Report by Paula Antolini
July 11, 2018 11:27AM EDT
Run Totals for Bethel Fire and EMS for the Month of June
There were a total of 33 calls for the Fire Department for the month of February.
Structure Fire – 3
Automatic Alarms – 6
Grill issue – 1
Kitchen/Stove Fire – 1
Motor Vehicle Accident – 6
Tree on house – 1
EMS Assist – 4
Brush Fire – 3
Unauthorized Burn – 5
Lightning Strike / investigation – 1
Wires down – 2
Bethel Fire was requested 4 times out f town for Mutual Aid
There were a total of 121 EMS calls for this past month. 10 of these calls were mutual aid/ out of district.
Car 3’s Corner
I was happy and proud, this past month to have been able to attend and participate in the Tunnel to Towers 5 K recently held here in Bethel. While running, (because I had some time) and because we are in many ways half way through the year I wanted to review one of the initiatives that I focused on in the beginning of the year for my department and that is Firefighter fitness.
Like many other lines of work we begin each year with a list of goals and things we hope to bring to the department to make it better, safer, and a place to be proud of. This year at the first officers meeting I brought up the topic of Firefighter and EMS overall fitness as my area of focus. The reason I decided to pick is it has become a larger issue as time has gone by in the fire service on both sides paid, or volunteer as the leading cause of firefighter deaths year in and year out, for both paid and volunteer is cardiac related issue’s, and specifically issues related to overexertion.
According to the NFPA more that 53% of line of duty deaths are made up from this specific cause. Combine that information with the fact that the average age of Volunteers is around 40 years old in 2018, as opposed to the 1980’s when it was around 20 years old, it is imperative for us to keep an eye on not only fitness but overall wellness of all firefighters. Things like sleep and stress all play a part in our overall health.
As we reach the half year mark I am happy to report that my department has made some good progress against these goals as is measured by the amount of people who are working out in our fitness center or at another local gym, and some of the changes we have made around food choices where we have substituted cooking for ourselves for drill to control what we eat, as well as offering seltzer, Gatorade or water where in the not too recent past, it was just a choice of what kind of pizza and what flavor soda you wanted.
Do we have more room to improve ? You bet we do. Things that continue to cause us issues are irregular sleeping habits, stress of the nature of some of our tougher calls we go on which is particularly hard on our EMS crews, and sedentary behavior to name a few.
We still have plenty of room to improve because combined with all that previously listed today’s fires are burning hotter due to things such as synthetic materials, like foam and plastics, which burn at higher temperatures than natural materials like cotton and wood, the ‘air tight’ nature of today’s construction for energy efficiency, which keeps the heat in, combined with the weight of our gear, which depending on what tools we carry in to a fire, can be an extra 65 to 75 pounds added to our existing weight require us to be able to not only just be in an area, but to truly work in that area safely. Simple choices like going for a walk, or spending less “screen time” can go a long way. I like to consider the fact that my crews depend on me to be able to perform, just as I have to depend on them so we all go home safely.
Have a great Month!!
Stay Safe and Be Well
Brendan Patrick Ryan
2nd Assistant Chief