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VHC, Rocky Ridge recognized
 for seatbelt usage

(9/4) Vigilant Hose Company and Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company were among the Frederick County fire companies that received recognition for their efforts to ensure firefighter safety by making sure that firefighters used safety belts.

“It’s been proven that deaths have occurred because firefighters weren’t wearing seatbelts,” said VHC Chief Chris Stahley.

At a ceremony on Aug. 27 at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, Frederick County firefighters and rescue personnel were recognized for using their seatbelts in emergency vehicles.

Burt Clark, who has led the push for greater seatbelt use, praised the volunteers and career personnel for setting an example for companies nationwide. Clark started the seatbelt pledge drive to Christopher Brian Hunton, a Texas firefighter who died in 2005 shen he fell out of a fire truck responding to an alarm.

“This was the first time the certificates were awarded in front of the memorial on the campus. Since we were honoring our local people, I thought it would be fitting,” he said.

In 2007, 27 firefighters were killed in vehicle crashes. In the 19 fatalities in which seat belt status was known, 11 firefighters weren’t wearing their seatbelts, according to the USFA's annual report.

Stahley said his company has been pushing seatbelt usage for awhile. He said he had no problem getting any of his firefighters to sign the seatbelt pledge and, in fact, the company is 100 percent compliant.

“Our officers police pretty hard before we even pull out,” Stahley said. “They usually don’t have to say anything because everyone’s already using their seatbelts.”

Besides Vigilant Hose Company and Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company, the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services, Independent Hose Company, Junior Fire Company, Brunswick Volunteer Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue, Walkersville Volunteer Fire Company, Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Company, Jefferson Volunteer Fire Company, Wolfsville Volunteer Fire Company and Urbana Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company also received recognition.

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