1. #1
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    Question Response & Operations on Limited Access Highways

    My department is currently looking at updating our response procedures for Operations on Limited Access Highways. I am looking for information concerning how departments deal with incidents that have occurred in the opposite lanes of traffic from the direction the apparatus is traveling in.

    Do you stop on the opposite side of the median and cross over to provide assistance? Do you travel to the next exit and turn around? Do you drop a single responder off at the incident and then travel to a turn around/exit?

    We currently dispatch two Engine Companies, a light rescue, an ambulance, and three police units to these incidents. For much of the interstate highway we cover, we can have an engine coming from opposite directions. This helps prevent us from having to absolutely having to stop in the opposite lanes or travel to the next exit to get a unit on-scene. We are looking to develop some automatic aid policies to deal with areas where this is not possible because of station locations and exits.

    Does anyone know of any legal reason why we would absolutely have to stop to provide aid if it were safer to travel to the turn around and come back?

    Thank you for any help with this matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcfd330 View Post
    My department is currently looking at updating our response procedures for Operations on Limited Access Highways. I am looking for information concerning how departments deal with incidents that have occurred in the opposite lanes of traffic from the direction the apparatus is traveling in.

    Do you stop on the opposite side of the median and cross over to provide assistance? Do you travel to the next exit and turn around? Do you drop a single responder off at the incident and then travel to a turn around/exit?

    My fire department travels to the next exit or turn around to get to the MVA. You want that apparatus on the same side as the motor vehicle accident to assist in blocking and also your not jamming up the other side of the highway. I would never leave a single responder or even two at a scene of highway accident and leave to get the truck turned around. Remember its YOU, then your crew and then your patient. Highways are extremely dangerous and you want to have a safe and organized scene.

    We currently dispatch two Engine Companies, a light rescue, an ambulance, and three police units to these incidents. For much of the interstate highway we cover, we can have an engine coming from opposite directions. This helps prevent us from having to absolutely having to stop in the opposite lanes or travel to the next exit to get a unit on-scene. We are looking to develop some automatic aid policies to deal with areas where this is not possible because of station locations and exits.

    On our highway when we get dispatched for an MVA we have 1 company that responds for our east bound section and a different company to respond on west bound section to assist us. Our general response is 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 Engine, the amount of ambulances depends on injuries and the state police respond on their own as well as local PD. Our mutual aid departments respond with the same response of 1 Rescue and 1 engine.

    Does anyone know of any legal reason why we would absolutely have to stop to provide aid if it were safer to travel to the turn around and come back?

    I've never heard of a law like this in my state of New Jersey. I find that to be a completely dangerous idea and your risking your crews life crossing over unprotected if you are the first arriving unit. If another vehicle loses control and crashed into your scene because you didn't have a truck blocking...its gonna be a very sad day.

    Thank you for any help with this matter.
    Answers in red
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    My notes in quotes.....in the quotes message...lol.....
    Quote Originally Posted by jcfd330 View Post
    My department is currently looking at updating our response procedures for Operations on Limited Access Highways. I am looking for information concerning how departments deal with incidents that have occurred in the opposite lanes of traffic from the direction the apparatus is traveling in.

    Do you stop on the opposite side of the median and cross over to provide assistance? Do you travel to the next exit and turn around? Do you drop a single responder off at the incident and then travel to a turn around/exit?

    The department I deal with here will respond past the scene if traveling in the opposite direction - go to the NEXT EXIT and turn around.....they do NOT drop anyone off. It can be more dangerous trying to stop opposite an accident - and then as was mentioned you mess up opposite traffic, who is already distracted by the 1st accident. As for EMS - they may use a turn around instead of going to the next exit ( I heard them do that yesterday)....BUT - they have a smaller piece of apparatus - and if the traffic wasn't already at almost a standstill (I know - I was stuck in it!) they would have gone tot he exit like the FD.
    We currently dispatch two Engine Companies, a light rescue, an ambulance, and three police units to these incidents. For much of the interstate highway we cover, we can have an engine coming from opposite directions. This helps prevent us from having to absolutely having to stop in the opposite lanes or travel to the next exit to get a unit on-scene. We are looking to develop some automatic aid policies to deal with areas where this is not possible because of station locations and exits.

    In that case, you may want to consider automatic mutual aid from the closest company to the entrance/exit - that is done in many areas. In the event of an incident, the MA company would be dispatched automatically, with the Chief etc notified of the response. There may or may not be a response from the actual district dept.
    Does anyone know of any legal reason why we would absolutely have to stop to provide aid if it were safer to travel to the turn around and come back?

    - No - you are not 'on scene' - you are still responding.....I could see if the accident infringed into the oncoming lanes - then it may be feasible to stop for protection of that part of the scene. If there is a large median, I would still want 1st due on the accident side for protection, possibly 2nd-3rd due on the other side.....
    Thank you for any help with this matter.

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    - Class two vests for EVERYONE

    - Go around to the next exit and come back. If its just a grass median and you can drive through it, fine.

    - Block all effected lanes and then some with apparatus.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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