SPAAMFAA Safety Rules – “Standard of Care”

From the National Safety Committee
We have received comments back from members concerning the two articles that appeared in previous “Silver Trumpets”. Most of the comments were positive and expressed thankfulness that safety was an important part of our muster & event planning and operations and appreciated the tips and/or reminders, especially the “learned from experience” part. There has been a complaint that SPAAMFAA is too demanding and that the rules are too complicated. Please understand that SPAAMFAA is not demanding that the chapters use the SPAAMFAA rules as written, but is strongly recommending their use.

SPAAMFAA is a nationally recognized antique fire apparatus organization which has had a Safety Committee for many years. That committee has included a variety of members with various safety perspectives, including current and retired firefighters. These rules have been revised over time based on experience and input from our members. In the case of an accident the first question asked would be what safety rules were in effect and were they followed? Should the accident involve legal action, attorneys would look for a “standard of care” exercised by the organization. The national SPAAMFAA rules would or could be recognized in a court of law as a consensus or national safety standard. If a group that is sponsoring or putting on a muster elects not to adopt the safety package, in the event of an accident, the liability would probably fall on the sponsoring organization AND it’s officers personally. Failure to follow the national safety package could be considered negligence, since the safety package was provided and individuals made the decision not to use it. Please remember that the safety package was developed over a long period of time by highly experienced antique fire apparatus enthusiasts. Also understand that some of us are not so highly experienced with fire apparatus or have never been a firefighter, nor had training of any kind with this type of equipment.

We (National SPAAMFAA) want to approach the issue of safety from an educational aspect and are bringing the issue of safety to the forefront for the benefit of everyone. There is an old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We are all safety officers in that if we witness something that is unsafe, you as an individual have the responsibility to speak up. It only takes one very bad incident to affect all of us and that one bad incident could put an end to fire engine musters as we know them. None of us would want that to happen, would we?

Justin Birchfield submitted to us his company’s safety motto and I will repeat it here –


Every one of us is empowered to speak up and take action if we witness an unsafe practice or action.

Respectfully Submitted by –
Thomas L. Herman, Chairman National Safety Committee
John Zangerle, SPAAMFAA Trustee and legal counsel.

Silver Trumpet – 2016 Vol. 1