BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
3 9999 06316 869 2
Doc. I *£ 3-
[DocumentI 1 — 1990]
for the period
January 1, 1990, to December 31, 1990
Boston, February 1, 1991
Hon. Raymond L. Flynn,
Mayor of Boston.
Dear Mr. Mayor:
I submit herewith the annual report of the Boston Fire Depart-
ment for the period January 1, 1990 to December 31, 1990.
The replacement of fire apparatus has reached the one hundred
percent status with the arrival of four 110' aerial ladder trucks in
June of 1990. The average age of apparatus is now under five years.
The auxiliary divisions maintain their high level of upgrading
and significantly support our fire suppression companies. The on
duty strength in any twenty-four-hour period remains close to 300
firefighters and officers.
Your continued and active support is sincerely appreciated by
me and the entire membership of the Boston Fire Department.
Martin E. Pierce, Jr.,
BOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT
REP- Cll |
Fire Commissioner, Leo D. Stapleton
Chief of Operations, Deputy Chief,
John D. White
District Chief, Assistant to the Commissioner,
Jeremiah J. Donovan
Executive Assistant to the Commissioner,
Gerard J. Horgan
Department Medical Examiner, Alan W. Jenest, M.D.
Deputy Fire Chief in Charge Personnel Division,
John A. Lockhead
Deputy Fire Chief in Charge Fire Prevention Division,
Fire Marshal Martin Fisher
Deputy Fire Chief in Charge Special Services Division,
Director of Civil Defense, Nino N. Tramontozzi
Deputy Fire Chief in Charge Training, Maintenance
and Research Division, Martin E. Pierce
Superintendent of Fire Alarm Division,
Robert J. McCarthy
Chaplains, Rev. Msgr. James J. Keating, Catholic
Rabbi Ira A. Korff, Jewish
Rev. Earl W. Jackson, Jr., Protestant
4 City Document No. 1 1
1) Executive Assistant's Office
2) Public Information
4) Budget/Fiscal Office
5) Executive Secretary's Office
6) Management Information Systems
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT'S OFFICE
The Office of the Executive Assistant's first line of responsibility
is to the Fire Commissioner/Chief of the Boston Fire Department.
The office assists in the administration of the Department and
makes recommendations for plans and policies. The Executive As-
sistant acts as the Commissioner's liaison with various divisions of
the Fire Department, City of Boston Departments, and state and
Commissioner/Chief Leo D. Stapleton completed his goal of
replacing the entire fleet of apparatus with the acquisition of four
new 110' Aerial Ladder Trucks which were placed into service in
Boston's version of the final four ladder trucks were placed in
service in Charlestown at Ladder Company 9, in Jamaica Plain at
Ladder Company 10, in West Roxbury at Ladder Company 25,
and in Hyde Park at Ladder Company 28. This brought the final
replacement figures to thirty-three (33) Engine Pumpers, twenty-
one (21) 110' Aerial Trucks, two (2) Rescue Companies, one (1) 95'
Aerial Tower Unit and one (1) Air Supply Truck.
The Marine Unit's new quarters will be available for operation
before the end of 1991. The on duty force for suppression con-
tinues to hover near 300 firefighters per shift.
The Executive Assistant's Office oversees the work of all civilian
employees. These divisions include the Executive Secretary's Of-
fice, Accounting, Management Information Systems, and Payroll.
Civilian personnel primarily work at Headquarters and assist De-
partment members and the general public.
The Office of the Executive Assistant is responsible for the op-
erating budget and all capital bonding monies invested in the de-
partment. The operating budget for the fiscal year 1990 was
$85,510,887. Personal services encompassed the biggest part of
the budget — $79,071,467.
Fire Department 5
FY 1989 FY 1990
Total Personal Services $73,516,905 $79,071,467
Total Contractual Services
Total Supplies and Materials
Total Current Charges and Obligations
The Public Information Office serves as a connecting link be-
tween the Boston Fire Department and the people living and
working in Boston.
Most surveys and requests for information are directed to this
section. Research materials and information are gathered for doc-
umentaries, newspaper or magazine articles, radio, and television
programs. The Office acts as a liaison to the Greater Boston Fire
Safety Council, a group of Greater Boston business people whose
efforts assist the Boston Fire Department in fire safety education.
Arrangements are made to provide fire prevention and fire safety
materials to interested parties.
Departmental swearings-in, promotional ceremonies and
award presentations are coordinated. This section cooperates with
the Department Chaplains, the Church Committee, and the
Honor Guard in the preparation of dedications, memorials, fu-
nerals, and other spiritual functions.
The Boston Fire Department Headquarters Division consists of
five (5) sections under the direction of the Executive Assistant to
the Commissioner. These sections insure that the Department is
operated in an efficient manner.
The Accounting Office is responsible for all fiscal expenditure
forms and requests forwarded from the Boston Fire Department
Budget Office. These include service orders, non orders, requisi-
tions, purchase orders, change orders and contracts.
Records are kept of all transactions, expenditures and charges
as they occur. Balances are posted daily. The section is in constant
communication with City Hall Departments such as Auditing,
Budget, Purchasing and Treasury and vendors to secure informa-
tion concerning payments, purchases and deliveries, account cod-
ing, and other changes.
6 City Document No. 1 1
The Budget Office is responsible for overseeing fiscal reports
generated by the Department, including projections, monthly
progress reports, spending plans, and changes as well as informa-
tion on the Mayor's priority goals.
Requisitions, service orders, non orders and contracts are re-
viewed and either approved or changes recommended. Quarterly
meetings were held with program managers to review their ex-
penditures and measurements.
Annual budget requests for the Boston Fire Department are
sent to this Office. The budget is then reviewed by the top level
managers of the Department. The Fire Commissioner, when satis-
fied with the fiscal year's budget, submits it to the Mayor for ap-
The budget contained fifty-one (51) measurement criteria and
goals. Items measured include tracking the number and types of
inspections done on a monthly basis by the Fire Prevention Divi-
sion, reducing the number of incidents the Fire Department re-
sponds to, and reviewing the average response time to an incident.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY'S OFFICE
The Executive Secretary's Office maintains all personnel
records, accounts and reports pertaining to the Department.
