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  1. #1
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    Question Cleanup at MVA's, 10-50's, TA's, etc...

    Whatever you call them, MVA's, 10-50's etc..., my question is, does your department clean up the wreckage from the roadway? If so, when and why?

    If not, why not?

    (By wreckage, I mean things like broken trim, glass, and other smaller items, not the actual vehicles themselves, being a little too big to push away with a push broom)

    The Doc is out now, awaiting your replies.


  2. #2
    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    we'll sweep up debris as long as it's safe to do so. with a major interstate running through our area this can not be done all the time. DPS wants the highway open as soon as possible.
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    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    We'll pick up what we can and the rest get's push broomed off to the side.

    We will also speedy dry and fluids on the road.

    In a pure technical world - it's the wrecker drivers "job" to remove the remains from the roadway, but we find that this little courtesy goes a long way.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
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    Originally posted by N2DFire
    We'll pick up what we can and the rest get's push broomed off to the side.

    We will also speedy dry and fluids on the road.

    In a pure technical world - it's the wrecker drivers "job" to remove the remains from the roadway, but we find that this little courtesy goes a long way.
    DITTO!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    We'll sweep the road, cover minor fluid spills, etc once it's OK'd by the State Trooper investigating the accident. Unless it's an unsafe condition (like we're having to walk on spilled oil) and we can take of it sooner.

    It's usually a lot quicker for us to do it then the one guy on the wrecker. Try and shovel most of the debris back into the involved cars so it's not left on the shoulder.

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    We sweep and scoop up the leftovers from the wrecks. We try to help the wrecker driver as much as possible, he's our chief.
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    We sweep up debris, glass, plastic, small broken vehicle parts, etc., put it in an overhaul pail and haul it away. If fluids on road, we mitigate them using absorb-all, then sweep that stuff up and haul most of it away. Sometimes the small stuff gets brushed to side of road, but I like to remove as much as possible from the scene. why not keep your community clean? You are already there with a broom, it takes 5 minutes to clean up and it never helps to been seen doing that for public relations. Lastly, I don't like leaving the scene with hazzards. I drive the same roads so why not make sure the berm is not coverd with glass and debris?
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  8. #8
    IACOJ Agitator Adze39's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    We'll sweep the road, cover minor fluid spills, etc once it's OK'd by the State Trooper investigating the accident. Unless it's an unsafe condition (like we're having to walk on spilled oil) and we can take of it sooner.

    It's usually a lot quicker for us to do it then the one guy on the wrecker. Try and shovel most of the debris back into the involved cars so it's not left on the shoulder.
    Like Dal said, we help clean it up if there is alot of stuff on the ground.

    As far as who's responsible, according to State Statute it is the responsibility of the wrecker driver.
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  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber ramseycl's Avatar
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    We normally try and help out when possible. Five firefighters can get the road clean a lot faster than one person from the tow truck. If we are short handed or have something else to do we will leave it to them.

  10. #10
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    Random thoughts:

    1. It is usually in the tow operators agreement with the PD that they will brooom sweep the road. But, they are usually too distracted by the pigs flying to do it. Keeping your community clean is a public relations coup for the FD.

    2. A motor vehicle accident is a potential crime scene. Nothing should be disturbed, nothing, until it is authorized by the investigating officer. Reconstructionists will use, for example, the position of the debris as one of the criteria for determining the dynamics of the crash. Don't just kick "junk" out of the way, it might be evidence.

    3. In the booster reel thread, there are people talking about "wash downs". At least in NJ, washing gasoline, oil, AF, etc, into the storm drain or onto the side of the road is a violation of the Clean Water statutes. It is water pollution. Wash downs went out with Fireball gloves and aluminum helmets. Don't do it.

    4. Trash pickup is not an emergency. Many FF are killed on the highway during MVA's and the like. It's not heroic to be hit by a car while you are picking up plastic from a broken tail light lens. Be careful.

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    Okay, now I will tell why I am asking this.

    Like most answers there, our department helps out by cleaning up the area. Generally, this happens after the police arrive and okay it. Sometimes, especially with personnel not fully trained or keyed into the thought that a scene may contain evidence, they start sweeping and have had to been stopped. We had that happen just the other day at a fatal collision where the locals called in the professional accident reconstructionists.

    I also know of a situation - thankfully, not my dept. where the first crew started hosing down the scene of a motorcycle vs semi wreck, and a goodly portion of the victim got washed away. By the way, there was no fire involved or much gas spilled for the need to hose the place down.

    I agree, that we can get some good publicity and good relations, but sometimes we can be carrying it a bit too far and too fast. What I was looking for more, I guess is some SOP's on the situation. Anybody have any already written?

    The Doc is out now.

  12. #12
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    Before any sweeping is done on scene, or clean up of any kind, all debris remains as was found until AFTER a police officer has given the OK to clean the scene. If the accident was a fatal, or serious injuries, entrapment, etc., the road is usually closed off by PSP until the accident reconstruction expert arrives. We usually remain on scene for traffic control and safety, but also to give any information to the officers to assist them in their investigation. For example, ...what did we see when we got there; was anything moved out of necessity to effect the rescue or extrication, etc.

