1. #1
    Member

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
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    Roswell, GA, USA
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    58

    Post multiple vehicle response from same station

    This happened to me once, and I thought I'd get opinions. First, a bit of history. Some details are altered to protect the privacy of the department and individuals involved.

    I used to belong to a 2 stations department. While all vehicles and personnel were at Station 1 for a meeting, a call came in for a structure fire in Station 2's district. Our policy was all vehicles respond. This included 3 engines, 2 rescues (light duty), and 2 ambuli (Latin plural for ambulance).

    We all went east on Hwy A. The first engine and most other apparatus turned south on Road 1, and then had to turn east on Hwy B. The fire was just further south on Road 2. I, driving the second engine, left the parade and kept east on Hwy A, turning south on Road 2. Where B & 2 intersected, I had the green light. Engine 1 got there about the same time, and had to wait for me to get through the intersection (remember I had the green). We then all went south on Road 2 to the fire and put it out.

    Afterward, the driver and officer of Eng. 1 complained to chief about my unsafe driving practice. Since we both got to the intersection about the same time, we had to be going about the same speed (most roads in that area were in grids). But due to slight quirks in traffic, I got to the intersection first. I believe that's what upset Eng. 1 driver and officer, since they had been first in the parade.

    There's the story. My take on it was this: I didn't feel it prudent to commit all apparatus to the same route. Had there been an accident or other delay, all of our apparatus would be in trouble. Also, Eng 1's route added 2 more turns to the route (right, then left, then right onto Road 2) whereas my route had only one turn (right onto Road 2).

    After my explanation, the chief decided not to pursue any punishment at all, feeling my explanation was good. What it did point out was a lack of response SOP.

    Here's my question: when multiple apparatus respond from a single location and multiple route options are present (with all options being somewhat equivalent), do you split the routes? I also recall defensive driving for emergency apparatus classes that tell us to keep certain distances, use different siren sounds, etc. to alert drivers to the next vehicle.


    ------------------
    Rick Reed
    (Contact me about a musical version of "The Fireman's Prayer".)
    The views expressed are mine. I typed it.

  2. #2
    FFCode3EMT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    While we have no written SOG on this situation, we do try to split the routes. This way, there will not be a parade of apparatus with the potential for an accident from interlocked sirens, or drivers seeing the first vehicle pass and pull out into the path of the next unit. If there is a delay on one route, not all apparatus will be delayed. This also gives different angles of attack for an incident.

    ------------------
    **The preceding comments in no way represent the views of my department, its members, or associations that it may belong to.**

  3. #3
    Eng 48
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    My one dept. has multiple station response. When approaching a common intersection, we announce our presence over the radio. This seems to help.

    ------------------
    Be safe everyone!

  4. #4
    benson911
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I feel all apparatus leaving from one station should take a single route to avoid affecting traffic in more than one area. The more traffic you involve on your run, the greater the chance you have of being involved in an accident. Every time you go on an emergency run, you take a chance. Limit your exposure to traffic and you lessen the chance of an accident.

  5. #5
    firehat87
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I think units should take different routes for two reason. First, if units are in procession, you run the risk of a driver pulling out after the first apparatus has passed. This accident may even block the street or involve other units following too closely, greatly reducing the response or stopping it altogether.
    The second, inolves staging. What happens if all your units take the same route and stage on the same block and the hydrant is dry? You'll really wish at least one unit is on a different street so they can lay from that hydrant. I feel that if there are enough apparauts, at least two should stage by different plugs.

  6. #6
    dfwscotty
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    The fast vehicles go first then the rest follow. You probably remember a FD crash a few years ago where the Engine and ladder responded to a call taking alternate routes and ending up colliding at an intersection. THis takes out 2 apparatus going to a call plus injuring 2 crews plus delaying the response they were enroute to plus taking more units to respond to their accident.

    You may have to sit down and review some of your response routes just to use as further examples. This is where an SOP won't help because you would have to look at every building in your city.

    You did the right thing in defending yourself. WHen we are training people and ask them, "which way would be quickest from point A?" We listen to their answer and then tell them that as long as they can articulate the answer you will be less likely to get chewed out for going the wrong way.

