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Fire investigation, suppression and code enforcement Essay

Like the old saying goes, ‘fire is a good servant but a bad master’. In the event that a fire breaks out either at home or in an office building, there is always a team, mostly the fire department, at hand to contain and ultimately put out the fire. Fire cause and origin investigators as well as suppression and code enforcers form part of this team. It would be correct to state that once a fire starts, it has to be contained by all means. Still, the best remedy for fires is prevention. Ideally, the two teams should work together.

The code enforcers are to make sure that fire prevention equipment, from smoke and fire detectors, sprinklers and extinguishers are properly installed in homes and offices. (Bryan 20) These are crucial such that in the event of a fire, the appropriate action is taken immediately. Still, the equipment is able to help in the suppression of the fire. After the fire has been contained it is up to the fire cause and origin investigators to analyze the fire incident and come up with answers. Fire investigation is primarily concerned with the study of fire related incidents.

In order to effectively establish the exact cause of a fire that was responsible for razing a building to the ground, it becomes imperative that a fire investigator has to have the relevant skills. This means that the investigator should understand the basics of fire science. As such, one advantage is the fact that the investigator is able to tell the exact category of fire, which can either be class A, B or C, which occurred at the scene of the investigation, which is not information most people are privy to. (Lentini 1)

Fire suppression and code enforcement can be considered to be a highly important aspect of fire prevention. It is the duty of the suppression personnel to carry out regular inspections within a given area. Code enforcement is one way in which fire may be prevented. Thus, the advantage of enforcement is that deficiencies from fire that are likely to result in loss of property or even life are not only identified but also rectified. (Carter et al 120). Working in the field of fire cause and origin is a very daunting.

Once a fire occurs, it becomes very hard to determine the exact cause or origin because fire itself is a complex occurrence. In most instances, fire destroys everything in its path, and this includes crucial evidence that would provide insight as to what may have triggered it in the first place. This is a disadvantage of working in this field, because it means that one cannot then effectively conclude on what exactly caused the fire as it was also destroyed. Fire science can be said to be an interesting field. One has to have the appropriate material to work with (evidence) facts as opposed to assumptions are most reliable.

(Lentini1) Still, there is an inherent advantage of working in both fields, the field of fire cause and origin investigation and in fire suppression or code enforcement. This has to do with the fact that they are both practical, hands on experiences. While there is the theoretical aspect, it is the practical aspects that mostly deal in real life situations. If candidates are to go out into the field and analyze the causes of certain fires, it would be an advantage if they have had previous first hand experience in different fire causes and their effects.

Consequently, this means that at some point during their training, they will have to start different kinds of fires, not for fun but primarily for purposes of study. It is also important for the investigators of fire cause and origin to be provided with buildings that have been damaged by fire. However, sometimes it is not possible to access these building for the simple fact that some may have already been completely demolished while the ones that remain are condemned and not at all safe to step in.

Again, for those working in fire suppression and code enforcement, their main focus is the buildings that are already or will be inhabited by people and businesses. Their duty is to make sure that fires do not occur and in the event that they do, they are contained as fast as possible. It is importance that they effectively learn how to install and inspect fire prevention equipment. While working in the field of fire investigation, one is able to learn other important skills such as fire prevention and suppression meaning that that the field of fire science is all inclusive.

Fire prevention is crucial to the fire origin and causes investigators because it is important in the investigations. Information on the effects of fire on different materials is necessary as it might also have an effect on the likely causes of the fire. The advantage of this is that most fire investigators are well informed and it opens up other areas in which they may also specialize in. For instance, they can even double up as code enforcers or even fire prevention equipment inspectors. Concurrently, those involved in fire suppression or code enforcement are not as well informed especially in the area of fire investigation.

This then limits their options. They may be able to prevent and put out the fires, but it is unlikely they can investigate into their causes and origins. (Lentini 203-254) Fire causes and origin investigators also understand the legal implications of fires. Compensation is an issue of serious concern after a fire. However, it should be established beyond doubt that those to be compensated are not in any way responsible for the start and subsequent spread of the fire. For this reason, thorough investigations need to be carried out.

It is a plus that as the investigators are learning about fire science, they also learn about human behavior. This makes it easy to judge between likely and unlikely culprits in a fire. Again, the fire suppressors especially, and code enforcers may also not be well informed on this. More over, their task is often specific, to put in place fire prevention measures or to suppress fires and nothing extra. (Lentini 102) In fire suppression or code enforcement, one is able to understand that most fires are caused by human error and ignorance. Thus, by putting the appropriate measures in place, fires are prevented even before they occur.

For instance, it is advantageous to know that a smoker is likely to cause a fire or that a gas that is celled incorrectly may ignite as a result of static electricity. (“Maine fire marshal news”) Thus, the biggest advantage of this is the fact that it can potentially save ones life. The reason that fire detection and prevention equipment are placed in homes and office is so that they may serve as warning systems in the event of a fire, thus giving people adequate time to evacuate to safe ground. (“City departments”) This is unlike the fire investigators who arrive at the scene when the fire has destroyed everything.

