Thread: Traffic Control

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    Question Traffic Control

    Our department is looking at training all of our crews for traffic control activiities at roadway incidents. Have any of your departments been given training on traffic control or do your departments believe that this is a strictly law enforcement issue? I have researched this issue with our state law enforcement academies and on average an officer is given 4-8 hours of classroom followed by a hands-on activity. The second question I have for you is that if our firefighters are trained in traffic control does that now place the liability on our folks? I believe that it is a law enforcement issue but our local police department would like for us to do traffic control because they may only have 3-4 officers on duty to our 28 firefighters on duty.

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    Could you expand on what kind of training they will have you in?

    Do they expect you to direct traffic or are they teaching you how to safely block the road and deploy flares etc.?

    My initial thoughts are to tell them to hire more cops if that is what is needed.

    FTM-PTB

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    Traffic control as a fire function is a common event in my area -- but that's an environment of volunteer fire companies and relatively few State Troopers.

    Until the last several years, we only had 1 Trooper per accident unless it was either a fatality or involved another Trooper. Today it's not unusual to have 3 to 4 so it's more common for the State Police to take care of traffic and/or work with us (we block one intersection, they block the other). OTOH, it's also not unusual for the fire departments around here to be called out specifically to assist with traffic when there's a problem in a bad spot and there not enough Troopers to handle it.

    We give basic, in-house training (about 90 minutes) given at the beginning of probationary training. It's emphasized that anyone at anytime may get detailed to traffic -- both directing it and/or simply barricading it -- whether you're a Firefighter, EMT, or even officer. Gaining control of the traffic is high safety priority, and "block the road with a truck" is not always an option.

    The State offers classes as well (www.ct.gov/cfpc) -- probably under the title, "Fire Police." They are revamping it to emphasize using signs & barricades as much as possible over having guys waving flashlights.

    We should shortly be buying some flourescent pink "emergency services" detour signs from MDI -- some just "Emergency Ahead" and some "Detour" with an arrow. (Flourescent pink is the designated color for emergency services to use -- that way if you have an accident in a construction zone, they stand out from ordinary construction signs, etc.)

    http://www.mdiworldwide.com/pdf/tra-tmcat.pdf

    Since you said you have 28 guys on duty, I'd also question/wonder how you'd deploy for traffic -- you could suck up personnel quickly, and tying up apparatus/manpower at intersections manning detours isn't very efficient!
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    We are also briefed on the concepts of traffic control during the probationary period. Lighting flares,cones, dealing with people that live "just down the road".

    I personally have done it alot as sometimes the police have bigger fish to fry or just are not avalible.
    I have picked up some good tips from the cops:
    Q. Someone asks how much longer is the road going to be blocked?
    A. 20 minutes.

    Q. How do I get around the road block/detour?
    A. Go down straight down the road.

    *Nobody ever lives "just down the street".
    *If a road is closed, it is closed to everybody......includeing residents.(Use some discretion here)
    *Always assume the person didnt see you pointing.
    *Move along works wonders.
    *Try to place as much steel(ie vehicles) between you and traffic.
    * Always angle appartus to protect the whole work area.
    *Always but always have reflective materials or bright colors on directing traffic.
    *And always leave yourself an out.
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    In New York, the General Municiple Law provides for fire departments to have Fire Police Squads. Members trained by the state training course actually become Peace Officers, under the law. Their Peace Officer status initiates when the fire department is toned for an alarm. Granted, their training is mostly in traffic control, scene security.


    209-c. Fire police squads of fire departments and fire companies

    The authorities having control of fire departments and fire companies may organize within such departments or companies fire police squads composed of volunteer firemen who are members of such departments or companies. Members of fire police squads, so organized, at such times as the fire department, fire company or an emergency rescue and first aid squad of the fire department or fire company are on duty, or when, on orders of the chief of the fire department or fire company of which they are members, they are separately engaged in response to a call for assistance pursuant to the provisions of section two hundred nine of the general municipal law, shall have the powers of and render service as peace officers. A member of a fire police squad shall take an oath of office as a fire policeman in the following form: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of fire policeman of the ----- fire company (or fire department), according to the best of my ability." Such oath shall be filed in the office of the city clerk in the case of a fireman of a fire company or fire department in a city, in the office of the village clerk in the case of a fireman of a fire company or fire department in a village, and in the office of the town clerk in all other cases. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a member of a fire police squad shall have satisfied any requirement for training as provided by any general or local law if the person has satisfactorily completed a training course offered by the state office of fire prevention and control, or an equivalent course as approved by the state office of fire prevention and control.
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    Try doing a search, also as traffic control has been discussed quite a few times. Some people, like us, leave it to the PD. We have 2-3 officers on duty and we don't mess with it, other than proper rig placement..... Other FDs do it themselves.......

