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Safety and the movies… The Incredibles

By Matt King

Way back in March, we put out that month’s edition of Safety and the movies, and, happily, we got a response on Twitter from the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund (JPMF), an organization that aims to eliminate preventable workplace or traffic fatalities and injuries to emergency responders.

JPMF had a suggestion: how about we put together an edition of Safety and the movies built around first responders? After all, emergency first responders go into danger every day and need to be safe even as they enter hazardous situations. JPMF gave us a ton of great suggestions and we thought of some of our own too. Today, we’ve settled on Brad Bird’s fantastic Pixar film, The Incredibles.

Now, we like to look at The Incredibles in two ways. First, there are scenes which directly involve the safety of first responders, and we’ll get to those, but also, since the movie is based around a family of superheroes, we like to think that the metaphor works well with first responders being our real, day-to-day, superheroes.

Without further ado… The Incredibles!

1. Try not to go in alone.

Early in the movie, Bob Parr, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible, is hanging out with his friend Lucius Best, a.k.a. Frozone. They are two middle-aged superheroes, out on the town, listening to police scanners. When they hear about a burning building, they decide to go in and help. They save people, but in the process, they end up looking like a pair of thieves in a jewelry store. The first police officer to show up bursts in, pointing his gun at the two men, thinking them intruders, which, technically, they are. One of the things I noticed, though, when watching the clip, is that the police officer enters alone. This is understandable in certain situations, but if you are entering a situation that is dangerous, do not go in on your own – it is good if someone has your back. Admittedly, most first responders don’t find themselves up against a man who can create water out of the moisture in his body and then freeze it as he shoots it at you.

Working together, however, is something to take away from this scene, and really, the whole movie is about that. Early on, as you’ll see below, Mr. Incredible says, “I work alone.” But, as he learns at the end of the movie, team work is incredibly important in remaining safe on the job.

2. Be prepared – or do NOT walk towards the beeping sound.

Early in this scene, we see Mr. Incredible walk towards a wall, because he hears a beeping sound. As he gets closer, the beeping grows in frequency, and just as he presses his face against the bank’s concrete wall, he realizes it’s a bomb and jumps back. Walking towards a beeping sound, or towards something that you would not normally be prepared for, is a bad idea. As a first responder, if you show up and believe something may be a bomb, or may explode, it’s best to get out of there immediately and call up those who are better able to handle those sorts of things, like a bomb squad. This continues even when Buddy shows up. Buddy shows up because he believes that’s what he ought to do, but he’s not properly prepared for what may go down there. He doesn’t expect Bomb Voyage will plant a bomb on him. He only expects to be the hero. Being prepared will allow for a safer entry and exit.

3. Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and non-hazardous clothes.

In one of the most memorable moments in the film, Bob Parr visits his old costumier, Edna Mode, to get fitted up for a new suit. Bob mentions Dynaguy, an old superhero who had a cape, to which Edna sternly says, “No capes!” While Bob thinks capes look cool, Edna reminds him that they are hazards on the job. The same goes for first responders. As a first responder, you may be entering a dangerous situation, one that already presents numerous amounts of hazards. So why would you add another hazard to the mix by either not wearing proper PPE or adding a cape? This also goes for your clothes in general. If your shoes are untied, that presents a hazard that you can control, so why not control it? If you are a firefighter and you enter a flaming house without the proper oxygen or masks or helmets, then you are adding hazards to an already dangerous situation. Take (and expand) Edna’s advice – no capes!

First responders have jobs that can become dangerous in a matter of seconds, and it’s important to be prepared for anything, while knowing your limits. Take some of the lessons we learned from this movie – work smart, work safe and stay incredible!

Do you have any suggestions for Safety and the movies? Feel free to leave them in the comments, or let us know through Twitter or Facebook!

One Response to “Safety and the movies… The Incredibles

  1. […] done two other Pixar movies for Safety and the movies, doing Ratatouille way back in January and The Incredibles in May. Pixar movies are often great family films, telling great stories with humour and […]

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