Fairfax, Va. – The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) today released a new report exploring best practices for responders using privately owned vehicles (POV) for emergency service organizations (ESO) responses. The report is a joint effort of the IAFC’s Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) and Safety, Health and Survival Section (SHSS) and the NVFC.
The report contains model policies and recommended procedures fire departments can adopt to minimize injuries and deaths while responders are using their own vehicles during emergencies.
“It is common practice for volunteers of ESOs to respond to the station (and in some instances to an incident location) using their POV,” the report states. “Many departments rely on a POV deployment model mainly out of necessity.”
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 52 volunteer/paid-on-call firefighters have been killed since 2003 responding to or returning from calls in POVs. Of the activity types defined, the highest percentage (13.4%) of volunteer fatalities is related to POV responses. In addition, 32.1% of those killed in POV responses were 21 years of age or younger.
“During the Tampa2 conference in 2014, the information that showed firefighter injuries and deaths resulting from POV accidents jumped off the screen and grabbed my attention,” said Chief Dan Eggleston, a member of the VCOS board of directors and primary author of the report. “At that moment, many of us shared a sense of urgency and duty to act to educate our responders on ways to eliminate injuries and deaths through best practices.”
SHSS said they are proud to be part of the new report. “Each year firefighters are still being killed and injured while responding to an emergency while driving a non-emergency vehicle,” said Chief Scott D. Kerwood, chair, SHSS. “Their own private vehicle is not designed or equipped to operate like a fire apparatus, yet many firefighters continue to operate as though it was. This new document will help departments develop policies and procedures to address the response of their firefighters apply when they use their own private vehicles.”
NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn said, “We are pleased to partner with the IAFC’s VCOS and SHSS on the POV response paper. Safety is a top priority for the NVFC, and we need to educate fire departments and volunteer emergency responders on the issues surrounding POV response and what they need to do to prevent tragedy. By working together, we can enhance the health and safety of the boots-on-the-ground firefighter.”
Let’s Make a Difference: Best Practices to Minimize Injuries and Deaths While Using Privately Owned Vehicles (POV) for ESO Responses [link to report] is part of the conclusion of VCOS’s 20th Anniversary celebration as an IAFC section and the beginning of Safety, Health & Survival’s 10th anniversary celebration.
Free copies of the report are available at IAFC.org.
About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more