  7. #7
    Hammerhead338
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    We also run out of 2 stations, and it happens to us c-shift several times a month.

    On my shift we will split up before we get to the scene. It gives you 2 different views of the scene. I will also us a different siren sound but it dosent madder much when the capt stands on the fed q.

    On the intersection,in my view you had the right of way, when you come to a red light we will pretty much come to a complete stop before we go through.

    Have a good day and be safe.

    Joe

  8. #8
    ENGINE 52
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    When both engines are responding to the same call. The driver of the first engine should see the second engine in its mirrors. The only time we would take different routes is if order by the OIC to pick up a different hydrant from the other side of the incident.

  9. #9
    Hosekey21
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Our sop says that all vehicles follow the same route to the call. Any deviation from this method must be clearly transmitted via the radio pryer to a vehicle taking a different route. There also is a note to use extreme caution at intersections when vehicles take different routes.


  10. #10
    Rescue678250
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Some GOOD INFO HERE People..

    In my old Department we had 7 Stations, and over 2500 calls a year. When there was a structural fire it would get crazy. Im a chauffer for the Heavy Rescue and we provide the FART team. It was insane, all the time we would meet at intersections coming close to accidents. However its still better then multiple engine behind each other.

    Here is my story with this..>

    We were going to a MVA 8 Wounded..it was declared an MCI by local PD. Our Three Ambulances and Fly Car were heading in front of me, I was driving our Heavy Rescue. They all went throught the intersection and I guess this idiot thought that was the end of the emergency vehicles and went. As I came to the intersection my truck sped right into the guy and sent him about 25 feet.

    Anyway...He wasnt hurt that bad thank god. However he didnt know more units were coming because they all took the same route.

  11. #11
    wannabe-EMT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    It's policy at my station for all apparatus to follow the same path, unless one makes a wrong turn and goes in the completely wrong direction. This is, as I hear, a result of incidents in the past where two units from the same station would pull out, go different directions, and crash into each other approaching an intersection.

    Now, all units from one station follow the same path, make as much noise as possible, and when other stations are responding with us, we announce the intersections, ie, "Engine 1 approaching 1st and Main." The unit which calls it first goes through first.

    Peace, and stay safe.

  12. #12
    SWIPP
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Both fire depts that I am on have different procedures. Airport policy says that vehicles will take different routes if possible to avoid all vehicles being stopped short of an incedent by fire, debris, ect. My home town dept. has a large response area with the possibility of a 15 mile long run. There is no policy that we must follow the same route. This works well in times of bad weather, snow, high water, farm equip., where one route may be blocked. The exception would be if there was an obvious most direct path. There is NO RACE and our drivers are trained to STOP or be prepared to STOP at all intersections regardless of signs, light color or who has the biggest. There is no SOP, SOG, policy or anything else that will sub for brains or common sense. USE YOUR HEAD

  13. #13
    Chris309
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Our Dept. has 3 stations that are in the extreme south-east, north-east and central-west ends of our district. This triangulates our area pretty well, that is, 90% of the time, we're coming in from different directions by virtue of the locations of the stations anyway. In addition, trucks even use different routes responding from the same station frequently.

    I can tell you from experience, this pays off. There have been numerous times I can remember apparatus getting tied up responding due to MVA's, heavy traffic, etc.

    As far as concerns related to a "parade" situation that would (and will) confuse traffic and create a dangerous situation, we are a volunteer dept, so the response is usually staggered anyway. If not, we try to wait a bit until the truck before us leaves.

    Now, that's all great, but it's not without problems. First of all, we don't have any of this in writing. It all depends on the common sense of the drivers. We all have experience with people who seem to lack common sense, so...

    I will say this, though. Most of the times we've had an issue like the one 26DC describes, it's due to competition. Drivers racing to get to the scene first. This usually occurs between stations, which I suppose is natural, but certainly not safe. Rarely do I know it to happen within the same station, but I've seen just about everything, so nothing surprises me.

