SAFER Monthly Meeting - November 2015

SAFER Meeting Minutes

November 20, 2015

SAFER Board Attendees:   President Fortman,  Seely, Lloyd , Quinn, Gurrola, Sposato

Los Angeles Fire Department

Frank Hotchkins Training Center

Ralph Terrazas  – Fire Chief

0945    Meeting called to order – President Fortman – (B/C LAFD) opened the meeting and lead the flag salute and moment of silence to remember our fallen brothers and sisters in the fire, police and military.

Thanks to LAFD Firefighters Local for Coffee Station.

SAFER email :, twitter, facebook etc.

**Quick Roundtable to begin a modified meeting formataccommodating the presentation “FireStats”:

Joe Sposato – (Vender Liaison) Related the Hawaiian Fire Chiefs Association Conference is next month in Honalulu, new SCOTT AIR PAK selected bySanta Monica FD is on display downstairs. (5500) PSI 45 minute bottle. 

Peggy Curtis  - Fire-Dex - we make Turnout Gear, Helmets, Boots, Hoods, and Gloves as well as Wildland garments.  937-974-7271

Frank Uram – Qualatel Communications: Related he is interested in receiving input  as to utility and desired functionality of (1) Electronic Version of “Keytags” for tracking equipment &  (2) DRONES in the Fire Service.

Scott Quinn – LAFD : Several injuries in LAFD recently – both are now Cal-OSHA Investigations, new class of 53 graduating next Tuesday.

Louie Garcia – Western States Fire Equipment - Rep for Black Diamond Leather Boot and Frank Piriano


Jennifer Wise – W.L. Gore and Associates – Gore paralon liner system is big improvement over old liner - improved wicking and thermal protection characteristics.

Keith Gurrola – Ventura County Fire Retired  

Jim - PlymoVent exhaust removal systems – all good

Eric Bestway Laundry Solutions – See downstairs display , Provides equipment and service for PPE laundry.

Stuart Lovi – SCOTT Safety - Related new features on newest SCBA’s, has IR camera on display downstairs on the drill floor. 



FIRESTATS ™ – Data Analysis for the fire Service

Paul Rottenberg MBA, MPH

(530) 478-0657

10366 Hawke Lane

Nevada City, CA 65959


FireStats is a consulting firm specializing in the analysis of fire service data and in teaching analysis techniques to fire service officers. Company founder, Paul Rottenberg, is a management consultant with over 20 years of experience in economic service and consulting to and for industry and local government. For the past 15 years Paul has been doing economic, data management and policy work on environmental and public works and public safety projects in California, Florida, and East Asia. He has worked with many of the different departments at the State government level in California and with California, Florida and Texas counties, special districts and cities and is a USFA Subject Matter Expert on Deployment Analysis. Paul spent ten years as an active paid-call firefighter/apparatus engineer/EMT with a combination fire department in Northern California and keeps current most of his certifications, including California Firefighter I, Hazmat, EMT and driver/operator.

Additional References:

  1. “Make Better Decisions: Put Your Data to Work”  - IAFC On Scene: April 1, 2012

    An outline of Mr. Rottenbergs’ April 1, 2012 presentation to the IAFC.


  2. FireStats - YouTube


    Paul Rottenberg of FireStats, LLC., narrates short video demonstrations on the use of Excel in analyzing fire service data sets.


Science of statistics, Would like to see the fire service be more invested in the continuum of healthcare, more of a partner in academic research,

"Statics s the science that makes generalizations, and therefore all progress, possible.  

Like most sciences, it of often misunderstood’. More than most sciences, it is abused by the cynical and rejected by the foolish and obstructive."  -Paul Rottenberg (circa 11/20/15)

We want to find the balance between questioning statistics and common sense.

Your Go-To Graphics and Tables

  1. *Bar Charts

  2. *Data Tables

  3. *Histograms

  4. *Box and Whisker Plots

Examples of each were discussed, limitations and advantages of each were highlighted:

  1. A Better Bar Chart has a title and label on it.  Just like a good map.  

  2. Histogram, continuous data shown graphically

  3. Box and Whisker Plots.  Box in the middle is 50% of the data, with 25% on either side.


  • A major limitation in data analysis in the FIRESERVICE is we do not have a uniform methodology in calculating response times from a statistical perspective.  

  • Pie Charts - Color is the enemy of statistics, in introduces an element that makes the grim and sober job of doing statistics harder.  

  • Bias is everywhere and a polite term in statistics.  Refers to systematic error.

  • Bias in presentation of results - Scale for a graph can be chosen to depict a small change look like a big change, or vice versa.  

  • Bar graphs, the highest value should not exceed 75% of the Y axis.

