Header: Safety Zone Newsletter with Forest Service Fire Operations Safety Council logo. Background is a fire burning in the distance.

Issue 9
January 2007

"Buddy Up, Buckle Up"

Whenever riding in an incident-response vehicle, always remember that the risk of sustaining serious injury or a fatality is significantly reduced when seat belts are properly worn. Several studies within the wildland and the structural firefighting communities have proven that taking the time to buckle up lowers exposure to risk and injury. Wearing seat belts is something we all must do – if not for ourselves, then for those who depend upon us. Take a moment to check out the “Seat Belt Awareness Video”. And remember, just like on the fireline, we need to watch out for one another – so when the time comes to “buckle-up” make sure you “buddy-up” and support those around you.

Did you know: in 2003, an estimated 15,900 collisions involving fire department vehicles and first responders resulted in a net result of 850 structural and wildland firefighter injuries. Notably, the majority of these incidents occurred while responding to or returning from incidents.

Further, numerous studies reveal that in the past six years, the second leading cause of firefighter deaths involved vehicles. Vehicle accidents are real. They affect us as much as personal health and physical conditioning (the number 1 cause of Line-of-Duty-Deaths,) followed by burn-overs and entrapments (the number 3 cause.) So - DO the right thing:

“Buckle up, Every Time, and Check Your Buddy. Seatbelts Save Lives.”

According to safety studies conducted by the United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the International Association of Fire Fighters, approximately 20-25% of the total number of all types of firefighter fatalities since 1984 have involved vehicles. In many of these cases, non-use of seatbelts was the significant factor. For more information on improving both structural and wildland firefighter safety, visit http://www.iaff.org/ scroll down to the article: Study Aims to Improve Fire Fighter Safety (Dec. 5, 2006).

Seat Belt Awareness Video
(WMV file)

-- Print version --

"Newsletter of the Forest Service Wildland Fire Operations Risk Management Council "

Forest Service shield and link to Wildland Fire Safety web site.