1. #1
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    Default Fall protection and the fire service

    A friend of mine was recently looking at a photo in the newspaper of some of our firefighters working on the roof of a house and asked me why we do not use fall protection. He teaches fall protection courses and says that if a worker in another field was working up there, they would need to have FP in place. What do you guys do in your various operations for fall protection?(rooftop ops, aerial ops, etc)I think there are times when fall protection could be more of a hazard than a help but there are definitely times where we could be safer.
    Sometimes, in order to make an operation idiot proof, you must remove the idiot!

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    A roof operation is meant to be quick. U get up-do the work-and get down. We use very limited fall protection sometimes by using a roof ladder. Fall protection such as tie off lines and things like that would certainly ensure that you dont fall-but it would definetly increase the amount of time on the roof. The fire service is working toward better safety measures but it is a dangerous job-hands down. So you gotta work it into the risk vs. benefit equation and i would think that the added security benefit you get from fall protection would be less than the risk of increased time in a dangerous environment.

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    Consider the nature of the work on a roof and he'd see that fall protection is dangerous for firefighters. The ability to react quickly and exit a roof is compromised if members were attached by OSHA type fall proteciton. Roofers that use fall protection on peaked roofs usually have to attach an anchor first and tie into it, this extra time spent on the roof could be more of a hazard to the members on top of and under the roof. The fall protection also becomes more of a hazard if the member is somehow suspended by his fall protection and unable to escape.

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    I agree with you guys. Our job is not as black and white as his text book and there are other variables other than simply the fall hazards.
    Sometimes, in order to make an operation idiot proof, you must remove the idiot!

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    The only time we use any type of fall protection is when we're working from our aerial platform. The people in the "bucket" tie in using a ladder belt. We also have a 10 ft. long lanyard that can be used to extend beyond the platform while keeping "in touch."

    I agree with everyone else for typical roof operations that are accessed with ground ladders. I'm a career industrial firefighter (safety & loss prevention technician) and we deal with fall protection issues in our plant everyday. None of those situations translate very well in the fire service.

    You just gotta be damn careful up there!
    Lt. D. Gordon
    Greendale Fire Department
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    Just a thought… Isn’t fall protection usually anchored to the roof??? Most of the time the roof would be questionable at best given the fact that there is a fire under it. I don’t think that being anchored to the roof will do you much good if it collapses.
    Just my opinion.

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    Be careful with lanyards and ladder belts. A ladder belt (Class 1) is designed for positioning, to hold you in one spot. A 10' fall onto a ladder belt could be fatal. Class 3 full body harnesses are limited to a 6' shock absorbing lanyard

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    Default We don't need no stinkin, fall protection

    The only fall protection I need is a guy footing the ladder. Get up there, get the job done then get down…you should have no time to fall..
    “Just when you think something is made to be Idiot Proof. They go a head and make a better Idiot”

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    Anyone have any SOG's on this subject?

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    Talk about the resuscitation from the grave. This thread is 9 years old.

    These guys may not be in here any longer.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Yeah, I'm looking for information and stumbled across this thread while researching how other departments address fall protection. We have identified a need to address this issue in the the form of an SOG. Is a stand alone policy on fall protection the way to go or should it be addressed in a safety or laddering SOG, for example??? Our goal is to protect and provide guidance to our people on emergency and non-emergency runs as well as during station duties. Examples would be helpful. Doesn't need to be from the original group....can you help a brother out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Talk about the resuscitation from the grave. This thread is 9 years old.

    These guys may not be in here any longer.
    Funny how you have two seperate posts in two seperate threads, one telling one person to go search for something you feel should be easily obtained information. Yet in this one you are B&Ming about someone who did search bringing up and old thread. Make up your mind already.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Halligan bar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkBassett View Post
    Yeah, I'm looking for information and stumbled across this thread while researching how other departments address fall protection. We have identified a need to address this issue in the the form of an SOG. Is a stand alone policy on fall protection the way to go or should it be addressed in a safety or laddering SOG, for example??? Our goal is to protect and provide guidance to our people on emergency and non-emergency runs as well as during station duties. Examples would be helpful. Doesn't need to be from the original group....can you help a brother out?
    I think you would be hard pressed to find an SOG/SOP on fall protection other than for truck ops while working the buisness end of the stick or in the "dumpster" (basket).
    I for one wouldn't take the time to nail in a peak anchor like the roofing guys do. Tying yourself off to the ladder is sketchy at best. I'd probably wind up cutting the lanyard with the saw anyway, or moving on to the next hole and burning it in two.
    Like others have said in this dusty old post, the key to vent ops is to get up there make a hole or two or three, and get off.
    Best advice would be "DONT FALL"

    As an example, for us any roof pitched over 6-12 would be considered a surface that we would employ a roof ladder. For 10-12 which we have quite a few, the roof hook is buried into the sheeting and creates a place for the sawyer to stand with one foot. That, other than the roof ladder, is about the only fall protection he is afforded.
    IAFF

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    I would be interested to review how we can make roof operations safer.. but it has to make sense with what we are doing up there.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prydentradition View Post
    Halligan bar.
    I will elaborate. Most here would know it, but there might be some "searching" for the topic 7 years from now that might not.

    When working away from your roof ladder (if you placed one at all) you can bury the pick of the halligan into the roof to give you a foot hold to step on. I teach this in fire academy. Great tool.

    To the OP. One reason that we don't use fall protection is that in the event of rapidly changing conditions we might need to bail off the roof quickly. Having to undo a fall protection (which in the industrial world it a high dorsal attachment) might take enough time to get you cooked.
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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    I can tell you first hand that after years of working in residential and light commercial construction and not using fall protection, most of my crew felt our safety may have been increased, but... it was necessary as the fall protection devices caused more issues. Laying sheathing, plywood or shingles with the fail protection device attached caused more trips, slips and "hiccups" than before. I understand it but it's the litigious society we live in that forces us to insulate ourselves so far from hazards the we become hazardous.

    As for fall protection on the fireground? As for anything but a tower strap in the bucket, I'll pass. Be in shape, know your job, know your tools and keep your head in the game, all will provide more protection than a device that affixes you to a burning building.

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    Fellas, Thanks for the input.

    We can all agree in the words of Chief Vinny Dunn that the tactics we perform on the fireground run the gamut of dangerous to really dangerous. We have plenty of tools in our toolbox to operate as safely as we can during roof operations and minimize those dangers. We don't need to overly complicate things. In most cases guys do the right thing and use roof ladders on pitched roofs, wear ladder belts in the bucket, bury a haligan in the roof when they stop out from the roof ladder, or use a leg lock when operating off the side of an extension ladder...whatever the trick of the trade.

    I am actually more concerned, and interested, in what we are doing the other 99% of the time we spend at work. Some of the questions that we have been asking ourselves recently include: Are we butting ladders and a-frames 100% of the time? Do we need fall protection when doing an OP check on a 12' tall apparatus? Why are we dropping firemen at routine calls like lockouts, performing maintenance in the station, or in training? In my opinion, many of these injuries are preventable. Are we as sharp and as focused as we should be while operating at these routine events? As a member of a safety committee, is there something we can do in the form of a policy or SOGs that can have an immediate impact on our injury rates? Training and experience takes time.

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