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Santa Claus Banned from Riding Fire Truck in Christmas Parade. Chief Sites NFPA 1500

Deputy Chief Jamie Ayotte has banned Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus from riding in the annual Hampton Christmas Parade. The Chief sites the National Fire Protection Agency’s Guideline 1500. This is absurd. First, I have to point out that NFPA 1500 is a guideline. Secondly, does the department follow all of NFPA’s guidelines as policies? This is such a simple thing to do that is great for public relations. Unfortunately, they have turned this into a media nightmare locally. I think this is a perfect case of overthinking safety. Put a ladder belt on them, strap them in and let the kids enjoy seeing Santa!

You can read the entire article here (

After what Deputy Fire Chief Jamie Ayotte said were days of discussion about the issue, it was decided it was too dangerous to continue having Santa and Mrs. Clause atop the truck.

Santa’s traditional ride through town violated National Fire Protection Agency Guideline 1500, and therefore the department’s safety and liability regulations.

What do you think?

Hampton Fire & Rescue web site

Comments - Add Yours

  • Josh

    So put them in something safer like a convertible behind the fire truck! Tradition that they have always done it that way is no reason not to look at safer issues!

  • deezy

    What happens when someone falls off? Who’s at fault?

    Rhetorical question

    • The Fire Critic

      It is as simple as ensuring they can’t fall off.

  • Bob Upson

    No need to cite NFPA 1500. Shouldn’t common sense be sufficient?

    There’s nothing absurd about it. And I’m a bit miffed that feel so cavalier about waving good common sense safety over a frakkin’ parade. Where’s the “culture of safety” we’ve been talking about creating for the last 20 years?

    Ever watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? There are seatbelts and/or harnesses on just about everyone riding on the floats. Not something jury-rigged from a ladder belt by Joe Handy Firefighter; purpose designed safety equipment mounted securely to the vehicle.

    Get Santa a float to ride on. With an appropriately secure riding position and let the fire engines do what they’re made for — which is not being a parade float.

    The kids enjoy seeing firemen hanging off the back of speeding fire engines, too. Does it make everything okay as long as it’s “for the children”?

    • The Fire Critic


      I disagree with most of this…but I find humor in the fact that you don’t regard a float as a jury-rigged decoration on wheels that is used once a year as being an unsafe contraption as well.

      If we use common sense, we can still have the Claus’ ride on the truck just like they have for years in many departments…safe and secure.

      • Bob Upson

        A parade float is not a million dollar piece of emergency equipment with a “sue me” flag painted on it and a fire engine isn’t a parade decoration. It’s far easier to design in safety for riders on a parade float from scratch than it is to Mickey Mouse a fire engine for something that it was categorically never intended to do.

        And then there’s always that pesky “principle of the thing” to worry about when you suggest compromising fundamental safety rules over trivial matters.

        If we were to follow your version of “common sense”, we’d still be responding to fires hanging off the tailboard and standing behind the cab because it usually didn’t kill anyone.

        • The Fire Critic

          No, I don’t agree with riding tailboard.

          However, people love seeing fire apparatus in parades. They have for years. Just as firefighters have participated in parades for years.

  • Chuck

    Use a safety strap

  • Hooligans and Halligans

    They did the same thing in my city a few years back. Now Santa rides on a float with a ladder truck in front of him and a pumper behind him. Its not right to me but the powers that be say they know better. Stay Safe

  • Mitch

    I wonder what the Chief’s views are on riding tailboard during a funeral procession.

  • http://OUTLAWFIREFIGHTER David Pfeil Jr.

    If the Vehicle is in a Parade, wouldn’t that vehicle be going less than 5 to 10 Mph if that??? I understand safety concerns about falling off the vehicle but like Rhett said, USE COMMON SENSE and make sure they have no way of fallen off.

    I just think the Chief is a SCROOGE!!

  • T Pagels

    NFPA 1500 is a Standard not a guide, thou shall!