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Firefighters Increase Safety Awareness

Nationwide, 50 firefighters have died in the line of duty in the first four months of this year. That’s ten more than had died in the same time in the previous year. Professional fire groups are concerned about this higher rate of deaths. They are calling for all fire fighters to pause and reflect on […]

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Nationwide, 50 firefighters have died in the line of duty in the first four months of this year. That’s ten more than had died in the same time in the previous year. Professional fire groups are concerned about this higher rate of deaths. They are calling for all fire fighters to pause and reflect on safety on the job.

The Houston Fire Department has had five deaths in the last five years and is participating in the nation-wide stand-down. Officials say fire fighters will respond as they always do to emergency calls however, Fire Chief Phil Boriskie says every day fire house activities will come to a stop so that fire fighters can reflect and increase awareness about safety.

Fire departments are always researching and developing new safety equipment. HFD Spokesman Captain Gilbert Bennett says one piece of equipment is a camera.

The fire department is also purchasing orange hoses. Officials say firefighters will be able to see the hose through smoke and fire and follow the hose out of a building if they get disoriented. HFD has also acquired “exit locators” a strobe light and piercing alarm that can lead firefighters to exits. Other improvements deal with communications. The Fire Chief says talking to firefighters inside a building has always been challenging. New masks have better speakers so firefighters can better hear directions. Boriskie says as part of the stand-down, they’ll also be reinforcing safety training.

In the past five years, 114 civilians have died in house fires. This is the first time fire-fighters have had a stand-down because of the unusually high number of fire-fighter deaths.

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