By Anthony E. Neville, Howard D. Tipton, Richard E. Bland
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Additional info for America Burning: The Report of the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control
This is a scene that is repeated hundreds of times a year in every city. Except that internal combustion engines have replaced horses, this is the way fire departments have responded to fires for as long as anyone can remember. Seldom does the question arise : Is this the best way to respond? It is the duty of every fire department to save lives and reduce injuries and property losses when fires occur. Our Nation’s record in each of these areas needs vast improvement. Because human carelessness accounts for most fires, it is the public, not the fire departments, that must shoulder the major burden of improving the Nation’s fire record.
By examining the causes of recent fires, they were able to set priorities for fire safety education and code enforcement. They were also able to arrive at a definition of “adequate” fire protection service, which included the provision that firefighting forces arrive within 4 minutes after the emergency has been reported. The chief and his staff also examined the capabilities of the fire department’s equipment to suppress large fires. This led to recommendations that the building code be amended to require all nonresidential occupancies over 5,000 square feet to have approved fire detectors, and all over 10,000 square feet to have automatic sprinkler systems 1 As we recommended there, wherever possible this should be a regional jurisdiction embracing several political jurisdictions-for example, county-wide or larger in rural areas, and metropolis-wide in urban areas.
As communities undertake a basic reassessment of their fire services, they will have to find solutions best suited to their conditions. Some communities are at an early stage of growth where they can consider a number of alternatives to their present system of fire protection. Others have a heavy investment in their present system and can consider only a gradual shift of priorities. Solutions appropriate to large cities are not likely to work for small towns and bedroom communities. For years fire chiefs and local governments have been listening to one outside voice telling them how to improve their fire services.
America Burning: The Report of the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control by Anthony E. Neville, Howard D. Tipton, Richard E. Bland