IAFF Calls for Stand Down June 21 for Fire Fighter Safety

June 21, 2005
The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), along with other fire service organizations – including the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) – are calling for all fire departments in the nation to conduct a "stand down" for fire fighter health and safety beginning June 21.

To date this year, there have been 50 line-of-duty fire fighter deaths – 10 more than this same time last year. The stand down is designed to raise the awareness of the need for increased vigilance towards fire fighter health and safety. The IAFF and its partners are urging fire departments to suspend all non-emergency activity for the day and instead focus entirely on fire fighter health and safety.

"The vast majority of fire fighter deaths and injuries are preventable," says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. "We must eliminate the notion that injuries and deaths to fire fighters are a given part of the business as long as they remain at an 'acceptable' level. By holding this stand down, we will bring attention to the need to address preventable line-of-duty and training deaths and injuries among fire fighters."

Fire departments are encouraged to spend the day talking about the causes of line-of-duty deaths and injuries, checking all apparatus and equipment, checking all personal protective clothing and respirators, discussing health and safety regulations, reviewing all fire department standard operating procedures, especially those addressing fire ground safety, and taking stock of training exercises and wellness/fitness goals. In addition, fire departments are being asked to take a moment of silence to remember the nation's line-of-duty deaths.

The IAFF and participating organizations have pledged to address the important issue of fire fighter health and safety in an effort to reduce the number of fire fighter injuries and deaths. The IAFF has developed a checklist of activities its members can conduct throughout the day. This checklist is available at daily.iaff.org/images/Media2005/061505fin.pdf.

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