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    Default Blocking the Right-of-way

    I did a search and didn't find anything on this so here I go.

    The other day I was talking with my Lt. and we were discussing blocking the right-of-way techniques. I said I prefer to block (on a standard 2 lane road or highway) with my rear end closest to the shoulder and the front of my truck pointing towards center line, this in my opinion shows the drivers which way I want them to move. My Lt. stated he likes blocking with rear of apparatus centerline and front closest to the shoulder.

    How do other departments handle blocking the right-of-way when blocking is needed?

    Thanks for in advance.

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    Whenever possible, I try to point the front end of the rig in the direction that I want the traffic to flow. This gives the approaching drivers a subconscious direction to merge.

    The only time I don't do that is when it's a true fire, when the engineer will be standing next to the pump panel for any amount of time, and I will protect the pump panel.
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    I had a police officer tell me a few years back that fire apparatus are not DOT approved traffic control devices and that's why we should carry triangles, cones or flares. He suggested that there could be a liability issue if another accident was caused by our failure to follow DOT regulations.
    I have only 2 allegiances, to my country and to my God. The rest of you are fair game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firepiper1 View Post
    I had a police officer tell me a few years back that fire apparatus are not DOT approved traffic control devices and that's why we should carry triangles, cones or flares. He suggested that there could be a liability issue if another accident was caused by our failure to follow DOT regulations.
    That's great, a cop can't see the value of a 40,000 lb truck vs. a traffic triangle to stop traffic? Screw the liability, I'd rather go to court than a funeral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rschultzjr View Post
    I did a search and didn't find anything on this so here I go.

    The other day I was talking with my Lt. and we were discussing blocking the right-of-way techniques. I said I prefer to block (on a standard 2 lane road or highway) with my rear end closest to the shoulder and the front of my truck pointing towards center line, this in my opinion shows the drivers which way I want them to move. My Lt. stated he likes blocking with rear of apparatus centerline and front closest to the shoulder.

    How do other departments handle blocking the right-of-way when blocking is needed?

    Thanks for in advance.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I like the opposite of your Lt. I put the front end away from the wall. 1) it just may work as a deflecting device at that angle, and 2) It points my nose in the direction that I want to go when I leave. Makes it a whole lot easier.

    If I put my front end toward the wall, then I need a backer to get myself set up to leave. I don't like to 'jocky' the rig at an accident scene.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firepiper1 View Post
    I had a police officer tell me a few years back that fire apparatus are not DOT approved traffic control devices and that's why we should carry triangles, cones or flares. He suggested that there could be a liability issue if another accident was caused by our failure to follow DOT regulations.
    You can also tell the officer that until all life-safety, fire, and hazardous material risks are controlled, "DOT approved" traffic control devices don't have to be deployed.

    However, once those issues are resolved, he is correct. Whatever agency is shutting down the road and/or is taking responsibility for traffic control holds at least partial liability for seconday accidents. That includes not only the cones (triangles and flares aren't approved), but the big pink "Emergency Scene Ahead" signs that have to be placed upstream from the queue of traffic. If you want more info, just do a quick search for the "MUTCD". In particular, Part 6i deals with emergency incidents on the roadway.

    As far as the OP, the recommended practice is to position your apparatus in a position that blocks traffic in the direction you want them to merge. Essentially, you're using your apparatus as a line of cones. If you approach cones, you're going to follow the line of cones and go the direction they're guiding you (well, most sensible motorists with a lick of common sense will). Blocking the other direction can just cause confusion.

    It's also recommended practice to turn your wheels in the direction the apparatus is "pushing" traffic. That way, if the apparatus gets hit, it gets pushed away from where you and your personnel are working instead of into it.

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    I put the nose in the direction I want the truck to go if it gets hit by a cement truck. So that is with the tail in the middle of the road and the nose pointing off the shoulder and the front wheels turned slightly further off the road.

    I'm not worried about subconscious signals with our roads. If truck is blocking a lane, there is only one other lane to be in. Subconscious messages are not adding any value.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I know our guys block as you think, nose to the center line, rear to the curb.

    Reason being, that if the dumbass driver gets confused or whatever, it will hit the truck, and rebound away from the scene, and any personnel on scene. Putting it as your Lt. puts it, directs the dumbass vehicle towards the scene, and your personnel. Not good.

    As for pump panel operations, the panel side is always facing the curb/fire/incident. If possible.

