NVFC Works to STOP Firefighter Vehicle Accident Deaths
|Tuesday, 05 July 2011|
Heart disease remains the leading cause of on-duty firefighter deaths, and yet the second leading cause of fatalities each year is equally, and probably more easily, preventable: vehicle crashes. Each year, dozens of first responders are killed and 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 – was launched in mid-June and is available 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 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.
In the first few days after the training was launched, the NVFC received positive feedback from dozens of first responders who had completed the training. Many departments have made it a mandatory training for their members.
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.
Find out more about vehicle safety and the STOP: Seatbelts Top Our Priorities training module. Stay tuned to the NVFC for information about additional STOP training opportunities. Together we can create a culture where vehicle safety is accepted and expected in the fire and emergency services.