Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week June 17-23

Rules You Can Live By is the theme of the 2012 International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week, June 17-23. The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NFVC), both sponsors, say this year’s focus is on the importance of responders taking care of themselves both on and off the emergency incident scene.

Fire departments are encouraged to suspend all nonemergency activity during Safety and Health Week to focus on safety and health training and education, allowing all shifts and personnel to participate. The event spans an entire week to ensure each shift and duty crew can spend at least one day focusing on these critical issues.

“Survival in the fire and emergency service is like a coin, with operational safety on one side and a healthy lifestyle on the other,” says IAFC President Al Gillespie. “This is one of those cases where one plus one equals more than two. By offering a dual concentration this year, our goal is to reinforce the relationship between health and safety and the exponential return the combination can provide.”

“Safety and health are two of the most critical issues facing firefighters and EMS personnel today, regardless of whether you are volunteer or career,” says NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “The entire fire service community must join together to create a culture where health and safety are a priority every day. The NVFC is pleased to partner with the IAFC to work toward this goal and make it a reality.”

Participating departments are encouraged not just to follow the theme but to contribute to its larger body of knowledge. The IAFC and NVFC will provide planning resources on the Safety and Health Week Web site and encourage the community to submit links to additional resources, articles, and standard operating procedures that can help other departments.

The user-friendly Web site www.SafetyandHealthWeek.org is dedicated exclusively to Safety and Health Week. For more information, visit Safety and Health Week online.

Line-of-Duty Deaths

February 13. Firefighter Zachary Whitacre, 21, Gore (VA) Volunteer Fire & Rescue: injuries sustained from accident involving apparatus in which he was riding; incident under investigation.

February 22. Firefighter Jeremy Tighe, 18, McCutchanville Fire Department, Evansville, IN: injuries sustained from accident involving apparatus in which he was riding.

February 25. Firefighter/Fire Marshal Matt Waller, 27, Memphis (TX) Fire Department: stroke suffered while on duty in the fire station on February 16.

Source: USFA Firefighters Memorial Database

MA defeats home fire sprinkler proposal

The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) has defeated a proposal that would have amended the Massachusetts One- and Two-Family Building Code to allow for home fire sprinklers. Fire chiefs from across Massachusetts have expressed their disappointment and outrage at the vote.

“The BBRS is letting down the people of Massachusetts today and for generations to come by allowing substandard homes to be built in Massachusetts,” said Ashburnham Chief Paul Zbikowski, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts. “Not only are they ignoring the minimum level of safety established by model codes, they are putting our firefighters unnecessarily in harm’s way.”

The BBRS promulgated a building code for the commonwealth in August and omitted the provision to require home fire sprinklers in new construction. The state fire marshal filed a proposal to allow local communities to be able to set the requirement if they chose to do so; the BBRS defeated this proposal at a February 14 meeting.

For additional information, visit www.firesprinklersma.org.

NIOSH releases firefighter fatality reports

The following reports on firefighter fatalities were recently released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:

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