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State Fire Marshal Sink Supports 2007 International Fire and Ems Safety Stand Down

6/19/2007

CONTACT:  Tara Klimek or Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink is calling for Florida's firefighters to join fellow responders around the nation in a "stand down" this week and suspend all non-emergency activity to focus on safety during the 2007 International Fire and EMS Safety Stand Down, being held this week through Saturday, June 23, 2007.  
 
Florida is at the forefront of firefighter safety as one of the only states to mandate a Firefighter Occupational Safety and Health program by law.  In 2006, 105 U.S. firefighters died in the line of duty; however, Florida was fortunate that no firefighters or EMS personnel died in the line of duty last year.  So far this year, 53 U.S. firefighter lives have been lost, including one in Florida and nine who died on Monday while battling a fire at a furniture store in Charleston, S.C.
 
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and colleagues of those fallen firefighters,” said CFO Sink.  “Emergency responders know there is great risk in what they do, yet their courage and commitment to serve their fellow citizens is strong.  I can think of no finer way to honor their lives than to learn from their deaths how to make the job safer for those responders who will follow in their footsteps.”
 
Drawing attention to both firefighter and emergency medical services, the International Stand Down is sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Volunteer and Combination Officers Section of the IAFC.  The Florida Professional Firefighters and the Florida Fire Chief’s Association work with their counterparts in the U.S. and Canada to encourage firefighters and EMS personnel to take time from their normal duties to closely look at what can be done to reduce the death and injury rate for firefighters. 
 
The theme of the 2007 Stand Down is “Ready to Respond.”  Stand downs have been used by the military for years to correct issues throughout the ranks.  For more information, please contact Chief Dave Casey at the Florida State Fire College, or visit http://www.fldfs.com/sfm and click on “Firefighter Safety” for more information on the State Fire Marshal’s Office firefighter safety programs, reports and links.
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.