View Poll Results: Should all firefighters be required to buckle up for every emergency response?

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  • Yes, without exception

    82 78.10%
  • Yes, with exceptions explained in my post

    10 9.52%
  • No, with exceptions explained in my post

    5 4.76%
  • No, without exception

    6 5.71%
  • None of the above, with alternative reply explained in my post

    2 1.90%
  1. #1
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    Default Seatbelts: Read Before you Vote

    This topic is intended to be about seatbelts and seatbelts only in the prevention of firefighter injuries and deaths.

    It is not about any particular accident/incident and no names should be brought into the discussion. There are other threads for the discussion of particular accidents/incidents and still more that have been hijacked into threads about them. Please don't do that here.

    I ask that, for the sake of this discussion, we accept certain statements as "givens":

    1. Seatbelts are not the whole solution.
    2. Proper EVOC training for equipment operators is part of the solution but not a part of this particular discussion.
    3. Defensive Driving / Accident Avoidance SOPs are part of the solution but not a part of this particular discussion.

    The question is, should all firefighters in every riding postion be required to buckle up before leaving the station for each and every emergency response?


    Please support your opinion with a post and hold off on voting in the poll until you've considered others' opinions.

    Most importantly, let's try to keep this a calm, professional discussion.
    Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 05-25-2007 at 09:04 AM. Reason: typo
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    Before y'all get huffy about this next bit, I pulled it out of the Canadian Forces Administrative Orders, because it is what members of the Armed Forces are required to follow, except under the specifided conditions of paragraph 3.

    CFAO 36-6 -- VEHICLE SEAT-BELT OR SAFETY HARNESS

    PURPOSE

    1. This order sets out the policy governing the use of seat-belts or
    safety harnesses installed in Department of National Defence (DND)
    vehicles.

    POLICY

    2. Except as permitted under paragraph 3, all drivers, passengers and/or
    crew commanders (as applicable) of DND vehicles equipped with seat-belts or
    safety harnesses shall ensure that the seat-belts or safety harnesses are
    adjusted properly and fastened upon entering the vehicle and that they are
    worn while the vehicle is in motion.

    EXCEPTIONS

    3. Exceptions to this policy are permitted only under the following
    circumstances:

    a. During off-road operations and tactical movement (including
    training), the requirement to fasten seat-belts or safety
    harnesses in standard military pattern (SMP) wheeled and tracked
    vehicles may be waived at the discretion of the officer in charge
    conducting the training if the tactical or training situation
    warrants such deviation. When this discretion is invoked, it
    shall be published in all applicable unit or exercise orders.

    b. Drivers of aircraft loading stairs vehicles may unfasten their
    seat-belts during the time they are using the stairs control in
    close proximity to an aircraft.

    c. Base commanders may authorize drivers on frequent stop details,
    e.g., mail delivery, security check patrols, to drive without
    seat-belts being fastened while operating on base. Authorized
    exemptions shall be published in Base Standing Orders.

    d. Drivers may unfasten their seat-belts when operating vehicles in
    reverse.

    e. Drivers or passengers who hold a recent medical certificate
    issued by a practising physician attesting that they should be
    precluded, for medical reasons, from wearing a seat-belt may
    drive or accompany the driver without seat-belts being fastened.
    With respect to drivers, the practising physician shall state on
    the medical certificate the applicable period that, in the
    physician's opinion, proves to be adequate. However, the
    physician's certificate shall be limited to a period of six
    months. No medical certificate is valid six months after it has
    been issued, but the certificate is subject to renewals. However,
    individuals with medical conditions that permanently preclude
    them from wearing seat-belts shall not drive DND vehicles.

    (C) 1605-36-6 (DTM)

    Issued 1994-10-21
    Now that being a regulation for the military, similar words and phrases are in every drivers education manual that I've read since I learned to drive. That being said, I also have had the unfortunate experience of attending two separate funerals where in both incidents one occupant of each vehicle was killed when his jeep (for case 1) and AVGP (for case 2) while on exercise, rolled, and ejected the driver, and then continued to roll over them. The described events happened basically back-to-back between 1991 and 1992, while I was serving with LdSH(RC) in Calgary. A few months prior to my arrival at the unit in Feb 1988, there had been a similar incident in which a 2 1/2 ton truck, carrying 4 cooks in the cab failed to negotiate a turn in the road, rolled off and killed one of the occupants. The truck was only rated to carry 3 for a start and no seatbelts were worn at the time of the incident.

    My last station had a specific OG related to seatbelts, and although I have not seen an actual OG with my current unit, from personal experience, the ambulance does not roll out the doors until everyone buckles in. At this time I can't speak for the Engine Geeks cuz I haven't ridden with them yet. However, I have seen both the driver and the Officer buckle up prior to hitting the apron....
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

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  3. #3
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    Every call. Everyone.

    No excuses about "it's only 3 blocks" or "it takes too long to unbuckle".

    It's one of the areas in terms of firefighter fatalies that we control.

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    I'm the None of the Above. Firefighters (and anyone else) should realize the benefit of wearing a seatbelt and wear it. There should be no reason to have to require it.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Drivers and front passenger always required to wear seatbelt. FF's in back on short runs (with in 1 mile of station) may decide not to. Their decission to make, however some officers require all to wear belts when leaving.

