Forsyth County Fire Department to Participate in 2016 International Fire/EMS Safety Stand Down June 17, 2016 Fire Department, Photo Firefighter safety and health is focus of initiative The Forsyth County Fire Department will participate in the 2016 International Fire/EMS Safety Stand Down from June 19-25. The 2016 International Fire/EMS Safety Stand Down is a joint initiative of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and is supported by a network of emergency service, health and safety organizations. The International Fire/EMS Safety Stand Down is an annual event that aims to improve firefighter safety and health to give all a better chance of survival during emergencies and in the long-term. Fire departments across the world will take time during the week to increase awareness and action so that safety and health become a priority in all fire departments. “The Forsyth County Fire Department is looking forward to participating in the Safety Stand Down once again this year,” Division Chief Jason Shivers said. “Throughout Safety Week, all Forsyth County firefighters will be training on the objectives outlined as a part of this initiative. It is important to note, however, that our daily response will in no way be impacted. Responding to the citizens’ request for assistance is always our top priority.” The theme for this year’s Safety Stand Down is: “The First 5 Minutes – Stretching the Initial Hose Line, Putting Water on the Fire.” This year’s theme focuses on what each member of the department should be doing in the first five minutes of structural fire response, including the incident commander, company officers and firefighters. “Our community depends on our firefighters and EMTs to be there when there is an emergency. We are participating in the International Fire/EMS Safety Stand Down to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect those who protect our residents,” said Fire Chief Danny Bowman. The Forsyth County Fire Department provides critical, life-saving services to our community and responds to all types of emergencies and disasters. The department is made up of 189 firefighters and support staff who protect the county’s more than 212,000 citizens over an area of 247 square miles. Reducing the risks that first responders face and making sure that each responder is ready when the call comes in is a priority for the Forsyth County Fire Department. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 64 firefighters died in 2014 while on duty in the U.S. This was a significant decrease from the 97 deaths that occurred in 2013, when three incidents alone claimed 32 lives. The largest share of deaths (22) occurred at fire scenes. As in most years, sudden cardiac death accounted for the largest share of the on-duty deaths (36). In 2014, 63,350 firefighter injuries were reported. Of these, 27,015 were injuries at the fire ground. The Safety Stand Down provides a time for all department members to focus on the safety and health measures they need to take both on and off duty to make sure they stay strong and ready to serve the community at a moment’s notice. Community members can also do their part by following recommended fire prevention practices and making sure they have working smoke alarms.