2012 Safety and Health Week Theme, New Website Announced


IAFC and NVFC Join Forces for 2012 Safety and Health Week Campaign reinforces the Rules You Can Live By on and off the fire ground

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) recently announced that Rules You Can Live By will be the theme for the 2012 International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week, to be held June 17-23.

The IAFC and NVFC encourage fire departments 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.

Rules You Can Live By
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 utilize 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.”

”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 C. 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 toward 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.

A New Look for 2012
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.

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.


Download these posters and place them in your department to remind all personnel and incident commanders of the rules they should live by.

Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival and Incident Commander’s Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Safety

The International Association of Fire Chiefs developed these Rules of Engagement to provide best practice model procedures that departments can use as part of their standard operating procedures/guidelines and firefighter training programs.

IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section

The International Association of Fire Chief’s (IAFC) Safety, Health and Survival Section was established to provide a specific component within the IAFC to concentrate on policies and issues relating to the health and safety of firefighters.

National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System

The National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System is a voluntary, confidential, non-punitive, and secure reporting system with the goal of improving fire fighter safety.  Submitted reports are reviewed by fire service professionals and identifying descriptions are removed to protect your identity. The report is then posted on this web site for other firefighters to use as a learning tool.

B.E.S.T. Practices for Firefighter Safety and Health

The NVFC has set forth their Firefighter Health and Safety Priorities in a series of B.E.S.T. Practices, which are divided into the four main categories of Behavior, Equipment, Standards and Codes, and Training. Learn the B.E.S.T. Practices and find resources for implementing them in your department.

Resources for Fire Operations

Resources for EMS Operations

Resources for Wildland

Resources for Vehicle Safety

S.T.O.P. – Vehicle Safety Training

The NVFC offers the S.T.O.P. (Safety Tops Our Priorities) training series on vehicle safety. The first course – Seatbelts Tops Our Priorities – is a 30-minute session that educates participants on the importance of using a seatbelt. The course examines how to encourage safety when responding to emergencies and how seatbelt use and safe vehicle operations can be enforced at the department level. The training is provided using an online platform from McNeil and Company’s Emergency Services Insurance Program (ESIP).

Emergency Vehicle Safe Operations for Volunteer & Small Combination Emergency Service Organizations

The NVFC and USFA created the Emergency Vehicle Safe Operations program to prevent firefighter deaths and injuries from vehicle accidents, which are historically the second leading cause of firefighter fatalities. This innovative educational program includes an emergency vehicle safety best practices self-assessment, standard operating guideline examples, and behavioral motivation techniques to enhance emergency vehicle safety.

International First Responder Seatbelt Pledge

Firefighters and emergency service personnel are encouraged to sign the Seatbelt Pledge in an effort to ensure the safety of all first responders driving or riding in fire department apparatus. This web site, administered through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Everyone Goes Home program, also includes public service announcements, videos, posters, training, and other resources for getting first responders to buckle up.

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