    The reason they wrote it up so that it require sthe driver and front passenger to wear, was because it was apparent that the majority of accidents caused the front seat occupants to be injured worse (ejected, etc.).

    T.J.

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    Interestingly enough, I was just talking about this very subject with a good friend, who's a 20+ year police vet and currently the senior sergeant of the local PD...
    I was taught in the Academy (Police, not Fire) to always wear a belt, even when responding to a call...accordingly, they also taught us a really fast and easy way to unbuckle a belt (driver side, reverse hand for the passenger side), even clearing your gunbelt and gear, which's easily as bulky and cumbersome as turnouts:
    Reach across your body with your left hand, push the release button, and bring your arm up and across your body, holding the male end of the belt. This clears the belt off of you and out of your way, and allows you to exit the vehicle immediately without worry about entangling in the belt....so if you're going on-scene at a call and someone leg-bails on you, you can jump out and chase their Śßß down post-haste.

    I know a lot of you guys will cause it's a cop thing, but it does work, guaranteed. Try it next time and see how it works out. I'm sure you'll be happy with the results.
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    Actually the description you give, the1141man is an action that I commonly use, for aforementioned reasons - not because I am or ever was a cop, but because it makes sense - from an army geek perspective, of wearing webbing and S.A. weapons and other "junk". (Also because on a couple of my vehicles, the retractor on the seatbelt didnt always work very well.... )
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Actually the description you give, the1141man is an action that I commonly use, for aforementioned reasons - not because I am or ever was a cop, but because it makes sense - from an army geek perspective, of wearing webbing and S.A. weapons and other "junk". (Also because on a couple of my vehicles, the retractor on the seatbelt didnt always work very well.... )
    Yeah, true....I didn't think about MOLLE (or whatever tactical gear you guys use in the Canadian Forces) gear, but either way, the technique works pretty much with whatever bulky crap you're wearing: duty belt, turnouts, or LBE, and lets you get out fast. Hell, in a small vehicle I can pretty much be out the door as soon as the car stops moving.
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

  9. #9
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    Default Click it!!

    Being a operator/driver, I always ask "Everyone comfy?" Translation? Are you buckled. I don't take the parking break off until I get the "yes..".
    As a driver, make your priority to make sure that everyone is safe.

    (I think in some states the driver can get a ticket if not everyone is buckled??)
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."
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    I donít see the big deal. Itís not like if you wear the seatbelt that itís going to be a huge inconvenience to you. Itís just a seatbelt; if you canít work around a seatbelt then you have other problems. Itís not that hard, Iíve done it. Just put your turnout pants and jacket on, get in the truck and buckle in. you CAN still get everything on with the seatbelt on. Once you get on scene just unbuckle, get out, and quickly adjust you SCBA or anything else. Simple.

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    I agree with the fact that seatbelts are benficial and should be worn when they can... but I also agree with the other side of the argument of that you cant get dressed while buckled and so on and so on.

    Seatbelt are one of the MANY things that we control.

    How many of us here have objects in the cab that are left loose to fly around? SCBA's, med kits, tools, camera's, and so on. They are just as important as the seat belt is. I can be buckled in all day long but when that SCBA comes loose and slaps me in the face while we are upside down skiddng along the pavement at 50 mph.... my split-second thought before it slapping me across the face most likely will be... Hmm... well at least i'm belted in

  12. #12
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    I think it should be in the policies of every department to require seat belts in every apparatus from the ford focus to the Truck. Then, at the very least it will catch the attention of those who actually read and the SOP's.

    Furthermore, it should be inducted in training situations and people should be reprimanded if they are not following proper SOP's. This will take time, and it has to come from the TOP down.

    Lastly, the very first thing you train for in FF1 class is doning your gear in less then 3 minutes, which is a VERY LONG TIME. That includes the SCBA which is laying on the floor too!

    In the station you just DON your PPE <1 minute TOPS and then haul in the truck, BUCKLE IN, and start getting ready with the SCBA.. apparatus stops, unbuckle and buckle the SCBA and your out the door. (that is if you weren't able to buckle it while in a seat belt.

    What I do is I look out the window and if I am able to see the scene, and the apparatus is beginning to get to where it will be staged, I'll pop off my belt and make sure I am good to go, then out the door. The majority of the accidents don't happen while on scene, it is getting there that is the issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazmat91180 View Post
    I think it should be in the policies of every department to require seat belts in every apparatus from the ford focus to the Truck. Then, at the very least it will catch the attention of those who actually read and the SOP's.

    Furthermore, it should be inducted in training situations and people should be reprimanded if they are not following proper SOP's. This will take time, and it has to come from the TOP down.

    Lastly, the very first thing you train for in FF1 class is doning your gear in less then 3 minutes, which is a VERY LONG TIME. That includes the SCBA which is laying on the floor too!

    In the station you just DON your PPE <1 minute TOPS and then haul in the truck, BUCKLE IN, and start getting ready with the SCBA.. apparatus stops, unbuckle and buckle the SCBA and your out the door. (that is if you weren't able to buckle it while in a seat belt.

