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The fire service and other emergency responders serve an important societal role by saving lives, reducing injuries and minimizing the adverse impact from unwanted fire and other emergency events. 

As the duties of emergency responders are numerous, they commonly utilize Standard Operating Procedures and Standard Operating Guidelines (SOPs/SOGs) to fulfill their mission. SOPs/SOGs are typically prescriptive documents that are not uniform and are customized between emergency response organizations. For example, in the United States there are more than 31,000 individual fire departments, and each is likely to use dozens of different SOPs/SOGs addressing numerous tasks. These ultimately represent best practice for a particular emergency response organization, and are used to facilitate training, support operational guidance, and to interpret policy during post event assessment.

A new information development tool that is becoming recognized in recent years is "crowdsourcing," and it offers intriguing potential benefits for the development of SOPs/SOGs. The transparent communication tools of today’s internet age have strongly enabled the concept of crowdsourcing. It offers a novel approach to synthesize and coordinate information on a common technical topic based on broad and on-going input from directly impacted stakeholders. This project focuses on the use of crowdsourcing techniques to develop and refine SOPs/SOGs for the fire service, with a prototype focus on addressing fires involving electric & hybrid vehicles. The goal of this project is to investigate the virtues of a novel approach for generating SOPs/SOGs for the fire service.

Download the full report, "Development of Emergency Responder SOPs/SOGs: Using Crowdsourcing to Address Electric Vehicle Fires" written by Ellie Burgess withCustos Fratris L3C, Tucson, AZ.

InsiderNFPA INSIDER is a live, bi-monthly online session — an added benefit for NFPA members only — that features expanded news and content from the latest issue of NFPA Journal® and other NFPA sources.

In this month's NFPA INSIDER, on Thursday, August 21st, at 2:00 pm (EDT), members will hear:

  • Carl BCarl Baldassarra, Fire Protection Engineering Expert, will provide insight on the evolution of fire escapes, including new applications and concerns over the inspection and maintenance of older fire escapes.
  • Dawn Bellis, NFPA Division Manager of Codes & Standards, and Linda Fuller, Sr. Manager of Standards Operations, will discuss participation, applications and international directions of Committee Membership.

Members: register today to attend. Not a member? Learn more about the many benefits and join today!

On August 12, 1984, a fire originating in a high voltage electrical feeder busway forced the evacuation and relocation of approximately 200 patients at the Forsyth Memorial Hospital located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  While the fire was confined to the busway and to exposed storage areas in the vicinity of a basement loading dock, smoke spread to several upper floors of the hospital.  Portions directly exposed to smoke conditions included operating suites, post-operative and critical care areas, and pediatric units of the hospital.  The exposure of these areas to smoke and the potential for exposure of oxygen and gas lines, along with loss of normal and emergency power and communications, precipitated the relocation and evacuation of patients and staff.  The smoke spread was also limited by construction features and the successful operation of smoke barrier and fire doors.

A short in the main electrical feeder busway also resulted in the loss of primary and emergency power to critical care units.  The loss of emergency power was due to fire damage to emergency generator control wiring which was located near the busway.

The successful relocation and evacuation of patients were due to the prompt actions of the hospital trained in fire emergency procedures and the support of the fire department and emergency medical services.  Effective fire and rescue operations were managed from fire and EMS command posts according to fire ground tactical and EMS disaster plans.

For more information on this hospital fire NFPA Fire Investigations 

To read about fire statistics   NFPA's Fires in Health Care Facilities

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