This section acts as the conduit for all matters relating to the
personnel system including salary adjustments, the hiring of new
employees, all firefighter indemnifications, civil service matters
relative to appointments, and promotions.
The staff interprets collective bargaining agreements that may
result in step rate increases, vacation allowances, posting of vacan-
cies, worker's compensation, bonuses, leaves of absence, and
Motor vehicle accidents, damages to department property,
third-party payments, and charges to the Massachusetts Turnpike
Authority for departmental services are coordinated with the City
of Boston Law Department.
The personnel budget for each division of the department is
MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS UNIT
The Management Information Systems Unit (MISU) coordi-
nates the electronic data processing operations of the Boston Fire
Department. These operations include the development and
maintenance of computer applications at Headquarters and Fire
Fire Department 7
This past year the MISU developed and implemented the Haz-
ardous Material Reporting System. The Boston Fire Department
was one of the main contributors toward the development of this
new standard for hazardous material reporting that will be used by
over 13,000 fire departments across the nation.
A new minicomputer, a Wang VS-65, was installed in Fire Head-
quarters to replace the an processor. This new computer will allow
the Headquarters Divisions to utilize a full range of office automa-
Department expenses were reduced by replacing an older
printer with a new Genicom 4440 line printer. This change not
only expands the printer's capabilities, but it will also result in
significant savings over the life of the printer.
The MISU continues to expand its microprocessor applications.
The past year has seen the addition of Desktop Publishing and
Harvard Graphics to support the needs of its members.
The Payroll Division's responsibility is to ensure that Depart-
ment personnel are paid accurately and on a timely basis.
Employees are assisted in making decisions on payroll deduc-
tions and medical and insurance options.
A separate holiday payroll was initiated which enabled the City
to meet the thirty (30) day payment as required by the Local 718
contract. An acting out or grade and step rate file for each em-
ployee was created and is maintained on the Wang network at
On receipt of subpoenas and insurance claims, this division
does the necessary research of employees' payroll records.
2) Medical Examiner's Office
3) Selection Unit
4) Personnel Assignment
5) Employees Assistance Program
The Personnel Division is divided into the following sections:
Administration, Medical Examiner's Officer, Selection Unit, Per-
sonnel Assignment and the Employees Assistance Program (EAP).
8 City Document No. 1 1
The Administration section is responsible for liaison with vari-
ous departments including: the Department of Personnel Admin-
istration, Local 718, the Law Department, and other departments
and local unions throughout the country. This division investigates
charges and grievances and follows them through at Labor Rela-
tions and Arbitration. A member of this office attends all Civil
Service disciplinary hearings, Selection Unit appeals, M.C.A.D.
cases, and court cases concerning the Boston Fire Department.
MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE
The Medical Examiner's Office handled 3,524 personnel con-
tacts which included office visits, physicals, hepatitis B and flu
shots. The total number of Medical Indemnification forms proc-
essed was 1,770. This section is responsible for the security and
maintenance of medical files for the Department. The Hospital
Representative made numerous visits to hospitals to see members
who have been admitted.
This unit is responsible for scheduling numerous examinations
and tests including: medical tests, strength/agility tests with the
State, physicals, screening interviews, and fingerprinting. Public
lotteries are held to place candidates on a list with tied marks.
Each person's application is reviewed and an in-depth background
investigation is conducted. The Department of Personnel Admin-
istration is contacted on all matters regarding hiring procedures.
The Selection Unit acts as a liaison with medical facilities for drug
testing purposes and also arranges drug tests for all Fire Fighters
on Probation. Fire Departments across the country are contacted
to compare hiring procedures.
This Office is responsible for the assignment of all Pool and Act-
ing Officers. These vacancies occur due to vacations, injured
leave, department business and other circumstances. All promo-
tions within the Department are coordinated with the Commis-
sioner's Office, Executive Secretary's Office, and the Department
of Personnel Administration. The assignment of all vacations
within the Department is coordinated with the Deputy Chiefs in
Divisions 1 and 2. The unit orders, assigns and distributes all
badges, hat devices, and lapel devices. Forty (40) firefighters were
appointed in 1990 to the Boston Fire Department.
Fire Department 9
EMPLOYEES ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP)
The Boston Fire Department/Local 718 EAP is a joint venture
between the Department and Local 718. Its primary purpose is to
assist the membership in addressing problems in the areas of: sub-
stance abuse, marital, legal, stress and financial. These services
are also offered to a member's family and retirees.
The EAP staff maintains services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The location of the EAP is at the Long Island Hospital. It is staffed
with one officer and three firefighters who are certified in the EAP
The staff addresses every fire house and fire college on an an-
nual basis. Each new drill class is spoken with. Many smaller de-
partments have been assisted in establishing EAPs. The BFD/
Local 718 EAP is responsible for assisting and establishing the
International Association of Fire Fighters' Committee on EAPs.
FIRE PREVENTION DIVISION
License and Permit Section
Night Inspection Division
Fire Prevention Records
High Rise Sprinkler Retro Fit
Needless Alarm Reduction Program
Fire Investigation Unit
The Fire Prevention Division consists of many sections. The
following contains a brief overview of each area.
The District Inspectors inspect smoke detectors for the sale of
one- to five-family houses under Chapter 148 Section 26F They
resolve complaints in their districts, review permits and licenses,
and issue abatements for violations.
The inspectors follow up on abatements that are sent in from
the field. Non compliance cases and code violations are resolved
through court action if necessary. Other City departments are no-
10 City Document No. 11
tified when a situation is observed that should be brought to their
attention through Form 65s. The Fire Marshal meets with the
Inspeetional Services Department Commissioner regularly to re-
Due to more efficient usage of personnel and consolidation of
various inspeetional services activities, eight staff positions where
phased out and personnel were used to fill needs elsewhere. This
occurred with no reduction in assignments for the Fire Prevention
LICENSE AND PERMIT SECTION
The License and Permit Section is responsible for conducting
inspections of facilities, businesses, and construction sites where
Fire Department permits are required. Permits are necessary for
such activities as the storage and handling of flammable and com-
bustible liquids, gasses, and solids; the construction or alteration
of any structure; placement of dumpsters; the handling of asbes-
tos; welding or cutting operations; the use, storage or handling of
explosive materials; and the installation or subsequent impair-
ment of fire protection or suppression systems.
