Emmitsburg, MD — Acting U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines today signed the National Fire Service Seat Belt Pledge at the conclusion of his first all-hands meeting with USFA staff. Chief Gaines emphasized in his remarks that wearing seat belts is an essential component of efforts to ensure the safety of firefighters in fire apparatus and vehicles.
Vehicle crashes remain the number two cause of firefighter on-duty deaths. After signing the Pledge, Chief Gaines relayed to USFA staff his experience attending the memorial services for Rocky Mount, Virginia Fire Chief Posey Dillon and Firefighter Danny Altice, who died as the result of an apparatus crash on July 26 of this year while responding to an emergency call. Neither Chief Dillon, who was driving the pumper, nor Firefighter Altice in the officer seat, was wearing their seat belt. Both were ejected and died from their injuries. No other firefighters were on the apparatus and no civilians were injured.
Chief Gaines also signed his name to the 100% Seat Belt Pledge Certificate. The Certificate is awarded to any fire department that has all members take the pledge. Leading fire service organizations that have endorsed the Seat Belt Pledge include the:
• International Association of Fire Chiefs
• National Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation
• National Fire Protection Association
• National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety
• National Volunteer Fire Council, and
• U.S. Fire Administration
So far, over 154,000 firefighters have taken the pledge and about 800 fire departments have achieved 100% participation. North Carolina, Illinois, Florida, and Georgia are leading the nation with number of fire departments that have achieved 100% seat belt pledge participation.
To find out more about the National Fire Service Seat Belt Pledge campaign, go to www.trainingdivision.com/seatbeltpledge.asp. There you can access and download the pledge signature form, learn how to receive a 100% Certificate for your organization, find out which fire departments in your state have taken the pledge, read success stories, identify supporters, and receive additional campaign material.
Take the seat belt pledge and buckle up. The fire service owes it to each other and our families so Everyone Goes Home.