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The RELAY Powered By Docstoc
					                       The RELAY
         The e-mail Newsletter of the New Jersey State Fire Chiefs’ Association—a member benefit
February 27, 2006                                                                                 No. 2006-5

Fire Prevention and Safety Grants Announced
    Additional grants have been awarded to national, state, and local organizations in the Fire Prevention
and Safety Grants Program. The program provides grants to help address fire prevention and safety issues
with a focus toward the high-risk target groups of children, seniors, and firefighters.

    In Round 4 released on February 17th, two New Jersey grants were announced.
             Town of Boonton Volunteer Fire Department                        $        15,840
             Washington Township Fire District # 1, Robbinsville                       18,411
    In Round 4 released on February 24th, one New Jersey grant was announced.
             Elizabeth Fire Department                                        $        60,144

Go to and to find the New Jersey awardees.

Help Needed to Avoid Reductions Proposed in FIRE Act and SAFER Programs
    In the last RELAY, the President’s Proposed Budget for FY07 was reported. The full announcement
can be found at If you agree that the pro-
grams should be continued and fully funded, please let your Congressmen know. Contact information can be
found at Due to security con-
cerns, it is best to use e-mail or FAX to send information to the Washington office. Mail can be used for the
District offices. The House of Representatives originate spending bills, but letters to the Senators are also

     You letter doesn’t have to be long. Something personal is good. Some suggested points:
For the funding of FIRE Act and SAFER
 Previous Results for New Jersey. Details are found at
     o 2004 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (FIRE), $16,758,067 to 173 Fire Departments
     o 2005 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (FIRE), $14,691,964 to 150 Fire Departments
     o 2004 Fire Prevention Grants $630,982 to 15 Fire Departments
     o 2005 Fire Prevention Grants, $108,612 to date
     o 2005 SAFER Grant, $6,374,080 to one Fire Department (Paterson)
 How the Programs have benefited your Fire Department or County
 Examples of where a life hazard (the fire department or the public) was resolved from the grant
 Significant results from money awarded in grants
For the new restrictions of the use of FIRE Act funds
 Program was established for a wide range of assistance; not only terrorism
 Grants may increase overall efficiency and safety of FD operations
Relay No. 2006-5                                                                                        Page 1
    o Same improvements support domestic preparedness as well as WMD/CBRNE
   Grants must support all hazards and for all types of programs
    o Examples such as health and safety, wellness and fitness

     Please e-mail a copy of your letter to I will tabulate a list of your success ex-
amples and points to support the funding of the programs and send it to the IAFC for its use in seeking sup-
port from Congress.

Hearing Scheduled on Legislative Bills
     The following bills have been scheduled for a committee session. A-1383, to clarify certain provisions
of the “Fire Service Resource Emergency Deployment Act,” will be considered by the Senate Law and Pub-
lic Safety and Veterans’ Affairs Committee on March 2nd at 1:00 pm. The hearing will be held in Commit-
tee Room 4, 1st floor, State House Annex, Trenton.

     During the meeting, the Committee will also consider S-69 which would allow municipalities that have
paid fire departments to include, as part of the ordinances establishing their departments, a provision requir-
ing the appointment of a paid fire chief.

The text of the bills is found at and respectively.

Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS) Alarms Can Fail at High Temperatures
     A very serious problem related to reduced audibility of PASS alarm signals has been brought to the at-
tention of the NFPA Electronic Safety Equipment Committee by the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investiga-
tion and Prevention Program. NIOSH discovered through recent firefighter fatality investigations that expo-
sure to high temperature environments may cause the loudness of the alarm signal to be reduced. If a rapid
intervention team (RIT) cannot hear a PASS alarm signal (above fire ground noise), it may diminish their
ability to locate and rescue downed firefighters.

For the full announcement and a link to NFPA information, go to

Understanding State and Local Disaster Law
     The importance of understanding laws governing preparedness and response in a disaster situation is an
outcome that received the special attention of the American Bar Association (ABA). An ABA committee
released a report this month to help emergency managers and other Emergency Services Sector (ESS) leaders
better understand the scope and limitations of their authority under state and local disaster-related laws.

     One of the report's five chapters is devoted to state, local, and first responder issues. It explains impor-
tant distinctions, e.g., the differences between the expression and clarity of authority; the implementation of
authority; the actual exercise of authority; and the appropriateness of delegation of that authority. The state,
local, and first responder issues’ chapter poses seven important questions that should be discussed at the state
and local levels with emergency management and emergency services providers as well as other critical in-
frastructure stakeholders.

