1. #1
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    Default Fire Station Traffic Control

    Should firefighters be in the street stopping traffic to back into station?

    Even with emergency lights operating and traffic vests on we have had so many close calls with firefighters almost being struck by vehicles.

    Not to mention personnel could suffer sprains or falls while dismounting the apparatus. I know that this could happen anytime but to do it for traffic control adds additional chances of it happening. Plus when dismounting in front of station the apparatus would be in gear which adds additional chance for injury.

    The argument has been made that personnel would be safer just staying on the apparatus. We had a class where the instructor said firefighters should not be in the street stopping traffic if they have not been certified in traffic control which our firefighters are not.

    How does everyone do it? Specifically looking for points against having the guys do it.

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    The argument that they could be hurt getting off the rig to do traffic control is not really a valid argument. Because whether they get off in the street or get off in the bay, you can still get hurt. How does getting off in the street increase the chance of getting hurt vs the bay? You're still going to fall onto a hard surface. Sprains and falls can happen anywhere.

    As for the additonal danger of getting off when the rig is in gear? Why? The drivers foot is on the brake, so their is no danger. Sure, an accident could happen and his or her foot could slip, but the chance is so rare combined with the fact the rig would be in FORWARD so even if it surged ahead till the driver could get their foot on the brake, the rider would not be struck by the door.

    Safer on the apparatus? Not nessecarily. If the rig were struck by another vehicle at high speed, you can still have injuries. With two people off the rig doing traffic control, that is two less people on the rig when it's struck.

    Just use good judgement. Face the traffic you are trying to stop and be ready to move out of the way if someone is not going to stop. Any time the rig is crossing traffic their will be danger. But i really do not see any more danger if you have FF's on the ground or on the rig. If someone is going to ignore the lights and the giant truck, they are going to ignore people too.

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    Busy 2 way street in front of my firehouse. Driver pulls up, stops, we get out. He then angles rig across street to block traffic in both directions. When cars stop we move into middle of street and ensure cars wait until backed in. We have a department order stating the other FFs and officer must get out and watch when driver backs up to avoid hitting anything.

    Certified in traffic control?? Unless there's a state law about this, I think he's jerking you around (off).

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottmillernj View Post
    Should firefighters be in the street stopping traffic to back into station?

    Even with emergency lights operating and traffic vests on we have had so many close calls with firefighters almost being struck by vehicles.

    Not to mention personnel could suffer sprains or falls while dismounting the apparatus. I know that this could happen anytime but to do it for traffic control adds additional chances of it happening. Plus when dismounting in front of station the apparatus would be in gear which adds additional chance for injury.

    The argument has been made that personnel would be safer just staying on the apparatus. We had a class where the instructor said firefighters should not be in the street stopping traffic if they have not been certified in traffic control which our firefighters are not.

    How does everyone do it? Specifically looking for points against having the guys do it.
    Ok honestly is this for real. Please confess this is a joke?.
    In the event this isn't a joke I have to know, just what do you do if you see a fire?.
    Look you got cars driving around trucks crosswise to the street while trying to back in right?. Call the d@mn cops get them down there after calls won't take long to educate the dumb ones driving on the curb or whatever.

  5. #5
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    Our rigs angle out across the traffic lanes and we get out. Not so much to block on coming vehicles, but to keep the morons from walking right behind the rig.
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    We get out and flag/spot the truck for backing in. We don't really stop the traffic, the truck usually does. We keep the idiots from walking behind the truck, the cyclists from being road pizza, the taxis from being more stupid than usual, and to keep morons from trying to drive around the truck. We have had members hit by cars they are trying to "stop", and near misses are a daily occurence at my station, but will continue the practice - it's still safer than staying onboard.

    Can't possibly understand staying on the truck unless you have a pull-through bay. Our directives state all members will disembark the piece anyway when reversing, as a safety measure - any one of the members might be the one to spot an accident before it happens; can't see it coming if you're hiding on the backstep...

    BTW, to the idea of "if someone tries to go around you call the cops" - BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! We have a great relationship with our cops. but unless there's a gun or maybe a knife involved, they ain't coming. Except maybe unless it's to take a report 5 or 6 hours later. Between all the apparatus we have, we do 2-3 dozen runs a day. We'd need the cop to permanently be stationed with us. Yes, state law says traffic is to yield to fire apparatus entering/exiting an "official garage". I have seen ONE driver pulled over for violating this, and that was only after a very verbal altercation that the cop just happened to observe.
    Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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    Whenever a vehicle is to backed at a Station, all riders will dismount and control traffic. ONE person serves as the "spotter" for the driver. Vehicle Lights will remain on until the vehicle stops at the desired location on the apron, or inside the bay.
    This SOP was adopted after an Engine was struck broadside by a drunk. 4 on-board firefighters were injured and the truck was totaled. The Engine had lights on; about 0400. Estimated speed on impact was 45mph, brakes not activated. In this case, riders dismounted and flagging may not have prevented the collision, but 3 firefighters would not have been injured.

