I am posting this as a blog, because I am limited to 1500 characters if I reply to the article. I feel that it is important to get this discussion on The Kitchen Table.
Here is the link: http://www.firerescue1.com/fire-news/439904-wealthy-calif-homeowners-get-private-fire-crews/
This raises a lot of questions in my mind.
Where are these firefighters coming from?
With communities suffering to keep their rosters full of capable people, how is that we have enough to populate “private fire companies”? Could these people be “two hatting”? Are communities being left under manned while these privateers earn money from the insurance companies?
What qualifications do these private fire companies possess? Do they have any type of recognizable or certifiable skills?
What standards are they being held to? Are they similar in type to industrial fire brigades, for instance?
What AHJ has been empowered to over see the activities of these insurance company employees? NFPA? NIOSH? DOL?
What about the equipment that is being used? Again; is this equipment that will pass muster if inspected? From apparatus to PPE; who is insuring that what is being used is acceptable and safe?
Are these insurance company fire brigades making it better or worse for agencies such as the US Forest Service? Are they in a position that may require another agency to risk their resources and lives to get them out, should they need assistance? What has been gained?
It is an interesting concept, but how did it sort of “sneak” up on us? I don’t remember seeing the memo or even discussion on this new phenomenon. I feel that, before this cottage industry is allowed to deploy on a larger scale, we need to make certain that it is an industry that will be tightly regulated. Otherwise; we will be dealing with more deaths, all in the names of saving some rich guy’s property.
We need to make certain that risk vs. gain has been properly implemented and one justifies the other.