A letter from the Chief for Safety, Health and Survival Week 2011
By Kelly Grayson
From: Isaac Abraham Fudpucker, Chief
Metropolitan Fire Department
To: All department members
Once again, Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week is upon us, and I'd like to keep you informed of current safety and wellness issues here at Metropolitan Fire Department, as well as changes in departmental policy. As most of you know, we haven't made any changes to our S.H.I.T. for a couple of years, and frankly it's getting a little stale.
After some discussion and planning with the battalion chiefs, we decided to flush our S.H.I.T. and begin a new safety initiative, the Fire/Emergency Coalition for Employee Safety.
F.E.C.E.S. should address all the same issues as our previous program, while also allowing greater interdepartmental cooperation with Metropolitan Police Department and their safety initiative, Protection Of Operational Personnel. Together, F.E.C.E.S. and P.O.O.P. have the potential to substantially increase worker safety citywide.
I'd like all of you to remember that the success of this program requires personal investment from each and every one of you. Without your efforts, our F.E.C.E.S. aren't worth the paper they're on, and I welcome any suggestions you may have that will help us polish our F.E.C.E.S.
So with that in mind, I'd like to address a few new safety issues that have cropped up since last year:
1. With the police department's rollout of their P.O.O.P., they will be obtaining Hazmat Awareness training here at MFD. That means that our previous policy of using copological indicators at hazmat scenes will no longer be viable. Plan your scene approaches accordingly.
2. In accordance with NFPA 1901, we will be adding reflective chevrons to all apparatus. In anticipation of further revisions of NFPA 1901, we'll also be adding reflective striping to all boots, turnout coats, helmets, hoses, dining room tables, bed linen, personal grooming products, Halligan tools, ladders, spouses, children, pets, parking spaces, and in the case of those slobs at Ladder Seven, around the toilet bowl.
I fully expect that by the time we're done striping, this entire department will look like the set of Tron.
3. To the joker that wedged the CPR manikin parts into the grill of our pumper truck, understand that such actions constitute unapproved use of departmental training equipment, and will subject the guilty party to departmental discipline. However, I must say it does part traffic far better than lights and siren alone.
4. I know I'm not going to stop all the horseplay that goes on around here behind my back. It's a firehouse, not a convent. But seriously, if you're going to challenge recruits to do the Cinnamon Dragon, at least require the losers to clean up after themselves, and replacing the cinnamon with ground habanero pepper is just cruel.
On that note, there is a get-well card for Recruit Harrelson on the bulletin board at Headquarters. I'd like all of you to sign it, and I think we all hope his tear ducts heal quickly, and that he will be back on solid foods again soon.
5. It has come to my attention that one of our ambulance crews has been distributing boxes of EKG electrodes to homeless patients downtown, and telling them they are timed-release aspirin patches.
While I appreciate your efforts at reducing the number of our frequent fliers, please… stop it.
6. On another note, there seem to be a lot of power stretcher batteries going missing lately. Far be it from me to suggest any of you are misappropriating department equipment, but I do know which ones of you operate home repair and contracting jobs in your off time, and I'll be checking to see if you have any Dewalt power tools. Just sayin…
7. Our departmental wellness program has paid huge dividends, and the purchase of our power stretchers has resulted in a 75 percent reduction in back injuries among our ambulance crews. So much so, in fact, that we've got five open slots in dispatch that we usually fill with medics on light duty assignment.
If any of you know anyone who can type 70 wpm and has good radio and computer skills, please urge them to apply for one of our open dispatcher positions. Otherwise we'll have to keep staffing the dispatch console with illiterate hobos that can't pay their ambulance bills.
8. As most of you know, the continued recession has drastically lowered tax revenues, and we're under constant pressure by the city council to reduce personnel and maintenance costs.
So far, we've avoided layoffs and station closings, but it's only a matter of time. I'd like to make you all aware of the proposal by Alderman Snively to merge the public works and fire departments.
If you don't want to be hauling limbs and tossing garbage cans while you do your hydrant checks, I suggest you all show up at the next City Council meeting in uniform to voice your opposition to his proposal.
9. With the implementation of the new NFPA ambulance construction standards, new ambulances have become prohibitively expensive. We will be stretching the service life of our remaining ambulance fleet as long as possible, and continuing to provide ALS first response via our engine companies and rescue trucks. We will be replacing our existing ambulance fleet by attrition, and replacing them with golf carts and rickshaws.
Remember, men, if we're going to make our F.E.C.E.S. shine, it's going to require the effort of all our members, so Think Safety!