APRIL EDITORIAL EXTRA!
by Frank Kurz
“The only thing worse than a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite.”
“People don't always tell you what they are thinking. They just see to it that you don't advance in life.”
“It is the duty of a good shepherd to sheer his sheep, not to skin them.”
Surrey, British Columbia - Many years ago, ASTTBC’s Fire Protection Certification Program used to publish a Newsletter called Suppress! which featured a number of timely articles specifically directed to the program’s member participants, and which were largely intended to inform and remind:
Inform so as to keep RFPT’s abreast of changes, bulletins and interpretations of various Codes and Standards germane to their individual fields of practice, and
Remind to ensure RFPT’s didn’t stray far from the Code of Ethics, the Stamp or Practice Guidelines and were kept abreast of the consequences for those that did.
They also frequently published the names of the Fire Protection Program’s Certification Board Members which included a small proviso that any direct contact with a board member regarding issues affecting the program had to processed through the proper channels. These days you have to really SEARCH to find this information, but, lucky for you (our loyal readers), we managed to stumble across this little gem:
There isn’t a direct link to this page anywhere on the ASTTBC site (in fact the page looks like it might still be under construction). I found it with the help of my best friend, Madame Google.
Now, it’s important for you to know that direct contact with these individuals regarding ASTTBC business should still be directed through Charles Joyner, ASTTBC’s Registrar. His number can be found at the bottom of the ASTTBC Link page.
As of June 2014, the following Board Members are listed (I understand that it represents the current panel as of April 1, 2015 as well but with one slight change):
Don Delcourt, AScT, EngL (Chair)
Robert Barrett, RFPT (Vice Chair)
Jeff Martin, RFPT
Paul Morrison, AScT
Rick Puri, RFPT
Costa Vlachias, AScT, RFPT
What’s become apparent to this writer is that despite the very public commitment and dedication these and a number of other individuals have made over the last twenty years to try and foster ASTTBC’s mandate of “ensuring the protection and safety of the public”, something is being lost in the translation.
It is my honest opinion that there are two very important reasons for this.
The first is the Captain’s frequent absence from the bridge (to continue the metaphor of the good ship expressed in this Tech-News item) at a time when setting a course towards a return to the program’s core values is of paramount importance.
The other has to do with the Wolf on the Certification Board.
Yes, you read that correctly.
There’s an old saying: “If you want to fix government, you’ve got to do it from the inside”. -- Author Unkown
Unfortunately “fix” has two distinct definitions:
one is to repair, remedy, or make better,
the other, to prearrange an outcome (often involving nefarious or selfish intent)
There is positively no doubt in my mind that the majority of the board members embrace the positive aspects of the former definition. Their employees may not espouse total dedication to the Practice Guidelines, but you simply can’t be everywhere or see everything that a technician in your employ may wind up getting wrong. As the employer, manager, or service manager, you do still bear the ultimate responsibility (and must cover any expense) for their mistakes, however. Additionally, a self-regulating association often has a requirement for their members to REPORT any illegal or substandard practice they come across (ASTTBC being no different).
The whole idea behind “levelling the playing field” (one of the goals of the Fire Protection Program) is to ensure that everyone that’s registered (from the owners and managers on down) are working from (and are all on) the same page, right?
When an owner of a fire service provider decides he can fix the game by providing a different kind of report form (one that doesn’t even come CLOSE to that required by the testing Standards) which his guys can complete on the fly much faster (thereby gaining an advantage over competitors that are utilizing the correct versions), well that not only contravenes the Practice Guideline, it’s something which ASTTBC is actually mandated to investigate. When that same owner happens to sit on the Certification Board, it becomes (what some would refer to as) a nasty can of worms. The fact that he SITS on the Board actually engenders a certain measure of trust (and legitimacy) within the community at large, but when this trust is so blatantly violated, it puts ASTTBC in the untenable (and unfortunate) position of having to investigate one of their own, sort of like a dog sniffing its own bum. Do you really expect Fido’s going to find much of anything amiss?
A NOTE TO THE READER: The inspection report samples we’ve provided below only include the first sheet (they both involve the same building, however). They are identical in composition to the report form we published in our April Tech-News EXTRA! (we have deliberately not included the sheets with the detailed device test results as they have no particular relevance). The reports are signed and stamped by two different individuals in the employ of our Wolf.
2008 Fire Alarm Inspection Report
2010 Fire Alarm Inspection Report
What should a suitable punishment be for an RFPT involved in such obvious malfeasance, who happens to be in a position to direct the practice of his employees and is involved on the board responsible for ALL technician registration in British Columbia?
If he’s found to be complicit in promoting such bad practice amongst the technicians within his own company? Nothing less than public expulsion from the board to start with. ASTTBC would have to determine what other practice privileges should be suspended (or canceled), but he should at the very least, be required to retake the Fire Alarm Certification Course and write the challenge exam. As for making him take the ethics course (and write that exam too)? Well, it’s my opinion that, since he’s been paying lip service to the Code of Ethics for over seven years anyway, this would be a pretty useless exercise.
The technicians in his employ should have their reports audited for the past two (2) years (the limit annual reports have to be kept on file in accordance with Division C Section 188.8.131.52 of the British Columbia Fire Code 2012) and, if found to be non-compliant, they should be made to retake the courses in which they have certification and write the challenge exams in order to keep their stamps. In my honest opinion, levying fines for such blatant violations of the Practice Guidelines would be of no positive benefit (other than to perhaps help pay for one of Mr. Leech’s expensed luncheons at the Pan Pacific Hotel).
And finally the jurisdictional authorities in those municipalities, where the buildings his technicians have been testing are located, should be notified and arrangements made for the respective owners to have those buildings immediately retested!
I’m going to be very interested in (and will be following the investigation of) the complaints I’ve filed in respect of this story very closely. In keeping with a promise made to a number of individuals though, I won’t be publishing another Burning Brick Award or any details relating to our Wolf (other than what I’ve already revealed that is). You can rest assured, however, that the jurisdictional authorities in which this individual (and his employees) practices will remain fully apprised. A Wolf in technician’s clothing should always be very carefully watched, after all!
Are the lambs (ASTTBC RFPT’s) awake now?
I sure hope so!
You can read more concerning technician practices, testing methods, etc. by clicking on:
Our April Tech-News EXTRA! provides another sample of this Wolf’s paperwork (a nasty business) and offers some additional comments with respect to the bogus testing conducted by the technicians in his employ
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