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  1. #1
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    Default Responding to Tree Down Calls

    Looking for information relating to SOG or SOP for responding to tree down in roadway calls. Do you run them, do you not? If so do you respond code 3, also do you remove the tree, or just provide traffice control?

    Any info on policies would be greatly appreciated.


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    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    At work, we don't do it at all.

    At the VFD, it works like this...
    1. If the call is received between 8A and 5P, the dispatcher automatically calls the highway department. PD only responds to control traffic (if needed), no FD response.
    2. If the call is received after hours or on weekends, the PD responds first to see if it warrants FD or highway department response. If they can handle it themselves, they do. If they can't, they call the FD.
    3. FD responds non-emergency, and cuts the tree out of the way. If the tree proves to be too large, we'll do what we can, clear up, and let PD stand by for the highway department.

    The company officer also has the option not to respond during an active thunder/lightning storm for the protection of his personnel.

    Also, why would the FD respond just to provide traffic control? That's what the cops are for.
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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    At work, we don't do it at all.

    At the VFD, it works like this...
    1. If the call is received between 8A and 5P, the dispatcher automatically calls the highway department. PD only responds to control traffic (if needed), no FD response.
    2. If the call is received after hours or on weekends, the PD responds first to see if it warrants FD or highway department response. If they can handle it themselves, they do. If they can't, they call the FD.
    3. FD responds non-emergency, and cuts the tree out of the way. If the tree proves to be too large, we'll do what we can, clear up, and let PD stand by for the highway department.

    The company officer also has the option not to respond during an active thunder/lightning storm for the protection of his personnel.

    Also, why would the FD respond just to provide traffic control? That's what the cops are for.
    Not everywhere. Certain days and times we have ONE officer to cover close to 70 square miles. That means.........FD does whatever needs to be done to mitigate the hazard. Generally Public works handles these calls but if there are a lot or they aren't available for whatever reason it falls to us,pardon the pun. T.C.

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    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Not everywhere. Certain days and times we have ONE officer to cover close to 70 square miles. That means.........FD does whatever needs to be done to mitigate the hazard.
    I can appreciate law enforcement being spread thin...we have two officers (and sometimes a trooper) covering 270 square miles on some nights. However, directing traffic isn't something that I could ever justify to my guys missing a meal or ball game over. Different strokes...
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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    I can appreciate law enforcement being spread thin...we have two officers (and sometimes a trooper) covering 270 square miles on some nights. However, directing traffic isn't something that I could ever justify to my guys missing a meal or ball game over. Different strokes...
    Yup,that's why PW gets first shot or we do it. No tree, no traffic control. We use to do it routinely but PW got miffed they were losing out on their OT. T.c.

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    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking Well........

    You call 911, it becomes our problem, so we have to do something. If we can, which is most of the time, we simply clear the Traffic lanes and go home. If Wires or other hazards are involved, then the Road is shut down. The police are usually notified, but this type of call is a low priority, which means they may be a long time getting there. For whatever reason, in this area, the PDs don't direct traffic much, it just wanders around on it's own....
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    Forum Member RyanK63's Avatar
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    Township roads we handle 100%, no matter what. State roads, PennDOT is notified to come remove the tree. Township roads we only respond emergent if it poses a hazard, we remove the tree and go back in service. State roads we will usually just provide traffic control, unless we know PennDOT is tied up and will be awhile then we take care of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    You call 911, it becomes our problem, so we have to do something. If we can, which is most of the time, we simply clear the Traffic lanes and go home. If Wires or other hazards are involved, then the Road is shut down. The police are usually notified, but this type of call is a low priority, which means they may be a long time getting there. For whatever reason, in this area, the PDs don't direct traffic much, it just wanders around on it's own....
    We do the same... if it is a branch that can be easily moved, we do it. If it is a 100 year old Oak tree, the Forestry Divison of the DPW gets the call.

    Wires down... if it is telephone or cable, we notify the appropriate utility. Ifit involves wires with "electricyjuice", we stand by to secure the scene and notify the power company and stay until a detailed police officer and crusier show up if the National Grid is going to be a while.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    You call 911, it becomes our problem, so we have to do something. If we can, which is most of the time, we simply clear the Traffic lanes and go home. If Wires or other hazards are involved, then the Road is shut down. The police are usually notified, but this type of call is a low priority, which means they may be a long time getting there. For whatever reason, in this area, the PDs don't direct traffic much, it just wanders around on it's own....
    Very similar here as well. We will usually respond with a brush truck and remove the tree or branches if possible. If not, we set up flares and notify state highway. If wires involved, we notify the electric company and let them take care of it.

