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    Default Dealing with unruly people.

    Hey, semi-new volly here. Just today we had a 10-50 where we were required to shut down a major highway for 15-30 minute periods at a time. (An 18 wheeler trailer carrying a full load of wood chips buckled as it went over a bridge.)

    Anyways, it came to my attention that not everyone will be happy with everything you do, when I was threatened to "have the police called on me" because I told him he couldn't go through. He asked for my name and whatnot, I obliged and a few minutes later as I was driving the truck past, out of my rear view I saw the 1-finger salute greeting me! Boy, had I hit a nerve! Apparrently the county sheriff (who is also dispatch) told them the same thing I had.

    I'm just looking for some tips on how to deal with stupid/unruly/******* people that you may encounter during an incident. Feel free to share any good stories you have too!

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    Deck gun. Fun for the whole family!
    We do not rise to the occasion. We fall back to our level of training.

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    If a busload of nuns was flipped over and on fire, that guy would still feel he is more important. There are people like that everywhere. The bottom line is this. Do not escalate it and not get in verbal or physical arguments. "Sorry, the road is closed" and end the discussion. If he continues to instigate, chances are that ignoring him will make him go away. if not, call the police and they'll take care of him.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DFDMAXX View Post
    Deck gun. Fun for the whole family!
    On a more serious note ( but not ruling out the deck gun idea )

    I personally have lost all patience with the unruly, impatient driver. Most of my year is spent in construction zones where you figure out pretty quick that impatient = dangerous. I have seen things that defy logic, reason, and morals. But when asked about it afterwards the offending driver can only offer the meager excuse of being in a hurry for some reason. Great excuse for injuring or killing someone.

    That being said, I don't have to be nice. But I DO have to be professional. When a driver asks why the road is closed I explain the situation so they understand that it is neccesary to stop traffic and give them the best information that I have regarding when it will be open again. The explanation may not make them happy, but usually calms them down when they know the situation.

    When traffic is allowed to go again I thank them for their patience and ask them to maintain a specific speed through our scene as some lanes are usually still closed. Since they are in front of the line they can help hold back the rest who want to go speeding past at highway speed.

    I talk firmly but controlled, making it clear that this is how it is. There are no other options. If needed for a very beligerent person, get the nearest LEO to help you with it. This is not only for your safety but the safety of your crew. Do you want a ****ed off guy in a hurry driving through your scene? Could be dangerous.

    Always remember that when talking with the driver, NEVER NEVER NEVER be distracted from the traffic you are controlling. Just because traffic is stopped it does not mean you are safe and things will stay stopped.
    Last edited by DFDMAXX; 07-03-2009 at 09:33 AM.
    We do not rise to the occasion. We fall back to our level of training.

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    Talking

    I like the deck gun idea!

    I find it strange how a perfectly normal person, when placed behind the wheel of an automobile, will transform into some frothing neanderthal when given the slightest delay or impediment to their travels.

    I may have started to raise my voice near the end of the encounter, but before it turned into a full out yelling match I just walked away. I felt I handled the situation pretty well, unfortunately the LEOs on the scene had left about 2 hours before the incident. (We were the sole traffic control at the scene, DOT was busy repairing the mutilated roadway.)

    Anyways, I won't lie, it did make my day knowing that he didn't get his way!

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    Triper,

    First, don't ever give drivers a time frame. Frequently the information you have been provided from scene will be erroneous and change rapidly, and all of a sudden you're the bad guy because they were planning on a delay based on your information. Simply tell them the road is blocked for an unknown amount of time.

    Second, ignore their petty comments and actions. You are the professional, and don't forget that regardless of what the drivers do. Be polite, possibly provide a detour route, but just because some bonehead has to sit in his car for awhile due to an accident you didn't cause is not the end of anyone's world.

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    Why would you, as the fire agency, have agreed to maintain traffic control? I would have requested that the responsible law enforcement agency hold a presence on the scene in order to maintain traffic control.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Why would you, as the fire agency, have agreed to maintain traffic control? I would have requested that the responsible law enforcement agency hold a presence on the scene in order to maintain traffic control.
    Not everyone has the luxury of an abundance of readily available police officers. My town's minimum staffing is two cars per shift with only of them in my district. Its not going to be a happenin' thing.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Why would you, as the fire agency, have agreed to maintain traffic control? I would have requested that the responsible law enforcement agency hold a presence on the scene in order to maintain traffic control.
    I agree 100% with this statement.

