Reducing Firefighter Injuries & Preventing Fatalities
Bill Pessemier underscores the need for the fire service to adopt a culture of operational risk management.
Firefighters take too much risk for too little benefit. For example, firefighters were recently killed in two separate incidents, one involving the collapse of a residential building over 24 hours into the fire while attempting to extinguish hot spots and another while attacking a fire in the basement of an unoccupied building. These losses of life occurred during efforts to save property.
These line-of-duty deaths (LODDs) are tragic because they could have been prevented. While it is right and fitting to honor the sacrifice these firefighters made, it is also time to stop the sad and unnecessary loss of life in the fire service. It is time to recognize that efforts to reduce fireground injuries and fatalities have been largely ineffective, and that other approaches to the problem must be examined. With this in mind, this article takes a hard look at the problem and offers two approaches that have been proven to reduce injuries and prevent fatalities in high-risk occupations.