On Tuesday, the Brazil City Fire Department will join thousands of fire departments across the United States in a National Firefighter Safety Stand Down. The department will suspend all non-emergency activity and instead focus entirely on firefighter safety. The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and 17 partnering fire service organizations are calling for this stand down to raise awareness of the need for increased vigilance toward firefighter safety.
Fifty firefighters have died in the line of duty in the United States as of May 1 -- that is 10 more than at that time last year. Since May 1, that number has risen to 58. In addition, the National Fire Protection Association cites more than 78,000 firefighter injuries annually. Firefighter injury and death rates have remained relatively constant over the past several years, despite monumental improvements in technology and equipment.
"Firefighters are being killed at an alarming rate. The fire service simply cannot continue to do business as usual when so many of its own are dying," said IAFC President Chief Bob DiPoli. "We are conducting the stand down to raise awareness of the need for increased vigilance toward firefighter safety."
A stand down is a method used by the military to correct an issue that has been identified as a problem throughout its ranks. Scheduled activity for the 21st, which falls during the department's engine cleaning and annual waxing detail will be suspended for Tuesday. Instead, the department will support this national effort by addressing only issues of safety, reviewing NFPA standards and OSHA requirements relating to the fire service.
"The membership of the Brazil City Fire Department wants to make sure that every single one of our firefighters is healthy and safe so that we can continue to serve our community," said Brazil Fire Chief Tobey Archer. "Our members' health and safety is of the utmost importance. Shiny red engines and new equipment will only set in the truck bay without trained healthy firefighters to respond when needed."
For more information on this event, visit http://www.iafc.org/standdown/index.asp.