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With MVA's (responding and returning) now at #2 on the LODD list, what has your department done to address this? What policies have been put into place? Are they enforced? How? Has it worked?

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The newest policy that has been put in place is mandatory seat belts for everyone whenever the vehicle is moving. This means while responding and returning. Some guys on the back step are resisting it because they figure since we are riding backwards how can it help us in a front end collision. But we are educating them on side impact, ejection, etc...and more and more guys are getting on board.
For a start, my department has placed a decal with 2 1/2" letters across the top of the windshield that asks "Are you buckled up?" so that it can be read from inside the cab. A GOG has also been written that everyone on board must be buckled in before the apparatus is operated. The only exception is for the EMS crew that is providing patient care - but recommends that the EMS crew be buckled whenever possible. As an engineer (ATO/FAO, chauffeur - whatever you want to call the driver) I take the responsibility of getting my crew to and from our destination very seriously. I will not release the parking brake until I hear from everyone onboard that they are ready. If we are not responding to an emergency, I will wait for however long it takes for the back step personnel to let me know they are ready before releasing the brake, otherwise on emergency runs I'll ask everyone to let me know when they are ready.

The other decal that is on the OIC side asks "Where's your backer?" It seems every year I read about a LODD of a firefighter being backed over by their rig. This is a completely preventable LODD. It starts with the driver seeing his backer before letting his foot off the brake. I've held traffic up in front of my station before because my backer would not step out from behind the truck so I could see him in my mirrors. I will admit that I have made the mistake early on in my career of not using a backer and struck the side of the garage. After being lectured to by my training officer, I vowed I would never make the same mistake twice!

We also are required to complete a driver’s education course every year and to drive through an obstacle course in order to maintain our driving privileges.
-The reactionary nature of the fire service never ceases to amaze me, and yet most of what we do is reactionary based. Our responses, fire and building codes, etc. The apparatus driver training and policies here in Albuquerque though have not been reactionary but rather very proactive.
-Approximately five years ago the driver training and s.o.p.'s were overhauled dramatically to include eighty hours of classroom time, forty hours of driving, pumping and aerial operations on the driving course/drill field and thirty hours of supervised non-emergency driving on the street.
-Upon completion the member returns to the Academy for a final total program test which must be successfully passed in order for the member to be allowed to act as a regular apparatus operator.
-Members are only allowed to drive what they have been certified on. There are separate final tests, including a road/written/apparatus test for engines, ladders, squads and ambulances.
-Having certified to drive 16 years ago, I decided to try the new program and was astounded with the results. The new updated certification program not only fully and completely prepares the member to drive in ways never imagined but also creates a level of confidence that was never there.
-So, are accidents down from six years ago. The answer is NO. However the explanation is interesting.
-Accidents have not increased from five years ago but have remained constant, whereas the number of drivers has quadrupled and the call volume has increased from 80, 000 to 100,000 alarms annually. And looking at the cumulative increases in drivers and calls that would demonstrate a successful driver certification and preparedness program.
-With the continuing efforts on the part of the training academy evolving and mandatory refreshers for drivers now the number of apparatus accidents is expected to drop despite the increased number of calls as well as the number of certified drivers.
Our FD decided to hire Lt. Mike Wilbur to come do our annual driver training one year and he's been back once again since. Mike's program really gets individual drivers attention as well as the FD leadership. We have been fortunate to have used non-emergency responses for many calls for years and have had mandatory seatbelt rules long before it became what it is today.

Things we've done recently: last year we developed a guideline of signals for our "backers" so that all personnel use the same hand/arm signals to avoid any confusion. We've installed back-up cameras on all ambulances and fire apparatus. Currently we're instituting a DOT/ANSI compliant vest policy and teaching our personnel to properly minimize warning lights while parked on scene. We've begun to look at less warning lights on new apparatus rather than using the "more is better" theory, still meeting NFPA of course. All new apparatus have the chevron pattern on the rear and we're looking to retrofit the remaining two front line engines with the same.

For us, seat belts are mandatory and the Officer is responsible to ensure all members comply as well as annuall Emergency Vehicle Operaor course.

Our dept. has purchased the ansi rated  required saftey vests, that must be worn at all times when on or near the road, Seat belt use is mandatory, with the new truck the driver and officer seat has full view of the indicator lights for all six seats,plus as the driver sometimes i ask if everyone is buckled in before the apparatus moves , I also ask on all the apparatus i operate even though there are the "buckle up" stickers on the dash, I don't take nothing for granted, And a new policy for backing up apparatus is being written then everyone is going to be trained on said written policy driver/operator or not , and all our driver/operators go through annual evoc training


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