Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

Thank you, Mr. President. Last week I introduced legislation to create a Vacant Property Task Force charged with compiling an inventory and database of such properties. It also calls for an inspection team with specific responsibilities to mark and make secure large abandoned structures.

The District Attorney released his grand jury report earlier this week and it made several references to my legislation in its recommendations. This makes me all the more confident that my legislation is appropriate and needed to increase safety in our neighborhoods and reduce the risk presented to our firefighters and our first responders. I look forward to working with all the stakeholders in Council to make this bill the best it can be and have it enacted into law.

Continuing on my focus on the Fire Department, today I introduced a resolution calling for public hearings to review the Fire Department's use of post incident critiques after major incidents. I believe we need to look at the impact they can have upon the training and preparedness of firefighters and other first responder personnel of the Fire Department. I believe the Fire Department has a duty to its members and the community to systemically evaluate major incidents and communicate the findings to all relevant emergency personnel through a post incident critique.

A critique is a fact-finding exercise to collect information that forms a picture of the major incident and how personnel responded from both the tactical and operational standpoint. The lessons learned from the experience are then constructively -- they're used constructively to correct deficiencies, highlight good practices, and influence training and education.

Philadelphia recorded an all-time low of fire-related deaths in 2013, and the annual number of fires in the City continues to decline. However, the reduction of fires subsequently leads to less actual firefighting experience for firefighters.

The Fire Department is in the midst of a senior personnel transition due to a high amount of retirements. As staff leaves the department, they take their command and operation experience. The post incident critique can help fill that experience void by conducting routine after-action reviews, document problems encountered, and successful actions taken. Critiques allow for training and learning opportunities to improve plans, procedures, and outcomes based upon real experiences in Philadelphia.

I believe it is crucial to the safety and protection of the citizens of Philadelphia to have firefighters, whose job often requires them to lay down their lives for others, to be trained in the most effective firefighting methods and protocols.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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