For the full notice, with links to the report, go to
isac/infograms/ig2006/022306.shtm and tab down to this title.
Relay No. 2006-5                                                                                           Page 2
USFA Releases Structure Fire Response Times Report
     On February 24th, Deputy United States Fire Administrator Charlie Dickinson, announced the release of
the Structure Fire Response Times report from the National Fire Data Center in Emmitsburg, MD. Response
times in this report are measured from alarm time to the arrival of firefighters on scene. The report is based
on data from the 2001 and 2002 National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). The report examines
general trends in response times to structure fires as well as regional, seasonal, and time of day trends.

For the full announcement and a link to the report, go to

Pipeline Emergencies Training Program
     Training and supporting materials that offer life-saving information to the Emergency Services Sector
(ESS) are available as part of a joint effort by the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) and
the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Pipeline incidents can pose a hidden
or unseen threat to ESS personnel.

     PHMSA worked with NASFM on the Partnership for Excellence in Pipeline Safety. The organizations
collaborated to create the Pipeline Emergencies training program. To help ensure personnel safety, the pro-
gram teaches responders about the hazards and risks of pipeline operations.

For the full announcement and a link to the full training program go to and tab down to this title.

Proposed NFPA 1911 Available for Review
     One of the most important standards for fire apparatus inspection, maintenance, testing, and retirement
is available for review and comments from the fire service and other interested parties until March 3rd.
The new NFPA 1911 standard will combine and expand materials currently found in NFPA 1911, 1914 and
1915 and will result in tougher, more comprehensive requirements that will affect all fire departments. The
standard will cover minimum requirements for establishing an inspection, maintenance, and testing program
for in-service fire apparatus. Both first-line and reserve apparatus are considered to be in-service.

    The proposed standard will identify specific components and systems on an apparatus that are to be
maintained, establish the frequency of inspections and maintenance for those items, and give requirements
and procedures for conducting tests. It will also define specific conditions that are so serious that apparatus
must be taken out of service until the conditions are corrected. The new standard is currently in draft form
and is subject to review and comments before going into effect.

For the complete announcement and a link to the draft Standard, go to

Fire Service Scholarships
    First Bankers Corporation recognizes the important part of our society that public safety officials serve.
We support that service by developing a small way we can be "Giving Back To Those Who Give." Five
emergency services personnel (fire fighters, EMTs, etc.) and five children of emergency services personnel
were selected as recipients of the 2005 First Bankers Fire Service Scholarships. There were over 600 appli-
cants. Each winner received a $500 scholarship for their education.
Relay No. 2006-5                                                                                            Page 3
     Emergency services personnel and their dependents are eligible to apply for the scholarships from April
1st to August 31st each year. The scholarships can be used for any post-secondary education and are not re-
quired to be used for emergency-related education. The scholarships are paid directly to the winner for ex-
penses of their choosing.

For additional information and the application, go to

Dozens Killed in Bangladesh Blaze
     At least 51 people have been killed in a fire at a textile mill in Bangladesh. More than 100 others were
injured in the blaze in the south-eastern port city of Chittagong. At least 500 workers were inside the mill
when the fire broke out. The BBC's Waliur Rahman in Dhaka says the blaze has been described by officials
as the country's worst ever factory fire.

     Most of the survivors had to jump from windows as the only exit from the factory was reportedly locked
when the fire broke out, a fire department official, Rashidul Islam Majumder, told the BBC. Initial reports
suggested that the fire might have been caused by an electrical short circuit. The explosion of a boiler esca-
lated the blaze. The fire had spread quickly through the four-story building because of stacks of yarn piled
up on the floors.

For the full article and links to additional reports, go to

Evaluation Metrics Proposed for Firefighter Thermal Imagers
      Firefighters are starting to recognize the potential usefulness of thermal imagers or infrared cameras for
saving property and lives. Choosing the most appropriate thermal imager for a particular use, however, can
be difficult. No standardized performance guidelines exist for infrared camera devices specifically tailored to
first responder needs.

    Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hope to change that situation.
Last month they submitted recommendations to the NFPA that outline evaluation methods for thermal im-
agers as used in six critical emergency situations. These recommendations include tests to assess durability
as well as image quality.

     The NIST researchers suggest performance metrics that would reveal a thermal camera’s ability to (1)
detect unusually hot spots, such as electrical outlets and light ballasts; (2) guide fire hose streams toward the
fire source; (3) “size-up” thermal conditions inside a building, such as hot walls or ceiling sections, in prepa-
ration for entry into a room; (4) identify faces and bodies of firefighters and victims for search and rescue
operations; (5) find hot spots and hidden smoldering during reconnaissance in the aftermath of a fire; and (6)
locate hazardous material spills. The NFPA’s Committee on Emergency Service Electronic Safety Equip-
ment is expected to review the suggestions in 2006.

