Introducing the 2020 IAFC Billy Goldfeder Fire Service Organizational Safety Award Winner—and sharing how they made health and safety a priority in their department.
Each year, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Safety, Health and Survival Section Awards recognize organizations and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the overall environment of health and safety in their organizations or the fire service.
The Town of Farmington Fire Department (CT) has taken a proactive approach to improving the health and safety of their members and this work has earned them the 2020 Goldfeder Fire Service Organizational Safety Award—which VFIS proudly sponsors. We extend our sincerest congratulations to Steve Hoffman, Director of Fire and Rescue Services, and the entire department for this great accomplishment!
Here are 4 ways that the Town of Farmington Fire Department helped improve the health and safety of their members:
Creating a Health & Safety Committee
The department implemented a Health and Safety Committee that’s responsible for looking for unsafe conditions, analyzing accident and injury trends, and making recommendations to help improve operations.
Developing a Cancer Prevention Program
Hoffman and his team used the recommendations from the Lavender Ribbon Report (which was developed by the IAFC VCOS and NVFC) to create a comprehensive Cancer Prevention Program which involved educating their team on the risks, training them on prevention best practices, adding cancer screenings to their annual physicals and maintaining a healthy environment by limiting exposure to carcinogens.
Establishing Assistance Programs
Farmington enhanced their efforts to support their members and their families including an Employee Assistance Program that addresses physical, mental and emotional needs and a Peer Support Program that includes trained members who can help assist fellow firefighters—in hopes that it will end the stigma in asking for help. They also have a Chaplaincy Program with a Chaplain who is dedicated to the betterment of the membership, serves as a resource to members and participates in the Peer Support Program.
Prioritizing Ongoing Risk Management
The department continues to maintain an Exposure Control Plan, Respiratory Protections Plan and Medical Evaluation Process to help ensure their firefighters are protected while they provide essential services. This includes identifying needs for new equipment, developing plans to get needed items (like grant proposals) and continuing look for ways to make the department safer.
We thank Hoffman and his team for taking action in their department and encourage every department to do the same! If your team has taken great strides in your safety efforts, don’t forget to apply for the Safety, Health and Survival Section Awards next year!
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