Fire 3

Unit IV Project Designing, Developing, and Implementing an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
 Computers have become an integral part of the fabric of daily life in the fire service. Once seen merely as a luxury, the computer is now a necessity for a multitude of functions: computer aided dispatch, fire incident reporting, creating work
 Introduction to Fire Protection
                                                                                                                                                   
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schedules, outlining vacation and other time-off requests, apparatus maintenance tracking, and use by personnel for online education and earning of a college degree.

 

While many communities have an information technology (IT) support division, many more do not. Why? Cost! Typically in those communities that have a formal IT division or department, it is the responsibility of the IT personnel to design, develop, and implement a formal Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). An AUP is an outline of responsible use of the community’s taxpayer owned computer network. The AUP must be made known to all employees of the community, and, once educated as to the contents of the AUP, each employee is required to sign a form indicating that he/she received knowledge of the AUP, received a hard copy of it, and agrees to adhere to the AUP or suffer the penalties of misuse.

 

This Project Paper requires that you, acting as the IT director of your fire department (or company, if non-fire service) write a formal Acceptable Use Policy that will be distributed to all employees.

 

The paper will be written in proper APA format and contain not less than four full-pages of written, double-spaced text addressing the specific elements found in the outline below. The paper must have a cover page, four pages of text (body), and a reference page. You may use as many reference sources as needed to support your AUP. Text font and size are to be Times New Roman, 12pt., and margin settings should be one inch for all sides. Proper grammar and spelling are expected as well as this is a professional college-level paper.

 

The AUP title is your choice. The components to be researched and written into the policy are as follows:

 

  1. The purpose of AUP
  2. Audience being addressing
  3. Privacy expectations

 

  1. Responsibilities of the municipal leadership

 

  1. Responsibilities of the municipal employees regarding use of the computer network system

 

  1. Disciplinary action to taken for violation of AUP

 

Your AUP paper should be written in the present tense and may be written from the perspective of your own municipality using the name of your municipality or, if private sector, your company name.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

1.Describe various types of support organizations and their related purposes.

2.Discuss how support organizations assist the fire service.

3.Summarize how to contact specific organizations when their services are needed.

4.Identify support functions and explain their responsibilities and duties needed by the fire service.

5.Analyze the value and importance of fire service support functions.

6.Identify the characteristics of a managerial support function and a technical support function.

Written Lecture

Introduction

In this unit we will consider and compare the value and importance of two forms of support mechanisms affecting most all public fire service agencies: external and internal. External support comes from a wide range of agencies and organizations, both public and private, whereas internal support comes from within the department itself. Both sources of support functionality are an integral part of an effective and efficient modern fire department.

Chapter 5:

Public and Private Support Organizations

National organizations and agencies: Support organizations and agencies can be found at many different levels: international, national, state, and local. Many private organizations are non-profit or not-for-profit agencies having tax exemption protection under the Federal Tax Code known as 501(c)(3). Non-profit organizations are allowed to solicit contributions and donations without paying taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) providing that such organization meets the criteria of the law. More on 501(c)(3) can be found in IRS Publication 557 in the Supplemental Reading section of the Unit IV Study Guide.

Not all private support organizations are tax exempt. However, typically their mission statement is to provide “free” services to those in need. Non-profit agencies rely heavily on contributions from the public-at-large in order to maintain a level of service within their geographical region or area of coverage. Conversely, publicly funded support agencies receive their operating budgets from tax dollars which come from local, state, and/or federal sources.

Your textbook lists approximately 49 national and international support agencies, 26 federal organizations, 15 state organizations, and 13 local agencies. The actual numbers are likely to vary from region to region, though the purpose is generally the same of all agencies. These organizations provide various forms of

Reading Assignment

Chapter 5:

Public and Private Support Organizations

Chapter 8:

Support Functions

Supplemental Reading

See information below.

Key Terms

1.Automatic aid

2.Highly protected risk

3.Incendiary device

4.Local area network

5.Mutual aid

6.Resource designator

BFS 3251, Introduction to Fire Protection 2

support to those in need ranging from housing to food and clothing. When possible, some agencies are able to provide monetary assistance to individuals or communities for short-term recovery costs.

