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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
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).
1 reply
I suggest that Mr. Berg looks to plumbing-based sprinklers as a way to protect homes for one half the cost of stand-alone or multipurpose sprinklers.
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Mar 15, 2010
Robby asks how do we develop data similar to a pitcher's ERA? We can do it in the future, but need to develop other measures first. ERA's are good data because each pitcher can be compared to other pitchers. We cannot compare fire departments like that right now. If we had a way to classify fire departments according to their level of risk exposure, we could rank departments as A, B, C or what have you. If two Class A fire departments have different levels of fire frequencies, we could reasonably attribute the difference to prevention. RHAVE is one way to do that, but I am working on a simpler approach using GSI mapping.
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Steve S. asked about what statistics to use for measuring successes v. losses. I suggest two, pre- v. post-flashover fires and life loss. Dollar loss statistics are unreliable because they are as much a function of a building owner's tenacity in dealing with his insurer than they are a reflection of the actual value. As for who had the most to do with a success, operations or prevention, an analysis of the incident will show what went right and what did not, and will point to why the fire was stopped before flashover. Did a smoke alarm contribute to early discovery? Credit codes and code enforcement.
1 reply