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."