Safety Stand Down June 19-25, 2016

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“The First Five Minutes”

“Stretching the Initial Hose Line, Putting Water on the Fire.”


Use this week to educate your department on what all personnel should be doing in the initial five minutes of fire incident response to ensure the safest, most efficient response.

Safety Stand Down is a joint initiative of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). The event is coordinated by the NVFC and the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section, and is supported by national and international fire and emergency service organizations as well as health and safety-related organizations and agencies.

Fire departments are encouraged to suspend all non-emergency activity during Safety Stand Down in order to focus on training and education related to this year’s theme:  Learn more about this year’s theme.

Safety Stand Down 2016 Training Resources: The First Five Minutes

In addition, the following resources can help you focus on the safety of personnel:



SHS-FDSOA Safety Forum

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Call for SHS members to present at Safety Forum
January 18-20, 2017
Wyndham Orlando Resort
Orlando, FL
The Safety, Health and Survival Section (SHS) has partnered with the Fire Department Safety Officers Association to deliver an informative, high level conference geared toward leadership, safety and health in the fire service. Six speaking slots have been allocated to SHS to address topics related to those subjects.

Some of the topics SHS is looking to address include:

  • Overcoming safety challenges in a department
  • How the speaker demonstrated leadership in implementing a successful health and safety program in their department
  • How leadership in a department implemented a successful health and safety program
  • Transitional attack (or fire dynamics) implementation success stories
  • “Safety” Leadership in an “Extinguishment” Environment
  • You and Your Safety Officer: partnership or pain in the neck?
  • Other topics that may be relevant to the leadership-safety-health categories

SHS is seeking recommendations for speakers to fill the six speaking slots. If you know a dynamic SHS member or someone in your organization that has a compelling story to tell related to one of the topics listed above, contact John Tippett (

2016 Paul S. Sarbanes Award presented to FDSOA

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The 2016 Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Award for Fire Service Safety Leadership was presented to the Fire Department Safety Officers Association on Thursday, May 5th, at the Congressional Fire Service Institute’s 28th annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner in Washington, D.C.

FDSOA Press Release on Sarbanes Award

IAFC Declares Support for National Fire Service Cancer Initiative

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The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Board of Directors has adopted a position statement in support of the National Fire Service Cancer Initiative.

Submitted by the IAFC Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) and supported by the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section (SHS), the position statement encourages chiefs of fire and rescue departments to support the initiative being facilitated by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.

“With the rate of firefighter deaths linked to cancer growing every year, we also encourage departments to look for other ways to be proactive in alleviating exposure to known toxins and carcinogens,” the statement says. “We strongly support the funding for, and provision of, secondary firefighting hoods and gear bags to transport Personal Protective ensemble (PPE) as ways to mitigate exposure to such carcinogens. Furthermore, we encourage the continuous use of SCBA through overhaul and the use of disposable wipes at every fire during rehab to remove potential carcinogens.”

The statement says the IAFC “strongly recommends that all fire and emergency service agencies/organizations develop written policies and have procedures in place to support and enforce these policy recommendations.”

The position statement was adopted by the IAFC Board of Director on May 12, 2016. Read full position statement.

The First Twenty – The Foundations of Functional Fitness Webinar

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SHS invites everyone to join in on this important topic on Fitness.
The First Twenty - The Foundations of Functional Fitness Webinar May 19th @ 11 am EST.
From increased health and safety to injury prevention and stress reduction, Dr. Mark Abel will talk on the different inputs that went into the development of The First Twenty’s Crash Fire Fitness Program.

Register at: Foundations of Functional Fitness

Firefighting creates unique challenges that often compromise firefighters’ health, safety, and performance. The First Twenty has developed an innovative and comprehensive approach to address these challenges. This Webinar will provide an overview on the evidence-based strategies The First Twenty has implemented to enhance firefighter health, safety, and performance. Topics, such as injury prevention strategies, exercise training with firefighting equipment, fitness vs. fatness, and how to safely train firefighters on-duty will be discussed. In addition, we will explore innovative research endeavors that represent the future of creating a more prepared Fire Service.

Presenter: Mark Abel, Ph.D., CSCS*D, TSAC-F*D, USAW is an Associate Professor and Director of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Abel is a former firefighter who conducts research to improve the safety, health, fitness, and occupational performance of firefighters and law enforcement officers. He has authored more than 25 peer-reviewed publications and 2 book chapters on related topics, presented 50 papers at conferences, and has been funded by State and National Agencies. He recently received the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s prestigious Tactical Strength and Conditioning Practitioner of the Year Award (2016).


