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Fireground operations account for a large percentage of firefighter injuries, and injury rates vary widely among fire departments. Differences in safety and health management approaches including standard operating procedures (SOPs) for fireground operations may help explain the variation in injury rates. The purpose of this study was to identify SOP best practices in order to provide a mechanism to improve firefighter safety and health. As part of a larger study comparing fire department injury rates internationally, a panel with fire service representatives from four continents was convened to develop best practice fireground SOPs. The panel members focused on four tasks or operations with relatively high injury rates: handling charged hose; forcible entry; use of ground ladders; and overhaul, reviewed injury data and identified approaches for reducing these injuries. General agreement was reached on the need for a risk management approach to identify high risk activities and corrective actions. Within SOPs, addition of an awareness column describing specific hazards and corrective actions was also recommended. Probationary period training and incorporation of national data into the continuing review and revision of these documents were also considered best practices. Hazards and action points were also identified to guide SOP development for the selected fireground tasks and operations. The international panel identified specific safety and health management approaches associated with SOP development, which, if effectively implemented, would be expected to reduce fireground injuries.
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- Development of Best Practice Standard Operating Procedures for Prevention of Fireground Injuries
Michael D. Duncan
Sally R. Littau
Jefferey L. Burgess
- Springer US