1. #1
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    Default Turnout Gear on Roadway Incidents

    I am looking to find out what others' opinions and departments guidelines are on roadway incidents and proper PPE. Currently, our department does not have a guideline on this particular topic and does not have the best practice on wearing full PPE on roadway incidents. I am trying to change and make it standard practice that any and all incidents involving working on a roadway require full turnout gear (pants, coat, helmet) and traffic safety vest. We have a constant habit of having responders show up in bunker pants only and a vest, or even less.

    My standpoint is to lead by example and so EVERY roadway incident (MVA, car vs. pedestrian, bicyclist down without car) I wear full turnout gear and vest. I think that it is hard to argue with safety when I expect the same out of incoming crews and members of the company in which I am assigned. But it is hard to set this example with other officers not being on the same page and newer members seeing there is no continuity and agreeance among officers.

    Anyone have any insight into this? Am I in the wrong and expecting too much if we are not doing extrication? I just know there are cases out there that (God forbid) there was an injury or death of a member working on an incident and they were not in full PPE, the insurance companies will also find people to testify that would say that they are that "reasonable person in the same situation" and would have worn the PPE and benefits can be denied as a result. That is just one aspect, but please let me know your thoughts.
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    I guess we just tend to use what is needed for the incident. Car fire or accident with extrication required, definately full PPE. Accident with no extrication required, kind of gray area if broken glass is around.

    MVA involving a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian, probably just pants, vest and whatever medical PPE is required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eng34FF View Post
    I guess we just tend to use what is needed for the incident. Car fire or accident with extrication required, definately full PPE. Accident with no extrication required, kind of gray area if broken glass is around.

    MVA involving a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian, probably just pants, vest and whatever medical PPE is required.
    Ditto. Wear what is needed.

    Had a car over a guard rail on side of a bridge a few weeks ago. It was about 96 degrees that day. Shoulder and 1 lane of traffic were closed down, with only 1 lane of traffic open. Vehicles travelling about 10 miles an hour in that 1 lane. Can't think of any viable/realistic reason that I should stand there in full turnout gear. Was a much better chance of heat exhaustion than a vehicle hitting anyone.

    Also, check national highway standards....FF gear is not required. Reflective markings/materials are. Wear proper vests and you are most likely just as "insurance" covered as wearing turnout gear.
    "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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    Full PPE for everything except bicycle or pedestrians. We spend a lot of $$ buying the best stuff possible for you, and we expect you to wear the stuff and be protected.

    I would discuss this issue with your community's Risk Manager and/or the worker's comp carrier.
    everyonegoeshome.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eng34FF View Post
    I guess we just tend to use what is needed for the incident. Car fire or accident with extrication required, definately full PPE. Accident with no extrication required, kind of gray area if broken glass is around.

    MVA involving a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian, probably just pants, vest and whatever medical PPE is required.
    I also agree. Too many days >100 degrees to have an absolute about PPE when you don't need the thermal protection.

    If you are involved in performing extrication, then you have to wear the full get up. If you are pushing a broom sweeping up glass or spreading kitty litter, no need.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcjack View Post
    I would discuss this issue with your community's Risk Manager and/or the worker's comp carrier.
    You seem to be implying that if you get hurt and are not wearing the full ppe, you would have a claims issue?

    That has not been my experience at all.
    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 ChiefKN View Post
    You seem to be implying that if you get hurt and are not wearing the full ppe, you would have a claims issue?

    That has not been my experience at all.
    Rather than type my dissertation on this again, I will provide a link to another thread where I opine...

    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=118468 (Traffic vests or not?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcjack View Post
    Rather than type my dissertation on this again, I will provide a link to another thread where I opine...

    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=118468 (Traffic vests or not?)
    In the other thread you basically say you have not heard or are aware of a comp case being denied for not wearing full PPE (turnouts at an MVA).

    Got it. That was my point.
    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."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcjack View Post
    Rather than type my dissertation on this again, I will provide a link to another thread where I opine...

    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=118468 (Traffic vests or not?)
    Yes, I have not heard of any denials...YET. What I said was "I opine", meaning I am stating my opinion...With all of the focus on firefighter (and most public safety's) "fat pensions", coupled with the recent "Chief's Disease" scandal involving the California Highway Patrol, the worker's comp/disability retirements can't be too far behind.
    everyonegoeshome.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcjack View Post
    Yes, I have not heard of any denials.
    Okay. I'll check back every once in a while to see if that changes.

    Carry on.
    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."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    On my department we are required to at least wear a reflective vest, but many of us wear full turn-outs anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeT59 View Post
    On my department we are required to at least wear a reflective vest, but many of us wear full turn-outs anyways.
    I am of the opinion that wearing a vest over turnout gear is usually redundant at best. I'd wear it if I were the pump operator or in an EMS role, but most of the time we block off as much as we need to keep a safety barrier, if we haven't already shut the whole road down. Of course we still get idiots hitting big trucks with all the lasted lights and reflective striping, so I don't see how the vest solves that problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I am of the opinion that wearing a vest over turnout gear is usually redundant at best.
    OSHA disagrees which tends to render personal opinions moot. Unless you're actively engaged in firefighting activities, the law requires you to be wearing an approved traffic vest when working on the highway. What's so hard about that? Really.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I am of the opinion that wearing a vest over turnout gear is usually redundant at best. I'd wear it if I were the pump operator or in an EMS role, but most of the time we block off as much as we need to keep a safety barrier, if we haven't already shut the whole road down. Of course we still get idiots hitting big trucks with all the lasted lights and reflective striping, so I don't see how the vest solves that problem.
    I don't see how it hurts....

