Take Responsibility for your Health and Safety During Safety Week 2009

Friday, 24 April 2009

The 2009 Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week (or Safety Week) will be held the June 14-20, 2009. Sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Fire Fighters, and supported by partner organizations including the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the theme of the 2009 event is Protect Yourself: Your Safety, Health, and Survival Are Your Responsibility.

This year’s theme encourages chiefs and fire/EMS personnel to focus on what they personally can do to manage risk and enhance their health and safety. It reflects the need for personal responsibility and accountability within a strong safety culture.

Recommended activities and materials will incorporate four key areas where standard operating procedures, policies, and initiatives - along with the training and enforcement that support them - can limit fire/EMS personnel’s risk of injury or death:

Safety – Emergency Driving

  1. Lower speeds - stop racing to the scene. Drive safely and arrive alive to help others.
  2. Utilize seat belts - never drive or ride without them.
  3. Stop at every intersection - look in all directions and then proceed in a safe manner.

Health – Firefighter Heart Disease and Cancer Education and Prevention

  1. Don't smoke or use tobacco products.
  2. Get active.
  3. Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Get regular health screenings.
Survival – Structural Size-Up and Situational Awareness
  1. Keep apprised of different types of building materials and construction used in your community.
  2. Develop a comprehensive size-up checklist.
  3. Always complete a 360° walk of the structure to collect valuable, operational decision-making information.
  4. Learn the practice of reading smoke.
  5. Be familiar with the accepted rules of engagement.
  6. Learn your accountability system and use it.
  7. Master your tools and equipment.
  8. Remain calm and concentrate.
Chiefs – Be the Leader in Safety
  1. Become personally engaged in safety and make it part of your strategic vision for the department.
  2. Be willing to make the tough decisions regarding safety policies and practices and their implementation.
  3. Hold members of the organization accountable for their safety and the safety of those with whom they work.
  4. Ensure that resources are available to accomplish activities safely and effectively.

Participate in Safety Week by utilizing this time to review your department’s safety policies, evaluate the progress of existing initiatives, and discuss health and fitness. Fire/EMS departments should make a concerted effort during the week to correct safety deficiencies and to provide training as needed. An entire week is provided to ensure that each shift and duty crew can spend one day focusing on firefighter safety, health, and survival.

Find more Safety Week resources and activity ideas at www.iafc.org/safetyweek. Check out the NVFC’s health and safety resources at www.nvfc.org/Health_Safety.



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