With Help From U.S. Group, New Israeli Fire Protection Group Launches
As fire-safety issues remain front of mind for many Israelis in the wake of a recent spate of wildfires, the Israeli Fire Protection Association, which had been in the works long before the fires broke out, could help improve fire-safety standards.
A new Israeli association is coming to life—with the help of its American counterpart.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the Israeli Fire Protection Association will hold its first meeting this week, with 350 people slated to attend a one-day convention near Tel Aviv.
Founding Chairman Shmuel Netanel says IFPA’s role is meant to be similar to that of the U.S.’s National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which helps educate the public on fire-safety issues and sets standards for buildings around the United States.
Netanel says the group’s formation has been needed for a while, as many of Israel’s high-rise buildings fail to meet such standards, and training is not currently in place. Talks around IFPA’s formation took place for 18 months prior to its launch.
“The buildings’ occupants do not know about fire-safety measures and do not know what to do in the event of an emergency,” Netanel told the Post. “So, we believe that as quickly as possible, we need to launch this nationwide program to help prevent fires, and train people how to react if a fire does start.”
The group’s launch is timely. In recent days, wildfires have engulfed much of the country, with some officials suspecting arsonists as the culprits. The New York Times reported that 22 people were arrested last week due to the arson suspicion.
In comments to the Post, NFPA Vice President for Field Operations Donald Bliss, who will speak at Thursday’s event, noted that he advised Netanel as he helped to build the organization.
“This is a separate organization from NFPA, but has a mission similar to ours in preventing fires, saving lives, and reducing economic loss due to fires,” he explained. “We collaborate with many organizations from around the world to use our combined efforts to promote fire safety globally.”
Firefighters shown working last week as a wildfire burns in the village of Beit Meir near Jerusalem. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)