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
What happened that night is the public trust was shattered 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.
Fire departments can no longer respond based on only best effort and running into buildings as others are running out. These 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!
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.
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.
An Improved ISO Score can have a big impact on your insurance rating and economic risk. Watch this quick video, as Thomas Weber, National Director ISO Community Hazard Mitigation, talks about the challenges you face when pre-planning your fire district.