CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. (July 19, 2011) - The most recent recipient of Hale's Safe Firefighter of the Month award is Deputy Chief of Operations Hal Doughty of Durango Fire & Rescue in Durango, Colo. He previously served as a military firefighter in the U.S. Air Force and, most recently, as Battalion Chief at the Farmington Fire Department in New Mexico.
"I can't believe I had even been nominated, let alone won!" said Chief Doughty, a 30-year service veteran. "It's so encouraging knowing that someone thinks this much of my efforts. I am truly honored."
Although Chief Doughty has only been with Durango Fire & Rescue for two years, he has already made quite the impression. During this time, he has worked to establish a concrete set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and clear expectations for fire calls, wildland fires, engineering protocol, captains' leadership roles, technical rescue, emergency medical services, hazardous materials situations and many other fire service operations. Chief Doughty wanted to establish a set of rules that everyone could agree upon, and make safe behavior second nature for firefighters.
Working with neighbouring fire departments, Chief Doughty participates in monthly County Chiefs Association meetings to forge mutually beneficial relationships and talk safety. As a result, a county-wide Accountability SOP is being created, which will keep track of firefighters during emergency calls via an on-scene nametag system. Rapid Intervention Teams (RITs) are also being established so that the fire departments can call on one another for manpower when necessary.
Chief Doughty has implemented a wellness and fitness program based on the Cooper Institute Health and Fitness Standards at the Durango fire department, too. This program gives participants an initial evaluation, and sets fitness goals for the following year. He also plans to form a CADET program at the high school level, in order to educate students and prospective firefighters on the importance of fire safety.
When asked what he believes is vital to keeping firefighters safe, Chief Doughty said, "Everyone needs to commit to continual training and improvement, from the newest guy all the way up the ranks to the chief. No one can ever be trained too much."
To nominate someone for Hale's Safe Firefighter of the Month Award, visit www.safe-firefighter.com . Each month, a top candidate will be chosen from the submissions made by firehouses across the United States, and the winners and nominees will have their photos and profiles displayed on the website.