When are we going to learn? I am an old timer and we never wore seat belts. I learned over time the importance of wearing seatbelts. I have been in a few mva's and I learned the that the studies and safety messages are right-on. Come on guys and gals, we need to stop killing ourselves off. Firefighters need more than ever to set the example, wear seatbelts. Tragically, two more brothers died in an mva. Just days before, two in a house fire. Every year 100 or more are honored at the memorial in Emmitsburg. When will the most technologically advanced fire services in the world finally wake up and put an end to this? By the way, I see that the rollover resistant cab of the Rocky mount apparatus held up real well! Not!
Heather... you get it!
The more excuses we make for not using them, the longer the problem will exist. It really is a problem too. Maybe not for everyone, but for the service in general. We can blame the motoring public for not getting out of our way, we can spend ooodles of coin on toys to help us clear the way so we can go faster, but at the end of the day, it is not going to resolve the issue of lead footed, inexperienced drivers being thrown from catapulting apparatus.
I don't think anyone is calling anybody stupid, they are saying the act of deciding not to wear a seatbelt is stupid. No one is judging. In the last 10 years Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and Kansas City (2) have lost firefighters on apparatus collisions. I have been to DC and know how many runs you get, the seat belt can still be worn and will still protect you. You know engines can turn over even at 35 MPH. My engine gets 3500 calls a year and we rarely go over 35/40, but I still insist on seat belts, it is State law and required by our State FF safety standard. I agree with part of what you are saying about the differences in responces, we never go on a highway, and most of our runs are less than a mile. Stll the logic of the seatbelt makes sense.
and leather! I know it's hot, but people need to understand. If you're in an accident on a motorcycle, and you don't have leather on....well let's just say the road acts as a over-sized cheese grater...for your skin! I don't know about anyone else, but I'd rather be hot, an keep my skin in place.
Even if an accident does not cause loss of life, how many productive hours are lost while firefighters recover from injuries sustained during MVA? Last year's LODD in Boston, saw, other than the death of Lt. Kelly, the other three FF in the rig suffering injuries and the chauffeur required extrication. One of the FF in the rear of the cab was able to buckle his seat belt right before impact. NIOSH doesn't document injuries, but I imagine with some searching you could find how many MVA injuries there are. Regardless, seat belts need to be worn everytime, before the driver releases the parking brake.
One of our Medic Units was rear-ended the other night on I-5 in Seattle; they were northbound at about 60 mph when a high speed sedan slammed driver's side into the rear doors. Since both Medics were in the front seat, and belted-in, the driver only suffered a skull fracture and the passenger Medic only suffered "minor back injuries". The BMW was mangled, with driver and passenger "dead right there".
Always wear your seat belts! We were lucky that the Medic unit was returning from the hospital- no patient and Medic in the rear of the rig.
Still pretty alarming that this sort of thing can and is happening. I remember a bunch of years ago, a firefighter fell off his rig, and was struck and killed by another motorist. Big city, daytime, and not sure of the other details. Seatbelts back then were probably not even thought of, but because of that, they are now!
We, as the Leaders of our respective departments, must lead! Our personnel need to be initiated into the IAFC 25 by 5 Initiative. We must teach our Officers to enforce the policies. The rigs do not move until the belts are on.
These are simple ideals, policies, whatever you wish to call them. We need to enforce them. If we as Offciers do not, we are failing our number one resource! Our Personnel.