SHS 2016 Elections

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The IAFC’s Safety, Health and Survival Section  (SHS) is currently seeking candidates for the open positions on the section board. The positions open for the 2016 election are:

• Three at-large directors (3-year term, expiring 2019)
• One at-large director (2-year term, expiring 2018)
• Chair (2-year term, expiring 2018)
• Vice Chair (2-year term, expiring 2018)
• Secretary (2-year term, expiring 2018)
• Treasurer (2-year term, expiring 2018)

Those who have completed a candidate submission (see Submission Instructions below) and meet the eligibility requirements will be placed on the ballot. The individuals receiving the greatest number of votes from eligible voters will be declared elected. The section will conduct the online election in May and June.

Eligibility for Office

Officers of the section’s board must be non-retired, current, regular section and IAFC members at the time of their candidacy; if elected, they must maintain IAFC and section membership for the duration of their terms.

To be an officer of the section, the member must have served a minimum of one 3-year term as a member of the Section’s Board of Directors.

At least six of the nine at-large directors of the section’s board must be non-retired, current regular section and IAFC members at the time of their candidacy; if elected, they must maintain IAFC and section memberships for the duration of their terms. No more than three of the at-large directors may be retired chief officers.

Any at-large director of the section’s board who retires while in office will be permitted to remain in office for the duration of his or her term as long as the number of retired directors on the board doesn’t exceed three. If a retirement causes this number to rise to four, the director will remain in office until the next regular annual meeting of the section, when a new director will be elected by the membership.

Section members who are associate members of the IAFC may not serve on the section’s board.

Submission Instructions

If you wish to put your name forward as a candidate, email the following information to staff liaison Richard Miller at

• A letter of interest that specifies the office you’re seeking
• A copy of your resume
• A one-page summary of your qualifications for the position
• A signed letter from your superior, indicating support for your candidacy

The final deadline for submitting your intent to run is May 1. Anyone who misses the deadline will not be considered for the ballot in 2016.

Email submissions are preferred, but letters of submission will also be accepted.

This year’s election committee chair is Battalion Chief Carol Brown, Boulder (Colo.) Fire Department

Firefighter Safety Through Advanced Research FSTAR with Branford Fire Department

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Dan Madrzykowski – is a fire protection engineer with the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI). Dan spent the past 30 years conducting fire research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and will be sharing fire dynamics research results from both organizations. Assisted by Chief (Retired) Cecil Clay of the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

FSTAR In Connecticut for presentation with the Branford Fire Department, in association with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) present a Firefighter Safety Through Advanced Research (FSTAR) Townhall. The townhall is a one-day training event focused on modern fire behavior research, science and the tactical considerations that can be used to reduce risk to firefighters operating on structure fires. – See more at:

Call for Nominations for SHS Awards 2016

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Time is now to nominate a key person in your department

April 1st is the deadline for nominations

Nominations are now open for the annual Safety, Health and Survival Section Awards. These awards recognize organizations and individuals of organizations (of any type and size of department/organization) that have made a significant contribution to the overall environment of health and safety in their organizations and/or the fire service. Awards will be presented at Fire-Rescue International 2016 in the following four categories:

 Alan Brunacini Fire Service Executive Safety Award (co-sponsored by Provident Insurance)
 Billy Goldfeder Fire Service Organizational Safety Award (co-sponsored by VFIS)
 Garry Briese IAFC Safety Performance Award (Co-sponsored WHP Training Towers and SHSS)
 Safety Officer of the Year (Co-sponsored by FDSOA and MSA)

Deadline for submitting nominations is April 1, 2016.


FDSOA Clearing the air on Certification what it means to really be certified

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By Michael Petroff, Battalion Chief, Ret.FDSOA

As the former chairman of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association, I often heard individuals say that they are certified through the National Fire Academy as a safety officer. They aren’t—the NFA has never certified anyone. It is a training institution. Exams are given throughout the delivery of a course and at its conclusion, to measure if the learning objectives have been met.

What is certification? In the simplest form, certification is a test that states on a given day you passed an exam that met a national consensus standard. Certification is about passing an exam based on National Professional Qualification Standards from a Pro Board or IFSAC-accredited certifying agency. It is not about taking an exam at the end of a 40-hour course.

