Fire and emergency management/Health and Safety Policy
Objective; to outline the development the ‘Anytown’ Fire Department’s health and safety program.
Administrative Mission Statement: Firefighting is a career that has dangerous work associated with its occupation; with this in mind the Anywhere Fire and Emergency Services management is committed to the goal of achieving a safe and healthy working environment for its personnel. The Anytown Fire and Emergency Service Management will make every effort of achieving a safe and healthy work environment by following all OSHA, AOSH laws and regulations
A safety program will be developed in accordance with the NFPA 1500 and the standards and policies of the Anytown Fire Department. It will create and incorporate into its daily operations the following positions and committees to achieve the goal of a safe working environment. 1) A Health and Safety Officer, 2) an Incident Safety Officer, 3) A Health and Safety Committee, and 4) a partnership between the three mentioned parties to achieve the for-mentioned goals.
NFPA 1500 Safety and Health Policy. 4.3.1* The fire department shall adopt an official written departmental occupational safety and health policy that identifies specific goals and objectives for the prevention and elimination of accidents and occupational injuries, exposures to communicable disease, illnesses, and fatalities.
4.3.2 It shall be the policy of the fire department to seek and to provide an occupational safety and health program that complies with this standard for its members.
4.3.3* The fire department shall evaluate the effectiveness of the occupational safety and health program at least once every 3 years.
188.8.131.52 An audit report of the findings shall be submitted to the fire chief and to the members of the occupational safety and health committee.
Responsibilities: The Anytown fire chief will ensure that this policy is implemented and maintained as a routine function of the Anytown Fire Department overall strategic plan. The fire chief will assign fire department members to positions of Health and Safety Officer, Incident Safety Officerand members to a Health and Safety Committee. These assigned duties will be:
a.The Health and Safety Officer (HSO) will ensure compliance with this policy and NFPA 1500 Chapter 4.7 and will oversee the Health and Safety Committee, Incident Safety Officer and will be the Fire and Emergency Service Liaison to the Anytown Public Safety Directorate. The HSO must meet the qualifications for HSO as designated in the NFPA 1521 Standards for Fire Department Safety Officer. Other functions of the HSO will include performing risk management assessments, ensure the applicable laws, codes and standards are followed, ensure all fire department personnel receive training and other related education to this policy, responsible for accident prevention policies, accident investigation, procedures and review, maintains records and data analysis concerning all health and safety practices. The HSO will also ensure guidelines and procedures will be in place and administered for safe practices while working with fire apparatus and equipment, fire department facilities, health and fitness programs, infectious control, Critical Incident Stress Debriefings and post incident analysis.
b.The Incident Safety Officer (ISO) will be ensuring the departments Incident Management System is in place and used during all emergency and needed training operations. The ISO must meet the qualifications for ISO as designated in the NFPA 1521 Standards for Fire Department Safety Officer. This person will be the incident scene safety officer when available and will be responsible to ensure there are other fire department personnel trained to take the position in his/her absence. The ISO will establish safety procedures for fire suppression, EMS operations, HazMat operations and special operations. The ISO will also be responsible for accident investigation and review and post incident analysis in order to provide an on going assessment of training and work functions in order to improve where needed, if needed.
c.The Health and Safety Committee (HSC) will comply with NFPA 1500 Chapter 4.5 and assist the HSO and ISO to accomplish the health and safety guidelines are developed, implemented, reviewed and assist in training all fire department personnel in all areas of this policy in order to help prevent injury or death while performing fire department related duties. There should be a committee of 8 personnel, the HSO, the ISO, two fire officers, two engineers and two firefighters. Each member should take an active part in this committee and have an interest in this subject area. Each member must me willing to instruct others and assist in ensuring the policies are met.