One of the most easily recognizable national organizations offering around-the-clock support to virtually all U.S. fire service agencies is the American Red Cross. Generally, it is the local chapter of the Red Cross that comes to the aid of persons displaced by disaster. Consider a multi-family residential dwelling where several families have been forced to evacuate their home following a catastrophic fire. Quite often it is the Red Cross that will bring clothing and food to the displaced occupants, including short-term funding for housing relocation.

In many highly populated metro areas, Red Cross will respond to the scene of a disaster or fire with a rehab unit providing food and beverages to emergency services workers. The Red Cross also provides a number of services to the community at-large, such as local blood drives and educational programs.

The American Red Cross depends largely on contributions from individuals or companies for its annual operating budget. All contributions to the Red Cross are tax deductible. For more on the American Red Cross visit: http://www.redcross.org/

Other non-profit organizations who contribute a range of support services at the local level are the Rotary Club, Lions Club, and Kiwanis Club. These are three of the most commonly found agencies within many communities across the nation. Typically these organizations will hold fund raising events in order to acquire operating capital and have funds available for the purchase of equipment that is often donated to the local fire department.

SCBA, thermal imaging cameras, Jaws-of-Life, and emergency generators are among the many items given to local fire departments by these organizations when budget constraints threaten the ability of the department to respond and mitigate emergency incidents.

Not all organizations and agencies contribute monetary forms of support. For some, their purpose is to provide technical information to the fire service. One of the more well-known agencies most relied upon by the fire service is the National Association of Fire Protection (NFPA) headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts. Since 1896, the mission of NFPA has been to, “…reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education” (NFPA, n.d.). NFPA is a for-profit agency.

Many fire departments have a copy of the many codes and standards applicable to the fire service. Among these standards are: NFPA 1001 Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications, NFPA 1901 Automotive Fire Apparatus, and NFPA 1971 Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. NFPA Codes and Standards are available for purchase from its web site, and NFPA membership reduces the cost of each publication. For more on NFPA visit: https://www.nfpa.org/

NFPA is the principal lead for National Fire Prevention Week typically held during the first week of every October. During this week long observance, many fire departments across the country will hold open house at their main fire station, distribute fire prevention flyers, and hold fire apparatus and equipment demonstrations. BFS 3251, Introduction to Fire Protection 3

One of the most easily recognizable symbols of Fire Prevention Week is that of Sparky the Fire Dog who has been around since about 1951. Sparky is the mascot representing fire safety and awareness geared primarily for school-aged children; however his presence is important to adults as well.

For more information about Sparky the Fire Dog visit his web site: http://www.sparky.org/

From the federal government we will find support from several fire service related agencies. Federal Emergency Management (FEMA), National Fire Academy (NFA), National Incident Management System (NIMS), and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are but a few of the many available. Each agency has its own mission and purpose, and most offer federal assistance in times of disaster, or in the case of NFA, invaluable education and training programs for fire service personnel.

In the wake and aftermath of the Twin Tower attacks on September 11, 2001, the federal government created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This agency has oversight for virtually all matters of domestic security from airports to seaports to local fire and police service agencies. The reach of the DHS is far and wide. To better understand this massive organization visit their web site at: http://www.dhs.gov/ One of the functions of DHS is to provide assistance and guidance to state and local governments in preparing for possible terrorist activity. All resourceful emergency service leaders will benefit greatly by reading the information found at the DHS web site.

State level organizations and agencies: Among the agencies and organizations dedicated to assisting fire service leadership and managers are the office of state fire marshal, state fire training center, emergency management agency, state fire chief and firefighter associations, and state environmental protection agency (EPA). Most all of these agencies have their respective web sites where department managers and leaders will find valuable information and associated web links to many dimensions of support.

Local organizations: Typically these organizations will include city government, city police department, public works, health agent, building department, zoning and planning commission, and local emergency management department. These organizations will tend to vary widely depending upon the form of local government of the respective community. It therefore is incumbent upon the resource fire department leader to know and understand how each of these support agencies is managed, who their leaders are, and how their resources can be integrated into the fire departments needs in times of disaster.