    The drunk drives a wheelchair now.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpita View Post
    We get out and flag/spot the truck for backing in. We don't really stop the traffic, the truck usually does. We keep the idiots from walking behind the truck, the cyclists from being road pizza, the taxis from being more stupid than usual, and to keep morons from trying to drive around the truck. We have had members hit by cars they are trying to "stop", and near misses are a daily occurence at my station, but will continue the practice - it's still safer than staying onboard.

    Can't possibly understand staying on the truck unless you have a pull-through bay. Our directives state all members will disembark the piece anyway when reversing, as a safety measure - any one of the members might be the one to spot an accident before it happens; can't see it coming if you're hiding on the backstep...

    BTW, to the idea of "if someone tries to go around you call the cops" - BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! We have a great relationship with our cops. but unless there's a gun or maybe a knife involved, they ain't coming. Except maybe unless it's to take a report 5 or 6 hours later. Between all the apparatus we have, we do 2-3 dozen runs a day. We'd need the cop to permanently be stationed with us. Yes, state law says traffic is to yield to fire apparatus entering/exiting an "official garage". I have seen ONE driver pulled over for violating this, and that was only after a very verbal altercation that the cop just happened to observe.
    What . You want me to tell him to call the Girl Scouts. A cop writing a handleful of tickets a couple of times, word will get around the area right quick.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miller337 View Post
    What . You want me to tell him to call the Girl Scouts. A cop writing a handleful of tickets a couple of times, word will get around the area right quick.


    Hold on a minute. MrPita's area is such that Cops don't have much time to do stuff like that. The "It takes a Gun or a Knife to get a Cop involved" thing is real, very real, in our urban areas........ On the other hand, my station is busy, but not located in a bad neighborhood. We are, however on a 4 lane divided highway posted at 50 mph in front of the station. We have, and use, a Traffic light and we also have a decent Police presence at the station. This is an advantage, since they usually park in front, and have a clear view of the Traffic Light and the Apparatus responding out. If you run the red light, chances are that you will be chased and ticketed....... As far as backing in, we have Drive Thru Bays, but we still need to back in sometimes, but the Front Ramp is big enough for us to swing in off the road, turn, then back up. The Officer is responsible for getting off the rig and directing the Driver.....
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    We used to have the members out in the street while the apparatus was backing up to help stop traffic. After a couple close calls we stopped this practice.. if drivers don't see the big firetruck with flashing lights, they probably won't see the individuals either.

    Now the truck angles on to the pad, the guys get off and the truck noses back out into traffic with the emergency lights on. Guys act as spotters/backers but remain on the pad and not in the flow of traffic. The emergency lights get shut off once the apparatus has cleared off the roadway, as soon as the operator has a chance to do so. Turning them off once on the pad makes things a little easier on the backers..
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    Default Addition To My Original Post

    We are on a undivided 4 lane state highway in a commercial area with a posted speed limit of 25mph but that means nothing to the drivers.

    Traffic light in front of station that we don't have control of. We could wait for it to turn red but we are at an intersection so when the highway turns red all the cars from the secondary streets start coming through.

    Police will never send us a patrol car to stop traffic to back into station. It Is hard enough to get them to send a car to a fire scene when traffic control is needed. They are down personnel just like we are. We have taken down plates and had the police issue tickets after the fact but that hasn't stopped the madness.

    We do not have drive through bays and our apron is way too small to do any turning and backing from.

    As soon as the apparatus blocks the road with lights operating cars start to try getting around us because they don't want to be stuck waiting for a firetruck to back in. You know "everyone is in a big hurry and the Fire Department is such a nuisance".

    Sometimes the apparatus only has 2 guys on it with 1 being the driver. So that leaves 1 guy to stop traffic for all 4 lanes on both sides of the apparatus.

    I agree with someone being a spotter to prevent a pedesterian from being hit or having the apparatus hit something. That is textbook operations. My issue is strictly with having guys standing in the lane of traffic trying to stop traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miller337 View Post
    What . You want me to tell him to call the Girl Scouts. A cop writing a handleful of tickets a couple of times, word will get around the area right quick.
    The population of MrPita's area at the 2010 Census was just over 1.5 million people. Gonna take a little longer than "right quick."
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    Yeah it's a consensus Scottmillernj. We can't find vaild reasons against this practice.

    My local station always has the guys out of the rig in the street stopping traffic. Then the rig with lights flashing pulls out across the whole street and the guys hold up the traffic and help the driver reverse through the narrow garage door. Traffic and pedestrians always stop and give them time to do the whole thing as far as I've seen.
    I can't believe some people don't stop and wait. What's it costing them to wait, two freaking minutes if that?
    It's not the destination, but the journey that matters.

    Stay safe

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    We had a truck that bent in the middle, so stopping traffic wasn't really a problem.

    Our procedures mirrored Philly's so every one but driver and tillerman got off the ride to help get the truck back in the house.
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