Earlier this year, the IAFC and other national organizations created a joint statement to alert fire and EMS personnel of the high rate of struck-by incidents, express the need for increased vigilance and share an interactive map that outlines each incident.
This year, the theme of Safety Stand Down Week is an extension of those efforts and focuses on how to better protect responders along the roadway. VFIS thanks those departments who are choosing to prioritize the health and safety of their personnel during this time and every day, and we’ve pulled together five discussion points to help fire departments improve scene safety.
During Safety Stand Down Week, talk to your crew about ways you can help protect your personnel while responding to incidents along the roadway, including:
1. Using an interagency cooperation model for highway safety
Roadway incidents require the cooperation of fire and EMS, law enforcement, towing service personnel and others who may be called to assist at the scene for clean-up. Training with each agency using a pre-incident plan (that’s developed cooperatively among those agencies) can help keep personnel safe, improve incident management and reduce the time on the incident scene.
2. Wearing highly-reflective PPE and striping
All personnel involved in responding and operating at a roadway incident should be easily seen by civilian drivers by wearing highly visible reflective material in accordance with national standards. This applies to all workers but especially those who may be controlling or directing traffic.
3. Blocking the scene using retired apparatus
Apparatus placement is essential to help protect the work zone and mitigate the potential risks of distracted or intoxicated drivers crossing into the incident scene. Fire departments are encouraged to consider the use of retired apparatus to help protect the incident scene and reduce costs and damages to front-line apparatus.
4. Working only in the protected area
In addition to staging apparatus in a blocking position – all equipment, tools, personnel, apparatus, vehicles and victims should be within the protected area (as in the “scene” or “shaded” side) and remain within this area during the entire operation. Bystanders or ambulatory victims should be directed to a designated location within this area as well.
5. Utilizing modern automotive safety features
Advances in technology continue to promote safety and alert drivers to roadway hazards. Responders should be aware of modern automotive safety features, standard or optional, for their emergency vehicles and all other vehicles on the roadway.
About Safety Stand Down Week
Safety Stand Down Week focuses on how critically important it is for responders to take care of themselves (both on and off the emergency incident scene) and is designed to help increase awareness and inspire action to make health and safety a priority for all fire departments.
Originally called International Fire + EMS Safety and Health Week, this project was the unification of the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ (IAFC) Fire + EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week with the National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) National Firefighter Health Week.
It’s now a joint initiative between two organizations and was renamed in 2016 to emphasize that all departments should focus on safety training during the week. If you have questions about Safety Stand Down, please contact the NVFC or IAFC.
About the National Volunteer Fire Council
The NVFC is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable resources, programs, education and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at www.nvfc.org.
About the International Association of Fire Chiefs
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world’s leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally, and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more at www.iafc.org.
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