In less than 3 months into the year we have lost 9 Firefighters, with the lastest one being Today in Texas

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That's nine too many.

The young man who passed away last night in League City, Texas, collapsed during training, according to Firefighter Close Calls. Our condolences to his family and to the League City Fire Department. May our brother rest in peace.

11 as of 8 March 2013

Texas, 6 March

Georgia, 7 March

It is always too many, no matter what the number.  Sadly, while I believe there are many ways to reduce the deaths I doubt we will ever eliminate them.  It is virtually impossible to eliminate all circumstances that lead to injuries or death due to the nature of our job and the environment we work in.

What can we do? 

We can train better and with more emphasis on fire behavior and building construction.  New construction is basically built to kill us in the event of a fire.  Anytime the fire escapes the compartment and enters the void space of the walls or the attic the structure is in danger of catastrophic failure.  It is time we drilled that HARD into fire officers and firefighters.  People that need rescue are worth risking our lives for, buildings that are in danger of collapse are not.

We can train drivers that arrival at the emergency scene and then back to quarters safely is their PRIMARY job.  Not driving fast, not taking unnecessary risks, not completely disregarding traffic laws because they have red lights and a siren.  En Route and returning vehicle related deaths are some of the most preventable deaths we face in the fire service. 

We can get more serious about the health of firefighters.  Heart attacks kill far too many firefighters every year.  We must get serious about annual physicals and pysical fitness.  This is an issue for all firefighters and I wish I was in better shape than I am so I am working on it.  Every fire department should have some kind of health and wellness policy to help ensure that firefighters are in the best shape that they can be.

We need to train our firefighters to hone their situational awareness skills.  We need to pay attention ALL THE TIME.  Pay attention to the building, to the fire, to traffic, to bystanders, to EVERYTHING.  Trust NO ONE to see you when you work.  Trust NO ONE to stop, slow down, or even avoid you when working on the roadway.   We MUST watch our Brothers and Sisters backs as well as our own.

 

 

I have to say this is PATHETIC!  A chance to discuss LODDs and ideas to help prevent them and there are 4 comments.

 

I guess this topic isn't as cool as word games or helmet painting or POV warning lights...

I would have to agree with you, Don. This is a subject that should NEVER be ignored or taken lightly. LODD's are a specter that looms over every one of us that puts on a set of bunker gear. It does not matter whether the death occurred on a fire ground or some other type of emergency scene, or if it occurred while training or simply doing station maintenance. The death of a brother/sister firefighter affects ALL of us in some way. I hope that more members of this site will take notice and add more posts to this very important thread.

Well telling random people on here to stay in shape so they don't have a heart attack is kind of pointless.  Most ideas are pretty obvious.  If you want to watch over people at your own house that aren't driving properly or staying healthy, that's one thing.  I'm not sure there's too much to talk about on an online forum though.

I disagree that this isn't the place to talk about it.  In fact I think we should be talking about it EVERYWHERE.  The culture of the fire service in regards to safety needs an overhaul.  That doesn't mean we stop fighting fire, it doesn't mean we stop being aggressive interior firefighters, it does mean we have to look at what we are willing to risk in comparison to what we can realistically save.  As for me I will push farther and deeper in an attempt to save lives, I will not lose my life for a building that will be bulldozed the next day.  It is that incredibly simple to me. 

We can get more serious about the health of firefighters.  Heart attacks kill far too many firefighters every year.  We must get serious about annual physicals and pysical fitness.  This is an issue for all firefighters and I wish I was in better shape than I am so I am working on it.  Every fire department should have some kind of health and wellness policy to help ensure that firefighters are in the best shape that they can be.

This is a key point right here Don.  I see too many firefighters (myself included) with a gut hanging over there belt, or smoking too many cigarrettes.  Health has fallen off dangerously too far and we need to re-focus on that.

I was amazed last monday night when I went to the training tower with my captain and a lieutenant for a drill with our mutual aid department.  The two officers I was with are younger than me and in much better shape, so they were doing circles around me while we did search drills in the tower.  When we got out of the tower they looked at me and asked if I wanted to go through the mask confidence trailer next...I just looked at them and said that I was too fat and out of shape to do anything like that until I lost the weight, which is a good reason why I am one of the chief officers now.

They actually harrassed me and taunted me to go with them still.  An ex-chief from the other department came into the conversation by saying "You know what, not for nuthin but he knows his limits and can admit to them, which is why hes wearing a white hat I imagine.." and they stopped picking on me.  I told them then that I didnt want to be a problem for the FAST and know my limits, why put others in danger to get an overweight out-of-shape firefighter from an IDLH situation? 

On our way back to the station in the rescue I talked with the Captain and explained more of my family history and why I am making the decisions I am making to not be too active and overagressive, unless its an emergency like I am one of the only interior firefighters on scene and we have a trapped person in a fire, then I will go in and do what I can and hope i dont have a massive MI...

