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Industry

Privatized Firefighters Aid Insurance Companies

privatized firefighters

In the wake of the increase in wildfires throughout the American West, insurance companies are taking the proactive step of hiring and utilizing private fire crews to assist homeowners in more fire-prone areas. While the practice has been in place since the 1970s, these measures have understandably been taken more frequently as of late.

Firms such as Pure Insurance and Chubbs Limited have implemented this service for their policyholders over the last decade, and given the nature of these fires over the past few seasons, it’s proving useful across 13 states. Its benefits are enjoyed most strongly in California, as development stretches its fingers further into fire-prone areas where the fire season is essentially year round.

These privatized firefighters don’t necessarily work alongside government agencies in active fire suppression. However, they are with companies contracted by the insurance companies to patrol the neighborhoods of policy holders, and they take preventative steps to reduce the likelihood of damage should a fire approach the home.

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Government Agencies and Lawmakers Butting Heads Over 2018 Fire Budget

congress fire budget

A long-standing tug of war has existed between government agencies and the lawmakers sworn to act in the best interest of the people.  Congress represents the people of the United States. Members serve their constituents, the people who live in the district from which they are elected. Lawmakers must please their constituents if they want to stay in office, and every issue must therefore be considered from the perspectives of those constituents.  Government agencies for the most part are insulated from their constituents in that they serve them but are not subject to ouster if the public at large does not agree with their decisions.  Designed to work in unison, the government agencies compete for public dollars to help serve the public, while lawmakers pass legislation that sets the budget to effectively carry out the missions of these agencies. As the wallets of federal, state, and local governments have tightened this year,  the agencies who are slated to receive limited funding to carry out their missions start to vocally and procedurally push back against lawmakers.

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Fire Chief Resigns Over Municipality’s Failure to Replace Unsafe Apparatus

firefighter turnouts and gear

As a company that has relationships with volunteer firefighters in various rural communities that always seem strapped for cash, we at BME found this story of particular interest. Many volunteer departments rely on annual funding drives to help supplement local funding, but that typically still only covers the more routine operational costs such as training, maintenance, and upkeep of the fire station. Anyone who has served, especially in fire districts with high call volume, knows that the day will come when you will need to make that appeal to your municipality — or even to the citizens you’re protecting — for extra money.

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Remembering Al Brunacini: Pioneer of the Fire Industry

The Phoenix Fire Department and the firefighting community lost an invaluable member on October 15th, 2017.  The family of former Phoenix Fire Chief Alan Brunacini announced his passing on Sunday.  As news of Al’s passing spread through firehouses and halls an outpouring of praise came from industry leaders across the country whom Al provided guidance and inspiration. Fire Engineering Editor in Chief and FDIC International Education Director Bobby Halton said, “One of the most incredible lights that ever burned in the fire service has gone out forever. A totally unique and one-of-a kind giant, innovator, and spiritual leader has left us better and stronger than we ever could have been without him. He changed the face of the fire service forever, and we loved him and will miss him.”

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Assessing the Damage: The Destruction of the 2017 Northern California Wildfires

The 2017 fire season has been one of the worst in US history, especially for California.  During the most intense period beginning in early October and continuing until the end of the month, eight counties in Northern California were hit by a devastating outbreak of wildfires which led to over 40 fatalities, nearly 250,000 scorched acres and nearly 9,000 structures destroyed.  The blazes burned through communities, literally turning homes and businesses into dust. The estimated 20,000 Northern Californian residents who evacuated towns and cities told stories of narrow escapes from fires that erupted and forced them to flee even before text messages and other alerts were sent out by emergency warning systems.  Those that were lucky enough to escape returned to what is left of their homes, businesses, and farms.

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