Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week; Day-One;

Today is the first day of Fire and EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week. Did you know that? If so, then you’ve already kicked off a full week of focused activities for your companies and personnel within your organization or in concert with your surrounding jurisdictions and agencies.

If you haven’t AND haven’t heard about this, then you need to get with the program and check out the IAFC, Safety, Health and Survival Section and the National Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival web page. This year’s theme and focus is Protect Yourself: Your Safety, Health and Survival Are Your Responsibility, encouraging all chiefs and fire/EMS personnel to focus on what they personally can do to manage risk and enhance their health and safety.

This year’s theme reflects the need for personal responsibility and accountability within a strong safety culture. In case you missed it, here’s some highlights; Recommended activities and materials will incorporate four key areas where standard operating procedures, policies and initiatives—along with the training and enforcement that support them—can limit fire/EMS personnel’s risk of injury or death:

Safety:
Emergency Driving (enough is enough—end senseless death)
Lower speeds—stop racing to the scene. Drive safely and arrive alive to help others.
Utilize seat belts—never drive or ride without them.
Stop at every intersection—look in all directions and then proceed in a safe manner.
Health: Fire Fighter Heart Disease and Cancer Education and Prevention
Don't smoke or use tobacco products.
Get active.
Eat a heart-healthy diet.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Get regular health screenings.

Survival:
Structural Size-Up and Situational Awareness
Keep apprised of different types of building materials and construction used in your community.
Develop a comprehensive size-up checklist.
Always complete a 360° walk of the structure to collect valuable, operational decision-making information.
Learn the practice of reading smoke.
Be familiar with the accepted rules of engagement.
Learn your accountability system and use it.
Master your tools and equipment.
Remain calm and concentrate.

Chiefs: Be the Leader in Safety
Become personally engaged in safety and make it part of your strategic vision for the department.
Be willing to make the tough decisions regarding safety policies and practices and their implementation.
Hold members of the organization accountable for their safety and the safety of those with whom they work.
Ensure that resources are available to accomplish activities safely and effectively.

The IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section encourage all fire/EMS departments to devote this week to reviewing safety policies, evaluating the progress of existing initiatives and discussing health and fitness. Fire/EMS departments should make a concerted effort during the week to correct safety deficiencies and to provide training as needed. An entire week is provided to ensure that each shift and volunteer duty crew can spend one day focusing on fire fighter safety, health and survival.

Here are some significant areas that are a MUST for anyone who is serious about safety, health and survival in their organization and for their personnel. I know many of you frequently visit and utilize these web site, but or those personnel who have yet to come to identify with these sites and wealth of resources and insights they provide, there are those operation crucial resources areas;

• NFFF, Everyone Goes Home, HERE
• IAFC, National Fire and EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week web site, HERE
• IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section, HERE
• National Near Miss Reporting Systems, HERE
• NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, HERE
• NFPA, HERE
• FDSOA, HERE
• ISFSI, HERE
• USFA, HERE
• NFFF, HERE

The basis for firefighter and fire and emergency services safety, health and survival is predicated and casted in this, the 21st century by the unprecedented gathering of the leadership of the American fire service that occurred on March 10 - 11, 2004 when more than 200 individuals assembled in Tampa, Florida to focus on the troubling question of how to prevent line-of-duty deaths.

Every year approximately 100 firefighters lose their lives in the line of duty in the United States; about one every 80 hours. The first ever National Fire Fighter Life Safety Summit was convened to bring the leadership of the fire service together for two days to focus all of their attention on this one critical concern. Every identifiable segment of the fire service was represented and participated in the process.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation hosted the Summit as the first step in a major campaign. In cooperation with the United States Fire Administration, the Foundation has established the objectives of reducing the fatality rate by 25% within 5 years and by 50% within 10 years. The purpose of the Summit was to produce an agenda of initiatives that must be addressed to reach those milestones and to gain the commitment of the fire service leadership to support and work toward their accomplishment.

The Summit marks a significant milestone, because it is the first time that a major gathering has been organized to unite all segments of the fire service behind the common goal of reducing firefighter deaths. It provided an opportunity for all of the participants to focus on the problems, jointly identify the most important issues, agree upon a set of key initiatives, and develop the commitments and coalitions that are essential to move forward with their implementation.

Take a look at some of the Summit reports HERE.

The most significant outcome from the Tampa Summit was the development and publication of the NFFF, Sixteen Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives. Since 2004, these have become the basis from which the majority of safety efforts and initiatives are striving to be aligned from and coordinated with.

1. Define and advocate the need for a cultural change within the fire service relating to safety; incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability and personal responsibility.
2. Enhance the personal and organizational accountability for health and safety throughout the fire service.
3. Focus greater attention on the integration of risk management with incident management at all levels, including strategic, tactical, and planning responsibilities.
4. All firefighters must be empowered to stop unsafe practices.
5. Develop and implement national standards for training, qualifications, and certification (including regular recertification) that are equally applicable to all firefighters based on the duties they are expected to perform.
6. Develop and implement national medical and physical fitness standards that are equally applicable to all firefighters, based on the duties they are expected to perform.
7. Create a national research agenda and data collection system that relates to the initiatives.
8. Utilize available technology wherever it can produce higher levels of health and safety.
9. Thoroughly investigate all firefighter fatalities, injuries, and near misses.
10. Grant programs should support the implementation of safe practices and/or mandate safe practices as an eligibility requirement.
11. National standards for emergency response policies and procedures should be developed and championed.
12. National protocols for response to violent incidents should be developed and championed.
13. Firefighters and their families must have access to counseling and psychological support.
14. Public education must receive more resources and be championed as a critical fire and life safety program.
15. Advocacy must be strengthened for the enforcement of codes and the installation of home fire sprinklers.
16. Safety must be a primary consideration in the design of apparatus and equipment.


Think about how each of these sixteen FF LSI relate to your organization and to YOU personally. Take the time to discuss these with your company, line offices or command officers. Share these with your firefighters and get thier imput and identify what safety, health and survival" means to them.

Sixteen Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives, Resources HERE

Check out this informative posting from Chief Billy D. Hayes, the Advocate Program Manager for the Everyone Goes Home® campaign through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation where he has served as a State and Region IV Advocate. HERE

If you haven’t developed a program for this week’s focus, don’t worry, take a look at some of the resources and select one area to provide a concentrated focus on this week in your organization or company.

Start thinking more about safety and how it relates to your department’s needs, risks and operational, administrative and managerial needs or gaps. Remember, Fire and EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week is time period to focus a concentrated effort toward a wide latitude of safety, health and survival themes and subjects, But in reality, we know that safety must be a central theme in our fire service culture and manifest itself into every part of daily efforts, operations and tasks.

Check out these FFN Groups and join if you haven't done so; Stay Informed-Get Active.....
http://www.firefighternation.com/group/buildingconstructionfirefigh...
http://www.firefighternation.com/group/commandsafety
http://www.firefighternation.com/group/iafcsafetyhealthsurvivalsection
http://www.firefighternation.com/group/everyonegoeshome
http://www.firefighternation.com/group/firechief
http://www.firefighternation.com/group/theofficersclub

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Another great resource for quick updates and links throughout the day is Twitter.

@NFFF_News
@EGH_Program
@IAFC
@usfire
#iafcsafetyweek


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