Do you Have the Courage, Part I

by mobrian on December 22, 2008

The Courage to be Safe, So Everyone Goes Home!

Firefighters must have the courage to face a multitude of risks in order to save lives and protect their communities. Their courage allows them to willingly risk their own lives so that others can be saved. A different type of courage is required to stay safe in potentially dangerous situations, avoiding needless risks and tragic consequences.  The National Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation has a great program designed to highlight fire fighter injuries and help reduce these tragedies in the fire service.

The program highlights 16 initiatives, which can be implemented at your department.  The goals can seem lofty, but should be evaluated with a keen eye, to see how your department can improve.  In the first part of this series we will look at the first 8 initiatives:

  1. Define and advocate the need for a cultural change within the fire service relating to safety; incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability and personal responsibility
  2. Enhance the personal and organizational accountability for health and safety throughout the fire service
  3. Focus greater attention on the integration of risk management with incident management at all levels, including strategic, tactical, and planning responsibilities
  4. All firefighters must be empowered to stop unsafe practices
  5. Develop and implement national standards for training, qualifications, and certification (including regular recertification) that are equally applicable to all firefighters based on the duties they are expected to perform
  6. Develop and implement national medical and physical fitness standards that are equally applicable to all firefighters, based on the duties they are expected to perform
  7. Create a national research agenda and data collection system that relates to the initiatives
  8. Utilize available technology wherever it can produce higher levels of health and safety

When you look at the goals, they may see to big to handle at your level.  We encourage all levels of the organization to study the 16 initiatives and determine how they can be utilized at your level.  For instance on number 8, as an organization we may buy vehicles with air bags, or as a fire fighter, I will make sure we utilize a thermal imaging camera when performing interior operations, or simply wearing my seat-belt.

In Part II we will take a look at numbers 9-16 and how we can utilize these goals in our organization.  Tell us how you see the first eight initiatives in your department!

Visit the Courage to Be Safe Site

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