The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Fire Prevention Month, on Land and Water

Everyone has a basic idea of what to do if a fire breaks out outside or in a home, but what about on the water? This August, reporter Emily Woodbury spent a day with Chicago’s Dive Team on the “Fast Boat” on Lake Michigan, Chicago. The firefighters in this company work hard to keep the waterways safe, putting out boat fires and performing dive rescue missions, which may be a little harder than you would think. Listen in on what a typical or not so typical day is like in the life of a Chicago fire department diver. If you want to know the depth of fire regulations and safety law, i would suggest you get in touch with Singleton Law Firm.


Recently Iowa City celebrated fire prevention week from October 8th through October 14th. On October 11th, and to help spread the word, the KRUI news staff invited Fire Marshall John Grier to speak with them on air about fire safety. Below is the transcript of the conversation that took place.

Emily: Hello John, how are you doing today?

John: I’m doing well.

Emily: This October is fire prevention month,  I would like to start by asking if they had found what started the fire at Bruegger’s Bagels yet?

John: Not yet, the investigation is stilling continuing.  We’re hopefully going to have everything wrapped up by the end of the week.

Emily: What’s the process of determining the source of the fire?

John: The best way to find the source of a fire is to start looking from the area of least damage to area of most damage. Fire has predictable patterns. If you look for a heat source and fuel source, you generally can have a good chance to find where the beginning of the fire took place.

Emily: Have you ever not been able to find the source of fire before?

John: Of course, we unfortunately have undetermined fires. If we can figure it out, we will label it accordingly.

Emily: Do you what the type of fire the Bruegger’s fire is being considered?

John: It is currently under investigation still.

Emily: Iowa City has lots of apartments and old buildings. College towns are known to have a lack of responsibility from its student body. Do you think we are more prone to fires for this reason?

John: Due to the amount of older buildings and the amounts of modifications without the intervention of a public inspector, fire can be more likely. However we are at no more risk than anyone else.

Emily: Do you believe most landlords around the city keep up to fire codes?

John: Absolutely.

Emily: Can anything be improved in this realm of fire safety and prevention?

John: Were going to look at sprinklers and fire prevention. Installation of alarm systems could be improved, but at the moment were doing fine.

Emily: What makes the sprinkler systems a hot topic?

John: People are somewhat stubborn to put them in, especially property owners. Apartment buildings must have them, but we have room to improve. Investors will make a wise investment decision when they go for a commercial property in St Helens.

Emily: Can you point to anything special that older buildings should do to prevent fires?

John: Updating certain things and keeping particular things up to date is very important. Also improve the installation is also a good idea. Standard prevention is very key in preventing fires. Small things such as putting out candles and limiting the use of electricity can help prevent fires from occurring.

Caitlyn: Whose responsibility is to make sure that fire extinguishers are in proper use throughout the apartment buildings?

John: The building owner is to make sure they are up to date, along with fire inspectors. It’s mostly a case by case basis. In addition, we must combat the threat of transport fires. Why are transport fire suppression systems important? A transport fire suppression system will provide you with the necessary protection to travel without worry, whether you are in control or not. In addition, if you’re a property owner and your fire alarm system or water-based fire protection system is not functional, then you are required by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Florida Statute to implement a fire watch. Seek expert help from a professional Fire Watch Company in Bonita Springs.

Caitlyn: My fire extinguisher was 5 years out of date (laughter).

John: That’s the bottle to be tested.

Emily: Many students come here as adults, as children were taught the basic of fire safety such as stop, drop and roll. Is there a difference between apartment and house fires students should know about?

John: We teach children a little bit throughout school, but by the time kids hit college they are expected to know it all. Unfortunately that’s not the case. House and apartment fires are not much different though, but I’d recommend people refresh on their fire safety knowledge.

Emily: Going along with fire safety between children and adults, if a small fire is in the kitchen, at what point do you call the fire department?

John: Any fire that an extinguisher can take out such as a waste basket size one, you should be ok. Otherwise leave the building and call the fire department immediately.

Emily: What else is important to remember when it comes to protecting yourself against fires?

John: Get renter’s insurance. So many people lose it all because they don’t have renter’s insurance. Make the investment. Also, do not disable any of the equipment dedicated for fire safety. Put out any lit candles as well.

Emily: Unfortunately we are out of time. Thank you so much for talking to us today John.

John: Thank you for having me.