The Jackson Township Fire Department is a career department with 72 members in Massillon, OH. They ran an extended Safety Stand Down initiative from June 11-25, 2017. Over the two week period, the department covered numerous topics, including the 16 Life Safety Initiatives, the Rules of Engagement, health and wellness, departmental SOPs and SOGs, and the available Safety Stand Down training and materials. In addition, hands-on training consisted of a wire maze with limited visibility, ladder bailouts, low-profile egress, low-air management, radio communications with emergency button activation, calling a Mayday under a stressful (controlled) environment, rescuing a downed firefighter in a commercial building, forcible entry, wall breaching, firefighter drags and carries, air trans-fill drills, waist strap conversion, and webbing use, PASS alarm recognition, personal and tactical accountability, ICS, and use of ICS during a Mayday or RIT scenario.
The Safety Stand Down training exposed some weaknesses at the personal and departmental level when it comes to some of the skills and abilities. The department will address these through additional training to correct the mistakes and make sure all personnel are prepared and one hundred percent ready to respond. A second training week will be held in September to complete the H.O.T. for members that were not able to participate during the June activities. Coffee break training and weekly in-house training will also be developed to focus on some of the deficiencies.
The Jackson Township Fire Department spread the word about their Safety Stand Down activities by posting information through social media outlets as well as sharing information, training materials, and training equipment with surrounding departments.
The Safety Stand Down initiatives will have a long-lasting impact on the readiness of the department. The efforts have resulted in improvements including adding additional personnel on the fireground scene through mutual or auto aid, clarification and exposure to their new radio system’s emergency button operations, better use of the ICS system, and building a solid foundation for improving physical fitness and overall health and wellness. In addition, they are working to change some of the department’s SOPs/SOGs that may be dated or need revisions in order to reflect current strategies and tactics.
“This is the first time that our department has participated in Safety Stand Down week,” said Shawn Parsell. “Although our department is very safety conscious, we have a limited number of those ‘high hazard-low frequency’ calls. So better preparing ourselves for that self-emergency is vital to the safety and well being of our members to ensure everyone goes home at the end of the day. This training has exposed weaknesses, strengths, and left room for improvement for all involved.”