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Education, Engineering, and Enforcement

Education, engineering, and enforcement, also known as "The 3 E's" of fire prevention, are a hot topic in almost any fire trade magazine, website, and blog alike. We keep reading about changing the models and looking for tools providing the best opportunity for maximizing fire prevention efforts; especially when everyone is facing an uphill battle: do more with less while the municipal "bill" keeps climbing.


The majority response to change isn't positive. In fact, it's questioned and challenged at almost every turn. Let’s take a quick look back at some game changers that caused controversy in the fire/life safety industry, but that we now can’t imagine doing without.


  1. Architects lobbying against sprinklers stating they were too costly and took away from a building’s appearance.
  2. The introduction of Paramedics into Fire Departments.
  3. The introduction and implementation of wireless radio monitoring.


If we look back in our fire history and using the three examples from above, change reveals itself to be a necessity. It has brought us better information on how to fight fires (education), safer equipment, or tools, needed in the field (engineering), and practices for determining proper compliance of local prevention codes and standards (enforcement). 


If change can be proven to be both positive and a necessity we need to consider innovations designed to bridge the 3 E's, such as technological advances. No need to take it personal, but technology is allowing industries, including fire and life safety, to provide better, faster, stronger, more efficient and organized “tools” for enhancing such models as fire prevention.


One such example is the Web-based, or Third-Party, movement. Using a web-based, or cloud platform, these systems are not only opening up solutions for Service Providers and Authorities Having Jurisdiction, but are connecting probably the biggest entity, Commercial Property Owners; specifically municipal/government entities.


How are these systems connecting the 3 E's? Take a look:

  • Education: Linking the entities involved in the fire/life safety connection (Service Providers, AHJs, and Property Owners). A quality system provides opportunities to communicate prevention and awareness campaigns (i.e. webinars, videos, E-Blasts, etc.). In addition, systems are created with built-in communication features.
  • Engineering: Providing a new, more efficient, technological system, or tool which can be used for the reviewing of fire systems, record retention and management, and even in-house inspections.
  • Enforcement: Offering real-time knowledge of compliance by answering two key questions; "Does this system work and how do (I) know?" Being able to streamline the way we receive, manage, and follow-up can dramatically increase enforcement of fire and life safety systems.

Fire service leaders already implementing the innovation of web-based systems are seeing change work and for the better. Local and state entities alike are taking active roles in using a tool linking the 3 E's. Change is here, bridging gaps, and increasing our prevention efforts.

Jill Cotton is Co-Founder of

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