2009 Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week – June 14 – 20, 2009

Fourth of Four Key Areas: Survival - Chiefs: Be the Leader in Safety

The IAFC and the IAFF are asking you to Protect Yourself: Your Safety, Health and Survival Are Your Responsibility. We’re calling on all fire/EMS departments and all IAFF affiliates to participate in the 2009 Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week scheduled for June 14-20.

To support your planning, we’ve developed a series of emails and On Scene articles (go to links below), each focused on a 2009 key area. This email, the last of the series, pertains to the responsibility of fire chiefs.

Chiefs: Be the Leader in Safety

Fire chiefs and chief officers can take an active role in this year’s Safety Week by personally reviewing at least 2 safety policies during the course of the week for compliance with NFPA 1500. As the safety leader in your department, it’s important that policies on safety-related topics not only support your safety vision, but comply with nationally recognized standards. Existing policies should continue to be consistently enforced by fire chiefs and chief officers. Encourage your other fire officers to also take the initiative in enforcing policies if they observe violations.

Determine gaps that can reasonably be closed in the next year based on resources currently available in your organization. Don’t be overly ambitious, but select gaps you can close or make progress toward closing in the next year that won’t require increased resources or actions outside your circle of influence. The point is to make progress, not work miracles. Incremental progress toward closing consistency gaps is a good foundation for long-term improvements in safety culture.

Establish a collective process to confirm the gaps you’ve identified, identify others and establish a timeline to close them. Though it’s important to be personally involved, you certainly can’t do it all. Once you’ve identified the gaps in your current policies, involve others in your organization to be part of the process of filling these gaps.

The recommended focus of this year’s Safety Week incorporates 4 key areas where standard operating procedures, policies and initiatives – along with the training and enforcement that support them – can limit fire and EMS personnel’s risk of injury or death:

Visit www.iafc.org/safetyweek for more information on this year’s program and for planning resources developed by the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section.