1. #1
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    fireguy919's Avatar
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    Question how would you handle this call

    Question to everyone. Yesterday Friday evening we received a call for a car fire on our 4 lane highway. The call came in for south bound lane south of the 170 exit. Police advised when we hit the highway it was north bound lane south of the exit. I was the OIC of our first in engine. Car was fully involved told the drive to go to the next exit and turn around. Which was another mile. Everyone was out of the car and it was to the side of the road. Police had not stopped traffic. This call was on the boarder with another station they where responding as well. They stopped in the south bound lane and stretched a line from the passing lane across the south bound lanes and did the attack on the fire. When we pulled up the fire was out. Their office started yelling at me that I should of stopped and fought fire. There was no need to keep going and come back. Told him I could think of a lot of reasons like 65 66 67 68. He asked what that was I said that would be the number of the my people in the LODD. I would never do anything like that. There was an exchange between us about that (off to the side) How would of you handled this call? There was no one on scene when they crossed the road and traffic was flowing at speed. Maybe it was just me.
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    I would have done exactly what you did. What was saved by stretching lines across an interstate, NOTHING. The car sounded to be a total loss when you first passed by. The decision made by the other officer was a poor one in my opinion.

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    Default Response to how would you handle this call

    My 1st question is if the Police officer wanted yoour crew to stetch a line across traffic why did he not stop traffic? It was a car fire with no one in the vehicle. You did a fine job on the risk assesment!
    What the police officer needs to realize is that you know your job and he knows his.

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    Most cars today are totalled out even after a small fire in the engine compartment. There is just too much high tech stuff that is damaged immediatly by fire. You also stated everyone was out and the car was off the road.

    That being said I would have done exactly the same thing. What the other company did was risk countless lives and a nice piece of fire hose so that he could "beat you in" and put out the fire first.

    Risks:
    1. Your crews lives due to not having your truck positioned for interstate safety (blocking)
    2. The lives of those traveling the interstate at 75mph who rubberneck to look at the fire truck on the other side of the highway and then hit a hoseline stretched across the lanes and lose control of their car and hit a light pole killing them.
    3. A nice piece of fire attack hose that did nothing wrong but was laid in the path of a bunch of cars destined for certain doom.

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    Was not the police officer that wanted us to jump traffic. Was the Fire Officer from the other department. I raised the same question about the hose he said it was only a booster line wouldn’t hurt for cars to run it over. Police blocked the road as soon as they got there the other pd unit helped keep a lane open for us to come back up. Police officer told us as soon as they had traffic stopped if we had a truck in position to come up the off ramp. It was clear

    Not that it matters but the car was 1989 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser wagon. It did have a good fire load to it they where on the to a flee market to set up. Lots of stuff in the car.
    Last edited by fireguy919; 07-09-2005 at 11:37 AM.
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    I wouldnt do it either ..........hit the turn around take your lanes of traffic, block 'em and go to work. Screw the other goofball.
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    Default Your right..he's a dope...

    fireguy919, your absolutly right to proceed to the next off ramp and reverse course to provide for the safety of your crew. The other officer is out of line!
    Pull a line across three lanes of traffic, over a barrier, put your crew, firefighters and engineer in the kill zone for a full involved car fire? That other officer must not think much of his charges. How many firefighters do we need to kill before a mutt like this gets it?
    The reason firefighters are promoted to officer positions should be because they recognize their awesome responsibility to bring them all home in the morning. Sound like that other officer needs to be retrained to understand value vs. risk. The primary reason for having someone in charge is to maintain order, safety and compententcy. That other officer disreguarded his sacred charge. Stay Safe and Keep Low, jack.

    PS Booster line?...Your kidding right? Let's see any car, fuel, flashy combustibles, rubber, flying bumpers, late models airbags, gas struts, etc. 1 1/2-3/4, FTOG, SCBA and defensible space created by the proper placement of the apparatus at the direction of the OIC. Keep the Faith and Never Forget! jack
    Last edited by dchomen; 07-09-2005 at 01:29 PM.

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    Good call on your part, not to risk your crew to save a relic.
    There goes the neighborhood.

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    You made the right call brother.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but pretty much ANY sort of fire damage to a vehicle classifies it as a total loss. There is ABSOLUTELY NO reason to stretch a line across two lanes of traffic travelling at full speed. This puts your members lives in extreme danger.

    If the car was fully involved when you got there, even if there was someone inside you weren't going to save them by putting a line in operation across 2 lanes of traffic.

    I used to get excited by auto fires when we would have them too. It was the next best thing to a building. Someone recently told me, "It's rubbish on wheels". You did all the right things.

    Just a few things that I have learned:

    - Make sure to block the scene with your rig

    - Use the reach of your stream to knock down the main body of fire before moving anywhere near the vehicle

    - Bounce your stream on the street in front of the vehicle hopefully directing the stream upward to cool the bumper cylinders under the car

    - When when it's knocked down and you think the cylanders are cooled move in (use the corners to avoid the bumper explosions) and wash it down.

    - Check to see if the hood release latch will work in the passenger compartment (usually melted or burned away).

    - If it's unavailable, break out the front grill, find the latch and cable, put the cable between the forks of your halligan tool and give a few twists. This will disengage the latch (like pulling the hood release from the crew compartment).

    - Open the hood like a gentleman using the halligan or hook as a prop to keep it open.

    - Wash down the engine compartment and passenger compartment.

    - Check the trunk for any bodies.

    - Take up your line, and go home.

