1. #1
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    Cool POV Scene Response

    I'm sure this has been in other threads and I know that there are numerous threads in other forums regarding light and/or sirens in POV, but I am curious about your opinions regarding POV scene response and how it relates to scene safety.

    The ambulance service I work for part time is in a very rural county served by vollie first responders and they typically respond directly to scenes in their POVs. The vollie department I am on only allows POV scene response if requested by the officer in charge and no other apparatus are available, or not feasible. We also require turnouts to be worn to MVAs and fire scenes and jumpsuits to EMS incidents to make yourself readily indentifiable as someone who is supposed to be there, indicate your job (EMS vs. Fire) and if EMS, the level of certification. (we provide ALS first response, but have EMTs and FR's as well) One scenario to prove my point...I was in another county, off-duty and witnessed a rollover accident. I stopped to assist and a state trooper rolled up on-scene at the same time. I identified myself to him and he told me to let him know what I thought was needed so he could relay it to dispatch. This particular county dispatched 3 departments to the accident because it was along a major 4 lane highway and they weren't sure who to dispatch. Shortly, responders began arriving in their POVs and then some apparatus showed up. I happened to have a fire department t-shirt on and I approached who I believed to be the incident commander (he was in a t-shirt and jeans)I identified who I was and asked if he needed my assistance any longer. Because I was a paramedic and they were BLS, he asked me to stay, although he just thought I was with one of the other departments. I did and as we were loading one of the patients in the ambulance (career county system) the paramedic asked me to come with him thinking I was with one of the agencies. (I didn't go of course) As I walked back to my car, I counted 54 vehicles all with blue lights flashing and even noticed one of the firefighters who was manning a hoseline had on a bunker coat that was not fastened, a helmet, and shorts and sandals, no shirt. Now when I go through there, I pray I don't have an accident.

    To me this creates several problems. First of all, I have been to MVAs where you roll up and there are 25 vehicles parked on both sides of the highway. This in itself creates a safety hazard and increases the chance of an accident. Secondly, you have guys doing extrication in street clothes. You also don't know who is with the responding agency, or if they are with a neighboring agency and heard the other department's dispatch and decided to come see what is going on, or if they are just a bystander. And lastly, you have increased liability of people speeding to scenes. I know laws are different in every state, but here, if you have a blue light, it is a courtesy light only and does not allow you to break any traffic laws. (So if you kill someone in an accident, you go to the slammer)

    And probably the biggest problem....there have been a couple of times where everyone showed up at the call assuming someone else got the truck and arrived with no equipment. (one was a cardiac arrest).

    Just interested to hear everyone's thoughts and experiences.

  2. #2
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    My department's volunteer, in a primarily residential (some light retail/commercial) town. We do respond POV to the scene for straight medical calls, but that's it. If the call requires an engine, we respond to the station. This includes TCs.

    Our ambulance is staffed 24/7. During weekdays, its the paid fire prevention staff. Nights and weekends, a designated FF/EMT takes it home with him/her and responds from there (its currently sitting in front of my house).

    For medical calls, we're required to wear something that identifies us as FD personnel. Most of us keep our bunker pants at home and just pull those on at night. During the day, most of us keep a set of brush gear in our vehicles to throw on over street clothes. And since we have designated people on duty, those folks usually wear their full uniform (like I am right now).

    Anytime we roll on an engine, we have full turnouts on-board (and brush gear too during brush season). If its anything other than a medical or service (water leak, etc.) call, we wear full gear on the call (including TCs).
    Chris Gaylord
    Emergency Planner / Fire Captain, UC Santa Cruz FD

  3. #3
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    We allow POV response to any scene. Because of the large geographic area we cover (about 75 square miles), we have some members who respond from a considerable distance. It's not feasible to have everyone go to the station, you'd have to wait too long to get a truck on the road.

    However, we do have a number of members who live fairly close to the station, and they are expected (by standard operating guideline) to respond to the station and board apparatus if possible. Anyone who drives by the station when there are still trucks waiting to roll will hear from me very shortly.

    For the reasons mentioned, I think it would be great if we could respond without POV's on scene at all, but as I said, it's just not feasible in our setting, at least not without adversely affecting our response times.

    We also recently got all our First Responders a utility vest, with reflective striping and "Fire/Rescue" on the back. They have pockets so each member can carry their own B/P cuff, stethoscope, gloves, Mini-Maglight, and CPR mask (all also issued). They keep the vests in their POV's. This way, at least, if you catch a call in the middle of the day when you're in your street clothes, you can slip on your vest and be easily identified (we still roll the rescue truck for all medical calls regardless, though). Bunker gear is required for all MVA's and fires, naturally.