As a direct result of aggressive permitting by this section, espe-
cially where construction and demolition take place, the fire inci-
dence at construction sites has gone from common every day prac-
tice to nil. A construction site has not required more than one
alarm since Rowe's Wharf in 1986.
A major part of making and keeping construction sites safe has
been solving the winter heating problem of these sites. This solu-
tion has involved substitution of steam and/or diesel in place of
both random and universal use of propane to heat buildings open
to the weather. This has been accomplished through the per-
mitting process, and again active and aggressive enforcement.
This section inspects licensed properties and serves as the Fire
Commissioner's designee for the City as an appointed member of
the Committee on Licenses.
This office is involved in the ongoing restructuring and expan-
sion of the permit and license system and utilizes its expertise to
develop codes and procedures to respond to complex fire-related
problems and hazards. As part of this, the Boston Fire Department
Fire Prevention Code has been amended to reflect current think-
ing and practices.
527 CMR 9.00 mandated changes for underground storage
facilities including requiring double walled tanks and piping, and
Fire Department 11
the retrofitting of old tanks with containment manholes, overfill
and cathodic protection. Quick lube centers fall under the same
regulations. Underground storage tanks continue to be a large
part of the work schedule. All installers of underground tanks in
Boston must have a G-12 license issued by the Board of
A joint venture with Boston Gas will see the first Compressed
Natural Gas (CNG) facility opened in the spring of 1991 . Sixty (60)
Boston Gas vehicles will operate using this fuel. Plans are also in
the works to operate some refuse vehicles with natural gas.
Self-service gas stations are now the responsibility of local Fire
Departments. This involves the approval of plans through the final
inspection before they are allowed to operate. A yearly inspection
New permits have been developed which will provide more in-
formation on hazardous materials. These hazardous materials
range from flammable liquids, solids and gases to chemicals such
as oxidizers, corrosives, poisons, anhydrous ammonia and chlorin-
ated solvents. A sub-issue in this overall permit program is the
issue of hazardous materials in laboratory settings.
An aggressive education and inspection program has been im-
plemented in the area of laboratory safety. The Safety Directors of
the 25 largest educational, medical, and research facilities in the
city attended several Boston Fire Department seminars to make
sure that they understood the guidelines they would be required
to follow concerning the requirements for storage and warning
signage in laboratories. The NFPA Diamond Warning Systems, as
well as biohazard and radiation warning signs, help fire fighters to
better understand the materials involved. They can then take the
proper precaution to protect life safety.
Company officers in the field complete quarterly inspections of
hospitals and schools. Fire Prevention Inspectors assist them due
to the complexity of the occupancies involved. Abatements are
reviewed to insure that a location has complied with the Fire De-
partment's findings. Consultation and suggestions are made con-
cerning new construction or modifications to existing structures.
Fire education for a specific occupancy is provided to assist the
management in preventing fires.
There are a number of different occupancies, that due to their
size and potential life safety hazard, require special knowledge
and are assigned full time inspectors by the Boston Fire Depart-
ment. These include hospitals, hotels, schools, nursing homes, day
care centers, and laboratories. Legally mandated, routine inspec-
tions are made to insure code compliance, as well as a review of
Fire Department responses to these locations.
12 City Document No. 1 1
NIGHT INSPECTION DIVISION
The Night Inspection Division inspects approximately 1,600 fa-
cilities with a capacity of fifty (50) or more people. All places of
assembly are inspected quarterly. Places of assembly in hotels and
theatres are inspected on a monthly basis. The busier night clubs
are inspected weekend nights for overcrowding and other viola-
tions. These events include concerts, live theater, the Boston
Garden, Fenway Park, the Hynes Auditorium, and college arenas.
The Fire Department has traditionally had a difficult time in-
specting occupancies that are usually only operational or inhab-
ited during non-business hours. In an effort to address this prob-
lem, the Night Division will begin in 1991 to inspect homeless
shelters, lodging houses and group homes. This will lead to a pro-
jected 1,200 additional inspections.
The Boston Fire Department Plans Examiner provides a com-
prehensive review of building plans to insure compliance with
State and City codes. These codes include the Massachusetts State
Building Code, the Massachusetts Fire Prevention Regulations,
Chapter 148 of the Massachusetts General Laws — better known
as the Fire Prevention Laws, Fire Prevention Order 87-2 (Boston
Fire Alarm Regulations) and the Boston Fire Department's Fire
Items reviewed include locations and requirements for fire hy-
drants, Fire Department vehicular access, automatic sprinkler
systems, fire alarm systems, and hazardous material storage.
Proper installation of these items provides safer buildings for
occupants and fire fighters.
Meetings are held with building owners to discuss fire preven-
tion strategies. Technical assistance is given to other City and State
agencies. Involvement prior to building construction insures
building designs are consistent with the Boston Fire Depart-
ment's goal of protecting life and property.
The Boston Fire Department Plan Examiner reviewed approxi-
mately 1,000 building permit applications, 400 sprinkler permits,
and attended over 500 job meetings relating to construction
operations and Building and Fire Code Appeal hearings during
1990. The Plans Examiner's main duty is to insure that construc-
tion operations and fire protection installations comply with all
applicable State and City codes.
The Department is currently involved in a ten (10) year program
that requires all buildings seventy (70) feet or over in height to be
fully sprinklered. The Plans Examiner has a vital role in this pro-
gram to insure that building and sprinkler designs are consistent
Fire Department 13
with the Department's goal of protecting the lives and property of
Another section of plans review is the review of fire alarm sys-
tems that are connected to Fire Alarm or to a central station. Fire
Alarm personnel assigned to the Fire Prevention Division review
plans and perform inspections. In 1990, 352 plans were examined,
440 on-site inspections were performed and 61 boxes were tied
into central stations or Fire Alarm through master boxes.
