If you haven't figured out the obvious yet, it might save your life.
Seat belts save lives. I have a wife and three kids to go home to and every time I see where one of my brothers takes a dump in a rig and can't go home, it makes my heart hurt. If you can't do it for yourself, think of your family.
Unfortunately, we have to keep coming back to the same thing and although we have staunch advocates like FASNY and Dr. Burt, we need to all pop these discussions back to the top of the forum every time. You know, what's the logic in not buckling up? It certainly isn't anything more than laziness in most cases.
I know on some of our trucks it's actually pretty hard to get buckled in because the belt stiffener (is that a part name?) is so broken or worn that it's hard to find the other end of the belt. But one of the things I keep saying is that not only do we need to do a better job of making sure everyone buckles up, as leaders, we need to make sure the tools are adequate to do the job. But when you put it in the perspective of a firefighter funeral, come on, why not do the job right?
When you look at all of the emphasis we place on firefighter safety and consider all the efforts we make toward establishing RIT, and accountability, and physical fitness, etc., it seems that the one thing we can do that is common sense is to buckle up and in that act alone, we could seriously put a dent in firefighter mortality statistics.
And here's an INSANE thought.......leave the gear off until you get on scene...or at least enough of it so that you can buckle up. As I'm fond of saying, and I do so love to repeat myself ad infinitum, ad nauseum....I'll lay odds that you're not going to leap from a moving vehicle directly into a working fire (well, not without a trampoline anyway)--so I'll wager that you have a few minutes once you're out of the rig to gear up.
I just wrote a blog post about this and listed all of the vehicle accidents, some mentioned seatbelts others didn't, that were sent out on the secret list emails. Pretty sad that today when we're supposed to be so smart and so evolved, we still behave like idiots.
I too have a child I need to get home to everyday. If I don't come home, she is alone, she needs me. Being struck be another firefighter because he isn't wearing his would really suck when I am safely strapped into my seat, wouldn't it? Consider your fellow firefighters, not just your own selfish reasons for not wearing one.
The sad part is, people will read this, roll their eyes and wonder why we're such safety Nazis (I keep coming back to this comment after reading it on someone else's homepage). I really feel for them and hope to never see their names on the statistics list. Be safe, this job kills enough of us. Death does not automatically make you a hero.
You know, a lot of the folks not wearing their belt in the rig are the same ones who won't even start their own car / truck unless their kids are belted, I know I've seen it more than once. Then I am provided with some lame-a** excuse about why they don't want to put one on in the rig. It's like what Lasky says about politicians - "they will fight like hell about not needing 4 on each engine or truck, then walk out of the meeting and call every friend in town looking for a 4th person at the golf outing...WTF?
I have a question; does anyone else notice that the front seat folks are usually wearing theirs, but the back seat folks tend not to? It seems to be the main problem I have around here. The "ride backwards" folks do a good job of being dressed before they get in, but then don't belt up. I know they are getting their BA's on, and its a pain with the belt on, but it CAN BE DONE. I made them practice it about a year ago, and I think we are due to go at it again.
Mick I agree with you (as always. seems to be a pattern here...) Icreated a Pledge for all members of FFN, and hopefully it takes off. It's in the FF Safety section, please read add if you wish and sign.
Honestly, I feel if you can't get your gear on quickly enough, it's time to practice. I have my gear on and am sitting in my holstered seat on the rig just as it's pulling out the door, belt is on before we hit the end of the tarmac. It can be done. With my belt on I can reach my flashlight and put it into my waist strap, and grab my helmet. There are a couple of things you can do along the way, even with the belt on. People just aren't trying hard enough.
When we arrive on scene, the hoses are pulled the tools are pulled and we're masking if it's a worker. No time to spare. That doesn't mean you can't be safe, it means you need to always be ready and always be quick. Heck, I even take my pants off before getting into my bunkers and if there's no doubt it's a worker, my polyester uniform shirt comes off too (of course there's t and shorts underneath... lol).