Fire Prevention Staff Safety

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      Scott HardwickScott Hardwick

      Good morning,

      There have been resent discussions here in our Hamilton Fire Dept about Prevention staff’s health & safety, primarily relating to hostile/violent tenants or owners. Keep in mind that staff whom encounter situations as such were caught within unexpectedly.

      Currently our staff are equipped with radios that have an “orange” emergency button that we can press which sends an emergency signal to our dispatch but does not pinpoint our location. In order to confirm the emergency and location, the staff member has to key the mic and provide such details. In a situation where the staff can’t key the mic then there is no real means to confirm the whereabouts of the staff member.

      I know there are other means as such prior to the inspection is to notify your officer, note on your in/out or calendar your locations of inspections, but what about the unscheduled inspections?

      Right now, there is no mandate for our staff to radio into dispatch to indicate every property we are inspecting as we were informed that “we don’t want to tie up communications with suppression activities”. Which is understandable.

      My questions to other depts are:

      1) What are your protocols to ensure safety to your prevention staff?
      2) Are there any other techniques, technology (GPS), etc that your dept provides that ensure extra means for staff safety?

      Also, we encounter situations where we are required to conduct “Post-Fire Inspections”, sometimes along side with the Fire Marshal’s Fire Investigator shortly after the fire has been extinguished. Due note that our department does not conduct our own fire investigations. Are your staff equipped with full or half masked respirators, goggles, boots, gloves and tyveks type outerwear? In our case, we just wear our PPE such as our safety glasses, hard hat and safety boots.

      Finally, What are other’s F.Ds Heath and Safety guidelines relating to overall Prevention staff safety such as:

      – Exposures to hazardous environments (industrial, processing plants, chemical plants, etc).
      – Working at heights (climbing ladders, inspecting roof tops, chutes, elevator shafts, smoke control measure systems, etc.).
      – Bed bug invested environments (are you provided additional PPE?).
      – Salvage yards or low lighting environments (are you provided reflective vests?).

      Thank you for your time to read these inquiries and any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


      John Truong – Hamilton Fire Dept

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