Fire departments provide invaluable services to communities nationwide. They respond to all emergency situations. They also respond to nonemergency service calls and good intent calls. Often what is described to dispatchers does not reflect the actual incident. Nevertheless, fire departments are trained and prepared to respond to a broad array of situations. Each year in the United States approximately 100 fire fighters are killed while on duty. Although the number of fire fighter fatalities has steadily decreased over the past 20 years, the incidence of fire fighter fatalities per 100,000 incidents has actually risen. Despite a downward dip in the early 1990s, the level of fire fighter fatalities is back up to the same levels experienced in the 1980s.' In 2005, 80,000 fire fighter injuries in the line-of-duty were reported?an increase of 5.6 percent from the year before. In 2006, an estimated 83,000 fire fighter injuries were reported as occurring in the line-of-duty." Even with considerable amounts of training, many injuries can be prevented by making simple behavioral modifications and adopting safety as a primary value. For example, although national standards requiring seat belts have been in place since 1987, statistics from the United States Fire Administration (USFA) show fire fighter fatalities in motor vehicle crashes (MVC), where seat belts were not worn, persist. In cases where the use of seat belts was known, 3 of 4 fatalities were not wearing their seat belt.'" Research shows safety problems occur at the individual, group/team (crew), overall organization (fire department) and systems (fire service and emergency response agencies) levels. The lAFF supports the NIEHS WETP belief that pre-incident training is critical for workers who may find themselves responding to a disaster. The lAFF's Frontline Safety curriculum seeks to address this. This program enhances the safety and health training of current hazardous materials workers and chemical responders (fire fighters) and augments prevention preparedness efforts in a wide variety of high-risk settings. The safety culture in the fire service is, in many cases, responsible for unfortunate, preventable accidents and fatalities. In order to reverse these preventable accidents/predictable surprises, it is important to understand both safety and culture. Fire fighters have come to accept the above unfortunate statistics as part of doing the "business" they are in. Those statistics are unacceptable. Fire fighters can reduce injuries and fatalities, if they act with safety as the primary value. The lAFF, therefore, requests continued renewal of funding under the NIEHS Hazardous Disaster Preparedness Training Program (HDPTP) to further train first responders in hazardous materials, with a focus on health and safety. In the following paragraphs, the lAFF will document its past successes and effectiveness in planning, implementing and operating worker health and safety training programs and employing adult education techniques. Since receiving its first NIEHS award in 1987, the lAFF has updated its existing programs and developed new programs to meet the changing needs of the target population. To date, the lAFF has developed 15 training programs to meet the needs of first responders. Many of these classes are offered in an Instructor Training/Train-the-Trainer (TtT) format, allowing departments to develop their own, in-house cadre of instructors. The lAFF's past successes in performance and effectiveness of training programs will be discussed in great detail throughout this proposal. lAFF training programs are designed to meet or exceed minimum requirements of federal regulations and national industry standards. These training programs incorporate information on potential hazards, describe appropriate actions personal protective and other rescue equipment, and stress the importance of preplanning. Additionally, lAFF training programs are designed to meet the needs of the adult learner, and incorporate students'accumulated knowledge and experience. The lAFFprovides seven key components of adult learning: 1. An environment where students feel safe and supported, where individual needs and uniqueness are honored, where abilities and life achievements are acknowledged and respected. 2. An environment that fosters intellectual freedom and encourages experimentation and creativity. 3. An environment where instructors treat adult students as peers, accepted and respected as intelligent experienced adults, whose opinions are listened to, honored and appreciated. 4. Self-directed learning, where students take responsibility for their own learning. The lAFF designs individual learning programs that address what each person needs and wants to learn, in order to function optimally in their profession. 5. Pacing or intellectual challenge. Optimal pacing is challenging people just beyond their present level of ability. 6. Active involvement in learning, as opposed to passively listening to lectures. Where students and instructors interact and dialogue, where exercises and experiences are used to bolster facts and theory, adults grow more. 7. Regular feedback mechanisms for students to tell master instructors what works best for them and what they want and need to learn, and instructors who hear and make changes based on student input. Summary of worker health and safetv activities for the last five years for the major participating organizations in the proposed program.

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International Association Fire Fighters
United States
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