    And probably the biggest problem....there have been a couple of times where everyone showed up at the call assuming someone else got the truck and arrived with no equipment. (one was a cardiac arrest).
    One good thing about having a lot of members with portable radios is that you can get a feel for who's responding, and know if someone is around the station who can pick up the truck.
    Last edited by dmleblanc; 02-06-2005 at 09:46 AM.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  4. #4
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    noticed one of the firefighters who was manning a hoseline had on a bunker coat that was not fastened, a helmet, and shorts and sandals, no shirt.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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  5. #5
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    We are a mainly a rural department. We are allowed to respond in our povs to all calls. Once we have adequate manpower on scene the IC can contact our dispatch to disregard all other incoming units.
    This is also true with medical calls. when it is inside a private residents, we try and limit the number of people inside as a courtesy to the homeowners.

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    Default we use the common sense rule

    Our members are allowed to keep their gear in their pov with them, especially those that live far from the station. now if your going to pass the station on the way to the call (this is an easy one) go to the station, if your going to pass the mva/fire/whatever on the way to the station you are permittied to stop and wait for apparatus.

    Most of the time however everyone goes to the station and unless its a worker and the trucks have rolled already will not respond pov
    Doug Velting Jr
    President Cassville Volunteer Fire Co
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    We cover something over 1,000 square miles & everybody goes to the stations (have several along with outlaying stations at a few farms.

    Only way you can stop on scene if the incident is directly between where you are when the tones dropped & you're station. Plus you need to have the required equipment to assist, otherwise you are required to go to the station & hit a truck.

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    We cover 1,025 square miles from one station. Two of us who live waaaay out of town are allowed to respond direct. Lots of time they pick me up on the paved road as they go by (I live 2 miles off the road). Everyone else rides the trucks.

    NO ONE has lights on their POV. Even though I am a retired Law Enforcement Officer, I drive no more than the limit on route, no lights, no siren, no passing where it is unsafe.

    We are supposed to be the solution, not part of the problem!

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    Well hear at my department, it depends on the situation. If the inncident is on the way to the station, we are generaly allowed to stop, if not, we have to go to the station. We have a couple people that do responde direct, but not many. Most of them respond to the station. We cover 180 square miles and have twelve stations so really we never have to any way.

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    Officers are only allowed to go direct.

  11. #11
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    It seems like there are 2 issues here, somewhat related. The first issue is the lack of PPE. If you don't allow members to carry PPE with them, no real sense in responding to the scene. Although you be of some help without gear, that help is limited.

    Responding POV to the scene isn't in itself bad and many departments make it work for them. It does need to be coordinated so that somebody gets the truck out and people know to park out of the way. Provisions also need to be made so that the proper PPE is available.

    We only allow officers to take gear home and only officers are normally allowed to respond to the scene. Of course of you come upon an accident that is a different situation.

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    I'm in a volunteer department that covers approx. 37sq. miles. There is one firehouse and it is left up to the members whether or not they respond to the scene or to the firehouse. All members carry there gear in their POV's. Chiefs all have SUV's. Safety Officers and line officers use their own POV's. District, Safety, line officers, EMT's and drivers all have radios. It seems to work well for us.

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    We encourage our guys to come to the firehouse for calls in our response area, but pov response to the scene is ok. Jr.firefighters must respond to firehouse. Officers go to the scene. On mutual aid calls all firefighters must repond to the firehouse. We found that doing this is a good accountablilty.

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    In our department, you go to the firehouse unless you're driving by the scene on the way. This greatly limits the number of POV's on scene however by happenstance there is usually one or two not including officers. We have SOG on where you should be parking and how not to create the fluster cluck with your vehicles.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbduran4 View Post
    Well hear at my department, it depends on the situation. If the inncident is on the way to the station, we are generaly allowed to stop, if not, we have to go to the station. We have a couple people that do responde direct, but not many. Most of them respond to the station. We cover 180 square miles and have twelve stations so really we never have to any way.
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    sadly out typical response for tone out is 3-4 people depending on how their feeling i guess. I make every call that i am not in another county for (and have responded from different counties before). We are allowed to respond POV if a.) we are passing the scene en route to the station b.) both trucks are already gone Most calls we get toned for are either MVA or aid request.

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