Firefighters work to extinguish safety issues

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The Grand Junction Fire Department is making sure its members know how to keep themselves free from harm in the heat of the moment.

Emergency departments all over the world are taking a look at their own safety practices for International EMS Safety and Health Week.

"If there's a life to be saved then we're willing to risk a lot to save that," said Michael Cox, a GJFD firefighter. "But if it's property or something less then our priorities change from there."

Training is the first step in preparing for incidents, so firefighters and EMS crews don't have to think on their feet when they're on scene.

"When you jump in the engine, jump in the truck, you're going to the call, that's not that time to be figuring it out," Cox said. "You should already be knowing what we're going to do, what's going to be happening."

However, training holds its own risks for injuries, so training officer Gus Hendricks said everyone still has to take it seriously.

"If we don't maintain that vigilance, we let our guard down and that's when injuries occur," Hendricks said. "That's more prevalent during training because you don't think this is for real. You think you can skip steps and that's when people get injured."

Grand Junction Fire Department staff completed a total of nearly 15,000 hours of training last year.

Nationally, 3 of every 100 firefighters are injured on duty each year.

GJFD's rate is lower than that.

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