1. #1
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    Question pov highway scene response

    Our dept. covers aprox. 10 mi. of interstate highway and we are in a dillema over pov scene response. some say that is is nessescary because we are all volunteer and sometimes only 5 people show up. others see it as go to the station and get in a unit, leading to more povs and members standing around on the highway means more risk of injury. i am interested in what other vol. departments policys are for this. on a personal note i am for the no povs on the highway, go to the st., however i am about 30 sec. from the st. my greatest fear is that we will have a lodd thanks to a unneeded amount of responders to a call that is rutine and only needs a unit scene response. thanks to those who reply

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    Lightbulb POVs

    Hello,
    I currelty live approx. 10 min away from the station. In our department it is a general rule that you respond to the station unless you are closer to the scene or going to drive past the scene to get to the station. Some of the chief officers drive to the scene but most times they are on the rigs. Fire Police are the only ones that drive to all the scenes.

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    How do you know it is a "rutine" call before you get there? When the others sit around at the station until needed you may find they are no longer responding.
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    Generally we respond to the station. If the scene is between you and the station up to 2 members may stop. Chiefs are the only ones allowed to drive directly to the scene.

    This does not apply to the interstate though. No POVs on the interstate. We roll an engine first to make sure we have a large "shadow" to operate in.

    Check out www.respondersafety.com We used their model SOG to write ours for roadway incidents.
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    Our supplemental EMS volunteers operate separately from the fire call division. Call firefighters respond to the station & take a piece or cover the station if they missed the responding apparatus. Volunteer EMS respond to the scene because the ambulance is leaving as soon as it is toned. This includes response to the highways. I'm not in favor of this, but we're not gonna have a full ambulance crew nights & weekends if vollies aren't going on the highways. I'm in favor of our fire guys going to the station for a truck, as that seems safer. Just my experience here in the northeast. Good luck!
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    Our dept unless you wear a white hat you do not respond to the scene in POV,except if your a first responder in which case you are allowed to go to medical scenes in POV.. Having said that we do not respond to any highway or interstate calls due to not having any in our district, but the same rule would apply as any other call and that is chiefs would be the only members allowed to respond....I'd rather see a crew of 5 roll up in an apparatus than havin 10 or 12 cars sittin on the side of the road..5 FF's can do a lot at an MVA.. I've seen a crew of 4 knock down a structure fire in no time whatsoever..
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    Our department's rule is simple: if you're not a line officer, you don't POV. The fact of the matter is, you don't need 10 firefighters barelling down the interstate, wacker blue lights blazing to get to something that might just be a fender bender. Report to the station. Get your gear, get a FIRETRUCK(WHAT a concept?), you might need it.

    Nothing bakes my noodle more than what happened to us in a neighboring township: Got called mutual aid for an MVA response, came on scene to find NONE of their apparatus, but 10 of their members POVs looking like a blue light special at the world's largest K-Mart. When asked why no one brought the FIRETRUCK, they said 'well, we thought ' would. Keystone firefighters...

    That incident provided positive reinforcement as why we banned both POV responses and blue lights.
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    We don't have any interstate but we cover about 50km worth of mountain road up to, and past our ski resort. Similar policy up here with Chief Officers responding in their POV, but all FF's required to respond in an apparatus (generally only one 5-man engine rolls, and a two man medical unit). We only have the one access road, and no options for detours, so if a FF is caught on the other side and cannot pass, he stays at the scene, and his turnout gear is usually brought for him.

    The rest (if any) wait at the hall and can roll additional pieces as required, but we don't like to take the last truck out of the district unless absolutely necessary.
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    Originally posted by SpartanGuy
    Nothing bakes my noodle more than what happened to us in a neighbouring township: Got called mutual aid for an MVA response, came on scene to find NONE of their apparatus, but 10 of their members POVs looking like a blue light special at the world's largest K-Mart.

    Before we got our new 5-man FL-80 engine, we had to use POV's as our original old truck only held three FF's. Our policy today is the result of a couple of similar incidents in past years where 6-8 FF's roll up in POV's (without radioing in or bringing turnouts), and one poor schmuck is stuck waiting in the truck at the hall for backup.

