The First Twenty is a common expression in the fire service meaning that the first twenty minutes of a fire are the most crucial. It is twenty minutes that define the skill and judgment of a firefighter and often dictate the outcome. This critical and short window of time determines the difference between recovery or loss, as well as life or death for both the firefighter and the victims.
The First Twenty is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of firefighters world-wide. Our mission is to decrease line of duty deaths (LODD) due to heart attack in today's fire service. Through program development, key partnerships and scientific data collection supported by FEMA grant funding, we continue to make steady progress toward providing programs for every fire department across the country to prioritize our firefighters’ health and wellness.
The sad truth is, between 2005 and 2014, of the 1,000 LODDs suffered in the American fire service, 513 were due to stress and overexertion (the United States Fire Administration’s category that encompasses health related LODDs). We’re now happy to announce the creation of our Firefighter Functional Training Advisory Panel. This panel is made up of fire service personnel from across the world who are dedicated to our mission and that have agreed to share their knowledge and expertise with the hope that we can continue to break down the barriers and remove the obstacles that have kept our health-related LODD rate at over 50% annually (on average) for over a decade now.
The panel members are as follows:
Dan Kerrigan – Panel Director,
Asst. Fire Marshal, East Whiteland Township Fire Department, PA
Chris Blacksell, Deputy Fire Chief,
Humberside Fire and Rescue, United Kingdom
Anthony Correia, Director
Burlington Twp. (NJ) Fire Dept. (Ret)
Robert Fling, Fire Chief,
Dix Hills Fire Department, Long Island, NY
Ric Jorge, Firefighter/MPO,
Palm Beach County, FL
Dr. Sara Jahnke, Director & Principal Investigator,
Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research, Institute for Biobehavioral Health Research, National Development & Research Institutes
Jim Moss, Lieutenant,
Metro West Fire Protection District, MO
Robert C. “Robby” Owens, Sr., Lieutenant,
Henrico County Division of Fire, VA
Jake Rhoades, Fire Chief,
Kingman Fire Department, AZ
Sheryl “Janey” Reveley, Senior Firefighter,
Christchurch, New Zealand
Kyle Schneider, Fire Chief,
Tappen Sunnybrae Fire Department, British Columbia
Raymond Stackhouse, Superintendent of Life Safety,
Caln Township, PA
Susanna Schmitt-Williams, Division Fire Chief,
Moving forward, this site will be populated with blog articles, videos, and other content that is focused on helping you to become a healthier, more resilient, and more well trained firefighter. It’s also our hope that not only will you follow and use the information provided, but that you will also share it with your colleagues and aggressively promote firefighter health and wellness on a local, regional, and national level. With your help, we can realize a tangible and lasting reduction of health-related LODDs in the fire service, and we look forward to working with all of you to do just that!
Dan Kerrigan is a 28-year fire service veteran and an assistant fire marshal/deputy emergency management coordinator and department health and fitness coordinator for the East Whiteland Township Department of Codes and Life Safety in Chester County, Pennsylvania and the Director of The First Twenty’s Firefighter Functional Fitness Advisory Panel. Kerrigan is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and holds a Master’s Degree in Executive Fire Service Leadership. He is a PA State Fire Academy Suppression Level Instructor as well as an adjunct professor at Anna Maria College, Neumann University, and Immaculata University. Connect with Kerrigan at email@example.com, on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @dankerrigan2.