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    I do traffic frequently. Your going to develop a keen desire to take lit highway flares and throw them at the passing cars. Use discression here too
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Over here, we will undertake traffic control untl the arrival of the police, then hand it over to them to do the arm waving at the traffic. Due to the problems of sometimes getting the police to a scene quickly round here, we carry a set of signs which say "Police Accident" on them and some blue marker lights which we place out about 200m or so before the scene. Some drivers, not all, slow down enough when they see the signs and at least think the police are around.
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    PAIRETTJ, I don't know which state you are from but you said you researched it through the Law Enforcement Academies. Do your Fire Academies offer anything pertaining to this?

    In PA we are authorized to have Fire Police Units which handle our traffic control duties but all emergency service workers are authorized to provide traffic control duties by law. PA has several courses, two of which are Basic Fire Police and Advanced Fire Police which are 16 hrs each. In my Company all of our firefighters and Officers have Basic Fire Police training.

    I would suggest that when you find the training that you need that everyone in the dept take the class. You never know who will be at a call at any given time. In this day and age of frivilous lawsuits you never know who is going to sue you for what.
    If you have someone directing traffic and an accident occurs because of it the first thing the prosecutor is going to ask is "Are you trained in traffic control procedures?" If the answer is no, then you open yourself up to a whole new can of worms.

    Just make sure all the training is well documented.

    If you want you can shoot me an e-mail and I can see about getting you some books on the training or get you some contact numbers for you to talk with someone about getting a course overview.
    Last edited by Trafficjockey93; 11-26-2004 at 09:40 AM.
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    Due to the lack of LE in our area we often get stuck with traffic control at wrecks or the many Chemical leak/Hazmat calls we get. We often have only one Police officer on duty and maybe one or two deputies to back him up. That means it's sometimes a firefighter standing in the raod with a flashlight waving traffic around a scene. Of course our department doesn't actually TRAIN on this so you get some interesting results. Some of the funniest/scariest moments I've spent on firegrounds, MVAs or Haz-Mat scenes has been watching a untrained Junior FF with a flashlight try to direct traffic without getting run over or smashing the cars together. Or the new guy who just joined the VFD and is told to direct traffic since he doesn't have his first responder or CPR, so he's out there in the road waving his arms like a scarecrow in a tornado. We've had a couple of close calls where we had cars ALMOST crunch each other and had to back up or inch around each other but so far no actual wrecks caused by out BS traffic control.

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    Originally posted by nmfire
    I do traffic frequently. Your going to develop a keen desire to take lit highway flares and throw them at the passing cars. Use discression here too
    I would prefer launching a big Streamlight it's heavier, would leave a nice dent in the hood.

    Streamlights, in addition to flares and proper appartus placement, are what we use to direct traffic. I have seen a WV State Trooper on MAYBE 30% of our calls that have required police, and they DO NOT direct traffic. The county sheriff's dept. is usually dispatched. I really don't think they know how to direct traffic either, I've never seen one direct traffic...Police here call US for traffic control.

    We require anyone doing traffic control to wear either their bunker coat OR pants AND their helmet. On clear days a traffic vest and helmet is acceptable ONLY if it's hot. Also, the first couple of times they are directly supervised by a more experienced member or an officer. All have radios, flashlights, and road flares, and for newer members someone monitors the firegroud frequency used for traffic control. There is no formal training.

    "Creative Excuses Training" should be mandatory. Especially if ya have as many rubberneckers as we do.

    Q. What's going on up there??
    A. We're having a bake sale...try the brownies they're great!
    A. A submarine crashed.

    They get ALOT better, I've just gata be tired and freezing cold before they start coming to me. The two above are good for the day time travelers, as it gets later you can get more sarcastic.
    Last edited by Co11FireGal; 11-27-2004 at 02:52 AM.
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    For the minor calls in one county, we do our own traffic control. For the bigger calls we have the Sheriff's Possey who come out and do traffic control for us. They are useful but they also are the kind of guys that think they have to know everything that is going on and always need to be on the radio.
    For the other county we make use of the county, tribal, city, and state cops. We usually tend to get enough of them that they can do traffic control for us. If not then we will help out if we can spare the guys.
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    fire police squads are great resources!!! Alot of the members of my department used to complain about them. Saying how the money could go towards firefighing. Well, most of those members are now trained fire police also!! It takes a huge burden off the firefighters and officers, knowing a trained crew will be handling traffic. I dont know about you, but I just dont trust the probie behind the rig with a streamlight!!

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    Then what you need are my new patented warning signs to place a 1/2 mile before the scene:





    Then for the real morons behind the wheel, you want the police to back you up and take enforcement action...

