By: Jill Cotton with Robert Avsec
Education, engineering, and enforcement, collectively referred to as “The 3 E’s” of fire prevention, are “hot” topics in almost any fire service trade magazine, website, and blog. We keep reading about changing the fire reduction models. We keep searching for the “silver bullet” that will help us stop the “terrorist” that’s in our midst 24/7/365 in the United States: hostile fire.
While we keep looking for the right tools, the carnage keeps growing. Every year, thousands of men, women, and children killed. Hundreds of thousands more suffering burn injuries. Property losses totaling in the billions of dollars piling up annually.
Our history with change in the fire service is not exactly “stellar”. We tend to have change forced upon us through laws, regulations, lawsuits, etc., rather than being proactive. Not to mention the negative impact of the on-going economic problems in the USA. The majority response to change isn’t positive. In fact, it’s questioned and challenged at almost every turn.
If we look back in our fire history, however, change reveals itself to be a necessity. It has brought us: better information on how to fight fires (education); safer equipment and tools needed in the field (engineering); and practices for increasing compliance with local prevention codes and standards (enforcement).
If change can prove to be both positive and a necessity, we need to consider innovations designed to integrate the “3 E’s” including technological advances. New and improved technology is enabling businesses and industries to become more efficient and effective. If the fire service is to “get back in the game”, its leaders must more aggressively pursue technological solutions to its problems, especially the eradication of preventable fires.
One such example is the web-based inspection report management system movement. Using a web-based, or “cloud” platform, these systems are opening up solutions for service providers and local government. How are these systems connecting the “3 E’s”? Let’s take a quick look:
- Education: Linking the entities involved in the fire/life safety connection, specifically inspections. A quality system provides opportunities to communicate prevention and awareness campaigns, i.e., webinars, videos, e-Blasts, etc.
- Engineering: Providing a system, or tool, that can be used for reviewing of fire systems, record retention and management, and in-house inspections.
- Enforcement: Offering real-time knowledge of compliance by answering two key questions: “Does this system work and how do (we) know?”
The fire service leaders who’ve already embraced the innovation of web-based systems are seeing “change” work for the better. Take a look at web-based solutions as part of your strategic plan to get better at fighting our domestic “terrorist”—hostile fires.