IAFC urges US fire chiefs to issue a safety and survival alert in their departments
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), through their Safety, Health and Survival Section and in cooperation with the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, are urging all fire chiefs and officers to immediately issue a safety and survival alert in their departments. During an emergency safety and survival alert, personnel are urged to postpone non-emergency tasks to focus on critical safety and survival training. During this period, we are hoping to remember the many brothers and sisters whose lives have been lost working on our roadways due to multiple incidents of personnel and apparatus being struck. Responders being struck on our roadways have become an almost daily occurrence.
“Operations on roadways are high-risk, high-frequency events,” said Chief Dan Eggleston, IAFC president and chairman of the board. “With distracted driving, drivers under the influence, along with road and weather conditions and related traffic, fire fighters are more at risk now than ever before, and unfortunately, numerous recent crashes back that up.”
In headlines this week, “Eight first responders injured and one killed while assisting at accident scene”
Eight first responders were injured and one was killed in Southern California on Saturday morning, 2 February 2019, while they were assisting at the scene of a vehicle rollover on Interstate 5. The person killed was a member of the Ventura County search-and-rescue team.
Below is an excerpt from the LA Times published at 10h50 local time on Saturday:
Los Angeles County fire fighters were assisting the sheriff’s department with the rollover crash that left first responders “severely” injured. Three of those hurt in the accident were members of the Fillmore search-and-rescue team, the sheriff’s department said.
The group was on its way to Mt Pinos for a training exercise when they saw a crash on the freeway and stopped to help, the sheriff’s department said.
“While they were assisting people, a vehicle plowed into the scene,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt Eric Buschow said.
The Fillmore Mountain Search and Rescue Team is composed of a group of “highly skilled volunteers” who respond to wilderness emergencies in Ventura County, Buschow said.
That’s only one of many such headlines,
Fire chief struck and killed at highway incident in Louisiana
Fire fighter killed in the line of duty, 2 other fire fighters seriously injured after being struck on Virginia Interstate
Fire fighter hit while working fatal crash scene in South Carolina
Texas EMT killed, another hurt after driver strikes ambulance
Assistant fire chief struck, killed at crash scene in South Carolina
Eggleston said, “It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to stop this loss of life and maiming of our fire fighters and others they work with. There is no better way to respect the sacrifice of those we’ve lost than to educate and train others on how to avoid future incidents.”
“During this time, chiefs are asked to have all personnel immediately review and discuss applicable department policies and procedures to minimise the risk to fire fighters operating on our highways. In addition to department polices and federal, state and local laws, other resources are available to use during this alert and in ongoing efforts to educate personnel about safe roadway operations.”
The Federal Highway Administration has developed Traffic Incident Management (TIM), which includes a variety of best practices and resources and a Traffic Incident Management Handbook. They offer the National Traffic Incident Management Responder Training Program that incorporates both online and in-person training.
The 2018 NFPA 1500 Standard has an updated chapter dedicated to Traffic Incident Management (chapter 9) that requires training related to roadway-incident safety. NFPA 1091, the Standard for Traffic Control Incident Management Personnel Professional Qualifications, identifies the minimum job performance requirements (JPRs) for TIM personnel.
The IAFC’s Near Miss Program collects and shares fire fighter near-miss experiences, allowing others to learn from these experiences. There are a number of reports available about personnel and apparatus struck while operating on roadways, sharing valuable information about how these incidents occurred and how they can be avoided in the future.
The Emergency Responder Safety Institute offers a single portal with an online network for training, with the defined goal of protecting our responders on the roadway; ResponderSafety.com hosts the ResponderSafety Learning Network. These sites offer a variety of resources to aid in training fire fighters to be prepared for the dangers associated with roadway responses, including online modules and certificates for completion. The ResponderSafety Learning Network also delivers the Federal Highway Administration National Traffic Incident Management Certificate. There is no cost for any of the training or materials.
Together, these suggested materials and sites form a useful toolkit for your response to this this safety alert as well as your continued department training and education efforts.
"In recent months, incidents involving fire and EMS personnel operating on roadways have left fire fighters critically injured and killed," stated Chief Scott Kerwood, chair of the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section. "In numerous recent cases, while heroic attempts were made to help victims of vehicle crashes, fire fighters and EMS personnel ended up becoming victims themselves.”
We are losing too many fire fighters and other responders to the battleground we call roadways. Take a leadership position during this safety and survival alert and protect your people with valuable education and training.
Source: The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)