To be accredited by the Pro Board or IFSAC, certifying agencies go through an extensive evaluation process to guarantee that their question-banks meet the current national standard, that everyone receives a fair and impartial exam, and there is a security system in place for their question and test banks. The certifying agency has to be re-accredited every five years.

Why is it important to be certified? Certification provides verification that an individual has demonstrated proficiency and an ability to do his or her job in accordance with nationally recognized peer-developed standards. It also provides for a level playing field and a common form of knowledge measurement for all fire service personnel, regardless of their status as career, paid on call or volunteer or the size of their department. Certification also validates training programs and indicates that the training program meets a national consensus standard.

Certifications issued by an accrediting agency such as the Pro Board will have the name of the agency and the wording “It is hereby confirmed that … having been examined by an accredited agency in the National Qualification System is certified as…” The certification certificate also will name the professional qualification standard, the standard number and edition, and the level to which the individual is certified. In addition, the certificate will have a certificate number, date and, depending on the certifying agency, an expiration date.

Several certifying agencies, such as the Fire Department Safety Officers Association, issue their own certificates along with a national certificate from their accrediting agency. Others may issue only their certificate and affix a Pro Board or IFSAC seal to the certificate. The common bond is that a certificate of certification will have a certificate number on it plus the name, level and edition of the National Professional Qualification Standard. Remember, a certificate of certification should have on it the name of the certifying agency, the name of the accreditation agency, the name of the National Professional Qualification Standard and edition, the level to which you are certified, the date and certificate number. Recertification is at the discretion of the certifying agency.

The Fire Department Safety Officers Association was accredited by the Pro Board in 1999 and was reaccredited in 2014. FDSOA has been accredited to certify to all levels of NFPA 1521, Fire Department Safety Officer (2015). Since 1999 FDSOA has certified or recertified over 4,000 safety officers in 548 fire departments in 41 states, the District of Columbia, four Canadian provinces and in Saudi Arabia.

For more information on Fire Department Safety Officers Association contact: Rich Marinucci, Executive Director, Ph: 248.880.1864 or visit:

The First Twenty

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First20_logo_RGB The First Twenty Hear the words and thoughts of the firefighters who are dedicated to protecting and serving our communities. “If we can save one firefighter… because they were in better shape and healthier, than we have begun to make a change. Over the next year, The First Twenty will provide monthly webinars and information on health and fitness programs that meet the needs of both career and volunteer firefighters. Topics will include physical performance, tactical nutrition, and mental performance. As Chair of SHS Chief Scott Kerwood stated “the SHS Section is excited about our new partnership with The First Twenty. This is a program, which if followed, will positively change the lives of firefighters all across this land. I have my entire fire department signed up with The First Twenty. So when are you going to follow my lead?” “The First Twenty is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the health, safety and performance of the American firefighter. Our mission is to decrease Line of Duty Deaths due to heart attack in today’s fire service and increase mental well-being”, said David Wurtzel, Founder and Executive Director of The First Twenty. The First Twenty is committed to designing fitness, wellness, and educational programs based on the most up-to-date research. By bringing together key stakeholders to create data systems, the First Twenty is seeking to contribute to future research on firefighter health and fitness. In addition, they are working with the universities and hospitals to develop research to advance firefighter wellness. The Safety Health and Survival Section will work directly with The First Twenty to establish a dedicated fund to help offset health screening charges for fire departments. For every IAFC member who signs up, the SHS Section will receive a 20% donation to assist with establishing a SHS-run fund to assist those in the fire service who are in need of financial support to pay for health screenings. The SHS is committed to reducing firefighter injuries and death and to finding ways for every firefighter to receive an annual NFPA 1582-compliant medical physical. Tactical High Performance Program Please sign up at The First Twenty Tactical High Performance Program and start your path to a long life and many years of health as a member of the fire service. The First Twenty  Tactical High Performance Program This holistic program provides critical performance fundamentals specifically designed to address the unique physiological and psychological challenges facing today’s firefighting force. • Physical Performance Tools and Guidance. • Mental Performance Tools and Guidance • Tactical Nutrition Tools and Guidance • Stress Reduction Tools and Guidance Sign up for the program: The First Twenty Visit our Facebook page ( ) to get motivated and stay informed. The First Twenty    

Tactical High Performance Program

Please sign up at The First Twenty  Tactical High Performance Program (, and start your path to a long life

and many years of health as a member of the fire service.