Wear your seat belt – crash
Take a look at this bus driver casually driving the bus. He has the green light and another vehicle runs the red. He is not wearing his seatbelt and gets ejected. While this video does not depict a fire engine, the concept is still the same. It reminds me of how lucky I was as a new firefighter riding in the back of an engine heading code 3 to a fire while getting dressed. I am sure those days are long gone, RIGHT?
As the officer, or aspiring officer, you are legally required to make sure everyone is seated before the rig moves. More important than the legal aspects, how would you like to face the family of a firefighter who was killed on your watch. This is so preventable. It’s up to you to have the courage to tell the driver to slow down and to wait until everyone is dressed before the rig moves. It is often a very unpopular stance for the officer to take. The concern is that you will get “beaten” into a fire in your own first in district. My expectation is that the officer is the one who sets the tone and mandates that everyone is buckled in and ready before the engine or truck moves. I do not care if it is an unpopular position to take.
We all want to be first due to a fire, however, at what cost? I can assure as someone who was in an accident while responding to a call, the call becomes insignificant when the rig is totaled and firefighters are injured. In my case, a police car ran a red light and was hit by the fire engine. The engine then struck a light pole and was totaled. I was riding backwards and injured my back. The orthopedic surgeon told me I would never return to duty. Thankfully he was wrong.