Trust in the Fire Service is Paramount to Preserve in Today’s Modern World!

by | Jul 24, 2020

No city in America can afford what happened in the City of Oakland California — a $32 million legal settlement.

All of us watched on December 2, 2016, at approximately 11:20 PM when this horrible fire broke out in a former warehouse converted into an artist collective with living spaces known as Ghost Ship.

The building was permitted for industrial purposes however it was used that night by 80-100 people as a concert that turned into the deadliest building fire in the United States since 2003. This was also the deadliest fire in California since the San Francisco earthquake in 1906

Public trust was shattered that night when 36 people died. The long legal battle which followed for years was settled last week by the City of Oakland for $32.7 million and there remains a civil suit still underway.

It’s clear, fire departments can no longer respond based on only best effort and running into buildings as others are running out. These brave actions are no longer enough in today’s modern world, it’s now about “What did you know and what did you do about it?” or simply put liability.

(The Ghost Ship warehouse is seen this aerial view from 31st Avenue and International Boulevard in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. Originally published on The Mercury News, December 17, 2019 )

This will not go away, departments cannot ignore this hoping it won’t happen to them, it’s not the next Fire Chief’s responsibility to fix…. It’s now!

I’ve been involved helping fire departments for over 30 years to modernize their ability to respond and communicate on-route, on the fire ground, and by getting as much information from dispatch when seconds count. Today, this has all changed, response is only part of the fire department’s role, public trust is at stake. I am here to say, this will not go away and departments can no longer ignore the public’s trust put into them, it’s also not the next Fire Chief’s responsibility to fix and transform the department…. The public expects it now!
After 30 years of working to support fire departments, I know the impact modern technology can have to help departments protect themselves, the public they serve, and this equates to public trust. NFPA and ISO standards have been around for decades but no department could keep up inspecting / pre-planning all commercial, high-risk, public buildings under their watch – UNTIL NOW. departments today are exceeding this need by achieving 100% compliance and have the data they need.

Hall County Inspects Every Building In Their County.

Consider modernizing your fire department, have a closer look at modern technology and don’t be afraid to consider it for your department. It’s affordable and your department must become better prepared to to protect your community – this is public trust.

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About the author

Paul Martin, President & CEO, APX Data

Paul Martin has devoted his career to public safety. He has helped departments across Canada and the United States through his work with Airbus and Motorola Public Safety Divisions. He is currently the founder and CEO of APX Data, a company devoted exclusively to helping fire departments modernize their fire prevention, response and fire investigations through the use of mobile technology. APX Data was first to market, introducing smart mobile applications to the fire service in 2013. APX has validated information on over 140 million structures in its database for all of the U.S., and is growing at a rate of more than 50% year over year. To talk to Paul, please connect with him on LinkedIn, visit apxdata.com or call 1-888-240-0591.

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