No city in America can afford what happened in the City of Oakland California — a $32 million legal settlement.
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.
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!
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.
During desperate times when municipal budgets are being slashed — service demands are growing like cities — doing more with less has become our new norm during unprecedented times like COVID-19. Fire departments are no different.