Chief Compton's Research Corner

Welcome to Chief Dennis Compton’s Research Corner.  This is a new addition to the International Fire Service Journal of Leadership and Management (IFSJLM) website and we at Fire Protection Publications are delighted that Chief Compton agreed to place in this folder fire service research studies and other papers he believes are a “must read.” Before you start reviewing the studies below, let us tell you a little about Chief Compton.

Chief Compton currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Fallen Firefighters (NFFF) Foundation. He was Fire Chief in Mesa, Arizona, for 5 years and Assistant Fire Chief in Phoenix where he served for 27 years. Chief Compton is Past Chairman of the Executive Board of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) and Past Chairman of the Congressional Fire Service Institute National Advisory Committee.  He is currently Co-Chairman of the Fire Service-Based EMS Advocates Steering Committee, and a member of the Arizona State University Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Chief Compton is a well-known speaker and author. He has received many awards, including the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association and the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association Lifetime Achievement Awards. Chief Compton is the 2014 recipient of the Dr. John Granito Award for Excellence in Fire Service Leadership and Management Research and the 2016 IAFC James O. Page EMS Achievement Award. Dennis was also inducted into the National Fire Heritage Center Hall of Legends, Legacies, and Leaders – and he is a charter member of the Arizona Fire Service Hall of Fame.

Chief Compton is a strong supporter of and a vocal advocate for the International Fire Service Journal of Leadership and Management.  He serves on the Editorial Board of IFSJLM, regularly reviews articles for the Journal and has published in IFSJLM.  He is also a frequent speaker at the Annual IFSJLM Research Symposium held in July each year that precedes the opening session of the summer International Fire Service Training Association Validation Conference.  

We hope you enjoy this collection of research topics and studies chosen for you by Chief Dennis Compton. Also, please check back as Chief Compton will add new studies and papers periodically.

NFPA Responder Forum and Urban Fire Forum:  1. White Paper – Civil Unrest  2. Sample SOP – Civil Unrest - September, 2016

The United States is sometimes marred by occurrences of civil unrest. Riots and demonstrations are a reality and firefighters and paramedics, along with law enforcement, are called upon to respond and function in the midst of these difficult events. Chapter 8 of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1500 requires that fire departments develop and maintain written standard operating procedures that establish a standardized approach to the safety of members at incidents involving violence, unrest, or civil disturbance. In response to this requirement, this White Paper and Sample Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) were created by the NFPA Responder Forum in 2015 – then released to the fire community through the Urban Fire Forum in 2016. Together, these excellent documents provide critical guidance to fire department personnel as they address these incidents in close cooperation with law enforcement.

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Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) National Advisory Committee White Paper: Understanding the Roles, Challenges & Needs of Our Nation’s Fire and Emergency Services - July, 2017

On December 8, 2016, member organizations of the Congressional Fire Services Institute’s (CFSI) National Advisory Committee (NAC) approved a resolution to develop a white paper that describes the current state of the American Fire Service in protecting the public, their property and the nation’s critical infrastructure from fire and other emergencies. Completed and published on July 24, 2017, this white paper is designed to help government officials and others better understand what is expected / required of firefighters nationwide and how specific federal programs enhance the readiness and response capabilities of these brave men and women. The information contained in the white paper addresses important aspects of the federal government’s role in supporting the mission of our nation’s fire and emergency services. It can be useful in many ways, and within various venues, to communicate current fire and emergency services issues and challenges, both internally and externally.

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U.S. Fire Department Profile – 2015 - April, 2017

This profile provides a wealth of data breaking down and detailing the make-up of fire departments in the United States and the services they provide. NFPA estimates there were approximately 1,160,450 firefighters in the U.S. in 2015. An estimated 345,600 (30%) of these were career firefighters and 814,850 (70%) were volunteer firefighters. Most of the career firefighters (71%) worked in communities that protected 25,000 or more people. Most of the volunteer firefighters (95%) were in departments that protected fewer than 25,000 people. There are an estimated 29,727 fire departments in the U.S. Of these, 2,651 departments were staffed by all career firefighters, 1,893 were mostly career, 5,421 were mostly volunteer and 19,762 were all volunteer.

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Study of Cancer Among U.S. Fire Fighters - April, 2017

In February 2015, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) completed a study of nearly 30,000 fire fighters from the Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco Fire Departments to better understand the potential link between fire fighting and cancer. The study was a joint effort led by researchers at NIOSH in collaboration with researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the University of California at Davis Public Health Sciences Department. It was also supported in part by the United States Fire Administration (USFA). This study showed higher rates of certain types of cancer among fire fighters than the general U.S. population. The study provides further evidence that fire fighters are at increased risk of certain cancer types as a result of occupational exposure. This research strongly recommends that the fire service increase efforts to educate members about safe work practices.

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Examination of Compressed Air Foam (CAF) For Interior Firefighting NIST Technical Note 1927 - January, 2017

This January 2017 report covers a study designed to investigate limitations of compressed air foam (CAF) relative to water when used for interior structural firefighting. Full scale fire experiments were conducted over a period of years from 2012 through 2015. The experiment arrangements and results are presented in this report. These results from both the gas cooling and the suppression of residential scale from fires showed the effectiveness of water and CAF hose streams to be similar. This study, conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, was part of a larger research project led by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in collaboration with the Montgomery County (MD) Fire and Rescue Service. It was supported in part by a Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Administration Assistance to Firefighters Research and Development Grant.

