the Wildfire appliances utilised at Wildfire incidents to help make her trip memorable.

Dave is also part of ongoing Wildfire Patrols here in Surrey where once a month he meets up with other agencies to carry out “High Viz” patrols in specific areas known for fire setting. These areas include Common Land, Forestry Commission and Crown Estates properties. These patrols are carried out jointly with the Heath land Conservation Society, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Crown Estates, Bracknell Forest Rangers and both Surrey and Thames Valley Police Forces. 4x4 vehicles are used during the patrols and engagement and educating the public about the threat of Wildfires plays a prominent role.


Lastly – and most importantly - we are looking forward to a Firewise workshop in September with Shawn Stokes, in London, and hoping to confirm shortly an October visit by Michelle Steinberg to Surrey. We will be looking to make full use of Michelle’s time and expertise to help us develop further the Firewise materials for the UK and hope that the trip will provide her with the opportunity to deliver a presentation to the wider CFOA Wildfire group.

-Ryan Depew

NFPA and Domino’s Pizza are teaming up for the 7th year to deliver fire safety messages and pizza during FPW, October 5-11, 2014. To continue the campaign's success, we’re encouraging fire departments to join forces with their local Domino’s Pizza store and implement the program in their communities. Domino's logo

Here’s how it works: Over a one- to two-day period (it’s up to each team to decide) for an hour each day, anyone who orders a Domino’s pizza may be randomly selected to receive a surprise visit from Domino’s and the local fire department. Upon arrival, firefighters will do a smoke alarm check in the home. If the smoke alarms are working, the pizza is free. If not, firefighters will replace the batteries or install a fully functioning alarm.

Fire departments that sign up to participate in the Domino’s program this month will automatically be entered into Domino’s FPW sweepstakes. Five randomly selected winners will receive NFPA’s “FPW-in-a-Box 300”, which includes:

  • 1 FPW Banner
  • 75 FPW Posters
  • 300 Adult FPW Brochures
  • 300 Kids FPW Brochures
  • 300 FPW Stickers
  • 300 FPW Magnets
  • 300 Copies of FPW NEws
  • 300 FPW Bags

To enter the sweepstakes, complete the FPW/Domino's form and email it to between July 16 andJuly 31. The winners will be drawn and announced on August 8. Good luck!

9821975DC73B4A2EA255FC20D0FFBFB6.ashxIn 2013, 97 firefighters died while on duty in the United States, a sharp increase over recent years due primarily to the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona, which claimed the lives of 19 wildland firefighters, and the explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas that killed nine firefighters, an EMT, and five local residents. Of the 97 men and women who died last year, 56 succumbed while operating on the fire ground. According to the 2013 NFPA report on firefifighter fatalities, this is the highest number of fire ground deaths since 1999, aside from the deaths at the World Trade Center in 2001.

Overexertion, stress, and medical issues accounted for 32 deaths, the largest share of firefighter fatalities last year. The second leading cause of fatal injury was being caught or trapped by rapid fire progress, including flashover, and explosions. These events resulted in 30 deaths.The firefighters who died last year ranged in age from 19 to 76, with a median age of 40. However, a much higher number of younger firefighters died in 2013 than in other years, mostly as a result of the Yarnell Hill Fire, which killed 19 firefighters, 15 of whom were between the ages of 21 and 30.

For more information on the firefighter deaths of 2013, read "Firefighter Fatalities in the United States, 2013" in the latest issue of NFPA Journal. You may also read the full report, as well as case studies of the fatalities, online. 

Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

!|src=|alt=Two Boston firefighters killed|width=179|title=Two Boston firefighters killed|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a73d9af5b2970d img-responsive!

Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy (left) and Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh (right) were killed in Boston on Wednesday. Photo:

Two firefighters who died in a Boston townhouse blaze on Wednesday are being hailed as heroes. Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy were among the crews fighting a fire in a four-story townhouse in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood.

“In 30 years I’ve never seen a fire travel that fast, escalate that quickly, and create such havoc in such a short period of time,” Boston Deputy Chief Joseph Finn tells The Boston Herald. “The wind was blowing in off the Charles (River), it drove the fire and combustibles and everything with it to the front of the building where two members of Engine 33 were assigned trying to make headway on the fire.”


Related: NFPA's "Firefighter Fatalities in the United States" report.

[The Boston Herald |] reports that the firefighters issued a mayday call just minutes after they rushed into the building's basement. Deputy Chief Finn said he believes a window in the front of the building shattered and the wind pushed the fire toward them.

In 1972, Boston experienced its worst firefighter loss just a few blocks from yesterday's fatal blaze. The Hotel Vendome fire killed nine Boston firefighters; a memorial near the site of that fire commemorates the loss.


