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Ann Davison, CAE
Assistant Director of Strategic Services

Call to Action: Stand Up for Safety

July 11, 2013

The International Association of Fire Chiefs, under the leadership of its Safety Health and Survival Section (SHS), has announced a Stand Up for Safety campaign. Although the trend over the past 10 years has been a gradual but steady decrease in firefighter fatalities, 2013 has seen numerous multiple-firefighter fatalities. Failure to intervene immediately may easily result in this being the deadliest year for firefighters since 2001.

The section recommends that all fire departments take immediate steps to bring the safety of personnel to the forefront of everyday operations. Visit the Safety Support System webpage, where you can find a myriad of discussion topics and resource reports for company officers as well as suggested review steps that chief officers can take to increase personnel safety. An outstanding starting point is to incorporate the Rules of Engagement (pdf) into daily operations, and utilize the information and lessons learned available on the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System website.

In our line of work, there are no guarantees; even the best-trained, safety conscious personnel can fall in the line of duty. We owe it to our personnel, and the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, to do everything in our power to prevent the losses we can.

We’re asking the fire service to take concrete steps to increase their members' situational awareness, as the genuine dangers that we face on a daily basis claim an alarming number of firefighter lives. Firefighters are inherently focused on the mission at hand, but officers must reinforce the role each firefighter plays in safeguarding their own lives as well as the lives of fellow emergency responders. The Stand Up for Safety campaign can help company and chief officers set the tone by defining expectations predicated on safety.

About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders.

About the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section
The SHS was established to provide a specific component within the IAFC to concentrate on policies and issues relating to the health and safety of firefighters.