  • Publication bias - Many journals are much too keen to publish reports that give a positive result regarding efficacy of a new regime, compared to the negative trials that did not find any difference.  If a 'vote count' is done on the basis of the published reports, positive results would hugelythe negative results, although the fact may be just the reverse.  

  • Self - selection bias

  • Evaluation of this presentation has a potential for selection bias due to potential respondent leaving (attrition).

  • Selection Bias by a Researcher - walmart example in kentucky during an amo sale with 12 white male respondants that 90% say they will vote for Rand Paul.

  • Outliers and Thresholds.  How do we account for it?

  • The bell curve, the outliers will be out there in the standard divations.  

  • It seems that throwing out 3 standard deviations to the right of the mean is ok in most statistical analysis, unless talking about response times, some of those long responses are very important. Policy to review data “outside” the established thresholds

  •   Policy to review data “outside” the established thresholds – (anything over 10:00 get's special review)  Set the special attention further back in the data to give you a defensible position.

  • Change that it is attributable to an assignable cause or random variation.  If there is no assignable cause?  Then it is random variation.

  • For analysis purposes we have to have a cutoff somewhere.

  • Outliers and Thresholds (visible best in various chart types)

  • ***Developing stats / analysis / display choices to determine “Change due to an assignable cause”

  • GIS does not have rules for coloration, even though jurisdictions may be different, the colors they represent for measure different things but the underlining numbers may be totally different.


  1. “How often you handle your “own district” calls” (AVL vrs defined districts)

  2. Potential “side issue in considering reliability is Training and collateral duties being missed due to call volume


  1. Sampling:    Populations versus samples

  2. Confidence intervals and levels

  3. Role Variables:

      • Estimating the strength of relationships

      • Correlation and Regression

  • Small Data is hard to understand as random variation has a visible effect. Consider collecting more data:

      1. Consider more measures

      2. Consider sampling (confidence)

*** Philosophical Problem on the subject of estimates:

The current thinking seems to promote the perception that what actually happened is the most important evidence of an agency’s capabilities.

But last year’s data is just a sample of what could have happened.

Last year’s 23 fires will not be the next years 19 or 28 fires. Different buildings will burn and random variation in the counts will necessarily occur.


***PowerPoint Presentation from Fire Stats™ was not available for inclusion in the meeting minutes.


1200 Meeting Adjourned , next meeting December 18th in Santa Fe Springs.



Vender’s, Manufacture’s and Consultants represented at this meeting:

Jennifer Wise – Associate -  W.L. Gore & Associates

105 Vieve’s Way

Elkton, MD 21921

(410) 392-3600 Plant

(410) 506-5490


Paul Rottenberg MBA, MPH-  FireStats ™

(530) 478-0657

10366 Hawke Lane

Nevada City, CA 95959


Stuart Lovi -  Regional Manager, SCOTT Health and Safety

(626) 241-0093

(626) 205-2158


Eric l. Higgins – Vice President    Bestway Laundry Solutions – UniMac Sales and Service

1035 E. Third Street

Corona, CA92879

Phone (800) 542-6166 ext204

Cell (951) 532-7700


Frank Uram- President  -  Quala-Tel Communications

Tel (858) 577-2900

Fax (858) 693-4109

Toll Free (800) 442-1504

Cell (858) 945-1659

9925 Business Park Avenue- Suite A

San Diego, CA92131-1171


Frank Piraino – National Sales Manager – BLACK DIAMOND


113 Plaxdale Road

Liverpool , NY13088


Louie Garcia – Western States Fire Equipment

(909) 510-4266

(213) 272-5680

13800 Valley Blvd.

Fontana, CA92335


Meeting Attendees (Sign-ins)

Agency / Co                                       NAME                         PHONE #                     EMAIL (s)

Downey Fire (Retired)                       Chuck Seely                (562) 824-3225 

Quala-Tel                                            Frank Uram      

Ventura County Fire                         Michael Weisenberg 805 914-4647                           

Western States Fire Equipment       Louie Garcia     


Ventura County Fire (Ret)                Keith Gurrola   

Los Angeles City Fire                         Scott Quinn      

Bestway Laundry Solutions            Eric Higgins                 1-800-542-6166


CalFire                                                 Barry Owens  

Ventura                                              Aimin Alton      

Firedex                                                Peggy Curtis     

Ventura                                              Niki Carmichael         805-910-5288                                                                                                                                                    

Ventura                                              Victor Low        

BestWay Laundry Systems               Eric Higgins       

PlyoVent                                            JIM CLEARY       

Ventura                                              Mike Valley      

LAFD                                                    Ellsworth Fortman     6616451810