    Well, I figure I may as well close this reply with a controversial thought. And if you read this 26DC, I would be interested in your response. I notice that he didn't tell us if he was a member of Station 1 or 2. If he was from Station 2, perhaps there was a feeling of 'entitlement' to get there first because it was in their district? And if he was a member of Station 1, maybe a 'we beat you to your own fire' situation occurred? And if both engines were from the same station, well, you got me...

    As far as the fact that there were less turns in his route, I don't believe this was a factor, as illustrated by the fact that they got to the intersection at the same time. Also, if he went a different route, how could he be aware of the traffic conditions the other engine encountered? Also, from his statement, it would seem that the first engine did actually get to Hwy B and Road 2 first, because the first engine "had to wait for me to get through the intersection" because they had a red light and he had the green.

    In any case, I know I'm being kinda harsh. I'm not trying to pick on 26DC, I'm just using his story as an example to illustrate that sometimes we forget that we're all there to do the same job. I will also admit that I have found myself on many occasions trying to 'beat the other station', a habit I'm not proud of. Putting the public at risk for bragging rights is not a very responsible thing to do. We have enough concerns about trying to maneuver these ever-growing apparatus through congested streets without worrying about who's going to get to the scene first.

    OK, enough ranting, bring it on...

    ------------------
    Chris

    LEGAL MUMBO-JUMBO: Any and all views I've expressed above and on this site are not representative of my department. They are my personal opinions and views. If my department knew the stuff I was spewing out here, they would disavow any knowledge of me anyway. LOL...Stay Safe

    [This message has been edited by Chris309 (edited 01-06-2001).]

  14. #14
    Member

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Location
    Roswell, GA, USA
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    Post

    Chris309, I'm not offended in any way by what you wrote. There are some good questions there. First of all, I was in a Sta. 2 engine, we were enroute to a call in district 2. So it wasn't a "my district, me first" situation. Remember that we were all at Sta. 1 for a meeting. From what I can tell, it appeared that he was just upset that we got to the intersection at the same time, but I had the green instead of him. When we went our separate ways, I was directly behind E1, now I was in front by virtue of the luck of the draw at the traffic light.

    I never really knew who made the complaint. I do know that after the interviews, no further actions was taken, other than to tell me that (although it wasn't written in any SOPs) we all took the same route to a scene.

    Ah well, that was several years ago, and I'm long gone from that department.



    ------------------
    Rick Reed
    (Contact me about a musical version of "The Fireman's Prayer".)
    The views expressed are mine. I typed it.

  15. #15
    Chris309
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Smile

    Rick,

    Cool, glad your not mad. We've got the same thing with the 3 stations, because we're all 1 company. Sometimes the guys from the other station bring a truck down to the main station for a meeting, and it's a circus if we get a call. LOL

    ------------------
    ----------
    Chris

    LEGAL MUMBO-JUMBO: Any and all views I've expressed above and on this site are not representative of my department. They are my personal opinions and views. If my department knew the stuff I was spewing out here, they would disavow any knowledge of me anyway. LOL...Stay Safe

  16. #16
    Cain
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Our policy is to take the same route and do one of two things. The second truck must either stay within two or three vehicle lengths or stay two or three blocks back. My experience with "looky-loos" is that they are memsmerized by the lights and siren of the first truck and if the second truck is not right behind then they don't see it coming. We also use the "different siren for each truck" technique.

    ------------------
    Remember plan "B"

  17. #17
    FFD#35
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I work for a department with 4 stations. Our SOG states that when approaching an intersection that may have apparatus coming from the other direction you announce it over our Admin. frequency. We have an understanding on our shift that if two units approach the intersection at the same time, the one who does not have to change direction gets the right of way. The unit going straight through will be able to get past quicker.

  18. #18
    Captain420
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I belong to a department were we have 6 stations(5 Engines and 1 Ladder Truck) when we have a call there are atleast 3 Engines and the Ladder Truck responding. At times we get all 15 emergency vehicles moving for a call. In our sop it says nothing about each truck going to same way or going different ways. If we ever have vehicles behide on another we stay at least 1000 ft apart so you don't have a problem at any intersections.


