Improving the Health & Safety of all Emergency Responders

Close Calls: To Belt or Not to Belt, There Is No Question

Billy Goldfeder explains how a San Antonio apparatus crash prompted seatbelt change that altered the outcome of a future close call.

August 1, 2018

The issue of seatbelts still plagues the general public. It seems a day doesn’t go by where I don’t hear about (or, in some cases, respond to) a crash with ejection—and ejection inevitably means someone failed to wear their seatbelt. In fact, a few weeks ago, one of our neighboring departments turned out for just that type of call—a single vehicle rollover crash that killed a young woman who was not belted and ejected. What’s more, inside her car were several tickets/citations for her pervious failures to wear seatbelts.

This Close Calls column isn’t about that response, though; it’s about how one fire department took action after a close call involving unbelted crewmembers and changed the outcome of a future close call. But before we delve into those two incidents, let’s consider some background information about seatbelt use and apparatus culture.