PLENARY SESSIONS

These sessions include presentations on topic-specific issues concerning fire fighter occupational health and safety and EMS in the fire service. This year's highlights include:

  President's Address

Harold A. Schaitberger, General President
IAFF Pathways to Success

  Keynote Address: Four-Star General Barry McCaffrey

General Barry McCaffrey will deliver the keynote address focusing on how to be an effective leader while also taking care of your own physical and mental well-being. Before serving as a professor of International Affairs at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, McCaffrey was the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 1996-2001. He also served as a member of the president's Cabinet and the National Security Council for drug-related issues. He is now president of his own consulting firm, and also sits on the Board of CRC Health Group.

Widely quoted on national security, terrorism and drug policy issues, McCaffrey's message will focus on the leadership challenges that face public safety organizations, including what fire fighters need to know about the future of national security.

  Fire Fighters and Paramedics: Responding Under Fire

Recent events such as the Aurora movie theater shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy - and even the Boston Marathon bombings - bombings at the Boston Marathon underscore the increasing concern in the fire service over "active shooter" attacks by terrorists armed with weapons in public areas, such as schools, shopping malls, churches and other places where large numbers of people congregate. These events typically involve one or more suspects who participate in ongoing, random or systematic shooting sprees or other violence with an intent to harm others and result in mass casualties.

This session will provide detailed instruction and action plans to establish, implement and follow active shooter protocols. The session will also address the growing risk of high-intensity firearm attacks, given the ready access to firearms and the recent spate of incidents across the nation.

  Responders under Fire: Israeli EMS Response to Mass Casualty Events

Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and blood services, founded in 1930, is a public nongovernmental organization, which combines a staff of 1700 paid employees and 11,500 volunteers. MDA is prepared to handle Mass-casualty Incidents (MCI) and emergencies by having: Integrated Doctrine, Cooperation with Responding Agencies, Guidelines and Protocols, Supplies and associated Command and Control Accessories, Training, Continuing Education and Drills, Alertness and preparedness Inspections.

During the wave of terror in Israel from September 2000 to December 2007, MDA crews responded to dozens of suicide bomber attacks which created mass casualty incidents. MDA teams treated and evacuated casualties from more than 2,000 terrorist attacks (stoning, stabbing, shooting, etc.) causing more than 1,000 civilian and security force fatalities and 155 suicide bombings which resulted in the death of 525 innocent people. Responses to terrorist attacks and other violent incidents are more complicated than other Mass-casualty incident scenarios such as large scale motor vehicle crashes, structural fires or other natural events. MDA responds based upon the following Operation Principles:

  • Rapid arrival of crews and first responders

  • Rapid reinforcement of the scene with additional crews

  • Establish MDA Medical Command

  • Initiate triage protocols and lifesaving procedures

  • Rapid evacuation of casualties to hospitals

  NIST High Rise Field Experiments

Many fire departments across the nation are being challenged by budget crises, rising call volume, personnel and equipment shortages, security issues and the overall expectation to do more with less. These and other factors, all too often, have our responding crews encountering increasing line of duty risk of injury and death as they continue to work to reduce civilian injury and property loss. Even with the technological advances of the last decades, we have not yet been able to scientifically quantify our experiences to determine what staffing levels, asset configurations and response time frames are best when responding to various levels of fire or EMS events so that we minimize risk to the fire fighters, paramedics and the public. We believe the time has come to change that.

With major grants from the research section of the U.S. Department of Homeland Securityís Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (the Fire Act), five top fire research organizations continue collaborating to develop tools that will help local fire departments better assess the risks in their local communities and plan to respond to them more effectively and efficiently.

The multi-year project, being conducted jointly by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), will establish a technical basis for risk evaluation and deployment of resources by local fire departments and create tools the departments can use to better assess the risks and hazards in their communities; plan adequate resource deployment to respond to and mitigate emergency events; and measure their effectiveness in responding to and handling events.

  Fire Behavior and Tactical Considerations

Fire fighting is hazardous. In 2010, the fire departments in the United States responded to more than 480,000 structure fires. These fires resulted in approximately 3,120 civilian fatalities, 17,720 injuries and property losses in excess of $12 billion dollars. In addition, almost 33,000 fire fighters were injured on the fire ground. Currently, the NIST FRD is conducting a project that will demonstrate, through the use of measurement science, the dynamics of fire behavior in a structure and provide guidance on non-traditional means to mitigate the fire hazard in the structure in a manner that provides optimum safety and effectiveness for the fire fighter. The project has three key focus areas; ventilation, suppression and technology transfer to the fire service.

