3 Ways You Could Help Protect the Life of a Firefighter
You’re watching a pretty intense movie on TV and a commercial break interrupts a crucial moment in the plot of the movie. The countdown begins before the movie comes back on. You catapult off the couch, run to the frig to grab a snack, and make a beeline back in front of the TV, all within 30 seconds. In the short amount of time it took you to root around in the frig to get a can of pop and torpedo back to your seat, firefighters were likely rushing to an emergency.
Did you know that in the U.S. seven people died in home fires per day from 2010 to 2014 according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) research?1Seven people a day! These statistics don’t even include the number of injuries or illnesses caused by fire. If there was something you could do to possibly prevent even one casualty, wouldn’t you do it? Here are three ways that you may be able to protect a firefighter’s life:
1: Appreciate the Sacrifices Firefighters Make Protecting You
Firefighters jeopardise their lives every day to protect us. They’re the ones running to the fire while everyone else is running in the opposite direction. We’re only halfway through 2017 and the U.S. Fire Administration has already received reports of 57 firefighter deaths.2 Sadly, firefighters face numerous health issues that can be fatal including cancer, injuries sustained while fighting fires or in motor vehicle accidents, and heart attacks.
Unfortunately, heart attacks seem to be the leading cause of death for firefighters. New research findings published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation indicate that firefighters are at higher risk of heart attacks. Physical exertion and exposure to extreme heat while fighting fires may cause adverse effects to the heart that are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks.3
Sadly, heart attacks are not the only serious health issues that plague firefighters. In fact, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s July 2016 report, “Findings from a Study of Cancer Among U.S. Fire Fighters,” firefighters are at increased risk of developing certain types of cancer because of the nature of their work.4 Even though they’re faced with serious health risks, firefighters continue to dedicate their lives to saving our lives.
2: Enlist the Services of Fire Watch Security Guards
Fire prevention doesn’t stop when you lock your door and leave for work. Whether you’re a business owner, property manager, event planner, or hotel manager, you have a responsibility to protect the people who live and work in your office or residential buildings, hotels or motels, hospitals, schools, nursing homes or on your construction sites. Not only do you have a moral obligation, but you may have a legal obligation to safeguard your property from fire.
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of fire is by hiring fire watch security guards. Smoke alarms and other important fire prevention technologies can malfunction. Fire watch guards are on-site to monitor your premises. These professional security officers are experienced and well-trained in identifying suspicious activity and could help prevent a fire from starting.
It’s not a perfect world and fires do happen. Often people panic in crisis situations and it doesn’t matter how many fire drills you’ve had at work, people are human and react differently to stressful situations. Take for example a sold-out rock concert jam-packed with people, with an over-the-top light show, and extremely loud music. With the ever-increasing demand for concerts to be more “techno savvy,” people attending these concerts may become disoriented with the flashing lights and not be able to see the exit signs. Add the fact that they may not hear a fire alarm because of the thundering volume of the music, you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen. Fire watch security guards could help people stay calm, provide crowd control, and help them exit the building safely. Concert managers and special event planners have a responsibility to include hiring security services in their overall event planning.
Concerts and special events are not the only places that need fire watch guards. Builders and contractors need to consider adding fire watch security services to their construction site planning. Buildings under construction may not have functioning smoke alarms or sprinkler systems and require fire watch security guards to monitor and patrol the premises. At the first sign of a dangerous situation, security guards are trained to react quickly by calling emergency responders.
3: Take Fire Prevention Seriously
You can’t be casual about fire prevention. Your actions could mean the difference between life and death for you or a firefighter. There’s no better place to start trying to prevent fires than at home. The following suggestions could help you prevent or escape a fire in your home:
- Install smoke detectors. Public service announcements on TV and radio are constantly driving home the point that smoke detectors help save lives. Remember the last time you burned something on the stove and yanked the battery out of your screeching smoke detector? Have you put it back in? That screeching could save your life.
- Prepare and practice emergency escape plans. You may think you know your way around your home, but if you’re struggling with smoke filling the air and your lungs, breathing easily could become difficult. Realistically, fires don’t just happen in the daytime. You could become easily disoriented when you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of a fire alarm in a smoke-filled room. For that reason, it’s important when you’re practicing your escape plans, to make sure exits are free of clutter and not blocked by furniture or anything that could prevent you from quickly escaping from your home.
- Stop careless smoking. Falling asleep while smoking, not making sure smoking-materials are completely put out, and disposing of ashtray contents that have not been completely extinguished in water or sand can all cause fires and fatalities.
- Cook with care. Getting sidetracked while cooking could be deadly. You’ve likely heard horror stories in the media about a fire being caused by a pot or fry pan left on the stove unattended because the person cooking forgot they’d turned the stove on and walked away, or worse fell asleep! While you’re cooking stays focused and stay safe.
Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Take time to think about the fallen men and women in fire service who have sacrificed their own lives to protect us. Be diligent when it comes to fire safety at home; exercise caution in all situations that could result in fire; and hire professional fire watch security guards to protect the people and property in your care.