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2009 Near-Miss Calendar Safety 24/7/365 June 2009: Seatbelts.

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Presentation on theme: "2009 Near-Miss Calendar Safety 24/7/365 June 2009: Seatbelts."— Presentation transcript:

1 2009 Near-Miss Calendar Safety 24/7/365 June 2009: Seatbelts

2 Firefighters and Seatbelts 27 firefighters died while responding to or returning from emergency calls in 2007. 25% of 2008 LODD were vehicle related. From 1997-2006, an average of 21 firefighters died each year in motor- vehicle accidents. Firefighter William Grant Chicago Fire Department LODD: March 23, 2007

3 Calendar Module Objectives 1.To review near-miss seatbelt case studies (Discussion questions follow each set of case studies.) 2.To provide an update on engineering and apparatus safety changes 3.To discuss the impact attitude and culture play in seatbelt usage 4.To provide a seatbelt SOP template 5.To offer solutions to barriers to seatbelt usage

4 Objective #1: To review near-miss seatbelt case studies Case Study #1a: Near-Miss Report #09-001 (excerpt) I was riding in a forward facing position behind the driver and I was wearing my seatbelt. We made the turn onto the street in front of the station and my cab door flew open. The force from rounding the turn also started to pull me out of the unit. At this point, I was in shock and physically could not speak to tell the driver to stop. The person riding next to me immediately reached over and grabbed a hold of me and told the driver to stop. Had I not been wearing my seatbelt, I would have been ejected from the vehicle.

5 Case Study #1b: Near-Miss Report #06-029 (excerpt) Our seating arrangement at that time allowed the firefighter to sit with their back to the officer or to use a fold down seat and face forward while responding. Both seats have seat belts, which may have saved my life or in the least, prevented serious injury. During a response to a call I sat in the forward facing fold down seat, applied my seat belt. We left the station house and took an immediate left hand turn. My body slid in the seat, my hip striking the handle of the door. This door handle is lever actuated, releasing the latch if turned up at a 90 degree or down at 90 degrees. When my hip struck the handle, the door opened and the upper half of my body ended up leaning out of the apparatus while the vehicle continued to move. The apparatus is an older model with no headsets and no emergency indicator to notify the driver when a door is open. I was able to grasp the door jamb and bring myself back into the vehicle, close the door, and made sure my hip didn't touch the door again.

6 Discussion Questions for Case Studies #1a and #1b Does your department have older equipment? Have doors on your fire equipment ever inadvertently opened? Will doors on newer fire equipment fly open? What can be done to prevent this?

7 Case Study #2a: Near-Miss Report #07-925(excerpt) After investigating an automatic fire alarm call, which was caused by cooking, the fire chief noticed a seat belt hanging out of the bottom of one of the passenger doors of an engine readying to return to quarters. The fire chief questioned the firefighter seated by the door with the seat belt hanging out. The question was "Do you have your seat belt on?" The question was asked twice, the fire fighter answered twice in the affirmative. When asked how that could be possible with the belt hanging out the bottom of the door, the firefighter apologized.

8 Case Study #2b: Near-Miss Report #05-151 (excerpt) While seated in the left rear jump seat of a pumper during a fire response I was attempting to don the breathing apparatus that is positioned in the seat back. I unbuckled my seat belt and reached behind me to obtain the waist strap of the SCBA. When I shifted position my turnout coat caught on the lever of the door latch. The pumper went around a right hand curve and I fell out the door.

9 Discussion Questions for Case Studies #2a and #2b What excuses have you heard regarding not wearing your seatbelt? How would your department handle the previous incidents? Do your officers set a good example? Do your officers tolerate non-seatbelt usage?

10 Case Study #3a: Near-Miss Report #08-134 (excerpt) Our fire mechanic was conducting a survey of seat belt condition of all apparatus in the department fleet. His investigation revealed that nine seat belts or retracting mechanisms were damaged beyond a safe operating condition. The biggest problem is damage occurring to belts caught in apparatus doors causing cuts and abrasions to the belts. Based on this inspection it was determined that nine seat belts and mechanisms would be immediately replaced. This replacement of nine belts indicated that we were replacing at least one belt in 50% of our apparatus.

11 Case Study #3b: Near-Miss Report #08-383(excerpt) The inspection of seat belts on operational units showed moderate to severe damage to seat belts from closure in the vehicle doors. The inspection was prompted by a Safety Alert from a manufacturer. Damage to belts could occur if the belts are snagged on the Nader Pin when the door is closed. Inspection of 23 front line and reserve vehicles revealed at least some minor damage to seat belts in eight vehicles; some with severe damage.

12 Are the seatbelts on your departments equipment in good operating condition? Do the seatbelts fit all personnel? Are your seatbelts regularly inspected? Discussion Questions for Case Studies #3a and #3b

13 Objective #2: To provide an update on seatbelt engineering and apparatus safety changes Red seatbelts were added to the 2003 edition of NFPA 1901, Automotive Fire Apparatus, in an effort to make sure seatbelt use by firefighters could be verified. Changes in apparatus seating design, audible and visual warning devices, and harnesses are being proposed. Changes and additions to the 2009 NFPA 1901 include defining length of seatbelts, requirements for how to measure them and warning devices.

14 The 2009 revision of NFPA 1901, Automotive Fire Apparatus, features a vehicle data recorder (VDR) proposal. The VDR will provide a 48-hour record of seat occupancy and seatbelt status. It is very possible that the VDR information could be used by insurance companies and risk managers to deny claims for firefighters not wearing seatbelts at the time of a crash.

15 Objective #3: To discuss the impact attitude and culture play in seatbelt usage All department members at all ranks must be part of this attitude and culture paradigm change for these recommendations to take place. This starts with the Fire Chief and must be embraced at all levels and ranks. Company officers must be committed.

16 Objective #4: To provide a seatbelt SOP template A template is provided in a separate document for you to use in your department. If you would like to post your departments seatbelt SOP on, e- mail it to

17 Ensure that seatbelts and door locking mechanisms on all fire apparatus are properly equipped, functional, inspected and maintained. All department members must embrace seatbelt usage, from the Fire Chief to a rookie. Objective #5: To offer solutions to barriers to seatbelt usage

18 Discussion Points: What would you do? Chief Officer finds Captain not wearing seatbelt. Captain finds subordinate not wearing seatbelt. Lieutenant or Sergeant finds firefighter not wearing seatbelt. Firefighter sees other firefighter not wearing seatbelt.

19 Summary Develop seatbelt policy and adhere to it. Develop zero tolerance policy for seatbelt usage at all ranks. Take action when necessary. Inspect vehicles and ensure they meet NFPA standards. Emergency fire apparatus must be equipped and functional to provide adequate safety for the riders and drivers/operators. We are each responsible for the actions we take or dont take.

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