With an average of 90 line-of-duty deaths and over 1,000 serious or life-threatening injuries firefighters face each year in the U.S. alone, we must ensure that departments have the most up-to-date resources and training tips available.
It is extremely important to keep your fire department up-to-date with the latest firefighter health and safety practices. The main priorities are divided into four areas: Behavior, Equipment, Standards and Codes, and Training. These B.E.S.T. practices for firefighter health and safety priorities are as follows:
- Support the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of all personnel.
- Operate all emergency apparatus and privately owned vehicles to conform to the highest road safety standards and enforce the use of seat belts.
- Develop, practice, and enforce recommended health and safety standards for all personnel.
- Monitor and ensure that all active emergency scenes maintain the utmost level of safety and fireground accountability.
- Provide and require the proper use of full personal protective equipment.
- Maintain all equipment based on established safety recommendations.
Standards and Codes:
- Encourage the use of all smoke, fire detection, and fire suppression devices, including fire sprinkler systems, in all structures.
- Vigorously enforce all fire safety codes and ordinances.
- Obtain apparatus and equipment that meet national safety standards.
- Utilize fire training programs that conform to the highest professional standards.
- Operate a safe fire training ground at all times.
- Establish, maintain, and deliver fire safety programs for all age groups.
Proper use and maintenance of equipment is a critical component of firefighter and emergency responder safety. Utilize the following resources to learn more and implement these practices in your department:
- Thermal Capacity of Firefighters Protective Clothing
This report is a culmination of research conducted by the Fire Protection Research Foundation designed to investigate the thermal performance of firefighters’ protective clothing over a range of firefighting exposures, ultimately leading to better designs for protective gear.
- Biodetection Technologies for First Responders
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory released this report that summarizes an extensive list of commercially available, hand-portable biodetection technologies to help first responders make informed decisions about procuring the right technology for their particular need and circumstance.
Vehicle Safety Resources
Vehicle accidents account for the second leading cause of firefighter on-duty fatalities, and many more first responders are injured each year in vehicle accidents. Make vehicle safety a priority for yourself and your department.
- Emergency Vehicle Safety
This page presents information on current USFA research projects in the area of emergency vehicle operations safety, including findings and recommendations related to reducing casualties to emergency responders while responding to, returning from, or operating at incidents.
- Traffic Incident Management
Many first responders are killed or injured while addressing traffic incidents on the nation’s roadways. To help increase safety, the IAFC, in partnership with the FHWA, launched Safe Quick Clearance to serve as a hub for emergency responder Traffic Incident Management. The site includes TIM resources, training opportunities, and the latest news and updates.
- Responder Safety
This site from the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association’s Emergency Responder Safety Institute provides resources, tools, and training to help reduce hazards and increase safety for emergency responders on the nation’s highways and roadways.
- National Fire Service and EMS Seat belt Pledge
Firefighters and emergency service personnel are encouraged to sign the National Fire Service and EMS Seat belt Pledge in an effort to ensure the safety of all first responders driving or riding in fire department apparatus. This web site, administered through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Everyone Goes Home program, also includes public service announcements, videos, posters, training, and other resources for getting first responders to buckle up.
- Alive on Arrival: Tips for Safe Emergency Vehicle Operations
This brochure, printed by FEMA, provides tips for safe emergency vehicle operation for both operators and passengers.
- Drive to Survive
This web site provides resources and training opportunities to educate first responders on vehicle operations and crash prevention.
- Rollover Safety Training Video
This video, developed by the National Tank Truck Carriers in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, helps educate water tanker drivers on the special characteristics of tank truck vehicles and the actions they can take to avoid rollovers. The goal of the video is to help eliminate deaths and injuries to emergency responders from fire department tanker/tender rollover crashes.
Stand Up For a Cause
Help raise awareness for firefighters on the job safety, as well as those who have fallen fighting to make our communities a safer place. Lets band together, showing your support through our Firefighter Awareness wristbands!