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    We respond non-emergency. We get out our saws (half of the time it is members with their pick ups and their saw) and cut up the tree. Once it is out of the road, we open the road back up.

    We would wait for PennDOT, but we have better things to do then wait for a couple hours. That and there is usually discussion on whose truck it is going in and who gets the firewood. I can't remember ever seeing PSP showing up for a tree blocking the roadway.

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    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    We respond non-emergency. We get out our saws (half of the time it is members with their pick ups and their saw) and cut up the tree. Once it is out of the road, we open the road back up.

    We would wait for PennDOT, but we have better things to do then wait for a couple hours. That and there is usually discussion on whose truck it is going in and who gets the firewood. I can't remember ever seeing PSP showing up for a tree blocking the roadway.

    We have better things to do than cut up trees that have fallen.

    Case in point, in 2003, we had a major hurricane come through the area. Trees were down everywhere. Companies made their calls, sometimes, having to drag a hose or two an extra length or two or go around the block where there was an opening on the street.

    Dispatchers were told do not send fire companies for trees down. Put the address on the list for DPW and REC and Parks to handle. Some folks call 9-1-1, saying a tree is blocking their driveway and they can't get the car out. They were told that if it is on private property, it is you responsibility to have it removed.

    As someone has said, It is not our job! The guys in public works, whose jobs it is, don't respond to and fight fires!
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  12. #12
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    Public Works takes care of it while PD handle traffic.

    Most times...the FD is not even aware that a tree came down....unless wires are involved.
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    As a rural VFD, we cover an area without a DPW. We have a 2 man crew that works 7-3 to maintain roads (80 miles) for the township. They will do what they can, but when 911 gets the call they call us as well as the township employees.

    Normally when there is one down, there are many. They will talk to us and let us know where they are starting and we will start from the other end. When we meet them, we are both done.

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    We respond RLS but at state mandated speeds. We clear the the roadway to prevent further hazards & direct traffic. Now that's only if they call 911. other wise it's the states problem.
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    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    My local department will respond on tree down/blocking roadway calls - some of the members will bring their own truck/saw.....and then there isn't an issue of what to do with the tree....just the left over limbs This is in farm country with very few police officers on patrol (took over 20 minutes for one to get to a poss burglary in progress call!)

    In my old department we used to run tree down calls if there were wires involved - block the road and wait for the utility company.....

    I can see a department providing a service removing trees - IF the personnel/apparatus isn't being taken from something of a higher priority.....can be great PR.....AND it can help with getting roads open a lot quicker than waiting for PW .....

  16. #16
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ffscm72 View Post
    We respond RLS but at state mandated speeds.
    Just for clarification: you'll respond RLS, but driving the posted speed limit?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    We do the same... if it is a branch that can be easily moved, we do it. If it is a 100 year old Oak tree, the Forestry Divison of the DPW gets the call.

    Wires down... if it is telephone or cable, we notify the appropriate utility. Ifit involves wires with "electricyjuice", we stand by to secure the scene and notify the power company and stay until a detailed police officer and crusier show up if the National Grid is going to be a while.
    My department handles this type of call the same way.

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    We do not respond to trees, or anything else, in the roadway.

    The only way we would respond is if there are wires down and arcing or there is some other safety hazard (gas leak, etc.)

    In this area, it is a police call for a traffic hazard. Police would try to move it and if not then shops would notified to cut it up and remove it.
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  19. #19
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    We respond to downed trees if they're blocking a street. Why? For several reasons...

    The most likely reason (I'm guessing) is that we usually have saws on all of our front-line apparatus and we're on duty 24 hours a day. Public Works is not. So, if a tree falls after "normal business hours," there is no sense to leave us in the station collecting a paycheck while they call some Public Works guy to come in from home.

    There's the safety aspect, too. The modern fire service is prevention-oriented. By cutting up a tree that's blocking a street (and doing so in a timely manner), we're likely preventing a vehicle accident from occurring.

    We do not use lights & sirens for these types of calls and they take a back seat to many of the other types of runs we handle.

  20. #20
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    We normally get dispatched for trees down in the road (or other location that could be a hazard, like directly on a house). We do what we can to clear the road, but we aren't fancy with it.

    If wires are involved, we simply do what has to be done to protect the public, which is usually closing the road. while waiting for National Grid to arrive. If there's been a storm, that could be a while, as there are usually a multitude of such calls to deal with. We've had to cover multiple locations when that has happened.

    We have 'fire police' whose function it is to provide scene security - usually directing traffic - at any emergency scene. Sometimes the cops will even ask for us, as they are stretched thin here, too.

    If we do have a weather event, the town highway folks are usually out and about, day or night, and will be handling the bulk of the tree incidents that don't involve electricity.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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