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Fourth Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service - November, 2016

This fourth Fire Service Needs Assessment Survey was conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 2015-2016 and follows three earlier surveys, which were completed in 2001, 2005 and 2010. The first two were conducted under grants from the U.S. Fire Administration. These surveys have been linked from their inception to the DHS/FEMA grant programs, including the Assistance to Firefighters, and the staffing-focused program called SAFER. The goal of the assessments has been to identify major needs of the U.S. fire service, by comparing what departments actually have with what existing consensus standards, government regulations, and other nationally recognized guidance documents state they need to have in order to be safe and effective. Because these grant programs had already targeted many of these identified needs, the surveys were designed to examine the reduction of these needs over time to indicate the success of the grant program. Evidence of the need for staffing engines; training for structural firefighting, Hazmat and wildland firefighting; and updated SCBA and personal protective clothing is concerning. Many AFG and SAFER grant funds are targeted towards these areas of need.

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FDNY World Trade Center Health Program - Health Impacts on FDNY Rescue/Recovery Workers - 15 Years: 2001 to 2016 - September, 2016

This report outlines and updates the World Trade Center Health Program's efforts to support FDNY members affected by 9/11 and what we have learned about the health consequences of exposure to the WTC site. It is the result of years of data collection and health screenings and provides policy makers and the public with critical information to ensure that as the work moves forward, the needs of those affected by 9/11 continue to be met.

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2015 National Fire Service Research Agenda Report - January, 2016

The 2015 National Fire Service Research Agenda Symposium (RAS) was held November 15-18, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. Firefighter Life Safety Initiative #7 calls for the creation and maintenance of a fire service research agenda. To that end, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has previously hosted two research agenda symposiums in 2005 and 2011. Although the publication of a new Fire Service Research Agenda causes great excitement in the academic and research community, the broader fire service often has very little interface with it, and may subsequently lack understanding of its true impact. They are often unaware that virtually every research project conducted by, or on behalf of the fire service, has its roots in the Research Agenda. In fact, demonstrating a project’s connection to its recommendations is often a gateway to grant funding for researchers.

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Report from the 2014 Tampa2 Firefighter Life Safety Summit March 10–12, 2014 – National Fallen Firefighters Foundation - March, 2014

In March 2014, a select group of fire service leaders came together for a landmark event: the Tampa2 Firefighter Life Safety Summit. Held in Tampa, Florida hosted by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). The summit brought together several hundred individuals representing a broad spectrum of the fire service and related organizations. The participants included the leaders of national fire service organizations, influential members of the fire service, up-and-coming leaders in the fire service, representatives of numerous governmental agencies, researchers, fire service media and industry, and related fields. All came to Tampa with one goal in mind: reduce firefighter line-of-duty deaths (LODDs).

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National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Report on High-Rise Fireground Field Experiments - April, 2013

This report presents the results of a scientific study that included 48 field experiments and 48 complementary fire modeling simulations that collectively quantify the impact of differing crew size deployments (3-person, 4-person, 5-person, and 6-person crews), different alarm assignments, and different vertical response modes on occupant survivability, firefighter safety, and property protection for four potential high-rise fire response scenarios. For the high-rise fireground experiments, a 13 story vacant commercial building was used in Crystal City, Virginia. Props were built within the structure to closely resemble an occupied workplace including a mixture of employee cubicles and private offices. Each floor of the structure measured approximately 30,000 sq ft (2800 m2 ). This is a modest high-rise building that represents a baseline best case scenario for high hazard environments.

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National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Report on Field EMS Experiments - September, 2010

This EMS portion of the Firefighter Safety and Deployment of Resources Study was designed in 2005 solely to assess the personnel number and configuration aspect of an EMS incident for responder safety, effectiveness, and efficiency. This scientific study does not address the efficacy of any patient care intervention. The study does however quantify first responder crew size, i.e., the number and placement of ALS trained personnel resources on the time-to-task measures for EMS interventions. Upon recommendation of technical experts, the investigators selected trauma and cardiac scenarios to be used in the experiments as these events are resource intensive and will likely reveal relevant differences in regard to the research questions.

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National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Report on Residential Fireground Field Experiments - April, 2010

This report presents the results of a scientific study of more than 60 laboratory and residential fireground experiments designed to quantify the effects of various fire department deployment configurations on the most common type of fire — a low hazard residential structure fire. For the fireground experiments, a 2,000 sq ft (186 m2), two-story residential structure was designed and built at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville, MD. Fire crews from Montgomery County, MD and Fairfax County,VA were deployed in response to live fires within this facility. In addition to systematically controlling for the arrival times of the first and subsequent fire apparatus, crew size was varied to consider two-, three-, four-, and five-person staffing. Each deployment performed a series of 22 tasks that were timed, while the thermal and toxic environment inside the structure was measured.

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