Firefighting puts intense strain on firefighters, both physically and mentally. It is critical that firefighters receive a comprehensive rehab program after fire incidents.
The Safety Stand Down campaign encourages departments to suspend nonemergency activities for a week to conduct safety training focused on physical and psychological rehab, which are critical to mitigating the physiological and mental impacts of firefighting. Departments should revisit rehab procedures to ensure that post-incident protocol covers all areas of health and safety, including cardiac, nutrition, exposure, psychological, hydration and heat stress.
Education and training resources are available on the Safety Stand Down website for fire departments to use within their programs throughout the week. Some of the resources supporting “Rebuild Rehab” include:
- Standards and guidance on developing a rehab program, including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1584 Standard on Rehabilitation Process for Members during Emergency Operations and Training and the U.S. Fire Administration publication, Emergency Incident Rehabilitation PDF.
- Cardiac health and nutrition resources from the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the NFPA and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.
- Behavioral and mental health resources, including the NVFC's Psychologically Healthy Fire Departments: Implementation Toolkit and the IAFC's Yellow Ribbon Report – Under the Helmet: Performing an Internal Size-Up.
- Resources on heat stress and hydration, exposure mitigation, rehab support operations, as well as sample documents and Stand Down success stories.
Safety Stand Down is sponsored by the IAFC's Safety, Health and Survival Section, the NVFC, and the NFPA. The NFPA will host the annual 2021 Safety Stand Down Quiz. Everyone who completes the quiz will receive an entry into a sweepstakes to win one of 200 commemorative Safety Stand Down challenge coins.
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: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times