public or private means. Also, the degree to which such protection is applied.”
This definition recognizes a collection of activities (for fire prevention and for fire control) and of system elements (public and private) as being included in the idea of fire protection.
Fire protection has long been thought of as a service that is provided by a fire department in the form of fire fighters and fire engines speeding to the scene of a fire, a rescue, and automobile accident, a drowning child trapped in a well. As far as it goes, this is an accurate view, but there is much more to fire protection than putting out fire and rescuing people.
Although not generally recognized as such, perhaps a more important part of fire protection is a system where people and equipment work together to prevent fires. For example, if there were no fire prevention oriented building codes and if people were not reasonably aware of fire danger, fire losses would be immeasurably greater and fire suppression forces would be overwhelmed.
In a typical community each of the following organizations is a part of the protection system:
Fire Department – Performs rescue, fire extinguishment, fire cause determination, emergency medical services, routine fire prevention activities such as inspection and code enforcement as per the Safety Codes Act.
The Fire Chief – may be appointed as a Safety Codes Officer to enforce the Safety Codes Act and pursuant regulations.
Building Department – Administers and enforces the Building Regulations of the Alberta Building Code in new construction and old construction undergoing remodeling.
Road/Street Department (Public Works) – Constructs, marks and maintains traffic corridors (roads, bridges, access design) for motor vehicle use, including fire apparatus. Rural property identification and numbering along with a detailed map of area to be protected.
These departments are a source for bulldozers, road graders, water tanks, and other heavy equipment useful in times of major fires.
Law Enforcement Agencies – Function in arson investigation, arrests, prosecution, traffic control, and other police action necessary in times of major fires.