After seeing a dramatic decrease in vehicle-related line-of-duty deaths in 2009, we now find ourselves asking, are we still not getting it, that seatbelts really do save lives? Yes, even firefighters' lives. July 2010 alone saw vehicle crashes that resulted in at least three line-of-duty deaths in...
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Most, if not all of these incidents were preventable had those involved followed accepted practices: Come to a complete stop at all stop signs, red lights, red flashing lights and yield signs. Do not engage in any fire department activities or responses with drugs or alcohol in your system. Do not respond in emergency vehicle mode when it is not necessary. Finally, wear all of the safety equipment that is provided for you, especially seatbelts.
Next month, we will present a guest columnist who will make an important announcement as it relates to seatbelts in the New York City Fire Department.
Finally, as we go to press, we were advised that two firefighters in Canada died in an apparatus accident. Reportedly, they were returning from wildland firefighting duty when the driver lost control of the apparatus, which rolled over. It appears the firefighters were not wearing seatbelts.
MICHAEL WILBUR, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a lieutenant in the New York City Fire Department, assigned to Ladder Company 27 in the Bronx, and has served on the FDNY Apparatus Purchasing Committee. He consults on a variety of apparatus-related issues around the country. For further information, access Wilbur's website at www.emergencyvehicleresponse.com.