    Embarrassing to say the least!
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    Default more on our situation

    about the routiness of a call i will leave that to the chief or line officer in charge to decide how much manpower is enuff. i do see that if some members dont get to go to the scenes they are more likely to stop coming. as general protocol we roll 1 large body engine and 1 large body utility truck to the highway (ie. general mva) chief responds in his dept car and people not on the trucks come pov. we are looking at getting the units on scene and making the decision to call for more help if need while others stand by at st. here this would delay no medical care as we have a paid ems service responding as well. i personally think if you stand by at the st. you are much better prepared for a second call out wich happens frequently and if you need the help all youhave to do is let the st. know. i think all scene responses to other calls are ok but going out on the interstate (i-81) and standing around for a fender bender is not such a smart move if not needed and furthermore if you are there and no unit has arrived you are basically nothing more than a high trained civilian because u have none of the tools nessecary to take care of any type of emergency. we have talked about it in house and apparently there is no 1 correct answer like many other problems we face, we are just looking for more ideas. thanks again and be safe

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    Our Dept. is a Combination Dept. Career&Volunteer,
    which eliminates the need for us Volunteers to Respond to MVA's
    generally unless we just happen to be in the immediate area of the
    run we dont respond in our POV's in four years I can count on one hand the times Ive responded to a MVA in my pov.

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    Default absolutely positivly no way in hell should this ever happen!!!!

    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!

    members in POV's have NO place responding to the scene of any incident in the interstate!!!! absolutely none!!!!! The same can be said for any freeway in your response area. NO POVs should be responding to the scene!!!!

    Remember, on any freeway, you have cars traveling at speeds greater than 65 mph (sometimes closer to 80). and they don't plan on stopping during normal traffic. add that to the rubbernecking factor, and you have a recipe for a membering being struck by a car.

    NJ had a LODD recently when an EMT responded directly to a MVA on Rt 9 (a 6 lane freeway). A minor MVA with one patient ended up becoming a major MVA with 1 LODD. Not good.

    that being said, I have passed an MVA and stopped on both the intetrstate and a freeway. I also carry full turnout gear (helmet, coat, pants, boots, gloves) and 5 years experience as an EMT with me. and the one time i did respond to a MVA directly it was for multiple injuries reported with a rig already responding. and on that one, I almost got hit by a car (the errors of both tunnelvision and youthful invulnerability).

    btw, 5 guys can effectively fight a car fight with an engine. 5 guys can also effectively handle an MVA. 5 guys on scene in POVs at a car fire with no engine there can roast marshmellows, but that's about it.
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    Dr, there is a flaw in your logic. It doesn't matter whether the vehicle you step out of is a BRT or a Yugo. If some jackass is not paying attention and wants to run you over, they are going to do it regardless of what vehicle you arrived on scene with. People are injured and/or killed in these scenerios very often (it's usually a big headine on fh.com) and that shows that it really doesn't make you any more or less safe. The BRT can take the crash if someone hits it, but we aren't worried about people hitting the BRT, we're worried about them hitting US.

    Now, for what it's worth, I think POV response on an interstate should be limited to the first officers in the area. It is going to be a mess anyway, we should me limiting how many vehicles we have there to what is needed. We can put 8 people in our rescue. That's 7 less cars parked all over the side of the highway.
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    Originally posted by nmfire
    Dr, there is a flaw in your logic. It doesn't matter whether the vehicle you step out of is a BRT or a Yugo. If some jackass is not paying attention and wants to run you over, they are going to do it regardless of what vehicle you arrived on scene with. People are injured and/or killed in these scenerios very often (it's usually a big headine on fh.com) and that shows that it really doesn't make you any more or less safe. The BRT can take the crash if someone hits it, but we aren't worried about people hitting the BRT, we're worried about them hitting US.
    nmfire, you missed what I was trying to say. when you respond in a POV, you (usually) will park it out of the way, on the shoulder, and then grab all your gear, and walk to the scene, often crossing an active roadway. when you are in the BRT (or ambulance), you part it between traffic and the scene, in the middle of the roadway. the BRT does act as a buffer between you and traffic, and as you put it, the BRT can take the crash if someone hits it. similarly, if you use your POV as the buffer and it get's hit a) you've just ruined your POV and b) odds are that car is going to go flying right into you (remember, the other guy has 1+ tons on metal going at 80 mph behind him, you do the math). also, the BRT has 30+ red, white and or blue lights strategicly located so it can be seen from 360 degrees. most legal POV lights only have one, and it's CP isn't nearly as light as on a truck.

    you are correct in saying that someone who isn't looking will still hit an emergency responser no matter what vehicle they come in. but as you said, the BRT can take the hit. before the BRT gets there, there isn't any protection for the scene. and you still have to deal with the aspect of going from your POV to the scene. that was how the NJ EMT got killed. going from his POV to the MVA scene. I'd hate to see that happen again
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    People who DO respond by POV to ANY scene should be trained how to properly place your vehicle to not be a missle. This should apply to highway or backroads.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    People who DO respond by POV to ANY scene should be trained how to properly place your vehicle to not be a missle. This should apply to highway or backroads.
    But how many truly are? Sure, all of our drivers are, but not the average member who hasn't done the EVOC evolutions and the like.

    I still don't see any need for any firefighter who's not a line officer to be responding anywhere POV, much less the highway. And if you're a line officer and you hear another line officer call in service to the scene, you go the station and get a piece of apparatus.

