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The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has just released preliminary firefighter fatality statistics for 1996. The news is not good for emergency vehicle operators. Ninety-two firefighters died in the line of duty in 1996 25 career, 64...


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2. Wear seatbelts. Between 1984 and 1993, internal trauma injuries (73.6%) and crushing injuries (22.8%) claimed a majority of firefighters in vehicle accidents. If firefighters would ride in enclosed, seated, belted positions on the apparatus, numerous firefighters would still be alive today.

1. Attend the 1997 Firehouse Emergency Services Expo in Baltimore. Come to the emergency vehicle operators seminar; talk to fellow firefighters; look at the new apparatus displays; and attend one of the other seminars. You may pick up that one shred of knowledge that could save your life or someone else's.

If the first half of 1997 is any indication, we need to address the problem of response safety now. I have been sent any number of pictures and accident accounts; I hope the second half of 1997 will be safer. If you have any ideas on how to improve response safety send them to me at Firehouse® Magazine. I will print the best ideas in a future column.

Michael Wilbur will present "Emergency Vehicle Operations" at Firehouse Emergency Services Expo '97 in Baltimore July 24-27.


Michael Wilbur, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is an FDNY lieutenant in Ladder Company 27 in the Bronx and a firefighter in the Howells, NY, Fire Department. He is an adjunct instructor at the New York State Academy of Fire Science and the Orange County Fire Training Center. Wilbur has developed and presented emergency vehicle operator courses throughout the country and has consulted on a variety of fire apparatus issues.