The Technical Committee on Forest and Rural Fire Protection (FRU-AAA) submitted a request to the NFPA Standards Council at its October 2013 meeting to reorganize into two new technical committees with more well-defined scopes.  The proposed committees would separate the current document workload, increase the number of wildland fire protection experts involved, and increase the capacity for the committees to take on new projects.  The NFPA Standards Council approved the proposed reorganization of FRU-AAA at its quarterly meeting just this past week in San Juan, PR.  NFPA is currently seeking members to develop balanced rosters for the two new committees.  The application deadline for the development of the new committee rosters is May 12, 2014.  These rosters will be submitted for approval at the August 2014 meeting of the NFPA Standards Council.  Please take a look at the details below, and submit an application online to the committee, or committees, of your expertise. 

The Technical Committee titles below contain links where applications can be submitted online.  The approved reorganization of FRU-AAA will result in the following new committees and corresponding document assignments:


Technical Committee on Wildland and Rural Fire Protection

Scope:  This committee shall have the primary responsibility for documents on fire protection in wildland, rural, and suburban areas.


• NFPA 1141, Standard for Fire Protection Infrastructure for Land Development in Wildland, Rural, and Suburban Areas

• NFPA 1142, Standard for Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Firefighting

• NFPA 1144, Standard for Reducing Structure Ignition Hazards from Wildland Fire


Technical Committee on Wildland Fire Management

Scope:  This committee shall have the primary responsibility for documents on wildland fire management.


• NFPA 1143, Standard for Wildland Fire Management

• NFPA 1145, Guide for the Use of Class A Foams in Manual Structural Fire Fighting

-Ryan Depew

NFPA News appStay connected with NFPA wherever you go! Our NFPA News mobile app, available for donwloading from both iTunes and Google Play, provides the latest happening in the fire, electrical and life safety industry. This application allows users to access all of the breaking news, code developments, public safety, social media updates, and multimedia in one easy to use to package.

“We created this app as a way to provide useful information and updates that will contribute to fire safety at every level,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “The app is a great source for safety information and serves as a quick reference guide for anyone dealing with fire, electrical and life safety codes and standards.”  

The free NFPA News mobile app provides instantly updated news releases, fire prevention research, blogs, videos, social media posts, and links to journal articles at your fingertips.

Bob Mutch, long-time forest fire researcher and fire management expert,says the fire community and interface leaders are failing to communicate to policy-makers and interface residents about the enactment of unsustainable fire policies that are producing catastrophic outcomes. But are we making any progress at all?


Watch this video on YouTube.

Read more about Mr. Mutch's presentation at Backyards & Beyond.

!|src=|alt=Bob Mutch|style=width: 450px;|title=Bob Mutch|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b01325816970c!

Bob Mutch (right) speaks with attendees after his presentation at NFPA's Backyards & Beyond conference.


“We are failing miserably to tell our story,” said Bob Mutch, long-time forest fire researcher and fire management expert, during today’s featured presentation at NFPA’s Backyards & Beyond conference in Salt Lake City.

Mr. Mutch, retired from a 38-year career with the U.S. Forest Service, said the fire community and interface leaders are failing to communicate to policy-makers and interface residents about the enactment of unsustainable fire policies that are producing catastrophic outcomes.

He was referring to fire bans and the practice of quickly responding to every fire in an effort to keep them from raging out of control. Mr. Mutch said this policy leads to long-term harm to forest ecosystems and primes our forests for even more destructive fires in the future.

“These policies fly in the face of 50 years of fire research that tells us that it makes no sense to try to keep fire out of systems that are inevitably going to burn,” he said. “I am not here to point fingers, but we have to realize  that together, we have a responsibility to tell our story better, more clearly, and more completely, so that those who need to know get it”.

How can we better frame our stories? Mr. Mutch suggests conducting after action reviews (AAR) on fire ban policies (in particular, the May 25, 2012, "fire ban edict" from the U.S. Forest Service) and taking to heart the lessons learned.  “We also need to heed the call for outside review of sustainable fire policy issues and take advantage of the strength of interagency partnerships,” he said, because if we don’t provide the facts, “others will rush in and fill the vacuum.”


Mr. Mutch dedicated his presentation to the memory of Anne Veseth, a 20-year-old wildland firefighter from Idaho who died while battling a 43-acre wildfire, as well as to the 19 members of Arizona’s Granite Mountain hotshot team who died last June in or near their shelters while on assignment.&#0160;</p>

Carole Walker is executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, Speaking at NFPA's Backyards and Beyond conference, she said homeowners need to protect their property and finances because the unthinkable can happen. "When you lose your home, I can tell you that the first thing you think about is your insurance. But then it's too late. This is our opportunity to tell people, before it happens again, at least on an annual basis, to review your coverages, make sure you have enough insurance to rebuild or repair your home in today's dollars." Read more about the insurer's perspective on wildland fires.


Watch this video on YouTube.

