A Message From Marshal Hussey

Three of our priorities here at the State Fire Marshal’s Office are professional development, training and networking. One of the most important ways we share these priorities with the fire service is through our annual Fire Chiefs Symposium.

This year’s event will take place May 2-3 at the Ohio Fire Academy and is a great opportunity for new and seasoned fire chiefs to learn about a variety of resources, legal matters, best practices and other contemporary topics affecting the fire service today. Best of all, the event is free of charge.

As part of our efforts to provide fresh, current content each year, this year’s Fire Chiefs Symposium will have a major focus on first responder mental health and resources available to your organizations. We are also pleased to have the Insurance Services Offices (ISO) coming to teach a session on ISO and its Public Protection Class grading process.

Some of the other session highlights include: Fire Service Best Practices, Navigating the Political Landscape, Fire Service Grant Programs, and School Safety.

While the symposium was originally intended for new fire chiefs, we realize it has tremendous value for veteran leaders and their entire senior management team – not just chief officers!

Please mark your calendars now for this important event. I look forward to personally spending two days with you at the symposium, and I guarantee it will improve your knowledge of some vitally important leadership topics, help build your professional network, and put some essential tools in your toolbox.

Registration can be completed online on the Ohio Fire Academy website. I hope to see you there!
Jeff Hussey, State Fire Marshal
A Season of Hope

Hope can have many different meanings to us all. When used as noun, hope is a feeling of positivity that something may transpire. As a verb, hope expresses a desire for something to happen. Friends, I now ask, what does hope mean to you?

My sincere hope is an overall improvement in the behavioral health of our first responder community. As a partner, your State Fire Marshal’s Office and, more specifically, its Ohio Fire Academy, present a number of course offerings designed to raise awareness, recognize signs, and offer techniques to address a predicament. After the Call, Crisis Awareness, Stress First Aid for Fire and EMS Personnel, and The Fire that Burns Within: Fire Service Suicide Prevention offer wonderful opportunities to empower learners with knowledge in order to address our current, and most difficult, circumstance. For more information, please visit us on the web or call either 888-726-7731 or 614-752-7186. Superintendent Jack Smith and his fine staff would be happy to help with all your learning needs.

A number of agencies currently promote emotional wellness. President Taylor and his team at the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters (OAPFF) offer their program, The OAPFF Peer Support Network . President Westendorf and the Ohio Fire Chief’s Association continue to conduct research through its Safety, Health, and Wellness (HSW) Committee. Additionally, The Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSP) delivers its OH ASSIST Post Critical Incident Seminar to service personnel who have been involved in an event; the program supports families as well. Also, President Pollitt and his group at The Ohio State Firefighters Association continue to promote behavioral wellness to the members they serve. These are but a few of the resources available to you and I, as well as those in need .

I recently had the pleasure of attending a “Summit on Responder Mental Health” hosted by Kevin Reardon and the Central Ohio Technical College where Assistant Chief Jack Rupp presented the findings of a study conducted by the HSW and the results were compelling. This collaborative project with the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Medical Services presents a detailed glimpse into the perspectives of responders and the conditions they face.

At the same event, Newark Firefighter/Paramedic Jason Hufford displayed remarkable courage by presenting an impactful story of personal struggle, hope, and healing. There were several breakout sessions as well were attendees garnered additional information on the science of behavioral health and the effects of emotional trauma.

Although our future presents a challenge, this new year will offer meaningful opportunities to support one another. By working together, we can continue to change cultural paradigms, promote awareness, and provide comfort to those who suffer. Your State Fire Marshal’s office is steadfastly committed to this endeavor and continues to seek new opportunities for outreach.

In this season of optimism, it is my sincere desire the new year finds you and your families well, filled with the hope a new year can bring.
Bill Spurgeon, Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal
Sixth Annual SFM Toy Drive Yields 270 Toys
The State Fire Marshal’s annual toy drive benefiting children at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital burn unit was a massive success for the sixth year in a row.

