4. Empowerment


All firefighters must be empowered to stop unsafe practices.

While this may appear to be a challenging or even controversial statement, it simply means that every organization should provide an environment that allows its members to speak up regarding personal and organizational safety; without negative consequences for doing so (within a prescribed context), and without decentralizing the authority of the formal leader. The resources needed for all fire service organizations to institute Initiative #4, regardless of type or size, are already at our disposal, and the best part is that they are free. The goal is to have every member fully engaged during an emergency incident with a focus on doing the work in a proficient manner and looking out for one-another to avoid injuries and potential line of duty death.

Latest Initiative 4 News

  • Making the Nathan Espinosa Story Early in 2018, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation became aware of a significant near miss event in Los Angeles, California. A rookie firefighter fell through the roof during operations at his first working fire. Within days, the Los Angeles fire chief took bold action to ensure the firefighter was cared for, activated a critical injury investigation, and develop a plan of action to prevent a future occurrence.
  • Promoting a Better Safety Climate for the Fire Service During Global Pandemic, Civil Unrest, and Wildland Fires The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the First Responder Center for Excellence (FRCE), once again, collaborated with Firehouse® and published the 2020 Fire Service Health & Safety Report. The 32 page report, which appears in September’s issue of Firehouse®, includes 13 articles written by respected leaders, authors and experts, covering a diversity of topics, including women in the fire service, the power of podcasts in promoting safety and health and changing the very culture of safety among the nation’s fire departments.
  • Training Brings Awareness of the Benefits of Peer Support Programs Our latest online training course, Peer Support Programs for the Fire Service, discusses the important role that a peer support program can play in keeping firefighters and their departments healthy.
  • Go Down Swinging – The Nathan Espinosa Story On September 19, 2018, the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to a fire in a commercial structure. Within minutes of arrival, the department experienced a significant near miss event involving serious injury to one of its newest members. Rather than take the incident in stride as “part of the job,” LAFD Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas reviewed the incident and within ten days ordered a top to bottom cultural shift in the department’s response to structural fires. The cultural shift preserved the LAFD tradition of aggressive fire attack, while injecting new practices designed to improve firefighter safety and avoid a repeat event that could lead to an irreversible tragedy. This article tells the tale of how one fire chief and a major metropolitan department recognized a threat and responded by taking bold corrective action before the threat became a tragedy. The story is a model of courageous leadership.
  • Fire Hero Learning Network Registered Users Surpasses 100,000 Since Fire Hero Learning Network went live, registered users have earned over 130,000 online learning certificates of completion. The knowledge gained from the modules better positions firefighters and officers as leaders in health and safety training in their respective departments.
  • Everyone Goes Home® Speak Up – Lt. Dustin Dunn, Gallatin (TN) Fire Department In this Everyone Goes Home® Speak Up, Lt. Dustin Dunn talks about the importance of attitude in everything firefighters do.
  • Everyone Goes Home® Speak Up – Chief Robert Fling (Ret.), Dix Hills (NY) Fire Department In this Everyone Goes Home® Speak Up, Chief Robert Fling urges all fire departments and their firefighters to be much more cognizant of the modifiable risks associated with firefighting.
  • Everyone Goes Home® Speak Up – Deputy Fire Chief Steve Przibowski, Santa Clara County Fire Department In this Everyone Goes Home® Speak Up, Deputy Fire Chief Steve Przibowski, of the Santa Clara County Fire Department, discusses the importance of empowering all firefighters to speak up to stop unsafe operations.
  • Improve the Decision-Making Skills and Safety of Your Firefighters Earlier this fall, the September issue of Firehouse Magazine featured the 2019 Fire Service Health &and Safety Report. This 32-page supplement contains 15 articles by some the fire service’s most respected authors and some of its rising stars.
  • National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to Host the National High School Fire and EMS Cadet Program Symposium The Symposium, the first event of its kind, will be held July 10-12, 2019, and will empower cadet programs with the tools they need to maximize their learning outcomes.