I was recently working with a metro fire department officer who wanted to know if there were any records available on fire departments being sued due to stabilization problems; lack of stabilizing, equipment failure, cribbing failure, improper techniques, etc.
I have searched and asked around but do not know how to find any one source of legal actions against fire departments where vehicle stabilization is the issue.
Here is an excerpt from this officer's original question.
"One of our latest additions is is almost ten thousand dollars worth of brand name stabilization struts. I am wondering if you have any substantial information on lawsuits due to a lack of stabilization furthering patient injury or even injuring or killing firefighters.
We have been having some difficulties in convincing a lot of our personnel that using this equipment is essential to the successful and safe outcome of an incident involving a vehicle resting on its side or roof."
"...without actual statistics or opinions from nationally known experts, I think that our chances of implementing a policy and requiring our personnel to stabilize these vehicle is slim to none."
OK. That's the challenge. So how would you respond to this issue if it were brought up by your members?
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02-24-2013, 04:57 PM #1
Ever Had a Stabilization Lawsuit?
02-24-2013, 05:41 PM #2
- Join Date
- Feb 2002
- Southwestern, Pa
Ron, I have no information for this for you, but I would tell this officer that I sure don't want to be the test case that gets written up in FIREHOUSE.BB
02-24-2013, 06:25 PM #3
I have a law firm doing a National search for me so we may come up with something, somewhere where stabilization was the issue. We'll see.
02-25-2013, 11:11 PM #4
- Join Date
- Oct 2012
I have never heard of a suit involving improper or failed stabilization. I also have never heard of firefighters refusing to stablize an overturned vehicle when they have been proved the tools to do so. The terms "best practice" and "national standard" come to mind. I believe a department would be hard pressed to find an expert that could truthfully testify that an overturned verhicle required no stabilzation.
I guess this gets placed in the "Now Ive heard everything" file.
02-26-2013, 10:41 AM #5
I don't know of any lawsuits due to it not using stabilization. But I have seen a couple of videos of it going wrong. One just from last year. I don't have time to look them up. One that comes to mind is NYPD ESU trying to pick a car off of someone just using the spreaders and redropping it on them because they slipped.
As for members refusing to stabilize. It is purely a safety thing its like going into a fire without an SCBA. If you refuse to stabilize you need to find somewhere else to work/volunteer. If the people in charge don't want to enforce something like safety like that. I would be finding myself somewhere else. As much as I like helping people and love this job. My safety has to come first.RIP Hela
"You have to do better then your best."
BUD's instuctor Class 234
"A man who won't die for something is not fit to live."
Martin Luther King, Jr
04-29-2013, 10:34 PM #6
Ron, what's your definition of "proper"? Do you need rescue jacks, plastic cribbing, and all the latest bells and whistles?
or can you use old fashioned wood?
as long as it works, you can use whatever you have, without fear of getting sued.
I'd be more worried about injuring either MOS (which i have seen) or further injuring an entrapped patient by no cribbing a severely damaged vehicle.If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!
04-30-2013, 01:21 AM #7
This sounds like a good question for the one and only Gordon Graham...everyonegoeshome.com
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