Chapter 8: Support Functions

These support functions come not from outside the department, but rather from within. It might be said that without these various divisions or functions, many fire departments simply could not operate effectively or efficiently. Each function has its specific purpose and value to the overall operation of the fire department.

Dispatch: Typically this is the most vital function of the entire emergency response process. Without an effective and efficient dispatch center, whether onsite at the fire department or as part of public safety dispatch center, emergency response could not be made. The actual emergency call receiving center varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; however, the principles of operation are much the same. Virtually all regions of the U.S. are now equipped with a 9-1-1 or E-9-1-1 system. BFS 3251, Introduction to Fire Protection 4

Residents in a community or geographical region need only dial 9-1-1 from their home land line or cellular phones and within seconds are connected (barring only communications failures) to an appropriate 9-1-1 call center. From the moment the 9-1-1 operator accepts the call to moment emergency response equipment is dispatched, the call is typically recorded both on recording tape and hand written. Enhanced 9-1-1 (E 9-1-1) systems provide the operator the physical location of the source of the call, though this may not be the actual response address.

For this reason 9-1-1 operators in many jurisdictions are required undergo specialized training during which time they are certified in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other life saving techniques. Upon receipt of an emergency call, the operator will determine the nature of situation and what emergency apparatus will be required. In those cases where CPR is indicated, the operator has sufficient training to instruct the caller as to what must be done to begin life saving measures. Once such measures have begun, the dispatcher or an assistant will then alert and dispatch the appropriate apparatus.

Lookouts: Though not all parts of the U.S. have these notable structures, those regions having forest areas are most likely to know their appearance. Also known as “fire towers,” these structures often are situated upon the highest point in a given region and stand upward of 75 feet in height. A winding set of stairs take the lookout operator, typically an employee of the state forestry department, to the tower compartment at the top from where he/she is able to view the entire area of responsibility. Urban fire departments are often alerted to possible brush and even structure fires before local residents call 9-1-1.

The attendant of the lookout has a 360 degree map of the surrounding region and using a triangulation method is able to determine with reasonable certainty the location of a column of smoke and/or fire.

GIS maps: Geographical information systems (GIS) maps have become an essential component of support to the modern fire department. GIS maps are often drawn using sophisticated satellite positioning technology. GIS software is available from a wide range of design companies, and the prices vary. A well composed GIS and computer aided dispatch (CAD) system will often ensure rapid response with pinpoint accuracy as to the location of the incident.

Hazardous materials control unit: This support function has been developed in response to public awareness of the many types of known hazardous materials often found in commercial and industrial occupancies in many communities across the nation. Many fire departments operate the unit, known as the hazmat Unit, with department personnel who have been properly trained and certified as hazmat Technicians. The hazmat unit has taken its rightful place in the lineup of emergency apparatus and can be found in a number of types of apparatus arrangements. From full-sized driven vehicles to trailers being pulled by a staff car or utility truck, the hazmat unit is stocked with all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) specifically designed for the handling of hazardous material incidents.

Investigation unit: The purpose of this support function is to conduct formal investigations into cause and origin of an incident. Most often this involves fires that indicate arson. Large urban fire departments usually have a dedicated unit of personnel who are responsible for the investigation, collection of evidence, analysis of evidence, and the arrest and prosecution of suspects. Typically in smaller communities lacking dedicated funding of an independent division, fire investigations are conducted by the fire chief or his/her designee. BFS 3251, Introduction to Fire Protection 5

More and more fire investigators, specifically arson investigators, are being required by both federal and state statues to become certified in the field of fire investigations. A number of national and international associations offer certification courses for both fire professionals and civilians. Certification levels include: fire investigations, vehicle fire investigations, and fire and explosion investigations.

Personnel: While many communities have a formal Human Relations (HR) department, many fire departments maintain personnel records for each employee, paid or volunteer. In larger urban departments there may be a dedicated office for this function having appropriate managerial and non-managerial personnel operating the day-to-day functions. In smaller communities, the chief of the department is most likely to have possession of personnel records.