Fire Service Health Concerns: Today’s fire department personnel face a multitude of health related concerns within their work environment. Some health risks come from exposures to hazardous environments such as infectious diseases and other blood borne pathogens and cancer inducing agents while performing on the job tasks. While other health risks are caused by poor physical health or poor health practices such as tobacco or alcohol use. Health concerns don’t always relate to physical issues, department personnel are subject to the same mental stresses of everyday life as everyone else plus a large amount of stress put on them by job related activities such as stress of getting the job done right and emotional stress of witnessing sometimes sad and tragic events in the peoples lives that we are there to help. Because of these issues, Anytown fire department will ensure that all fire department personnel are trained in good health practices and when the time is needed, to make sure that personnel suffering from mental and emotional stress are given the opportunity to get assistance to overcome the situation before it becomes a serious problem. This section will discuss the types of health related issues and what the Anytown fire department will be doing to assist those in need.
1.Physical Health. 50% of fire department related deaths are caused by heart attacks and heat stress. The Anytown fire department will establish programs that will help eliminate or reduce the chance of heart attacks while the body is under physical stress. The department will also provide education in the area of maintaining good health and also campaign against poor health choices such as tobacco use and other related ‘choices’.
2.Department physician: The Anytown fire department will have a physician from the local hospital that will assist with the employee health program and will maintain employee health records related to the fire department. The physician will track and assist the employee in good health practices and fire department on the job health issues. The fire department will schedule annual physicals with this physician for each employee for the purpose of periodic assessments of the employee’s health relating to this policy. The physician will be responsible for deciding ‘fit for duty’ for each employee. Employees may use their own physician for personal health care and even use their own doctor for fire department related health issues. However, for work related health issues, copies of the medical records pertaining to those specific issues must be kept at the office of the ‘department physician’ in order for work related health concerns can be tracked and reviewed in order to assist in possible elimination of health risks that may have caused the concerns in the first place.
3.Physical Fitness Program. This program will be aimed at improving the physical health of all fire department personnel. It will use the 8 fundamental elements of a good health program structure which are; 1) health base line, 2) periodic assessment, 3) prevention program, 4) early detection, 5) prompt and confident intervention, 6) treatment, 7) rehabilitation and 8) the return to work. It will include a physical fitness work out designed to reduce the risk of heart attacks and improve cardio vascular fitness. All fire department personnel are required to participate in this program as a condition of employment. The fire department will provide or train an employee to provide proper physical fitness training such as a personal fitness trainer to assist all personnel with their fitness program.
4.Prevention of injuries. Keeping fire fighters healthy and preventing injuries ensures great success in the wellness and effectiveness of the fire department. With this in mind, proper training and standard operating procedures will greatly enhance the chances of this area being successful. This section will address accident and injury prevention, risk factors that may lead to accidents and injuries and proactive programs to ensure these factors are lessened or eliminated all together.
a.Annual physical: Each employee will be given a physical exam by an appointed physician as a base line and have an annual physical there after to review the employee’s health. All personal information will be confidential between the physician and the employee unless the employee’s health becomes a risk to the employee and or the department. At that time, the fire chief or department health and safety officer will be contacted and a meeting between the employee, the physician and the chief officer will be scheduled to discuss a remedy to the situation.
b.Training: Shortfalls in training may cause on the job injuries when poorly trained personnel may make mistakes which could result in firefighter injury or death. So in order to help prevent on the job injuries, training will be provided to ensure that all fire department personnel are trained to the best possible level of performance to help prevent injuries. A training program will be established with safety and high task proficiency in mind for all Anytown fire department personnel. Training will be provided to meet or exceed the minimum levels of training IAW NFPA code 1500 chapter 5 for all levels and duties listed under this code that are related to the Anytown Fire Department.
c.During responses: Extreme care will used during all emergency and routine responses. All applicable state and local laws and regulations governing emergency response vehicles will apply and be strictly adhered to. Drivers will be fully qualified and trained to help prevent accidents while driving fire department vehicles for routine business and emergency responses. The Anytown FD will provide training in the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) to all FD personnel and will have refresher courses annually IAW state statutes for emergency vehicle operations.
d.Exposure to carcinogens and other hazards: Firefighters are inherently exposed to all types of hazards while performing their jobs. It is important to identify as many hazards as possible and take a proactive step in lessening or better yet, eliminating as many of these hazards as we can. To do this, Anytown fire department will establish a program to identify these hazards and exposures and follow established guidelines for exposure control techniques and procedures for each of the hazards.
