Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week in Full Swing

The annual week to focus on responder safety is now in full swing.

Crews are encouraged to step back and take a serious look at their operations, and embrace "Rules You Can Live By" during International Fire/EMS Safety & Health Week.

This year, the NVFC has joined forces with the IAFC to promote and encourage safe practices for responders so everyone goes home after their assignment.

"We're delighted NVFC is partnering with us this year." said Matt Tobia, chair of the IAFC's safety, health and survival section.

While the IAFC is promoting safe operational guidelines, the NVFC is encouraging crews to adopt a healthy lifestyle that include routine physicals.

Tobia said he's hoping one message that gets through loud and clear to responders is that if they if they see something, they must speak up.

"We've been in the mindset that if a chief or officer said something, firefighters listened. What we're seeing in after-action or NIOSH reports is that someone saw something and knew something, but didn't speak up."

Seeing something and speaking up just may save a life.

Tobia said even though the number of firefighter fatalities is on the decline, this is not the time to rest on laurels. "We have to be more vigilant than ever."

With the number of near-misses and Maydays on the rise and the number of firefighter deaths down, he said it shows the culture is taking a turn. "We just have to make sure those wheels keep turning."

We have a dedicated website this year that has a lot of information on various topics," Tobia said, adding that officials can report what activities they have planned.