1. #1
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    Angry Another I can't see the big red truck with flashing lights and blaring siren.

    Aug. 17, 2002
    Firefighters OK after on-duty wreck
    Tractor-trailer hits Joplin fire truck en route to alarm; four injured, treated at hospital.

    By Angela Wilson
    News-Leader

    Joplin — Four Joplin firefighters were injured Thursday night when a tractor-trailer rig hit their truck as they responded to a fire alarm at a lumber yard.

    Though no one was seriously injured and the Missouri Highway Patrol report did not indicate any citations were issued, the wreck emphasized the need for public awareness when it comes to emergency vehicles on the road.

    “If you’re a driver, it is your responsibility to be aware of all of your surroundings — including emergency vehicles,” said Officer Matt Brown, Springfield Police spokesman.

    At 7:15 p.m., several Joplin fire trucks responded to a fire alarm at the lumber yard. They later discovered there was no blaze, said Chief Bill West.

    As a 1995 firetruck — lights flashing and sirens blaring — entered the intersection of Rangeline and Fourth Street, a Peterbilt rig slammed into the driver’s side cab area. The busy intersection is controlled with a traffic signal.

    The driver of the Peterbilt was not injured, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol. The four firefighters were treated at Freeman Hospital in Joplin for scrapes and bruises. One of the firefighters returned to work Thursday night, West said.

    “They were treated and released with no apparent serious injuries,” West said.

    Brown said in Springfield areas like Sunshine Street and Glenstone Avenue — where traffic bottlenecks on all sides — emergency vehicles sometimes have to drive on parking lots and grassy areas to get past the intersection. Around the city, drivers often don’t pull over to the right for emergency vehicles, instead stopping where they are or speeding up to create room for the vehicles to weave through.

    “The second you see the lights and sirens, you need to pull over,” Brown said.

    Brown can’t recall the last time a Springfield Police vehicle was involved in an accident while en route to an emergency. The last major accident involving a Joplin Fire Department vehicle was 10-12 years ago, West said.

    Damage to the 7-year-old firetruck is uncertain. Insurance adjusters will determine whether repairs can be made or it must be replaced. The life span of those trucks is normally up to 12 years.

    “Trucks can be replaced; people can’t,” West said.
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    it sounds like they were lucky. majority of the time when a car hits a firetruck, most of the damage is to the car with "comestic" damage to the firetruck. factor in a tractor trailer instead of a car and they are lucky that no one was killed.
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    Thumbs down Really???

    Excuse me? I think it is important to remember that
    driving code 3 means your are simply requesting the
    right of way. It is not owed to you. Were these guys
    drving like a bat out of hell or simply the citizen
    didnt see the lights and siren?

    Very important to remember to drive defensivly but
    remember that the road does not belong to you simply
    because you fliped on the lights and siren. Drive
    fast but stay in control, leave yourself an out.

    You didnt cause the emergency, so relax and drive
    like a professional.

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    Default Re: Really???

    Originally posted by boukca
    Excuse me? I think it is important to remember that
    driving code 3 means your are simply requesting the
    right of way. It is not owed to you.
    i dont know how it is out in cali, but here in NY, yes the right of way is owed to a fire truck as much as it would be owed to a police car.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Re: Really???

    Originally posted by HFDEXP777


    i dont know how it is out in cali, but here in NY, yes the right of way is owed to a fire truck as much as it would be owed to a police car.
    I'm sure that's what it says on your law books there. This is the wrong attitude to have as a vehicle operator. You are already responding to a potential emergency. Don't create another.

    Is that the explanation you give to the mother of the 2 kids you just killed as your 20-35 ton fire truck creamed their car in an intersection? If the sole cause of the collision was a drivers' failure to yield to some emergency driving technique you are using (i.e. it would not have happened if you were driving with the flow of traffic), then that just isn't good enough.

