During a great Firefighter II practical class last night, there were a few instances where basic fundamentals were addressed. In a class like Firefighter II, we sometimes get so focused on the given objective that we forget our overall objective of safety. The use of seat belts, proper PPE and good work techniques can not be emphasized enough.
Early in the class we discussed the use of seat belts anytime an apparatus is in motion. Must of us understand the need for such safety measures but it does bear repeating. Too many firefighters and motorist for that matter die or are injured each year in motor vehicle accidents. The few seconds it takes to buckle up is well worth the insurance in your safety, not to mention it is required by law.
On another occasion during the class, the students were working hard loading supply line back on the apparatus after working an evolution several times. Everyone was hot and working hard. Several students removed their turnout coats to stay cool which, in this case, was perfectly acceptable according to SOGs. I also noticed a couple of students had removed their helmets as well. Of course, with the possibility of a head injury from falling objects while working overhead, this was not a good idea. After being reminded, the quickly corrected the issue. It is always good to be reminded of our surroundings and what is going on. Everyone knows our PPE can be very uncomfortable, especially when working hard. Always maintain the proper PPE according to your SOGs to ensure a safe, injury free working environment.
It seems instructors and officers beat the safety horse long and hard these days. Unfortunately it is still necessary. We are still loosing firefighters to safety related accidents every year. The more cognizant of our surroundings and the safety considerations that go along with it, we can all ensure we go home safe.
Now go learn something!
Lt. David Kramer is the Training Officers for Northern Piatt County Fire Protection District. Lt. Kramer heavily promotes education in the fire service, attending every training opportunity possible and then passing that information on to the members of his own department.