The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Essay
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1584 is a set of standards intended to prioritize the safety and performance of firefighters. Mike McEvoy’s article “The Elephant on the Fireground” compares rehabilitation, medical monitoring, and other forms of safety precautions to the looming presence (i.e. the elephant in the room) that threatens to remove the firefighter from the scene.
McEvoy’s perspective aims to revise this commonly held misconception about the NFPA standards by equating their enforcement to the same standards of care expected by dedicated, elite athletes. Firefighters, themselves, are the focus of the NFPA 1584. Self-awareness is emphasized by the standards to empower firefighters to oversee their own safety, prevent injuries, and promote rehabilitation to their colleagues around them. There are nine main parts of NFPA 1584: (1) Firefighters need relief from extreme temperatures. (2) The opportunity to rest for at least 10 minutes should be provided during rehab. (3) Use a number of techniques to help firefighters recover from feeling too hot or too cold.
(4) Rehydrate and prehydrate. (5) Consider electrolyte and caloric replacement as an additional support. (5) Use medical monitoring to develop awareness of important individual changes, like changes in speech or movements. (6) EMS treatment is differentiated from medical monitoring. The option for medical transport to a nearby hospital must be available. (7) Member accountability mandates firefighters take care of their own needs and watch for others.
(8) Paying attention to changes in vital signs.(9) Check for CO exposure and assess risks introduced by dangerous chemicals, like cyanide.As McEvoy urges, the traditional attitude toward safety measures like this one has denied proper treatment of a profession that demands peak physical performance. Complying with NFPA 1584 can benefit the safety and integrity of profession.