199% Correct Is Not A Passing Score In The Fire Service

Does the fire service do anything that requires a 200% proficiency level? By that I mean 100% correct 100% of the time.

On November 10, 2003 the Firehouse.com Fire Pole question was "When responding to alarms in your departmental fire apparatus do you wear a seatbelt?" The total votes were 11,287 only 55.7% replied yes, 32.4% no, 6.3% depends on incident, 4.8% depends on driver, and 0.8% other N/A. We must be able to better than that.

200% proficiency must be our goal because 55.7% correct cannot be an acceptable passing score for anything we do. What is your seatbelt passing score? What is your department's seatbelt passing score? Be careful how you answer - your life or the life of someone you love may depend on it.

End Note: The names of the crew are not included because it would be unfair to make examples of them when their behavior represents the norm, all be it incorrect, of the fire service. In addition, they had not read the "tattletale" article. I cannot hold people accountable if they do not know the standard. So, my promise is to let crews that invite me to ride along with them know upfront that I expect them to use their seatbelts.


  • Allen Woo: Appointed Chief of the Washington Township Fire Department, May 2002. Has served as a Chief Officer for over 10 years and holds an A.A.S. in Fire Science and B.S. in Technical Education from the University of Akron. He is a Graduate of both the National Fire Academy's and Ohio Fire Chiefs Executive Fire Officer Programs.

  • Carolyn Smith-Clark: BS University of Maryland University College, MA Hood College, Fire Instructor III, Fire Educator III, and past elected City Council Member. She is the Mother of 6, Grandmother of 11, and a very wise woman.

  • Steve Kimple: 18 years of service the last 5 as Assistant Chief in charge of operations, City of Whitehall Division of Fire. He is a Graduate of and Adjunct Instructor for the Ohio Fire Executive Officer Program.