    Proceed only when the way is clear. Intersections can be incredibly dangerous. We've all had our close calls. They should serve to reinforce the need to slow down to a crawl (completely stop?) and proceeding only when you are sure the way is clear. I'll admit I grumbled about the policy our department implemented a year ago: all vehicles will completely stop at all intersections and will only proceed when the driver can see that the way is clear, and/or that vehicles have yielded. To me, this fits in with our mission of protecting lives and property. The 10 seconds you lose in your response per intersection are a minimal expenditure that maximizes public safety.
    Last edited by Resq14; 08-18-2002 at 11:29 PM.

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    Originally posted by HFDEXP777
    i dont know how it is out in cali, but here in NY, yes the right of way is owed to a fire truck as much as it would be owed to a police car.
    HFDEXP777

    Generally the law states (as far as I know) that ALL vehicles should pull to the shoulder when they are faced with a recognized emergency vehicle using lights and sirens. Just because that is what the law says, that doesn't mean that is what happens. We have all experienced times when people simply don't notice, refuse to move over, follow through you through traffic, think they can beat you, turn left from the right lane, right from the left etc. People see the flashing lights and suddenly all those mental faculties that they usually use when driving disappear. Regardless of what the law says, that doesn't mean it is "Ok" for an operator to disregard common sense, and put the lives of his crew, and the other civilians around in jeopardy. The utimate responsibilty of all those lives rests in that operators hands.

    Resq14 Great way to make a point!

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    I just have to throw my two cents in here. Due to our older apparatus, their max speed is about 60-65. Responding to calls running hot in the left lane, I have actally had people pass me on the right. Imagine that... I heard not to long ago that the drivers education classes are teaching now that when you see an emergency vehicle, to not do anything, the fire truck or cop will go around you. Works real good, yeah... Here in Texas you are only requesting right of way...or so I have been told. But civilians can be written a ticket for failure to yeild.
    Gabriel
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    The irony of this story is we have a t.v. commercial here showing some moron cruising along with a fire truck behind him, code 3, he sees it and doesnt pull over. Only to find out they were going to his burning house. The end it says please yield the right of way to emergency vehicles. I'm still looking for the actual law, I am almost certain emergency vehicles have the right of way and are not requesting it. Not to say it is our policy to barrel down the road at a 100 mph and blow red lights. Not that we could anyway, if our trucks can actually get over 60 mph I'd be surprised. Our sop is:
    1. Apparatus and Pov's will not exceed the posted speed limit at any time
    2. Seat belts must be used by all personnel riding on apparatus.
    3. No riding is allowd on the rear step/tail board area. Nor standing in the crew compartment while the vehicle is in motion.
    4. Apparatus and POV's must come to a complete stop before attempting to proceed in any of the following conditions:
    *Intersection against a red traffic light
    *All railroad grade crossings (POV's excluded)
    *Blind intersections
    *Stop signs
    *Any condition when the operator cannot account for all traffic lanes.
    5. A spotter/ground guide shall be located at the rear of the apparatus at any time the vehicle moves in reverse.
    6. OPERATORS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY TRAFFIC CITATIONS ISSUED TO THEM.
    Steve
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    Lightbulb But the LAW Says!

    When ever this subject comes up, no matter where it happens, the first thing that everyone does is hide behind their laws. Let me ask you a question, Can anyone here honestly tell me that they have NEVER in their career had a driver pull out in front of them, or not pull over right away? The fact is, it happens all of the time. Whether the law says that they have to or not, it doesn't make a difference. You as a driver must excerise resonable care (or due Regard) and act as a reasonable emergency services driver would in your situation. Now based on the fact that you know that people don't always react the way that they are expected to, a reasonable person would expect this and drive accordingly.

    Now what does this mean to you? If you get into an accident, the other person may be wrong and may even get a ticket. But it does not mean that you can not be arrested or ticketed for negligence. Plus on the civil side you and your department can be sued for a lot of money. Remember civil suits are not guilty or not guilty, the jury can assign a percentage of the liability of the incident. Even 10% of a 15 or 20 million dollar law suit is a lot of money. May not be fair, but it is the system.

