USFA Holds National Forum on Emergency Vehicle Safety

Emmitsburg, MD – The United States Fire Administration (USFA) held a National Forum on Emergency Vehicle Safety on June 24-25 at the Dulles Hyatt in Virginia. The forum was the first phase of the USFA’s National Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative – a project implemented to reduce the number of firefighters killed and injured on duty. USFA is a part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The vehicle safety initiative is a partnership effort of the USFA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the DOT/Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office.

“Firefighters killed while responding to or returning from incidents account for the second highest number of on-duty fatalities,” said R. David Paulison, U.S. Fire Administrator. “It is our intent to identify ways to reduce this major cause of firefighter loss of life.”

The purpose of the National Forum on Emergency Vehicle Safety was to examine the types of incidents involving emergency vehicles that result in death and/or injury to firefighters, and initiate a national discussion on how to mitigate them. The meeting focused on collisions involving emergency vehicles, collisions involving personal vehicles of firefighters while responding to fire alarms, and responders being struck by vehicles at the scene of incidents. Separate reviews of the problem took into consideration the factors of human performance (driver), technology (vehicle design), operations (emergency response), and legislation (laws, regulations, and standards). The Forum participants identified the core issues resulting in the collisions, prioritized the issues, and initiated steps needed to mitigate these incidents.

During the second phase of the National Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative, the group will meet to identify “best practices” that are already in place to reduce the number of collisions or mitigate their effects. Evaluation criteria for these best practices will be established. In addition, the participants will develop recommendations to address areas identified during the June Forum where no effective “best practices” exist. This meeting will take place in August in Kansas City, MO.

Organizations represented at the Forum included:

American Ambulance Association (AAA)
Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI)
Cumberland Valley Vol. Firemen’s Association (CVFA)
Department of Transportation (DOT)/Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Technical Center
DOT/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) FEMA/U.S. Fire Administration (USFA)
Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association (FAMA)
Fire Department of New York (FDNY)
Fire Department Safety Officers’ Association (FDSOA)
Glatfelter Insurance Group (VFIS)
General Services Administration (GSA)/Engineering & Commodity Management Division
International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
International Association of Fire Firefighters (IAFF)
International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA)
Medical Transportation Insurance Professionals (MTIP)
National Fire Protection Association (NPFA)
National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
National Safety Council (NSC)
National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA)
National Volunteer Fire Council (NFVC)
North American Fire Training Directors (NAFTD)
Phoenix Fire Department
Training Resources and Data Exchange (TRADE)
U.S. Army (TACOM)

Further information about the National Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative may be found on the USFA Web site at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/dhtml/inside-usfa/vehicle.cfm.

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