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Video: How to talk to your crews about COVID-19 and vaccines

Dr. Jim Augustine offers guidance for how fire service leaders can continue the lessons from the IAFC’s Emergency Stand Down on COVID-19


The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is urging all fire chiefs, fire officers, firefighters and labor leaders to participate in an Emergency Stand Down during which time fire service leaders concentrate training efforts on sharing vital information about coronavirus and the COVID-19 vaccines with their crews.

The first COVID-19-focused Emergency Stand Down week occurred Jan. 9-15, but fire service leaders can continue to have these critical conversations during any week as the pandemic persists.

The IAFC offers key resources for this activity. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Download the Stand Down PowerPoint presentation to use during these educational sessions on COVID-19. The content was developed by the Center for Fire Rescue & EMS Health Research.
  2. Watch the video below, live-recorded by Dr. Jim Augustine, to help facilitate these conversations with your members. Dr. Augustine walks through each Stand Down slide, offering talking points and key facts to share with crewmembers as you present the PowerPoint slides. You are also welcome to watch the video as company, station or group training activity.
  3. Review the additional resources prepared by the IAFC to use during these sessions.

The emergency Stand Down event comes in the wake of spiking COVID-19 deaths in the fire service. According to the IAFC, there have been 240 U.S. firefighter deaths (86 in 2020 and 154 in 2021) since the start of the pandemic through Dec. 30, 2021.

[See FireRescue1’s list of COVID-19 firefighter deaths]

A statement from IAFC President Ken Stuebing and IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section Chair Scott Kerwood underscores the importance of vigilance related to coronavirus: “It is critical that firefighters be protected through vaccinations to maintain their readiness to respond to COVID-19 and other emergencies as we see the number of COVID-19 positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise due to the Omicron variant, amidst an already active flu season.”

The IAFC asks that anyone in the fire service who has questions about the Stand Down send them to the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section. Dr. James Augustine, MD, FACEP, and chair of the IAFC COVID-19 Taskforce, will answer questions through his weekly “Ask the Doc” program, found at You can also email Dr. Augustine.

Download the PowerPoint presentation to use during educational sessions on COVID-19.

Video testimonials

Watch these video testimonials from fire service members who survived COVID-19.

Dan Krushinski, Chief, East Franklin (N.J.) Fire Department, shares his story:

Jimmy Adams, Lieutenant, City of Covington (Kentucky) Fire Department, shares his story:

Thanks to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program for their support of this project.

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