Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Smoragsboard of Safety

First off, I think everyone is familiar with what a smorgasboard is (For my whole life I thought it to be exclusively a Pennsylvania thing, but it's apparent everyone knows what one is), but I'd call it more of a plethora of safety issues. You know, plethora, like a "large amount, to the point of being undesirable.

In my search for a safety message for my crew this morning, I found plenty to discuss, all at Firehouse.com, all of them posted within the last few days.

What are our choices today in getting injured or killed? Let's look and see; would it be the continued reluctance of some in our profession to use their seat belts? Or would it be the problems associated with maintaining a safe perimeter while working in traffic? Of course, you could work at this department where staying out of the emergency room seems to be a serious challenge.

Other than the seat belt issue (which I can't understand how a firefighter on this planet hasn't had this beat into them by now), there is likely more to the story and I certainly don't insinuate that anyone screwed up without having the facts. But what I am pointing out is, it doesn't just always happen "somewhere else".

What things do you see around your department that can get you injured or killed? In this New Year, I challenge you to look at the possibilities and make the right choices, that is, the choice to be safe.
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  1. "Hypocrisy" comes to mind when I think about "fire safety" or "public safety". Indulge me.
    We go to our schools and tell the kids helpful tips like having smoke detectors; yet many of our fire stations don't have them OR sprinkler systems. We tell them to look for frayed cords or bad plugs or outlets; yet, we have no problem with operating at a housefire with charged powerlines arcing. We have our Operation: Prom Nights, where we re-enact an MVA with kids out celebrating with alcohol; and yet; many departments across the nation don't have a policy about drinking and responding.
    We tell everyone else to buckle up, but we can't seem to bring ourselves to do it. Two accidents already this year involved not wearing seatbelts.
    I am beginning to think that it is going to take more than a "smorgasboard of safety" or "food for thought".
    I am thinking that it may take a leather boot in the area where several seem to have their heads.

  2. Our chief just had the same discussion re: hypocrisy. How can we expect people to adhere to codes if we are lax ourselves? We have sprinkled fire stations and detectors, and require two exit drills per year, but you'd surpirsed at the blocked exit doors, use of extension cords, etc. But then, maybe you wouldn't be surprised...

  3. And if further proof were needed the same mistakes are being made, this NIOSH report summarizing recommendations from LODD reports should provide it


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