“I pledge to wear my seat belt whenever I am riding in a Fire Department vehicle. I further pledge to insure that all my brother and sister firefighters riding with me wear their seat belts. I am making this pledge willingly; to honor Brian Hunton my brother firefighter because wearing seat belts is the right thing to do.”
While is more than just seat belts, the seat belt pledge is still an important first step towards creating a culture of safety. With that in mind, here is how to take that all important first step.
- Download the International First Responder Seatbelt Pledge Form from the NFFF website
- Sign the Pledge and Buckle Up!
- Fax to (410) 721-6213or E-mail seatbelts@EveryoneGoesHome.com.
- Make sure it is legitimately for patient care – is it truly life-saving measures or convenience?
- Is it feasible to stop the ambulance – remember, when you unbuckle, you become a projectile and could be what injures the patient or become injured yourself.
- Are there other solutions – tether systems for providers that can be installed?
- And a reminder – first we do no harm, we have an obligation to ensure scene safety for us and patients; if we are not buckled, we are not safe!
In February 2010, firefighters from across Oklahoma participated in a seat belt study in which they were asked about their use of seat belts while they were on duty.
Survey Findings and Results:
The survey drew 588 responses, representing a 24.3 percent response rate, with 96.3 percent successfully completing the survey. A quantitative analysis of seat belt use among Oklahoma firefighters was electronically distributed to 2,419 firefighters in 17 Oklahoma fire departments, which included municipal, rural, career, volunteer, and combination federal/military, tribal, and contract organizations.
Of the respondents, 93.1 percent (524) were male, and 6.9 percent (39) were female. The most common age (mode) was split between 38 and 46. Almost half (49.9 percent) (281) of the respondents reported having 15+ years experience, and 18.3 percent (103) reported having 0 to 5 years. The majority (83.4 percent) (471) were from paid/career departments; 6.4 percent (36) were from federal/military departments.
The positive key findings of the survey were the following: (1) Nearly all fire apparatus in Oklahoma are equipped with seat belts, and (2) During routine driving and emergencies (except fires), the majority of firefighters wear their seat belts.
The following were among the additional findings of the survey:
- 45.5 percent (261) of the firefighters always wear their seat belt; 38.7 percent (222) sometimes do.
- 60.6 percent (352) feel their peers sometimes wear their seat belt; 19.3 percent (112) feel they rarely wear them.
- During medical emergencies, 43.5 percent (246) wear their seat belt 100 percent of the time.
- During vehicle emergencies, 38.8 percent (219) wear their seat belt 100 percent of the time.
- During fire emergencies, 40.2 percent (228) wear their seat belt 0 to 25 percent of the time.
- During routine driving, 53.0 percent (303) wear their seat belt 100 percent of the time.
- 72.2 percent (419) said the duration of a trip does not impact their seat belt use.
- 55.9 percent (320) reported being in zero accidents while on duty; 41.8 percent (239) reported being involved in one to three accidents while on duty.
- 60.6 percent (341) said seat belt use within their fire department is recommended; 30.0 percent (169) reported that they automatically use their seat belt.
- 40.6 percent (230) are sometimes encouraged by their peers to wear a seat belt.
- 94.0 percent (530) reported all of their fire department vehicles were equipped with seat belts.
- 48.5 percent (271) reported they had not received seat belt training from their fire department.