Utilize available technology wherever it can produce higher levels of health and safety.
A major study conducted in 2006 by the United States Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association focused on the needs of U.S. fire departments. Where technology is concerned, the fire service is certainly gaining ground, but lags in important indicators. For instance, 24% of fire departments lack internet access, which means they lack access to information about emerging technology and actual web-based technologies. An estimated 60% of fire departments do not have enough self-contained breathing apparatus to equip all firefighters on a shift. Three-fifths (60%) of fire departments have at least some SCBA units that are least 10 years old. An estimated half (48%) of fire departments do not have enough personal alert system (PASS) devices to equip all their firefighters. These are basics, second nature to many of us, and yet we forget that tens of thousands of firefighters are responding everyday dangerously lacking basic levels of safety (USFA, Four Years Later—A Second Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service, 2006).
Regarding new and emerging technology, the USFA/NFPA study found the following:
- A majority (55%) of fire departments now own thermal imaging cameras, and another one-fourth have plans to acquire them. A previous survey (2001) reported that 24% of departments had such cameras, and the majority of those without them had no plans to acquire one.
- Only one department in 17 had mobile data terminals (6% of departments, up 4% from 2001), though the majority of fire departments protecting at least 100,000 population have them. Most departments with without mobile data terminals (69% overall) still have no plans to acquire them.
- Only one department in 31 has advanced personnel location equipment, though one-fourth of the fire departments protecting communities of at least 500,000 population have them.
- Only one department in 18 has equipment to collect chemical or biological samples for remote analysis, though most of the fire departments protecting communities of at least 100,000 population have such equipment.
Initiative 8 Resources
- 2016 Fire Service Technology Summit
- Initiative 8 Report – Technology
- 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives Job Aid
Initiative 8 Research
- Kitchen Safety
- Impementing Physiological Monitoring
- A Tale of Two Fires
- How Clean is Firefighter Gear?
- Law Enforcement Social Media Use Up, But Policies Lacking
Latest Initiative 8 News
- 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.
- Helping Fire Departments Plan for a Smarter and Safer Future – To help fire departments plan for a smarter – and safer – future, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is hosting the first ever Fire Service Innovation in Safety Symposium on September 24 – 26. It will be held in Philadelphia, an emerging hub of technology and innovation, and will be hosted by Philadelphia Fire Commissioner and OEM Director Adam Thiel.
- Two Organizations Selected Co-Recipients of the Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award – The Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative and the Denver Fire Department will receive the award at the 31st Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on April 25, 2019, in Washington, DC.
- Are you part of a High School Fire or EMS Cadet program? – The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is planning the 2019 High School Fire and EMS Cadet Program Symposium and have developed a survey to identify specific areas of interest.
» Take the Survey
- CFSI and NFFF Accepting Nominations for the Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award – Co-sponsored by CFSI and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award was established in 2009 to recognize public safety organizations for outstanding contributions to the advancement of firefighter health and safety. Deadline for nominations is Dec. 6, 2018.
- Wildland Firefighters Want to be Sure Everyone Goes Home® – Wildland firefighters from around the country say the status quo about safety must change. Too many wildland firefighters are dying and getting hurt. This is the key message from a series of listening sessions the NFFF held across the country.
» A Conversation with Vicki Minor & Ron Siarnicki
» 16 Initiatives for the Wildland Firefighter
» Everyone Goes Home® in the Wildland
- Make Health, Safety and Wellness Your Department’s Priority – The September issue of Firehouse Magazine features the 2018 Fire Service Health and Safety Report. This 32-page supplement emphasizes the value of a progressive, safety-focused fire service culture, and provides information and resources to help firefighters implement the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives.
- Strategic Vision Helps Ensure Firefighter Safety and Enhance Service – To help fire departments around the nation adopt the 16 initiatives, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has created a new handbook, The Strategic Vision Guide: An Action Plan Using the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives.
- Can evolving technology improve safety and service? – Technological advances now allow the fire service access to data to improve firefighter safety and delivery of service.
- Moving the fire service along the technology highway – As the world becomes increasingly technologically savvy, can the fire service also put these tools to use to improve safety and health? In July, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) brought together 80 fire service officers, health and science researchers, and developers and manufacturers for the Fire Service Technology Summit to address this question.