1. #1
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    Default New Truck Slick Roads

    I'm a daily reader here, and have been for some time, just don't post much. Our rural volunteer FD just received a new pumper at long last. We don't address weather conditions in our SOP's. This morning I'm waking up to snow and slick roads, they will most likely be slick for a few days.We have no snow chains.

    I guess what I'm getting at is, What sort of policies do other small rural FD's have in place?
    Is there a circumstance where you might just say it's just too risky to respond.

    We don't have designated drivers. It could very easily be a young, fairly inexperienced driver behind the wheel of that big new truck.

    Thanks in advance

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    Quote Originally Posted by treeguy View Post
    We don't have designated drivers. It could very easily be a young, fairly inexperienced driver behind the wheel of that big new truck.
    Designate drivers. Require EVOC or its equivalent, appropriate apparatus training (pump operator, etc), and maybe even set a minimum age. Include any local requirements (license, record, etc).

    If you have folks who already meet those requirements, put them at the head of the class. Perhaps even consider having them sign off on prospective drivers.

    Post the list(s). If they want to be on it, they'll work to meet the requirements.

    The brief wait for a qualified driver is worth it compared to the cost of replacing the nice, new BRT.

    Give guidance for when an otherwise non-qualified driver can take a rig.

    Our lists are a little lax right now, but a hard and fast rule is that if you don't know how to operate it, you don't take it.

    We're also fortunate that slick roads don't usually stay that way very long, thanks to the plow crews.
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    What tree68 said. Train your people and only allow people to operate the apparatus in any conditions. At the very least make sure that you trust the people driving to know their limitations and not push the vehicle in that type of weather.

    It's very difficult to tell people that they can drive in these conditions and not others. Conditions can change while on a call.

    Personally I have driven and will drive our new Squad in slick / snow conditions, but would prefer to let someone else do it and I drive very slowly if I have to drive in those conditions. I don't want to be the one to put the new (or any) vehicles in a ditch.

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    We are expiriencing the same thing here in GA. The first and easiest thing we do is limit response speed in apparatus to 25 MPH. That is the easiest "right now" solution to the problem. In the future, think of the suggestions from the others.
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    You know as I've been watching the weather and seeing Atlanta covered in snow, I was wondering how folks down there were doing with emergency responses. Being up in the Northeast, I've driven in the snow more times than I can honestly (Or want to) remember. Same goes for fire apparatus and large trucks, and its something we do without much thought because this is how its always been for us.

    For you folks down there were snow isn't common in the least, its very important to remember that adverse weather conditions, even the screwy ones can strike at any moment. Its always important to have special SOP's set aside for when this happens. Limiting speed, considering need for response or type of response. Consider what apparatus might not make it up certain roads in that condition. It's also important to make sure your D/O's are well trained and have some experiance under their belt driving in normal conditions before they even think of hitting the roads with a coating of the white stuff down.

    Having a good in house training program in place, as well as suplimenting it with an EVOC or D/O course is a must. Train train train for these kinds of situatuons, as rare as they may be make sure D/O's know how to operate or what to expect while driving in those type of conditions (Driving slow, easy on the breaks, downshift on hills or before corners instead of slamming on the breaks, turn off that damn Engine Break!) Ask around with other members here, or research it online to try and find some good guidelines to start forming some SOP's on this subject. It's well worth the time and effort.
    Opinions expressed by myself here are just that, mine. And not that of ANY organization or service I am affiliated with.

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    We designate our "older" trucks to be first out in bad weather. The Chief has said under no circumstances will we take the new truck out unless "the whole world is on fire". Especially in ice and snow. EVD (EVOC) is required here, as well as being signed off by one of the LT's.

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    1. Training program for all drivers.
    2. ALL responses non-emergency until roads are better
    3. Reduced response.
    4. Training program for all drivers.

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    To drive on ice just remember to never spin the tires or allow them to slide. Throttle and brake control are what driving on ice is about. Once a tire spins or slides you have to regain traction before you can speed up, slow down, stop, or turn, what ever you are trying to do. Telling someone that does not have a clue, to drive 25 mph just means they will crash from a slower speed but they will still crash. I know because even though we get ice and snow, we have a member that has not figured it out after several crashes in his POV. His answer is always “its not my fault, I was going slow and I couldn‘t stop or turn or what ever the accident was this time”. Obviously we don’t let him drive dept. vehicles.

