TAVARES — The Lake County Department of Public Safety, Fire Rescue Division, on June 22-28 will focus on the safety, health and survival of firefighters as part of an international campaign to reduce line-of-duty deaths within the fire/EMS service.
In 2007, 115 firefighters nationwide died in the line of duty, and already this year, more than 40 have been lost. The purpose of Safety, Health and Survival Week is to help prevent deaths and injuries by calling attention to safety practices and improving them.
“We believe it’s critical year-round to emphasize health and fitness, and we will focus on specific training and reviews during this week in June,” said Jack Fillman, Lake County Fire Rescue Assistant Chief and spokesperson. “It is important for all personnel to participate this year.”
The theme of this year’s Safety, Health and Survival Week is “Committed to Long-term Results.” The campaign encourages long-term investments by both fire administration and firefighters to enhance their health and safety. The theme reflects the need for organizational action that supports and encourages a safety culture. Safety, Health and Survival Week will bring international attention to the need to address preventable injuries and deaths among firefighters.
Lake County Fire Rescue and its counterparts around the nation and the world will focus on preparing firefighters and EMS personnel for their daily duties by reviewing their training and the proper use of equipment to ensure safe response, mitigation and return from all emergency situations. Failure to remain cautious can cause routine activities to become hazardous, as illustrated by fire-service and EMS line-of-duty deaths and injuries.
“This year’s focus is on seat-belt safety, and our goal is to be 100 percent compliant,” Fillman said. “All Lake County Public Safety personnel that drive emergency vehicles have agreed to sign the Brian Hunton National Fire Service Seat Belt Pledge. We will also focus on proper nutrition, the importance of physical exercise, body fluid isolation and eye protection, which includes all personnel being issued their own safety glasses.”
The 2008 Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week is sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) along with Lake County Fire Rescue locale IAFF # 3990. Formerly known as the Safety Stand Down, the campaign is part of the IAFC’s new, comprehensive Fire/EMS Safety Support System.
For more information about Lake County’s participation in the Safety, Health and Survival Week, call the Lake County Fire Rescue Division at (352) 343-9458.