A Message From Marshal Hussey

I am deeply concerned with the number of residential fire fatalities in Ohio this year. In the past two years, we have lost 110 to 120 residents each year. So far in 2019, we have lost 90 Ohioans to fire — a sharp increase over prior years. In many of these cases, there were no working smoke alarms. Either the battery was missing, or the smoke alarms simply weren’t present. I’m frustrated because I believe people know the importance of these life saving devices; yet they continue to ignore the proper installation and maintenance of alarms in their homes.

It is possible people don’t understand how quickly fire spreads in the modern built environment —disorienting residents within minutes and with smoke capable of incapacitating them almost instantly. As our community’s life safety experts, we must do everything within our power to make our residents understand how difficult it is to escape a fire in their home. It is imperative we work tirelessly to increase their chances of survival. Our public outreach and advocacy must happen constantly, during educational programs, while on EMS calls, during public relations events, and even in our daily lives.

Our office continues to work diligently to promote the installation of smoke alarms on every level of the home, and inside every sleeping room. Interconnected alarms create an additional level of safety, since all alarms sound simultaneously. New wireless technology allows for interconnectivity in existing homes without rewiring. Also, I am excited about the new battery power for fire alarms. The 10-year sealed battery will certainly help eliminate the removal of batteries and reduce low-battery nuisance alarms. These batteries will now last the life of the device; as all smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years of service. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is finalizing new standards on smoke alarms that will help reduce false alarms due to cooking. As they become available in the next few years, these new and improved alarms will undoubtedly provide a higher level of safety to our residents.

Finally, as we educate our residents about replacing smoke alarms, let’s continue to encourage them to install carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. It is quite simple to add carbon monoxide detection capabilities when replacing a smoke alarm. Across Ohio, we have seen many tragic fatalities due to carbon monoxide poisoning this year. Carbon monoxide alarms are inexpensive and unquestionably provide an added level of safety for Ohio’s families.

I want to thank our firefighters and responders for their dedicated service. I challenge all of you to improve our efforts to get new, interconnected, sealed battery smoke and carbon monoxide detection in the homes in our communities. Together, we can work to reduce the troubling increase in fire deaths in Ohio.
Jeff Hussey, State Fire Marshal
SFM Highlights Key Wins for Fiscal Year 2019
As one of seven divisions housed within the Ohio Department of Commerce, the State Fire Marshal's (SFM) office is responsible for helping protect the public, its property, and the environment from fire and related risks.

This is done by making advancements to the Ohio Fire Code; training and certifying future firefighters; providing fire prevention education; investigating fires and explosions throughout the state, and much more. SFM achieved notable successes on all of these fronts throughout the last year, from expanding the capabilities of the forensic laboratory to taking great leaps in improving the quality of Ohio's fire incident response data.

During Fiscal Year 2019, SFM also conducted or assisted in 1,063 investigations, instructed 7,672 students face to face at the Ohio Fire Academy, executed 12,237 fire and life safety inspections and more.

To learn all about the great work being done at SFM, check out Commerce's FY19 Annual Report here .
2019 Fire Expo A Huge Success
More than 1,000 visitors came out for the 19 th annual Fire Expo and Muster at the State Fire Marshal’s (SFM) office on June 22.
The biggest draw for this year’s event was the retirement of SFM’s first-ever explosive detection canine, 9-year-old Labrador retriever Dodger, who officially hung up his badge after eight years as “top dog.”

One of Dodger’s favorite partners, U.S. Marshals explosive detection canine Mario, was also honored with a retirement certificate to recognize his seven years of service.

The event also featured an awe-inspiring display of fire apparatus, both old and new, thanks to the Central Ohio Antique Fire Apparatus Association and its members, as well as some fun activities for adults and children alike.

Visitors also had the opportunity to learn all about SFM’s seven bureaus with informational displays and activities such as the extinguisher simulator. Explosive detection canine Rena, as well as accelerant detection canine Finnegan, were also on hand to show off their impressive sniffing skills.
CRR: Evaluating Our Impact and Outcome │ Part Three

The following is the third part in our series on Community Risk Reduction (CRR). To read part 1 of this series, click here . To read part 2, click here .