e.Cardiovascular illness prevention is the intention of the above mentioned physical fitness program. Firefighters often perform duties that cause stress on their hearts. Because of this, a cardiovascular illness prevention program is very important to long term health of the firefighter. Anytown FD will provide education to maintain a healthy heart and encourage all employees to maintain good health in this area by providing those programs already mentioned above in the physical fitness program.
f.Mental and emotional stress prevention (risk factors). Besides physical stresses on firefighters, there are also mental and emotional stresses that affect firefighter’s health and performance. A program will be developed to assist fire department employees who are suffering from or are subject to suffer from this type of stress. Such programs such as the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) will be used when needed to provide support for those firefighters in need. Training will be provided to fire department personnel to recognize the signs, symptoms and risk factors in order to help with early detection and prevention.
g.S.A.D (stress, alcohol and drugs) prevention. Drug and Alcoholism prevention programs will be used to promote a drug and alcohol problem free work environment.
h.Sex-based medical issues. Anytown fire and emergency services is a equal opportunity employer so all health and safety programs will be designed to meet the needs for both male and female employees providing specific gender related provisions when needed. These provisions should not create any advantages or disadvantages for either gender.
i.Infectious diseases, inoculation, exposure control. All fire department employees will maintain their current inoculations to provide maximum protection against diseases. Also, firefighters will follow procedures to limit and control exposure to infectious diseases by wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when necessary IAW local EMS protocols. A data collection system shall maintain individual records of any occupational exposure to known or suspected toxic products or infectious or communicable diseases.
j.Cleanliness of PPE. Personal Protective Equipment will be maintained in a clean and serviceable condition. Anytown fire department will provide a means to maintain PPE cleanliness and repair/replacement as needed. A second set of PPE will be kept on hand as a backup to be used when the primary set is being cleaned or repaired.
Fire Department Safety Program
Due to the many hazards that are evident to us in the fire and emergency services, safety is a major concern. If we can not be safe in our way of doing things, we can not guarantee that we will be able to provide the best care to our customer or even go home at the end of our shift. The National Fire Protection Association has developed the NFPA standard 1500 that specifies how the fire departments do business in a safe way. This fire department will adopt this standard as a basis of our policies. All personnel will adhere to these policies and standards to help ensure a safe work environment, whether performing day to day routine tasks or providing emergency services under adverse conditions.
NFPA 1500 and other related NFPA standards referenced within NFPA 1500 will be used in conjunction with this policy. This policy will only highlight the areas covered in detail in NFPA 1500 and other related references. These areas are the administration of the health and safety programs, training, fire apparatus, protective clothing, incident management, facility safety, medical and physical requirements, member assistance and wellness programs and critical incident stress program.
1.Administration; (ref: NFPA 1500 ch. 4) This fire department shall develop and adopt a comprehensive written risk management plan, develop applicable policies, based on existing laws, codes and standards, responsibilities, maintain records, describe duties of the health and safety team, provide programs for training and education, accident prevention and investigation, equipment and facility specifications and inspections, and health concerns.
2.Training; (ref; NFPA 1500 ch. 5) This fire department shall establish and maintain a training and education program for all department members with a goal of preventing occupational deaths, injuries, and illnesses. Training and education will be provided for all department members commensurate with the duties and functions that they are expected to perform. The fire department shall restrict the use of new members during emergency operations until the member has been given appropriate training and has demonstrated the skills and abilities to complete the tasks expected. As a duty function, members shall be responsible to maintain proficiency in skills and knowledge provided to the member through department training and education programs.
3.Fire Department Apparatus; (ref; NFPA 1500 ch. 6) All applicable standards in NFPA 1500, chapter 6 shall apply to Anytown fire department. These standards include specification, design, construction, acquisition, operation, maintenance, inspection, and repair of all fire department apparatus, restraint devises, and securing tools and equipment. Training and a qualification program will be used for all driver/operators of fire department apparatus and applicable laws and regulations will be strictly adhered to while operating fire apparatus. Procedures for emergency response shall emphasize that the safe arrival of fire apparatus at the emergency scene is the first priority. All persons riding in fire apparatus shall be seated and belted securely by seat belts in approved riding positions and at any time the vehicle is in motion. Standing or riding on tail steps, sidesteps, running boards, or in any other exposed position shall be specifically prohibited. An inspection, maintenance, and repair of fire apparatus program will be developed and used IAW applicable standards, regulations and owners manuals of each assigned apparatus. Anytown FD will develop a program for the purchase, safe usage and maintenance of all tools and equipment used by this fire department.
