In many industries the production and processing operations of the manufacturing process involves combustible materials, highly flammable chemicals or gases and intense heat. While these conditions are intentionally created and controlled for the production purposes, it is unsurprising that this creates the perfect environment for volatile reactions threatening the facility, occupants and the very business itself. There is no shortage of case histories detailing the devastating losses businesses have incurred from the result of fire incidents. Those charged with ensuring the safety and security of these facilities grapple with how best to support them while minimizing the potential loss should an incident occur. Privatized on site fire services personnel can bring a host of benefits that not only reduce the risks of fire and life safety emergencies, but also provide preventative and educational benefits.
Municipal and privatized fire services have operated since the first known fire brigade was privatized in Rome by Marcus Licinius Crassus around the year 115 BC. While the fire suppression approach and methods have evolved since then, the challenge for all fire services remains the same. Ideally your emergency plans involve multiple stakeholders at your facility (i.e. fire, security, facilities, EH&S, etc.) which allow for visibility and coordination across all disciplines. We have learned that the best way to fight a fire is to make every reasonable attempt to prevent it from happening in the first place. Comprehensive fire services offerings focus not only on fire suppression but can include: educational and preventative programs, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), compliance and testing existing systems, rescue and hazardous materials response, investigations and emergency planning.
Safety is critical to the success of any business. The ability to protect, respond and stabilize emergency incidents when they do occur helps to restore the fundamental purpose of operations. An optimally trained fire brigade is dedicated to your facilities, its operations and personnel while tailoring their services around your needs in ways that a municipal fire department may be unwilling or incapable of providing due to range of limitations. The following highlights several benefits of a dedicated on-site professional fire brigade.
The potential to mitigate a fire at the incipient phase and minimize loss may prevent a cascading series of set backs from which many businesses never recover from. Business locations are not always selected in accordance with local emergency first responder proximity or response times. Some outside agencies simply do not have the resources or the funding to dedicate staffing to private facilities. A local brigade housed on premises will respond faster and be able to navigate a campus environment with more familiarity and speed. In the event of a medical response, hazardous materials release, or a fire emergency where every second is counts, even an additional 1-3 minutes in response time can be crucial in mitigating a life threatening or loss scenario.
A fire service dedicated to your specific requirements and business operations is much more knowledgeable of the facilities, grounds and resources required. Leadership of the fire services are involved in developing detailed pre-fire plans, disaster plans and continuity of operations capabilities. Fire personnel will be intimately aware of facility features and functions or changes to their use which may not be apparent during annual city agency familiarization walk through inspections, assuming those inspections occur. A privatized fire services department can train on the grounds they support and continuously interact with business stakeholders and employees for precise emergency response. The Working partnerships with onsite fire services and familiarity with operations also brings increased communication and understanding. Hazardous Materials Release response can be improved since outside agencies may have outdated data on drain or air handling systems and maps of your location.
With a constant cadre of firefighter personnel on site who are engaged and proactively reducing the risks through education, inspection, correction and testing, the responsibility for is shared by all and in turn encourages a strong culture of safety. Privatized brigades should engage the employee population through training opportunities and work directly with volunteer wardens, EH&S representatives and others to develop or practice response actions. Trained fire personnel also identify safety issues or concerns in quick order for correction. Privatized fire leadership understand your business and speak the language of fire to assist with building mutual aid relationships and work as a liaison to local fire departments.
Whether fire protection is required to reduce the risk of structural, industrial, wildland or Air Craft Rescue Fire Fighter (ARFF) concerns, there are several efficiencies to outsourcing a privatized brigade. A reduced number of false call responses and any subsequent fines assessed by outside agencies is often an immediate advantage since a site based crew is knowledgeable of temporary hot work requirements that can initiate false alarms. In performing preventative inspections, monitoring/testing systems, and educational tasks in effort to raise awareness of fire and life safety, firefighters can perform tasks accomplished previously by several departments.
In addition, utilizing a strategic partner to outsource fire services can provide some risk transfer savings. While wages or hourly costs should be commensurate with municipal wages, the efficiencies come through the movement of worker’s compensation claims, health and other benefit program costs.