    I don't know how many times this can be said before we should just give up and say screw the stupid driver, but I have been teaching EVOC for over 5 years and no matter how many times I illustrate this point with examples some people continue to think that they are untouchable and I am getting tired of it.
    Last edited by AsstChief591; 08-19-2002 at 02:03 PM.
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    Default Sharing the road...

    Here in Connecticut, people are required to pull over to the right side of the road and stop, if they can safely do so. However, we all know how people out there are. Example... driving our aerial to a call, and signaling to make a right turn, an individual pulls over to the right and stops, right in the middle of the street I'm turning into. Despite hand-signals, this "educated" driver did not move. It finally took me getting out of the truck, lights and sirens still active, to go over to the car and instruct the driver to move. People do not think when they are behind the wheel and they see an apparatus responding. Our town requires a defensive driver's course, yearly. Our policy is also to stop at red lights, and proceed only when traffic has halted. Officers are trained to be a second set of eyes for the operator. We've also had people ticketed and charged for drafting off the apparatus to get through the traffic. I have to disagree with the attitude of "we own the road, we're bigger, so move" that some operators have. If anything, we need to be more cautious than the average driver.
    The views expressed in this posting are my own and are not reflective of my department or its members.

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    Lightbulb Excuse me again...

    HFDEXP777- "i dont know how it is out in cali,
    but here in NY, yes the right of way is owed
    to a fire truck as much as it would be owed
    to a police car"

    Thats right Explorer, you DO NOT know. Yes,
    vehicles in Cali. are MANDATED to pull over
    to emergency vehicles. What YOU and the
    original author didnt realize is what I wrote
    is the road is NOT owed to you when driving
    code 3.

    Thanks to the other more professional
    responders for backing me up!

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    I certainly realize the road is not owed to me. The article states the intersection was controlled by a traffic light, but not who had the green light. It also states no citations were issued. In lieu of this I will always take the side of my brothers and sisters until proven other wise. I'm just glad no one was killed.
    Steve
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    Unhappy Some people....

    Ugh, I present a very valid point and
    some people still do not get it.

  14. #14
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    Default Common Sense

    Doesn't matter what the law is, it is commen sense to slow down at all intersections! Yesterday we responded to a MVA on a two lane highway. The right hand lane was completely blocked for a couple of miles so we responded in the oncoming lane. The speed limit is 90 kph (55 mph), common sense told us to take it slow, even then we nearly had four near misses.

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    I'm with Boukca on this one.

    In Ohio, the law says that motorists must yield the right of way, BUT you must show "due regard" for the safety of others. When I received my Operator training (a long time ago), we were advised that if we made it through an intersection safely, we had used "due regard." If we didn't make it through the intersection safely, we hadn't used "due regard" (unless the other guy ran a red light.) Our PD didn't hesitate to cite us or themselves whenever there was an accident involving an emergency vehicle.

    I realize that the law varies from state to state. This is just how it happens to be in one state.

    As for the incident that started this thread, I'm just thankful that there were no serious injuries. The chief nailed it when he said "Trucks can be replaced; people can't."

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    HFDEXP77, you are partially correct. Everyone in a way has said it in their own words...The right of way is given, not taken, regardless of who has what, where, in whatever intersection or on whatever road. Laws say vehicles have to yield the right of way, it doesn't say you have to lock up your tires and get rear ended doing so. NY law also says you will operate with due regard. The incident that was posted had many variables that we don't know, it could have just happened.
    As far as the "another I didn't see the red lights or hear the siren" thing. How many of us have been in our own cars and notice how quiet the ride is inside? Electronic sirens are barely audible until they are very close, federals and air horns are better, but add on a radio and/or kids. Its up to us to get there, not the other driver. I was always told from the start, its their emergency not ours, half the battle is getting there.

