Page 6 - UFRA Straight Tip Fall 2022 - Volume 23 Issue 4
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  Ted Black started his career in the private sector designing fire sprinkler systems. After 10 years in the private sector, he was hired by Salt Lake County Fire as their fire protection engineer and then as their deputy fire marshal. Eight years later, he moved on to be fire mar-
shal for the Weber Fire District. In 2012, he took the position of chief deputy, Utah state fire marshal. In January of 2022, he was promoted to be the state fire marshal of Utah.
Fire Marshal Black believes that joining the fire service has made all the difference in his professional life.
 The Fire Code:
A Firefighter’s First Line of Defense
On July 12, 2022, the Utah State Fire Prevention Board voted to recom- mend the 2021 International Fire Code to the Utah State Legislature for adoption as the Utah State Fire Code. Utah first adopted a statewide fire code in the 1990s, and we have had a state fire code ever since.
The concept of having codes to protect the public from the ravages of fire goes back to the 11th century. William the Conqueror ordered all fire extinguished by nightfall in 1066 AD to ensure fires did not spread when not attended.
In 1100 AD, London passed laws and ordinances to prevent fire. Mul- tiple conflagrations in Boston in the 1600s resulted in codes calling for fire resistive buildings. Conflagrations in Chicago and San Francisco in the 19th and 20th centuries also resulted in new codes and an increased desire to be fire safe. Fires resulting in a large loss of life, including the Iroquois Theatre, the Triangle Shirtwaist, and the Cocoanut Grove Nightclub fires, have also resulted in new codes. These fires and many others have inspired us to create and enforce better codes and standards.
In 1971 the United States formed the Commission on Fire Preven-
tion and Control. This commission was assigned to address what was identified as “the Nation’s fire problem.” This Commission released a 1973 report known as “America Burning.” The first recommendation in the summary of this report is, “There needs to be more emphasis on fire prevention... Fire departments need to enforce fire prevention codes and to see that fire safety is designed into buildings.” This report goes
on to recommend that “fire prevention features in buildings need to be improved.” As a result of this report, we have made great strides in fire prevention since 1973. However, a critical piece that is missing from this and other reports is preventing firefighter injuries and deaths. A primary goal of fire prevention is to protect firefighters.
The fire code is the first line of defense in protecting firefighters. To roughly quote General George Patton, it is not a soldier’s job to die for his country; the objective is to cause the enemy to die for his country. For firefighters, our enemy is unwanted fire. Thus, in context of firefight- ing, it is not the firefighter’s job to die in a fire; our objective is to save lives, including ourselves and fellow firefighters. Before apparatus, before PPE, and before state-of-the-art technology, it is the fire code that stands ever vigilant in the protection of firefighters.
We will go through the legislative process in the 2023 legislative session to adopt the 2021 edition of the International Fire Code as the State Fire
Code in Utah. Your support may be the difference between this code being adopted and not. Speak favorably with your local officials—both city and county officials—about the new code. Contact your legislators and ask them to support the code adoption. Tell your legislator that this is about firefighter safety. Your support of the fire code is essential. So essential that someday your life may depend on it.
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