The Fort Wayne Fire Department will be participating in the 2008 Safety, Health and Survival Week, being held the week of June 22-28, 2008. This safety emphasis week is sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) of the IAFC. 

As part of its commitment to safety, FWFD will have a demonstration of its new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus equipment (SCBA) from 1-2 p.m., Wednesday, June 25, at the Regional Public Safety Academy, 7602 Patriot Crossing. 

Firefighters will demonstrate how the SCBA Air-Pak 75 operates.  Chief Peter X. Kelly said, “FWFD will be replacing and upgrading its SCBA equipment paid in large part by an Assistance to Firefighters Grant of just over $400,000 that our department received from the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency'€™s National Preparedness Directorate.”  Jim Ridley, President of International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 124 added, “Every one of our firefighters is committed to safety in all aspects '€“ individually, for the crew and the community we serve.  This new SCBA signifies a commitment to our firefighters to provide the best equipment we can so that each one of them '€˜goes home safely,'€™ a motto of firefighters everywhere.”

“We are looking forward to participating in the Safety, Health and Survival Week,” said Chief  Kelly. “Safety is paramount in all that we do day in and day out so taking the time to join with our fellow firefighters in this safety review is necessary to learn all that we can to keep our firefighters and community as safe as possible.”

The theme “Safety, Health & Survival,” 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.

In 2007, 115 firefighters died in the line of duty; already this year, 53 have been lost. The purpose of the Safety, Health and Survival Week is to reduce these deaths and injuries by calling attention to safety practices and improving them. These types of safety emphasis weeks and events have been used by the military for years to correct issues that have been identified as a problem throughout the ranks.

“We will be reviewing safety in all aspects including in regards to our use of apparatus and personal protective equipment as well as personal health and remembering those who have died in the line of duty,” said Chief Kelly.