FIRE PREVENTION RECORDS
This section interacts with the public during business hours.
They assist fire victims, citizens applying for permits and licenses,
and provide research on inquiries.
Company commanders are notified when inspections for cer-
tain occupancies are required. Data, including inspection dates, is
recorded for each occupancy.
The records section is responsible for the collection or dis-
bursement of Fire Prevention Division fees. Fees for permits, li-
censes, smoke detector inspections, fire reports, and other miscel-
laneous items are collected daily. In 1990, $1,147,701.19 was
Fire Department records are stored on microfiche for future
needs. Fire reports, fire alarm dispatch slips, arson reports, chiefs
reports, emergency medical reports, morning reports, abate-
ments, permits, licenses, underground storage tanks, complaints,
and interagency forms are among the documents that have been
transferred to microfiche.
The use of microfiche has made it easier to access old records
and make copies of them. This system provides a legally accept-
able document for court cases and the public. After discussions
with the city archivist, it was decided, that microfiche records
would be stored more efficiently and safely if there were two sets.
One set is stored at Headquarters for easy access and the other set
is stored at the city archives.
The Office of Fire Education is responsible for promoting pub-
lic awareness of fire safety and prevention.
Fairs, community meetings, senior groups, health care facilities,
schools, group centers, summer camps, tours, organizations, busi-
nesses, and day care centers are used to promote fire education.
Fire Department personnel share an understanding of the princi-
ples involved with fire safety.
Fire education covers topics such as smoke detectors, fire extin-
guishers, escape planning, smoking, and cooking safety. Individ-
14 City Document No. 11
uals are encouraged to pass this information onto their family,
friends, and neighbors.
In 1990, the Fire Prevention Division continued its efforts in
fire safety and has taken further steps by promoting fire safety
through new modes of education.
1) Public service announcements were given to radio stations
2) Ten billboards were donated by Ackerly Communications
with the message "Change Your Clock Change Your Battery".
3) Posters of various sizes were distributed throughout the city
to be posted in store fronts and work places.
4) Posters were displayed in Post Offices and Turnpike Toll
5) City Printing printed 3,000 coloring books on fire safety that
were distributed in schools. A significant savings (80%) was made
by reproducing them rather than buying from private distributors.
6) Activity sheets for children were distributed to every gram-
mar school in the city during the regularly scheduled February
and October inspections.
7) Boston Municipal Cable Channel 22 broadcast over fifty
hours of fire safety information during October.
HIGH RISE SPRINKLER RETROFIT LAW
A serious fire at the Prudential in January 1986 led to a High
Rise Sprinkler Law which was passed and signed into law in the
Fall of 1987. It is officially known as Massachusetts General Law
— Chapter 148 — Section 26AV4.
The wording of the law was questioned and a legal opinion was
sought on the condominium issue. Attorney General James Shan-
non ruled favorably on this issue in the Spring of 1988.
The owners of high rise buildings received literature about the
law and were required to make decisions regarding the sprinkler-
ing of their building. The compliance enforcement has met with
great success. All "classic" high rise buildings (15 or more stories)
are either fully sprinklered and alarmed or actively engaged in the
process. The few buildings that are behind schedule will receive
correspondence informing them of possible court action if they do
not comply with the law.
When all work is completed by 1998, the threat of a "towering
inferno" will then be effectively eliminated in the City of Boston.
It is not known at this time how the economy will affect the ability
of these buildings to pay for the retro fit. In the absence of any
changes to the law, the Boston Fire Department will continue to
enforce all of its requirements.
Fire Department 15
NEEDLESS ALARM REDUCTION PROGRAM
The Needless Alarm Reduction Program (NARP) started on
September 1, 1987 with the institution of Fire Prevention Order
87-2. Its intent was to reduce the number of responses of Boston
Fire Department personnel and apparatus to needless alarms.
Alarm system malfunctions caused by sprinklers, smoke detec-
tors, and heat detectors at properties with central stations and
master boxes are addressed by this program.
An ordinance requiring mandatory fines for needless fire alarm
responses was passed unanimously by the Boston City Council in
1988. This legislation became an integral part of the Needless
Alarm Reduction Program and became effective January 1, 1989.
Numerous locations have made significant improvements to
their safety systems, relocated smoke detectors, and decreased
their sensitivity. Engineers, facility managers, and fire safety offi-
cials have all helped make an impact on needless alarm reduc-
The fine process has made it financially prudent for many prop-
erty owners to address their problem rather than continue to pay
fees to the City.
The Boston Fire Department has led the nation in addressing
the needless alarm program at central station locations. However,
Fire Prevention Order 87-2, and City of Boston Ordinance Title
II, Chapter 4 addressed only alarm systems that sent a signal to a
non-local site (mandatory for residential over 25 units). Local
alarms (under 25 units) had not been addressed. In 1990, the De-
partment reviewed industry literature and used its engineering
expertise to begin to address the needless alarm problem at local
As a first step to gather information needed for this study, the
Boston Fire Department became the first Department in the na-
tion to distinguish in its reporting system separate coding for local
alarms. Information will be gathered in 1991 on local alarm prob-
lems with the intent of finding solutions. These problems will be
studied while working toward a continued reduction in needless
The duties and responsibilities of the Chemist include the de-
velopment and implementation of regulations based on the Fire
Prevention Code, Article IX, Decorations, Furnishings and Inte-
rior Finish, and Article XX, Hazardous Materials and the estab-
lishment of an analytical laboratory to support fire investigation.
The Chemist participates in ongoing programs in the Fire Preven-
tion Division, the Training, Maintenance and Research Division
and the Special Services Division.
