Industry Insights: Firefighter Safety and FARS
There is so much that has been learned in the firefighting profession in the past 10-20 years regarding firefighter safety and risk management. From a safety perspective firefighters have more personal protective equipment (PPE) and increased knowledge of the issues that affect health and welfare. The PPE as offered more shielding from the hazards of the job and monitoring equipment has helped to identify additional dangers. Firefighters are learning more every day through science, their own experiences and by sharing information within the industry.
Firefighters are instructed to risk a lot to save a lot, risk a little to save a little and risk nothing to save nothing. This is not to imply that firefighters should not do their job nor can we eliminate the risks associated with this profession. It means that we can be more calculating in determining how far to commit resources so that the benefits of the aggressiveness can match the risks that are taken. Firefighters will still be placed in harm’s way and can expect some level of casualties. But, with improved training and education along with technological advances, unnecessary risk can be avoided.
One such technological improvement is FARS – Firefighter Air Replenishment Systems. Simply put FARS is a “standpipe system” for air delivery. It places access points throughout buildings so that self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) can be refilled without returning to a filling station outside the structure or deliver spare bottles closer to the action. This is designed for high-rise buildings, large boxes, and tunnels. It could be installed in any building or location where remote filling would be beneficial to the operation. They would be placed in areas of refuge for safe operation.
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