    Boucka, I get it and you're making your point, but you are also being overly harsh and some don't respond well to that.
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    Default Welllllll..........

    Seen a lot of good points raised here, and one that is missing is "can something be done to standardize the laws across America regarding emergency vehicle response?" It seems that the legal duty to act on approach of a (whatever) emergency vehicle varies from state to state with little in common. I am just outside of Wash DC and Virginia is 20 minutes away. Often I can predict how a motorist will react by looking at his/her tag. Maryland will pull to the right and stop, Virginia will pull off the road, left or right, but OFF the road, while Wash. DC will ignore you as long as possible and then just stop where they are. As to other related traffic things - In Maryland, do not follow an emergency vehicle closer that 500 Ft. when responding and do not approach within 500 Ft of an emergency vehicle parked at the emergency scene. And, last but not least, No one may drive over any fire hose laid on the street. That's us in Maryland, does anyone want to contribute any other (different) laws?? Stay Safe....
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    You drive the truck, it is your job to get the truck and crew to the scene and back again.

    Laws do not matter, sirens and lights do not make a difference. Every now and then Murphy has the last laugh. Treat every other driver on the road is if they have an IQ lower than Shark S#$t and you should be ok.

    Even when you have done every thing right, it will still go wrong.

    And that is Murphy #1
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    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    When I did my drivers course, the instructor I had said, not only do you have to be able to drive the fire engine, you also have to be able to drive for the people around you.

    Many people on the roads become panicked when confronted with a fast moving emergency vehicle and adpot the "rabbit in the headlights" apporoach and freeze, others, as has been said speed up and think this helps as they are putting distance between them & you.

    The best method is to simply make progress. Speed does not neccessarily get you to a scene quicker than allowing other drivers to get out of your way and giving them the time to do so. Many times in the past I and the other drivers have come almost to a stop and pointed at other cars to tell them where WE want them to go, in order to make progress. You have to bear in mind that the driver of a car in front of you does not know where you are going or how you are going to get there, you should therefore expect him/her not to make the right move when they see you. Accidents involving emergency vehicles always attract more attention due to the nature of what is involved and there will always be people who believe that the driver of the emergency vehicle is at fault, even on the occasions when they are not.
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    wow...i bet that hurt. i'd like to know if fire engines there have to stop for red lights and if it was a red light? where im from it'd be murder to blow through a red light at an intersection! i think that all depts. nation wide sould require fire engines to stop for red lights. it doesnt help others to get killed while responding! just some food for thought.
    Rescue Squad 12 to FireAlarm!!.....Squad 12?.....Give Me The 3 Alram!!!!!!

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    Default

    Originally posted by ALSfirefighter


    Boucka, I get it and you're making your point, but you are also being overly harsh and some don't respond well to that.
    ___________________________________
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    Ugh, like I care! I get that way cuz some people simply dont get it the first time or several times after that. Dont respond well??? You better when that Lawyer is grilling you on the hot seat cuz you read-"the road is owed to me I thought" and you killed someone while driving a fire apparatus.

    WAKE UP, this is real life, real roads and real emergencies. Again, you do NOT have permission to drive like a bat out of hell when code 3.

    -Boukca

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    Our law is simple.

    You may proceed with hazard devices on, through controlled intersections or red lights, no faster than 15 kph (10-12 mph) AFTER ensuring the way is clear.

    What the MUTTS do on the open road is the same as every other place.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    People turn down your steroes, Do you need your music that loud?
    If you keep your radios in your car at a decent volume you would be able to hear the sirens from the aprroaching fire apparatus
    How can you not see a big red piece of fire apparatus with its lights on?


    One of our rigs was recently involved in a traffic collison while responding code 3, The drivers reason he did not hear us coming

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    Unhappy Hey Engine 101....

    Why didnt you respond back to my email??

    -Boukca

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    Default Re: Hey Engine 101....

    Originally posted by boukca
    Why didnt you respond back to my email??

    -Boukca
    Boukca you have mail

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