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Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award Presented to Three Organizations for Outstanding Achievements to Improve Firefighter Health and Safety


The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) presented the Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award to Office of the State Fire Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to a unique partnership between the Oklahoma Council on Firefighter Training and INTEGRIS Heart Hospital at the 26th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on May 1, in Washington, DC.

Named after retired-Senator Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland, a strong advocate for our nation's firefighters and rescue personnel during his 36-year career in Congress, the award recognizes organizations for their outstanding contributions to firefighter health and safety. The presentation was made by CFSI board member Giff Swayne and NFFF Chairman Dennis Compton.  Rod Matthews of State Farm Insurance and Troy Markel of VFSI also participated in the presentation. The two companies serve as the corporate supporters of the award program.

In his remarks, Swayne recognized the Office of the State Fire Commissioner for launching the first Courage To Be Safe program in the nation in 2005 and for incorporating the 16 Life Safety Initiatives into the state’s firefighter training programs at various levels starting shortly after the Tampa 1 Summit in 2004.  Commissioner Ed Mann, who accepted the award on behalf of his office, was also recognized by Swayne for his personal commitment to firefighter health and safety.  Mann recently attended the Tampa 2 summit, where he participated in a number of discussions on renewing the fire service’s commitment to the life safety initiatives.

The second recipients, the Oklahoma Council on Firefighter Training and INTEGRIS Heart Hospital, were honored for the development of the Healthy Heart Program for Oklahoma firefighters.  Jon Hansen, the Director of the Oklahoma Council on Firefighter Training, accepted the award on behalf of the two organizations.

In 2011, the Health Heart Program launched a pilot study to identify firefighters at risk for potentially life-threatening cardiac events and to conduct follow-up testing and treatment.  The pilot study screened 100 firefighters between the ages of 44 and 66 years of age.  The results showed that four firefighters were “high risk”, allowing them to receive potentially life-saving treatment. The pilot program also helped raise greater awareness about the risks of cardiac events among the entire Oklahoma fire service.  The program is on-going and evolving with the next phase targeting the entire Oklahoma fire service for screening, education and awareness for cardiac wellness.      

The Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Award for Fire Service Safety Leadership was established to recognize organizations for their outstanding contributions to firefighter health and safety.  For additional information about the Sarbanes award, click here.  

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