FIREFIGHTER FATALITY REDUCTION LEGISLATION: This week, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) along with John Kerry (D-MA) introduced legislation that would promote compliance with consensus safety standards to reduce the number of avoidable fatalities among fire fighters. While the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and other groups have developed industry safety standards, they are voluntary in nature and often ignored by fire departments. Brown’s bill would encourage the adoption of national consensus fire fighter safety standards and promote fire department compliance with such standards. “We shouldn't have to think twice about bolstering the safety of our fire fighters,” Ohio's Brown said. “Our first responders put their lives at risk daily across Ohio. We should take this opportunity to prevent fire fighter injury and death.”

Ohio Senator Brown’s legislation, the Firefighter Fatality Reduction Act, would require the DHS to determine the rate of fire department compliance with standards for safe operations, staffing, training and fitness among career, volunteer, and combination fire departments. It would create a task force to explore the adoption of safety standards by fire departments and provide recommendations to the Congress, states, and localities on how to increase fire department compliance with safety standards. This bill would not mandate federal oversight of local fire departments, but instead would explore how the federal government could best promote fire fighter safety standards and assist fire departments with compliance. (From the Secret List)

Just wondering what everyone thinks about this. Pro's, Con's, Suggestions, etc.

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I think that whatever it takes to promote firefighter safety and health is a good thing. It would be nice if the government could somehow find a way to mandate safety standards, not just "explore" how FDs are, or are not, complying with them.


We know that we need to stop at stop signs and red lights at intersections, yet we can see Youtube videos of apparatus responding - shot from the cab - blasting through intersections without stopping.

We know that we need to wear our PPE to fully protect ourselves at all scenes, yet we can go to Youtube or and see pictures or movies of firefighters not wearing all of their PPE.

We know that seat belts are essential to protect us in case of apparatus accidents, yet we have more than ample evidence that many firefighters still do not believe this, and do not wear them.

And so on.

Until the company officers and chiefs of each fire department change these behaviors, and get serious about promoting safety on all levels, at all times, any further legislation to "study" why we don't enforce the rules is pointless.

We need to get the basics down before we can move on to the next level.
I agree with you Joe. The standards set forth by most fire departments cover most of the issues that kill firefighters already, but until there is any enforcement, the act is nil. Having the fed's create a task force is a great idea, but only if they have a method of helping the fire departments financially come up to compliance for the things they can't afford. Fitness programs are great, yet fitness equipment is expensive and hard to obtain through normal shallow budgets. Drivers training programs are a great idea, but again it takes money to have instructors come to town. Seat belts...... You already know my stance on them.
Having every firefighter in a full set of compliant PPE, with compliant SCBA, and apparatus which will work for the tasks we have would be a great start, and of course having more money to get more training would be nice also. Perhaps the task force should start at the top (making seat belts mandatory) and work their way to ensure we have all that we need on the fire ground.
I sent the seatbelt pledge and a heartfelt letter to Senator Kerry and Senator Brown, hopefully they can make a move on this and include it in the legislation.
This is all fine and dandy, but this is going to require money. Lots and lots of money, which most fire departments across this country don't have. And then when this bill is passed, and fire departments have a certain time table to comply with it, but don't have to means(money) to do so, what happens then? Are they fined? Are they denied death or health benefits because the department did not have the money to comply with it in the first place?
While I agree with the emphasis behind this legislation, ANYTIME the government gets involved, all that happens is things will get screwed up. Even though "This bill would not mandate federal oversight of local fire departments," eventually that is exactly what will happen. I also have to question the timing of this bill. Isn't it election time? They want to "reduce the number of avoidable fatalities," aren't most ALL fatalities avoidable? If we fight purely defensive fires and never go interior, if we don't run emergency to any call, then there are two catagories which will go to almost zero. Of course we are not going to do this, but a lot of the statistics can be made to tell the story from your peronal point of view. Do WE the fire service need to change some attitudes? Most definately. Do WE the fire service know what WE need to do to avoid these deaths? Again yes. Then do WE need (or want) the Federal Government getting involved? I don't.
Nothing wrong with reducing our fatalities, but we don't need the government to do it. Another OSHA , another bureaucracy, another fortune in tax dollars spent on studies. And then mandates coming from those that have no clue as to what goes on on the fireground. Even NFPA is getting to the point of ridiculous. Justifying existence. It is getting to the point where nobody can operate anymore
I say we petition our representatives to not pass the Bill!!!
Then again....maybe the Bill should be passed.
I'm all for mandating safety measures; as I like to say, we're all still getting ourselves killed in the same old ways....nothing new invented there.

