University of Extrication Safe Parking- Part 4: Personal Survival Skills

SUBJECT: Safety Procedures When Working In or Near Moving Traffic TOPIC: Apparatus Exit and Signaling Procedures OBJECTIVE: Emergency responders working in or near moving traffic must train in safe...


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SUBJECT: Safety Procedures When Working In or Near Moving Traffic
TOPIC: Apparatus Exit and Signaling Procedures
OBJECTIVE: Emergency responders working in or near moving traffic must train in safe procedures for exiting response vehicles and communicating with standardized hand signals to moving traffic
TASK: Upon study of this material, a responder shall be able to demonstrate proper exiting protocols for all riding positions of all department vehicles that may respond to a highway incident and shall effectively demonstrate hand signals for STOP, SLOW, MERGE and PROCEED.

Chapter 6 of the U.S. Department of Transportation?s (DOT) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) provides guidelines for the improved safety of personnel when working in or near moving traffic. Training is considered a key element. The MUTCD states that all workers should be trained on how to work next to motor vehicle traffic in a way that minimizes their vulnerability. In addition, workers should wear bright, highly visible clothing (Section 6E.02).

7_extrication1.jpg
Photo by Ron Moore
With the tandem-axle ladder truck blocking for the ambulance, a protected work area of almost three lanes of traffic is created. With this ?block to the left,? the driver/operator exits into traffic, but the officer and crew exit to the shadow side.

7_extrication2.jpg
Photo by Ron Moore
When an ambulance parks at a crash scene like this, the patient-loading zone is too close to moving traffic. Personnel loading the patient will have their backs to the traffic. The ambulance MUST assume a slight blocking angle.

This month?s edition of the University of Extrication?s series on safe parking focuses on street survival skills for all responders. Assuming that everyone has already donned highway- safety personal protective equipment (PPE) and helmets, we?ll begin with vehicle exit procedures.

All major apparatus should be in a blocking position as crew members exit the vehicle. Depending upon whether it is in a ?block-to-the-right? or a ?block-to-the-left? position, one side of the vehicle or the other will be facing approaching upstream traffic with the opposite side facing downstream into a protected area.

EXIT PROTOCOLS: OFFICER AND DRIVER/OPERATOR

  • Look at approaching traffic in a side mirror
  • Turn your head to look rearward over your shoulder at approaching traffic
  • Open the door partially
  • Check for approaching traffic
  • Exit the vehicle to street if safe to do so
  • Close the door
  • Maintain a low profile alongside the apparatus, with your eyes on approaching traffic
  • With your back to the apparatus, move to the front and around to the protected side of apparatus

EXIT PROTOCOLS: CREW

  • Look out window at approaching traffic
  • Open the door partially
  • Check for approaching traffic
  • Exit the vehicle if safe to do so
  • Close the door
  • Assure that you are in a protected-activity area

All crew members in enclosed cabs must exit out the door on the downstream side of the apparatus; no exceptions. Older apparatus jumpseat designs may prohibit a firefighter from exiting to the protected side. In this case, that firefighter follows the Officer Exit protocols.

EXIT PROTOCOLS: AMBULANCE CREW

The ambulance driver and front-seat crew member don?t have much choice; they have to exit out their respective doors. Exit protocols for these responders are:

  • Look at approaching traffic in a side mirror
  • Turn your head to look rearward over your shoulder at approaching traffic
  • Open the door partially
  • Check for approaching traffic
  • Exit the vehicle to street if safe to do so
  • Close the door
  • Maintain a low profile alongside the ambulance, with your eyes on the approaching traffic
  • With your back to the ambulance, move to the front and around to the protected side

7_extrication3.jpg
Photo by Ron Moore
Responders must visualize an imaginary stop sign when moving around any corner of an apparatus that has a minimal buffer area. The officer?s front bumper area of this ladder truck is just such a danger area. Avoid walking around this corner if possible. If you must, stop, look and then proceed when safe to do so.
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