    In our department, in the daytime, if there's an accident call, about 30-40 seconds after the dispatch is over, you'll have a rescue in with four, or an engine and a rescue in with 2 each(depending on how the call was dispatched). That leaves little reason for a FF to POV to the scene.

    And at night, when the paid FFs aren't on duty, there's still no excuse for anyone to be on the highway without the protection and illumination provided by the BYT.
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    Whenever feasible, POV response should be limited. However, it's not always feasible. I know of an area that covers 20+ miles of highway. Their station is toward the middle of that 20 miles. Some guys live at the ends. Do you all really think it makes sense to have a guy drive 10 miles (away from the accident) to get the "FIRETRUCK" and then 10 miles back to the scene? 20 miles worth of "dangerous" travel as opposed to 1 directly to the scene? Again, it's not always reasonable to respond to the station. TRAINING. Learn it and use it.


    DrP, damn, Rt 9 by me is 1 lane each direction with too many lights.
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    I think it is always reasonable to respond to the station, and if they have such a large amount of firefighters on the edge of their juristiction, perhaps a second station would be in order?

    I just can't justify to myself allowing people to respond onto the scene without turnout gear and without the protection of a firetruck.

    And travelling to the station is only as 'dangerous' as you make. I remind you that you're not supposed to ignore traffic control devices or exceed the speed limit.
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    Being there without gear is a completely seperate issue. If your department has a policy in place to allow people who have to pass the scene to stop at the scene, then they should be keeping their gear with them.

    We cam sit here and argue about who is right about allowing people to stop at the scene, go to the scene, pass the scene, etc etc. Everyone's department is different. The people are differnet. The layout of the land is different. The roads are different. No one can sit here and say "This is the way we do it so everyone else should too." Some will continue to do so and are incapable of understanding anything else because it is *obviously totally wrong*. It's your loss.

    The bottom line: Whatever you do, do it safely.
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    We cover about 10 miles of VERY busy interstate (main east-west route through the south) with a very heavy volume of truck traffic. We allow no POVS on the interstate except for the duty officer (who often is driving a fire department vehicle) and chief (in his POV) for any run. We have one paid man at the station and he'll take the rescue for an MVA or the pumper for a fire call with any volunteers from the main station.The next person the central station will take either the engine or rescue, and in the case of a fire, 1-2 additional pumpers will respond from our other stations located close to our two exits. This allows us to put trucks both east and west bound in case the directions are wrong (a common occurance). We also roll a tanker to fire calls. At each exit we have a staging area where all personnel in POVS go to be picked up by the responding trucks if they have seats. All other personnel go to the station and will roll in the backup rescue if additional manpower is needed.
    Allowing POVS on the intersatate with our volume of traffic would be a reciepe for a fatality.

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    LA, our highway is the same way, especially when we get most of our accident. Like I said, with the amount of traffic on our interstates(we have two that merge temporarily and then split again right through the business district), our department can't justify the additional risk of being there without turnout gear or the protection of a truck.

    If you issue your firefighters gear for their POVs, and you've made the judgement that their level of training is sufficient and you feel the pros outweigh the cons, that's your call to make.
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    Luckily for us on Chief's can respond to any scene POV unless you are driving right by it. Our procedure is for people to respond to the station and gear and apparatus then come one out. It has certainly been shown that any incident on ANY road is not a really good place to be. So I say no to POV's on the Interstate, (or really really limit them)
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    Send out two trucks --- that's four FFs if all are full I think we need POVs or new trucks
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    Originally posted by nmfire We can sit here and argue about who is right about allowing people to stop at the scene, go to the scene, pass the scene, etc etc. Everyone's department is different. The people are differnet. The layout of the land is different. The roads are different. No one can sit here and say "This is the way we do it so everyone else should too." Some will continue to do so and are incapable of understanding anything else because it is *obviously totally wrong*. It's your loss.

    The bottom line: Whatever you do, do it safely.
    but that's the problem. responding (especially on the interstate) in your POV isn't safe. until you have a LODD due to this dangerous practice, you won't understand. and after you have that LODD, then you'll be saying "how could we have allowed this tragedy to happen", as well as everyone and his brother saying this was preventable and should have never happened. the town next to mine had a LODD because of this dangerous practice. so yeah, that's why I say what I say.

    and bones, if you take rt 9 north for about an hour, and start going through mommouth, ocean, and middlesex counties, you'll see that your single lane road with too many lights becomes a major highway, with few lights, 3 or 4 lanes in each direction, and people driving much faster than they should.
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    Originally posted by DrParasite


    but that's the problem. responding (especially on the interstate) in your POV isn't safe.
    Like nm said, it may work for some and others, POV responses don't work......

    Out of curiosity........ What does your Chief drive when he responds to scenes?

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