Safety Week Themes Spark Special Programs

For some fire departments, Safety Week is more than a week -- it's a catalyst for creating unique and ongoing safety programs.

Cunningham Fire Protection District (CO)

One of those is Cunningham Fire Protection District (CO), where company officers take turns putting together an annual program for the entire district, and then training the district on it for a full year, said Chief Jerry Rhodes.

"They use the theme and concentrate on national topics, but also on what they're identifying as local issues," he said. "It's more of a kick-off and 'What can we do for the entire year on this subject matter," Rhodes said.

He added that most training is uniform across companies, but if any company officers have identified things to address, they are encouraged to spend extra time on those issues. "It's all designed at the company level," Rhodes said.

They also incorporate their civilian employees. "They may not cover the latest RIT procedure but they will go through the health and safety components, because those transition anywhere you're at in the organization," he said.

This year, along with the national theme of Surviving the Fire Ground, Cunningham is also hitting a lot of cardiovascular and wellness topics, as well as wildland fire and infectious disease control.

Rhodes said the district has been designing such programs for at least five years, and one thing they've learned is to let the officers write their programs up in their own style.

"The first years we tried to format it to look the same, and what we found is, it looked the same," he said. From the point of trying to get people's attention that didn't work out the best."

Rhodes added that his district provides its programs on disk and on for other fire departments to copy and customize for their own use. We just give it to them, and if they can use it, great," Rhodes said.

Hutto Fire Rescue (TX)

At Hutto Fire Rescue (TX), survival training will be extended over the next few months, said Chief Scott Kerwood.

They use the official Safety Week curriculum as a stating point, but also go to their own SOPs to make sure their firefighters are familiar with polices both new and old.

The SOPs selected this year include fire ground risk management, rules of engagement, standard fire orders, situational awareness management, rapid intervention and firefighter survival, Kerwood said.

Another favorite activity at Hutto Fire Rescue is watching the video The Beat Goes On ¬¬by Chief Billy Goldfeder.

What's new this year is that the department will be doing RIT drills with its auto-aid partner, Kerwood said. They're scheduled to visit a neighboring facility to go through skills in maze.

"We did Safety Week for several years -- but this is the first time we've gotten into it this deep," he said.

Montgomery Township Fire Services (PA)

At Montgomery Township Fire Services (PA), the group is attempting its first county-wide Safety Week program, in the form of a one-day event on Sat., June 25 at the county's public safety training campus.

Director Tom Garrity of the Montgomery County Fire Academy pitched the idea of a county-wide program and was asked to run with it this year.

The program will include lectures and demonstration on Response to Chemical Suicides; Southeast PA Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Hybrid Buses); Highway Safety and Firefighter Physical Fitness.