    That being said, my dept finds itself directing traffic now and then. When you can't get enough of a LEO presence on busy shifts sometimes we must do it ourselves.

    I don't like it. It's a drain on our already slim staffing, and we are not trained to operate unprotected with no barrier to traffic.

    There is training that goes with "flagging". The flaggers I have worked with have gone through a minimum 8 hour training before being allowed to work with traffic. There is more to it than one might think.
    We do not rise to the occasion. We fall back to our level of training.

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    I'm not quite sure why we ended up with the full load of this incident... but as nmfire said, our county has low resources and it was on 4th of July weekend. The LEOs were already maxxed out I think.

    And thanks for the tip FireGod, luckily 99% of the people I had given an estimate to were friendly about it when the time ran over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Why would you, as the fire agency, have agreed to maintain traffic control? I would have requested that the responsible law enforcement agency hold a presence on the scene in order to maintain traffic control.
    Someone has got to do it. My County is 600 sq. miles and has 1 to 2 troopers (only ones who work mva outside of the town limits.) and 4 to 5 deputies working at any given time. My guys and I try o help as much as possible but when 10-18 traffic comes out we have to leave. It not because we don't care, its just the nature of the beast. Heck half my guys are vollies when there not at work, so we understand and do what we can do to help, but it is what it is.
    Almost forgot in NC the G.S. states that the Fire Chief/fire dept. is in control of all MVA/Fires until they release the scene over to their designee.(sp) But all in all it works out well, at least for us.

    And Triper listen to DFDMAXX he's given you sound advice

    Stay Safe Brothers

    Bull
    Last edited by BULL321; 07-03-2009 at 09:20 PM.
    Stay Safe
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    We very rarely have police handy to do traffic. They usually call us.

    As for unruly people, just be professional. The only time I really had any issue was when I was in the Air Force. We had a major propane leak behind a house and were evacuating the area. I went to one house and there was a Major (I was only an E-3) that didn't want to leave because his daughter was having her birthday party. I explained the situation and told him he would have to evacuate. He got ****y and I finally told him that he HAD to leave. He told me he wasn't. I replied that if he didn't leave immediately he would be arrested at his daughters birthday party and he didn't really want that. He started to bluster in my face when I pointed at a cop on the sidewalk and the cop told him to get out of the house or be arrested. He left.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Why would you, as the fire agency, have agreed to maintain traffic control? I would have requested that the responsible law enforcement agency hold a presence on the scene in order to maintain traffic control.
    We frequently do traffic control to assist the LEO's, be it PD, deputies, or highway patrol. They have things they have to do and we have the equipment (cones, signs, vests and paddles) and the training to do it right. A side benefit is that they're so used to us doing traffic control, and they know that we know what we're doing, so it's no big deal when we shut down the entire road. The working relationship is great.

    As far as the OP, you've had a lot of good suggestions already. Whatever happens, be professional. As you gain experience, you'll learn that there's a time where you can be nice and get them to do as there told, and then there's times you have to be stern.

    I don't know how your state statutes read, but if the FD is in charge of traffic control, I bet it's close to how ares read. Here, the FD has the same authority during traffic control as an LEO. If you tell someone to stop, they are required to stop. At the same time, we can get a tag number and report any infractions to the highway patrol and they'll send a ticket to the owner of the vehicle. Judges really frown on people who get tickets that are prompted by firefighters calling them in. I've gone so far on a couple of occassions to make them pull over to the shoulder and wait until an LEO gets there to discuss it with them, while they watch the traffic behind them roll by. Usually, the LEO doesn't get in a hurry and is more than happy to blow up on someone.

    But, like was said, be professional and tell them that the road will be cleared as soon as possible and they will be able to get on their way. If they get lippy, just walk away. If they harrass you, request an officer to come speak with them. If they decide to do their own thing and disregard your directions, call in the plate and have an officer meet with you to discuss the ticket they're going to get and let the guys upstream know a rogue car is coming.

    Whatever you do, don't let the *********s get to you. It's your job to stop them to protect your comrades working.

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    Catch22 Triper is from NC, Maple Hill FD if I rememeber right. So here the law if the guy behind the wheel wants to push the issue.