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    Last edited by FIREMECH1; 06-20-2009 at 05:06 AM.

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    On normal road with one lane in each direction, there is no way to deflect the vehicle into the scene. If you have the nose to the curb, it will deflect the vehicle off the side of the road onto the grass or into the guard rail or whatever is on the edge of the road. If you have the nose to the center line, it will deflect the vehicle across the road, across opposing traffic, and into whatever is in the way. This is yet another reason I deflect to the side, not the middle.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Talking Next big thing

    We'll have to start carring the water impact barrier that you see the highway line painting trucks carry on the rear!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by donethat View Post
    We'll have to start carring the water impact barrier that you see the highway line painting trucks carry on the rear!!
    Or just mount the booster tanks a little farther back on the rig......
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    We Block facing the way we want traffic to travel. We used to only take the lane that the incident was in, but we now take the inident lane + 1.
    We used to get ***** all the time from PSP (Pennsylvania State Police) untill one day a Medic stopped to help at a Roll over (drunk guy) and was hit and thrown something like 150+ ft (by another drunk guy) The Medic lived and walks with the slightest limp. He is actualy now in the Guiness Boook of Records for someting like, Longest distance traveled throught the air due to traumatic impact and surviving.. or something like that. We still occasional get a hard time, but not too bad. Better safe than sorry....I look at it this way...if the cost of everyone going home is a bunch od p!ssed off comunters then so be it.
    Be safe out there
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    We take one extra lane, and point the nose toward away from traffic, with a few exceptions.

    -Ambulances park with rear loading areas pointed away from traffic.
    -If you need to protect the pump panel, protect it.


    Wheels are turned away from traffic, too.

    It's also key to not park TOO far from the incident if it can be avoided. We've had several cases where retards will go around the blocking apparatus, which was taking one extra lane, then turn back into the accident scene and strike the rear of a PD vehicle or ambulance. Optimally, we can get there before PD and block traffic. They will usually line up in a nice blocking pattern between the apparatus and traffic after that. Keeps our trucks from getting hit by having a buffer of cop cars there.

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    our rescue engines are set up to work mostly off the front. the bumper contains the trash line, cutter, spreader and reels. however, if we are going to do an extrication we choose to put the officers side towards the incident so the guys getting the cribbing and other tools are not in the traffic hazard zones.

    these are on rigs with top mount pump panels.
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    We are over here in this thread.

    http://forums.firehouse.com/forumdisplay.php?f=354
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    I constantly drill into the minds of new engineers to block the traffic lane. Our safety is the number one priority. We must not become part of the problem we were call to in the first place.

    It's worth repeating, our safety is our number one priority.

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    I'm curious about chevrons on the back of apparatus. We do not currently have chevron striping on any of our apparatus, and we do not have major highways, but when I travel around and see another department working a car fire (for example) on a major highway, they usually have front bumper in so the rear chevron is clearly visible.

    Here's a crude representation of the setup on the highway.

    L1 L2 L3
    | | | x| <- Car on fire
    | | | /| <- Primary Pumper
    | | | |
    | | | \| <- Ambulance
    | | | |
    | | | /| <- Rescue


    So, with that, does anyone use their chevrons for traffic control? What about arrow sticks to the back?

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    If there is any possibility that the pump will be used, the panel side of the truck is away from the oncoming traffic.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    None of my rigs have chevrons on them. The only priority is that the pump panel doesn't face traffic.

    Otherwise, on the major highways and interstate, the state patrol, county sheriff, or city police (or all 3) are on scene first 95% of the time. By the time fire/rescue teams arrive, they have traffic merging away from the scene by flares and cones. Usually the distance is an easy 1/4 mile merge. They give ample room for the arriving crews to do their thing, as well a buffer of usually 2 lanes, if possible.

    FM1
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    Quote Originally Posted by firepiper1 View Post
    I had a police officer tell me a few years back that fire apparatus are not DOT approved traffic control devices and that's why we should carry triangles, cones or flares. He suggested that there could be a liability issue if another accident was caused by our failure to follow DOT regulations.
    Once that apparatus is staged it is an incident scene and it is no longer a transportation lane. If anyone enters an incident scene they are in violation. Asks the probably new Cop if he throws out some triangles every time he stops a motorist or tractor trailer. And besides I agree with the statement above. Screw him, let him try and give a ticket and see what the judge and his supervisor says. He will be a crossing guard on some back couuntry road somewhere while he ponders the DOT regulations.

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