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Firefighters Hone Skills To Remain at the Ready:

The Santa Monica Fire Department will be participating in the 2007 International Fire and EMS Safety Stand Down on June 17-23, sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Volunteer and Combination Officers Section of the IAFC.

          “Our Firefighters are dedicated professionals requiring the highest level of training and equipment to efficiently mitigate potentially dangerous situations and to effectively serve the public,” said Fire Chief Jim Hone.  “Firefighters conduct some form of training every day in order to maintain certain skills for the multitude of emergency conditions they may face at any given moment.  Having a specific day to focus on their personal safety and the equipment they use to provide quality customer service without sustaining serious injuries in the performance of their duties is very important.”

          “Stand Down” is a term that has been used by the military for years for an exercise to correct issues that have been identified as a problem throughout the ranks.  This 2007 IAFC Stand Down will be conducted at each local fire station on all shifts so that all of Santa Monica’s 106 firefighters will participate during the week.

          “In 2006, 105 firefighters died in the line of duty [in the United States],” said SMFD Training Captain Scott Ziegert.  “Already this year, 26 have been lost. The purpose of the Stand Down is to reduce these deaths and injuries by calling attention to safety practices and improving them.”

          The Stand Down, themed “Ready to Respond,” will focus on preparing firefighters and EMS personnel for their daily duties by reviewing their training and the proper use of equipment to ensure safe response, mitigation and return from all emergency situations. Failure to remain cautious can cause routine activities to become hazardous, as has been shown in the many fire service and emergency medical service line-of-duty deaths and injuries. 

          During this exercise, each member will inspect his or her Personal Protective Equipment (turn-out suit and helmet); all department SCBA’s (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) and face masks will be inspected as well.  Any of this equipment needing repair or replacement will be addressed immediately.  In addition, all personnel will review the Department’s “Contagious Disease Exposure Procedures,” which are the guidelines that provide for the safety of firefighters and all members of the community when dealing with contagious and infectious disease.

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