The, its Volunteer and Combination Officers Section, and the International Association of Fire Fighters announced the third International Fire and EMS Safety Stand Down, to be held the week of June 17–23.
The Stand Down, themed “Ready to Respond,” will focus on proper training and equipment levels. It also aims to prepare firefighters and emergency medical technicians to respond to, mitigate and return home safely from an emergency. Failure to remain cautious can cause routine activities to become hazardous, as has been shown in many line-of-duty deaths and injuries.
"We have already lost 28 firefighters this year and we must do everything within our power to keep our first responders safe,” said IAFC President Jim Harmes. “I urge all departments to use this stand down to keep the focus on the safety and well-being of our first responders.”
In March, the IAFC announced the stand down expanded from one day to one week, including a weekend, to allow for all duty shifts and volunteers to participate and to provide flexibility to all departments. In addition to the extended schedule, EMS has been added because of its integral role in emergency response.
“Because more than three-fourths of all fire fighters are volunteers, it is critical that the largest portion of the fire fighter and EMT population takes part in stand down,” said VCOS Chair Chief Tim Wall. “I encourage all volunteer and combination departments to use stand down as a tool to review operations and to make sure everyone is ready to respond.”
It's estimated that up to 10,000 fire departments participated in last year’s stand down, and it is anticipated that the number will increase this year.
“It is critical that our members take the opportunity during the Safety Stand Down to recommit to working safely and to performing all of our duties in the safest manner possible,” said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “Firefighters must also have the necessary resources needed to do their jobs so that when the alarm sounds they are truly ‘Ready to Respond’ to every emergency in the safest possible manner.”
Participating departments will have access to many resources, including a detailed schedule of events, lessons learned, safety reports, links to firefighter health and wellness programs, and a chief’s guide to planning and outreach. For more information or to sign up for the stand down mailing list, visit www.iafc.org/standdown.