Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taking the Responsibility and Running With It

Going Forward in 2009 and Beyond-Protecting Yourself: Your Safety, Health and Survival Are Your Responsibility

Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week, 2009 officially came to a close yesterday, culminating a week, a moment in time dedicated to a focus on the mission critical and life sustaining functional areas of our fire and EMS profession.

During this week, there were on average, over 10,173 structure fires in the United States. According to NFPA statistics the following occur on average in the U.S;

• A fire department responded to a fire every 20 seconds.
• One structure fire was reported every 59 seconds.
• One home structure fire was reported every 79 seconds
• One civilian fire injury was reported every 30 minutes.
• One civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 33 minutes.
• One outside fire was reported every 41 seconds.
• One vehicle fire was reported every 122 seconds.

During Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week, the flags over the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland were flown at half-staff in honor of four (4) Fire Service Line-of-Duty death notifications that occurred during this past week;

June 14, 2009
Firefighter Conrad Mansfield
Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Department
Defiance, Ohio

June 16, 2009
Firefighter Lyle Lewis
Osborne County Fire District #3
Alton, Kansas

June 16, 2009
Firefighter Jimmy E. Cameron
South Chester Fire Department
Blackstock, South Carolina

June 18, 2009
Firefighter William Thompson
Dushore Fire Company
Dushore, Pennsylvania

These fallen firefighter notifications increases this year’s Line-of-Duty Deaths to a total of Fifty-One (51). Take a moment to reflect upon these firefighters by visiting the USFA fatality notices, HERE or the NFFF, EGH Notifications, HERE.

Not everyone made it home this past week.

In 2004 the culmination of the first proceedings from the National Fire Fighter Life Safety Summit held in Tampa established the objectives of reducing the national firefighter fatality rate by 25% within a five year period and by 50% within ten years. The Tampa Summit produced an agenda of initiatives and formulated the 16 Firefighter Life Safety initiatives that were identified to be addressed to reach those milestones and to gain the commitment of the fire service leadership to support and work toward their accomplishment.

There are clearly defined areas for the fire service to draw its attention and efforts for firefighter safety. The 16 Firefight Life Safety Initiatives provides that clarity, unity and purpose. The responsibility is thrust upon each and every one of us to recognize, we have a duty and obligation to work collectively towards these mutual goals and objectives of fire service and firefighter safety, health and survivability.

There are no days of rest; there is no waiting for “next year’s” Fire/EMS Safety Week. There is only the recognition and realization that we still have a long road ahead of us, and yes we may be running against the wind, but we know we can institute the cultural safety changes necessary to have the wind at our backs.

There are 193 days of opportunity remaining in 2009. There are 365 days of opportunity until the 2010 Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week. Don't miss these opportunities to make a difference or to influence and change destiny; You have that ability.

Going Forward in 2009 and Beyond-Protecting Yourself: Your Safety, Health and Survival Are Your Responsibility. Take that responsibility and run with it…even if you're running against the wind.

Post Script: Check out Chief Ben Waller's excellent post; "Don't Save Safety for the Critique", HERE
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