Thread: Safety Officer

  1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default Safety Officer

    Hey everybody;

    I got surprised last night at our annual meeting when I was asked to run for a Safety Officer position. There are 2 of us, in our relatively small department. I said I'd run half expecting to get beat....but didn't.

    So...now I've got a job to do and only have a general idea what it entails. I know that I need to be present on scenes and observe for any safety hazards or unsafe practices and advise command or take steps to mitigate the risk as the situation dictates. But that's really it.

    I know there must be other things that fall under the purview of the SO. I guess our department had them before....but I've been in 2 years and have no idea who they were....so I'm guessing they weren't doing too much.

    I refuse to do anything half assed, and since I was tapped and asked to run for this, and then elected over some others by our members I'm determined to develop a decent SO program.

    So....what types of things do I need to be thinking about? What types of things do your SO's do...we're a small (1 Engine, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 Tanker) 100% volunteer department.

    Are there any training resources I can look at on line?

    So...any tips for the new guy?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Lusby, MD
    Posts
    1,035

    Default

    There are a lot of things involved in being a safety officer, and I'd venture to guess that most are not on the actual fireground, they are in preparation for the call.

    My first suggestion is to sit down with the Chief and find out what he expects. Every department will be a little different. Among the things I can think of off the top of my head are:

    PPE inspections, make sure that all PPE is in good order and everybody has theirs
    SCBA inspections, annual maintenance and testing as required.
    Cascade testing if necessary.
    Conducting and tracking SCBA fit testing
    Planning and overseeing training exercises, especially live burns.
    Hose and ladder testing
    Investigating any accidents that may happen.

    Again, that is just off the top of my head, your department may have different expectations.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    West Point, VA
    Posts
    435

    Default

    NFA courses Incident Safety Officer for operational issues and Health and Safety Officer for administrative issues. Also, get clear expectations from your chief on what he expects.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber
    tree68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Jefferson County, NY USA
    Posts
    2,287

    Default

    Yep - there's a substantial difference between a health and safety officer and an incident safety officer. Eng34FF covered health and safety in a nutshell.

    Incident safety officer involves a wide range of topics - building construction, proper practices, even reading smoke, to name a few. While everyone else is focused on putting the fire out, it's the safety officer's job to make sure that everybody goes home. As such, you've got to make sure that you've got the authority to make spot decisions and stop unsafe practices, and the knowledge necessary to spot the problems in the first place.

    There is such a thing as the Fire Department Safety Officers Association.

    Here's a FEMA Incident Safety Officer student manual. I've taken this course in a classroom environment. It's informative.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  5. #5
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    What are the qualifications to run for that office in your department?

    There are many good safety officer courses.

    I find it odd that this is an elected office.......
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,242

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    What are the qualifications to run for that office in your department?

    There are many good safety officer courses.

    I find it odd that this is an elected office.......

    He has been a member for 2 years!

    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,684

    Default

    No offense, but the fact that you are surprised to be asked to hold the position scares the crap out of me.

    I don't think your department takes this position seriously enough.

    Below is my Department SOG for the position...

    Purpose:

    To specify the duties and responsibilities for a Fire Department Safety Officer.

    Scope:

    This guideline contains minimum requirements for the assignment, duties, and responsibilities of a Safety Officer for the fire department.

    Qualifications:

    Shall have at least two years in the department as a Firefighter.
    Shall have a New Jersey Fire Fighter Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    Shall have an IMS Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    Shall have an Incident Safety Officer Certification.
    Shall have FAST Awareness Certification and attend three FAST drills annually.
    Shall have and maintain knowledge of current federal, state, and local laws regulating occupational safety and health applicable to the fire service work environment.
    Shall have and maintain knowledge of current potential safety and health hazards involved in fire fighting and other related activities.


    Assignment:

    The Fire Chief shall have the ultimate responsibility for the safety and well being of all fire department personnel.
    The Fire Chief and the Board of Fire Officers shall make the assignment of the two Fire Department Safety Officers.
    o One member shall be selected from each Fire Company and assigned in this role.
    The Safety Officer shall assist the fire chief in this responsibility.
    The Safety Officer shall report directly to the fire chief as part of the command staff.
    In the absence of the appointed Safety Officer(s) or when the scope of operations dictates the need for Assistant Safety Officers, a member with the required qualifications shall be substituted to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position that requires immediate attention.
    o These include duties and responsibilities at the scene of emergency incidents as well as training activities.

    Authority:

    The Safety Officer shall have the responsibility to identify and cause correction of health and safety hazards.
    The Safety Officer shall have the authority to cause immediate correction of situations that create an imminent hazard to personnel.
    o At an emergency incident, when activities are judged by the Safety Officer to be unsafe and to involve an imminent hazard, the Safety Officer shall have the authority to alter, suspend, or terminate those activities.
    The Safety Officer shall immediately inform the incident commander of any actions taken to correct imminent hazards at an emergency scene.
    When non-imminent hazards are identified, the Safety Officer shall develop actions to correct the situation within the administrative process of the fire department.
    The Safety Officer shall have the authority to bring notice of such hazards to the Fire Chief and the Board of Fire Officers.