    G.S. 20-114.1(a)(b) Failure to obey a LEO or Fireman. (M) Did Fail to obey the directions of a [(Law Enforcement Officer) (Traffic Control Officer) (Fireman) (Rescue Squad)], (your name) of (agency) at the scene of [(An Accident) (A Fire)].

    So if Billy wants to be a ***** and try to drive around you or over you, contact your friendly neighborhood Police Officer, Deputy or NC Trooper and we will be more than happy to convey your displeasure at being treated so rudely while you out in the middle of the night, noonday sun, pouring down rain, or snow, volunteering your time to your community. Same goes for you paid FFs. We be more than happy to put Billy in the pink (ticket) or if he really shines us off we'll arrest him, have his car towed and take Billy to Jail. Talk about an inconvenience, Billy would have been better off, being nice to the fireman and waiting his turn. How that bad attitude working out for you Billy.

    Stay Safe Brothers

    Bull
    Last edited by BULL321; 07-05-2009 at 06:18 PM.
    Stay Safe
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    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
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    Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
    -WINSTON CHURCHILL

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    He had reason to be upset, buy him a beer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QD7kI...eature=related
    Last edited by localtrainer75; 07-04-2009 at 08:28 AM.

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    I'm always dealing with that. People come down to our little state for the beaches and if you even think about shutting down the road they are cussing ya. Apparently the beach will erode before they get there. Best thing you can do is ignore it. Can't say I've ever been sued for blockin a tourist path to his vacation hole. Have fun and don't let em get to ya just a part of the job.
    "Courage is the resistance to fear, the mastery of fear, not the lack of fear." Mark Twain
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triper View Post
    Hey, semi-new volly here. Just today we had a 10-50 where we were required to shut down a major highway for 15-30 minute periods at a time. (An 18 wheeler trailer carrying a full load of wood chips buckled as it went over a bridge.)

    Anyways, it came to my attention that not everyone will be happy with everything you do, when I was threatened to "have the police called on me" because I told him he couldn't go through. He asked for my name and whatnot, I obliged and a few minutes later as I was driving the truck past, out of my rear view I saw the 1-finger salute greeting me! Boy, had I hit a nerve! Apparrently the county sheriff (who is also dispatch) told them the same thing I had.

    I'm just looking for some tips on how to deal with stupid/unruly/******* people that you may encounter during an incident. Feel free to share any good stories you have too!
    I just ignore them. If they question why I have the road or a lane of the road shut down, I tell them I'm ain charge at in it my perogative to ensure the safety of my personnel working the incident.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    People with badges and guns!!

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    I only lost my temper with one person in over 10 years of doing an occasional road closings.

    My exact quote was (in a very loud and stren vioce) "When their done scrapping the bodies off the road we'll let you through." seemed to chill him out a bit too.

    Worst part about it was, if he had just taken a right turn and a left at the next main road he would have got to where he was going anyway. Just like i said.

    Other times i would say stuff like "well i know you now having a bad day but its worse for them up the road in the car crash." also seemed to chill'em out a bit. Kinda puts it in perspective.

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    We had a house fire in a neighboring township about 8 years ago and I had our engine halfway up the hill for the water supply relay. Over 5000 feet of 5" hose was stretched from the pond at the bottom of the hill to the house at the top and it blocked a driveway near my truck.

    Around 11 pm a car tried to get out of the driveway, bumped the 5" twice and backed up the drive. The homeowner came up to me and asked me how much longer we would be as he had guests who wanted to go home and this was "a major inconvenience to them."

    I told him that I didn't know how much longer we would be but I'm sure the homeowners who are losing everything they own in the fire at the top of the hill were really inconvenienced and suggested he make arrangements to keep his guests overnight.

    I never saw him again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triper View Post
    Hey, semi-new volly here. Just today we had a 10-50 where we were required to shut down a major highway for 15-30 minute periods at a time. (An 18 wheeler trailer carrying a full load of wood chips buckled as it went over a bridge.)

    Anyways, it came to my attention that not everyone will be happy with everything you do, when I was threatened to "have the police called on me" because I told him he couldn't go through. He asked for my name and whatnot, I obliged and a few minutes later as I was driving the truck past, out of my rear view I saw the 1-finger salute greeting me! Boy, had I hit a nerve! Apparrently the county sheriff (who is also dispatch) told them the same thing I had.

