Last Saturday, a safety program sponsored by the Lake Harmony Fire Department called "Everyone Goes Home" was held in the Susquehana conference room at the Galleria Hotel at Split Rock Resort in Lake Harmony.

The featured speaker for the program was Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner Edward Mann who spoke at length to the firefighters present about how the program promotes the courage to do the "right thing" in order to protect themselves and other firefighters and ensure that "Everyone Goes Home" at the end of the day.

The Commissioner focused on the need for firefighters and officers to change fundamental attitudes and behaviors in order to prevent "line of duty deaths" (LODD).

The presentation also conveyed the untold story of the LODD survivors in Pennsylvania revealing how family members must live with the consequences of a firefighter's death.

In March 2004, a Firefighter Life Safety Summit was held to address the need for change within the fire service.

At this summit, the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives were created and a program was born to ensure that Everyone Goes Home.

Those 16 initiatives are :

1 - Define and advocate the need for a cultural change within the fire service relating to safety; incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability and personal responsibility.

2 - Enhance the personal and organizational accountability for health and safety throughout the fire service.

3 - Focus greater attention on the integration of risk management with incident management at all levels, including strategic, tactical, and planning responsibilities.

4 - All firefighters must be empowered to stop unsafe practices.

5 - Develop and implement national standards for training, qualifications, and certification (including regular recertification) that are equally applicable to all firefighters based on the duties they are expected to perform.

6 - Develop and implement national medical and physical fitness standards that are equally applicable to all firefighters, based on the duties they are expected to perform.

7 - Create a national research agenda and data collection system that relates to the initiatives.

8 - Utilize available technology wherever it can produce higher levels of health and safety.

9 - Thoroughly investigate all firefighter fatalities, injuries, and near misses.

10 - Grant programs should support the implementation of safe practices and/or mandate safe practices as an eligibility requirement.

11 - National standards for emergency response policies and procedures should be developed and championed.

12 - National protocols for response to violent incidents should be developed and championed.

13 - Firefighters and their families must have access to counseling and psychological support.

14 - Public education must receive more resources and be championed as a critical fire and life safety program.

15 - Advocacy must be strengthened for the enforcement of codes and the installation of home fire sprinklers.

16 - Safety must be a primary consideration in the design of apparatus and equipment.

The firefighters attending the program were told that by their presence there, they could better learn how to stay safe, care about the safety of their fellow firefighters, stand up for safety, and learn how they can make a difference.

Aside from the safety program, it was noted that the Albrightsville & Lake Harmony Fire Companies will jointly host the Firemen's Association of the State of Pennsylvania 132nd Convention & Parade on September 21st - 24th, 2011.