COLLEGE STATION — The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is calling upon all Texas fire departments and personnel to join the national effort in observing the upcoming National Firefighter Safety Stand Down Day, Tuesday, June 21.
The Safety Stand Down Day is endorsed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and more than 14 national fire service organizations in response to the numerous line-of-duty firefighter deaths that have occurred this year in the United States.
There have been 50 line-of-duty firefighter deaths in the nation this year, with four of those occurring in Texas. TEEX, a member of The Texas A&M University System, serves as the state’s fire training system within Texas and is urging fire departments to begin a special emphasis focusing on firefighter safety.
Chief Les Bunte, division director for TEEX’s Emergency Services Training Institute, encourages all departments across Texas to promote, observe and participate in the national awareness campaign.
“All Texas fire departments, chief officers and firefighters should always place a high priority on safe operations throughout the year on every call and exercise they are engaged in,” Bunte said. “Observing the Safety Stand Down Day will call attention to this disturbing trend of firefighter deaths experienced this year. This will hopefully encourage and reinforce our firefighters to practice occupational safety every day.”
In accordance with this national initiative, fire departments are encouraged to suspend all non-emergency activities June 21 and conduct special training and awareness programs for their staffs that focus on firefighter safety.
In addition, all volunteer fire departments are encouraged to have a special meeting for the purpose of conducting firefighter safety and awareness training.
“Firefighters are being killed at an alarming rate. The fire service simply cannot continue to do business as usual when so many of its own are dying,” said IAFC President Chief Bob DiPoli. “We are conducting the stand down to raise awareness of the need for increased vigilance toward firefighter safety.”
TEEX is taking several steps to assist the Texas fire service with the observance of this stand down. The agency has developed a two-hour Firefighter Safety Awareness Training Program that is available on the TEEX Web site, www.teex.com/esti, which includes a PowerPoint presentation, downloadable files and links to appropriate Web sites and information.
TEEX will also conduct special “Firefighter Safety Awareness” classes at six locations across Texas. These two-hour programs will be taught by TEEX staff in College Station, Rhome, Houston, Fort Davis, Weslaco and Freeport.
These programs will highlight safety awareness for all phases of fire and emergency medical services operations and will identify resources available to support department safety programs. For additional information, please call (979) 845-2122 or toll-free (866) 878-8900.
Recognized as the world’s premier emergency services training institute, TEEX annually trains more than 70,000 firefighters and emergency responders from throughout Texas, all 50 states and more than 40 countries.
TEEX offers hands-on, customized training, exercises, technical assistance and technology transfer services impacting Texas and beyond.