Original Article Posted by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The International Association of Fire Chiefs is urging all FIRE CHIEFS, FIRE OFFICERS, LABOR LEADERS and FIREFIGHTERS to join in a COVID-19 FIREFIGHTER SURVIVAL INFORMATIONAL STAND DOWN.
While there is no question that we are all aware of the impact of COVID-19 on the various levels of our workforce, it should be noted that as of December 30, 2021, there have been a total of 240 U.S firefighter deaths (86 in 2020 and 154 in 2021) since the start of the pandemic. Now, as 2022 begins, we are seeing a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases that continues to impact our fire and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel and our ability to provide staffing serve our communities.
The leadership of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has stated the importance of not letting our guard down when it comes to protecting ourselves from this disease. It is critical that firefighters be protected through vaccinations to maintain their readiness to respond to COVID-19 and other emergencies as we see the number of COVID-19 positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise due to the Omicron variant, amidst an already active flu season.
In an effort to embrace safe behaviors and practices through education, and as a part of the IAFC Safety Health and Survival Section’s Fire/EMS Safety Support System, the IAFC is recommending this Firefighter Safety and Survival Stand Down and is urging all fire service leaders to conduct a formal informational session at each fire and/or EMS station in North America during the week of January 9th through January 15th.
This EMERGENCY STAND DOWN provides fire service leaders an opportunity to focus attention on the impact of the COVID-19 virus and the safety, health, and survival of our workforces. Through formal presentations by leadership, to include the department’s medical director, firefighters and EMS personnel can receive life-saving education on the facts in an apolitical environment that focuses on personal safety; safety of firefighters’ families; and the safety of those we serve in our communities.
By following this link you can access a very informative PowerPoint presentation that can be used by fire officers and firefighters alike to facilitate informational sessions with factual data related to COVID-19 and the job tasks performed by our firefighters and EMS members. In addition, the IAFC has prepared and collected several additional resources that may be helpful for you to use during this session. These resources can also be found at: https://www.iafc.org/topics-and-tools/coronavirus-covid-19#covidResourcesIAFC.
Any questions you or your fire department has regarding information from this COVID-19 FIREFIGHTER SURVIVAL INFORMATIONAL STAND DOWN can be directed to the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section. Dr. James Augustine, MD, FACEP, and Chair of the IAFC COVID-19 Taskforce will then answer these questions through his weekly “Ask the Doc” program which can be found at www.science-alliance.org.