    Also, the reflective quality of turnouts is not designed for roadside use. It's designed for fireground operations.

    A vest is a simple way to increase visibility. I realize it isn't "cool" but what, are we fourteen year olds?
    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.

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    I'd be curious to know how OSHA defines actively engaged in firefighting activities.

    Is the pump operator (obviously needed for the suppression efforts) a firefighting activity? Some Departments deploy a PPV fan at vehicle fires...are the guys setting the fan actively engaged in the firefight?

    Guess I'll have to do some OSHA searching.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    I'd be curious to know how OSHA defines actively engaged in firefighting activities.

    Is the pump operator (obviously needed for the suppression efforts) a firefighting activity? Some Departments deploy a PPV fan at vehicle fires...are the guys setting the fan actively engaged in the firefight?

    Guess I'll have to do some OSHA searching.
    PPV fans?? Really??

    I'd like to hear more about that....
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    PPV fans?? Really??
    I've heard of departments using PPV fans to direct smoke away from vehicle fires.

    Yeah. I can't conceive of it being a real useful tactic either but, to each his own...

    Obviously, a plastic traffic vest is probably not the best attire for working in the immediate vicinity of a burning vehicle. From what I've been able to discover, OSHA is happy as long as the primary purpose of the FD activity on scene is firefighting. Personally, I can think of no reason why the pump operator, for instance, shouldn't be wearing a vest anyway.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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    Default Ppe

    We did not supply you with PPE's to have them sit on the rig. Use them because the first time your burned,scraped, scratched and get a booboo....your not going to like the Chief yelling at you "Why weren't you wearing your PPE".
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    I believe you should wear the appropriate level of gear that is needed. Minor crashes just sweeping up debris or using floor dry we usually wear pants, a vest and a helmet winter time everybody usually wears there jacket also. If we are involved in any extrication, pt. care inside the vehicle or other activity where there is a possibilty of injury then full TOG. Crew manning a protection handline also has SCBA on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    I've heard of departments using PPV fans to direct smoke away from vehicle fires.

    Yeah. I can't conceive of it being a real useful tactic either but, to each his own...

    Obviously, a plastic traffic vest is probably not the best attire for working in the immediate vicinity of a burning vehicle. From what I've been able to discover, OSHA is happy as long as the primary purpose of the FD activity on scene is firefighting. Personally, I can think of no reason why the pump operator, for instance, shouldn't be wearing a vest anyway.
    Would you require a vest for the pump operator if the road was completely shut down? How about operating in a parking lot on a fire?

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    Would you require a vest for the pump operator if the road was completely shut down? How about operating in a parking lot on a fire?
    Roadway shut down...Yes. Wearing the vest as a routine practice makes it habit and it becomes second nature to put it on. That reduces the chance of "forgetting" it when on the road.

    Parking lot...Yes. See above.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Also, the reflective quality of turnouts is not designed for roadside use. It's designed for fireground operations.
    Almost. Actually, the reflective attributes, qualities, and standards are very much the same. Turnouts fall short in the conspicuity standards.
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    Should have added that when I was assigned to the rescue, I'd just wear NFPA approved coveralls and a hood, helmet and gloves. We had an engine company for suppression if needed, so I didn't get oil, gas and blood on my turnout gear.

    Honestly, I think vests are much ado about nothing. I haven't seen a recent incident in the last 6 months that I've paid attention to, where a vest would've made a difference in a LODD or serious injury. Seems to me that just about every firefighter that's been hit was hit by a drunk drivers that already disregarded lights/cones/reflective striping, or a vehicle that was already out of control that hit them. I want to rely more on a big hunk of something between me and the morons, along with a bit of situational awareness. Short of that, give me a spare guy with a bazooka. Vests are nice when we do fill the boot though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    Honestly, I think vests are much ado about nothing. I haven't seen a recent incident in the last 6 months that I've paid attention to, where a vest would've made a difference in a LODD or serious injury. Seems to me that just about every firefighter that's been hit was hit by a drunk drivers that already disregarded lights/cones/reflective striping, or a vehicle that was already out of control that hit them. I want to rely more on a big hunk of something between me and the morons, along with a bit of situational awareness. Short of that, give me a spare guy with a bazooka. Vests are nice when we do fill the boot though.
    Doesn't the absence of an incident where a vest was worn maybe indicate they work? How that can be used to prove they don't matter doesn't make sense.
    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.

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    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Doesn't the absence of an incident where a vest was worn maybe indicate they work? How that can be used to prove they don't matter doesn't make sense.
    About as much as the fact we have never had anyone hit...and don't wear vests.

    Really really hard to prove what caused a non-incident.
    Really really hard to prove an action (wearing a vest) would have stopped that incident from happening.
    "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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