16 City Document No. 1 1
FIRE PREVENTION LARORATORY
The establishment of the Fire Prevention Laboratory was ac-
complished in accordance with the order of the Fire Commis-
sioner following the mandate of the Mayor in February 1984. The
Laboratory is operated under the direction of a full time profes-
sional forensic chemist. Laboratory reports and the testimony of
the Senior Analytical Chemist are accepted in criminal cases pros-
ecuted in Suffolk County. The Senior Analytical Chemist has re-
sponded to major fires to assist the Fire Investigation Unit in its
selection of material for analysis. This Laboratory has enhanced
the ability of the Fire Department to successfully investigate and
prosecute arson cases.
CONTROL OF DECORATIONS, FURNISHINGS,
AND INTERIOR FINISH
The Department Chemist has continued the development and
implementation of controls on combustible building contents un-
der the authority of Article IX of the Fire Prevention Code.
The regulations for upholstered furniture have received na-
tional recognition and have played a major role in the develop-
ment of standardized full scale test procedures. These new tests
are the focus of a national effort to control furniture in hotels,
hospitals, entertainment facilities and other regulated occupan-
A potential fire hazard in hospital bedding was uncovered and
investigated in 1989. Hospitals were contemplating the use of
foam pads of substantial size on top of mattresses to reduce the
incidence of bed sores. Tests were performed with pads and hospi-
tal mattresses and the potential fire hazard of the pads was con-
firmed. It was further determined that some of the mattresses rou-
tinely used by hospitals constituted a fire hazard. The existing
regulation for mattresses for hotels and dormitories was extended
to hospitals. The foam pads used in hospitals are regulated and the
use is substantially reduced.
In addition to classification of materials by performance of fire
test, considerable effort was expended to inform and communi-
cate with architects, designers, purchasing agents and sales orga-
nizations the importance of the Fire Department regulations and
procedures for compliance.
Fire Prevention concerns include the Laboratory Safety Pro-
gram, the Regulations Controlling the Transportation of Hazard-
ous Materials, and the permit/license controls for the storage and
use of hazardous materials.
Fire Department 17
Training, Research, and Maintenance activities include being
responsible for the specifications used to procure protective cloth-
ing and equipment and field evaluations of newly developed pro-
tective clothing. The Chemist takes part in the special training
exercises conducted for fire companies and chief officers who re-
spond to major hazardous materials incidents. He serves on com-
mittees designated to prepare Standard Operating Procedures un-
hazardous material incidents.
Participation with Special Services involves the Title III, Super-
fund Amendments and Reauthorization Act and serving as the
Right-To-Know person on the Local Emergency Planning Com-
mittee. The Chemist is currently designated as the Acting Munici-
pal Coordinator for the Massachusetts Right-To-Know law.
The Department has a technical specialist on-call for response
to hazardous material incidents. Five (5) members of the fire fight-
ing force have the technical expertise and training to handle these
FIRE INVESTIGATION UNIT
The Fire Investigation Unit responded to 987
1990, an increase of 218 responses from
The breakdown is as follows:
Threats/Attempts to Burn
No Ignition Factor
The above resulted in the following:
Assistance is also given to Fire Prevention Inspectors when re-
quested. A great deal of time is spent delivering subpoenaed mate-
rial to various courts.
The Unit sometimes receives requests for its presence at neigh-
borhood meetings due to a devastating fire or a series of fires. The
ability to have Spanish speaking and minority members of the Unit
present at fire education meetings has greatly increased com-
18 City Document No. 1 1
The Major Case Unit (MCU) continues to be a very effective
tool in investigating major/suspicious fires. Their dedication to the
job has helped to solve many cases. Staying with a case helps to
bring a successful conclusion to many unsolved incidents. The
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) assists on many of
The Photo Unit responds to fire scenes, accidents and other
emergency calls. They cover Department functions and dedica-
tions. The photographers take pictures of code violations to assist
Fire Prevention and produce videos of training, drills and other
The Auto Arson Investigation Unit (A.A.I.U.) had a successful
year with thirty-five convictions. Insurance companies refused
many claims based on the Unit's investigations.
The City of Boston had 1,533 vehicle fires during 1990, repre-
senting a 17.2 percent reduction from 1989. This is the fourth
consecutive year that a substantial decrease in the total number of
vehicle fires occurred.
The breakdown of vehicle fires is as follows:
Accidental causes 392
All vehicle fire cases were reviewed. This led to further investi-
gation in 217 incidents and of these 58 cases were brought to court
for criminal prosecution. To date, 33 of the cases have been suc-
The reduction of vehicle fires has been the direct result of the
implementation of the Auto Reporting Law and the combined ef-
forts of the Fire Investigation Unit, the Boston Police detectives,
and the Auto Arson Investigation Unit. The continued investiga-
tions of vehicle fires will lead to a further reduction.
A Juvenile Firesetters Program has been established through
the efforts of this Unit, the Fire Education Office and Children's
Hospital. The hospital will handle referrals for juvenile firesetters
and keep the Unit informed as to their status. This gives the juve-
niles an opportunity to receive treatment and not acquire a court/
The same economic conditions that were present in the late
1970s and early 1980s are reappearing. It seems there is now a
trend toward more fires in small businesses — Mom & Pop stores,
cleaners, restaurants, etc. They We closely monitored to see if
any trends develop. Foreclosure notices are reviewed on a regular
Fire Department 19
TRAINING MAINTENANCE &
1) Department Training Program
2) Field Evaluation of Safety Equipment
3) New Equipment
4) Research and Evaluation
5) Servicing and Repair Programs
6) Harzardous Material Training Program
7) Driver Safety and Training Program
TRAINING, MAINTENANCE & RESEARCH DIVISION
The primary functions of the Training, Maintenance, and
Research Division are:
1) To initiate and supervise the job development of the fire
fighter, commencing with the probationary period and continuing
throughout their career.
2) To become involved in research programs designed to im-
prove fire fighting techniques, fire fighting apparatus and equip-
ment, and protection of fire fighters; to prepare specifications for
new fire apparatus; and to test and evaluate new tools and appli-
ances before recommending their use in the Department.
