Fire Service Organizations Issue Joint Statement on Firefighter Deaths

Joint Statement from the IAFC, NFFF, NFPA and NVFC:

In the spirit of “See something; say something,” we feel it is time to ask for your attention. Over the past few months, there have been an alarming number of firefighter fatalities. In light of that, we do want to remind every operational firefighter, company officer, crew boss, superintendent, and command officer about the importance of situational awareness, evaluation of risk, value of risk as compared to the likelihood of success and the all-important desire of your family, loved one’s and friends that they want every firefighter to go home at the end of their tour of duty.

August, and even September, can bring brutal heat, oppressive humidity and poor air quality throughout the country. On their own, these conditions can cause anyone to become dehydrated and feel ill. Also, the extra weight we carry with our gear and the extreme heat we endure while battling a fire or engaging in other rescue operations, it’s not surprising that our core body temperatures increase rapidly, which can lead to devastating consequences.

Make sure you’re hydrated before, during and after your shift. This will help your body maintain its ability to function properly. If you begin to feel unwell, such as unusual cramping, nausea or pain or pressure in your chest, tell someone immediately so you can get medical attention.

During these summer and early fall months many of us tend to adopt a carefree and spirited mindset. Don’t let this interfere with vigilance while driving or riding in a department or personal vehicle. Always use seat belts and demand that others do, too. Furthermore, always obey the laws of the road and be observant for what others are doing while they’re out and about. Too often, a motorist may not hear or see you coming despite lights and sirens, or recklessly think they can out-run and out-maneuver that 20-plus ton vehicle bearing down on them.

While we’re only midway through the year, and many factors can change between now and the end of December, please do all you can to remain conscientious about your health, your environment and your surroundings. Likewise, if you think someone else is being less than attentive to their health and safety, please say something. Let them know that at the end of every shift we want to be sure Everyone Goes Home® to their loved ones.  

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