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!

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I agree we need to wear them, I wear mine all the time, and tell my fellow brothers to buckle up always..We definitly need to set the example and wear them no matter what!
I completely agree as well! And along with seat belts, people need to wear helmets when riding motorcycles as well!
I joined an old school fire department which did not drill into me as a rookie to wear my seatbelt in the trucks - strange though, I would never forget my seatbelt in my private vehicle.

The exact moment that I started making a solid practice of putting on my seatbelt BEFORE moving the truck EVER was the day enroute to a flames-showing house fire with people trapped inside (so the radio was going nuts), I could have died being hit head-on by a tractor-trailer.

The tractor-trailer took a blind curve too fast and too wide (on a 2 lane road) while I, driving our rescue truck (lights and sirens), was snuggling too close to the yellow lines as I passed vehicles who had pulled over for me 'on a curve.' While I was still a few feet from the yellow line, the tractor trailer was barely over the yellow lines on my side.

I braked and swerved and barely missed crashing into the vehicles pulled over to my right, as I came to a dramatic stop inches from one of them. As I sat frozen for a few seconds collecting my wits, still with lights and sirens running, all of the vehicles sat frozen around me - EXCEPT the tractor trailer who just drove off as though he did not almost hit a fire truck head-on.

As quick as I could I called my dispatcher to warn the other trucks coming beyond me to watch out for the tractor trailer who was recklessly headed their way and to advise that my rescue truck would be delayed to the house fire for a few minutes.

Then I looked down and realized that I did not have my seatbelt on !!!

While I was driving cautiously, and slowed down to pass the pulled over cars, which allowed me to react so quickly, the situation was somewhat out of my control. I was only in charge of a few variables in the situation.

I NEVER drove (or rode in) another fire truck, rescue, ambulance, or private vehicle without my seatbelt after that moment !!!

I also put my gear on before I get in the vehicle or when I get out, so that I do not have to take my seatbelt off enroute to adjust gear, even if someone else is driving.

I also tried to never pass pulled over vehicles on curves again as well - since it was a compounding factor.

Even though I missed the tractor trailer, I could have hit the pulled over cars, or a tree as I swerved - since we know those trucks do not swerve... or stop !!!

And while I have unbuckled a few dead people, the number of those lives saved by seatbelts is so great, there is no comparison. It is not just about our driving skills, we can not make up for the driving errors of others - which almost killed me !!!

I still ended up being the first truck on scene, and one of the first people - but the homeowner died in that house fire, and it bothered me that if those few minutes had not been wasted, he would not have died of smoke inhalation before we could drag him out.


btw the next fire truck behind me got the license plate number of the tractor trailer - and the cops gave him a huge ticket for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle. But I would have liked reckless endangerment or something a little more harsh.
P.S. I also remind everyone in my truck to buckle up - whether I am the driver or not !

From - http://www.firefighterclosecalls.com/home.php
The tractor-trailer took a blind curve too fast and too wide (on a 2 lane road) while I, driving our rescue truck (lights and sirens), was snuggling too close to the yellow lines as I passed vehicles who had pulled over for me 'on a curve.' While I was still a few feet from the yellow line, the tractor trailer was barely over the yellow lines on my side. This suggest to me that there were two reckless drivers that day.

I have yet to see anywhere (at least in my area) that any fire apparatus could pass "...vehicles who had pulled over for me..." and NOT cross over the yellow line. Much less on a curve. While it's good that you leaned to wear your seatbelt it appears you may not have learned to drive with more caution. Hopefully I'm wrong.
I see your point, I learned a lot from that moment. I was new to the department, and yes considered even more carefully every driving moment thereafter. The lesson of safety was not lost on me.

In my area, we have full shoulders to our roads. As I was able to pull my truck fully off the right side of the road when I stopped, past the white line.

I was still several feet from the yellow lines - still well on my side - but I prefer to drive closer to the white line in general. The truck coming at me was on my side of the yellow lines. I appreciate your perspective, my reckless moment was not wearing my seatbelt, not my driving skills. An officer was my passenger... who is also a professional truck driver in his work life... so I assure you, my actions were analyzed... and appreciated. And my officer is the one that required the cops to write the other driver a ticket.

I also learned to be more confident waving cars to move on when they pulled over in an area which I felt was putting them or myself at risk.

And this is exactly why I brought this incident up - we should be talking about it. We should be teaching our staff - especially our new members - since we all need to understand that they are not invincible. And that the community practices under a different level of attention to safety than we must practice.
I think that a story like this makes everyone see the need of being safe going on fire calls. Its to bad it takes something like this to do it.
Just got back from FireHouse Expo in Baltimore last weekend. I am not a firefighter but I had a very lengthy discussion with a young firefighter there about seat belts. He explained many reasons why he doesn't wear them. To me there is only one good reason to always wear them as this tragic story has so sadly illustrated.

Honor their memories and buckle up! No matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient!
Do firefighters go into a fully-involved building with their jackets wide open? Do they go in without helmet and SCBA properly attached and functioning? No, of course not. So what is one more click added to all the rest when suiting up and moving out? Add this simple step so you can continue to be the responder; not the victim.
Well Said Brother!!!! I completely agree!!!
Paul...just proves a point....."You can't fix stupid.."

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