IAFC launches emergency Stand Down event focused on COVID-19
Fire service leaders are encouraged to conduct informational sessions related to COVID-19 vaccines at each station Jan. 9-15
By FireRescue1 staff
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is urging all fire chiefs, fire officers, firefighters and labor leaders to participate in a COVID-19 Firefighter Survival Informational Stand Down Jan. 9-15.
The emergency Stand Down event comes in the wake of spiking COVID-19 deaths in the fire service. According to the IAFC, there have been 240 U.S. firefighter deaths (86 in 2020 and 154 in 2021) since the start of the pandemic through Dec. 30, 2021.
A statement from IAFC President Ken Stuebing and IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section Chair Scott Kerwood underscores the importance of vigilance related to coronavirus: "It is critical that firefighters be protected through vaccinations to maintain their readiness to respond to COVID-19 and other emergencies as we see the number of COVID-19 positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise due to the Omicron variant, amidst an already active flu season."
In response, the association has created an emergency Stand Down, similar to its annual (but separate) Firefighter Safety Stand Down and modeled after military stand downs, to prompt fire service leaders to focus attention on the impact of COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination.
"Through formal presentations by leadership, to include the department's medical director, a department's firefighters and EMS personnel can receive life-saving education on the facts in an apolitical environment that focuses on personal safety; safety of firefighters' families; and the safety of those we serve in our communities," the statement reads.
The IAFC has shared a PowerPoint presentation that can be used to facilitate educational sessions on COVID-19. Further, the IAFC has prepared additional resources to use during these sessions.
The IAFC asks that anyone in the fire service who has questions about the stand-down send them to the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section. Dr. James Augustine, MD, FACEP, and chair of the IAFC COVID-19 Taskforce, will answer questions through his weekly “Ask the Doc” program, found at www.science-alliance.org.