By Anthony E. Neville, Howard D. Tipton, Richard E. Bland
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Additional resources for America Burning: The Report of the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control
They can supplement the efforts of other code inspectors-for example, by reviewing building plans in cooperation with the building department. They can inspect special items of importance, such as hydrants, sprinkler systems, and standpipes. They can check high-risk areas, such as wooden-structured slums and areas where buildings are under construction.
The hazards they protect against range from widely scattered houses and barns to heavily populated urban areas. The striking aspect of volunteer departments, of course, is that they cost far less than paid departments. Then, too, volunteers are often people of standing in the community, are dependent on other citizens for contributions to the department, so that a broad segment of the community is sup- portive of the department and conscious of the fire problem. On the other hand, volunteer departments often can afford only a low level of training and an inadequate dispatching and communications system.
The quality of training given America’s firefighters and officers varies widely. It is not difficult to see why. There are no national training requirements for firemen, and only 15 States have training standards which all firemen must meet. For volunteer firefighters there are no financial incentives and sometimes little opportunity to further their training. For paid departments as well as volunteer ones, training is an expensive undertaking that removes the trainees from useful service for a period of time.