It would then be important to note that in areas that do not have any form of code enforcement or suppression, fires occur at a much higher rate. It is for this reason that fire departments may carry out code enforcement education and even inspection of fire prevention equipment. This is the only effective way to ensure that fires do not occur and if they do, are contained. The ramification of this is that less money is spent of fire suppression and containment. Still, apart from protecting against loss of life, fire suppression and code enforcement also prevents the loss of property.

In case of a fire, property is the most at risk. It is possible that the human occupants of the building may be safely evacuated. The same cannot be said of property for the simple fact that it sometimes fixed and unmovable. Take the case of buildings for example, they not only serve as dwelling places for people but they are also sources or revenue for others. This means that if they are to be destroyed by fire, some people would have nowhere to live while others may lose a source of livelihood. (Blackwell) Fire investigators cannot be credited with the same in any way.

Thus, an advantage of working in fire suppression and code enforcement as opposed to fire causes and origin investigation has to do with preventing fires that not only result in the loss of life and property but also destroy the environment. In the enforcement of codes it becomes imperative to cooperate and also inform and educate the general public on the importance of fire prevention and suppression equipment. Generally, codes enforcement results in such benefits as higher property values plus safer buildings, especially if the codes are upheld by the residents within which the particular codes are enforced.

Still, having in place the right codes and getting people to adhere is in itself a difficult task. One major drawback to code enforcement is the fact that cites are supposed to spend more resources just to make sure the proper enforcements are in place. Take the cities of California or Maine for example; they have code enforcements in place. It would be correct to conclude that they have spent massive resources on the task and also on the recruitment of personnel. The personnel should be highly trained and competent to effectively carry out their duties which are,” Public observations about building code administration and enforcement”

It is the fire fighters who are mostly concerned with the task of suppressing the fire which is Sometimes the fire is difficult to contain. Others times the fire fighters have to go right into the fire so as to effectively manage it and maybe rescue those trapped. This has important ramifications. It exposes the fire fighters to the fire, consequently, they may end up with serious burn injuries. It is also possible especially when there are explosions. Unless one is totally selfless and is willing to risk his/her life every time there is fire that may need suppression, the field of fire suppression is not for the faint hearted.

(Mahoney 30) While it is up to an individual to choose exactly which field they are comfortable in, it helps to identify the inherent advantages and disadvantages of each field. Still, both fire investigation and suppression and code enforcement, are remarkable fields. One main advantage of the fire cause and origin analysis field, also known as fire investigation, is the fact that it can be considered as an all inclusive field. It is impossible to learn about causes and origins of fire without also understating the elements of fire suppression.

Even code enforcement comes in handy. This means that the fire investigator has a wealth of information which opens up a wealth of opportunities too. Again, the field is practical which serves to make it exciting. Investigators are never exposed to dangerous raging fires where they could be potentially killed as most of the investigations are carried out way after the fire is out. However, the biggest disadvantage is the fact that fires sometimes destroys crucial evidence making the task of establishing the cause of a fire that much harder.

Still, fire investigators may not prevent the loss of life or property because their job starts after the fire. Nonetheless, one may opt to join the fire suppression and code enforcement field. The inherent advantages include the fact that one is able reduce the risk of a fire occurring in any setting plus also prevent the loss of life and property. While the field of fire suppression is just as exciting as fire investigation, that’s where its biggest disadvantage lies. One is exposed to destructive fires which may result in injury or death.

Again, fire suppression and code enforcement may be considered as a specialty field that does not offer one the possibility of participating in other related activities. Ultimately, all that one needs to do is sit and effectively weigh their options on the field that they are best suited for. References Blackwell, Hank. Code enforcement/zoning in the interface: American perspectives on the wild land/urban interface. 2009. 14 January 2009 <http://216. 70. 126. 67/library/? p=213> Bryan, John. Fire suppression and detection systems New York: Macmillan publishers, 1993.

Carter, Harry and Rausch, Erwin Management in the fire service New York: Jones and Bartlett publishers, 2006. ‘City departments: Fire suppression division’. The corporation of the City of Cambridge. N. d. 14 January 2009 <http://www. city. cambridge. on. ca/fire_department/fire_suppression_division> Davies, Amanda and Dalgarno, Barney Learning fire investigation the clean way The virtual experience 2008 14 January 2009 <http://www. ascilite. org. au/conferences/melbourne08/procs/davies. pdf> Lentini, John. Scientific protocols for fire investigation.

Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Publishers, 2006. Mahoney, Eugene. Fire suppression practices and procedures. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1991. ‘Maine fire marshal news’ Maine state fire marshal’s office 2007 14 January 2009 <http://www. maine. gov/dps/fmo/documents/FMONwsltr4. pdf> ‘Public observations about building code administration and enforcement: Benefits needs and shortcomings. N. d. 14 January 2009 <http://www. iccsafe. org/government/congressional/code-grant/Public_Observations_about_Building_Code_Enforcement. pdf>


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