IAFF and IAFC 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 firefighter safety, health and survival.
The 2009 Safety, Health and Survival Week encourages 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.
“Firefighter safety is a full-time job for all of us, all of the time. We can’t rely on someone else to do it for us. It takes personal commitment,” said IAFC President Chief Larry Grorud, CFO, MIFireE.
“The Safety, Health and Survival Week is an opportunity for IAFF members and their fire chiefs to take defensive action against dangers that can be controlled or prevented and make a long-term commitment to staying safe and healthy,” added IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger.
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
- 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 – Firefighter 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.
Visit http://www.iafc.org/safetyweek for more information on this year’s program and planning resources.