The Valley Safety Officers in the Phoenix (AZ) metro area focused their Safety Stand Down 2020 training on operating safely on the roadways and during wildfire incidents. They created the above video as well as a Safety Stand Down Bulletin with resources that departments can use for crew/battalion level discussions and tabletop training.
The 40 members of the Laguna Beach (CA) Fire Department focused on exposure risk reduction and actions to prevent occupational cancer during the 2019 Safety Stand Down. They reviewed the best practices for occupational cancer prevention and took specific steps to improve the safety of their members. This included the following:
- Wipes placed on all apparatus for firefighters to use post-fire.
- Added 6 mil trash bags to apparatus to bag up contaminated PPE and equipment when carrying them back to the station.
- Sent out all PPE to their vendor to be properly laundered.
- Emphasized the need for all personnel to “shower within the hour” after responding to a fire scene.
- A second phase of the initiative will begin shortly that includes improving gross decon practices.
All members of the department were also assigned videos and documents to review during the week that were taken from the Safety Stand Down web site.
To increase their cancer prevention efforts throughout the year, the department will utilize training bulletins as well as focus on awareness, actions, and accountability. They are also assisting neighboring agencies in developing operational policies to reduce cancer and exposure risks.
The Harrisonburg (VA) Fire Department takes health and safety very seriously for its 100 career members. For Safety Stand Down 2019 they developed a packet of information that was handed out to all personnel on each shift. The packet includes exercise examples, sample meal plans, cancer awareness and prevention information, the department’s cancer prevention policy, and additional resources for cancer prevention. Other departments can utilize this material for their own firefighter health and wellness initiatives. Download Safety Stand Down packet.
In addition, the department developed two podcasts as part of their safety Stand Down program. One podcast features Bryan Frieders, president of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network; listen here. The other podcast features Dr. Denise Smith from Skidmore University; listen here.
The Valley Safety Officers in Arizona focused on “Crew Based Accountability” for the 2019 Safety Stand Down. In addition to releasing the above video, the organization also distributed a Safety Stand Down bulletin with resources and information for all members to review and discuss. View bulletin.
The Richmond (TX) Fire Department will be starting their Safety Stand Down activities with a proclamation authorized by the mayor. The 47-member career department will also be keeping the public aware of their Safety Stand Down activities through local press releases and social media updates.
During the week of June 16-22, the department will use the resources from the Safety Stand Down web site to offer daily events and exercises for each duty shift. They have collaborated with area mutual aid departments on their Safety Stand Down activities.
Health and safety are very important to the Richmond Fire Department, and they plan to continue this focus throughout the year by implementing safety measures in station design, training and education, cancer awareness screening, and encouraging fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Already they have caught some cancers early through screenings and implemented positive changes to the fitness culture of the department.
The Baltimore County Fire Department is a combination department in Maryland with 3,000 members. The department has an on-going focus on health and wellness for its members, including requiring annual physicals, an annual physical fitness self-assessment, and completion of an operational readiness course while on-duty. All stations/shifts are required to complete a minimum of 10 hours per month of physical fitness training.
The department will use Safety Stand Down 2019 to focus attention on exposure risk reduction and cancer prevention for its members. Signs are posted at the entry to all living areas of the department’s stations prohibiting turnout gear beyond that point. Posters, including the 11 Best Practices for Firefighter Cancer Prevention, will be hung in all fire stations. During the week of June 16-22, each shift will review PowerPoints, videos, and other information from the Safety Stand Down web site. In addition, specific tasks will be completed each day of the week, including a wipe down of interior/exterior helmets, audit of Plymovent systems, wipe down of apparatus cab interiors, laundering of all bedding/towels, etc.
To ensure that firefighters are best protected from exposures, the department will be rolling out a new SOP on firefighter decon during the week. The SOP focuses on wet-soap decon on the fire scene and showering post-fire. Decon kits (bucket with garden hose, scrub brush, dish detergent, and FireWipes) are being distributed to all engine companies. This SOP will be reviewed and practiced department-wide.
The Millburn (NJ) Fire Department spent the week of June 17-23, 2018, focusing on health and safety in their department. Each morning during the week, they had fire dispatch announce that the department is participating in the 2018 Safety Stand Down. They also held a 30-second moment of silence for fallen firefighters each morning before radio check.
In addition, every crew had a discussion about line-of-duty deaths and injuries that can happen to firefighters using case studies, LODD reports, and other training tools. They also focused on medical issues that can affect firefighters.
On Friday, June 22, a local hospital (St. Barnabas Medical Center) offered free, confidential medical screenings and education for all firefighters from the department and surrounding fire departments.
Millburn Fire Department plans to continue focusing on health and safety education for firefighters throughout the year.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) is composed of 2,486 sworn and civilian personnel who are responsible for providing fire and EMS services to approximately 2.7 million people who live within the 2,252 square miles that make up Miami-Dade County.
In 2016, in support of the Safety Stand Down initiative, MDFR delivered seven free classes over four days to 175 students from the department as well as other local departments. In 2017, the MDFR team put together a program that included 31 firefighter safety-and health-related classes that were delivered from June 20-23. Many of the instructors are from within MDFR, but some came from other departments to participate. All of the classes were free, open to anyone interested in attending, and many of them also provided Instructor/Inspector recertification CEUs through the State of Florida.
Topics presented included: Cancer in the Fire Service, Rapid Intervention Crew Operations, South Florida Firefighting/Balancing Safety with Aggression, Ammonia Incident Response Awareness, Fire Apparatus Safety Driving Techniques, Propane Emergency Training, ICS: The Incident Safety System, Raising the Heat on Heart Disease: Cardiac Risk and Firefighting, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation/Everyone Goes Home program “Courage to Be Safe.”
To wrap up this year’s Safety Stand Down initiative, the MDFR team also delivered the IAFF Fire Ground Survival Training Program. Additional information can be found at MDFR-training.com.
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.”
The Evesham Fire Department is a combination department in Evesham, NJ, that provides a strong emphasis on health and safety to its 80 volunteer and 34 career members. During Safety Stand Down 2017, the department provided daily training involving incident video clips, review of LODD reports related to the Stand Down topic, hands-on SCBA confidence drills, review of firefighter rescue techniques with webbing and personal escape harnesses, review of RIT SCBA and Pack Tracker, and Mayday case studies and video clips. They sent out a press release to local news outlets to make the community aware of the department’s Safety Stand Down initiatives. View full schedule and video links.
The focus on health and safety does not end with Safety Stand Down. The department will continue to emphasize firefighter health and safety, Mayday, RIC, and SCBA confidence in their annual training schedule and live fire training.
In addition, the department has an overall focus on health and safety with its PPE inspection and cleaning program, and its fireground operations protocols requiring SCBA and gas monitoring during overhaul. They also implement weight loss competitions among the staff where each participant puts in $10 at the start of the competition and the winner (greatest amount lost by percentage of total body weight) receives the money at the end.