4.Protective Clothing; (ref; NFPA 1500 ch.7) This fire department shall provide each member with the appropriate protective clothing and protective equipment to provide protection from the hazards to which the member is or is likely to be exposed. Such protective clothing and protective equipment shall be suitable for the tasks that the member is expected to perform and the protective equipment shall be used whenever the member is exposed or potentially exposed to the hazards. Protective clothing will be purchased, maintained and cleaned IAW applicable standards and manufactures recommendations. This fire department shall adopt and maintain a respiratory protection program that addresses the selection, care, maintenance, and safe use of respiratory protection equipment to include a PASS device, training in its use, and the assurance of air quality. Life safety rope systems, face, eye and hearing protection will be provided and used by all fire department personnel while performing tasks that have potential to cause injury to those areas.
5.Incident Management; (ref; NFPA 1500 ch.8) Emergency operations and other situations that pose similar hazards, including but not limited to training exercises, shall be conducted in a manner that recognizes hazards and prevents accidents and injuries. An incident management system shall be established and utilized at all emergency incidents, drills, exercises, and other situations that involve hazards similar to those encountered at actual emergency incidents. The incident commander shall be responsible for the overall management of the incident and the safety of all members involved at the scene and will integrate risk management into the regular functions of incident command. The fire department shall establish procedures for a personnel accountability system, provide an adequate number of personnel to safely conduct operations, provide personnel for the rescue of members operating at emergency incidents, rehabilitation, and post-incident analysis.
6.Safety Standards for fire department facilities; (ref; NFPA 1500 ch.9) The fire department shall have an established system to maintain all facilities and to provide prompt correction of any safety or health hazard or code violation, all shall comply with all legally applicable health, safety, building, and fire code requirements. There will be a site safety plan developed and on display for the fire station facility.
7.Medical Requirements. (ref; NFPA 1500 ch.10) Candidates and members who will engage in fire suppression shall be medically evaluated and certified by the fire department physician and shall meet the medical requirements specified in NFPA 1582. The fire department shall develop physical performance requirements, medical certification for the use of respiratory protection, establish and provide a health and fitness program, ensure that a confidential, permanent health file is established and maintained on each individual member, and actively attempt to identify and limit or prevent the exposure of members to infectious and contagious diseases.
8.Member Assistance Program and CISD; (ref; NFPA 1500 ch.11 and 12) The fire department shall provide a member assistance program that identifies and assists members and their immediate families with substance abuse, stress, and personal problems that adversely affect fire department work performance. The wellness program shall provide health promotion activities that identify physical and mental health risk factors and shall provide education and counseling for the purpose of preventing health problems and enhancing overall well-being. The fire department shall establish a program designed to relieve the stress generated by an incident that could adversely affect the psychological and physical well-being of fire department members. The program shall be made available to members for incidents including but not limited to mass casualties, large life loss incidents, fatalities involving children, fatalities or injuries involving fire department members, and any other situations that affect the psychological and physical well-being of fire department members.
Health and Fire Safety Programs for Public Awareness; The Anytown Fire and Emergency Services will develop and implement a public awareness health and safety program to be made available to the local community by offering classes to those who request it. Subjects such as fire safety in the home, medical health concerns, child safety, and disaster preparedness should be just some of the topics to be presented.
Note; This outline development process would be reviewed by the health and safety committee prior to finalizing and again on a annual basis or as needed.
REFERECES; NFPA 1500 NFPA 1521 Managing Fire and Rescue Services (Project Resource Manual) Ft. Lewis Fire and Emergency Services Health and Safety Program SOPs FDNY Health and Safety web site
Another good reference but not used was;