    In the station I belong to we don't have to worry too much about a parade of vehicle cause we mostly move the Engine and our other 2 trucks stay in station unless of a fire. We run an Engine, a Salvage Truck, and a Water Salvage.

    But to everyone be careful on all your emergency responces.

    BE SAFE!!

  19. #19
    Weavers20018
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    I work out of a station with 6 units, 1 Ladder co., 1 pumper co., 1 rescue unit, 1 battalion chief, and 1 medic unit.

    We don't have any specific rules regarding response routes and I like it that way. I'm on the pumper and we're not always concerned with getting directly to the address like the ladder or the other units. If we follow them blindly that's where we'll end up. Not always a good thing for a pumper company.

    In fact, I'm usually looking for the best hydrant in coordination with pumper companies responding from other stations (we're rarely first in because the rescue unit is an oversized pickup).

    I think I should also point out, though, that I work in an urban area and there are always multiple routes to the same place.

    Just two weeks ago we followed the other companies directly to the scene (it was the fastest route to the hydrant) and got hit at an intersection on our tailboard! The other driver was approaching from the driver's side and admitted that he saw the other emergency units pass through and assumed that was it (he never even slowed down). We were almost completely through the median of the intersection when he hit us.

    We make it a practice to stop completely at all red lights even when running code three, so we did stop after the other units passed through.

    Anyway, I digress. Bottom line is: I don't like being restricted to following certain response routes that other units are taking.
    Many times their route is the route you want to take too, but not always.

    Further, I would caution any fire department that decided to restrict units to following the exact same route because any deviation on the part of a well-meaning officer/driver could open them up to the very type of litigation they are trying to avoid.

    Anytime you take away the discretion of your officers/firefighters and prescribe exact cookbook measures you set yourself up for a legal fall when they deviate. Naturally, this would only apply to actions that could be considered discretionary from a legal perspective. I think choice of response routes may fall in this category.

  20. #20
    fireslayer75
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In my department, we have only 1 station and it sits near the bottom of a hill that leads to the interstate. If we get a call, depending on the situation, one or two trucks leave the station and the smaller faster one usually goes first. And we all take the same route, but the interval between trucks is anywhere from 1 min to 3 min.

  21. #21
    oz10engine
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Sounds like E-1's crew is just ****ed that you beat him there and put his fire out. The more turns you make the more time it takes. It's not your fault he got the red light. Hope you beat him in again.

  22. #22
    BonCreChief@Yahoo.com
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    Thank you for the food for thought. I guess it is like everything else you can always learn. We respond from mutiple stations but have SOG's for that. My problem is that in all my stations we have multiple truck responses but have never had a problem and have never written SOG's for that. Guess our safety guys will have a new project for next meeting. Thanks for jogging this old Chief's brain.

  23. #23
    qwerty_451
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Taking the shortest route with the least turns is the best. Taking different routes offers the benefits of traffic might be less on one route, can see the scene from at least two different views, and if an accident occurs not everyone getting blocked in.

    I responded in the stream before and didn't make the turn that everyone else did, because there was 1 turn instead on many and ended up at the scene 2 minutes before them on a relatively short run.

    Seeing the scene from two points of view, after failing to do a 360 upon arrival I entered what I thought was a duplex and met up with another crew which told my crew to check for extension in the other 3 units and I couldn;t understand it because they had come in from a different direction "from the same station" and had seen a different scene.

    Thanks

  24. #24
    apatrol
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Rather than a distance by feet or whatever i would like to see trucks leave the station with a thirty second or so rule... allows the vehicles to clear intersections independantly (misspelled) and allows IC to issue orders to trucks in good order w/o six trucks piled on him at the same time... Just my two cents

  25. #25
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    5

    Default

    My company typically travels "parade" style with enough distance between units to allow time for reaction to road conditions. However, we have some very long hill climbs that slow down our engine and tanker but our brushtruck and resque can handle very well. This shortest distance isn't always the fastest for the larger apparatus. The brushtruck and reque may go over the hill while the engine and tanker go around it. It's mostly a judgement call by the driver to allow for the best response time.

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