INDIANA – ‘Tis the season to be thankful. As your Indiana State Fire Marshal, I have much to be thankful for this time of year.
First, I want to recognize how welcoming and helpful my colleagues at the Indiana Department of Homeland Security have been as I transitioned to this role. I have been responsible for the safety and training of many men and women at the local fire department level, but it is an entirely different scenario when your work impacts the day-to-day of all firefighters across the state. I feel that responsibility and I embrace it. We are together on the front line supporting all the public safety personnel across the state. When they are effective in saving lives and then go home at the end of the shift, I know we all had a part to play in supporting those operations. It is an awesome calling, and I am thankful for such a wonderful team.
I also am thankful for the priority given to firefighter health in this state. We recently added eight names to the Indiana Law Enforcement and Firefighters Memorial, and several of those deaths were due to the health hazards of the job. The PFAS Class B Foam Collection Initiative has surpassed 26,000 gallons of cancer-causing foam collected so far, keeping those toxic chemicals away from firefighters and Indiana’s groundwater. The program provides a completely free and safe disposal process through a partnership between IDHS and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).
Watch the video in this message to learn how easy and impactful this program has become, setting a standard for others across the country.
Thank you to all who have participated in the PFAS program. Please sign up if you have not done so. We have much more to do in reducing health risks in the firefighting workforce.
Firefighter training has received tremendous support from all levels of government, including Governor Holcomb. This state understands the importance of having high-quality, competently trained men and women responding to these emergency calls. Positive outcomes follow good preparation and training, and that is true for firefighters and the public they serve. The Fire Chief Executive Training Program also continues to get positive feedback in helping lay an important foundation for new chiefs across the state. I am thankful for this continued momentum in the training of Indiana firefighters.
At the end of the day, I’m most thankful for the opportunity to serve and support firefighters, who—along with police and EMS—are the backbone of the emergency response network. You and your families deserve gratitude from all Hoosiers for the sacrifice given each day to this job. I encourage you all to prioritize your health and safety just as much as you do for others. We are depending on you to get your regular health checkups and ask for help if you need it. IDHS always will have your back.
Indiana State Fire Marshal