IAFC Section Honors Commitment to Personnel Health and Safety

The Safety, Health and Survival Section Awards Program of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) recognizes both organizations and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the overall environment of health and safety within their own organizations and within the fire service as a whole. The section awarded the honors below at Fire-Rescue International in Atlanta.

“The individuals and organizations who have received these awards are literally on the cutting edge of leadership in safety in the fire service,” said Chief Matt Tobia, chair of the SHS Section. “It is our honor to recognize their achievements as examples for others to follow in doing everything possible to embrace the goal that Everyone Goes Home. We also thank our corporate sponsors and partner organizations whose commitment and support make it possible for us to celebrate these accomplishments.”

Alan Brunacini Fire Service Executive Safety Award
Cosponsored by Provident Insurance, this award is presented to the chief executive officer of a fire department of any size or composition that has demonstrated a unique commitment to fire service health and safety.

Chief Rick Kane, Manheim Township (PA) Fire & Rescue
Chief Kane’s accomplishments are significant since his appointment as the inaugural Chief of Department in Manheim Township. Kane has literally created a world class combination volunteer– career organization whose primary mission includes both service to the citizens coupled with a equal commitment to the safety of operating members. Examples abound. Kane produced Standard Operating Guidelines for the entire department and color coded them to correspond to the level of risk to personnel.

In addition to the establishment of standard operating guidelines that yield measurable results in terms of ensuring the safety of all personnel, Kane supervised the establishment of minimum training standards for all career and volunteer personnel. Training is one of the key cornerstones to the safety of personnel and Kane’s commitment in this area is exemplary. By setting the bar of excellence at a high level, Chief Kane has elevated the position of firefighter within his community to one of significant positive standing.  Recruitment is at an all time high as volunteer firefighters recognize this demonstrated commitment to their safety through his actions.

Billy Goldfeder Fire Service Organizational Safety Award
Cosponsored by VFIS, it’s awarded to fire service organizations of any size or composition that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment or significant contribution in the area of fire service health and safety. Fire departments, public agencies, private companies and other organizations that are affiliated with or sponsors of the IAFC may be considered for this award.

Prince William County (VA) Department of Fire and Rescue – Chief Kevin McGee
Following the line of duty death of a firefighter recruit during training in 2008, the Department formed a multi-dimensional Investigation Team to conduct a thorough investigation and report. The number one recommendation from the LODD report was to require all operational members (career and volunteer) to receive a medical evaluation in accordance with NFPA 1582.

In 2009, after collaboration with Fire and Rescue Association and as part of the new requirement and mandate set forth under Chapter 9.1 of the County Code, every Fire and Rescue member, whether career or volunteer, will be subjected to an NFPA 1582 medical physical, an OSHA Respiratory Questionnaire, and a Fit Test for their issues SCBA mask. All three of these components will be required annually for members to be permitted to participate in firefighting activities.

Garry Briese IAFC Safety Performance Award
This award is given to a section member in recognition of personal commitment and achievement in the area of health and safety.

Retired Chief Gary Morris

Chief Morris envisioned the concept and spearheaded the implementation of one of the boldest firefighter safety initiatives to date: the IAFC’s Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival and the Incident Commander’s Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Safety. Under his guidance, a working group of structural firefighting experts was convened through the Safety, Health and Survival Section and undertook the arduous task of building consensus on the subject of firefighter safety on the fireground. Morris remained committed to this critical project over the course of several years, ensuring that that product released to the fire and emergency service was complete.

Morris has authored nearly one hundred articles, many related directly to firefighter safety, which have been published in fire and emergency medical service journals and has lectured to over three hundred state, national and international conferences. He is a leading subject matter exert on firefighter safety, incident command and more.

Safety Officer of the Year

This award is presented to a safety officer in a fire department of any size or composition who has made a significant contribution to his or her organization or the fire service as a whole in the area of health and safety.

Training and Safety Officer Dave Zinther, Westmont (IL) Fire Department
In 2005 the ISFSI developed a 40-hour Safety Officer certification program that was adopted by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. This program was comprehensive in its scope and covered subjects both on and off the fireground.

Shortly after this program was developed, Dave Zinther was asked to take the position of Program Chair and begin delivering classes; the demand for this program was immense. Zinther and his select team of instructors went about the task of delivering as many classes as possible. In the eight years since the program was released over 1,000 firefighters and fire officers have been trained and certified. Zinther has displayed genuine leadership and passion for the material and has been diligent about keeping the program on the cutting edge of fire service education

The SHS Section thanks all those who submitted nominations for the 2011 awards program.

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