DEPARTMENT TRAINING PROGRAM
The recruit training for 1990 had one (1) drill class. This class
commenced on April 25, 1990 with forty (40) members and gradu-
ated June 29, 1990. A total of nine (9) weeks of intensive training
was held at the John A. Martin Fire Academy, Moon Island. Every
member who satisfactorily completed the drill school is now in an
assigned company. In addition to the training of new recruit
classes at the Fire Academy, a constant program of instruction and
drills are held at both the company level and at the Academy.
The portable maze, which was put into operation in 1988, con-
tinues to move to the various districts throughout the city so that
all members can fulfill their drill requirements on the Scott 4.5 -
S.C.B.A., for the 1990 calendar year.
Drills on the S.C.B.A. respiratory protective equipment were
conducted by the training officers with every fire company in the
city These drills are a basic review of the Standard Operating Pro-
cedures, covering care, maintenance and operation of 4.5 air
Drills were conducted with the MBTA and various fire compan-
ies at the Mattapan MBTA yard (PC.C. vehicles) and the Cleve-
land Circle yard (L.R.V.s). The Dewey Square MBTA Station
(South Station) was also used.
20 City Document No. 1 1
Foam drills were conducted throughout the city, keying in on
the "Around the Pump Proportioned"
All engine companies continued to drill on hydrant assist valve
operations, drafting procedures and basic engine company evolu-
tions. Ladder companies, including the Tower Company, were
drilled on the ladder pipe operations and the raising and lowering
of ground ladders.
Rescue Survival Suit drills were conducted with various com-
panies from July through October. These drills were held at Ja-
maica Pond, Charlestown - off Pier 4, and Constitution Beach,
East Boston. Drills are held on a seven day a week schedule at
facilities such as the Tobin Bridge, the Callahan and Sumner Tun-
nels, the L.N.G. facility and Logan Airport.
There is an ongoing program for steam cleaning apparatus, as
well as lubricating same, and checking for details. This is con-
ducted at the Fire Academy by the Maintenance Division. Hydro-
static testing of all cylinders is an ongoing process and every air
cylinder is hydrostatically tested every three years.
Fire College for all company officers and acting officers was
conducted at Memorial Hall, Fire Headquarters. Subjects covered
included structural hazards, lightweight trusses, vehicle hazards,
liquefied flammable gases, hazardous materials, Personnel Divi-
sion matters, Fire Prevention and the Hazardous Material Report-
The C.P.R. First Responder Course was conducted for all mem-
bers of the Department, along with an E.M.S. and Infectious Dis-
FIELD EVALUATION OF SAFETY EQUIPMENT
Fifteen (15) sets of Morning Pride Turn Out Gear and Bristol
Turn-Out Gear were evaluated. Summer and winter shirts from
Tops Manufacturing were tested. Numerous Pride Elk Fire Flex
Gloves were evaluated.
New Emergency One Aerial Ladders were placed in service at
Ladder Companies 9, 10, 25, and 28. Members were trained on
their operations by the Training Division. All ladder companies in
the City are now equipped with Emergency One vehicles.
Ladder tip strobe lights were placed on each ladder truck in the
Department. Rescue Company One and Two received new glass
cutting tools and Engine Company 55 received a new Ice Rescue
Suit and accompanying line. A FYR float went to Engine Com-
pany 9 and twelve (12) new Rabbit Tools (hydraulic door openers)
were distributed throughout the Department. The extrication
tools were continually updated.
Fire Department 21
RESEARCH AND EVALUATION
Evaluation of various types of Bunker pants, coats and shirts are
ongoing. Anti fog devices for Scott face pieces (Facepiece Appli-
quay) continue to be evaluated. Testing of Kohler lights and vari-
ous nozzles and Personal Alarm Devices (P.A.L. . 5) are currently
in process. Class A foam systems have been given to Engine Com-
panies 5 and 16 to be evaluated.
SERVICING AND REPAIR PROGRAMS
A service and repair program is conducted by this division on all
fire fighting equipment, tools, and appliances at our repair facili-
ties at Headquarters and the Fire Academy
HAZARDOUS MATERIAL TRAINING PROGRAM
Under Title III, there are mandatory training requirements for
fire personnel which involve a minimum of 24 hours per year for
all members of the fire fighting divisions and 40 hours per year for
members of special response teams. Training guides have been
issued to each company and video tapes to each district for distri-
bution to companies on a monthly schedule to meet the required
DRIVER SAFETY AND TRAINING PROGRAM
Driver training was scheduled by the District Fire Chiefs for
companies in their districts during weekend day tours. Training is
given to any fire company upon the recommendation of a Deputy
Chief following an accident hearing. All new recruits received
driver training at the Fire Academv beginning with the class of
PROTECTIVE CLOTHING ISSUED
Fire Boots 297 pair
Fire Coats 187
Work Gloves 1,708 pair
Leather Helmets with eye shields 68
Fire Rated Trousers 1,674
Fire Rated Summer Work Shirts 1,692
Winter Sweat Shirts 1,685
Tyveck Suits 48
Haz-Mat Protectable Rubber Gloves 72 pair
22 City Document No. 1 1
DRESS UNIFORMS/SHIRTS ISSUED
Officer D/B Sack Coats 10
Fire Fighter Sack Coats 52
Dress Trousers 122
Navy Blue Serge Bell Caps 61
White Bell Caps 41
White Short Sleeve Dress Shirts 332
White Long Sleeve Dress Shirts 178
Light Blue Short Sleeve Dress Shirts 314
Light Blue Long Sleeve Dress Shirts 12
Navy Blue Short Sleeve Shirts
with Fire Alarm logo 108
SPECIAL SERVICES DIVISION
1) Planning and Logistics
2) Safety Operational Unit
3) Fire Alarm Section
SPECIAL SERVICES DIVISION
The Special Services Division consists of three sections: Plan-
ning and Logistics, Safety Operational Unit, Fire Alarm Dispatch
PLANNING AND LOGISTICS SECTION
The Planning and Logistics Section is responsible for five (5)
specific areas in the Department.
