SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Every year, fire stations across the U.S. have the chance to earn the Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award. This year, our very own Sioux Falls Fire Rescue has earned the honor.
Fire Captain Eric Bartz is doing a routine check on his fire truck’s equipment.
“Making sure that everything is modern, safe and effective so that not only can we do our jobs better, but we’ll be safer and the biggest objective is to be more effective at what we do,” Bartz said.
It’s this kind of initiative that’s getting the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue national attention. They’ve been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Award.
“It’s really a spectacular thing because every single person in our organization has put fourth an effort to work and earn this award,” Battalion Chief Michael Clauson said.
“We’re the biggest department in the state here, but nationally we’re much smaller than the other departments that were also put in for the award,” Bartz said.
Clauson says they’ve earned this by incorporating the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives in their many programs.
“From our administrative staff all the way up to the chief of our department has had their hands in this whether it be projects or programs that are encompassed around health and safety,” Clauson said.
One of the initiatives is creating a culture for the safety of the fire rescue and their health. From tasks such as keeping fire trucks clean inside and out, to decontaminating consistently after coming back from calls.
“Our men and women are here 24 hours a day. This is our house. So that’s the premise of that piece of equipment. Each station has 2 of these one by the front door and one by a high traffic area maybe into an office area,” Clauson said.
Members of the department have been making instructional videos pertaining to other initiatives for others to learn from.
“Everybody has to view it and go through it and they get checked off and it becomes part of the process of our department,” Clauson said.
Every step they take to better the health of their team, the better they operate out in the field where they can help those in need and making sure that everybody comes home.
They will be awarded the honor on April 30th in Washington D.C.