Who is Responsible for Community Risk Reduction?

There is a growing trend to assign Community Risk Reduction (CRR) responsibility to the Fire Prevention Bureau, the community educator, or specifically the State Fire Marshal. It is important to remember CRR is integrated management. All facets of a fire department’s services are included in a strategic and well-documented CRR plan.

Though education and engineering are both powerful and beneficial practices when implementing Community Risk Reduction strategies, they should not be the primary focus when effective impact and outcome are to be realized. Assigning the title of Community Risk Reduction Coordinator to an education specialist or community outreach specialist may not be the best plan for longevity of the program. These positions are often the first to be eliminated when budgets are cut, though new practices show they contribute more to the bottom line.

In integrated management, education, engineering, enforcement, economic incentive, and emergency response are removed from their silos. Operations personnel are a vital part of the process, as are inspectors, support staff, and department leadership. Plans are developed for them to work together to address targeted risk. These risks aren’t simply fire concerns. They include any targeted risk that can endanger the well-being of a community and its members. The community ranges from a large city to a simple apartment building. Because these risks may require additional services the fire department does not facilitate, partnerships with other agencies and community members are formed. Ideally, when a fire department builds a plan from their community risk assessment, the fire chief is the true CRR coordinator.

Ideally, using standard practices to build the foundations of a CRR program is recommended. Both the Institution of Fire Engineers USA Branch (IFE-USA) Vision 20/20 project and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offer solid tools to help get started.

Vision 20/20 at strategicfire.org shares a wealth of combined knowledge by leading subject matter experts, as well as online tools and resources. Their partnership with the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) offers free training in the Resource One portal at ifsta.org . The Vision 20/20 CRR Radio podcast provides insight from those who have learned what works and doesn’t work.

NFPA released NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development . The intent of the standard is to help normalize the definition of CRR and provide direction. It addresses steps to complete community risk assessments and the creation, implementation, and evaluation of a CRR plan. This standard includes important information on how to assemble a CRR organization and committee, how to form partnerships, how to use data in the CRA, and to evaluate activities. NFPA 1300 can be found at nfpa.org/1300 .

Overall, the responsibility of CRR goes to the entire community. But the fire department, led by the chief, is often the agency that responds regardless of the magnitude or impact of a risk. Removing fire department services from their silos to work together will help reduce negative impact and lead to positive outcome.
Hotels: Renew by Oct. 1 for 'Safe Stay' Hotel Incentive Program
Hotel renewal season has begun! 

While hotel licensees must renew before the Dec. 31 expiration date, the State Fire Marshal's (SFM) Testing and Registration Bureau must receive the completed Safe Stay survey, renewal payment, and signed renewal application paperwork by Oct. 1 for hotels to be Safe Stay eligible.

The Operation Safe Stay program allows SFM to designate a qualifying licensed hotel as a “Safe Stay Hotel” if the hotel meets the following Ohio Fire Code (O.F.C.) and Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) requirements:

  • For a period of 24 consecutive months, the hotel must
  • maintain a valid license to operate
  • timely submit its renewal application (on or before Oct. 1), and
  • be in compliance with all applicable O.R.C. and O.F.C. requirements; and
  • For a period of 60 consecutive months, there has not been
  • a finding of nuisance against the facility,
  • a conviction for lewdness, assignation, prostitution, or felony drug activity based on conduct that occurred at the hotel property (or in some cases against the facility operator).

A list of Safe Stay hotels are listed on SFM’s website and will be updated nightly. Hotels receiving the Safe Stay designation will be allowed to advertise their status through print and/or social media. They will also receive a decal to display in their lobby window. The presence of the logo signifies the facility has been inspected and meets the highest level of fire and life safety standards.

For more information about the program and all its requirements, click here or contact SFM’s Code Enforcement Bureau at 614-728-5460 or toll-free at 1-888-276-0303.
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