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There is a lot of lip service given to meeting NFPA and we should strive to exceed these minimum standards, but the more I travel the more I realize that many departments do not meet the minimum OSHA training standards that are required by law. Where does your department fit in? Reply in Tactical Building Blocks Group.

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Hey Frank,

How goes it? OSHA does not apply to public safety agencies in Colorado and there is not a state OSHA. Now before the cascade of attacks start, our department understands that OSHA regulations as with NFPA standards and other "best practices" standards, that should things go wrong, tort law will compare our actions to those standards. So here at good ole Poudre Fire Authority we strive to meet those standards. As far as NFPA Standards, very few are officially adopted by Authorities Having Jurisdiction as far as firefighting related activities. Wouldn't it be cool to see a more cities, counties, fire boards, or more states adopt things like NFPA 1403 as law. There are a few but in most cases this is a guideline.

I know there are others but not all states are governed by OSHA.
This is a real conundrum isn't it? "OSHA states" vs "Non-OSHA states" private industry vs government agencies and then bringing in the NFPA; what's a fire chief to do!? My answer is that the Fire Chief has a moral, and legal obligation to provide for the safety and wellbeing of all firefighters as well as the community they protect. I think there is a lot of fear out there that the NFPA is going to "take firefighting out of the fire department." I think many fire chiefs see the NFPA as an enemy as opposed to an ally. The biggest complaint heard is about the cost of being "NFPA compliant". However, the cost of a line of duty injury or death is vastly more expensive in more ways than one. Many fire chiefs and city managers hang their hat on "authority having jurisdiction" to skirt some of the NFPA standards. However, as Tom mentioned, when it comes to tort law those standards are what you are going to be measured by. Unfortunately, I think the fire service is its own worst enemy when it comes to OSHA law and NFPA standards. The fact of the matter is that these minimum standards (and they are minimums) are merely trying to keep firefighters safe which is something we are not so good at doing ourselves.
Chris,

You're exactly right. Regardless of their legal status, nationally recognized standards, regulations, and practices should be researched, taught, and applied by all involved in all aspects of the department.

We can apply our own personal accountability on the training ground, the fireground, in the classroom and in the firehouse. Instructors must learn what these standards and practices are and apply them in their classes. There is nothing worse than an instructor harping on safe practice and then not following the standard when the rubber meets the road.

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