More fire fighters mean faster crews

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The St. John Fire Fighters Association will be having a fund-raiser to combat Muscular Dystrophy. We are organizing a Chili’s Restaurant night, Tuesday, June 29. A percentage of margarita’s and appetizers ordered that night will help us raise money to fight Muscular Dystrophy. We want to thank the management for supporting the fire department. Please come out and enjoy a fun night and meet your fire department.

On another topic concerning firefighter and the public safety. A landmark study, released April 28 by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, shows that the size of the fire-fighting crews and arrival times have a substantial effect on the fire fighters’ ability to protect lives and property in residential fires.

The study, which dealt with low-hazard residential fires, where the vast majority of fatalities occur, shows that four-person fire fighting crews completed 22 essential fire fighting and rescue tasks 30 percent faster than a two-person crew and 25 percent faster than three-person crews.

“What is important here is that there is a more significant gap between four- and three-person crews,” explains General President for Technical Assistance and Information Resources Lori Moore-Merrell. “This difference in time-to-task completion, coupled with fire growth data clearly demonstrates that there are significant risks associated with smaller crew sizes and longer stagger between arriving fire trucks.”

The St. John Parish Fire Department has grown to 42 fire fighters in the past few years. We are headed in the right direction. The new administration is working hard to bring the fire department to where it needs to be.

Michael Heath is president of the St. John Professional Firefighters Association.