1. #1
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    Default Question about cone use at accident scenes.

    All recommendations are suggesting the use of "upstream" traffic cones in addition to using apparatus in a blocking position as indicated in the photo below:



    My question is this:

    Why would we voluntarily place people (most likely a single person) on the "wrong" side of the apparatus to go place traffic cones? We position the apparatus to protect our people....right?

    If people can't see a fire engine or truck parked sideways in the street, are little orange traffic cones really gonna help?

    It seems like very little reward for the risk.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 02-20-2009 at 06:36 PM.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    We do it a few times a week sometimes....

    In my mind the benefit is that if the idiots arent watching, as they run the cones over it might be enough for them to wake up, look foward or stop all together before they hit the rig.

    If your rig is parked there, chances are youll need at least something from the side facing traffic, therefore its better to have something ahead warning people as well as creating the channelling/funnelling effect that almost every motorist understands after driving in construction areas. This is especially important in Pennsylvania, where the entire state road system seems to be under eternal construction and motorists have adopted the traffic baricade/sawhorse as the state animal mascot, thereby allowing them a good understanding of road cone principles.

    If youre placing cones, you can easily be facing traffic and watching them as you drop the things.

    We have 8 28" cones on our rig.

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    [QUOTE]If youre placing cones, you can easily be facing traffic and watching them as you drop the things./QUOTE]

    I think this is the key. The person placing the cones is facing traffic and paying attention to that as opposed to concentrating on patient care or extrication.

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    the other day we had cones out, CHP came and set out road flares. one of them rolled down the road under a cone. It lit the cone on fire and to say the least it kept the traffic away :P really bright!

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    The majority of the time, we won't even place cones upstream from the blocking apparatus. The only time we will is if it's a long-duration incident and MoDOT usually does it.

    The posted diagram actually shows cone placement the opposite of how we do it. Where there's no cones between the front of the apparatus to the end of the work zone on the picture is the first place we'd place them. Once driver's are past the cones, and past the wreck, they can merge back into whatever lane of traffic they want. There's no real "need" to taper traffic back to all lanes, only to taper it when closing lanes.

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    cones or road flares (in the case of CHP) help direct the motorist in the direction you want them to go. I agree I don't think you need the cones after the incident, most of the time they can figure it out on their own.....but sometimes they can't and those are the ones that keep us employed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    All recommendations are suggesting the use of "upstream" traffic cones in addition to using apparatus in a blocking position as indicated in the photo.

    My question is this:

    Why would we voluntarily place people (most likely a single person) on the "wrong" side of the apparatus to go place traffic cones? We position the apparatus to protect our people....right?

    If people can't see a fire engine or truck parked sideways in the street, are little orange traffic cones really gonna help?

    It seems like very little reward for the risk.
    I agree with your concerns. One way around it that we try to do, is to put them out in the protection zone and then move the apparatus to the final block position afterward deployment.

    It is hard to get everyone on the same page and understand the logic behind the suggested way of doing things. As has been said risk vs. reward. The risk at 02:00hrs vs. 07:00hrs on the same road will be different. Getting people to think about the situation and then do the right thing is like teaching someone how to fish vs. giving them a fish to eat.

    I sometimes don't get things until I see them and then it makes sense. Training is not just this is how you do it but this is how AND WHY we do it this way... I am glad you asked the question so I can see some other points of view...


    I like this a lot!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers. .
    Might I suggest that you change "the fire service" to "the world"?
    Last edited by ChiefDog; 02-24-2009 at 01:39 PM.

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    Memphis,
    Thanks for highlighting this contradiction, since it is one of my pet peeves from a law enforcement perspective. The first-due piece should hold a blocking position upstream while the FF's on foot deploy the signs/ cones downstream. The apparatus should be close enough to the FF's so a car cannot swerve around and strike them. To collect the signs/cones when taking up from the scene, the order should be reversed, with the apparatus backing upstream while the FF's collect the cones. This tactic is not sufficiently explained in classes I've taken.
    I don't know how other states work, but in NJ, construction crews must always have an attenuator truck immediately upstream when workers are on foot in the area. Again, when putting out/ collecting signage at a worksite, the attenuator is always upstream with the workers downstream.
    Also, please watch the placement of the pump panel in relation to traffic when operating at jobs. If a ladder truck (or second-due engine) can respond, place the ladder in a left-facing position upstream while parking the engine facing the right shoulder to protect the MPO. Reverse the order if the incident is on the left shoulder.

