AUSTIN, TX – VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual Insurance Company recently awarded grants of up to $5,000 to 86 volunteer fire departments across Texas. Funds awarded through the Firefighter Safety, Training & Wellness Grant Program totaled more than $144,000 and will enable these departments to participate in a certification program, attend critical workplace safety training, and/or set up training/wellness programs to prevent firefighter deaths and injuries.
Over $300,000 in grant requests were received. VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual Insurance Company partnered with the State Firefighters' & Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas (SFFMA) to manage the application process and select the grant recipients.
“This award will serve as valuable funding that will enable us to better serve our community,” said Dennis Bailey, Lieutenant & Training Coordinator of Sunset Volunteer Fire Department. “This grant, I can assure you, will allow our members to actively pursue formal certification that will develop them into safer firefighters. Thanks again for your contribution to making our community safer."
To see a full list of 2015 Safety, Training & Wellness recipients, CLICK HERE.
Grantees will be recognized at the SFFMA Conference June 12-17, 2015 in Galveston, Texas.
2015 Firefighter Safety, Wellness & Training Grant Application - VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual Insurance Company are proud to again sponsor a need-based grant program for fire departments in Texas. Grants will be awarded to reimburse departments for 1) Individual member certification dues/fees, 2) Incident Safety Officer or Driver/Operator class expenses, and/or 3) Health & Wellness Programs. Grants up to $5,000 will be awarded based on financial need and are intended to encourage all departments to participate in certification programs and training/wellness programs to prevent firefighter deaths and injuries. Departments will need to apply for the grant, expend the funds and then send in copies of receipts and proof of training attendance in order to receive the grant funds. Grant deadline is December 31, 2014.
Who is eligible:
•All volunteer or mostly-volunteer (over 50%) fire departments that serve a population of 50,000 orless and are legally organized in Texas.
What is eligible:
•Part I – 2015 annual individual certification dues for SFFMA (NOT department dues) or TCFPcertification fees
•Part II – Student course materials and travel expenses (up to $150 per day per person) for IncidentSafety Officer and/or Driver/Operator training during calendar year 2015 (travel expenses includetravel to/from, meals/tips, hotel/dorm)
•Part III – 2015 costs for equipment or professionals to develop an in-house Health & Wellness Program
How it works:
•Departments can apply for Part I, Part II, Part III or all three parts
•Departments should apply for assistance first (completed grant application and W-9) by 12/31/14
•Applications will be reviewed and notice will be sent to those awarded a grant by 1/31/15
•Departments will then be responsible for sending in paid receipts and course completioncertificates for each student attending the requested training program in order to receivereimbursement
How to Apply:
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AND COMPLETE THE APPLICATION
SUBMIT COMPLETED APPLICATION FORM USING ANY OF THREE METHODS BELOW.
VFIS of Texas
3420 Executive Center Dr, #301
Austin, TX 78731
Fax to: 512-448-9929
E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHRISTOPHER COLLINS ON AUG 13, 2014
SOURCE: ABILENE REPORTER-NEWS, TEXAS
Aug. 13--ABILENE, Texas -- On average, 100 U.S. firefighters die in the line of duty each year.
But that doesn't have to be the case, said Joel Thompson, a fire academy instructor and a chief of operations at the Haltom City Fire Department. On Tuesday, Thompson taught a two-hour seminar to volunteer firefighters at the Abilene Civic Center, part of the 60th annual Abilene Fire Control Conference.
The conference, which includes training on pump operations, hazardous material awareness and safety is put on by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.
During the class, Thompson said that 75 percent of on-duty deaths could be prevented by using proper firefighting techniques and by staying in shape.
"I'd say many of these could have been prevented," he said.
About half of each year's deaths are from heart attacks, Thompson said, the apparent result of a unhealthy lifestyle and a bad diet.
"When I was a volunteer, our dinner consisted of something fried, bacon and gravy," he told the class.
The other half of deaths can mostly be attributed to firefighters going too far inside a burning structure and becoming trapped. He called the blind bravery and aptitude for thrill-seeking shown by some firemen "a culture" that needs to change.
"When that building's on fire, we're going to go inside," Thompson said. "But if we continue to operate this way, we'll continue to have 100 more deaths a year. That will only change when we change the culture."
Some tips he gave to prevent unnecessary death while fighting structure fires:
Copyright 2014 - Abilene Reporter-News, Texas
“There’s a lot of attention for line of duty deaths. Firefighters who die in a burning building, in a collapse—the funerals are on television. The truth is the number of us dying with our boots off is far greater."