2) Emergency Medical Services
3) Underwater Recovery
4) Local Emergency Planning
5) Office of Civil Defense
During 1990, continued negotiations were carried on with the
planning team of the Central Artery, Third Harbor Tunnel (CA/T)
and the Central Artery North Area (C.A.N. A.) projects in order to
address the fire and safety concerns brought about by the use of
these Tunnels, Interchanges, Vent Buildings and Roadways. Nego-
tiations have also continued with the Massachusetts Department
of Public Works (MDPW) on the relocation of the New Northern
Fire Department 23
Avenue Bridge and the associated adjustments to the water sup-
plies for fire fighting due to the loss of access to this area by our fire
Continued cooperation with all city and other governmental
agencies regarding the interactions with the Boston Fire Depart-
ment are progressing to insure that the citizens of the city are
given the best possible services available.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
The Emergency Medical Services Office of the Boston Fire De-
partment continued to train and retrain members of the depart-
ment in the mandatory "first responder" courses during 1990.
Thirty-three (33) new Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
completed Department training and then were tested and certi-
fied by the State Office of Emergency Medical Services
This section continued to assist department companies by re-
supplying expendable materials used by the Fire Department at
accident and other emergency scenes when fire personnel are first
on scene and awaiting the arrival of Health and Hospitals E.M.S.
The Emergency Medical Services Section has also participated
in seminars and critiques concerning communicable diseases,
trauma related incidents and other valuable information related to
emergency assistance to persons injured or stricken and in need of
immediate emergency care while waiting for transport to a medi-
UNDERWATER RECOVERY TEAM
The Underwater Recovery Team (U.R.T.) has been in transition
within the department wherein three members have attended a
course to become instructors for Public Safety (S.C.U.B.A.) Div-
ers. This unit will now be training members of our Rescue Com-
panies in Search and Rescue Dive techniques in order to give the
department an added dimension in the possible rescue of persons
trapped in a vehicle underwater or other type of drowning inci-
The Underwater Recovery Team continues to assist in the
search and recovery of persons drowned and vehicles immersed in
the harbor, ponds or rivers. They are involved in a program to
survey the piers and wharfs looking for submerged objects. This
should allow the Department's Marine Units and the Massachu-
setts Port fire boat to travel safer in the harbor.
24 City Document No. 11
LOCAL EMERGENCY PLANNING
The Local Emergency Planning Committee (L.E.PC.) has con-
tinued to upgrade the local emergency plan for the City of Boston.
The annual meeting of the Boston L.E.PC. was held on December
12th 1990, at 1000 hours in Memorial Hall, Boston Fire Head-
There was good attendance at the meeting at which the Title
III, Special Hazard Inspector explained the modified procedures
used to enable the L.E.PC. and the Fire Department to gain com-
pliance with the provisions of the Superfund Amendment
Reauthorization Act (S.A.R.A.). He also showed a copy of the new
pre-incident plans issued to the District Fire Chiefs for each dis-
trict and the Deputy Fire Chiefs for their respective divisions.
These plans are used by the incident commander. A demonstra-
tion of the Computer Aided Management of Emergency Opera-
tions (CAMEO), currently in use by the L.E.PC, was given by the
L.E.PC. Administrative Assistant/Senior Programmer.
The Boston Fire Department responded to 738 incidents that
involved hazardous materials during 1990.
OFFICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE
The Office of Civil Defense maintains contact with Federal and
State Offices of Civil Defense, as well as the general public and
business community. Radiological monitoring and testing is pro-
vided when needed within the city and is coordinated with the
Police Department for the rotation and calibration of the 860
Radiological Monitoring Survey Meters.
The Emergency Operations Center (E.O.C.) at City Hall is be-
ing moved to larger quarters to accommodate the expanded roles
of the other city departments which work with the Civil Defense
Agency. These quarters will allow for expanded staffing and better
communications between all the city departments and any State
and/or Federal agencies during times of crisis.
Two new Radio Officers were appointed for the Civil Defense
City Emergency Radio System. The Packet Radio System was
tested and operational during the last drill.
Records and reports are submitted on a quarterly basis to the
Federal and State Offices of Emergency Preparedness.
Participation in "disaster drills" involve various city depart-
ments and allows an opportunity to coordinate emergency plan-
SAFETY OPERATIONAL UNIT
The Safety Unit, under the direction of a Deputy Fire Chief has
four District Fire Chiefs assigned, one to each working group
Fire Department 25
whose responsibility is to respond to all working fires and above,
monitor the water supply and fire fighting evolutions at all inci-
dents and the proper use of protective equipment and tools and
appliances in an effort to reduce personal injuries and loss of time.
This section field tests safety equipment and investigates all ac-
cidents both personal and vehicle to determine if they were
caused by defective equipment or procedures.
After any major incident they review the procedures and recom-
mend any changes that would make a safer environment for fire
fighters to work in.
FIRE ALARM SECTION
The Fire Alarm Section is responsible for the installation, main-
tenance and operation of the vast emergency communications
network incorporated by the Boston Fire Department. This is ac-
complished through the activities of four (4) subsections: Opera-
tions, Radio Shop, Construction, and Inside Wiremen.
FIRE ALARM OPERATIONS
The Operating Force of the Fire Alarm Section dispatched ap-
paratus to 45,380 incidents during 1990, of these 43 were working
fires and 62 required transmission of multiple alarms.
A Wang computer at Fire Alarm Headquarters was more fully
utilized by adding the following enhancements:
1 ) A special file was created for a more efficient retrieval of high
rise buildings referenced by the nearest street fire box. This en-
ables the dispatchers to quickly ascertain the necessity of dis-
patching the additional units required to complement a full "Hi-
Rise Response" to an incident.
2) In compliance with Federal Law Sara Title III Community-
Right-to-Know Law, a file containing all qualifying facilities was
created which allows dispatchers to immediately inform respond-
ing units of any pertinent information regarding a listed location.