Dr. Stephen Pyne from the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, specializes in environmental history and the history of fire. In his presentation at NFPA's Backyards & Beyond conference, he offered his perspective on what wildland fires over the past 100+ years have taught us, how our national approach has changed, and what lies ahead. Dr. Pyne said three approaches are at play: regressive (a revival of the suppression-centric mindset); proactive (modifying landscapes to create more fire resilient communities); and reactive (the “is what it is” mindset, just dealing with fires as they happen). Read more about Dr. Pyne's presentation at this conference.


Watch this video on YouTube.

!|src=|alt=Panel|style=width: 450px;|title=Panel|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b01277b2d970b!

Linda Masterson, Carole Walker, and NFPA's Michele Steinberg talk about the insurer's perspective on wildland fires.


Why do homeowners prepare for – or not prepare for – the possibility of wildfire destroying their home and property? During a panel session at NFPA’s Backyards &amp; Beyond conference in Salt Lake City, moderated by NFPA’s Michele Steinberg, presenters talked about the insurer’s perspective and how homeowner loss mitigation actions actually matter when it comes to their overall ability to survive and recover from the impact of a wildfire.


Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association , said her key message to homeowners is to think about and plan for their insurance coverage before an incident occurs.

“It needs to be part of your overall fire protection planning process,” she said. “You need to make sure you are financially prepared if the unthinkable happens." She suggested reviewing your insurance policy on a yearly basis and determining what it would cost to replace or repair your home in today’s dollars.


* !|src=|alt=Surviving Wildfire|style=width: 150px; margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px; border: 1px solid #000000;|title=Surviving Wildfire|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b012789d0970b!Linda Masterson* and her husband learned the hard way. They lost their home and 72-acre tree farm during a Colorado wildfire in 2011. “We were more prepared than most, but nowhere near as prepared as we could or should have been,” she said. She details her story in a book, &quot;Surviving a Wildfire: Get Prepared, Stay Alive, Rebuild Your Life&quot;.

“We started building our house in 1998 and moved into it in 2000. Outreach efforts to inform the public about wildfire risks were really just getting started. During the entire building process, no one – not the architect and not the builder – ever said anything about mitigation issues. Today, it’s different. There is so much available information, and the challenge is to find a way to funnel it down into something that’s actionable.”

“I saw a banner here at this conference that said ‘Your Home Doesn’t Have to Burn’, and I think that message is so powerful,” said Ms. Masterson. “In order to get through to people about the importance of mitigation and the value of understanding their home insurance policies, they have to first believe that what they do can make a difference.”

Ms. Walker agreed. “In order to make a difference, you need to get consumer buy-in. Homeowners have to understand why we ask them to review their insurance coverage, to invest in mitigation efforts, and to keep up with the latest building code upgrades.” She showed clips of a video public service campaign called “Wildfire Ready” that was designed to help educate Colorado citizens about steps they could take to be prepared for wildfire.


The panelists said one of the most valuable things homeowners can do is to conduct a comprehensive inventory of their home and their belongings. It can be as simple as doing a walk-through of your home with a video camera to capture details. “Technology can make it easy to conduct your inventory,” said Carole. “More and more insurance companies offer mobile apps to help with the process.” They also referenced a website that walks homeowners through the inventory process and stores the information on a remote site.</p>

PYNE Big Blowup

The Great Fires of 1910, also known as “The Big Blowup” were a formative trauma for the American wildland fire community. These fires, scattered over six distinct areas in the northern Rocky Mountains, burned more than 3 million acres, killed 78 firefighters, and launched a national debate about fire policy.

Dr. Stephen Pyne, a professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, specializes in environmental history and the history of fire. In his presentation at NFPA’s Backyards & Beyond conference in Salt Lake City, he took the opportunity of the recent centennial of the 1910 events to offer his perspective on what the Big Blowup meant – both back more than 100 years, and what we’ve learned, how we’ve changed, and where we might go next.

Stephen Pyne
Dr. Stephen Pyne of Arizona State University

Dr. Pyne, who spent 15 seasons as a wildland firefighter at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. said the 1910 fires pushed the U.S. Forest Service into a singular strategy of suppression for more than five decades. He said the fire community spent all of their efforts trying to take fire out of the landscape.

Then in the early 1960s, a new approach evolved that argued against all-suppression policies and focused on forest restoration and the healthy, natural benefits of wildland fire.

“Certainly politics were a contributing factor, but it was mostly a change in attitude,” said Dr. Pyne. “People wanted to live on that land and they knew they needed to learn how to related to fire in a different way.”

So how is America coping with fire in the wildlands today? Dr. Pyne said three approaches are at play: regressive (a revival of the suppression-centric mindset); proactive (modifying landscapes to create more fire resilient communities); and reactive (the “is what it is” mindset, just dealing with fires as they happen).

“All three approaches are at play, and we don’t know how it will all be sorted out,” said Dr. Pyne, “but it seems we are defaulting to the reactive strategy, which is most economical and safer for firefighters, but it going to produce a lot more burned areas.”

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