Surviving the Fire Ground – Fire Fighter, Fire Officer and Command Preparedness 2011

Safety Week 2011

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) are pleased to announce the 2011 Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week (also known as Safety Week) to be held the week of June 19-25, 2011.

The message this year is: Surviving the Fire Ground – Fire Fighter, Fire Officer and Command Preparedness

Safety, Health and Survival Week (Safety Week) is a collaborative program sponsored by the IAFC and the IAFF, coordinated by the IAFC’s Safety, Health and Survival Section and the IAFF’s Division of Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine, in partnership with more than 20 national fire and emergency service organizations.

Fire departments are encouraged to suspend all non-emergency activity during Safety Week and instead focus entirely on survival training and education until all shifts and personnel have taken part. An entire week is provided to ensure each shift and duty crew can spend one day focusing on these critical issues.

With so many changes (budget cuts, staffing reductions, reduced training, etc.) in so many fire departments, it is critical for fire fighters to focus on their own survival on the fire ground. There is no other call more challenging to fire ground operations than a MAYDAY call — the unthinkable moment when a fire fighter’s personal safety is in imminent danger.

Fire fighter fatality data compiled by the United States Fire Administration have shown that fire fighters “becoming trapped and disoriented represent the largest portion of structural fire ground fatalities.” The incidents in which fire fighters have lost their lives, or lived to tell about it, have a consistent theme — inadequate situational awareness put them at risk.

Fire fighters don’t plan to be lost, disoriented, injured or trapped during a structure fire or emergency incident. But fires are unpredictable and volatile, and an unpredictable fire ground can cause even the most seasoned fire fighter to be overwhelmed in an instant.

This year’s Safety Week will focus on delivering the online IAFF Fire Ground Survival (FGS) awareness training course to all fire departments. The program is the most comprehensive survival skills and MAYDAY prevention program currently available and is open to all members of the fire service. Additional planning tools and resources will be available on the Safety Week website.

The IAFF Fire Ground Survival Program (FGS) is the most comprehensive survival-skills and mayday-prevention program currently available and is open to all members of the fire service. Incorporating federal regulations, proven incident-management best practices and survival techniques from leaders in the field, and real case studies from experienced fire fighters, FGS aims to educate all fire fighters to be prepared if the unfortunate happens.

For links to the IAFF Fire Ground Survival Program, HERE and HERE

The program will provide participating fire departments with the skills they need to improve situational awareness and prevent a mayday. Topics covered include:

  • Preventing the Mayday: situational awareness, planning, size up, air management, fitness for survival, defensive operations.
  • Being Ready for the Mayday: personal safety equipment, communications, accountability systems.
  • Self-Survival Procedures: avoiding panic, mnemonic learning aid “GRAB LIVES”— actions a fire fighter must take to improve survivability, emergency breathing.
  • Self-Survival Skills: SCBA familiarization, emergency procedures, disentanglement, upper floor escape techniques.
  • Fire Fighter Expectations of Command: command-level mayday training, pre-mayday, mayday and rescue, post-rescue, expanding the incident-command system, communications.

Keep watching the website and the IAFC’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for continuing updates to this year’s program and planning resources.

Remember to visit the SHS Section’s website for more information on health and safety issues and the IAFF’s Health, Safety and Medicine’s website for more information on health, wellness and safety programs.

Additionally, look for a comprehensive series of articles, activities, insights, downloads, podcasts, video clips and resources that will be posted each day of Safety, Health and Survival Week here on, and

Announcements and campaign materials will begin posting in Mid-May.

We will be offering a special series of live shows nightly on Taking it to the Streets on and blogtalkradio during the week of June 19-25, 2011 addressing key issues with a stellar line-up of fire service leaders.

This will be an exceptional opportunity to listen in, call in and participate actively in the week’ theme of Surviving the Fire Ground – Fire Fighter, Fire Officer and Command Preparedness.

These shows will be mission critical. Stay Tuned for more upcoming information.



Start making your plans for Safety, Health and Survival Week 2011…..

The Consciences Observer or Activist
The operative question going forward will be this: What will you personally commit to for Safety, Health and Survival week, or your department chose to do; participate in, contribute, join in, share, lead, promote, instruct, present, facilitate, help, assist, aid, or neglect, disregard, undermine, abuse, challenge, demoralize, undercut, damage, torpedo, circumvent, or avoid?

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