By Adam K. Thiel
Without question, the results of this report are good news for the fire and emergency services.
It's great to see the number of on-duty firefighter fatalities continue trending downward for another year. And, as mentioned in the story, it seems likely the industry-wide investment on safety, health and wellness is starting to pay dividends.
But we also know that we have a lot of work left to do.
We still have to remember that, while not included in these statistics, firefighters also face a (generally speaking) higher risk of chronic illness and disease. We also understand more than ever before how much critical incident stress and PTSD affect so many of our fellow responders — both on- and off-duty.
It's also unfortunate that, while we're definitely taking great strides forward, there are still those among us who think it's heroic to defy safety-related SOPs and best practices. Personally, I've come to believe that heroism lies in choosing to become a firefighter or emergency responder in the first place, not in taking unnecessary risks that place others in danger.
So, take a minute to congratulate your brother and sister firefighters on our progress; then let's all get back to making 2012 another record-setting (low) year.