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Adrenaline rushes, mistakes, Intentional Stupidity

Just as many of you, I receive notification from The U.S. Fire Administration upon the occurance of an LODD in our nation's fire service. Each brings a sickening knot in my stomach, and tears are common at this stage of my life upon news of a fallen brother even if I don't know them personally. Death, no matter it's cause in the line of duty, is a particularly traumatic experience for those of us who fail to convey the knowledge we have in our possession that would have, or could have prevented such tragedy. As an advocate for The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation here in South Carolina, it is truly heart breaking too see such lack of awareness of the 16 Firefighter Life safety Initiatives in so many of our state's Fire Departments. Whats worse is knowing these initiatives established in 2004, were carefully and meticulously authored by the greatest minds of our nations fire service. They were carefully bonded paragraphs by folks with years and years of first hand experience of situations where they learned horrible , tragic lessons of what false beliefs and misconception can do to a firefighters family. The initiatives, in full volume and explanation, are the bible of answers to questions that every single firefighter and officer in the United States should have complete knowledge and understanding of. As I write, there have been 75 LODD's to date in 2010. Most have been a result of cardio problems, second most, as a result of vehicle/apparatus response. In recent weeks, I've been doing quite a bit of research concerning "adrenaline rushes", " mistakes", and something I call "intentional stupidity." If one were to list these three catagories next to any completed NIOSH report where injury or lodd has resulted, there is no doubt in my mind that you will begin to see a pattern of repetition that the Great Minds saw back in 2004. The NFFF often tells us that no-one-singular individual is responsible for one's lack of understanding preventable firefighter injury or death, but once you understand the initiatives, you, as a firefighter, as an officer, as a Chief, as a leader; carry the responsibility of empowering each life that you influence one way or another, including the local politician who may or may not be your boss, that Everyone goes home !

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