    Duties and Responsibilities:

    The Safety Officer shall respond to all emergency incidents.
    The functions of the Safety Officer at high-risk incidents shall be integrated with the command structure, and the Safety Officer shall report to the incident commander.
    The Safety Officer shall routinely observe operations at the scene of emergency incidents to ensure that safety regulations are being followed.
    When necessary, the Safety Officer shall recommend corrective actions to the Fire Chief.
    At emergency incidents, the Safety Officer shall monitor the scene, report on the status of conditions, hazards and risks and mitigate any identified safety hazards.
    When appropriate, the Safety Officer shall recommend the establishment of zones for safety, collapse, helicopter landing or Haz Mat situations and ensure that their location is communicated to all personnel.
    It is the responsibility of the Safety Officer to ensure that the department Accountability system is being properly utilized at drills and emergency incidents.
    When conditions warrant, the Safety Officer shall coordinate with the incident commander to ensure that a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) is on scene and an appropriate Rehab Station has been established.
    In the event of exposure, injury or illness to fire personnel, it is the responsibility of the Safety Officer to communicate this to the Incident Commander and ensure proper medical care is provided.
    The Safety Officer shall be involved in the process of post incident critiques in order to review the safety factors involved in emergency incidents.
    In addition, the Safety Officer shall provide safety supervision at all training activities.
    The Safety Officer shall ensure that all Fire Department Personnel comply with the provisions of the Personal Protective Equipment and Infection Control Guidelines at all emergency incidents and training activities.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Thanks for your thoughts everybody. I'll check out the links and SOPs * Those of you who said that the department doesn't take the position seriously enough are probobly right but my question should indicate that said era is over. * For clarity Ive only been with this department for 2 years. I've been a firefighter / emt since 1989. My "day job" is as a state fire inspector so I do bring a little something to the table. * Keep the suggestions coming. Probably building a program from ground up so i need all the help I can get.

  9. #9
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by King Hugh View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts everybody. I'll check out the links and SOPs * Those of you who said that the department doesn't take the position seriously enough are probobly right but my question should indicate that said era is over. * For clarity Ive only been with this department for 2 years. I've been a firefighter / emt since 1989. My "day job" is as a state fire inspector so I do bring a little something to the table. * Keep the suggestions coming. Probably building a program from ground up so i need all the help I can get.
    Good luck! Sounds like they have the right guy.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    DeputyMarshal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,638

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I find it odd that this is an elected office.......
    And odder still that they would elect someone who doesn't even know what the job entails.

    Something tells me that SO isn't the only position in that department with issues.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  11. #11
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    And odder still that they would elect someone who doesn't even know what the job entails.

    Something tells me that SO isn't the only position in that department with issues.
    didnt say that chief, said I had a general understanding, just looking for advice to improve our program. Bashing my department isn't helpful.

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    DeputyMarshal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,638

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by King Hugh View Post
    didnt say that chief, said I had a general understanding, just looking for advice to improve our program. Bashing my department isn't helpful.
    "So...now I've got a job to do and only have a general idea what it entails."

    Your words; not mine.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    "So...now I've got a job to do and only have a general idea what it entails."

    Your words; not mine.


    Ok semantics. Either way...your comment is helpful how? Please, I dont want to be rude, but if you aren't interested in helping to make the situation better then please don't waste any more of your time on this thread.

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    DeputyMarshal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,638

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by King Hugh View Post
    Ok semantics. Either way...your comment is helpful how? Please, I dont want to be rude, but if you aren't interested in helping to make the situation better then please don't waste any more of your time on this thread.
    Not semantics at all. Let me be more clear. There are professional qualifications for safety officers. Anyone who intends to serve in that capacity should meet those qualifications. It's a pretty safe bet that someone who only has a "general idea what it entails" not only doesn't meet those qualifications but probably isn't even close.

    That being said, it's not your fault. Ignorance is not criminal and it can be cured. The fault lies with a department that (a) fills any critical position by election, and (b) not only recruits an unqualified candidate but actually chooses them. (There's always the possibility that the other guy was even less qualified. Who knows, right?)

    A Safety Officer has the authority to countermand any Incident Commander in matters of incident safety even if that IC is the department Chief. It stands to reason that SO needs to be at least as well qualified as that Chief. That leaves two possibilities in your scenario: Either you aren't qualified to be a SO in which case you shouldn't be a SO, or, you're as qualified as the Chief in which case he shouldn't be a Chief either if he only has a "general idea of what it entails"...

    You brought this situation to the forum; don't be upset that it reveals serious problems with your department that go beyond suggesting ways for you to eventually become qualified to be a SO.