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    Thanks for the replys so far.

    Res45cuE makes sense. Thanks.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    As the Engineer, I am usually the one deploying the cones after positioning the apparatus so that the rest of the crew can start working the accident. The diagram is very close to how we place cones and apparatus on scene, but I usually leave space between the centerline stripe and the drivers side bumper so I can place a cone on the centerline right at that corner to prevent passing traffic from hitting the bumper of the apparatus.
    We place cones in the termination zone not only to steer traffic back into the RH lane but the cones also serve as a reminder to the personnel on scene of where the "safe" zone is inside the cones. We also place the cones far enough apart that other units arriving onscene can pull between them if needed.
    In the diagram above, if we had enough cones, we would probably place some on the double yellow line to keep the passing traffic from straying in to the oncoming lane as they pass the apparatus.
    I think it is interesting that in the diagram, the ambulance has not parked itself in a defensive position, like the Engine has. Whe will EMS learn? Just kidding!
    Last edited by Lifeguard911; 03-03-2009 at 11:22 AM.

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    Default cones

    I am trying to find the link, but so far I am unable. I'll keep looking.

    There have been studies on what works best for diverting traffic, and cones came out #1. Light sticks are #2 and chevrons are #3. (chevron studdies have been out for years. They are at all culverts and bridges. More times than not, they are "half chevrons" diverting traffic away from the hazzard)
    An engine parked in the lane of traffic was not even mentioned, so I don't know where it comes into play.

    My thoughts are, if cones are extremely effective at diverting traffic from your lane, then I will place them in addition to all other safety devices.
    I am pretty big on taking a road flare or two to a curve in the road if it is fairly close. That way on coming traffic can see it long before they come upon our incident.

    Works for me and it only takes a few extra minutes to make sure that we all go home safe.

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    Does anyone use 2 apparatus 1 as and I hate to say it a "crash truck" and the other as a working truck? Just curious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamelfire View Post
    Does anyone use 2 apparatus 1 as and I hate to say it a "crash truck" and the other as a working truck? Just curious.
    My career department rolls two apparatus and the rescue (medium, one man) on all extrication accidents. When we do have multiple apparatus, the largest (usually a 75' quint) is what you're referring to as a "crash truck" and is the first one vehicles come to.

    My vollie rolls a light rescue and an engine to all MVA's, using the engine as the "crash truck".

    I've heard of departments purposely responding two apparatus on MVA's, one their rescue/engine and the other a tanker or aerial, with the latter being the blocking apparatus, but I've never actually seen or met anyone from one of these departments to chat with them.

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    Default Highway protocals

    My hall has three trucks (tanker, rescue van, pumper) and we will roll all three to an accident on our local 400 series highway (province of Ontario same as an interstate). The speed limit is over 90Km h so our procedures are to block with apparatus only. The tanker, which arrives on scene last, is the blocker and is normally positioned about 200m behind the accident and once positioned the driver and co-driver exit the vehicle and move up to staging. The rescue van and pumper should be positioned forward of the tanker. No movement behind the tanker so safety cones may be set up between the tanker and the scene so that drivers don't try to deke back into the effected lanes once they pass the blocker. Our procedures require us to block off one more lane than the lanes that we are working in. So if the accident is on the shoulder and we are working in the curb side lane we would also block the center lane on a three lane highway.

    I have heard that the city of Kingston in eastern Ontario has an old pumper that is specifically used to act as a blocker on highway 401. From what I've been told, that's the truck's only use. The only reason it has water in it is to give it some extra weight should some moron plow into it.

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    Hey Loo, most of the MVA’s around here gets at least two piece of fire apparatus or a piece if fire apparatus and an ambulance. Of course the cops come to, if not NUA.

    The rigs are parked so that the directional amber lights are highly visible giving the oncoming traffic some notice and of course all the emergency warning light is on as well. Cones being place with as many that can by illuminated by cab or rear step spot lights. If this will be a long time operation, the VDOT folks will bring their large trucks out with the directional arrows set up for maybe a ½ mile back of the scene. I am guessing that TDOT does the same thing.