  Boston Bombing & Mass-Casualty Response

During the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs exploded at 2:49 pm killing 3 people and injuring 264 others. The bombs exploded about 13 seconds and 210 yards apart, near the finish line on Boylston Street. Rescue workers and medical personnel, on hand to assist runners and bystanders, rushed available aid to wounded victims in the bombings' immediate aftermath. Each explosion caused injuries and death resulting in casualties being transported to 27 local hospitals. At least 14 people required amputations with some suffering traumatic amputations as a direct result of the blasts.

  The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

In 1998, Congress recognized the need for further efforts to address the continuing national problem of job-related fire fighter deaths and funded NIOSH to implement a fire fighter safety initiative. With fire service stakeholder input, we developed the Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program.

The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) conducts independent investigations of select fire fighter line-of-duty deaths. We do this to provide recommendations to prevent future deaths and injuries. The FFFIPP is a public health practice investigation program. We do not conduct our investigations to enforce compliance with state or federal job safety and health standards. We also do not determine fault or place blame on fire departments or individual fire fighters.

Our programís goal is to learn from these tragic events and prevent future similar events. We do not investigate every fire fighter death. We have investigated approximately 40% of fire fighter deaths since the programís start in 1998. We prioritize fatality investigations using a decision flow chart, which is available on the FFFIPP website. Investigation priorities may change based upon the ongoing review of fatality data on leading risks to fire fighters and on fire service stakeholder input.

  Line-of-Duty Death Investigations

Asheville, North Carolina - July 28, 2011
In Memory of Captain Jeffrey S. Bowen

In the wake of the tragic line of duty death of Captain Jeffrey Scott Bowen on July 28th, 2011, the Asheville Fire Department and Local 865 continues to recover. The need for continuous improvement had never been expressed to the level of necessity as it has following a LODD. Continuous improvement extends well beyond tasks and processes being most important for the organizational behavior and health. This type of continuous improvement has no end point. This program outlines the facts surrounding the incident as well as the recovery process after a LODD.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - April 9, 2012
In Memory of Lieutenant Robert P. Neary, and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney

Lieutenant Robert Neary and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney were killed while battling a five-alarm fire at an abandoned factory on April 9th, 2012. The fire broke out just before 3:30 a.m. They were killed when they headed in to investigate an extension of the factory fire at an adjacent furniture store. The rear wall of that building collapsed just before 6 a.m., about a half hour after the fire was placed under control. It took rescuing fire crews about two hours to find them and get them out of the collapsed building.

Houston, Texas - May 31, 2013
In Memotry of Captain EMT Matthew Renaud, Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee, Firefighter EMT Robert Garner, and Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan

On May 31st 2013, Captain Matthew Renaud, Engineer Robert Bebee, Firefighter Robert Garner, and Firefighter Anne Sullivan died after a hotel wall collapsed while they were battling a major blaze at a restaurant next to an Inn in the southwest part of Houston. They had gone into the hotel because they thought there were civilians in the structure. Unfortunately, the building had much more fire in it than was originally thought and the structure collapsed trapping them.

Prescott, Arizona - June 30, 2013
In Memory of Robert Caldwell, Travis Clay Carter, Eric Marsh, Jesse Steed, Travis Turbyfill, Clayton Whitted, Andrew Ashcraft, Dustin Deford, Christopher MacKenzie, Grant McKee, Sean Misner, Scott Norris, Wade Parker, John Percin Jr., Anthony Rose, Joe Thurston, William Warneke, Kevin Woyjeck, and Garret Zuppiger

Nineteen members of Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew were killed Sunday June 30th battling the Yarnell Hill fire near Prescott Valley, Arizona. The crew was tasked with digging a fire line and creating an escape route when an approaching storm front caused an abrupt wind shift which drove the fire towards the crew. The crew's lookout saw the blaze change directions and warned his team by radio from his hilltop perch. The new conditions forced him to leave his spot and he was trying to go to another lookout point when the fire overtook the crew. As the conditions changed rapidly, the 19 lied down under their fire shelters but the flames overwhelmed them and all died.