Health should be important to all of us and we should watch out for each other as well.  Offer assisstance to us fat guys and give us encouragement to loose the weight and get back in shape, dont make fun of us...

Stay Safe  AND healthy everyone.

Moose,

The health issue is universal.  It not only effects vollies but career guys too.  I see it from both sides being a career firefighter and a volly/POC on 2 other FDs.  Add to that I am an instructor for the tech college and teach firefighters from dozens of FDs every year. 

 

There really is no excuse for it in the career world.  Especially in FDs that have a set aside time every shift for working out.  Myself, I am working out more and trying to eat better.  I am old enough now that it is harder and harder every year and the fact that my knees aren't as willing as they used to be adds to the fun.  When the weather turns nice again my bike will be out and I will put a ton of miles on that both at work and at home.  Strength is important but weight control and aerobic strength is far more important in my mind and that is where I need work and am working the hardest.

 

In the volly world I am seeing more and more stations adding weight lifting equipment and treadmills and/or stationary bikes.  The problem is these programs are almost always voluntary and those that need them the most don't utilize them.  Many departments would rather have a full roster, even if half of those members are physically incapable of doing any real stressful physical work, than to push a health initiative to help save their mebers lives.

 

It is true words of encouragement go miles farther than laughing at someone and calling them fat ass or whatever.  I can tell you I have many supportive Brothers on my crew that have asked me to work out with them and that is a much better feeling.

 

I support your efforts and applaud your recognition of your limitations.  Stay strong Brother and you can get back in better shape.

I guess it is not a complete shameless plug, but I have been on weight watchers for a while now and find the program really works.  I am down to 318 from 348 and will try to get to 250.  Having a large frame and being 6 foot 3 helps spread out the weight.  We have a lot of out of shape firefighters on the dept.  me included.  We have the weight room and treadmill.  One of my drills is to fully gear up and put on a pack and then go on the treadmill.  Nothing too fast but i find it makes me break a sweat.  I also practice breathing skills while i am at it.  22 mins on a thirty min bottle is my best time.  Our HSO has been trying to make health screening mandantory on our vol. dept and has met with quite a lot of resistance.  Some members are upset that if the doctor finds something wrong they will have to pay to stay alive!  The logic is mind-boggling.  It seems that half the dept uses tobacco and the other half is overweight.  We cannot seem to make people understand that they are killing themselvs.  I would like to hear about other health programs that volunteer depts are finding usefull.  Before I joined the dept I was quite content being fat, drunk and stupid.  But I found out quick that being out of shape not only made me less effective on the fire ground and could possibly put others at risk as well.   

@ Don- Thank you brother.  It helps too to have a daughter that looks up to you and thinking that I would realy like to be at her HS Graduation, College Graduation, walk her down the Isle, play with my grand kids...

 

Jim, my brother, you and I are one and the same!  I am also about 310, 6 ft 1".  I carry the weight well I guess you can say, but I still feel it when I tie my shoes (Breathing because of weight on my diaphragm) and when I do physical activity.  I find myself trying to control my breathing so no one thinks I am "out of shape" when I realy and truly am.  But I get embarrassed and try to hide it.  Like at the drill the other night, trying to keep up with the younger guys from my department and theirs, and feeling like I was going to die, but I didnt let those little bastards see any of it, I waited until they were'nt looking before running around the corner and vomiting!!! LOL (just kidding, I didnt vomit...I called on my cell for beer and a pizza to be delivered)

 

I believe another issue we are letting get way out of hand is the training injuries and deaths...WTF???  Are we not supposed to be training to keep alive???  I think too many officers get too aggressive at these drills and thats what ends up killing us.  USE COMMON SENSE!!!  Especially around live fire training, you HAVE to have safety officers and extra instructors/officers around to help you out and constantly be overseeing everything.  Go up to the first young probie showing off and make an example out of them, smack their helmet (if they have it on) and tell them to be safe and knock off the crap. 

We should ALL be coming home from drills 100% of the time...NO EXCEPTIONS!  If you are not feeling well, tell your officer and sit it out...if you have medical conditions that restrict you, OBEY THE RESTRICTIONS and dont do what you cant...too many "macho" types out there that mistake stupidity for bravery...

Keep safe and healthy

It's imperative that all firefighters from the newest recruit to the most seasoned chief are aware and follow the 16 life safety initiatives.  There aren't really new ways to kill firefighters.  It's been the same since Ben Franklin's day.  What has to change is the mindset of the fire service.  Firefighters not taking care of their health and minimizing cardiac risks; driving unsafely or without utilizing seat belts; conducting interior operations in buildings that are beyond saving and poor command decisions are where changes need to be made.  Fire fighters at every level MUST be willing to make the changes necessary to reduce LODD.  Only then can we say that we are doing all we can.

Take care, stay safe, train often.

Dino

http://everyonegoeshome.com/index.html

http://ctbs.everyonegoeshome.com/

http://www.lifesafetyinitiatives.com/

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