Washington, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security’s United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) announced the release of a new emergency vehicle safety program designed to give firefighters a greater awareness of safety issues when riding on fire apparatus and operating at emergency roadway scenes. Although injuries and death as the result of apparatus collisions are among the easiest to prevent, of the 106 fire fighters who died in the line of duty in 2005, 26 were due to emergency vehicle accidents. In fact, emergency vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of on-duty fire fighter deaths.
“Fire departments have an obligation to adopt and enforce standard operating procedures that improve fire fighter safety,” says Charlie Dickinson, acting U.S. Fire Administrator. “This program discusses critical emergency vehicle safety issues, including seatbelt use, intersection safety, roadway operations safety on crowded interstates and local roads, and driver training.”
IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger adds, “Every firefighter must take responsibility for his or her safety, as well as watch out for and stop any unsafe actions. This emergency vehicle safety program provides basic strategies for improving safety during vehicle and roadway incident operations, and also addresses the need for a cultural shift in mindset in order to practice safer driving.”
The USFA-IAFF emergency vehicle safety program is an outgrowth of the partnership with several leading fire service organizations participating in the Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative, a USFA project developed to reduce the number of fire fighters deaths while responding to or returning from the scene of an emergency.
For more information about this program, visit http://www.iaff.org/evsp. Additional information about other USFA efforts in emergency vehicle safety is available at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/research/safety/vehicle.shtm.