CBS4 in Miami recently published an article highlighting the silent killer known as cancer and how strong of an effect it has on putting firefighters' lives in danger. The article, which we highly recommend reading, can be read here: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/04/29/cbs4-investigates-silent-killer-claiming-lives-of-firefighters while the video report is embedded above.
Cancer is unfortunately a disease that should be on the minds of all individuals involved in emergency services. And unfortunately, many have no coverage under an Accident and Sickness program and limited, if any coverage, available through Workers’ Compensation.
However, with the VFIS Critical Illness Insurance Program, your emergency service personnel can receive a lump sum cash benefit when diagnosed with a heart attack, stroke or life threatening cancer. Coverage is provided on a 24 hour on and off duty basis. Of course like all insurance policies, there are certain conditions of coverage among them:
Conditions of Coverage:
Who is eligible?
Learn More: CRITICAL ILLNESS FLYER
Leading by example is the best way to ingrain health and safety practices in firefighters
By Linda Willing - Shared from www.firerescue1.com
There were many big questions in the air at the recent Tampa2 Summit on the 16 Life Safety Initiatives. How can firefighter suicide be prevented? What is the connection between organizational culture and firefighter life safety?
What is the actual instance of firefighter cancer, and how can these illnesses be prevented? Are some casualties inevitable among those who do an inherently dangerous job?
Ten work groups were formed, each creating recommendations on specific topics from behavioral health to wildland firefighting. All of the recommendations were on point and valid, but I could also sense a little frustration among conference participants.
Of course it's important to talk about and plan for the big issues, but what can one person do right now to make a difference?
This question was on my mind during one lunch break when I happened to share a table with two company officers from a large metropolitan department. They were talking about the problem of firefighters failing to always wear their air packs during overhaul, and how this exposure can lead to a number of long term illnesses.
"When I was a new firefighter, I took off my mask the minute my officer did," said one. "I didn't want to look weak in his eyes."
Others at the table echoed this attitude, reinforcing that the example set by the company officer often establishes the standard for health and safety during an entire emergency response.
Follow my lead
So the first obvious thing an individual can do is set a good example. It is critical that officers do this, but others — the senior firefighter, the highly respected engineer — should not underestimate their influence either.
Then another firefighter at the table recounted a system they had developed on his department for encouraging firefighters to stay on air longer.
"We use Scott masks, and you have to put your palm over your face to unscrew the regulator," he said. "So now when you put your hand over your mask to take it off, we look at it as if someone were holding a hand up in front of your face to stay 'Stop.' And then we look at the five fingers of the glove, and that means, wait five more minutes before you take off your mask."
I don't know who came up with this idea, but it's brilliant. It's not a sweeping policy that says firefighters must stay on air from the minute the get off the engine at the fire until the moment they step back on the rig to return to quarters. Certainly requiring firefighters to wear SCBA 100 percent of the time at fire calls would reduce toxic exposures, and that's a good thing.
But realistically, firefighters are not going to adhere to such an all-or-nothing policy. They will make decisions along the way about when to remove their breathing protection. And systems like the one I heard about in Tampa over lunch are great tools to assist every firefighter in making incrementally better decisions.
There are hundreds of ways individual firefighters can come up with reminders, rules of thumb, or individual systems for making firefighting a safer profession.
Conferences like the one last month in Tampa are great for talking about the big ideas, but may be even more valuable for sharing these smaller, more specific ideas in an informal way: over lunch, over beers, while riding the shuttle back to the airport.
Most importantly, whether the conversation centers on a nationwide study about cancer or a trick of the trade to get firefighters to use their protective gear more effectively, leadership always comes from example.
If officers want their crews to do something or to value something, then they must set the example in their actions and continue to live those values both on and off the emergency scene.
Original Source Article - http://www.firerescue1.com/firefighter-safety/articles/1878655-1-easy-step-to-get-firefighters-to-follow-safety-rules/
About the author
Linda F. Willing worked for more than 20 years in the emergency services, including 18 as a career firefighter and fire officer. For more than 15 years, she has provided support for fire and emergency services and other organizations through her company,RealWorld Training and Consulting. Linda's work focuses on developing customized solutions in the areas of leadership development, conflict resolution, diversity management, team building, communications and decision making. She is the author of "On the Line: Women Firefighters Tell Their Stories." Linda is also an adjunct instructor and curriculum advisor for the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. She has a B.A. in American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. from Regis University in Denver in Organization Development, and is a certified mediator. To contact Linda, e-mail Linda.Willing@FireRescue1.com.
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