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Quotes from safety officers...

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  • Quotes from safety officers...

    Here are a few quotes from safety officers who recently attended an NFPA 1500 safety Symposium and their thoughts as given to Fire Chief Magazine.

    David Ross- Toronto fire Services, Canada-
    "Twenty years ago it was a status symbol to be a smokeeater, to go into a fire without the use of your protective gear and scba, eat smoke and cough up phlegm when the job was done. This is unacceptable today because materials in buildings today are even lighter, more toxic and more dangerous than ever before and theyre only getting worse"

    David Dodson- Loveland Colorado-
    "we've got to get our arms around a stronger attitude towards risk-balance. It appears there are still too many cases of firefighters taking extreme risks for little to no gain. To further the problem, communities are making choices to build buildings with lightweight, fast-burning materials and no sprinkler systems. Communities are choosing to minimally staff their fire departments. The question is, are we going to change our approach based on these choices?"

    Other safety concerns were driving standards because 25% of all firefighter deaths and injuries occur when responding or returning from a call. The third area of concern is STRESS. Half of all firefighter deaths and injuries are because of STRESS.

    This means we need to address the physical condition level of our firefighters and perhaps create some incentives and also some punitive measures to pass rigorously fitness standards.

    Every member from a probie to chief of department must have ownership in the safety program and fitness programs of their department. Everyone must have input. To get firefighters to buy into a program they need to be as essential as the Chief in the development of any department initiative.

    At this symposium we also stressed making department safety records and NIOSH fatality and injury reports available to all firefighters so they know what they need to know to survive. This will awaken some people who should know.

    Every department at the company, battalion and division level should have safety meetings and briefings to discuss concerns of the firefighters that bc's and company officers can take to the command staff.

    We also discussed risk management and the need to involve firefighters along with officers.

    If anyone wants more information or has legit questions please leave them and Ill try to get an answer from my notes and executive summary.

  • #2
    I think they need to start talking about how to keep guys safe without compromising good, smart, effective and aggressive tactics, and compromising the service we are here to provide the public.

    We should NOT be basing our job and how we operate at a fire off of safety standards. We SHOULD be basing safety standards off of our job and how we operate. Operations first, safety second.

    Safety standards should be created with a fireman's safety in mind, not liability protection for the city and department. Those are two completely separate issues.

    Safety standards should not be assigned as a project to someone to create the appearance of being important and busy. This has got to be the case with some of the nitpicky things they come up with.

    A departments primary focus should be proper and efficient fireground operations in order to protect life and property to the best of their ability. That's all there is too it. If safety standards facilitate this and keep us safe and able to do our job- great. If safety standards keep us from doing the job we are here to do, we are doing the public a diservice.

    I feel that the general idea now is that everyone is looking to be in the spotlight by implimenting some great new safety standard, even though its impractical. It seems like some guys think they can turn this into a 100% safe job and eliminate all risks. It can't be done. Not if you want to be an effective fireman. There will always be dangerous situations and risks which we MUST negotiate if we're going to do this job right. In a time of less fires or not, if you can't handle that and accept that, why would you want to be a fireman?

    One last thing- each dept should determine their own safety standards. Just because Boston and SF don't use bunker pants doesn't mean other depts should do the same. But, just because most depts do use bunker pants doesn't mean Boston and SF should.


    • #3
      Good points!

      This is the kind of discussion that gets results.

      Personally I think you can have both operations and safety as a concurrent priority.

      The role of safety officer isnt a nitpicky position in my OPINION. Basically our job as safety officers is to provide a link from operations to the command staff, to oversee and insure that firefighters have access to their officers and chiefs when they have safety concerns and vice versa.

      Tradition doesnt have to be sacrificed. What has to change is perceptions and stereotypes.


      • #4
        To summarize, I don't have anything against safe practices on the fireground as long as it doesn't interfere with being aggressive. I do have a problem with poor tactics used on the fireground which hinder our ability to protect lives and property. From what I have seen, these poor tactics are often a result of ludicrous safety standards.


        • #5
          Ludicrous Safety Standards?!?!?!?!?!

          What do you mean? What safety standards do you deem ludicrous? Would you please enlighten me? I have yet to run into such an animal. So far all of the safety standards my department has been held to have been warranted. Maybe it is just us, but what are you referring to? Not trying to say you are wrong, but what do you condider to be ludicrous? In my opinion, the job is important, and being efficient at it is even more so, but most importantly is rule number one- Everyone goes home alive. It concerns me greatly that the safety efforts increase, yet LODD's are still at an unacceptable level (as if there is an "acceptable" level)

          Of course-we all assume risk with the job, it is the very nature. I would never presume to fight fires from a safety bubble that eliminates all risk. But you still have to look out for number one, and the team.

          I am sure that you agree with me on that point, Mamaluke, however I am interested to find out what you feel is a Ludicrous Safety Practice? Maybe you are being held to a standard that my department is not. If so, I am interested to know what that would be.



          • #6
            From the wildland community, but applies across the board:

            "Fight Fire Aggressively, But Provide for Safety First"


            • #7

              Ludicrous safety standard- not allowed to go to roof to open up scuttles, bulkhead doors or skylights because it is too dangerous.

              The only people that's dangerous for are the people suffocating inside.