On Dec. 20, State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey, Chief Deputy William Spurgeon, Ohio Department of Commerce Director Sheryl Maxfield, and other SFM staff delivered 270 toys, games and puzzles, as well as 50 care packages containing personal care items for family members.

Thanks to the generosity and support of staff throughout the entire Department of Commerce, the yearly effort yielded nearly 100 more toys than last year’s campaign. This is always an enjoyable way for all Commerce and SFM staff to give back.
SFM Forensic Lab Hosts Fingerprinting Class
The State Fire Marshal's Forensic Laboratory recently hosted students from all across the globe for an interactive course on detecting fingerprints using fluorescent light.

The course, titled “Finding Latent Prints with Chemistry and Light,” provided students the opportunity to understand and utilize fluorescent light as a powerful detection tool for finding latent fingerprints on evidence.

During the five-day course, which ran from Oct. 22-25, participants prepared samples and tested different light sources to enhance latent prints by fluorescence.

Students learned new techniques for processing items with blood evidence, as well as strategies for processing tapes. They were also given the opportunity to practice photographing fluorescent prints in order to maximize the print detail, which aids in comparison and identification.

In addition to students from the Columbus area, participants from Iowa, Kansas, Canton, and even the Royal Oman attended the course.
Community Risk Reduction in Action
Federal grant helps local agencies reach high-risk populations in 10 states

by Richard Palmer, CPM
Assistant Chief, Fire Prevention Bureau
Members of the State Fire Marshal's (SFM) Fire Prevention Bureau recently helped facilitate a program in three Ohio communities that implemented many of the risk reduction management strategies that have been presented in past issues of this newsletter.
At first glance, the Sound Off with the Home Safety Patrol program appears to be a typical public education experience many agencies often implement. However, this unique fire safety program also integrates other risk-reduction strategies, including engineering, emergency response, and economic incentives. Evaluation strategies are used to track the processes, impact and eventually outcome of the effort.

In 2019, firefighters in the communities of West Union (Adams County), Steubenville (Jefferson County), and New Lexington (Perry County) worked alongside fire safety educators from our office to reach second- or third-grade students to raise awareness of the importance of working smoke alarms and to install alarms in homes that lacked this protection. This effort was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA provided to the Center for National Prevention Initiatives at the Michigan Public Health Institute. The communities were chosen following Community Risk Assessments conducted by the SFM Fire Prevention Bureau.
The impact of Sound Off was seen both nationally and locally. In the 10 participating states, the average student knowledge gain following classroom instruction was 45.8 percent. This was evidenced through pre- and post-testing. The lessons are built to meet Common Core requirements.

The three Ohio communities reached almost 300 homes with home safety visits. They installed more than 1,000 smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in previously difficult to reach homes. In some communities, additional safety advocates from agencies such as Job and Family Services and the Area on Aging became interested in the project and offered to team up for further initiatives.

The FEMA grant has been renewed for the next two years. Three new Ohio communities, Bellefontaine (Logan County), Bainbridge (Ross County), and Liberty Township (Butler County), are now gearing up to provide instruction and home safety visits this year. The Fire Prevention Bureau will again mentor and act as facilitators to help this program be successful so more homes in identified high-risk neighborhoods can be reached. Additionally, the participating agencies from last year will mentor and share best practices and lessons learned.

Though this program has the general feel of a safety education effort, it is most effective because integrated risk-management strategies are included. Stand-alone attempts to reduce risk are often unsuccessful or, at the very least, yield little documentation to show impact or intended outcome. Integrated strategies, with proper evaluation, will often show immediate impact. Outcome may also show to be more effective over time. 
Code Corner: Fireplace Safety Tips
to Share With Your Communities
As temperatures begin to fall, fire safety educators should start thinking about how best to communicate safe heating practices to those in our communities.

