Carter: Taking Care of the Troops

Dr. Harry Carter highlights four means of resource conservation for fire departments.


It is imperative for the following programs to be consulted by fire departments seeking to provide the highest possible level of safety:

  • A safety program (NFPA 1500)
  • A fire department safety officer (NFPA 1501)
  • A safety committee (NFPA 1500)
  • Mandatory self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) policies (NFPA 1500 and NFPA 1981)
  • Appropriate live-fire training safeguards (NFPA 1403)
  • A basic medical monitoring program (NFPA 1500)
  • A defensive-driving program, such as the fine one developed by the National Safety Council.
  • An accident review procedure developed by and for the department.

Take care of your personnel.  They do not come cheaply.  Let me assure you that any failure on your part to insure that these programs are created within your fire department might have strong negative consequences should someone be injured doing an act which should never have been done.  Or it might be an act, action, or activity which was done by individuals within your fire department who take a devious pleasure in flouting the safe practices which are prescribed by your fire department.  Here is where you need to lead by example.

You must not only create safe policies and procedures, but you must also train your troops in how to properly perform these procedures.  In addition you too must operate within the confines of the safety policies which you have created or which are specified by your department.  There is never any room for someone within your department to have a personal way of acting just because of their rank or position. 

It is up to you to insure that all of your troops are allowed to return safely.  To do any less is a violation of the trust that you have accepted as a leader within your fire department.  Be diligent my friends because human nature tends to move in directions which end up being unsafe.  Be safe not sorry.