How many of you have officers who just don't seem to get the fact that firefighter safety should be an important thing? There is a crew I work with where no one on the engine wears their seat belt. It's just not enforced by the company officer. I see it on so many departments. How do you deal with complacent officers who just don't seem to get that bad things can happen on their watch too??

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Jessie,

Hello, I wanted to tell you as a Captain on my department Whether we are going to a wreck, EMS call or a Fire I take a Quick check at my personell in the rig before leaving the station and if someone does not have there seatbelt on I simply say seatbelt and the Colprit usually puts it on because at my station it is mandatory by policy! I wished that I could say that everyone has there seatbelt connected on every call but since I do not get to respond to every call due to my fulltime job I have to reassuring them that they are doing the right thing by wearing their seatbelts. As a Safety Officer for department as well it is one of biggest concerns to make sure that we come home safe!!!!!! I just wanted to let you know that a little encouragement goes a long way and if you see someone not buckling up just remind them because you have to remember that even though they may be a veteran on the department we are all HUMAN and we make mistakes! If you are having a big problem your Safety Officer or Chief should listen to your concerns and maybe he can reinterate the fact that wearing seatbelts save lives and that is the business that we are in!!
We had 1 officer who liked to freelance. The other FFs would look @ him & then look @ me to see if I was going to stop him from doing stupid stuff without having PPE on or being on a roof alone or any number of safety related issues. This particular person was the Chief on an incident that was a "rekindle" for the 3rd time in 2 days we were called for mutual aid. The Chief told our guys to pack up & go in to fight the fire. None of them were comfortable with that decission and looked @ me. I told the Chief that our guys were not making entry, that there was no one to rescue, there was nothing left to save, there was danger of the floor and or the roof collapsing. Other ffs were inside. He said our crew was going to relieve the other crew. There were 3 lines running through the front door across a porch. It was evident that the roof supports for the porch were compromised & that the roof itself was badly damaged. He insisted. I told him that we would lay a secondary line from OUR truck to the back of the house for an exterior attack. He told me, the SO, to go to the truck. I did. So did our guys. We loaded up & went home.

We don't have problems really with things like seat belts & PPE on the whole. On scene not & then someone will forget their training & have to be reminded. Most of the time it is another officer who corrects the situation when he sees it happen. RIGHT THEN!! We tend to watch out for each other. If an officer has had to correct actions of a particular FF on mone than 1 occassion, he will bring his concern to the Chief and/or the SO. Then there is a heart to heart discussion with the lad explaining exactly what the safety issue was, giving him an opportunity to respond. They will either improve or be removed.

Often people don't realize they are doing something that is a safety issue/hazard. They need to be educated.
I appreciate the replies to this post! It is great to hear there are many officers in this service who do take safety seriously, on and off the scene. I hope all of you will continue your efforts and I will continue my own as well! Take care, thank you, and be safe!
Jessie, there is no EASY answer, to this or the peer pressure potential to stone busting.. because you bring it up..
I would suggest examples, such as the most recent Company officer who died in Boston in an apparatus crash.. Iam not say he wasnt wearing his belt or anything of the sort but here is a man with 30 years on, assigned to one ofthe busiest truck companies in the country who died in a crash returning from a medical call, even with 30 years on the job, we have to take as many safety factors as is possible at all times because you never know what can happen ofno fault of anyone....

Use your belt, lead by example and suggest information like this forum to the brothers.... I was not convinced myself
until a couple months ago, I was Company officer, and 2nd due to a building fire literally 3 blocks from the firehouse
The 1st due pulled up just past the fire building and we had to pass the scene go to the intersection, turn around and lay back in, Riding in our 6 month old Pierce Arrow as we turned left, the officers door popped open and I easily could have fallen out of the rig into the busy intersection.. (yeah I know.. I felt pretty stupid, later imagining , yep a 20 year career guy, fell outta the rig, some professional firefighter....) going through all the forums and discussions all over...
anyway, I was very aware, that the drivers door had been adjusted a month after we put the rig in service because it wasnt latching fully... BUt it was very obvious that it wasnt latched, The officers door was Not so obvious ... I can tell you thateven if I am walking by when the door is closed I can "hear" that its not fully closed... we had the doors adjusted , and I told each of the regular officers and drivers, to make them aware because on the officers side thecab is narrow and with personal protective clothing and checking maps or whatever its easy to not get that door fully closed the seat is just that narrow if your a fairly big guy...anyway I didnt become a statistic we stopped traffic , made the hydrant and didnt have to charge the line as it was a FOS extended but knocked down quickly... I have 20 on the job in february and was an active vollie for 15 years before that that equates to a LOT of time in every seat some with doors some without doors or mansavers or anything .. I've ridden the backstep without any harness as well as standing in the jumpseats, in my time, and guess what , I use my seatbelt and require those riding with me when i drive or am in "the seat" to use they'res ... just be sure you take it off before trying to dismount otherwise they'll have a field day with you.... get the department and administration/training guys and everyone else harping the message our belts are red and obvious We have had officers get phone calls from the above mentioned higherups
I saw you and you didnt have your belt on... maybe you need a transfer to the training division where you dont need to wear a seatbelt.??? that seems effective ..lol
Im strict when im driveing the truck dont move till the belts are on im not loseing one of my guys if crap happens and i cant help if we dont get there. but i got others here that dont care ppe is fine hell you dont have time to get dressed just do it in the truck on the way is how they think i come from a full time dept and now im i probie on a voli so i dont have much to say but some here do listen and its getting better ive shown them all the articals about fire truck wrecks so im hopeing itll sink in before they find out the hard way at leats the other probies are doing stuff the right way cause ive taken them under my wing
In the Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives number 4 ...
4. All firefighters must be empowered to stop unsafe practices.
This is the answer.
I'm the Captain in my Volunteer fire Dept. I try and push safety factors like seatbelts but its hard when I don't have support from the higher ranking officers. If I can't get the chief or asst chiefs to comply how can I get the rest of the troops? I do wear my seatbelt and I hope that others will follow.
Jessie it starts at the top with your Chief and the training officer if the chief dose not have the SOP/SOGs in place to mandate that firefighters will use the safety equipment provided and he chooses to put officers in place who ether ignore those SOP/SOGs or fail to enforce them
it becomes a never ending domino effect that trickles down the chain of command `

what you can do is set the example do what you know to be correct and become a leader in doing so those coming up behind you will follow your example

now Jessie you don't say if your on a VOl department or a paid dept
if your on a vol department then when you have your monthly meetings don't just set there bring it up force the issue to the table and remember if those you have elected to lead you refuse to implement SOPs/SOGs then elect some one who will if the people running your outfit wont change then change the people .

if your on a paid department the file a complaint with your safety officer , the chief or your union rep if your a member of the IAFF and i aso up loaded an sop sog from every one goes home for you to see
hope this information helps
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Bull, No back up from the Chiefs sucks, no doubt. But you are a CAPTAIN. Wear your belt, tell others to wear theirs. Bring it up continually in training, meetings, picnics, brunch and christenings. Do not let fire apparatus that you are in move without everyone belted, this includes reaching over and putting the thing in Park! At each grumble, respond professionally, tell each grumbler (whatever rank!) the truth, the need for basic safety practices, outline the LODD's and injuries from this dumb oversight. Make THEM come up with a real reason NOT to wear their belt, don't worry, they won't have a good reason. Either you make this happen over time, you are shown the door, or the lesson will be brought home to them someday in a terrible way. Stay focused, Always Forward, Make your self-discipline the example, and Stay Safe.

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