Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week; T minus One; The Opposing Spectrum of Fire Service Safety Culture


The Evolving Fire Service Safety Culture lies somewhere between two conflicting and opposing spectrums, marked by traditionalist emotions and conservative perspectives.
It's all about firefighter safety, survivability and doing the "job"; however we need to identify the common defining ground....

Let me offer this for consideration today, with T minus One day until the start of the annual Fire/EMS Safety Week.

Aggressive: Assertive, bold, and energetic, forceful, determined, confident, marked by driving forceful energy or initiative, marked by combative readiness, assured, direct, dominate…

Measured: Calculated; deliberate, careful; restrained, think, considered, confident, alternatives, reasoned actions, in control, self assured, calm…

The shifting paradigms of the fire service, over 1484 LODD in the period of 1999-2009, evolved building construction, occupancies, construction and materials, fire behavior, fire loading, community profiles, fire dynamics, risk, staffing and resource levels, personnel and skills sets…

What’s the optimum definition that would define a highly skilled, knowledgeable and dedicated firefighter in 2009? Where do you fit in? With the Theme of this year's Fire/EMS Safety Week focused on Protect Yourself: Your Safety, Health and Survival Are Your Responsibility.

It is ALL About You!.... How you fit in to the dynamic and orchestrated emergency incident scene, the defined and fluid incident command structure and performance based function of your task and company level assignments?

What's YOUR perspective on Safety? Are you merely going with the status quo, staying politically correct…or defining who you are as a firefighter, a leader, or a mentor?

How do YOU commit to safety during field operations, or more importantly are you elevating yourself as a leader in this, the 21st century, with knowledge, skills and abilities that both embraces and respects the proud tradition of the fire service but also transcends the bounds of time with new insights, wisdom and visionary fortitude that continues to define who we are in today's society as firefighters, but also assimilates our profession to a higher plateau in these changing and evolving times.

With the start of Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week this Sunday, take a minute to pause and reflect. Stop and think about safety in the context of what you do within your fire, rescue or EMS organization. Your roles, your responsibilities; your brother and sister firefighters and emergency service personnel; the fire and emergency services and the sacrifices of those that paid the supreme sacrifice for the principles that define our profession.

Stop and think about your family, the significant people in your life and more importantly, think about what lies before you in your life. It’s all about YOU and all those Around You, AND the public we protect. It’s about Protecting Yourself: Your Safety, Health and Survival Are Your Responsibility.

Understanding how to integrate personal responsibility and accountability within a strong safety culture within the fire service, while still providing the requisite services to protect the lives and property of our communities that we are sworn to protect; is the challenge before each and everyone of use.

Superman, Ironman, Batman, Fireman, Human…We have a tendency- at times to momentarily lapse in recognizing we “Fireman” (and this is related to all gender of firefighters) are Human. Everyday, firefighters throughout America and the world perform extraordinary feats of bravery and heroism, much of it unheralded, unnoticed and underappreciated. It's part of our job, it's what we do, after all, we are fireman (firefighters).

I’ll be publishing a number of postings each day here on FFN during the week to support the Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week focus and activities. Just remember; YOU have a significant role in each and every alarm you respond to. Do the Job, push the envelope; for the right reasons, for the right cause and the most noblest of circumstances. Do it for the right reasons-BUT don’t do it for the entertainment. Accept personal accountability and responsibility. Understand your limitations. Think about it.

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