Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Protecting firefighters who protect us

If your house catches on fire, you don’t think twice about the fact the fire department will be there in a flash. Most people, however, don’t think about all the liabilities associated with the safe operation of your local fire service.

Emergency response personnel are challenged with the task of protecting the public while facing known and unknown hazards every day. Properly trained staff must arrive, deploy and attack a fire within specific time frames to ensure the safety of fire department personnel and the public.

The Municipal Association’s self-insured workers’ compensation program, SC Municipal Insurance Trust, recently offered fire service training to help minimize risks for firefighters and the public. Participants learned about a variety of risk management activities to curtail the number of lawsuits filed against their departments.

Firefighting safety, risk management and legal liability are interdependent. Improving firefighter safety through management decisions, policy and procedure development, and training will reduce incidents and will ultimately reduce liability costs.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the National Fire Protection Agency are two resources that provide employers, business owners, and the public with fire protection information. The OSHA fire safety checklist provides employers with fire safety tips to protect employees from fire hazards. 

This video shows how quickly a flashover can occur in home.  Having a fire protection plan is essential to avoiding the loss of assets, but most importantly the loss of life.

To further protect one of a fire department’s most valuable resources, its staff, SCMIT offers a fire service grant to members to assist with the purchase of personal protective equipment

By Venyke Harley, Loss Control Manger, Municipal Association's Risk Management Services 

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