The Near Miss program relies on you to share your stories but today we thought we’d talk a little about ourselves. This August marks the Firefighter Near Miss Reporting System’s ninth year of existence. Near Miss started as an idea from a passionate group of firefighters who were sick and tired of seeing their brother and sister firefighters get hurt or killed. Alarmed by the consistently high rates of injuries on firegrounds across the United States, inspired by what they were seeing in the Aviation Industry and from wildland firefighters, they relentlessly advocated for the funds necessary to bring this revolutionary concept – the sharing of experiences in a non-retaliatory, anonymous format – to the structural firefighting world. Getting the money wasn’t easy. In the post 9-11 world, why spend money on a “soft” safety program that doesn’t produce an immediate return on investment? Getting this vision off the ground also took a lot of educating and culture change. From our earliest childhood, we’re told that mistakes are “bad.” So a program that champions open and candid dialogue around “mistakes” – to insure that they aren’t repeated – is pretty radical. To serve the Fire Service with the highest quality data and training, Near Miss has been continuously evolving over the last nine years. 2013-2014 was no different: New look, an updated report submission tool, new training modules. Some changes have worked really well, some haven’t. We learn, we incorporate what we learn into our future training offerings, and we move forward. Expect to see more changes over the course of the next year. We’re sticking to our moto and we’re going to keep trying new approaches and we’re going to see which work best. Visit us at Booth #5509 at Fire Rescue International (Aug 15-16) to share your stories and lessons learned with us. We’ll help you tell your story and record it so that it can be used in one of our educational online lessons.