Case Study: Best Practices for Backing Fire Apparatus and Ambulances

Despite available training and technology, firefighters are still being hit and killed by fire apparatus that are backing up. Countless other backing up collisions damage vehicles and property. Backing up incidents are reported in the National Near Miss Database, by the NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, and through news articles. In 2017, a string of firefighter deaths due to backing up spurred Respondersafety.com to tackle this issue head-on.

Respondersafety.com asked Stonehouse Media to produce a video training piece to address this critical safety issue. Stonehouse responded with a video aimed at helping fire service leadership prioritize, teach, and enforce backing up safety procedures with their crews. Past training done by others had focused on the line firefighter, but Stonehouse’s experience with the fire service led us to approach the video differently because fire officers have the responsibility to ensure the safety of their crews, to enforce SOPs, and to teach proper procedures. Backing up incidents are preventable, and the video emphasizes the importance of a backing up SOP, consistent enforcement of that SOP, and training in the SOP’s procedure for backing up. Since its release in early 2018, “Best Practices for Backing Fire Apparatus and Ambulances” has been viewed nearly 5000 times.

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