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Firefighting Safety

Posted by Feld Fire on 9/29/2014 to Fire Safety

Firefighting operations often include very high risk activities that can occur in any weather conditions, and at any time of day. Fire safety officers and line officers are responsible for assuming all risks and making the decisions for the entire fire department. Firefighting is inherently dangerous, but that does not mean that death or disabilities are acceptable or inevitable, these responsibilities tend to fall on every single member of the fire department to watch and advise about dangers that will affect them and/or other members of the firefighting crew.


The fire officer's main responsibility is to develop an action plan that should minimize the risks of injury and death for that specific situation. Firefighter's must always be prepared to enter and work in very dangerous areas. The U.S. Fire Administration has adopted the 50% goal - which if successful - will reduce firefighter fatalities by 50 % for every 100,000 firefighters per year.


A leading cause of firefighter fatality is cardiac arrest. This could be overcome by implementing annual physicals and stress tests for each and every firefighter, paid or volunteer. This would greatly reduce the amount of "line of duty" deaths within the fire department. A major problem is that there are more and more fire departments that are run by volunteers and do not require any type of physical of the volunteers, in order to gain entry into the ranks of which they hold in the departments. If money could be set aside for this program there would be a huge reduction in this study and statistic.


A second leading cause of firefighter death and disability is, being struck or harmed by an object on scene or while responding to a call. This can be overcome by the creating a fire-scene Safety Officer position. It would be the sole responsibility of this individual to ensure the safety of the scene as best as he/she can with the given circumstances. He or she should be given the authority to halt operations when a high risk situation is encountered. Unlike the operations officer, who has numerous duties, firefighter safety would be the only concern for this officer while on scene.

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