    Officer Sledge Hammer handing the situation:


    Standard issue fire department spike strips:



    Last edited by nmfire; 11-27-2004 at 09:28 AM.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Originally posted by cellblock

    Of course our department doesn't actually TRAIN on this so you get some interesting results. Some of the funniest/scariest moments I've spent on firegrounds, MVAs or Haz-Mat scenes has been watching a untrained Junior FF with a flashlight try to direct traffic without getting run over or smashing the cars together. Or the new guy who just joined the VFD and is told to direct traffic since he doesn't have his first responder or CPR, so he's out there in the road waving his arms like a scarecrow in a tornado. We've had a couple of close calls where we had cars ALMOST crunch each other and had to back up or inch around each other but so far no actual wrecks caused by out BS traffic control.
    can we say lawsuit waiting to happen


    Originally posted by Co11FireGal

    "Creative Excuses Training" should be mandatory. Especially if ya have as many rubberneckers as we do.
    Q. What's going on up there??
    A. We're having a bake sale...try the brownies they're great!
    A. A submarine crashed.
    We have more then our fair share of rubberneckers, but we never give a sarcastic answer, no matter how much we want to. A simple one or two word answer(fire, accident, HazMat Incident)along with "keep it moving" works just as well and doesn't make us look like an idiot in the publics eye especially since some of those same people may be the ones paying our bills and buying our equipment.
    For those rubberneckers who persist for a better answer we tell them that "Sorry, but we are not at liberty to say" along with another more forceful "keep it moving"

    It makes us look professional(which we all should be anyway)and the public isn't ******ed at us for being a smart *****.

    It only takes one time saying the wrong thing to the wrong person to mess up your whole day or affect your funding.
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    Just for the record...I was kidding...there is a whole list of those on a fire dept. JOKE SITE. If you do traffic control much, you'll appreciate them. Now I guess I have to add my disclaimer...JOKE ONLY! Don't ACTUALLY say it. They will definately come to mind though...
    Last edited by Co11FireGal; 11-27-2004 at 06:51 PM.
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    Co11FireGal, You mean ones like these?

    Q. What happened? (at an minor fender-bender auto accident).
    A. Plane crash!

    Q. What happened? (outide of a house where a person was having shortness of breath).
    A. Plane crash!

    Q. What happened? (at a plane crash)
    A. Shark attack!

    I wasn't busting your...er..never mind.

    You never know what some of the people on here will believe and take as gospel. There are some questionable characters here and a few others that just aren't right.
    The old crusties here knew you were joking, it's the young pups we have to watch out for.
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    Our rules for traffic control.
    (Note OUR RULES, not yours, but ours down here.)

    1. Three radios are required, one at each end and one with the OIC.

    2. On first arrival, the road is closed, PERIOD. Then re opened once the scene is under control.

    3. The pump panel is always placed on the protected side of the vehicle, Period. That is the off pump side is facing oncoming traffic.

    4. Every driver is a complete MORON. And needs to be treated as such.

    5. Drivers become Non-Morons only once their vehicle is completely stationary, as soon as the vehicle moves, see rule 4.

    6. If you open 1 lane, some person from Rule 4 WILL try and make it 2 lanes.

    7. Every body watches out for every other FF and Emergency Worker at the scene, the public getting run over because they were sticky-beaking is just downright annoying. BUT it was their fault. (Apply Rule 4 without the vehicle)

    8. Closed roads and delays to the Public, are not our primary focus. We have a job to do, and we would like to come back again tommorow if needed. Can't do that if we keep getting hit by people from Rule 4.

    We have thought about printing these rules out and handing them to the people from Rule 4. But whats the point, they would have to be able to comprehend the words.

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    Talking Different Approach................

    We usually don't direct Traffic, we simply mass enough vehicles to shut the road down, and go to work. One thing that we do is provide information in a brochure to new families moving into the area. There is a section that deals with this, advising folks that we routinely close the road for any emergency, and that they should have several alternate routes to anywhere that they might be going. (home to work, school, mall, relative's home, etc.) We point out that State law Mandates that there shall be no traffic moving within 500 feet of an emergency, except Official vehicles and people.
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    As with many FD's, here in Southern Oregon, we are short on short on both County and State PD. Typically our objective is to pass off traffic control as soon as we can, but most of the time we are requested to stay and assist...

    I am curious as to how many departments out there actually have a written policy on traffic control other than "How many units respond and to wear the proper PPE (turnout coat or reflective vest)"???

    We are attempting to look into OSHA as well as State policy regarding traffic. IE, who can do it, what training, what liability...If anyone has any info they could share, that would be great!!

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    Default I am not trying to be a meany but ........

    did you all check over here first ?
    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/for...s=&forumid=354
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    Pardon me Sir, but I believe we are all over here.

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    Last edited by hwoods; 12-01-2004 at 11:42 PM.
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