    When I was in college, my roommates brother lived near Huston, TX. He called, after they had a light layer of ice, and said that he watched his neighbor lady back out of the garage with her foot to the floor, spin around twice in the middle of the street and bounce over the curb onto the neighbor across the streets lawn with her wheels still spinning full speed. She shut the car off, got out, fell down twice, and crawl on her hands and knees back to her house. She would not answer the door or the phone that day but when he did talk to her three days latter, she said she could not remember if you were to spin the tires or not spin the tires while driving on ice. She chose the wrong answer. You see drivers on the news sliding with all the brakes locked, you can see they have a death grip on the wheel and they are standing on the brakes for all their worth, just the opposite of what the should be doing.

    The only way you can learn to drive on ice is to “drive on ice” and an emergency response is not the time to be learning to drive. Just my opinion. Stay safe.

    Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by treeguy View Post
    ...Is there a circumstance where you might just say it's just too risky to respond...
    I would have a really hard time telling someone in an emergency this.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by treeguy View Post
    I'm a daily reader here, and have been for some time, just don't post much. Our rural volunteer FD just received a new pumper at long last. We don't address weather conditions in our SOP's. This morning I'm waking up to snow and slick roads, they will most likely be slick for a few days.We have no snow chains.

    I guess what I'm getting at is, What sort of policies do other small rural FD's have in place?
    Is there a circumstance where you might just say it's just too risky to respond.

    We don't have designated drivers. It could very easily be a young, fairly inexperienced driver behind the wheel of that big new truck.

    Thanks in advance


    You guys have a new truck and live in Western Tennessee, where there has been snow about every year, since hector was a pup and you don't have tire chains for this truck? Didn't you guys spec'ed this truck with the auto chains or have them included in the specs and purchase??

    Do you have chains for any other truck in the barn?

    Is there a auto supply business close by that the Chief or someone with some sense can buy the chains and maybe you all can install them?

    You simply and legally, can't tell the citizen, tough luck, we aren't coming because it's snowing outside.

    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

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    We have a well documented driver training program for each piece of apparatus. All drivers must progress through various JPR's (Job performance requirements) that demonstrate their ability to perform specific tasks as well as a certain number of hours for road time. There are very few weather-specific caveats.. cycle the pump when freezing, turn off jake-brake when icy..etc. Ideally all driver candidates would have to demonstrate their driving in inclement weather but that is not always practical.

    Personally as the officer the weather may dictate me assigning a driver.. if we get a call in a snow storm and I have a newish driver and a seasoned driver both show up then I'm going with the seasoned driver.. if just the newish driver is available then I'll go with him but keep a much closer eye on his actions.
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    We also adjust our run grids during snow emergencies. We'll run a snowplow to lead the units for all calls. We'll bring in extra paid/volunteer personnel to staff multiple trucks out of the same stations and limit across-town runs. What would usually get 1:1 with the station across town will now get a single or multiple units from the same station.

    We'll also co-locate EMS from their buildings to ours and run plow/engine/ambulance for EMS runs. Sometimes just having the engine clear a path, or its crew with shovels, is enough to insure the ambulance crew can get to/from the scene.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post

    You simply and legally, can't tell the citizen, tough luck, we aren't coming because it's snowing outside.

    I would say %99.9 of the time you're right. I can see rare situations where it could occur, though. Not so much with snow, but other natural disasters that involve mandatory evacuations..etc.
    So you call this your free country
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    It would be hard to explain a $300000.00 engine and no $300.00 tire chains .
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    We also adjust our run grids during snow emergencies. We'll run a snowplow to lead the units for all calls. We'll bring in extra paid/volunteer personnel to staff multiple trucks out of the same stations and limit across-town runs. What would usually get 1:1 with the station across town will now get a single or multiple units from the same station.

    We'll also co-locate EMS from their buildings to ours and run plow/engine/ambulance for EMS runs. Sometimes just having the engine clear a path, or its crew with shovels, is enough to insure the ambulance crew can get to/from the scene.
    I would think that the above is your Plan for tonight, Right??........
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    I would think that the above is your Plan for tonight, Right??........
    If you believe the talking heads we're only supposed to get 4-8".. not even worth shoveling.

