National Fallen Firefighters Foundation - Everyone Goes Home
Wisconsin State Advocate
I would like to provide everyone with just a few things that the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), and the branches of the Foundation; Everyone Goes Home (EGH) and First Responder Center of Excellence (FRCE) do.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation was enacted by congress in 1992, as a tax exempt; non-profit organization to honors fallen firefighters and assists their families and co-workers of the fallen.
Every year the NFFF sponsors a national tribute to the firefighters that have died in the Line of Duty from the previous year. This event is held at the National Fire Academy campus in Emmitsburg, MD. The weekend is dedicated to the firefighters that have died in the line of duty and their families. The families are encouraged to be there to participate in special activities and a ceremony to honor their firefighter. The NFFF provides travel, lodging and meals for the immediate familys. There is also trained counselors provided. In addition to the memorial, the NFFF provides scholarships to Fire Hero family members, provides additional assistance to families such as trained counselors, classes on finances and home maintenance, host family events and retreats and support groups, provides support to fire departments with line-of-duty deaths and works to prevent future line-of-duty deaths.
The services that the NFFF provide to the fire departments and families in the event of a line-of-duty death are handled by the Local Assistance State Team (LAST). Upon learning of a line of duty death in the state, the LAST coordinator will immediately contact the chief of the department chief immediately upon notification to offer assistance. They can also assist in obtaining behavioral health counseling for family and department members. These services are to provide guidance during funeral planning, assist the family with filling out the needed paperwork for Public Safety Officer Benefits (PSOB), and other benefits. The State of Wisconsin LAST Coordinator is Retired Chief Steve Schreiber of the Black River Falls Fire Department.
The LAST team also offers a class called “Taking Care of Our Own”. This class is a guide to preparing for a Line-of-Duty Death. If you are interested in hosting this class at your department please go to (www.firehero.org/resources/department-resources/programs/taking-care-of-our-own/). There is also a great deal of information on the website as to what is offered to departments and families. Please visit www.firehero.org.
The Everyone Goes Home program was developed in 2004 after a group of fire service leaders got together in Tampa, Florida to discuss how to prevent and decrease the number of line-of-duty-deaths at the Firefighter Life Safety Summit. During this Summit, the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives were created. The goal of the Everyone Goes Home program is to help the U.S. Fire Administration achieve its objective of reducing the number of preventable firefighter fatalities.
The Everyone Goes Home program is staffed by volunteer state advocates whose main goal is to spread the message through promoting the 16 Life Safety Initiatives. The volunteer advocates are available to assist departments by providing in house training programs, available to answer questions, etc. The in-person classes that are offered are as follows:
This class gives an overview of the 16 Life Safety Initiatives as well as focus on changing the firefighters and officers mindset in order to prevent line of duty deaths. The goal is to promote courage to do the right thing in order to protect yourself and other firefighters. This is a great class for newer firefighters as well as a great review for senior firefighters.
(4 hour program)
This course is designed for senior fire officers, honor guard commanders, chaplains and officials of national and state fire organizations to help prepare them for a line-of-duty death. The course provides personnel with specific information and valuable insights related to pre-incident planning, notification to survivors, benefits for survivors, and guidance with providing grief counseling. The course is provided by chiefs, members of fallen firefighter families, and mental health professionals.
This class is designed to help reduce line of duty deaths by utilizing case studies. The case will be reviewed and the following questions are answered:
• What happened?
• Why it happened?
• What could have been done to avoid it?
• Were safety measures available and used?
• How the event can be prevented in the future?
The focus is placed on cultural change (thinking) not enacting a technical fix (policy change) which in most cases is not successful. This is a great class for senior firefighters, officers, and chief officers.
(4 hour program)
This class looks at the root causes of LODD’s and the role that leadership, accountability, culture, and knowledge played a part in the end result. Many departments “LACK the Right Stuff” to prevent their department from being on the path to a LODD. Through education and training, the department can improve the survivability by understanding the root causes of firefighter fatalities.
(4 hour program)
The Attributes of Leading class is designed to build more effective fire service leaders at all ranks. This is an interactive class. This class focuses on 12 attributes of leading. There is a series of short videos that are viewed and feedback from the participants is encouraged. Everyone in the class will speak about how they do or how they wish to change their leadership to be more effective in each attribute. This program is great for officer/professional development.
(6 hour program)
To learn more about these programs and other resources available or request one contact a state advocate or visit www.everyonegoeshome.com.
The Everyone Goes Home program also has 14 on-line classes that are approximately 1 hour in length. These classes can be found at www.fireherolearningnetwork.com. A log in is required for each member of the department to obtain a certificate. Once logged in you will be able to complete the classes. There is also a Community Risk Reduction Certificate that is available upon completion of “Courage to Be Safe”, “Leadership, Accountability, Culture and Knowledge”, “After Action Review”, and either “Creating Change in the Fire Service”, or “Stress First Aid for Fire and EMS Personnel”. The Community Risk Reduction Certificate and help you in getting “bonus points” from ISO.
The newest branch of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is the First Responder Center for Excellence (FRCE) founded in 2016. The mission of the FRCE is to promote quality educational awareness and research to reduce physical and psychological health and wellness issues for first responders. We all know by now that the majority of firefighter line of duty deaths are related to health in one way or another. The FRCE is your one stop shop for all things related to the health and wellness impacts of the fire service, including cardiac health, cancer, behavioral health, firefighter physicals, fitness, and nutrition.
There is a generous amount of resources available on the FRCE website at www.firstrespondercenter.org.
This course offers training and tools to assist with stress reactions for fire and EMS personnel. The course is specifically designed for fire and EMS personnel with the goal of restoring health and readiness after a stress reaction. The course helps responders identify stress reactions and stress indicators. The course also helps responders learn strategies of the 7 C’s of “Stress First Aid” to help reduce the risk of more severe stress reactions.
In closing, please take about an hour to view a few videos that the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation have participated in to go over the effects of near misses with first hand accounts to what happened. The newest of which is the Boyd Street Fire in Los Angeles City, CA where firefighters where severely burned and the lasting effects it has had on them. Also, the “The Nathan Espinosa Story - Go Down Swinging”. This is a near miss, again from Los Angeles City, CA. The incident was a commercial fire where firefighter Nathan Espinosa had been working on the roof when a collapse occurred. This documentary includes a discussion worksheet asking viewers to place themselves in the boots of Nathan, the Company Officer, and the Chief Officer and describe how you and your department would react in the situation and what the Los Angeles City Fire Department experienced.
If you need any assistance, would like to learn more about the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation or would like to learn about becoming a Wisconsin State Volunteer Advocate please feel free to reach out to one of the Wisconsin Advocates listed below.
Wisconsin State Volunteer Advocates
Eric Theel Angie White Gary Peck