For the past five years the Cinnaminson Fire Department has held a Safety Stand Down training session for members of the department. The Safety Stand Down session is one of the less intense training sessions that the department offers its membership annually. It is meant to provide the membership with a more relaxed night at the station, while also educating members about different aspects of the profession.
FF/EMT Jim Clancy Jr. and Lt. Dennis Staples have been running the Safety Stand Down since 2012. Since the passing of Lt. Chris Hunter, the topics of this annual training session have centered around Everyone Goes Home.
This year's event, which was held on June 24 at Cinnaminson High School, discussed not only Everyone Goes Home, but also Sometimes Everyone Doesn't Go Home. The drill was presented by the CFD and the Hunter's Heroes Foundation for emergency services personnel and their spouses from agencies throughout the area.
"I signed up for the Captain Buscio test at Deborah and we were doing "biggest loser" competition at work," FF Clancy said. "We were talking about stand down week and it bothered me that every department wasn't participating at some level, so we decided to make something of it and we ran with it from there."
"Then I went for my Fire Instructor Level 2 certification and used our program as my course. In the middle of the class while I'm fine tuning it and preparing to present it, Chris dies of the exact thing we are trying to prevent."
FF Clancy obtained his certification and continued to work on the program with Lt. Staples. The two then decided that this year they would add Sometimes Everyone Does Not Go Home as part of the program.
At the presentation this year, Claire Hunter spoke to a room of firefighters, EMTs, police officers and 911 dispatchers about her experience of Sometimes Not Everyone Goes Home. It was the first time Claire spoke publicly about Lt. Hunter's death.
Claire poignantly opened her speech with the following:
"It was nine years ago that my husband (Lt. Chris Hunter) and I sat at our kitchen table with a Life Insurance agent. Our son CJ had just turned one. Throughout the hour-long meeting, there are two sayings that stuck in my head from that day, “God Forbid” and “That won't happen to us.'"
Lt. Hunter passed away on November 15, 2014. His passing shook not only his beautiful, young family, but also his emergency services family. People from all over the county, state, and country came to honor Chris just days after his passing.
The shock of losing a loved one never seems to fade. The goal of this year's Safety Stand Down training session, with the help of Claire Hunter, was to show those in attendance how quickly life can change, even their own.
Many times, emergency services personnel tend to forget this because they are so concerned with taking care of others around them. This year's session made it clear that Sometimes Not Everyone Goes Home, but there are steps everyone can take to ensure that Everyone Goes Home.
If you are interested in supporting the mission of the Hunter's Heroes Foundation, or wish to donate to our cause, contact us today.