Creating a culture of safety

By William Hock, training chief, Fire and Emergency Services Branch DLA Installation Management Richmond

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Creating a culture of safety
Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond’s Fire and Emergency Services Branch Firefighter Stephen Williamson cooks a meal consisting of deer burgers, mashed cauliflower, asparagus and baked beans for fellow firefighters June 27, 2019. The menu choice follows training in healthy eating habits and foods to avoid that are linked to certain types of cancer taught during Firefighter Safety Stand Down week, June 16-22, 2019. (Courtesy Photo)
Creating a culture of safety
Creating a culture of safety
Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond’s Fire and Emergency Services Branch Firefighter Stephen Williamson cooks a meal consisting of deer burgers, mashed cauliflower, asparagus and baked beans for fellow firefighters June 27, 2019. The menu choice follows training in healthy eating habits and foods to avoid that are linked to certain types of cancer taught during Firefighter Safety Stand Down week, June 16-22, 2019. (Courtesy Photo)
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 190627-D-D0441-0002
Each year the third week in the month of June is designated as Firefighter Safety Stand Down week. This year’s national theme is “Reduce your exposure: It’s everyone’s responsibility” and is chosen by the Firefighter Safety Stand Down group.

The focus is placed on recommendations in the Lavender Ribbon Report issued by the International Association of Fire Chief and National Volunteer Fire Council that focuses on and provides training and resource materials to help reduce occupational cancer risks.

Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond’s firefighters participated in training the week of June 16.

Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond’s Occupational Health and Safety Clinic physician, Dr. Michael Levine, came to the fire department during the stand down week to give firefighters cancer prevention tips, and medical recommendations on how to reduce their exposures.

From his training session, firefighters learned their risks for below cancers are higher compared to the general public:

Testicular cancer (2.02 times greater risk)
Multiple myeloma (1.53 times greater risk)
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (1.51 times greater risk)
Skin cancer (1.39 times greater risk)
Prostate cancer (1.28 times greater risk)
Malignant melanoma (1.31 times great risk)
Brain cancer (1.31 times greater risk)
Colon cancer (1.21 times great risk)
Leukemia (1.14 times greater risk)

Having an added emphasis on safety for an entire week allows firefighters focus on professional education and personal health while maintaining a flexible schedule to respond as emergencies may arise on center. Training sessions were given multiple times to accommodate different firefighting shifts.

Having a safety-focused and mentally-ready fire department enhances the services provided to the public, said Rick Ferrell, assistant chief and supervisory fire protection specialist, Fire and Emergency Services Branch, DLA Installation Management.

With a safety culture present in the fire service from day one at the training academy and People and Culture being at the center of DLA’s Strategic Plan, DLA Installation Management Richmond’s chief fire officers continue to encourage a safety first attitude in all aspects of the organization.

For more information on firefighter safety stand down week you can visit www.safetystanddown.org.