The Forsyth County Fire Department spends countless hours ensuring the health and safety of local residents, but this week firefighters will take a look at their own.
The fire department is participating in the annual International Fire/EMS Safety Stand Down week. The event is intended to improve health and safety for firefighters and will not impact responses to the community.
“The Forsyth County Fire Department is looking forward to participating in the Safety Stand Down once again this year,” said Division Chief Jason Shivers in a news release. “Throughout Safety Week, all Forsyth County firefighters will be training on the objectives outlined as a part of this initiative. It is important to note, however, that our daily response will in no way be impacted. Responding to the citizens’ request for assistance is always our top priority.”
According to the release, 64 firefighters died nationwide in 2014, with 36 of those being caused by sudden cardiac death. More than 63,000 injuries were reported.
The Forsyth County Fire Department has 189 firefighters and support staff.
Only three Forsyth firefighters have died in the line of duty.
Charles “Brant” Chesney, a full-time firefighter with Gwinnett County who volunteered in Forsyth County, was killed in a structure fire in 1996.
Two other volunteer firefighters, Allyn Lane and Dennis C. Martin, lost their lives in car crashes in 1975 and 1984, respectively, while responding to calls at their fire station.
This year’s safety week will focus on what firefighters should do in the first five minutes of arriving at a structure fire.
“Our community depends on our firefighters and EMTs to be there when there is an emergency. We are participating in the International Fire/EMS Safety Stand Down to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect those who protect our residents,” said Fire Chief Danny Bowman in the release.
Fire departments across the world will take part in the initiative, which is a joint venture of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Volunteer Fire Council. The event is supported by many emergency service, health and safety organizations.
As firefighters are working to improve safety, members often encourage citizens to take part by following recommended fire prevention practices and ensuring they have working smoke alarms.