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Seat Belt Safety

THE VALUE OF THE SEAT BELT

I remember the year, it was 1968 and the new Oldsmobile my dad bought had this new device called a “seat belt”. You were expected to wear it and if you didn’t, a red warning light appeared on the dash. It wasn’t new, other countries had already been installing seat belts in cars, but to us – it was change. As with all change, it didn’t take long to find ways to compromise the belt. Trust me, my friends had it figured out in 20 minutes – you can connect the belt, tuck it in the seat crevice and freedom is yours again.

However, as an emergency responder it didn’t take long to realize that accident victims who wore seat belts sustained less physical injury in vehicle crashes. As we conclude the first half century of the use of the seat belt in vehicles, the evidence is overwhelming that the use of seat belts in all types vehicles results in less injury and fewer deaths, than if they are not worn. In fact, it is the LAW, to wear seat belts in many states. In addition, the National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH) has found in each firefighter line of duty death investigation involving vehicles crashes, that the lack of wearing seat belts contributed to the fatality. WEARING SEAT BELTS IS A NO BRAINER.

We at VFIS believe so strongly in the use of seat belts that we have compiled this on-line training program of emergency service seat belt informational pieces to influence and support your fire/EMS department’s use of seat belts.

In addition to this introductory message, you will find in this program –

- An article on seat belt safety I authored for Pennsylvania Fireman magazine and Firehouse.com

- The National Seat Belt Pledge Program information

- Seat Belt Pledge Form

- Sample seat belt use policy from the USFA/NVFC Emergency Vehicle Safe Operations Study conducted by VFIS.

We also want to thank Dr. Burt Clark for his work in establishing the Seat Belt Pledge program

We also wish to acknowledge the following organizations who are active supporting Dr. Clark's initiatives. They include:
- International Association of Fire Fighters
- Firehouse.com
- TrainingDivision.com
- National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

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