South Milwaukee Fire Department
The South Milwaukee Fire Department (SMFD) was recognized for their cancer prevention efforts. SMFD has taken cancer prevention serious for many years, beginning with the purchase of their first heavy duty gear extractor over a dozen years ago. In 2015, they implemented the use of disposable washcloths at incident scenes for gross decon of potentially carcinogenic by-products of combustion. This initiative, FACE (Firefighters Addressing Cancer Exposure) was featured by several local media outlets, along with the issuance of a second protective hood, a second set of firefighting gloves, and spare fleece wear to replace grossly contaminated station wear at scenes, is intended to provide education and the implementation and promotion of policies, practices, and procedures to reduce or eliminate potential exposure to carcinogens.
This effort is alighted with the 1st of the 16 Life Safety Initiatives – Define and advocate the need for a cultural change within the fire service relating to safety; incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability and personal responsibility.
Fond du Lac County Fire Chiefs / MABAS Division 120
Fond du Lac County Fire Chiefs / MABAS Division 120 was recognized for their continued efforts of changing the culture and attitude in 20 departments across Fond du Lac County. Fond du Lac County Fire Chiefs / MABAS Division 120 developed and implemented a county wide Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) to be on site at all structure fires in Fond du Lac County. This has never been the case prior as only a handful of department applied RIT to the fireground. Now, all fire departments in the county operate on roughly six standard operating procedures on RIT and are labeled Fond du Lac County Fire Chiefs Association Standard Operating Procedures. This alone is a huge safety benefit as all departments are operating under one playbook.
Training began in winter in training over 400 firefighters and officers in a classroom setting on RIT and how to manage a mayday incident as an officer. After the classroom training, a video was created and distributed to all departments on the practical elements and hands on portion of RIT. Most department actually built RIT props to practice in at their respective stations. Again, blueprints were given out on prop building to maintain training consistency. In addition, the video brought consistency in training 20 departments to operate on the same page. Once each department had its RIT members ready to test out, they requested a certification date at the county RIT house through the training committee.
The county RIT training house is set up with numerous RIT testing stations. Each RIT member must test out and pass each station to be certified as a member of the Fond du Lac County RIT team. RIT instructors all have attended instructor training on each station for test days. Once a member passes the practical portion of the test and classroom training, they are awarded a certificate and RIT helmet and truck decal to identify them as a certified RIT member for Fond du Lac County. This county wide training has increased training and brought improvement throughout the county.
The RIT committee set up five RIT districts in Fond du Lac County. Each RIT district typically has four departments. A minimum of four RIT members respond to each structure fire from the requested district. Along with having a RIT on each structure fire, we also now incorporate a MAYDAY chief officer, and a RIT chief officer to increase the safety and better manage the scene if the unthinkable would happen.
One key component that has been addressed to each member is about providing psychological support to our families and firefighters. We all know of the risks that are taken to save a civilian, however, this RIT initiative now provides a group of firefighters on the fireground that is solely dedicated to saving firefighters. This has provided a comforting thought to the families of the firefighters that are responding to these incidents.