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News | June 29, 2016

DSCR fire department participates in Safety Stand Down 2016

By Robert Williams, training chief, Fire and Emergency Services DLA Installation Support at Richmond

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility,” “Take two for safety,” “Safety is job one,” “Do it safely or don’t do it,” “Our goal is zero injuries,”… there are too many slogans about safety to cover here.  No industry, occupation, profession or group of individuals understands the importance of safety more than the fire service. Yet, every year - it often seems that every day - there is an incident where someone is injured, and sometimes killed because a “culture of safety” fails. We, as the fire service professionals, fail when this happens, so safety has to take the front, right seat, the coveted leadership position.

This is not a new phenomenon, and because of that leading fire service organizations started a Fire Safety Stand Down a few years ago. Through the years the name for this week has changed; however, the focus and mission has not - safety has to be ingrained in everything we do. This year it is being called “Safety Stand Down 2016.”

Defense Logistics Agency Installation Support at Richmond’s Fire Department celebrated Safety Stand Down last week, June 19-25. We encouraged everyone to take the opportunity to participate and encourage others to embrace and participate in a “Culture of Safety.”

The installation’s Fire and Emergency Services was fully involved and has a standing committee focused on safety issues with participation from different organizational levels. The committee put together a comprehensive program for the week covering and delivering this year’s topic and other related topics to our fire and EMS personnel.

But, this is not a “one and done” event for our organization. We participate in the DLA Richmond Safety office monthly online training and our personnel develop and deliver an in-house safety message each and every week.  We also investigate all incidents, and near misses, within the fire department to determine what can be done to prevent a reoccurrence.

Safety Stand Down 2016 was an opportunity for fire departments to reengage and support a “culture of safety” and you can do the same.  You can contribute to a “culture of safety” both here at work and home.

At work you can do a walkthrough of your building to make sure the exit paths are clearly marked and unobstructed.

You can also have a safety meeting and discuss the up-coming summer season. Some topics to cover include reviewing safe grilling techniques and picnic tips:

·       always place the grill within approximately three feet of clearance from all combustibles;

·       if you use charcoal, dispose of cooled coals in a responsible manner, maybe a metal container;

·       have a fire extinguisher handy when using a grill; and

·       be careful when leaving cold foods out in the heat, they go bad quickly and may cause food poisoning.

At home, you can review your escape plan with your family. Remember the term “EDITH” or exit drills in the home”. Make sure everyone knows how to call the local fire department (911) when there is an emergency and review the family meeting place location. To practice your plan, have a home fire drill.