University of Arizona to Study Fire Apparatus Safety

University of Arizona researchers are getting more than a million dollars to research ways to stop accidents while emergency vehicle respond to a scene.

College of Public Health researchers will look at Tucson Fire as a control because it has one of the lowest accident rates in the nation.

Tucson Fire Department spokesman Barrett Baker says they’re proud of how well their men safely drive the 36,000 pound trucks. But that even nowadays, he says it’s becoming more difficult to drive defensively while other drivers on the road aren’t paying attention.

TFD responds to about 80,000 calls a year. Baker says that leaves plenty of room for something to go awry.

“It’s critical that we get to a call safely and return from a call safely,” he said.

Baker says they have one of the lowest accident rates in the nation because they do a very good job at reminding workers to drive to and from a scene safely.

“Defensive driving is very important to us, we have techniques and every two years we go out for continuing education and remind the department the things we do to drive safely,” said Baker.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the latest numbers in 2012 show there were 31,490 firefighter injuries nationwide. Of that, 4,190 firefighters were injured during a response to a call or returning from an incident.

“If you look at the national statistics, the number two cause of the death in the fire service is vehicle incidents,” said University of Arizona College of Public Health Associate Dean Jeff Burgess.

The College of Public Health will get a little more than a million dollars to find out what is causing those accidents and how to prevent them from happening again.

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