If you're looking to put together a fire safety program for the communities you serve this winter, here are a few common, yet life-saving home heating tips to share.

General fireplace and chimney safety

Have a professional inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney each year before you begin using it for the season. If you’re using a gas or wood fireplace, open the chimney flue prior to starting the fire to let fresh air feed the flames and allow smoke to exit. Close the flue once the fire is put out.

It’s also important to keep the area surrounding the fireplace free from flammable objects. Be extra cautious of this during the winter, especially around the holidays each year. Keep decorations and stockings a safe distance away from a fire and don’t ever use your fireplace to burn Christmas trees or wrapping paper. Pine boughs and paper burn intensely and can lead to a roof or chimney fire.

Gas fireplace safety tips

Gas fireplaces are exceedingly popular for their efficiency and clean burning properties. Enjoy them safely by acknowledging the following safety conditions:

  • Know your clearance zone. Many gas fireplaces have technology that makes it safe to place electronics and decor near the fireplace or on the mantle. However, certain items should never be placed within your fireplace’s clearance zone. These items include books, newspaper, magazines, fabrics, blankets or drapes, and wood.

  • Proper ventilation is key. Natural gas and carbon monoxide can kill. Make sure your flue and vents are all functioning properly and always have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed prior to use.

  • Maintain your safety barrier. Whether it’s glass or metal, keep your safety screen in excellent condition. This will prevent flames or burning material from getting out of your fireplace, and keep flammable items from getting in.

For more free fire safety tips year round, follow us on Facebook and Twitter !
Fireworks CE Training Set for 2020
While we're still a long way from celebrating our nation's independence in 2020, the staff here in the State Fire Marshal's (SFM) Testing and Registration Bureau are already planning for all of the Fourth of July celebrations slated to take place throughout Ohio.

To ensure Ohio’s fireworks exhibitors continue to put on the booming shows displayed each and every July throughout the state, SFM offers annual continuing education (CE) training for Fireworks Safety. These courses are a requirement for anyone to maintain an exhibitor’s license in Ohio. 

Below are the fireworks CE course offerings for 2020:
All courses begin at 9 a.m. and will last six hours with a one-hour lunch. The courses listed above are sponsored by SFM and will meet requirements for continuing education (CE) that must be completed every three years by a licensed fireworks and/or pyrotechnics exhibitor in Ohio. A licensed exhibitor who attends this required program may, within one year after attending, and on an annual basis during the following two years, conduct in-service training using the information obtained in this class.

This course is designed to give the officer in charge of issuing a permit, information regarding National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) and Ohio Fire Code (O.F.C.) requirements, responsibility, liability and safety.

National FBI background checks are required for all fireworks licensure and fingerprinting is offered at a charge of $25.25 at the state-sponsored continuing education classes.

A free-online version of this class is available anytime here. Scroll down to Individuals, and click Sign up now. If you're a first-time user, click Register. Select Start next to Online Fireworks Continuing Education. A printable certificate of completion is available at the end of this course.

For additional information, contact Jim Starrett at james.starrett@com.state.oh.us.
Meet Ashley, Your New Grants Coordinator!
The State Fire Marshal’s (SFM) Office would like to introduce its new grant coordinator, Ashley Campbell!

Although she is new to the world of grants, she is already familiar with the fire service industry. She had been a faithful SFM employee for more than 13 years where she worked in the Bureau of Testing and Registration; her main duties included fireworks and fire protection licensing.

“I have a passion for helping the fire service industry and Ohioans," said Campbell. "I’m excited for the new challenge grants offers.”

Each year, SFM offers $5.2 million in grants. This includes the MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communications Systems) Grant, Firefighter I Training Grant, Individual and Joint Fire Department Equipment Grant, and the Fire Department Training Reimbursement Grant.

More information can be found about each of these grants here.
2020 Ohio Fire Academy Catalog Now Available!
Click image above to view 2020 Course Catalog
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