Health & Safety

 

Congressman Dan Kildee is fighting to remove PFAS chemicals from the environment, including from firefighting gear.

Kildee introduced the Protecting Firefighters from PFAS Act.

Click here for more on Kildee's efforts to protect firefighters.

Fire departments represented by Michigan Association of Fire Fighters (MAFF) are providing fire safety information throughout September and October in honor of National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 4-10, 2020. Fire Prevention Week is observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which Oct. 9 falls to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of Oct. 8-9, 1871 that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This year the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fire prevention week theme is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.” Visit National Fire Protection Association website for fire safety prevention tips.

Local Fire Prevention activities this year have been altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect the public, these departments are following COVID-19 safety protocols while sharing fire safety information with area residents:

  • Chelsea Area Fire Department Fire Safety Videos & Presentations
    Time: Oct. 14-16, 2020
    Location: South Meadows Elementary School, Chelsea Childrens Co-Op and Chelsea Community Preschool.
    Contact: (734) 475-8755
    Chelsea Fire Fighters distributed Disney fire safety videos to the schools listed above and are visiting students at those schools for socially distanced fire safety question and answer sessions and to show them the fire truck. Other area schools are welcome to contact the fire department to arrange fire safety education.
  • Clay Township Fire Department Fire Safety Videos for Schools
    Time: Oct. 5-31, 2020
    Location: Area Elementary Schools
    Contact: (810) 794-9347
    The fire department will provide local elementary schools with Fire Safety Videos the week of Oct. 5-9 for teachers to play for their classrooms through the month of October.
  • Howell Area Fire Department Fire Safety Videos
    Time:
    Beginning Oct. 1, 2020
    Location: Fire Safety Week videos will be available for viewing beginning Oct. 1, 2020 on the Howell Area Fire Department website, the Fire Department's Facebook page and Instagram. The municipalities served by the department – City of Howell, Howell Township, Cohoctah Township, Marion Township and Oceola Township – will also provide links to the videos from their municipality websites.
    Contact: (517) 546-0560
  • Milford Fire Department Fire Safety Materials
    Time: October 2020
    Location: Local elementary schools
    Contact: Fire Chief Thomas Moore (248) 684-2335.
    Milford Fire Department will be assembling and dropping off educational goodie bags to local elementary schools to share age appropriate fire safety materials with students, which they can take home and share with their parents. Area elementary schools teachers are also welcome to call the department to set up a COVID-19 safe way firefighters can share fire prevention tips with students. For more fire safety information, please visit the Milford Fire Department website.

  • Charter Township of Mundy Fire Department Fire Prevention Messages
    Time: After Oct. 9, 2020
    Location: Charter Township of Mundy Fire Department website and Mundy Township Fire Department Facebook.
    Contact: Fire Chief Edward Blight at 810-655-4327.
    Charter Township of Mundy Fire Department’s website and Facebook, above, will feature educational fire prevention messages through the state's MI Prevention program as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared October Fire Prevention month. The department will also be sharing Michigan Fire Inspectors Society’s toolkit.

The Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends program (FIRST), led by Drexel University Associate Professor Dr. Jennifer Taylor of Dornsife School of Public Health, is working to share fire fighter safety research findings with fire fighters nationwide.

FIRST is a research enterprise based at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, organized to support the United States fire and rescue service through objective data collection and analysis.Their goal is to make their research findings publicly known and free to access. An article on a recently published manuscript in the American Journal of Health Behavior can be found here.

Through a newly awarded Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) funded grant supporting FIRST's partnership with the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA), research on U.S. Fire Service safety culture will continue.

IAFF issues statement urging fire fighters, paramedics to hold Ebola stand-downs

Excerpted from ohsonline.com

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is warning it is "highly likely that more individuals infected with Ebola will seek assistance from emergency response personnel as the disease spreads," and urging fire and EMS personnel to hold a safety stand-down and review all infectious exposure policies, procedures and guidelines.

The AFL-CIO union that represents more than 300,000 full-time firefighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada, has posted a statement which lists 11 minimum elements IAFF says those policies, procedures and guidelines should address.

They include: not returning to the firehouse if there is a potential exposure or the crew thinks they have been affected; developing policies for monitoring and management of EMS personnel potentially exposed to Ebola; fit testing all personnel for N95 respirators and appropriate eye protection; and establishing sick leave policies that are "non-punitive, flexible and consistent with public health guidance."

The policies should ensure fire and EMS personnel exposed to blood, bodily fluid, secretions, or excretions from a patient with a suspected or confirmed Ebola virus immediately:
• Stop working and wash the affected skin surfaces with soap and water and irrigate with a large amount of water or eyewash solution.
• Contact an occupational health supervisor for assessment and access to post-exposure management services.
• Receive medical evaluation and follow-up care as appropriate. Medical evaluations should include fever monitoring twice daily throughout the Ebola incubation period, which is two to 21 days.

Click here for a complete list of guidelines.

Consolidation trend continues for Michigan fire departments

As revenue to communities continues to evaporate, employers are looking for ways to cut costs. Unfortunately, fire services are not exempt from these cuts and the growing response is consolidation.

Michigan was particularly hard hit by the recession as communities try to come to grips with the lengthily loss of revenue due to the cap on property taxes caused by Proposal A of 1994. Until 1994, property was valued at half of its market value, or State Equalized Value (SEV). Now the growth in taxable valuable is limited to the rate of inflation or 5 percent, whichever is less. Since taxable value declined when the real estate market collapsed in 2007 and inflation remains around 2 percent, some communities have lost up to 20 percent of property tax revenue. In those municipalities, it could take up to a decade to fully recover the same revenues.