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According to Robertson, (2008), fire prevention includes any fire service activity that lessens the incidence and severity of uncontrolled fire. Typically, fire prevention method employed by fire service focus on inspection, which includes engineering, code enforcement, public fire safety education, and fire investigations. Habitually, emergency planning and preparedness has always been a part of fire prevention and an objective of the fire service. Its significance has been highlighted in the past by the scope of emergency response required in cases of terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, among others. Fire service personnel are prepared for fire prevention functions within the fire service through various departments which are organized in a number of ways.
Rural volunteer fire service personnel may be organized by battalions based upon shifts of work or geographical distribution of individual fire stations. Municipal fire departments and county fire departments or fire divisions of county public safety departments are typically organized into two divisions that represent the varied responsibilities of the department or division. These divisions commonly include the following: administration, operations, prevention investigation training, communication emergency management, and equipment maintenance. The majority of fire department typically is charged with the duty of fire suppression, emergency response, and rescue activities (Arthur, 2003).
For example, in North Carolina, the state building code requires that a fire safety and building evacuation plan be prepared for a number of types of building occupancies. Building occupant has to take part in fire drills, and employees must also be trained in fire emergency procedures. Other emergency planning activities in which fire departments take part in so as to ensure safety within the fire service department include preparation for disaster responses with partners such as urban search and rescue teams from the jurisdictions, the national guard, and other state and federal agencies.
Additionally, various fire departments engage in a wide range of activities that are designed to inform the public concerning the need to prevent fires and be prepared in event fire does occur. However, it is vital to note that this kind of preparation is bound to change with time since new recruits are required to acquire the needed knowledge in regards to fire protection services (James, 2004).
Carson and Clinker, (2000) asserts formal fire safety education is essential as a means of prevention is recognized today as one of the most viable methods of combating many fire emergencies facing a number of countries around the world. Campaigns and education in regards to fire emergency prevention among other vices have made great strides in dealing with critical and costly issues that affect the quality of life in communities. Fire departments all over the world have seen prevention education as a means of fighting fire, in an effort to minimize the loss of life and property from such catastrophic events.
This process has been witnessed to be a working idea since most of the lives and properties have been saved since its inception. For example, the LaGrange Fire Department has participated in prevention education programs for the past decade. This effort began in an elementary school and has developed to include middle school students, as well as adults. During this period the community has witnessed very little cases of fires and loss of life as a result of fire education programs.
In conclusion, general fire safety preparedness is a vital in the department of fire and rescue services. However the ongoing training program should therefore be carefully planned, evaluated, and revised as required. It is also important that personnel from all levels of the department be included in such a program so that their particular needed and concerns are not overlooked. An inclusive process is also likely to help in achieving the support from all levels of organization, even for some training that might be popular. It is therefore important to not that effective fire prevention depends on the adoption of up-to-date codes and standards and a personnel network (Carson and Clinker, 2000).