'Train Like You Fight' Focus of Safety and Health Week

"Train Like You Fight" has been selected as the theme of this year's Safety and Health Week.

The theme for the week -- June 15-21 -- was announced Wednesday by the NVFC and IAFC.

Organizers say they want crews to focus on safety on the training ground as well as the importance of drills to prepare for safe operations.

A number of fire and emergency services personnel are injured or killed annually during training exercises.

From 2001 through 2010, the NFPA determined 11.3 percent of all on-duty firefighter deaths were training-related.

The report paints a mixed and complex picture, with overall training deaths reaching a plateau but the share of training deaths increasing sharply as total line-of-duty death numbers decline. Additionally, while traumatic deaths during training are decreasing, deaths due to medical causes -- notably cardiac incidents -- are on the rise. 

Recent studies have also shown increased rate of many forms of cancer among firefighters, making safety precautions – such as the full and proper use of PPE during all activities including training – essential for firefighter safety. In addition to creating a safer training ground, reinforcing safe habits during training carries over to how personnel act on the fire ground.

“Utilizing fire training programs that conform to the highest professional standards and operating a safe fire training ground at all times are two of the NVFC’s priorities for health and safety,” NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg said in a prepared statement. “We need to make sure that personnel are using proper PPE and following all safety and health procedures and precautions at all times during training activities. Training is vital to firefighters and EMS personnel, and our job is dangerous enough without adding to it by being lax or unprepared during the very same activities designed to make us ready for the next call.”