Tag Archives: fire service culture

Let’s build some kindness into our firehouses

The word brotherhood is thrown around in the fire service all day long. This day reminded me of what the word really means. This is a dangerous profession, and we would die for each other and there are many times we do. I ask you today to put aside the pettiness between us as brothers and sisters. The pettiness between shifts. The pettiness that separates operations from daywork. The pettiness of destroying someone’s reputation over a rumor. The pettiness that comes from an occupation that breeds alpha personalities and competitiveness that often ends friendships.

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Is Safety Stand Down 2024 really addressing the basics?

I'm also not sure how these five topics address "back to basics." To my mind, this year's Safety Stand Down should be using the five days to address firefighter safety issues that continue to plague the fire service across the board after decades (e.g., lack of seatbelt use, lack of accountability systems, not wear PPE correctly or appropriately). Building the Foundation of a Training Program; Assessing the Needs of the Community and Department; Safety During Training; Physical and Behavioral/Mental Health Considerations; and the 12 Foundations of Fire Department Training.

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NFPA 1407: 14 years later, what’s your RIC policy?

In the fourteen years since its initial publication, NFPA 1407 has been a big part of fire departments elevating the "status" of the RIC as a critical fireground task assignment on par with that of search, fire attack, ventilation, and laddering. While this has been a positive step in the right direction regarding firefighter safety, the RIC is a "reactive" approach to firefighter safety. The RIC is in the "background" until something goes wrong (e.g., a firefighter becomes lost, entrapped or otherwise endangered). The presence of the RIC can also provide a false sense of security, especially when the RIC consists of only two firefighters.

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What’s in Your Fire Department’s Behavioral Health “Toolbox?”

Fire departments that are looking to provide an effective behavioral health program for their members would do well to model the approach that the fire service has taken with its tiered response to hazardous materials incidents. They would further serve the best interests of their firefighters by collaborating with mental health clinicians, preferably those at the Specialist Level, just as they would if developing their own hazardous materials response team.

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Firefighter Suicide: We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

We must do better in understanding what causes a firefighter to take their own life, and one place we need to start is by gaining a true picture of what leads a firefighter to take their own life. We can only gain that true picture by conducting research in the form of psychological autopsies, that is, using the proven tools and methodologies of psychology.

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