Parades, Fire Prevention Week, citizen ride along programs and similar public
relations events provide great opportunities for emergency service organizations
(ESOs) to promote their organization’s activities. These events can assist in
fostering positive relationships with local citizens. During these events, there may
be instances where non-members are allowed to ride in department vehicles.
While these activities are an important part of public service activities for the ESO,
there are also inherent risks associated with ride along programs.
To help reduce the risk of accident and injury to a non-member riding in ESO vehicles,
consider developing standard operating guidelines.
FOR COMMUNITY TYPE EVENTS (E.G., PARADES)
- Assign dedicated vehicles to be used for these events and designate the
maximum number of non-members allowed to ride the apparatus at any
- Do not exceed the designed occupancy of the vehicle and ensure that all
passengers are properly seated and utilizing a seat belt.
- Do not allow individuals to ride on the tailboard, hose beds or any other
area outside of the cab.
- Limit exposures to the planned event only. Do not allow non-members to
ride along in emergency situations unless prior authorization is provided
- Formalize procedures for unloading and loading non-members into and
out of the vehicle.
- Perform a walk around to ensure the vehicle is safe to move after the
boarding and departing process.
FOR RIDE-ALONGS, WHERE AN EMERGENCY RESPONSE
MAY BE UNDERTAKEN
- Establish a minimum age requirement for non-members.
- Develop and implement procedures to protect the privacy of patients and
members of the public.
- Outline rules to be followed by the non-member.
- Adopt a release/waiver for non-members who will ride and require the
waiver be signed prior to allowing the individual to ride. All minors must
have a waiver signed by a legal guardian.
A sample release/waiver can be found at here.
Have this reviewed by
legal counsel to assure that it
provides adequate protection in
the operational jurisdiction.
By understanding the
importance of formalizing
department ride along policies
and adopting these or similar
best practices into your
organization’s procedures, ESOs
can help reduce the risk of
potential injury to non-members
riding in department vehicles.