Near-Miss, Weekly Report: Driver Pulls Away With Member Boarding Apparatus

While preparing to respond to a reported car fire, our Engine operator began to respond as another FF was boarding the rear crew area. Rear crew yelled for driver to stop.


"While preparing to respond to a reported car fire, our Engine operator began to respond as another FF was boarding the rear crew area. Rear crew yelled for driver to stop. Driver did not stop initially, but did stop upon repeated yelling... Apparatus rear door was approximately two (2) feet from door pillar."

The act of responding to an incident is impacted by a variety of factors. The department culture, station culture, shift culture, personal philosophies, prior indoctrination, and training affect what happens when a station is alerted for a call. Report 06-483 recounts the action in one fire station as a crew prepares to respond to an incident. There are a variety of thought provoking points in the excerpt alone. The full report reveals even more about how a "routine car fire" nearly turned deadly. A search of the system found numerous reports similar to 06-483. Reports 06-486, 06-205, and 06-103 are three of approximately ten reports that recount similar experiences. The gravity of the consequences in each of the reports should serve as a wake-up call for drivers who drive aggressively and officers who in their silence provide tacit approval to bad practices.

After reviewing 06-483, consider the following questions:

  1. How would you characterize what happens in your station when the company is alerted for a call: deliberate, professional response or uncontrolled chaos?
  2. Are there any positives to be achieved by espousing a "get to the rig quickly or be left behind" policy?
  3. Who is responsible under your state's motor vehicle and OSHA laws for the safety and welfare of passengers in your vehicle?
  4. Are your members allowed/encouraged to don their PPE while the apparatus is responding? Why?
  5. Use the following formula (Newton's Second Law of Motion) to determine the force in which an unbelted firefighter is thrown around in the cab.
    Force = Mass (of firefighter) x A (acceleration/speed of vehicle).

    Apply the formula to each member of your crew and the apparatus in your station. The results will tell you how devastating the end result of 06-483 could have been.


Report Number: 06-0000483

Report Date: 11/27/2005 17:43

Event Description

While preparing to respond to a reported car fire, our Engine operator began to respond as another FF was boarding the rear crew area. Rear crew yelled for driver to stop. Driver did not stop initially, but did stop upon repeated yelling. Rear crew did prevent accident. Apparatus rear door was approximately two (2) feet from door pillar. Radio report from fire police member reported nothing showing as FF's arrived at station. I believe there are four (4) contributing factors in this near miss. 1-Drivers over zealous attitude to respond A.S.A.P., 2-Driver not checking mirrors before moving apparatus, 3-Use of radio headset by driver not allowing him to hear rear crews instructions, 4-Door open warning light-buzzer inoperative.

Lessons Learned

Driver training-teaching that driver shall check mirrors and check status of crew prior to moving apparatus. Use of headset by driver that can transmit on radio and transmit to crew should be reassessed. Warning system for doors should be given high priority on repair listings.

Demographics

Department type: Volunteer

Job or rank: Fire Fighter

Department shift: Respond from home

Age: 52 - 60

Years of fire service experience: 30+

Region: FEMA Region I

Event Information

Event type: Vehicle event: responding to, returning from, routine driving, etc.

Event date and time: 09/12/2006 00:00

Hours into the shift: 0 - 4

Event participation: Involved in the event

Do you think this will happen again? Yes

What do you believe caused the event?

  • Situational Awareness
  • Individual Action
  • Human Error

What do you believe is the loss potential?

  • Property damage
  • Lost time injury
  • Minor injury
  • Life threatening injury

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