There were 50 firefighters line of duty deaths during 2005. This year, officials say those numbers may grow. Firefighters across the country are participating in a national stand down; to make sure they are safe.
The busiest you'll some firefighters over the next few days is answering emergency calls. They won't be installing smoke detectors or making special appearances.
Instead, they'll be sitting behind desks, watching their computer monitors closely, and listening to lectures. That's because when it comes to putting out fires, they have to be alive to do so.
“Today, is basically just a national program called, a safety stand down where we take time out to pause doing our normal administrative duties and we concentrate just discussing safety topics and issues,” Battalion Chief Larry Williams.
According to report, 25 percent of all firefighter deaths are vehicle related. While 40 to 45 percent of deaths are because they had a heart attack
There hasn't been a death in Dothan’s Fire Department since the 1940's when two firefighters were killed in an explosion.
Although the department is lucky, personnel risks are higher. Especially, with a recently purchased hazardous materiel truck.
“We can run anything from a vehicle leaking gas to a weapon of mass destruction,” said Capt. P.C. Webb.
With Dothan’s traffic increasing, answering calls gets even worse.
“When we come up to an intersection we should always come to a complete stop and a lot of pediatricians and civilians do not understand this,” said Sgt. David Hasting.
In its second year, the nationwide stand-down hopes to lower firefighter deaths one year at a time.
The program is sponsored by the international association of firefighters and fire chiefs. Nationwide, the stand-down ends this Friday.