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Why first responders should regularly inspect their work vehicles

Routine vehicle inspections are a small step that can save you time and frustration down the road

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for all my friends in public safety.

We all know being safe on the job is important. But here’s a question. How many of you drive a departmental vehicle in the regular performance of your duties? Silly question, right? Here’s another one. How many of you regularly inspect your vehicle before starting a shift? Do you have a checklist to assist you in this process? Sadly, I’ve seen many examples of vehicles failing at critical times on the job. Sometimes these failures have catastrophic effects.

Preparing yourself for duty is extremely important. It’s equally important to ensure your assigned vehicle is ready for your shift. This means checking things such as tires, your emergency equipment, and fluid levels. You should also perform an inventory to make sure you have required equipment and supplies. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Hey, Gordon, I’m not a mechanic. Friends, no significant mechanical skill is necessary to check the obvious.

A truck driver is required to conduct a pre-trip inspection before driving a commercial vehicle. This inspection typically involves checking hundreds of critical items before heading down the road. Police patrol vehicles are generally capable of speeds well over 100 miles per hour. Firefighters drive large apparatus that carry critical equipment necessary for helping those in need. None of that matters if you fail to arrive on the scene safely.

It’s easy to overlook this simple task when preparing for a shift. Calls are pending and you’re anxious to hit the road. But please don’t forget to perform a vehicle inspection before you head out. It takes minutes to do, and it could save your life. Your agency and the public depend on you to provide assistance in times of need. Conducting routine vehicle inspections can help minimize the chance of mechanical failure. Do your part so you can go home safely after every shift.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.