By Anthony E. Neville, Howard D. Tipton, Richard E. Bland
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Extra resources for America Burning: The Report of the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control
The more realistic solution, for most communities, lies in careful assessment of what future investments (whether in men, equipment, or new programs) will maximize effectiveness, then a gradual shift of priorities toward the most costeffective measures. In such an assessment, basic questions need to be asked. Communities for which the scenario at AMERICA BURNING 17 the beginning of this chapter is typical might ask : How many firefighters should respond to every single-alarm fire? How many pieces of equipment?
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.
The experience of Great Britain with regionalization is instructive. During World War II, that country’s fire services were nationalized for the sake of defense. After the war, the fire services were denationalized but, rather than being divided into the 1,500 jurisdictions that had existed before the war, they were consolidated into about 150 fire jurisdictions. Resources were pooled, and economic efficiency was gained through the elimination of duplicated services. In particular, the advantages cited of the British experience were: l More efficient manning through the combining of small companies; l Greater operational effectiveness through better manned companies, uniform fire suppression methods, direct control of response of all companies (rather than depending on mutual aid arrangements like those in many American communities), and the ability to concentrate manpower rapidly at major fires; AMERICA BURNING 23 Better communications; Better training facilities as a result of a larger tax base supporting them; l More uniform regulatory code enforcement; Economies effected through large volume purl chases and standardization of parts; l Better recordkeeping with less total effort.
America Burning: The Report of the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control by Anthony E. Neville, Howard D. Tipton, Richard E. Bland