Safety Should Always Come First for Firefighters. Train That Way.

Editor’s Note: This is the first tip from TargetSolutions’ special report, “Eight Great Tips for Training Your Crew,” a best practices guide. To view the entire report, please click here.
Tips for Firefighter Safety
The fire service has evolved over the last few centuries, but one thing remains constant — brave firefighters continue to risk their lives to protect others. So when it comes to training, the ultimate goal is to give personnel the skills they need to do the job as safely as possible. Of course, you already know that — the question is how do you do it effectively? What areas do you focus on? Here are four tips for firefighter safety to educate your firefighters that can make a huge difference in their well being at the end of the day.
>> According to a study completed by the NFPA, more than 30 percent of firefighters killed since 1990 died from smoke inhalation after running out of air and becoming lost inside a structure fire. Airway management is vital during fire suppression, so it is important to teach personnel to understand their own “rate of consumption” while using SCBA gear.
>> Speaking of SCBA, how often do members race to an emergency without their seat belt? This happens despite the fact the greatest likelihood of a vehicle collision is while responding to an incident. In fact, from 1996-2007, the U.S. Fire Administration reports vehicle collisions claimed 257 firefighters lives and another 53 died after being struck by a vehicle. That’s nearly 25 percent of all firefighter fatalities during that period. Emergency responders can’t help anyone if they are struck by an oncoming vehicle. A recommended solution is parking the truck in position to block the scene from oncoming traffic. Wearing a vest and using flares, cones and warning signs are also effective.
>> Live-fire training is critical to performance, but the majority of training deaths happen during these essential exercises. NFPA 1403: Standard on Live Fire Training Evolutions was established following several instances where firefighters lost their lives during training. By educating personnel to this standard, firefighters will have information they need to conduct live fire training in a safe manner.
>> You’ve heard it before — high blood pressure is the fire service’s “silent killer.” It’s no joke that 70 million Americans suffer from hypertension and members of the fire service are especially vulnerable. The United States Fire Administration has reported 44 percent of all firefighter deaths come from heart attacks. The first step to combat this silent killer is identifying it through regular checkups.
Eight Great Tips for Training Your Crew
1. Safety Should Always Come First. Train That Way.
2. Two Steps for Strategizing What Training Comes Next.
3. Train Your Crew to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service.
4. Implement Online Training, Watch Your Department Thrive.
5. The ABCs of Training: Always Be Creative.
6. Utilize Pre-Incident Plans During Teamwork Exercises.
7. Comprehensive Training Records Don’t Just Happen.
8. Situational Awareness Is a Trainable Skill.

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