Safety is the number one concern in the fire service and continues to be preached throughout our careers. I think the reality is, we as a whole, talk more then we actually do. Whether it is the little things like wearing seatbelts or taking our time walking down stairs at resident’s homes; we need to be more conscious of our personal safety and those that work around us as well.
One of the hardest things in our line of work is to tell a co-worker that what they are doing is unsafe, especially when that individual is a senior member of your department. The reality of it is we need to look out for each other period. Too many times we see the news reports or read the close call reports of fellow firefighters getting injured or worse while on the job. The problem really is a domino effect when it comes to these issues. It always starts with one unsafe act that no one stops that then gets the proverbial ball rolling.
Preaching safety is an absolute must but at the same time actions can be more powerful than words. Rig operators need to make certain that every member on that vehicle is seated and belted in. Self-contained breathing apparatus do not have to be put on right away and can wait until the vehicle is completely stopped. Making certain that both protective eye and ear wear is being used by members as appropriate is absolutely critical. Taking the extra effort every day to make certain personal equipment is ready and to fix or replace any problems at hand. Make sure that the vehicle’s equipment is functioning properly and any deficiencies are fixed. Wearing traffic safety vests when on roadways to make yourself seen by drivers is an absolute must. When you show that you actually care and take those extra steps, you are walking down the right path towards working in a safe manner.
Safe working is infectious. When one person takes the extra minute to make certain everything is in order, people tend to follow along as well. I challenge you to take that extra step and promote safe work habits to those you work around. Unfortunately, we won’t stop line of duty deaths entirely but we can definitely start preventing those that should never happen.
by Kevin Chapman (FF/PM) at Bartlett Fire Protection District
- Do You Buckle Up? (firetruckblog.com)
- Belt It Out: WEAR IT! (chiefreasonart.com)
- Analytical Study Reveals Patterns in U.S Firefighter Fatalities (commandsafety.com)