It just doesn't seem to stop. Too many news articles, stories, video links, etc of LODD notices and accidents/injuries involving public safety personnel.
Personally, I have not been on my own soapbox of late. Excuses are a dime a dozen, but life happens. Business obligations, personal responsibilities, and the fact that the day only has 24 hours in it limits what can be accomplished.
I don't know if it has been a single incident, or a culmination of numerous incidents of late. But I'm getting mad again. And to an extent that is a good thing. We need to keep pounding this topic of firefighter safety. Chief Billy (you know the secret list, and firefighterclosecalls.com) does a wonderful job of getting information out. Sadly, the secret list continues to grow month by month, and year by year. But it does not matter how much the Chief preaches if his lessons are falling on deaf ears. We need to get active, at the local fire department levels, and I mean now!
A few thoughts to ponder:
How many departments are still running lights and siren as they respond to a neighboring jurisdiction for a stand by?
How many municipalities are dumping their stations, or multiple stations, for simple AFA with no independent report of smoke or fire conditions? Really, is it necessary to run 4 engines, 3 trucks, 2 rescues, and a few EMS units wide open emergency to an AFA on the same building for the third time this week?
How many BLS units are still transporting emergency to the hospital? Unless ALS support was not available, how often is BLS really transporting a life threatening emergency?
How many of our departments have implemented, and enforce, a strict scene accountability program?
As the OIC, do you know exactly how many persons are operating inside that house with the entire 2nd floor engulfed?
How many departments conduct annual physicals for their members?
How many departments have implemented some form of fitness physical fitness program?
How many departments have the guts to tell those members whom are overweight, out of shape, and unfit that they are no longer authorized to wear SCBA and operate inside of a burning structure?
When was the last time your hoses and pumps were pressure tested?
Do you have a fire department safety officer program?
Does your department have a safety officer?
Does that safety officer have the on scene authority to immediately stop unsafe acts?
Does he/she have the necessary training to recognize an unsafe act?
The last time one of your firefighters got injured on the scene, did anyone investigate it? I'm not talking about an investigation that points fingers in Monday morning quarterback fashion. I'm talking about an honest evaluation of what happened, so that it may not happen again and injure another firefighter.
How do you view LODD's? Are they simply a terrible, tragic consequence of of this extremely hazardous job called firefighting? Or is that LODD the result of a failed safety program? Are we looking at LODD's and learning from them so as to avoid recurrence? Or do we continue to operate the same way we have since Ben Franklin founded the fire service? It's time to get serious, deadly serious, about firefighter safety!
For the Public Safety Personnel:
On a critical incident NOBODY will remember what order you arrived if you drove sensibly at the speed limit. However EVERYONE will remember if you drove like an idiot at excessive speed and didn't arrive at all.
Everyone Goes Home
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