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  1. #1
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    Default Fire safety officer

    Im trying to get input on a safety officer. We have a position in our bylaws, but am getting a lot of resistance to a "new" position in our dept. we have some older members that are dead set against it. not that they are the brightest bulbs in the box but they make a lot of noise. I am looking for some guidelines to show these people that this is a good thing, and not just another guideline that somebuddy dreamed up. I have looked and have not found anything worthwhile. one of there concerns are that we do not have enough members to handle this position. another is (we've gone this long) without one why get one now> HELP????


  2. #2
    Forum Member 1835Wayne's Avatar
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    Post Safety Officers are essential

    Well Stephanie, the way I see it you have two things in your favor.
    First its already in your dept. bylaws ,and second,I'm pretty sure it is either a NFPA or OSHA requirement to have a safety officer(you'll have to check ).

    The idea of a safety officer on the fireground is to watch for hazards and changing conditions that the IC or sector officers either can't see, or are to preoccupied to notice.(I.E. collapse zones etc...). It is to me a added measure of security on the fireground.

    A proactive safety officer can also be a instigator of positive change.It is a position that is an essential part of a forward thinking dept.

  3. #3
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    Default

    A safety officer is not jsut a good idea, it is required by NFPA i believe.

    Need more reasons, check out the link here: http://www.firehouse.com/lodd/2001/ny_Psep26b.html

    If anyone in your Dept has any doubts about a safety officer, give them a copy of this article, and send them my way, would be happy to point out the obvious to the oldtimers. Went thru a similar thing over portable radios several years ago.

    Still maintain the record of being the only person ever to get cussed out during a monthly meeting

    Jim
    ** THIS IS MY OPINION ONLY, NOT A TEAM OPINION**
    James A. Baleno
    NYS EMT-D
    Supervisor, Onondaga County Parks EMS
    Located in Onondaga County, right in the middle of NY State

  4. #4
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    Default

    I think having a Safety Officer is a very good idea and I don't see why it would have to be a requirement for departments to have one. If they are knowledgeable, they could help out the chiefs with the decision of deeming a scene safe and yadda yadda yadda. I don't want to get into it. But if you want help look at NFPA 1500 which focuses on Occupational Safety and such, and NFPA 1521 I do believe which outlines the duties and that good stuff for a Safety Officer. Any other questions and you can e-mail me.
    Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
    Hose Co. 1 1st Lieutenant
    Randolph Fire Co. Inc

  5. #5
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    Kitchener FD, Ontario Canada
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    Thumbs up Safety Officer is Key!!!

    Stephanie: People that continue to bark about what we don't need and that change is never required are the guys that find themselves in court trying to defend themselves with no leg to stand on. Proactive as opposed to reactive!!! Safety Officer is legislated in NFPA and is also an excellent idea. When everyone else is concerned with operations, rescue, tactics and just doing their best, there is one or more persons that are soley concerned with your safety at a fire. Yes it takes extra personnel but it is well worth it. Keep pushing ahead you cannot go wrong.

    Big C
    "It's Not Just a Job, It really is an adventure!"

  6. #6
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    Parma, Idaho
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    Cool

    First off everyone is a safety officer, but we all overlook this when on scene. How many times have you checked your buddy, you know put his/her face shield down, adjusted his/her coat, put on his/her chin strap. Explain that everyone is a safety officer, but the ICS/IMS what ever you use requires a safety officer. Our Dept has one, but it is not a position for a power hungry firefighter it is an additional duty of an existing Capt. This Capt is in charge of safety at all scenes, if she is there, and if manpower allows the position to be used. So far no need for it. I am not saying you don't need it. Try approaching it in a way that makes them think about scene/training safeth instead of throwing the by-laws at them.
    Stay Safe/Stay Low Go 8 Car Go

  7. #7
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    Columbus, Ohio
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    Smile fire safety officer

    We have a safety officer who works the same 3 platoon schedule we do. This position is filled by a captain. He responds to working incidents(working fires, extrications, haz mat, MMEs, etc.). I think they're a great idea. To know that there is another set of eyes on scene looking out for our well being, how could anyone not like it? Of course, it would depend on a department's size and if therein would be the manpower to fill this position
    Crazy from the heat!!!

  8. #8
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    Default

    I think having a saftey officer is a very good idea and should be a position in every dept. They are nice by helping out cheifs and just makin sure that everyone is safe on scene. Sounds like you got enough info from everyone else.
    Visit us at http://www.randolphfire.org

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    NorthEast Paid on Call
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    Default 2 cents from a former safety officer

    Be careful what you wish for. There's a whole lot more to being a "real" safety officer than making sure everybody is geared up right and being careful. Check out the NFPA standard for safety officer if you haven't already and look at all of the responsibilities and required knowledge for a safety officer. Then ask yourself if you or any other member is qualified and willing to take these responsibilities on. If you are, that's great.

    I was assigned as safety officer for about two years and was given an orange helmet and a two page job description. What I wasn't given was training and authority. The previous safety officers were less knowledgeable than me and nothing really got done. I wasn't comfortable in the orange hat either.

    Last year we revised our bylaws and decided to drop the position. The consensus was that everyone is a safety officer. If the IC feels he needs a safety officer during a particular incident he will pick a person he feels comfortable handing the orange helmet to and use them as long as they are needed. This would probably be a senior officer. I wholeheartedly agree with this, especially in a volunteer or POC department.

    What I think every department does need is what I would call a Health & Safety Officer to keep up with training and maintaining personnel records for respiratory protection, hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens and all the rest of that stuff. This is currently handled by our AC who did it even when I was "safety officer".

    Good luck and stay safe

  10. #10
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    canton oh
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    Thumbs up

    Stephanie I am a safety/ems officer for my department. There was and still is a lot for me to learn. Having a safety officer is a great idea but only as long as they get trained properly.

    I have over twenty years experience as a full time firefighter and four years as a captain. I became the safety officer six months ago and I had a lot to learn about what exactly a safety officer does. I was totally surprised as to what is involved but I like a challange.

    NFPA 1500 covers the requirements for safety officer. The good news is The National Fire Academy can offer free info on the subject and it can be ordered on line. They also have classes to train people for the job at a very low cost.

    This should help get you started in your research. Here the safety officers work regular 24s and falls directly under our BC on our ICS.

    Good luck we old timers can be hard sells.
    Stay cool, Be safe

  11. #11
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    canton oh
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    Thumbs up

    holler if you need more info.
    Stay cool, Be safe

  12. #12
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    Columbus, Ohio
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    Default I totally agree!!!

    It must be handle by someone with experience, proper training, and knows and understands the NFPA standards. This is not a position where you can "wave the wand" over somebody and say "you are now a safety officer". As with every position in our line of work proper training, knowledge and understanding are a must. The idea of this officer just gives me a little extra comfort knowing that there's someone helping the IC keep an eye out for us
    Crazy from the heat!!!

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