    The cops will drop railroad flares as well. Just keep a good eye on the ones who wants to drop flares at a gasoline tankers crash!! They are overzealous!

    Your diagram is one that most departments use to train with on the best conditions. However sometimes changes have to be made or adjusted.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Picture shows a light tanker fitted out with a raiseable curtain, text says "accident". It is placed upstreams and stays there, acts as a crash buffer. The two xenon strobes at the top of the curtain are pretty good at catching the attention of drivers, so rather that being a crash buffer, it's practically just an advance warning. With minor modifications, the tanker has become a good traffic incident tool.

    http://www.utryckning.com/orebro/fot...er/31314dl.jpg

    Furthermore, I must admire the German authorities on the german highway, the "Autobahn" with no speed limits, especially along A2, the deadliest road in Germany. They cut all traffic on the road until everything can be done safely, responders might have to drive "the wrong way" trough traffic.

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    Thumbs up

    My department utilizes traffic cones (upstream, thru and downstream) and a minimum of 3 apparatus spaced approxomatly 350-500 feet apart with directional arrow sticks on the trucks. All apparatus in our deparment carries a few traffic cones on it for this purpose. The only other real differance between your sketch and our SOP is that we position the "blocker unit" which is usually the Rescue/Extrication truck immediately upstream of the accident and the area downstream is reserved for incomming ambulances. Once the traffic control devices are in place all personnel are to work and/or stage to the off-traffic side of apparatus. The local and state police have worked great with us and when arriving on scene tuck in to the off-traffic side of the blocker unit. I also work for the Department of Tranportation and our department adopted and adapted this from the FHWA--Work Area Protection Manual and have had great sucess with it. Stay Safe...

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    We run a light rescue and a medium rescue on all MVA's unless it is a road with 60 MPH speed limit or greater, then an engine also responds to be a traffic cone.

    We drop cones on every call unless we pull up and it's off the road and we can get in a driveway.

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    Cones are a traffic channeling devise. A fire truck parked along the road is not.
    I know it sound stupid but that is the fact.

    Driver can get out of the ticket saying the firetruck was not directing anything
    and was just there.

    With cones, they are nationally recognizable as a safety devise or barrier. Hold more water than just a truck.

    You should also be using signage. ROAD CLOSED- EMERGENCY SCENE AHEAD. This will allow motorists to slow down and reduce your chance of a secondary incident.

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    Default firedude01

    as a volly and also work for pa dot. the signs should be set up first at the distance specifyed for the road you are on most major 65 mph highways the signs should be a mile from the scene and at least 2 the first should be an accident ahead sign( or emergency ahead ) then a sign for right or left lane closed then about 500 feet before the scene the cones should start i put them out starting with the one closest to the out side of the lane closed then they should be 50 feet apart and tapered to the center line then a cone evey 100 feet down the center line to 100 feet past the last vehicle in the caned area and another taper back toward the outer lane thats about 100 feet long our dot has anaccident trailer set up to go and set this up if the dept involved calls for them . i can find out any of the distabces for sure if any one needs them or they can be found in what we use is pub. 213 it has all the different set ups for traffic control thanks

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    Default The Big Picture

    Two comments please.

    I love the above thread. We need to stop thinking like a fire department and start thinking like a road crew. You have all been by construction crews. they do not have 6 million flashing lights and a 80000ib block to protect workers. they properly inform drivers in advance so they can take the appropirate messures in responding to what you are asking. We have all driven past someone elses accident, and sometimes as a surpise when we have come around a blind corner. I always feel horible that i am still doing 50mph, but they did not give me time to slow. I have been doing this for 15years so yes i understand the inherent difficulties there are in setting a scene up like the road crews but that does not mean we should not be striving for this.

    my second comment is related to a previous thread also. Have any of your departments opened up discussion with ALL your area first responders? I am a Paramedic with one service and a FF paramedic in another district. It was my iniative in the district where i live to involve local Fire, police, tow operators and even the national park rangers into a training seminar. We are all on the road sharing the difficulties. How do you expect everyone to understand the issues if you dont share. It is not a fire department thing. infact my EMS agency was the one who showed the local Fire Departments a thing or two about highway safety. We now all work together to ensure the job gets done right. (that is why you need cones and a termination area so police, ems and other non-block fire apperatus have a designated staging area.)

    Thanks for the imput.

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