              And I'm not talking about a fire that has entered the cockloft. Fire on third floor of a six story multiple dwelling- no roof, too dangerous.

              Another example: always must stretch a charged line to the fire area. can't stretch up to fire area and then charge the line.

              This is in a city of over 500,000 people where they don't do truck work. Their ladder trucks are used to get guys to the scene and thats it. That brings me to the general idea that poor tactics and safety overkill go hand in hand.

              There is NOT a fine line between ludicrous and reasonable safety standards. The line is very fat, bold, clear, and discernable- to me, anyway--- but not the people who come up with this stuff. I don't know what goes through their heads. The only thing I can think of is that they are trying to make a name for themselves by being "inovative".

              Again, I am not an opponent of safety. I just want to stay on the right side of that bold, bright safety line which a five year old could tell the difference between.


              • #8
                Oh Brother- I had no idea you had it that bad. You have my sympathy.

                I fully understand what you mean by a Ludicrous Safety Standard now.

                What in the world do they use as a justification for this crap?



                • #9
                  Fyresq50...the justification they use is the threat of lawsuits....in other words, the attorneys in expensive Armani suits are making policy for fire department operations in some places.

                  Personally, Let's put them all inside a building with heavy fire and say to them

                  "well, your threats of litigation won't let us open the roof or do an aggressive interior attack....so here...use your courtroom skills and you go put the damn fire out!

                  Firefighters: rising to accept the challenge!
                  Captain Gonzo


                  • #10
                    Captain Gonzo,
                    I wish we could do that too, but I dont think any of them would go near a scene 9ambulance chasers excluded) to be honest with you.

                    It is true that litigation and the threat of litigation has hampered some tacticsa and programs but generally I havent read or heard of anything that doesnt support the fact that changes in safety is lowering fireground accidents, now if we could start bringing response/return to quarters and heart attacks/stress down.

                    What happens in most any city or jurisdiction is that when something bad happens, a change is made, not just by command staff but by city attorneys and other people who may have good intentions, maybe greed who knows and it shouldnt be like that but it is.

                    NFPA 1500 and all the safety oriented programs were designed by people with good intentions, and there are flaws but not major ones. Where I find the flaws is there cant be a cookie cutter approach, not every jurisdiction is the same. Mayberry VFD shouldnt be held to the same standard as FDNY, DC, Denver or any of the bigger agencies. Some form of a phase in or a reduction in numbers and requirements should be looked at. It wont happen overnight, maybe not in the next 5 years but eventually it will happen.


                    • #11

                      How about annual facepiece fit testing? Especially when it's done under atmospheric pressure, when we all wear positive pressure masks......

                      How about all the annual recerts that are a reaction to liability concerns, but not a single one of the recerts has anything to do with putting out a fire?

                      Every year I need to be retrained on how to put my rubber gloves on safely, but not how to pull a line or open a roof safely.

                      Like I said on another thread Nate, we need a new chief. How about coming out here and creating more policies like these for us? You should be real popular.


                      • #12
                        Capt. Gonzo

                        I like the way you think. Of course, we know that Rats run from burning buildings, so we would have to seal the thing up first.

                        I wonder if the same litigators will be there to represent the families of those lost in the fire to sue us for wrongful death? You bet your bunkers they will!!

                        Sounds like you have a helluva battle on your hands. I have no clue as to what to tell you to do about it, except maybe invite your lawmakers on a ride-along. Maybe the feeling of not being able to do anything for fear of a lawsuit will be experienced, and possibly open some eyes.

                        I am going to have to disagree on the facepiece testing issue you bring up. I have failed the test and smelled the stuff in the hood, requiring a different facepiece to be issued. Yes, they are positive pressure devices, but we are talking a minute amount of air release unless you have your bypass on. Try it with too big of a facepiece once. You will be surprised. I agree we need to concentrate on the important things to stay safe. Recerts are called for.



                        • #13

                          It doesnt happen where I work now and with the job I have now, but it happens almost everywhere. Alot of line guys wont know about this stuff until they become senior officers and chiefs.


                          • #14
                            our saftey chiefs have been ok, its been the unexperienced chiefs initially on the scene that are making our lives misreable. using tower ladders on occupied dwellings should be prosecuted as a felony, not letting the roof man get the roof should lead to firing, fire in the cockloft, you better get the hole or we're (the inside team ) going to get you.

                            ps how do you get rid of that "junior forum" tag thanks
                            bob g rescue 2

                            [This message has been edited by rescue2bob (edited 05-04-2001).]

                            [This message has been edited by rescue2bob (edited 05-04-2001).]


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rescue2bob:
                              our saftey chiefs have been ok, its been the unexperienced chiefs initially on the scene that are making our lives misreable. using tower ladders on occupied dwellings should be prosecuted as a felony, not letting the roof man get the roof should lead to firing, fire in the cockloft, you better get the hole or we're (the inside team ) going to get you.

                              ps how do you get rid of that "junior forum" tag thanks
                              bob g rescue 2

                              [This message has been edited by rescue2bob (edited 05-04-2001).]

                              [This message has been edited by rescue2bob (edited 05-04-2001).]
                              Hey, those inexperianced BCs are Von YESsen's hand picked group that EARNED the right to be a BC.

                              As for the Junior, it will go away after time, or a certain number of posts.

                              Doc DC3


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