1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber
    rmoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Plano, Texas

    Default Block-to-the-Right?

    With the death of Dallas firefighter/paramedic Scott Tanksley, we all a bit on edge about highway incident responses during inclement weather conditions. Here is a question from a Texas Battalion chief who is concerned about which angle his first-due apparatus should take at the crash scene.

    Chief Moore -
    When an accident is in an outside lane ( Lane 3 of a 3-lane highway ) and the apparatus is placed in a "Block-to-the-Left" angle, it would deflect traffic back away from the work zone. This however, puts the side mount pump panel facing the oncoming traffic and a front jump line pointed toward the passing traffic as well.

    My question is would it be within a safety stand point to position the apparatus in a "Block-to-the-Right" angle protecting the pump panel and Engineer from oncoming traffic as well as deploying the front jump line for fire protection further away from oncoming traffic.

    My dilemma is if the apparatus in place in a "Block-to-the-Right" angle and was struck by a vehicle, it would deflect the vehicle to the right side of the scene toward the work zone.

    My reply to this challenging question is;

    So the crash is on the far right of a multi-lane expressway and you're going to stretch a handling for protective purposes or a car fire, or something like that. Your pump panel is on the driver's side and you want your pump panel and front jump line protected from approaching traffic.

    The only choice is therefore a 'Block to the Right' for the first-due engine. This does protect the pump operator but it also would potentially deflect an errant vehicle to the right which could be towards your original crash scene.

    I'll take that chance. The officer and driver should be able to get on an angle as they arrive that puts their engine 'steep' enough across the lanes of traffic and the right shoulder that a deflected car would go off to the side and not get to the scene. If the rig positions in a 'gentle' angle, then you are correct; a crash could cause the car to simply glance off the officer's side and go right towards the work area.

    You should consider having a second rig dispatched to provide a block further upstream of the working engine and the scene. This unit provides advance warning to approaching motorists and serves as a lookout if some drunk comes barreling through the scene.

    Tell your crews that if the driver and officer have a choice and it does not matter to them, the recommended best practice is to position the apparatus on an angle that indicates which way you want the approaching traffic to 'merge' or 'taper' to get past the crash scene.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2013


    I agree with the previous post. If you have to block toward the work area, take a sharp angle. Our policy is for the ladder apparatus to block traffic away from work area in a position behind (upstream from) the engine. I think it is a great practice to request another unit solely for that purpose. Chief's rigs and police cars don't have the size and weight to truly protect the scene.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2002


    If you are far enough back from the crash scene, blocking to the right should'nt be a problem. If a car strikes the rig, yes it will go to the right, but down in the grass or against a barrier wall. The further back you can park the better. It may be better to use a longer crosslay or to extend a bumper line to give you more of a cushion.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    backsteprescue123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004


    Here it is officer/driver discretion vs. policy. Depends mostly on what is on the edge of the road... is there a guardrail or jersey wall or is it just grass? We have seen when blocking to the right a vehicle noticed at the last second and drove off into the grass. What is your instinct when you drive off the road? To get your vehicle back onto the road, this individual just barely missed the scene and responders as they made their way back to the road. Just some food for thought.
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.

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