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Friday, January 27, 2012

Everyone Goes Home

Robbinsdale Fire Station
On a Monday night in November, the Robbinsdale Fire Department allowed me to sit in on their weekly training. That night Greg Hayes presented the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s “Everyone Goes Home: 16 Life Safety Initiatives.” The fast-paced presentation showed numerous video clips of firefighters making mistakes and taking needless risks—sometimes they were lucky, and other times not.

Greg brought the message home as he challenged the class with questions like, “Does our culture ever clash with safety?” In some of the video clips we saw of others making mistakes, we had a chance to see ourselves.

While the videos rolled through scene after scene, he continued to pepper us with questions like, “Have you seen that?” and “Why can we see where this is going…” The scenarios were so accurate and reflective of real-world experiences that at one point the instructor pointed to himself in a photo and said, “Yep, that’s me—what’s wrong with this picture?”

Initiative #1 focuses on “the need for a cultural change within the fire service related to safety, incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability, and personal responsibility.” This initiative was the main theme of the nightand to make the message even more personal, Greg shared his story about the impacts of a line of duty death in his department. The room was silent.

The last thing Savage firefighters see as they leave for a call
This program has been presented to about 10% of the firefighters in Minnesota. It needs to be seen by 100%. Crawford Weistling, Tim Zehnder, and Greg Hayes are taking this training to all corners of the state. I encourage fire departments to bring this training to their fire hall. The cost of the class can be reimbursed by the Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education. Make the most of this opportunity and invite the local police and EMS providers to the training as well— this message really does apply to the whole team.

I thank Chief Mark Fairchild, his firefighters, and Greg Hayes for letting me be a part of their world for one night. Greg started the presentation by saying, “I knew what kind of place this was when I opened the door.” I agree—it was spotless. Keep up the good work and remember:

Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next time…flight crews on emergency runs.

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

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