NIOSH Highlights Firefighter Fatality Prevention Resources for National 'Stand Down' Safety Initiative
June 20, 2005
Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
During the week of June 20, 2005, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will highlight its web-based resources for identifying, correcting, and preventing risks to firefighters for fatal injuries in the line of duty. NIOSH is taking the action in conjunction with the “Stand Down for Firefighter Safety,” sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and several other agencies and organizations, including NIOSH. The safety stand down begins on June 21, 2005.
On its web home page, NIOSH will prominently spotlight its extensive topic page on preventing fire fighter fatalities. The link for the topic page is www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire.
The topic page provides a summary of NIOSH’s firefighter fatality investigation and prevention program, copies of reports from all of the firefighter fatality investigations that NIOSH has conducted under the program, copies of NIOSH research documents that provide findings and recommendations on specific issues related to firefighter safety, and other resources. The IAFC’s web page on the Stand Down lists NIOSH as one of the resources that can be used to help fire departments plan their safety stand downs www.iafc.org/standdown/resources.aspexternal icon.
“NIOSH’s independent field investigations identify distinct, real steps that fire departments and others can take to prevent future deaths of firefighters,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “We are pleased to express our support for this week’s initiative, and additionally pleased that NIOSH has been cited as a resource for saving firefighters from death and injury.”
More information on the Stand Down is available on the IAFC web page, www.iafc.org/standdown/external icon. “A stand down is a method used by the military to correct an issue that has been identified as a problem throughout its ranks,” the IAFC said. “The IAFC and its partners are urging fire departments to suspend all non-emergency activity on June 21 and instead focus entirely on firefighter safety.”
The United States currently depends on approximately 1.1 million fire fighters to protect its citizens and property from losses caused by fire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration estimate that on average, 105 fire fighters die in the line of duty each year. In fiscal year 1998, Congress recognized the need for further efforts to address the continuing national problem of occupational firefighter fatalities, and funded NIOSH to conduct independent investigations of firefighter line-of-duty deaths.
NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. It is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For further information about NIOSH, call toll-free 1-800-45-NIOSH (1-800-456-4674) or visit www.cdc.gov/niosh.