Chicago Fire Department & National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
Chicago, IL--Emergency response is all about saving lives and property and working to prevent incidents. In a profession where the emphasis is placed on public safety and welfare, it has become all too common to have the actual responder's well-being over-looked. Injuries and fatalities that are sustained through training, transit to a scene, or health issues are just some of the things that can harm a first responder. Many of these occurrences can be prevented.
Using a Fire Prevention & Safety (FP&S) Grant for video production and distribution, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) worked with many organizations, including the Chicago Fire Department (CFD), to create a video that all first responders should watch at least once. "The culture of firefighting requires us to do everything we can to make sound decisions, so we can be in a position to help the people we serve when they most need it," said Ronald J. Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF.
The national initiative known as Everyone Goes Home® has been tasked with reducing the incidence of line-of-duty injuries and deaths by advancing firefighter health and safety to become key priorities in every fire service organization. The 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives, which can be found on the NFFF Web site, define global strategies for change within the profession that will result in quantifiable reductions in firefighter fatalities and injuries.
Fire and rescue personnel experience accidents while performing in the line of duty, during training exercises, and/or during off-hours after responding to an incident. It was determined by the NFFF that something had to be done to prevent further tragic incidents. Director of Fire Service Programs at NFFF Victor Stagnaro said that "the concept was born out of the Firefighter Life Safety Summit of Chicago in 2004. The purpose was to examine what was being done to prevent line-of-duty injuries and deaths."
Since the summit, NFFF has been involved with CFD in the production of the grant-funded firefighter safety video entitled Everyone Goes Home®. Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert S. Hoff hosts the video, asking all firefighters to watch the video and listen to its message.
"We arrived in Chicago and set up interviews, captured video, had six days of footage to cut down to 38:29 length, and a lot of really great footage didn't make it," said Stagnaro. The video took nearly one year to complete and was produced and directed by Rob Maloney of Cool Water Multimedia. The concepts covered in the video are not new, as these are issues that first responders deal with on a daily basis.
The safety of the crew is paramount when responding to a fire, EMS call, or emergency incident. No call is ever routine and each team member responding should be prepared for anything that may occur. The NFFF determined that on-the-job deaths could be attributed most commonly to neglect in the following areas:
- Participation in training
- Seat belt use
- Knowing structure types
- Ability to have situational awareness
- Use of maydays
- Maintaining health and wellness
- Proper use of personal protective equipment
- Resisting complacency
- Cautious transit during vehicle operations
All of the tragedies involving these areas are preventable.
The video breaks down each aspect of safety into chapters. Key points are discussed clearly and easily through a series of first-hand accounts taken from surviving firefighters and families of fallen firefighters, including:
- Seatbelts: Always wear your seatbelts.
- Structures: Ask yourself how the structure could seriously injure or kill you.
- Situational Awareness: Know where you are at all times, understand the weather, and know your limits.
- Maydays: If you think you are in trouble, you are in trouble.
- Health and Wellness: Fifty percent of all line-of-duty deaths are from heart attacks.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Be game-ready when you hit the door, and know your equipment and its limitations.
- Complacency: There is no such thing as a routine fire or EMS call.
- Vehicle Operations: Get there and return safely.
- Consequences: Nearly all of the line-of-duty deaths and serious injuries are preventable.
Everyone Goes Home® can be viewed by visiting the NFFF Web site at //www.everyonegoeshome.com/chicago/. If you are a professional who works within the field of emergency response, you owe it to yourself, your friends, and your family to watch this video. This video has already started making a difference in departments around the country. Stagnaro goes on to say that "an 11-year veteran firefighter found the video on the NFFF Web site and said that he never wore a seat belt, but will start wearing one tomorrow."
"When we leave that door, we take care of each other," says Hoff. The creation of this video is proof that extra precautions, especially within the areas reviewed in the video, can ensure that everyone in your department goes home.
What They Bought With The Grant:
- Video Production