Published on November 1, 2017.

Safety First

Recommended priorities to reduce firefighter injuries, and corresponding NFPA codes and standards

  • Commitment by top fire service management to reducing injuries. (NFPA 1500, Fire Department Occupational Safety, Health, and Wellness Program, Section 4.3.)
  • Establishment of a safety committee headed by a safety officer to recommend a safety policy and the means of implementing it. (NFPA 1500, Section 4.5.)
  • Develop and implement an investigation procedure that includes all accidents, near misses, injuries, fatalities, occupational illnesses, and exposures involving members. (NFPA 1500, Subsections 4.4.4. and 4.4.5.)
  • Provision of appropriate protective equipment and a mandate to use it. (NFPA 1500, Sections 7.1 through 7.8.)
  • Development and enforcement of a program on the use and maintenance of self-contained breathing apparatus. (NFPA 1500, Sections 7.9 through 7.14.)
  • Development and enforcement of policies on safe practices for drivers and passengers of fire apparatus. (NFPA 1500, Sections 6.2 and 6.3.)
  • Development of procedures to ensure response of sufficient personnel for both fire fighting and overhaul duties. (NFPA 1500, Subsection 4.1.2; NFPA 1710, Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments; and NFPA 1720, Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Volunteer Fire Departments.)
  • Implementation of regular medical examinations and a physical fitness program. (NFPA 1500, Sections 10.1 through 10.3; NFPA 1582, Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments; and NFPA 1583, Health-Related Fitness Programs for Fire Department Members.)
  • Adoption and implementation of an incident management system. (NFPA 1500, Section 8.1, and NFPA 1561, Emergency Services Incident Management System and Command Safety.)
  • Training and education for all members related to emergency operations. (NFPA 1500, Chapter 5.)
  • Implementation of programs for the installation of private fire protection systems, so that fires are discovered at an earlier stage, exposing the firefighter to a less hostile environment. (NFPA 1, Fire Code, and NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®.)
  • Increased efforts in the area of fire safety education programs, so that citizens are made aware of measures to prevent fires and of correct reactions to the fire situation. (NFPA 1201, Providing Emergency Services to the Public, Chapter 6.)
  • Other NFPA standards that may help reduce firefighter injuries include:

  • NFPA 1584, Rehabilitation Process for Members During Emergency Operations and Training Exercises, 2008 Edition, Chapter 4 Preparedness and Chapter 6 Incident Scene and Training Rehabilitation.
  • NFPA 1002, Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator Professional Qualification, 2009 Edition, Section 4.8 The Risk Management Process.
  • NFPA 1620, Pre-Incident Planning, 2010 Edition, Chapter 4 Pre-Incident Planning Process, Chapter 5 Physical & Site Considerations, Chapter 7 Water Supplies & Fire Protection Systems, Chapter 8 Special Hazards.