Drills: The Role of the Safety Officer

Firefighters partake in extrication training.

(Photo by Tony Greco)


In this collection of firefighter training drills, Forest Reeder takes a look at the various roles and responsibilities that fall to the incident safety officer on the fireground.

Drill: Basic Duties

Even if you are not the designated safety officer for your fire department, almost the entire content of the drill will apply to officers and firefighters alike.

Drill: Prioritize Hazards

After an incident safety officer identifies a hazard, it must be evaluated in relation to how urgent the management of the hazard is.

Drill: Initial Scene Duties

This training drill puts you in a face-to-face meeting with the incident commander (IC) and asks you to establish an understanding of a number of incident factors.

Drill: Monitoring Incident Communications

This installment discusses the importance of monitoring radio communications as an evaluation tool of imminent and potential safety hazards.

Drill: Monitoring Scene Operations and Conditions

This drill will discuss some basic incident scene and operational hazards that need to be evaluated.

Drill: Monitoring Crew Progress

What observations and information do you need to monitor the progress of crews working at an incident?

Drill: Defensive Operations

For the safety officer, exterior operation duties have specific hazards that extend beyond establishing and protecting collapse zones.

Drill: Time Management

The incident safety officer can perform several critical safety observations relating to time.

Drill: When Is a Safety Officer Due to Respond?

Fire department policy and procedure should identify specific types of incidents in which a safety officer is due to respond or should be assigned by the IC.

Drill: Safety Officer Responses

Qualifications for the safety officer need to be defined as part of your policy but, in general, the safety officer must be trained to at least the same level of those who are operating at the incident.

Firefighter Training Drills by Forest ReederForest Reeder began his fire service career in 1979. He serves as Division Chief of Training & Safety for the Des Plaines (IL) Fire Department. He is a past recipient of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) prestigious George D. Post Instructor of the Year award and has been responsible for the design, implementation and coordination of in-service firefighter training activities as well as a full-service fire training academy program. Forest holds numerous Illinois fire service certifications and holds a Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration from Lewis University.

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