1. #1
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    Default seat belt extensions?

    Does anybody know if it is legal to use seat belt extentions in a fire truck? We have a few that would like them because they state the stadard belt is too small for them. They would be purchased from Ford who is the truck manufacturer. Just wondering if NFPA or any other governing body has anything to say about it.
    thanks

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    If you can measure the total pull out length of the original belt, contact F**d and tell them that you need one XX times longer in inches. Another option is to go to NAPA or any other parts store (builder as well), and tell them what you need. There are options to getting a longer total length, than using extenders.

    As for are they compliant/safe or not, I can't answer that.

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    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    I remember hearing somewhere that extensions weren't permissible. I took a quick run through 49 CFR 571.209, the section of DOT regs (FMVSS) that covers seat belt design. I didn't see anything, but it's a long section and I didn't read it word for word, so I could have missed it. As convoluted as the logic of DOT regs writers are for how they are structured and written, it could be somewhere else, though.

    Check NFPA on it.
    Last edited by chiefengineer11; 03-01-2010 at 07:52 AM.

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    In NY at least they are not a problem. In fact most dealers have them in stock. I have thought about getting a couple for our tanker. It has a Mack chassis with NO extra room on either side. Then Mack installed the belts with no plastic shield so they lay on the floor. Forget to grab them and latch them before you close the door and OOPS...

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    A few years back we got some extensions for our Freightliner SCBA seats because with the 911 seat installed they were to short. I would think the builder would have considered this when ordering the chassis.

    Of course we had the members that said people just need to lose weight. It was funny when I told them to get back there in gear and buckle up, they found out that the belts were tight on them and they changed their tune.

    Think the company we went with was www.gotbelts.com. They make aftermarket seat belts for custom vehicles. Made a big difference in the guys being able to actually buckle up.
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    First of all there is nothing illegal about using a properly extending your seat belts. You are on the right track with contacting FORD. Use what they say to use. Typically they will replace the latch part with one that sticks up further. If that isn't an option they will usually replace the entire belt and not put an extension on it so that the belt properly crosses your lap and chest in the correct fashion. If FORD says no go, I wouldn't do it unless you can find some sort of after market mfg that makes longer belts to replace the factory ones, and make sure they are UL tested or tested by some other third party, at the least make sure they list their compliance to FED regs. Old school extensions are not a very good idea. Frankly if you have a member who cant fit in the longest "conventional" belt you can find you might want to make sure he can pass a basic FF or DOT physical before you put him in a piece of fire apparatus.

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    Of course this could be a valid argument on why to chose custom chassis over commercial. Custom builders account for the length you lose due to the SCBA if the seat is a SCBA seat. As I stated, our problem was using a commercial chassis then having 911 SCBA seats installed in the back. The builder didn't bother considering that you lose about 18" of belt just going around the seat.

    To top it off, when we approached FL they didn't offer longer belts and the builder told us it was a FL problem so they didn't even want to listen. As a result we had to do something that would allow our guys, even the 6' 180lb ones, to buckle up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    A few years back we got some extensions for our Freightliner SCBA seats because with the 911 seat installed they were to short. I would think the builder would have considered this when ordering the chassis.

    Of course we had the members that said people just need to lose weight. It was funny when I told them to get back there in gear and buckle up, they found out that the belts were tight on them and they changed their tune.

    Think the company we went with was www.gotbelts.com. They make aftermarket seat belts for custom vehicles. Made a big difference in the guys being able to actually buckle up.
    Had the exact same issue with my department's Freightliner. We tried negotiating with the company that built the engine for us but in the end, we got longer seatbelts from Freightliner themselves. I'm actually one of the larger guys in my department and never had a problem with the shorter belts. Suprisingly, it was the smaller guys that were having belting issues.

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