http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01538f7ed4b1970b-pi In June, NFPA released the third needs assessment of the U.S. fire service, following up on previous needs assessments we completed and released in 2001 and 2005. After the terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda in 2001, there was, at all levels of government, a new focus on improving the capabilities of America’s emergency responders.
By the time of the attacks, NFPA had already undertaken the first needs assessment with funding from the U.S. Fire Administration. So the conclusions of that study were timely for policy makers looking for benchmarks for fire departments in the immediate wake of 9/11. Since then, the federal government has instituted the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program to help departments meet some of their most pressing needs.
In recent years, significant progress has been made in several key areas. Much of the federal money has been used to help departments purchase personal protective and firefighting equipment. And there’s been an increased use of technology, including wider use of thermal imaging and greater Internet access by fire departments.