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Once at an incident scene and in a blocking position, the operator must initiate stationary light shedding procedures. Depending upon department protocol and apparatus design, things should happen once the parking brake is set on all major apparatus. Smaller vehicles such as police cruisers and chief's vehicles typically require the operator to manually control their stationary lighting.
With the requirements of the latest edition of NFPA apparatus standards in place, fire vehicles now 'shed' their white color strobe warning lights once the vehicle stops at a scene. In addition, most roof-mounted warning lightbar manufacturers now offer the option of shedding all forward-facing lights so to not distract traffic moving in the opposite direction.
Highway safety engineers also strongly advocate the use of amber (yellow) warning lights instead of red on emergency vehicles parked at highway scenes. New NFPA 1901 complaint apparatus have amber rear warning lights specifically for this purpose. Studies show that the motoring public psychologically responds to amber lights better, thinking of it as just another highway construction or repair project. They don't "rubberneck" as much at the scene when everything is yellow.
Introduction to Part 4: Personal Survival Skills
Now, you've arrived at a highway crash scene. Your vehicle is in a blocking position and light shedding procedures have been accomplished. It's time to get out onto the street and deploy some advance warning devices. In Part 4 of this series, we'll address personal survival skills for responders working in or near moving traffic.
Ron Moore, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a battalion chief and the training officer for the McKinney, TX, Fire Department. He also authors a monthly online article in the Firehouse.com "MembersZone" and serves as the Forum Moderator for the extrication section of the Firehouse.com website. Moore can be contacted directly at Rmoore@firehouse.com.