At today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, the revision to NFPA 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, passed overwhelmingly despite an attempt by an ill-advised chief from Montreal to gut a key provision in the standard.
The NFPA 1710 standard revision was based on the recentground-breaking studies conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that scientifically measured risk and fire response. The new standard will include new objectives on medium and high-hazard structure fire response, in addition to the existing low-hazard objectives that address travel time, assembly numbers for the initial full alarm assignment and crew size for fire departments in communities with dense high-hazard structures and other geographic challenges.
Other objectives in the revised standard include call processing and dispatch times (also found in NFPA 1221) and firefighting training specific to the risk in the community.
Gordon Routley, an assistant chief of the Montreal Fire Department, attempted to gut part of the standard by claiming that there is no science in the 610-second travel time for high-rise response. His amendment was met by strong, science-based objections from representatives of both the IAFF (including General President Harold Schaitberger) and the Metro Chiefs.
The report from the NIST High-Rise Field Experiments directly contributed to the revised objectives in the 1710 Standard. In addition to the study, GIS analysis was conducted by the IAFF’s Technical Assistance Division on multiple metropolitan fire departments throughout the United States and Canada and clearly confirmed that the fire departments in these areas can meet the travel time objective for assembling 43 fire fighters on the scene, particularly in the urban core where they have the greatest concentration of high-rise structures.
The Technical Committee voted 27-0 earlier this year to support the travel time and other objectives added to the revised standard.The vote on the amendment to remove the 610-second travel time was soundly defeated 230-33. IAFF senior staff members Dr. Lori Moore Merrell, Pat Morrison and Jim Brinkley contributed significantly to the successful passage of the revised standard.
The 2016 revision of the 1710 Standard will be released in September following final confirmation of the NFPA Standards Council.
The NFPA Technical Meeting is the annual business conference where NFPA members consider amending motions to various NFPA standards. In all, eights standards will be considered this week during the meeting.