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Firefighters Statewide Asked To Pledge To Wear Seat Belts

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois fire departments are being asked to sign a pledge to help prevent the second leading cause of firefighter fatalities.

As WBBM Newsradio's Mike Krauser reports, traffic crashes are the number two cause of on-duty firefighter deaths. Ken Willette of the National Fire Protection Association says crashes are also about the last area his group can do something about.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Mike Krauser reports


"We think we might have attacked all of the issues that are the low-hanging fruit, and gotten to the things that could be result through some (standard operating procedures) and apparatus changes," Willette said. "Now we're at the point of changing the culture of the fire service, and really getting into how we operate."

In Illinois, firefighters are not required to wear seat belts. The decision of whether seat belts are required is left up to individual municipalities.

In Chicago, for example, seat belts are required. But some departments have no policy.

The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association is looking to change that, and is asking fire departments statewide to sign a pledge to wear seat belts on the job.

The number one cause of firefighter deaths is heart attacks.

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