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Thread: Roles

  1. #1
    Member HeroOfTheDay's Avatar
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    Default Roles

    I don't know whether this is a stupid question or not, but I'm wondering if someone could explain to me exactly what purpose a "Safety Officer" serves. One of my neihbors was just elected our department's Saftey officer and I can't say I'm clear as to what his duties are? I suppose alot of it is obvious in the name, but how does one reach that status?


  2. #2
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    I think it is setting in........start here.........http://www.fdsoa.org/home/index.html?baseURL=true
    being elected for the job IS NOT the way to go unless you have been trained. It will give you many ideas and what the job is all about, some departments adjust the role depending on demographics.
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    To answer your first question, NO, it is not a stupid question. Even when I joined the fire service, I inquired as to what the role of the safety officer is.

    I am currently serving my third year as Safety Officer for my company. Some of my responsibilities include accountability on the fireground, scene safety (making sure everyone wears the proper equipment, does everything in a safe manner, act as an extra set of eyes for the IC), issue gear and arrange for it to be cleaned and/or repaired, complete injury reports, and stay up on new safety concepts. I am still a firefighter if need be.

    Please note, that even though I try to stand behind my roles and beliefs as much as possible, there is always a time when I do not catch everything nor are the safest actions taken.

    As Weruj1 stated some departments might have other roles for their safety officer(s).

    Hope this helps. Any questions, just

  4. #4
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    I highly recommend the NFA's Incident Safety Officer Course for any individual thinking about becoming a Safety Officer.

    The safety officer was elected into this position? The legal department will have field day with that.

    What is needed?
    1. Experience (years)
    2. TRAINING specific to an ISO
    3. Risk Management
    4. Excellent documentation skills
    5. Working knowledge of all applicable state codes/laws/OSHA
    6. Has a safety minded attitude (not a safety cop though)
    7. Cool/Calm and Level Headed
    8. Has the best interest of his/her personnel in mind first and foremost

    That's just my opinion, any other thoughts out there?
    Last edited by Frosty42; 05-05-2005 at 12:37 AM.

  5. #5
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Hope this helps....

    NFPA 1521: Standard on Fire Department Safety Officer

    This standard requires fire departments to appoint a safety officer with the authority to identify health and safety hazards and ensure that they are corrected. Duties include:
    1. Ensuring that OSHA record-keeping and reporting requirements are met.
    2. Preparing safety policies and ensuring they are followed
    3. Monitoring activities/incidents where accidents involving department members could occur.
    4. Establishing and monitoring programs for detecting and correcting hazardous conditions.
    5. Reviewing and approving safety features of apparatus, equipment, clothing, etc.
    6. Conducting safety training for the department.
    7. Investigating all accidents and incidents involving death or injury to department members.
    8. Keeping informed of health and safety issues.

    It also requires that the safety officers must be at least a Fire Officer Level I per the requirements of NFPA 1021, Fire Officer Professional Qualifications standard.
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    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    I can't say I'm clear as to what his duties are?
    I hope they are clear to him
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  7. #7
    Forum Member Co11FireGal's Avatar
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    I noticed that in NJFFSA16's post it says that, according to the NFPA, the ISO must be Fire Officer I certified. Not sure about anywhere else but in order to get your FOI cert. in WV you have to have the FEMA/NFA ISO class. Only like 16 hours...not TOO painful. Good and important info, so it was worth being a bit bored at times.

    Easiest way I know of to describe the position to you is to quote straight from the ISO Student Manual...

    ROLE OF THE INCIDENT SAFETY OFFICER

    By the nature of the duties they perform, emergency responders are at risk of death, injury, or illness. Incident safety should be a primary concern of all those who respond to the aid of the community or jurisdiction they serve. To help minimize the risk to responders, one of the ways the Incident Command System (ICS) provides for responder safety is by giving the Incident Commander (IC) the ability to appoint and use an Incident Safety Officer (ISO). This position is a member of the ICS organization's command staff. While the IC has overall responsibility for the safety of responders, the ISO has the direct responsibility to focus on the safety aspects of the incident.

    Definition of ISO: monitors and assesses safety hazards or unsafe situations and develops measures for ensuring personnel safety.

    The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed a national consensus standard outlining the duties and responsibilities of the ISO. NFPA 1521, Standard for Fire Department Safety Officer, covers health, safety, and wellness program management duties as well as the responsibilities of the ISO during and emergency incident.

    Both the NFPA standard and the ICS Safety Officer description give the ISO authority to alter, suspend, or terminate unsafe acts or hazardous activities. This makes the ISO position unique within the ICS organization. While the ICS typically follows along the chain of command, the ISO can bypass the system to correct unsafe actions or remove responders from the threat of immediate danger. Examples would be removing firefighters from the interior of a structure that has the potential of imminent collapse. Another would be to remove responders from the area of an overturned vehicle that has not been properly shored to prevent it from rolling over onto them. Whenever the ISO takes action to remove responders from the threat of danger, their immediate supervisor and the IC must be advised as to what action was taken and why the ISO made the determination.

    In addition to correcting unsafe acts and hazardous activities, the ISO is responsible for identifying existing or potential hazards that do not present an imminent threat to responder safety. Communicating these hazards to the IC will allow the action plan to address the hazards and will help the IC anticipate modifications that may need to be made to the plan.
    Last edited by Co11FireGal; 05-06-2005 at 01:38 AM.
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  8. #8
    Forum Member SafetyPro's Avatar
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    It depends on the departments. Some departments only consider the SO's job to be "incident safety". Many departments around here may not have a full-time SO, but rather assign a BC as the SO at an incident, or have a BC who does some SO duties in addition to his/her normal duties.

    Other departments have essentially full-time SO's who also act as a safety supervisor for routine (non-incident) activities, such as safe work practices around the station, respirator fit testing, training, etc.
    Chris Gaylord
    Emergency Planner / Fire Captain, UC Santa Cruz FD

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