Fire Service Organizations Call for Second Annual Fire Safety Stand Down

Reducing the number of firefighter deaths is everyone's responsibility, and Ron Siarnicki said it's important that every single fire department receive the tools necessary to make changes.


All 30,462 fire departments in the United States will be receiving training kits in the mail in the next few weeks, courtesy of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

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The CD and two DVDs provide drills, reference and educational materials and power points that promote the life safety initiatives. "It's as simple as plug and play," said Ron Siarnicki, NFFF executive director.

NFFF along with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and 20 other fire service organizations are calling for fire departments in the United States and Canada to observe a "Stand Down" for fire fighter safety beginning Wednesday, June 21, 2006, and continuing until all shifts have been completed. The IAFF is urging fire departments to suspend all non-emergency activity and instead focus entirely on fire fighter safety.

"Fire fighter death and injury rates continue to occur at a constant rate," says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. "Fire fighters work in a dangerous profession where injuries and death are a part of the job, but we can and must do more to reduce the risks. By holding this stand down, we will bring international attention to the need to address preventable line-of-duty deaths and injuries among fire fighters."

Reducing the number of firefighter deaths is everyone's responsibility, and Ron Siarnicki said it's important that every single fire department receive the tools necessary to make changes. The NFFF obtained a $750,000 Fire Act grant to help fund the effort, and the kits are the final component.

"Every department from the smallest volunteer to the largest metropolitan should be able to adapt the training drills...It's all about decisions that can reduce deaths."

While the project is being launched to coincide with the second annual stand down, Siarnicki said the exercises are geared to everyone, volunteers and career personnel.

Included are interviews with national fire service training experts as well as the mother of a fallen firefighter.

Richard Anderson, project director, said people pulled out all the stops to insure that the subject matter was relevant, and that the kits would be user friendly. "We figured most people would have a DVD player."

Anderson said he hopes people understand the opportunity they're getting by hearing from the experts. Their entire interviews will eventually be posted on the Everyone Goes Home Website.

Drill topics include: Arrive alive, staying alive; Train the way you fight, but safely; Fighting the fire before the fire; The importance of making everyday a training day. There's also a document that lists 50 ways a firefighter lives and 50 ways a firefighter dies.

The kit contains references, links to websites as well as handouts that can be downloaded and printed.

Videos of massive blazes should keep firefighters interested, and Anderson said there was no shortage of footage when photographers heard about the project. But, those pictures were included to send a message, not entertain.

Anderson said some of the drills included on the discs are from Maryland Fire Rescue Insitute (MFRI) instructors, and have already been posted on Firehouse.com. But, now they have power points and other enhancements.

"We've made it easy. If people want to make copies of the programs, go for it. We encourage it, and we'll post directions on how to do it .We hope firefighters will stand up and make a change."

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