In the fire service, safety has become a way of life. It hasn’t always been that way, as this is an occupation resistant to change. Our occupation prides itself on the ability to take on danger and tame it.
Safety was a second thought to the mission: The greater the danger, the greater the pride. What we discovered is that we’re making unnecessary sacrifices to feed that pride.
Change was inevitable, despite the resistance. Through several years of evolution of our trade, we’ve concluded that not only does safety have a place; it’s a large component of our operations.
We also discovered that safety doesn’t mean a reduced ability to take on that danger, but rather a smarter way to tame it.
As fire professionals, we personally drive this evolution. We’ve learned from past tragedies and failures, opting to develop a culture that focuses on our protection.
We’ve changed from the days of not using SCBAs to SCBAs with integrated PASS, telemetry and heads-up displays. Pull-up rubber boots and rubber turnout coats have given way to Kevlar super fabrics and fire-resistant leather boots.
We have thermal imaging, tactics improved through testing and data collection, better equipment, and standards on how to conduct both live and realistic-simulation training.
All these changes were met with cultural resistance, but we eventually adapted, all with the focus of making our job better and safer as we tame the beast.
Despite such great changes, we simply can never be done learning and developing our taming ability. We as firefighters must make it our mission to protect ourselves as we protect our customers.
In this quest to improve ourselves, many new ideas are born—good ideas that have the ability to improve our occupational survivability profile. We’re learning to be smarter about taking on the danger by being more intelligent on how we do the taming.
Those ideas come from professionals like you who are dedicated to our occupation and to the mission of taming the danger. The SHS Section is resolute about taking those ideas to a global level by getting them out to the association’s membership.
Our safety culture has changed, and it must continue to improve. Each month, the SHS section presents a small article on just that, a global safety perspective. It may be information related to cancer prevention, mental health or a new method to prevent injury.
This is where you come in. We want your perspective!
I invite any member of the IAFC to take the time to create a small safety-related article fit for the masses! I look forward to your input on making our ability to tame the danger a much safer occupation.