Fire Service Organizations Call for Second Annual Fire Safety Stand Down

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."

This year, the fire service is focusing on emergency vehicle safety in particular. The IAFF has partnered with the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to develop a comprehensive emergency vehicle safety program designed to give fire fighters a greater awareness of safety issues when riding on fire apparatus and operating at roadway emergency scenes. Every IAFF affiliate president will receive the emergency vehicle safety program on DVD prior to the June 21 Stand Down.

Throughout the day on June 21, fire departments are asked to call attention to the unacceptable number of line-of-duty deaths and injuries across the the United States and Canada and are encouraged to check all apparatus and equipment, discuss health and safety regulations, review fire ground safety issues and take stock of training exercises and fitness goals.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs has posted a recommended activity schedule for the 2006 International Fire Fighter Safety Stand Down.

The 2006 Stand Down sponsors and partners urge all fire departments in the United States and Canada to suspend all non-emergency activity and instead focus entirely on fire fighter safety. This year's Stand Down will focus on emergency vehicle safety, including seatbelt usage and safe driving through intersections.

"Sadly, 106 fire fighters died in the line of duty last year. Many of the accidents occurred in department vehicles," says IAFC President Chief Bill Killen. "We want to focus on areas of safety where we can have the most impact."

The NVFC has been a major advocate for firefighter safety and promotes heart attack prevention goals through its Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program. The campaign provides important fitness, nutrition and health information to firefighters in a proactive effort to reduce the number of firefighter deaths caused by heart attack and other heart-related conditions.

"The National Volunteer Fire Council is proud to partner with the IAFC and other organizations to support the Firefighter Safety Stand Down," said Maggie Wilson, Director of Health and Safety at the NVFC. "Firefighter health and safety is very important to the NVFC, and we will continue to work towards reducing the number of firefighter deaths." Please Check Emergency Vehicle Safe Operations for Volunteer and Small Combination Emergency Service Organizations

"It's a tired old adage, but so true, that we cannot do our jobs if we fail to safely arrive at the scene," Harold A. Schaitberger, IAFF General President wrote. "Your health and safety is one of the central missions of your union and we are committed to working with you to address this critical issue. This program is a major step in our partnership with you. Stay safe."

Press/Media Kit - Click here for resources and sample materials to promote the Stand Down to your local media

Overview

When: Starting Wednesday, June 21, 2006 and continue until all subsequent duty days/shifts have been covered.

What: Fire departments--career, volunteer and combination--are being urged to suspend all non-emergency activity and instead focus entirely on firefighter safety. This year's Stand Down will highlight emergency vehicle safety.

Why: To raise the level of awareness toward fire fighter safety and call attention to the unacceptable number of LODD deaths and injuries.

Who: All fire departments and stations

What is a stand down?

A stand down is a method used by the military to correct an issue that has been identified as a problem throughout its ranks. This stand down is to raise the level of awareness toward fire fighter safety and call attention to the unacceptable number of deaths and injuries plaguing fire departments.

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