Too many firefighters are injured or die
because they are not wearing their seat belts.
Motor vehicle accidents are responsible for nearly
a quarter of firefighter injuries each year.
Firefighters are being injured and killed in vehicle
accidents because they were not wearing seat
Volunteer-Combination Officer Section (VCOS) of
the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has
released a seat belt pledge for all to adopt to
help eliminate these incidents.
“The International Association of Fire Chiefs
Volunteer and Combination Officers Section
firmly believes that the use of seat belts will save
our lives.We, as leaders, MUST enforce a seat belt
policy with related disciplinary procedures to
ensure that everyone goes home,” noted Chief
TimWall, chair of the IAFC-VCOS.
The IAFC board of directors adopted a position
statement on seat belt usage. The statement
establishes that all emergency-response
agencies must have and strictly enforce a seat
belt usage policy with effective disciplinary
guidance that applies to all vehicles on
department business, including personally
owned vehicles. This position statement includes
a suggested model policy that can be adapted to
the needs of individual fire departments.
At VFIS, we commend and support VCOS’
attention to and support of the seat belt issue
and its continued efforts to reduce firefighter
accidents. For your convenience, we have
included both the seat belt pledge and the
model policy statement. Take the newest seatbelt pledge here.
IAFC/USFA/NVFC Suggested Model Seat Belt Policy
All personnel must be seated and belted whenever the vehicle (either department or personal) is in
motion for department business. The driver and/or officer shall ensure by voice and personnel reply that
seatbelts are properly fastened. The driver will only proceed when it can be confirmed that all members
are seated and belted. The only exception to the use of seatbelts while a vehicle is in motion is a situation
where a person is providing direct patient care (EMS) and there is no reasonable restraint system
available. Utilize a progressive discipline system holding the violator and the supervisor responsible to
ensure compliance with the seat belt policy, reflecting the serious and potential life-threatening
consequences of failure to comply.