    My men know not to sweep anything until I give them the ok. I don't give them the OK until after I get it from the police. To do otherwise is a big no no. I also have a disposable camera on each truck. One of my guys usually takes a couple pictures of the scene after the rescue is done. I think your SOP can be simple. "No clean up of any kind until after the fire OIC gets permission from the police OIC who is ON scene."
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Nothing should be disturbed, nothing, until it is authorized by the investigating officer.

    Be careful of absolutes George...I don't think we're going to leave the patient in the way found until authorized by LE

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    Nothing should be disturbed, nothing, until it is authorized by the investigating officer.

    Be careful of absolutes George...I don't think we're going to leave the patient in the way found until authorized by LE
    Dal, that is obvious. The discussion began with this question:
    Whatever you call them, MVA's, 10-50's etc..., my question is, does your department clean up the wreckage from the roadway? If so, when and why?
    I wouldn't consider the patient wreckage, would you?

    I will give you plenty of things to disagree with me about. You don't have to go looking for them.

  15. #15
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    My department does help clean up when it is OK'd by the investigating officer(s). The major route through our district is a simple, two lane road so we don't have the problems associated with an interstate highway. The traffic is still heavy on that road, but we only try to make the road safe for other motorists by removing glass and other pieces of the vehicle from the road. "Washdown" of the area is rare. Most of the mess can be taken care of with absorbant, brooms, and shovels.
    Another lifetime volunteer proud to serve my community.

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    To clarify more from my first post:
    We don't do any cleaning till the wrecker operator is ready to move the vehicle (or afterward), and he doesnít move the vehicle until the Trooper tells him to.

    As Dal mentioned, if there is fluid on the roadway that is creating a hazard for us, we will simply drop the speedy dry. It stays in place (other than what we track away ) until all other clean up work is approved.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
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  17. #17
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Us Too.......

    Yes, we help clean up at accident scenes, Yes, it's technically the tow truck operators job, but we are usually not busy with patient care by the time the crane arrives. Others have pointed out that 10 hands can do more than 2, and the local garage operators are always willing to help us (one of them has provided at least 2 DOZEN cars for extracation training in the last 3 months) So we help them out as much as we can. We have no written plan for cleanup, just follow the LEO's direction as needed. We will hose broken glass, but not hydrocarbon based fluids (We carry, and use, an oil absorbent material provided by the state DOE for fluid cleanup) One thing we do that is hard for some people to understand, is our SOP for CLOSING the road while we are handling an emergency. We try to get the road open ASAP, of course, but while there is an emergency, the road is closed. We usually use a pumper or two to block traffic and protect those working on the roadway. Stay Safe....
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  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber gordoffemt's Avatar
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    My dept. works nearly the exact same as hwoods'. We get all of our training vehicles from the place that does all of the towing. We're very careful not to disrupt the scene until cleared by the investigating officers.

    Finally, I cannot say enough about shutting the traffic down while you work. Our city PD used to be very much against closing roads. We started sharing LODD stats involving responders with the police chief who, in turn, shared with his officers. Every time there was an incident somewhere, the info showed up on his desk. We then shared with the PD our methodolgy for closing the roads while we worked (when, how, who, etc.) and now they're totally on board. We still have some issues when we work a scene with the county sheriff's dept. or state troopers. I'm happy to say most of them are starting to get it. There is a great SOG at www.respondersafety.com that some of you may have seen or are already using in some form. If you haven't seen it or are not doing this as a standard, I highly recommend it.

    Sorry that I got on a soapbox there. We work a lot of MVA's and the issue is close to me.

    Good Day!
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  19. #19
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    I like the idea about shutting down the road. Makes things a lot easier, if the traffic cooperates. I think I will push for it to become an SOP.

    Our dept has a couple police officers as volunteers. It is occaisionally advantageous to have them around. One incident occurred where we DID shut down a highway. That did not stop two idiots from trying to drive past on the grass shoulder, though. Fortunately, one of our officers was on duty, had come to the wreck scene, and saw the two trying to get by. The second one stopped and thought twice about continuing when he saw his boss waived over and the ticket book come out.

    I just worry that one day one of them will take one of our trucks out from a scene to pursue a violator(joke, that's a joke).

    The Doc is out now.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    I like the idea about shutting down the road. Makes things a lot easier, if the traffic cooperates. I think I will push for it to become an SOP.

    It's a good idea in many, but not all situations.

    We protect a busy, but narrow, US Route. Sometimes you have no choice but to close the road.

    Of course once the highway is closed, if it's a busy time of day, before the accident is over you have 1-2 miles of traffic backups in either direction. The highway currently lacks shoulders (paved or unpaved), so traffic can't move over much. And much of the road is hilly/windy so traveling the center line is dangerous -- even though most of the opposing traffic is stopped, you don't know whose coming from another intersection or private drive.

    So, when the road is closed moving more resources in is difficult -- we've even had to send escorts to simply get wreckers upto the scene. Keeping even one alternating lane makes things much smoother.

    Traffic management often suffers simply 'cause there's not enough bodies to go around. But when you have the manpower to do it, good traffic management is sometimes better then simply saying no.

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