For the full notice and links to additional information, go to

Chertoff Announces Major Changes for FEMA
    DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff acknowledged that his department's response to Hurricane Katrina was
"unacceptable" and announced measures intended to strengthen the government's emergency response capa-
Relay No. 2006-5                                                                                            Page 4
bilities. FEMA will establish a permanent workforce focused on disasters and will decentralize its disaster
relief centers when a significant number of people are displaced. Chertoff said that FEMA can no longer
"rely primarily on volunteers to provide services in the immediate aftermath of a disaster."

     Chertoff countered recent criticism that the department has focused on preventing terrorist attacks and
has neglected natural disaster response. Chertoff said. "That does a disservice to all who are working very
hard to protect against any kind of disaster of whatever cause." He acknowledged that the incident manage-
ment structure at Homeland Security remains "stovepiped" and he said he is committed to moving the de-
partment toward a fully integrated and unified incident command by June 1st. "To the extent that integration
was not done in July and August of last year…we paid the price for that," Chertoff said. "We have to make
sure we don't pay that price again this summer." He also outlined various additional changes to improve
FEMA's ability to respond to disasters.

For the full article, go to

Overhaul Of Emergency Management System Urged
     Several House lawmakers called for a major overhaul of the nation's emergency management system,
including removing the Federal Emergency Management Agency from the Homeland Security Department.
With the next hurricane season fast approaching, some lawmakers believe Homeland Security Secretary Mi-
chael Chertoff is taking a huge gamble in the way he has reorganized preparedness and response functions
within the department. Last summer, Chertoff announced that preparedness activities would be removed
from FEMA and put in a new directorate that would focus on its core mission of response and recovery to

     Chertoff resisted calls to overhaul FEMA and change how the department is structured to prepare for
and respond to disasters. He said he stands by his decision to remove preparedness activities from FEMA,
adding that it would be "a huge mistake" to make FEMA an independent agency. Chertoff said he restruc-
tured the department in part because preparedness activities were too dispersed among FEMA and other divi-
sions. He said the new Preparedness Directorate is unifying activities such as grants, planning, and training.

   The Plan to Restore Efficiency and Professional Accountability in Responding to Emergencies
(PREPARE) Act would require FEMA to have a director who had experience in emergency management and
who would report directly to the president during all incidents of national significance.

For the full article, go to

First Responders Detail Emergency Communications Problems
     House lawmakers and emergency responders agreed that more needs to be done to establish emergency
communications systems that function across jurisdictions. A lack of equipment standards, inadequate fund-
ing, and turf wars among federal, state, and local officials have made it increasingly to difficult to achieve
interoperable emergency communications, a panel of "first responders" said at a House Homeland Security
Emergency Preparedness, Science, and Technology Subcommittee hearing.

     New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell blamed the White House for providing what he called poor leader-
ship in facilitating initiatives to improve emergency communications. He said funding levels in Bush's fiscal
2007 budget request are unacceptable.

For the full article, go to

Relay No. 2006-5                                                                                         Page 5
Phoenix Revamps Driver Training Program
    Faced with a record of more than 500 vehicle accidents in the past three years, the Phoenix Fire Depart-
ment is changing its driver training program to include periodic refresher courses for all drivers as well as
immediate remedial training for drivers involved in accidents. The new driver training program is currently
being developed and may include re-certifying drivers every two years, expanding the training for ambulance
drivers and requiring remedial training for drivers who are found to be at fault in accidents.

For the full article, go to

America's First Responders: Let's Roll!
     America's first line of defense in any terrorist attack is the "first responder" community—local police,
firefighters, and emergency medical professionals. Properly trained and equipped first responders have the
greatest potential to save lives and limit casualties after a terrorist attack. Currently, capabilities for respond-
ing to a terrorist attack vary widely across the country. Many areas have little or no capability to respond to
terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction. Even the best prepared states and localities do not possess
adequate resources to respond to the full range of terrorist threats we face.

     Terrorists can strike anytime, anywhere. Crop dusters, power generating plants, dams and reservoirs,
crops, livestock, trains, and highways are among the resources that could be targets. Homeland security in
the heartland is just as important as homeland security in America's largest cities. First responders from
communities outside major metropolitan areas who must protect large geographic areas with small popula-
tions face many response challenges.

For the full article, go to

New Command and Control Nursing Home Simulation Now Available on U.S. Fire
Administration's Virtual Campus
      Charlie Dickinson, Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator, announced February 1st a new command and con-
trol, online simulation for emergency responders involving a scenario at a nursing home facility. The Q424 -
Nursing Home Fire simulation presents the user with a kitchen fire in a two-story nursing home. Upon suc-
cessful completion of this online simulation course, the user will be able to recognize the rescue issues re-
lated to this type of.

     Course objectives include safe removal of all occupants and containment and control of fire in the build-
ing of origin. National Fire Academy/United States Fire Administration certification will be granted upon
successful completion of the course evaluations.

For the full announcement an a link to the simulation, go to

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Relay No. 2006-5                                                                                              Page 6

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