    I am planning to stop by Shop Rite on the way home and watch the carnage. It's about a quarter-mile from a wrinkle-ranch.
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    I'm from a small town in upstate new york, and we don't have any policies in place for driving in bad weather but all our drivers are trained and checked off to drive.... and if you are in an accident and when investigated if it turns out you are at fault do to neglect you will be punished accordingly...... but then again most of the members in my department grew up here and have been driving in the snow since they were old enough to drive.....

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    We get a fair amount of snow and stopped using chains 20 years ago.

    I've found the apparatus to handle great in snow. However, its like driving a 4x4, great traction, but stopping is always the challenge.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Quote Originally Posted by treeguy View Post
    Is there a circumstance where you might just say it's just too risky to respond.
    Really?


    Use a reserve pumper if you can. Take it easy on the roads. Maybe your dept needs to redo the driver training program.
    FF/Paramedic

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    My very first solo run on the engine was in a snow storm......I was fine and fortunately did not panic. Stress and fear can make a big difference,as can too much confidence.....use your brain and training and you will be fine.

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    We do have a driver training program, EVOC, and Vanessa K Free driver training. It's just that the roads don't get cleared as quickly down here, and the young guys don't have much experience on ice and none at all in the BRT on ice.
    We discussed snow chains at last meeting, brought up questions like, who installs and removes them everytime the weather changes. This is why I asked what other small rural Fire Departments do.
    Last year we got 14 inches at one time, our trucks could not get out of the station. Luckily the fire was small and the guys with 4 wheel drives put it out with snow.
    So far I like the advice of running the old stuff first. We have a 78 tanker pumper that probably should be the first rig on bad roads, need to put more hose on tanker pumper.

    Thanks everyone

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    Default Winter Driving

    Some thoughts on winter driving:
    1. Drive to the road conditions. Ease off on the adreneline rush.
    2. When driving, watch for the other drivers. They may become startled seeing a fire truck
    with lights and siren.
    3. Tell everyone that when they resond to the fire hall, to take it easy. You do not want
    everyone driving fast on ice to the hall.
    4. If someone is available and you have the accomodations, have some volunteers bunk at
    the hall. When a snow storm is going on, they are already at the hall to respond.

    Other tips:
    1. Keep one or more 5 gallon pails of sand on the rig. If you become stuck, pour some sand
    for some traction. Also, at the scene, spread sand on the icy ground where the where
    the firefighters walk (around the pump panels. etc.)
    2. Keep a #10 grade scoop shovel on each rig. Comes in handy to shovel out hydrants.
    3. Keep extra pairs of gloves/mitts for the firefighters on each rig. Nobody wants to be
    wearing a wet pair of gloves/mitts at a winter fire.
    4. Keep a pair of battery cables and a tow chain/tow rope on each truck. You never
    know when a battery goes dead or someone is stuck.
    5. If your pumpers have a heat pan under the chassis, make sure it is installed and any
    bolts holding it on are checked frequently. After driving an apparatus with a heat pan,
    the bolts may become lose.
    6. Some of those disposable "heat pads" that you can find at hunting stores can come in
    handy. Drop one in each boot and one in each glove for heat. Especially handy at those
    large fires where you will be working outside along time.
    7. Drink lots of water. Cold weather can dehydrate you.
    8. Make sure any hydrant you use is drained after use. If not, it can freeze.
    9. Do not turn off the nozzle on any charged hoseline 100%. Leave the nozzle cracked to
    allow water to move through. A frozen hoseline will have to be loaded on a trailer and
    taken to a warm building to thaw.
    10. If your hall has a backup generator, check it (fuel, oil, etc.) In an ice storm, there is
    the chance the ice will bring down the power lines and your hall will lose power.

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    We had a nasty ice storm just this past week and we do like we do all times when the roads are bad. Slow down. Yes it may look silly for an apparatus to run code but crawl, but that's what we do. Still need people who were crazy enough to be out in an ice storm to please yield.


    Drivers all are trained for bad conditions, we had 5 inches of snow last night and I bet we'll take a rig out on a backroad to do some bad road training for one of the probies.

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