    I'm just looking for some tips on how to deal with stupid/unruly/******* people that you may encounter during an incident. Feel free to share any good stories you have too!
    I'm pretty new to the volly field too (1 year). You just need to keep in mind that it's a chaotic world out there. Some people cannot handle it and have went haywire.

    In these times you'll need to brush these people off. Don't take anything personally, and walk away from any provocative demeanor.

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    Unhappy God loves rude a**holes... he must...he made so dam* many of them

    The good thing about rude and unruly people is that there are so many of them.
    You have 2 choices in a situation like you described

    #1. Descend to his/her level of idiocy [lets be honest here ...being an a**hole is not gender exclusive]

    #2. Be professional and firmly repeat your instructions

    #1. can be satisfying and even fun....it's difficult to pass up the opportunity to make some delusional idiot's life a bit more difficult.
    Nothing cheers me up like watching a self important goose sit in a traffic jam for an hour,particularly when he has been making life hell for the people who are trying to keep him safe![You know the type "I have a meeting with the Governor,Town Council etc......or I'll have your job for this! You work for me!!!]

    The downside is that delusional self important pieces of fluff [of both sexes] have MUCH more practice in being obnoxious.You are going to lose on pure experience!

    Now #2 is not really as much fun but is the more pleasing in the long run.You can try to explain the reasons for a delay or not [your choice] but in the long run you have the call.
    Generally speaking I try to inform the lead vehicles of the reason for the delay but NEVER try to guess a time frame. If [and when] it all goes pear shaped then you look less than professional.

    Incidentally I use UHF to communicate with the semi trailers that use the roads most affected by delay so that if they want they can catch up on an hours rest at the side of the road or take an alternative route they have ample warning. The word flashes up and down the highway that there is a blockage and miraculously traffic eases.

    An interesting by product of that is that the self inflated "Mr/Mrs/Ms Important" usually doesn't carry such a "low tech" device as a [UHF] CB and my warnings don't go to "Blackberries" or such devices.
    Kinda neat to see the trucks and the others taking detours because of prior warnings AND the puffed up pieces of cr*p trapped in a tailback.

    But if I learnt one thing in 26 years as a F/F and Officer it's this! NEVER EVER lose your temper.....and NEVER EVER lose your sense of humour!

    Keep smiling

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    Had an incident this past weekend with a guy who's impatience could have cost him his life.

    We were called on a possible transformer fire which, when I arrived on scene, was a live power line on the ground. I was responding in a POV and had closed off one lane next to the live line. The truck was right behind me and pulled up within a minute or so of me shutting the lane down.

    While giving the driver, also an officer, a brief scene size up, a motorist behind our truck decided to pass the truck on the right through the grass. He had not even waited a literal 5 seconds before deciding to pass. Needless to say, his pickup had a live power line entagled in the undercarriage. I was still looking through the cab of the truck when I noticed his pickup coming to a stop. My eyes immediately noticed the line strung under his truck. He was jumping out of the truck before I could even react. Since I was initially on the scene by myself and had curious bystanders, I had informed them that it was a live wire and to please remain back. In unison, I and 4 bystanders yelled "live wire" to the guy exiting his truck.

    He exited safely. Once the scene was under control, I had a polite discussion with the gentleman who was driving the pickup. He was more shaken than I was, and I had been thinking that I was going to see this guy cook as soon as his feet hit the ground. He had two kids and a wife and truly understood why you don't pass emergency vehicles by the end of our discussion. He had assumed we were responding to a fire at a house across the street. His initial reaction to seeing the wire in his mirror, was to hop and and disentangle it. His assumption may have very well cost him his life.

    I do not think he will ever be passing an emergency vehicle again, no matter how much of a hurry he might be in. If I had lost my cool, as I was very tempted to do, may very well have prevented his acceptance of the ignorance he had demonstrated. Always look for a teaching experience if it presents itself. I guarantee you this gentleman will be rehashing his story. It may well save a life.

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    first, where were the police? Shouldn't they be handling traffic

    My suggestion? Just do your job and if the public doesn't like being inconvenienced, well too bad. Try to not let it bug you, too much.
    "If the ladder goes up, the building goes down."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Breech31 View Post
    first, where were the police? Shouldn't they be handling traffic
    Where I live the police call us for traffic control. There are a lot more of us than them.
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