The NFFF has launched a program entitled Everyone Goes Home to prevent LODD's. What steps does your department - or you as an individual - take to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you?
We have to start thinking of our families and realize that they deserve and demand that we do whatever it takes to take care of ourselves and each other. My family is why I check my SCBA every morning of every shift. My family is why I check my apparatus and fuel up the saws. My family is why I never enter a fire without a secondary means of egress. My family is why I wear my PPE properly. My family is why i take the time to think about what each building has to surprise me. My wife is why I carry the TIC and my daughter is why I approach car fires from an angle. My future grand kids is why I never let my guard down with a patient and why I always carry tools into a fire.
Eliminate the risks.
Where you can't eliminate them; minimize them.
If you can't minimize the risk, it's too dangerous, so you don't do it.
Perform where the odds are stacked in your favor.
Educate your personnel to believe and understand that, if they are injured or worse, then they are putting others at risk.
We provide a service and that suffers if we are injured or dead.
Therefore; nothing is above the safety of the firefighter.
Talk, train and if necessary scream at people.....Safety Officer tries to prevent anyone from doing anything stupid.....But if you train regularly and train the way you work then hopefully it will avoid "accidents"...Stay safe and remember to keep the faith......Paul
As their officer, assure that my crew operates within a safe practice while performing our orders.
To answer your question, "How do I assure that Everyone Goes Home?" It is pretty simple... it is my responsibility to assure that I return to quarters with the same number of men in which I responded to the call with. That job description doesn't mention being their friend, good ole buddy, or a pushover that will not follow and enforce the hard decisions.
Oh yea, it doesn't hurt that I am a trainer for the NFFF program and the 16 Life Safety Initiatives...and that my department embraced the program as well.
We posted this in every fire vehicle and inside our station. Our department has implemented sogs, constantly uses an accountability system and the ICS on all incidents and is very proactive and receptive to training.
We had an "Everyone Goes Home" and National Fallen Firefighter Foundation State Advocate, (Captain Vince Curry) come in and present an overview of the 16 Life Safety Iniitiatives and we also presented and discussed Chief Rubin's "Rules of Rubin". Vince did an excellent job for us. This was done in addition to our weekly drill night. We followed this presentation with a cookout and refreshments.
Colorado Firecamp adapted the 5-step risk management process from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, to make a t-shirt and a little sticker for the Incident Response Pocket Guide. BillyG influenced us with the WTF? -- but it's really about encouraging firefighters and officers to recover quickly from surprises on the fireground and manage the unexpected.
"Risk a little to save a little, risk alot to save alot." One of my FFII instructors preached this and it stuck with me. Another also shared with me that when he responds to a fire, he waits to put his gloves on until he is ready to start working his assignment. He explained that, this way, he forced himself to continue to assess and look around. I have tried to pass this on to those around me. Helps see the big picture and keeps ya from just running into a bad enviroment, or stepping onto a nasty roof. Just some little things. We do alot of work on Interstate 80 as well and we have begun to outfit all our units with more rear lighting, traffic control devices like signs and arrow sticks etc. We have a brush truck we have decked out with all kinds of additional traffic control devices that is assigned to stay a mile back from the incident to warn oncoming traffic and give them time to safely begin slowing and merging. The Interstate has been a real hot button topic for us for the last several years.
I earned my FF1 certification at the New Mexico State Firefighters Training Academy in February 2011 and while I know that there is a lot that I don't know, this is one thing they drilled into us.
Everyone is directly responsible for safety on the fireline and the "Risk a little to save a little, risk alot to save alot" strategy should go into every decision from dispatch to demobilization. This is sometimes difficult with the adrenaline run through your veins; I know, because it is something I stuggle with. A few wise men have told me that the fire or incident will be there when you arrive; no need to create another. Once on the line, make sure you have a strong situational awareness. Don't get tunnel vision, only paying attention to a small part of the incident. Don't get complacent with driving, forcible entry or any other task that you may do often. Complacency kills.
Finally, take responsibility for your actions and those of your crew; regardless of your rank or position, Chief of Department to rookie. Everybody goes home; everybody contributes to the success or failure of the team; everybody is equally responsible for their individual safety and that of the team.
Watch your back and that of your brother, constantly (both on the fireline and off; because if you don't, nobody else will).
I ensure the only objective I have to accomplish each and everyday I am at work is ALL MY GUYS/GALS came to work with all their fingers and toes and tomorrow morning when they go home they still have every finger and toe they came to work with. Nothing else matters, not people hurt, not burning buildings, not explosions, nothing. If I can do that for them, everything else will get taken care because they have all the tools needed to fix the problem at hand because of knowledge, skills, and abilites.
With all that said, I retired this past March after 19 years with Hanford Fire and 29 yrs in the fire service. I could not be prouder of my crews in how they did business. Without a doubt, my crews were very successful in watching out for me and each other, and in turn I watched out for them 100% of the time. Nothing else works!!