Firefighters in Seaside will officially stand down from 7 to 9 p.m.Wednesday, although they will answer emergency calls.
Fire departments across the country are standing down Tuesday to re-emphasizesafety. Fifty-six U.S. firefighters have died so far in 2005. As fire season hasnot yet started, that is a disturbingly high number, Fire Chief Joe Dotson said.The total number of U.S. firefighters killed in 2004 was 107.
Fire Marshal Chris Dugan said a majority of the deaths in 2005 were caused byheart attacks or strokes. Wednesdays stand down will feature a nutrition andexercise lecture aimed at improving the health of the firefighters.
Dugan said firefighting is very high-stress. You go from a sitting, resting,relaxed state to doing something excruciating, he said. Were going totalk to our firefighters about taking care of ourselves … The last thing wewant to do is kill a firefighter.
Oregon stands 16th in the nation for firefighter deaths since 1981, with 56deaths, according to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundations Web site.Dugan said a majority of those are from wildland fighting in dunes, marshes orforests.