This should provide a high degree of safety for all personnel in-
volved with a hazardous chemical incident.
3) A program was developed for the Scuba and Metro Haz-Mat
teams to provide a constant status and response procedure for all
A voice communications recording system reproducer was pro-
cured from the Dictaphone Corporation for use in the Operations
area. The major feature of this unit is the ability to play back re-
corded audio tapes achieving a high quality reproduction of all
messages during an incident. These cassette tapes are used exten-
sively within the Department for fire investigations, training and
26 City Document No. 1 1
Additional facsimile machines were installed in the Personnel
Division of Headquarters and the two fire fighting division head-
quarters. This completes a means for providing an efficient
method of transferring an extensive amount of information within
all divisions of the Department.
The Fire Alarm Operations area received a major facelift during
1990. The entire upper area was replastered and painted restoring
the architectural beauty of the Bulfinch-type ceiling. Also, an
acoustical, moveable wall system was installed accomplishing a
two-fold purpose, one being the quieting effect within the area,
and secondly providing partitioned offices for the Chief Operator,
plans examining and data processing.
Fire Alarm Headquarters was toured by over three hundred at-
tendees from the annual conference of the Associated Public
Safety Communications Officers (APCO) which was held in
Boston. These visitors came from all over the world representing
many facets of public safety communications. Their comments
were extremely complimentary regarding the condition of this fa-
cility and its operation.
Fire Alarm personnel are involved with nationally recognized
associations concerned with the many facets of public safety com-
munications by serving on various committees, attending semi-
nars and participating in sponsored workshops. These activities
afford the members an opportunity to keep abreast of the many
advancements in emergency communications technology such as
Computer Aided Dispatch systems, Enhanced 9-1-1 and fiber op-
tic cable applications.
FIRE ALARM CONSTRUCTION
A new GMC Aerial Bucket/Line Truck was put into service ena-
bling the extensive replacement of overhead cable and the under-
ground and overhead multi-conductor cable throughout the city.
Back Bay 385,000 feet
Brighton 24,000 feet
Dorchester/South Boston 218,000 feet
Hvde Park/Roslindale 16,000 feet
Roxbury 166,000 feet
Total footage of conductors: 809,000 feet
The relocation of the fire alarm cable and test post was com-
pleted at Dorchester Avenue and West Fourth Street due to bridge
Over 1,500 repairs were made to street boxes during 1990.
These repairs include replacing box sections, light extensions,
locks, terminal strips and painting.
Fire Department 27
Four additional Emergency Voice boxes were installed and sev-
enty master/auxiliary boxes were connected to the municipal sys-
tem resulting in a total of 1,151 master boxes and 1,354 street
boxes in the system. Over 5,800 box tests were recorded, meeting
the requirements of the NFPA standards.
Fire Alarm personnel attended numerous meetings for the
Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel project which involved re-
viewing map layouts and recommending procedures for Federal,
State, City and other agencies for new and reconstruction projects
concerning the relocation of Fire Alarm equipment.
The Radio Shop is responsible for the installation, maintenance
and testing of all wireless communication equipment and associ-
ated electronic hardware utilized by this Department.
Voice pager units were issued to all District Fire Chiefs set on
the radio dispatch channel which is activated simultaneously
when any fire apparatus is dispatched in their district. This proce-
dure allows the Chief to be immediately informed of an incident
and eliminates the necessity of alarm operators making additional
calls for notification.
Radio Shop personnel were involved in a number of mainte-
nance and upgrading projects. They relocated radio and public
address system equipment to allow more efficient operation and
easier access for maintenance, participated in a cooperative effort
with telephone company personnel for upgrading radio loop cir-
cuits, did periodic testing of fire subway radio systems and re-
vamped the fire house alerting systems by replacing electron
tubes with a solid state integrated circuit built by shop personnel.
Issued new portable radios 35
Service to amplifiers and speakers 145
Repairs and adjustments to paging units 182
Repairs to portable and mobile radios 340
Installed new radio equipment 36
Issued replacement batteries for portable radios 36
Repaired electronic sirens 22
The Inside Wiremen are responsible for the installation and
maintenance of all electrical wiring and the associated apparatus
and appliances including the internal Centrex telephone system
of the Department.
28 City Document No. 11
The expanded use of computers within the Department re-
quired the installation of cable and peripheral equipment at Fire
Department facilities. A complete new speaker system was in-
stalled at Engine 51's quarters, Engine 54 's house was rewired and
the boiler room at Headquarters was completed.
A "Gentran" emergency generator transfer switch, which al-
lows a more efficient means of transferring from Edison power to
the backup generator, was installed at three fire houses. A new
"ship to shore" power exchange unit was installed at the Marine
Motion actuated security lights were placed in strategic posi-
tions in the parking lot of Fire Alarm Headquarters.
City Document No. 1 1
TOTAL RUNS PER COMPANY
Note: This report tallies only responses to the scene of an
incident. Covering is not recorded here.
Fire Department 31
COMPARISON OF INCIDENT TYPES
Fires or Explosions
Good Intent Calls
* No Significant %
FIVE INCIDENT TYPES
WITH THE MOST OCCURRENCES
False Alarm - Box
Food on Stove
Smoke Detector Device
Operated — No Fire
1 710 False Alarm - Box 6,471 14.0
2 733 Smoke Detector Device
Operated — No Fire 3,348 7.2
3 430 Food on Stove 2,981 6.4
4 731 Alarm System Malfunction —
Smoke Detector 2,743 5.9
5 592 Public Service 2,382 5.1
City Document No. 11
COMPARISON OF ALARM LEVELS
AND MULTIPLE ALARMS COMRINED
COMPARISON OF ALARM LEVELS
RANKING OF WORKING FIRES
AND MULTIPLE ALARMS
COMBINED BY DISTRICT
34 City Document No. 11
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Town of Brookline
Town of Dedham
City of Cambridge
City of Quincy
Town of Milton
City of Revere
Town of Winthrop
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City of Everett
Citv of Lvnn
CITY OF BOSTON G^^fes PRINTING SECTION