S.O.G. No.:01-005 Revision: April 2007
Effective Date: May 1999
The Safety Officer, a member of the command staff, is responsible for monitoring and assessing hazardous and unsafe situations and developing measures for assuring personnel safety. Although the Safety Officer may exercise emergency authority to stop or prevent unsafe acts when immediate action is required, the officer will generally correct unsafe acts or conditions through the regular line of authority (chain of command).
The Safety Officer is a specialist who provides expertise and individual attention to supplement the role and responsibility of IC for fireground safety. He should work as a sector within the fireground organization.
SAFETY IS EVERY FIREFIGHTER’S BUSINESS
The Safety Officer is a specialist who provides a higher level of expertise and undivided attention to supplement the IC’s role and responsibility for fireground safety. Where there is no full-time Safety Officer responding, every officer should be prepared to function as the incident Safety Officer when assigned by the IC. The presence of a Safety Officer does not replace common sense and in no way diminishes the responsibility of individual fireground officers for safety; it adds a higher level of attention and expertise to help them.
The Safety Officer is essentially an advisor to the IC and a consultant for the Sector Officers.
While the Safety Officer normally functions as an advisor to the IC, serving as a member of the Command Staff and represents safety through the normal chain of command. The Safety Officer also has the overriding authority to “blow the whistle” or veto a plan when conditions or actions create an immediate safety hazard.
The Safety Officer should function consistently as a sector within the fireground organization. This establishes safety as an equal element in the command structure, reporting directly to the IC. This is a functional sector assignment with the full authority to move around the fireground to represent safety concerns. One of the principle strengths of this approach is the ability to stand back and look at the big picture. The Safety Officer can look at the overall situation and action with a certain degree if detachment, since he is not preoccupied with trying to achieve a particular tactical objective. It is often amazing how much can be seen by just watching what is going on and looking at the fire and structural conditions.
The Safety Officer has a responsibility to represent safety policies, procedures, and requirements on the fireground. Unfortunately, this often requires corrective or regulatory actions which create a “safety cop” image. The role of the Safety officer is meant to be for the welfare of personnel operating under stress, excitement, and danger of the fireground. This role must not be compromised by irrational attitudes.
Some of the Safety Officer’s responsibilities and duties are:
Obtain a Briefing from the IC (see if there are any particular areas of the operation that he is concerned with, etc.)
Walk around the Incident and conduct a primary survey (make a mental picture of the scene and then put it on paper).
Monitor and assess accountability.
Help the IC co-ordinate all special teams (dive team, extrication, rope safety, etc.).
Make sure Rehab is set up and personnel are using it.
Is EMS at scene and are they set up and ready for business. Cold Weather/Hot Weather
Double check utility shutoffs, work with those agencies. Monitor CO levels during overhaul phase of fire.
Fill out all checklists.
The Incident Safety Officer should always work with the Incident Commander. Safety Officer is part of the command structure and can assist the IC and help keep all of the personnel on the scene safe and out of harm’s way.
SAFETY OFFICER’S CHECKLIST
UNION FIRE DISTRICT-SAFTEY OFFICER’S CHECKLIST