I can't believe that we are still this stupid.

 

We recently received several new fire engines. These beautiful Pierce Quantums are everything you could want in a fire engine. However, it seems there is at least one thing that some people don't want. The seats in the engines have sensors that can tell if someone is sitting there and whether or not the seat belt is buckled.

 

Last week, as I was gathering my gear from the engine, the Captain who relieved me asked the engineer if the engine had one of those seat belt warning alarms. When he was told that it did, he proceeded to buckle the seat belt and place the shoulder strap behind the seat. I couldn't believe it. I confronted the Captain about this. He says he never wears a seat belt in the engine, claiming that seat belts get in the way. Not a good example for the company officer.

 

BTW, we have a policy stating the seat belt must be worn whenever the a department vehicle is in motion.

 

I am amazed that in 2011 we still have people who believe that not wearing a seat belt in a fire engine is an acceptable practice. After asking around it appears that at leas 25% of the people in my department do not wear seat belts in the apparatus and higher percentage don't wear them when responding to structure fires. Everyone gives the same excuse: They get in the way and slow us down.

 

What can the fire service do to change this attitude? Last March, San Antonio's Fire Chief made a statement for his department members, issuing lengthy suspensions because they were not wearing seat belts when their apparatus was involved in a collision. The collision seriously injured one firefighter. The day the collision occurred was the injured firefighters first shift.You can read the story here.


Not wearing your seat belt is just plain stupid. Check out the LODD reports. In most, if not all, LODD's from vehicle collision the dead firefighter was not wearing a seat belt. If you don't wear the  seat belt for yourself, at least think about your family and the others that you will leave behind.

 

 

 

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Comment by John R. Eeten, Jr. on October 3, 2011 at 4:34pm

They can pick and choose what will be covered! Yes, this is a "Special Fund", but they can still pick who will be covered and who won't.

The following You Tube link is the best one I have seen to demonstrate the reason to use a Seat Belt! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbTxhUNKeZg&feature=feedlik

 

We, as Fire Officers shall set the example and the Firefighters shall follow the Standing Order, The Rig does not move until ALL Occupant Restraints are properly in place. Anyone not siding with this statement is not doing his / her job to Decrease or Minimize LOSS! If you decide this statement is wrong, I would like ot hear your reason. I am not hiding behind a Screen Name, nor am I hiding where I am from. I am Proud to be a Hard Nose for Firefighter Safety, I trust I am not the only one!

Comment by John R. Eeten, Jr. on September 29, 2011 at 12:15am
Thanks Jason, I was speaking in General  about the policies and denials. If one Flagrantly Violates a Policy such as illustrated by this Captain, and this ends up in court using the Standards as set forth, he will lose his benefits, at least here where we are. PSOB is investigated by the DOJ, and they have a dim view of people violating policy and getting those benefits. Believe it or not, the Firefighters and Police Officers who worked the pile after 9/11/2001, developing the Cancers and Respiratory problems popping up now are being question for disability or death benefits, but it is happening. This carelessness should not be tolerated what so ever in our line of work! Anyone who does not get offended by these actions, should not be in our Business. We are in Loss Prevention and any careless act is not Loss Prevention, but Job Security. If we do not want to do the right thing, then we need to find another place to work.
Comment by Pararescue on September 28, 2011 at 1:17pm
FETC, "First off, your comment is not true for everyone. I have checked into the laws and they can't deny a WC claim or PSOB benefits for the user's sheer ignorance." If the department shows documentation that a protocol was violated, this one a mandate by how many fire and safety organizations? They can be denied! Not for ignorance, as a direct violation of company and departmental policy. As for the LODD's you mention, if a physical isn't done annually, and the dept brought this out, they get nothing. Firefighters are suspended all the time for not having a physical.
Comment by John R. Eeten, Jr. on September 23, 2011 at 3:08pm
About Claims, the DOJ is in charge of investigating them and have been denying claims left and right, inclusive of Air Pack Failures and other associated Equipment problems. Workman's Comp can be denied and has been, due to failure of following Policy. Check out the Clainms being denied from the 09/11/01 incidents. They are all over. Anyway, if you fail to follow policy here, you do not have a Job period.
Comment by FETC on September 23, 2011 at 2:23pm
First off, your comment is not true for everyone. I have checked into the laws and they can't deny a WC claim or PSOB benefits for the user's sheer ignorance.  Even if your state had a seabelt law. If that was the case most cardiac related LODD's would be denied due to no department annual physical, or pre-existing cardiac conditions, the numerous FF ejected MVA's, or heart attacks being an 80 year old so called active member, or the heavy 400 lbs 20 year old kid.
Comment by Jacob Feldman on September 23, 2011 at 12:29pm
I am ashamed to say I used to be one of the firefighters who didn't wear a seatbelt at all... I can vividly remember saying to my probies "we're in a firetruck, anyone who hits us or we hit is going to lose." one day responding to a 2-11 structure fire I was bunking up inside the rig when we took a sharp turn as my engineer almost overshot the turn, throwing me into the door of the engine. If that door had popped open, I would've been dead. Ever since then, seatbelt, seatbelt, seatbelt.
Comment by John R. Eeten, Jr. on September 21, 2011 at 12:44pm
The Fact is very easy to explain this way, "No Seatbelt or Manufacturer installed Restraining System in use, NO BENEFITS! You are on your own!" Check with your departmental Workers Comp Insurance, Local, State, and Federal PSOP Rules and Regs. Where SHZHVFD is located, this applies.
Comment by FETC on September 21, 2011 at 12:19pm

We had the same refusal to change b y some older members. Everyone was told starting today (zero tolerance) and if seen you will be sent home. First time it was seen, the person refusing to wear it was sent home. Word spreads pretty fast and from that point forward, the membership realized the policy was not lipstick.  Try explaining to your spouse you were sent home because you refused to wear your seat belt... then proceed to get your ass chewed at home as well.

 

Comment by John R. Eeten, Jr. on September 21, 2011 at 12:31am
I would be more than happy to email it to you. It is in word format so your department could make the policies their own.  My email address is: jreeten@yahoo.com
Comment by Michael Teague on September 20, 2011 at 11:39pm

@John I like your policy. I need to try to develop something like that for my department.

 

@FETC: You are right about our policy. No one enforces it. The fact that this Captain did this in front me, the Department  Safety Officer, pretty much shows where that policy stands. Changing safety culture in a fire department is a slow and difficult process that we have been working on for the last several years. Things are getting better but we still have dinosaurs.

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