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Saving First Responder’s Lives Through Interagency Collaboration

October is National Fire Prevention Month in the US.   Today, I visited The Home Depot in Seven Corners in Virginia, which supported the event during with the presence of a Fire crew from the local region.  A fire truck from a local department was parked outside the store, near the place where I had brought my kids for a monthly woodworking shop.  As the kids built their trucks I noticed a computer in the passenger side of the fire truck, and asked one of the firemen a little more detail about how they get called to the scene.  As was described to me, the fire department has a list of floorplans of buildings in the area.  They are typically notified if the plan changes.  Unfortunately, we saw that this notification process is not foolproof, and in NYC, it resulted in the deaths of two firefighters.   In this case, changes in the structural plan of a building were not known by the crew which responded to the fire.  Unfortunately, this breakdown in reporting of seemingly inconsequential modifcations (actually implaced for health purposes in the first place) caused unnecessary deaths.  Increasingly , we see these types of situations in our community where public and private organizations can benefit from increased information sharing.  Yet the value of this collaboration is often not realized before lives are lost. 

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