International group to rewrite firefighting guidelines

Ottawa Fire is leading the push

Ottawa Fire is set to lead a three-year multi-national ‘fire dynamics’ project that will help set the standards for how fire fighters fight blazes.

The project will basically re-write the "how-to" hand book for fighting fires.

"That is the intent, over this three-year journey of developing this curriculum is it gets implemented fairly quickly and next generation fire fighters and current fire fighters, obviously, approach these environments better educated, better equipped and better practiced in terms of how to respond to these environments," Ottawa Fire Chief John deHooge told CFRA.

He said a push over the years for more affordable homes and furniture has led to a change in the way fires burn.

"The furnishings, carpeting and wall coverings and so-forth, the way buildings are constructed, the materials that are used; although there are reasons for all of those changes: economics, managing costs of homes, keeping furniture and furnishings affordable, the result is that fires are so much more intense, so much hotter and hazardous in terms of how quickly the environment deteriorates for the public and particularly fire fighters," deHooge said.

Fire fighters from across the country and around the world, along with representatives from the National Research Council and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will gather in Ottawa next month to begin work on the $4-million project.

"We hope and anticipate that we’ll have our finger prints on evolving fire fighting tactics and if we can save one fire fighter from injury or death or more, or the public ultimately, then we’ve succeeded," said deHooge.

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