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Does your Department meet the Standard?
January 27th, 2006

NFPA 1710
National Fire Protection Association NFPA 1710 is the Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments. This standard was developed by an NFPA Technical Committee that included individuals from a variety of backgrounds, representing collectively more than 1000 years of fire fighting experience both in Canada and the United States. Its development grew out of more than 10 years of exhaustive research and analyses of some 40 years worth of empirical studies, related documents, articles, and industry publications from across North America. The International Association of Firefighters representing 260,000 professional firefighters in Canada and the USA, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, together acknowledge the importance of this ground breaking standard. That is because it applies the documented and proven science of fire behavior to the basic resource requirements for a safe, efficient, and effective fire service. It further provides a measuring stick for determining whether your existing municipal resources are sufficient to protect lives and property, and categorically disproves the fallacy of the �something is better than nothing� model. Few events are more dreadful and potentially tragic than a fire in the home. In most Alberta Cities, the Fire Department�s response capabilities are inadequate. This is because most Fire Department growth has lagged behind extraordinary growth in population and urban sprawl over recent years. According to NFPA 1710, many communities are now deficient in its ability to assemble adequate firefighting resources at structural fires within time frames necessary to effectively suppress fire and mitigate potential loss of life and property. This is unacceptable. Political agendas, budgetary constraints and competition between City departments will continue to plague us if we continue to ignore industry standards. Most cities usual hit or miss approach to proper fire protection is not the answer. What Alberta needs is a commitment at all levels to work towards compliance with NFPA 1710 � from your City Councilors to your Fire Chief and your Community leaders. At a structural fire, Fire Departments must assemble the correct number of properly trained and equipped firefighters on scene within the established correct time parameters to perform the tasks necessary to keep small fires from becoming large fires. That is what NFPA 1710 advocates. What does that mean specifically? It means we need to assemble, in teams of four, and a �full initial assignment� of 15 to 17 firefighters within ten minutes of a 911 call, 90% of the time. By meeting these benchmarks, your Fire Department will be able to mitigate loss of lives and property due to fire while minimizing the ever-present possibility of injury or death to firefighters. That is the minimum protection Albertans and firefighters should receive. Alberta�s firefighters are committed to the safety of Albertans. We will always advocate for resources that deliver safe, effective and efficient fire services. We will continue to question the motivation of those who minimize or dismiss the validity or legal application of industry standards such as NFPA 1710. Your City Council has an obligation to ensure you and your community members are fire protected to a level based on reasonable and acceptable standards. The Alberta Firefighters� Association and it�s members will continue to support you and your community members in your efforts to achieve such protections.