The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) was notified that the federal Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) program funding that supported the internationally acclaimed National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System was not renewed. The system, which has become a staple in local fire department’s daily safety resources, national data collection and college-level fire sciences class curriculum, will be cut off as soon as this Friday, September 28. The IAFC is working with program partners and others to save the cache of invaluable data compiled by responders throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“When the IAFC started this program, we were creating something completely unique that took on firefighter line-of-duty deaths head-on and at their root,” said Chief Hank Clemmensen, IAFC president and chairman of the board. “At the time, we didn’t know if it would work, but we took the risk because we believed that chiefs and front-line responders, working collectively, could make a difference. It’s unfathomable that now that we have proven results, the peer reviewers didn’t believe in it.”
The IAFC had been awaiting the results of the most recent peer-review process, and official word finally arrived that future grant funding would not be forthcoming.
“The IAFC is a staunch supporter of AFG. We fought for its creation and continue to lead efforts to make sure those funds exist to support local programs and ensure the peer-review process stays in place,” continued Clemmensen. “But, it’s a bitter pill to know that members of the fire and emergency service placed such a low value in a program that empowers all local responders, benefits all departments and directly contributes to the reduction of all line-of-duty deaths.”
The National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System, which has earned the support of 13 partner organizations and countless testimonials from all walks of the fire service, was created as a free, voluntary, confidential, nonpunitive and secure reporting system to improve firefighter safety by providing lessons learned to local departments.
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