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Pat Coughlin
Black Swan Lake
A retired fire chief whose hobby is helping fire departments find cost-effective deployment solutions.
Interests: FD staffing, residential sprinklers, community fire risk management.
Recent Activity
Klamath Community College in Oregon just announced its new program to support its fire science and emergency management students. It provides the firefighter and training, along with $4500.00 annual tuition and money for books. The students spend a 24-hour shift... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2018 at Excellence in Fire Protection
Fire companies and infantry squads have a lot in common. They are combat units. Both are organized to work swiftly and a highly coordinated manner with other units to accomplish their missions. Like their military counterparts, fire companies must be... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2017 at Excellence in Fire Protection
When I speak to fire chiefs, I use a baseball example to point out the drawbacks of traditional fire department performance measures like annual fire loss, and I think that it bears repeating here. In the 1960 World Series, the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2016 at Excellence in Fire Protection
We recognize firefighters for their work in many ways, but none of the recognition is for community risk reduction (CRR) activities. I believe that we must do so if we want to get them - and keep them - involved.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2016 at Excellence in Fire Protection
[Note: This is the text version of the article printed in the July, 2016 edition of PM (Public Management) Magazine] The basic purpose of fire departments is to stop structure fires before they grow into conflagrations. The frequency of structure... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2016 at Excellence in Fire Protection
The first residential sprinkler systems with PEX pipe used potable water, so only plumbers could install them. That has changed. Some PEX manufacturers have gotten 3/4-inch PEX UL-Listed for NFPA 13D systems. Instead of the Grid or Network layout used... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2016 at Excellence in Fire Protection
Home builders argue that new homes are safer and thus sprinklers are not necessary. That argument can easily be refuted by using fire modeling tools from NIST that that can recreate an actual house fire and compare the outcome with... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2016 at Excellence in Fire Protection
Residential fire sprinklers significantly increase life safety to citizens, and they also reduce the impact of growth in communities. When homes in new subdivisions are protected with sprinklers, they reduce the demand on fire departments and public water supplies, and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2016 at Excellence in Fire Protection
Governing Magazine recently published my essay on this subject, where I describe how college student firefighters significantly reduce costs without reducing fire protection. It is in the May 29th edition at Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2015 at Excellence in Fire Protection
Sustainable Fire Protection How do you keep enough firefighters on duty to handle structure fires when they are least of fire department responses? How do you pay their pensions when those costs outstrip revenues? The 50 percent drop in structure... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2015 at Excellence in Fire Protection
I coined the phrase "critical fireground tasks" in the early 1990's, and am pleased to see that the term is gaining acceptance. Critical fireground tasks are those that must be performed at the same time as, or in a highly... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2015 at Excellence in Fire Protection
I learned a lot in my fire service career, but the lasting lesson was threefold: 1. Because the time-to-flashover has dropped from 10-15 minutes to 3-5, firefighters cannot arrive quickly enough to save people trapped in house fires. 2. Residential... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2015 at Excellence in Fire Protection
I started this blog to share my thoughts about how to make fire departments more effective for less cost. The majority of fire departments can operate more efficiently without reducing effectiveness by adding full- or part-time temporary firefighters. Several of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2014 at Excellence in Fire Protection
I just read that a NY judge rejected a union request for an injunction to prevent the City of Lockport from cutting firefighters and apparatus. The cuts will reduce on-duty strength from nine to seven firefighters, and will take an... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2014 at Excellence in Fire Protection
College student firefighters provide clear economic advantages. Fire departments can support two or more students for the cost of one career firefighter, and student firefighters graduate with little or no debt. But a less obvious advantage may be just as... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2012 at Excellence in Fire Protection
The plans are computer generated using AutoCAD software for residential plumbing and sprinkler systems. The plumber submits the water supply information and list of desired fixtures, and the designer does the rest. Small plumbing businesses will find that this arrangement saves time an money. Larger business can purchase the software and do the designs in-house if they wish. The plumbing fixtures are hydraulically calculated along with the sprinklers, so plumbers can now verify that the water supply will be adequate for fixtures that require specific flows and pressures to operate (e. g., low-flow shower heads).
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Mar 15, 2010