Conference includes talk by area firefighter

Monday, January 26, 2009

John Sachen of Cape Girardeau is among the speakers scheduled for the 2009 Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis, set for April 19 to 25.

There's one problem: Attendees won't find his name or his seminar, "Fire Under Pressure" on the list of the upcoming FDIC workshops, he wrote in a recent e-mail. Blame a single staple.

"An errant staple held the submittal paper on Fire Under Pressure for FDIC 2009 to another submission at the Fire Engineering office," Sachen wrote in an e-mail he sent, adding that the programs had been produced before the error was discovered.

Sachen, hazmat officer and instructor for the Delta Fire Department, is also a senior fire instructor for the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute.

He wrote asking to "put the word out" on his FDIC class, which reviews, among other things, why and how fire travels, what the color of smoke can tell a firefighters about the burning materials and how different types of ventilation can change fire behavior. He said more than 600 seminar proposals were submitted for 125 openings.

Sachen said firefighters who want to know more about the conference can visit

He said 3,000 people are expected to attend the conference.

In a separate note, he mentioned that firefighters everywhere are "intensely interested when an incident like the NYC airliner incident occurs. Of special importance is the type, magnitude and timing of the fire agency response."

Vic Dane, a Kirkwood, Mo., firefighter, pulled together a summary of how New York firefighters responded, including some transcripts of the radio traffic. Sachen said Dane has close to 750 fire instructors on a mailing list to send this kind of information out, as well as firefighters' blogs. One figure that jumped out from the statistics was a response time to the site of one minute and 12 seconds.

One aspect of the response effort Sachen praised was the speed at which the New York firefighters asked for additional help.

He said it was the "perfect response to agencies that are hesitant to request additional resources before they arrive at the scene. If FDNY isn't embarrassed to call early for help we shouldn't be either!"

In the course of our conversation, he mentioned that most people aren't aware of a new national fire safety rule recently adopted by the International Code Council, which sets building code guidelines followed by communities in 48 states, including Cape Girardeau, and the District of Columbia.

The council will begin recommending that new single-family homes and two-family townhouses are built with sprinkler systems beginning in 2011.

"If we could sprinkle buildings the loss of life and property would drop precipitously," Sachen said. The law has already been applied to homes in California, he said.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle is scheduled for a 10 a.m. appointment today with the county commission over whether his novels should be removed from the county website. Second District Commissioner Jay Purcell put the item on the agenda after e-mailing Swingle to ask that they be removed. Swingle has referred to Purcell's note as "peculiar."

For the full text of the e-mails, visit my blog and weigh in on how best to handle the situation.

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