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IAFC announces health and safety campaign theme

Feb. 24, 2012, Fairfax, Va. - The International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Volunteer Fire Council announced this week that Rules You Can Live By is the campaign theme for the 2012 International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week, to be held June 17-23.

February 24, 2012
By IAFC

Fire departments are encouraged to suspend all non-emergency activity during Safety and Health Week to focus on safety and health training and education allowing all shifts and personnel to participate. An entire week is provided to ensure each shift and duty crew can spend at least one day focusing on these critical issues.

Safety and Health Week is a collaborative program embraced by more than 20 national and international fire and emergency-service organizations, with sponsorship provided by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Volunteer Fire Council. The event is coordinated by the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section (SHS) and the NVFC's Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program.

This year’s effort will capture the importance of responders taking care of themselves both on and off the emergency incident scene. Fire and EMS personnel can use the tools and resources of two nationally acclaimed programs: the SHS Section’s Rules of Engagement and the NVFC’s Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program.

“Survival in the fire and emergency service is like a coin, with operational safety on one side and a healthy lifestyle on the other,” said IAFC President Al Gillespie. “This is one of those cases where one plus one equals more than two. By offering a dual concentration this year, our goal is to reinforce the relationship between health and safety and the exponential return the combination can provide.”

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”Safety and health are two of the most critical issues facing firefighters and EMS personnel today, regardless of whether you are volunteer or career,” said NVFC chairman Philip Stittleburg.

“The entire fire service community must join together to create a culture where health and safety are a priority every day. The NVFC is pleased to partner with the IAFC to work towards this goal and make it a reality.”

Participating departments are encouraged not just to follow the theme, but to contribute to its larger body of knowledge. The IAFC and NVFC will provide planning resources on the Safety and Health Week website and encourage the community to submit links to additional resources, articles and SOPs that can help other departments.

International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week marks the unification of the IAFC’s Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week with the NVFC’s National Firefighter Health Week.

“Firefighters die as a result of heart attacks and emergency incident operations,” observed Battalion Chief Matthew Tobia, chair of the SHS section.

“This program brings together the collective energies of two outstanding programs with a clear focus on reducing preventable line-of-duty deaths and injuries. I thank the NVFC for their willingness to partner on this most important initiative.”

The most noticeable change for fire and EMS departments is a new, user-friendly website dedicated exclusively to Safety and Health Week: www.SafetyAndHealthWeek.org.

The partnership will also enable both programs to continue to build important discussions and create connections that can save lives, such as:

• Increased dialogue and sharing of best practices between career, combination and volunteer departments

• Inclusion of components to address command issues
• Increased outreach to the fire and emergency service community beyond North America

Begin your planning today. For more information visit Safety and Health Week online.