This year's event offers an opportunity for fire departments to include all possible duty shifts. In addition to the expanded schedule, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has been added as an area of focus because of the integral role fire departments have in EMS in communities across the United States and Canada.
The theme for the 2007 Stand Down, “Ready to Respond,” reflects the many types of emergencies to which fire fighters and EMS personnel respond, and focuses on proper training, preparation and equipment required to answer the call and safety return home at the end of the shift.
The Stand Down is designed to bring international attention to the need to address preventable line-of-duty injuries and deaths among fire fighters. The IAFF encourages labor and management to work together to address and improve fire fighter health and safety.
“Not only do we have participating departments from the United States and Canada, but we also have participants from the Saudi Aramco Fire Protection Department, an industrial fire department with stations throughout Saudi Arabia,” said IAFC President Chief Jim Harmes. “This shows that departments around the world realize the urgency for increased safety in fire and EMS departments and are willing to take action.”
It is estimated that up to 10,000 fire departments participated in last year’s Stand Down, and it is anticipated that the number will increase this year as fire departments realize the importance of this event. “Sadly, 105 fire fighters died in the line of duty last year,” acknowledged Harmes. “We must continue to take dramatic steps to reduce these alarmingly high fire fighter deaths and injuries. We have already lost 28 fire fighters this year and we must do everything within our power to keep our first responders safe. I urge all departments to use this Stand Down to keep the focus on the safety and well-being of our first responders.”
“It is critical that our members take the opportunity during the Safety Stand Down to recommit to working safely and to performing all of our duties in the safest manner possible,” said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “Fire fighters must also have the necessary resources needed to do their jobs so that when the alarm sounds they are truly ‘Ready to Respond’ to every emergency in the safest possible manner.”
Every participating department will have access to helpful resources, including:
- Online resources
- Sample SOPs/SOGs
- Lessons learned
- Safety reports
- Links to firefighter health and wellness programs
- A chief’s guide to planning and outreach
The annual event calls for all U.S. and Canadian fire departments to suspend all non-emergency activity and instead focus entirely on fire and EMS safety. Programs and Resources designed to improve member safety are available to use in planning Stand Down activities.