Vehicle crashes are consistently the second leading cause of firefighter deaths each year. Hundreds more are injured while responding to or returning from an incident. Recognizing that more needs to be done to educate first responders about vehicle safety, The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has partnered with McNeil & Company and its ESIP Program to create a new campaign designed to increase safe vehicle operations among first responders and provide training to STOP preventable injury and death from vehicle accidents.
The new STOP campaign reinforces that Safety Tops Our Priorities. The first training in the program – STOP: Seatbelts Top Our Priorities – is now available online at http://training.mcneilandcompany.com (access code 6832). The free 30-minute training module focuses on vehicle safety with an emphasis on seatbelt use. With Fire/EMS Safety, Health, and Survival Week in progress and proper seatbelt use one of the NVFC’s Health and Safety Priorities for the Fire Service, now is the perfect time to implement this training in your department.
“Seatbelt use may be the easiest thing first responders can do to protect themselves from harm,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “We are pleased to partner with McNeil & Company to launch this new training program to instill and reinforce safe vehicle practices on first responders across the country. All first responders should take the free STOP training, and we highly encourage department leaders to incorporate STOP: Seatbelts Top Our Priorities into your regularly-scheduled department training activities.”
Taking simple precautions like clicking a seatbelt and watching your speed significantly reduces the risk that a first responder will be killed or injured in a vehicle accident. Yet the need for increased awareness and training is evident. Every year, 25 percent of on-duty firefighter fatalities are caused by vehicle crashes. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 1,000 firefighters were injured in vehicle accidents in 2009 either in department apparatus or in personal vehicles responding to or returning from incidents.
STOP: Seatbelts Top Our Priorities is a training module delivered through an online platform hosted by McNeil and Company’s Emergency Services Insurance Program (ESIP) and presented by Chief David Denniston, Client Education and Training Manager. Departments can incorporate the STOP program as part of their training activities to educate their members about vehicle safety and reduce the risk of firefighter death and injury from vehicle accidents. STOP contains completion tracking capabilities so departments can ensure their members have completed the course, and certificates of successful completion can be printed once individuals have finished the training. Training officers may contact the NVFC for a report of all their members who have completed the training.
In addition to the STOP training, the NVFC strongly encourages departments to have all their members sign the International First Responder Seat Belt Pledge. The pledge was created in 2006 in memory of firefighter Brian Hutton, who died after falling from his fire truck on the way to a call. Over 850 departments and 150,000 firefighters – including the full NVFC Board of Directors – have signed the Seatbelt Pledge, making the commitment that they will improve their safety by wearing their seatbelts.
Join with the NVFC in ensuring that Safety Tops Our Priorities in the emergency services. Register today to take the STOP: Seatbelts Top Our Priorities training at http://training.mcneilandcompany.com. To register, follow these steps:
- Select “Not Already Registered? Click Here.”
- You will register as a student using access code 6832.
- Enter your email address and confirm.
- Enter a password and confirm.
- Enter your first and last name, and then enter the department you are affiliated with.
- Check off the Terms and Condition box and select Register.
If you experience any difficulties accessing the training, please contact Heather Fredenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-822-3747 Ext. 524.
Stay tuned to the NVFC for information about additional STOP training modules. Together we can create a culture where vehicle safety is accepted and expected in the fire and emergency services.