    What I do is I look out the window and if I am able to see the scene, and the apparatus is beginning to get to where it will be staged, I'll pop off my belt and make sure I am good to go, then out the door. The majority of the accidents don't happen while on scene, it is getting there that is the issue.
    Where the hell did you do FF1? 3 minutes to don PPE and SCBA? That's absurd. We give 90 seconds, and only the basically worthless can't get it done.

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    Based on my location I would have thought you could have figured that one out :>)

    No seriously, I agree, it is ridiculous, and I think it speaks to why people are slow getting to the apparatus in time. Hell if you go into a call thinking you have 3 minutes to don gear.

    Quite honestly I don't remember anyone in my classes ever taking the full 3 minute. My group usually did it in less then a minutes or just over. Which seems to jive with the time you need before trucks roll.

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    Side note on the getting dressed points...

    Ever think it's funny that we train guys to get dressed and put the SCBA on when it's lying on the ground....and yet they almost never do that once they are past the academy. Most SCBA's (not all) are mounted in seat backs, wall brackets, etc. How many people actually lay their SCBA on the ground before donning it?

    Ok, back to topic.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Side note on the getting dressed points...

    Ever think it's funny that we train guys to get dressed and put the SCBA on when it's lying on the ground....and yet they almost never do that once they are past the academy. Most SCBA's (not all) are mounted in seat backs, wall brackets, etc. How many people actually lay their SCBA on the ground before donning it?

    Ok, back to topic.

    LOL, I hear ya, I said that same thing in class, WTF are we doing this for?

    ok really back on topic now.

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    double post

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazmat91180 View Post
    LOL, I hear ya, I said that same thing in class, WTF are we doing this for?

    ok really back on topic now.
    IFSTA for FF1 - The time allowed is 1 minute each for doning Bunker gear and SCBA. In other words 2 minutes total. I am sure that is why your guys were getting it done in a minute or less.

    T.J.

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    I didn't think about MOLLE
    They call it MOOSE.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985 View Post
    How many of us here have objects in the cab that are left loose to fly around?
    Off-topic. This thread is intended to be narrowly focused on seatbelt use -- nothing else.

    I agree that securing loose objects in the cab is a factor but it's not the factor we're discussing.

    Please stay on-topic, everyone.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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    Party Pooper.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    How come I feel a setup here? I agonized over the possible answers. I came to my conclusion that this is a real emergency. To explain, the urgency of the incident varies, this emergency is of the highest urgency.


    In a true emergency seconds will count. I'm talking about structure fire with entrapment or other life and death situations. We can never eliminate all risks, it comes down to acceptable risk. Itís the same thing you get on the fire ground, little risk for little gain, big risk for big gain. Realize too that I am in a volunteer department. First guy to the station gets in the truck pulls it out, is ready to go, waiting for crew. He has time to buckle up. Depending on the nature of the emergency the second guy shows, grabs his stuff, and gets dressed on the way. Once dressed and settled he could buckle up. Also, when packing up, I donít want the seat belt to become entangled in my air pack straps.

    If I have a car on fire in a yard then take your time, there is no hurry.

    Seat belts are only effective about 5% of the time, they offer little additional protection.

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    I believe seat belts should be worn every time you get in a piece!!! I fyou are so worried about the couple extra seconds it takes to unbuckle then a couple of seconds before you arrive at a scene unbuckle your belt. If your in the back and for some reason don't know when your close then have your driver tell you. While enroute though you should definitely wear it. I don't know why guys think a fire truck is different then their cars. Is it because it's big or becuase you have all your gear on. Whatever it is it's nonsense and seatbelts should always be worn. We are more important then anyone else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Remthedays View Post
    IFSTA for FF1 - The time allowed is 1 minute each for doning Bunker gear and SCBA. In other words 2 minutes total. I am sure that is why your guys were getting it done in a minute or less.

    T.J.
    this is also what is standard with our department plus thefire academy. 2 minutes total to get everything on.

    i disagree with the statement that you cannot get dressed with a seatbelt on. if you can get your pants and coat on before you get in the rig then buckle in, you can get everything else on. true it may take a FEW more seconds, but thats all. and driver training and awareness plays a role as well

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    I call BULLglgglflflfll ... on the "argument of that you cant get dressed while buckled and so on and so on."

    The Station I came from has SCBAs racked in a cabinet on the drivers side of the Engine - 0utside compartment. If getting yourself dressed in turnouts happens before/as you get to the vehicle. Ya ok... the "one minute" standard to dress in the BA itself is now "In Effect" and there was a time when I could do that - AS THE OIC.

    The Station here I am now, has BA's locked into the seats - I've haven't used that yet, and think (in theory) its a good idea, but ..... then I read all about you guys who say it takes too long to buckle in and buckle up..... Ok sure, I've got some "learning" to do, but as I stated earlier, I am pretty sure that the guys in my station (Career Folk) buckle the seatbelt before they buckle the BA belt.

    Besides. You'd look pretty silly with your pants or jacket laying on the station floor ... while you are buckling your BA on......as the Engine rolls onto the apron.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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