| By Ken Willette, Executive Director, North American Fire Training Directors (NAFTD)
We are currently facing a significant challenge within the fire service - recruiting and retaining qualified firefighters. When I speak with Metro chiefs, they express that in the past, they received hundreds of applications for job openings. Now, they're lucky if they receive dozens. Similarly, my fellow chiefs from mid-sized combination departments used to have dozens of applicants, but now they're down to just a few. On the other hand, chiefs of volunteer departments and rural communities are grappling with a lack of applicants for vacant positions and an aging workforce. The uncertainty looms over us as we wonder when this situation will improve and when we can once again expect a pool of qualified candidates.
| Tom Miller, TRANSCAER West Virginia State Coordinator
First Responders are used to facing and taking risks every day – that is a part of the job description. We use our knowledge, training, and experience to make critical decisions in often challenging situations. We often rely on communication centers, on-scene resources, and other available intelligence to help us make those decisions. Effective risk assessment, management and planning can help prevent bad situations from getting worse and decrease the threat potential (life, property, environment) posed by an event.
| Erica Fischer, CHEMTREC, Director of Training and Community Outreach
In an era of technological advancements, the transportation industry is no stranger to embracing innovative solutions for enhanced safety. One example is the TRANSCAER (Transportation Community Awareness Emergency Response) Augmented Reality App. This cutting-edge tool offers new opportunities in hazmat transportation safety training by blending augmented reality elements with real-world scenarios, empowering users to gain knowledge and skills in an interactive and engaging manner.
| Bethany Elliott, Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, CHEMTREC
Resilience was the word of the year in 2022, according to the Harvard Business Review (Amico, 2022). While resilience is crucial in any field, certain fields require a higher level of resilience, such as first responders. The responder community has long recognized the need for increased resilience to accommodate the high-pressure nature of work, but there needs to be more of a focus on preventative resilience building. In this article, we will define personal resilience, discuss its importance to the responder community, and provide tangible tools that you can use to boost your levels of resilience.
| Robyn Kinsley, Vice President of Transportation & Emergency Preparedness, The Chlorine Institute
The Chlorine Institute (CI) has many chlorine emergency response resources, including instruction booklets and videos for the Chlorine Institute Emergency Kits “A” (A-Kit), “B” (B-Kit), and “C” (C-Kit). CI and its members often receive questions regarding the replacement recommendations for the kit gaskets. Through these inquiries, we have discovered that some parties keep their Viton® gaskets much longer than the four-year shelf-life recommendation or the gaskets are not stored in a condition that allows them to last as long as four years.
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