Information systems: With the use of computers becoming a more integral part of the daily life of the fire service, many departments have a dedicated group of personnel who serve as information technologists (IT). The general purpose of the IT support personnel is to ensure that all computer equipment is up to date and any networking capabilities are maintained. Many multi-station communities have intra-networks (within the community) that allow personnel in each individual station to enter data relevant to their response and participation during an emergency incident. Fire reports can be completed in a satellite station, and once completed, the entire document is sent via network software to a central computer for further processing. Most communities now have a dedicated IT department for city-wide data and computer system monitoring. Often it is the IT personnel who administer the policies and regulations regarding the appropriate use of community owned computers. Often, all employees of a community are required to read and acknowledge a formal acceptable use policy (AUP) prior to being permitted to operate any city computer system.

Business manager: One of the more important positions within a fire department is that of the business manager. Often it is the chief of the department who acts as the business manager. Generally it is the duty of the business manager to develop the annual operating budget of the department. Gathering input from individual department middle managers, the business manager in concert with the chief will formulate a plan of spending for a given fiscal year which is then presented to the financial officers of the community for approval or rejection. Rejection will require re-writing and resubmission. The budget process can be daunting and at times disheartening given the economic status of a community. Business managers are persons who have sufficient education in the field of budgetary matters and financial affairs.

Technical support: Often this form of support is that of legal services. In jurisdictions where mutual aid or automatic aid requires a formal written agreement between two departments it is the legal officer, solicitor, or lawyer, of the community who is called upon to draft the agreement. When it comes to investigations of fires, often technical support comes from the police department. Police departments are most likely to have direct access to crime labs where evidence gathered at the fire scene can be taken for analysis in an effort to determine the presence of ignitable liquids and fingerprints.

Warehouse and central stores: The physical storage or warehousing of equipment and supplies are often kept in one central location for ease of distribution. From PPE to paper towels and toilet tissue, each item has a cost factor attached, and as such, must be accounted for during the fiscal period. Some departments have an inventory control person who maintains inventory levels of equipment and supplies and reports to the chief financial officer of the BFS 3251, Introduction to Fire Protection 6

department. Bunker gear, helmets, SCBA, and nozzles and hoses are some of the many items that are likely to found in the department inventory. Many departments have a requisition system whereby personnel must fill out formal documents requesting equipment or supplies which allows for greater accountability.

Repair garage: Also known as the maintenance facility, this is the support function that cannot be underestimated regardless the size of the department. From the smallest to the largest department, at some point in time the department’s apparatus will require service. Whether it’s an oil change, tire replacement, or complete overhaul, the repair garage is where such work is performed. As with many other support functions, the repair garage size is dependent upon the size of the department. Small departments might utilize the local private garage for their mechanical needs, while larger metropolitan fire departments will have a separate facility.

Radio shop: Often found under the division of communication and/or fire alarm, it is here that the department’s radios, fixed console, mobile, and portable, are maintained and repaired. Some fire departments have an in-house radio technician who is often a firefighter who has undergone specialized training in the field of radio communications and equipment repair.

Adjutant or aide: This position is often held by a firefighter assigned to provide support assistance to the chief officer of the department or working shift. Often small and mid-sized departments cannot afford to dedicate a line firefighter to this support position as it creates a shortfall of personnel needed for response to an incident. Larger departments typically have such a dedicated position that permits the chief officer to focus his/her attention on the incident while the aide carries out the rudimentary duties that would otherwise distract the chief officer’s attention to more important operations. This position is often seen as an invaluable opportunity for learning when the firefighter wishes to take a promotional exam.

Reference

National Fire Protection Association [NFPA]. (2012). About NFPA. Retrieved http://www.nfpa.org/categoryList.asp?categoryID=143&URL=About%20NFPA

Supplemental Reading

Go to www.nfpa.org and select About NFPA from the menu bar. Explore this section to learn about the National Fire Protection Association.

Click here to access a PDF of “Publication 557 – Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization”

Retrieved from http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p557

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