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Firefighter seat belt safety

VFIS Supports VCOS Seat Belt Pledge Efforts

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 belts.

The 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.