Putting the safety measures into play within the department might be expensive, but why would you want to put a price on a human life? Safety at any cost...

But as I continue to babble on can enact laws and rules and regs until the cows come home. It will STILL come back to the officers to enforce them.
very well put capt 723 and we have made rules, regulations and laws until we run out of paper to record them on. that is why Bill Gates invented the computer. the more govt. you get the more you will be like a communist state of affairs. this country was built on people doing for themselves and if they couldn't afford it they did without or improvised. down here in the south we have a saying called the famous last words of a redneck. HEY WATCH THIS! if allowed to have someone actually watch this it usually ends with stupid being eliminated from society. yes i agree that saftey is a prime issue and that saftey cost money and that NFPA seems to go overboard sometimes and the govt. runs for office and in so doing things are throwed out there that sound good so that some one looks good. i feel that we don't need another study of another study but put that money into the fire act grant that supplies money for equipment and training to the vol. standards already in place and mandating they be followed. the other side of coin is that WE the firefighters have not been on the education side of this to our citizens to whom we serve. they don't know the danger, or what we do as vol. or paid, so out of site and out of mind. the sqeaky wheel gets the grease. i like the AFG because it is a vol. program to get the money and then follow the rules. it give you a choice.
in reference to NFPA lets take the yellow light on the rear drivers side. i hear it is there because the granny grunts are attracted to the red lights and steer towards them when they have filled up with ethonol. i am just wondering why not both sides or if only one side why not the passenger side so they won't be drawn so far to the right red light. now we have yellow and black chevron stripping coming in the name of saftey. this is to keep stupid from hitting the back of the truck. i am in no way trying to down play the deaths of my brothers but to fix the problem in the fire service is to quit politics and remove stupid or comply and train. removing politics would remove govt. and a lot of others including a lot of officers. i don't know of any firefighter that has a wish to go fight a fire and die but are placed under stupid and pays for it because of whatever (politics ect.)reason. i do know that officers make mistakes and that it is a tough thing to live with but as stated before until the officers enforce then nothing is followed. we need to go to vegas because we are gambling. WE NEED TO SELF GOVERN OUR OWN SAFTEY and look outside for tools that work in the setting were in.
I think I would have to see it before I agreed or disagreed with it. Of course, anything to save lives, but at the same time, are they putting money into this? Are they going to demand more training or more spending by fire departments to become compliant without offering more grants and funds to those departments that will need it?
I think it's a great initiative, but there are laws and legislations now that aren't being followed properly, why is this going to change things? It's law to wear a seatbelt (apparently in some areas it does state as long as it does not interfere with duties... sigh), and yet how many LODD's are due to being thrown from a vehicle? It's only common sense to wear an SCBA, and yet we have cancer and heart failure deaths. It would be great if you could guarantee this would work, but somehow I'm skeptical.

Maybe more mandatory training of the Chief and Senior officers and training officers. Complete compliance to safety measures, or fines will be levied. It's great to be more supportive and stand behind the fire departmetns, but what's wrong with also being more strict and expecting compliance?

How about we all use our heads. No amount of legislation is going to save lives if people do not follow the basic rules. Stop at stops and reds, wear PPE, wear your seatbelt, follow SOP's, etc, etc, etc. Put money where it belongs, into the departments, not into more committees and more legislation.

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