    P.S. See NFPA 1521 for SO qualifications which include, but are not limited to, certification as FF II, FSI I, and FO I as a minimum. Get that far and you'll have much more than a "general idea of what it entails."
    Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 12-15-2011 at 01:34 PM. Reason: typo
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,242

    Default

    This may not be your fire department but using it as a guide may help you.


    http://www.fmtn.org/city_government/...etyOfficer.pdf


    Also these are worth looking at as well;

    http://www.emergencystuff.com/087939191x.html

    http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/ccfs/bcc...manual_iso.pdf
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default

    ssue is that I didn't ask you to point out what was wrong with my department. Were well aware of what needs improvement. all I can work on right now is what is on my plate. I'll research the standard you referenced, thanks for that. I'm thinking that not one single department in my county has a safety officer program that meets those standards. * Out of curiosity are you volunteer or paid and what size is your department? It sounds like you and I are coming at this from 2 different worlds with different available resources. * And before you start ripping my department again remember I was chosen to do this job maybe because I'm to at least willing try to make it better, my little piece anyhow.

  17. #17
    Forum Member
    DeputyMarshal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,638

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by King Hugh View Post
    * Out of curiosity are you volunteer or paid and what size is your department? It sounds like you and I are coming at this from 2 different worlds with different available resources. *
    What difference does it make? The job is the same in either. The fireground makes no distinctions between paygrades.

    And before you start ripping my department again...
    Again? I haven't "ripped" it at all. I have pointed out that it has problems and, to some extent, you seem to agree. (Don't feel too badly, they appear to be fairly common problems.)

    You've gotten several resources in this thread. Run with them and let us know how they work out.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,684

    Default

    Just for information...I am from volunteer Department, running about 300 calls per year with ~30 active members.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,165

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    What difference does it make? The job is the same in either. The fireground makes no distinctions between paygrades.



    Again? I haven't "ripped" it at all. I have pointed out that it has problems and, to some extent, you seem to agree. (Don't feel too badly, they appear to be fairly common problems.)

    You've gotten several resources in this thread. Run with them and let us know how they work out.
    Seems to me if his dept. has problems, they are in the process of trying to cure them. And show me a dept. that doesn't have some problems. Seems to me, maybe he's also the best candidate for the job. Lots of people got put into jobs they weren't trained for but learned on the job and did well. I'd say this guy is on the right track. 20-30 years ago there was no such thing as a safety officer. I'd say congradulations were in order, rather than a bashing....

  20. #20
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    What difference does it make? The job is the same in either. The fireground makes no distinctions between paygrades.



    Again? I haven't "ripped" it at all. I have pointed out that it has problems and, to some extent, you seem to agree. (Don't feel too badly, they appear to be fairly common problems.)

    You've gotten several resources in this thread. Run with them and let us know how they work out.

    Deputy....you answered without answering....and you know what your right, and in a perfect world I'd agree with you. But the fact is in the real world a small rural volunteer department doesn't have the time or the resources to have the best of anything. Not equipment or training. What we do have though is plenty of heart, guts and pride...we do what we can with what we have. We do pretty damn good too if I do say so...when the chips are down. Our paperwork may not be completely up to snuff.....YET....but when folks are in trouble they know who to call.

    We're getting there....lot of "old school" guys...takes a while to change things.

    I do appreciate your input brother, even though we don't see eye to eye.

  21. #21
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    Seems to me if his dept. has problems, they are in the process of trying to cure them. And show me a dept. that doesn't have some problems. Seems to me, maybe he's also the best candidate for the job. Lots of people got put into jobs they weren't trained for but learned on the job and did well. I'd say this guy is on the right track. 20-30 years ago there was no such thing as a safety officer. I'd say congradulations were in order, rather than a bashing....
    Thanks John!!! I was wondering where the love was for a brother!!!

  22. #22
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Let's all agree that no one or no department is perfect.

    (S)elected position are little more than a popularity contest and should be done away with. But until compentency based testing comes to every department that is not going to change.

    It would appear that based upon NFPA 1521 you are not qualified for the position of safety officer or NFPA 1021 qualifications for fire officer.


    However it also appears that you are trying to do the best that you can given the situation.


    I would agree with most of the previous posts. Find out the expectations of your chief. I would also reference NFPA 1500, 1521, and 1021 for starters.

    The choice is yours, but get trained to job properly.



    By the way I am a state certified Fire Department Safety Officer, however my department does not agree, instead we go without one.
    Whatever, that is an administrative and command desicion.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Research Assistance Request
    By BEESEA in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 02-08-2007, 10:30 AM
  2. Live FIRE Training!
    By PaulGRIMWOOD in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 57
    Last Post: 11-11-2005, 04:48 PM
  3. World Of Fire Report: 07-18-05
    By PaulBrown in forum World of Fire Daily Report
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-19-2005, 03:04 PM
  4. Safety Officer Helmet Color ???
    By Cpippen02 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 01-26-2005, 11:32 PM
  5. Insurance??
    By fdman804 in forum Volunteer Forum
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-14-2003, 06:23 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register