    Very easy! There is no need for anyone to get killed by crossing traffic on these "routine" (I hate that word) emergencies.

    IT'S JUST RUBBISH ON WHEELS!!

    Have a good day

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    Whose district was it? If it was yours and he pulled that , you should have ripped HIM a new one for doing that when you already laid out a plan of attack.

    The only thing that officer did was put his firefighters at great risk for a dumpster on wheels.

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    you are correct, you handled this call perfectly

    i have stopped on the opposite side of a highway only once, and that was b/c the car was rolled over on the guardrail in the median and state pd had the highway shut down completely so the only people on the highway were emergency crews and press (who get in the way easier than civilians)
    "Let no man's ghost come back to say my training let me down."

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    You made the right call, but it brings up an interesting point. Whenever possible it is a good idea to have companies rolling from both directions on ANY interstate runs as more often than not, the directions are confused are you are just as likely to find it in the oppaste direction, especailly if it is a major tourist route.

    We do that here ... responding one engine to cover eastbound and 1 to cover westbound. If it is an MVA, the Rescue and Parish EMS takes the direction reported in the dispatch, and if a vehicle fire, the tanker also heads in the direction of dispatch. We used to run our backup rescue in the oppasite direction of dispatch as well, but starting this week we will have a combi tool and cribbing on each of the engines near the interstate interchanges, so we will discontinue that policy.

    We find that at least 40% of the time, the orginal dispatch is wrong, and often if it is changed, most of the units have already committed to a direction of travel. Our problem is compounded by a lack of turnarounds.

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    Don't sweat it...... Sounds like you did the right thing.......
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
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    This guy is living in the dark ages... no one stops unless the road is shut... enough has been said here about what the likely saftey implications are...but what about Bussiness continuity?

    Hold up lots of people on business freight going to one place or another??? OK, where the risk is great I'd be the first one to have a road shut down...for a pile up, Suspect Package, large fire with dense smoke...safety then becomes a greater issue than people's bussiness...but for a car fire????

    You did the right thing my friend, hope we don't see the names of this Clown's crews on a News story some day.
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    Thumbs up

    You did just fine, their is little to no reason to streach a line across traffic for a looser.

    Your crew comes first and properly setting the rig to block traffic is the most appropriate course of action.

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    Good job! I would have done the same. Safety first!

    God bless and pull the ceiling as you go.

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    Do just as you did. This was the correct course of action. Why would you want to place you or your crew in danger for a vehicle that from all accounts gone.
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    You were right (except for the getting into it with him in public). Unless its burning in the median there is no reason to be in the fast/passing lane.

    Stretch from the opposite direction of traffic across the median, across the closed lanes to the shoulder of the opposite direction. Not a freakin chance and not to mention that might be the last time I would be bringing that other guy in as mutual aid. Not if he is willing to be that much of a safety risk.
    Last edited by FFTrainer; 07-11-2005 at 02:41 PM.

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    so much for professionalism huh ,. we all know how things are disected on this job after the fact so why get into some verbal disagreement with a neighboring dept. over something like this . leave it be , you make yourself and your dept look bad. and he was completly wrong to boot . with all that is uncontrolable in this buisiness , one should do all that he can to keep his crew safe . operating on the highway is one of them . history has proven itself over and over again , i dont care how many different color schemes or markings or new school led lighting you want to put on your piece . bottom line is people just seem to get a bit dumber around an accident scene. moths to a buglight.

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    To eliminate any problems with controlled access freeways, we always send an engine from each direction. It seems most people who call in freeway incidents have no clue which direction they are heading.

    I agree with your decision. Freeways are dangerous places. To many responders get hit each year.

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    Nice thinking! I would have done the same thing, why risk you and your crew for a car, If you think about it what would the extra 1 min take to turn around like you did it would not have made any diff to the car. Besides the chiefs don't like spending money on recked things when it was perventable, even if is only a booster line.

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    Originally posted by FFTrainer
    You were right (except for the getting into it with him in public).

    The discussion we had was off to the side and was kept low key. We did this why they where loading the car on the wrecker. I should not have said anything to him about it. I should of just taken it to my chief to handle. Hind sight is always better. On scene is not the time to hash out these differences, that part I am sorry for. Thank you to all that replied. I would not handle the call any different today than that day.
    The call was in our area but the line is so close we had them coming. This is the first time anyone of our guys has had any problems with anyone from this department. I know he just got lieutenant but was always cool before. I have entered with him before. The 20th is our normal joint officers meeting. My chief said it will come up then. The chiefs from both departments ave talked about this.
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    The 20th is our normal joint officers meeting. My chief said it will come up then.
    That sounds like the right thing to do. If something goes good or something goes bad and you have the opportunity to learn something from it, discuss it after the juices settle a little bit and people have some time to replay the situation in their minds.

    In the end we should all just be thankful that nothing horrible happened that would have really made this a learning experience, but it sounds like you are doing the right thing by talking it over after the fact in a meeting.

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    You absolutely did the right thing. We had a semi tractor on fire this morning and we shutdown the NB lanes completely until the fire was knocked down. Troopers usually don't like it but understand why and we work to try and open it back up as soon as safe.
    Stay Safe & Bring 'em Home!
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    Thumbs up

    You made good choice: consider the risk / reward. You risk nothing to save nothing. You don't even risk a section of hose, which as was mentioned before would be destroyed by the idiots that would insist on driving over it, for a unoccupied vehicle that's going to the junk yard anyway.
    A long time ago, we had an engine company with a vehicle fire on the interstate, and in the opposite lane, separated by a "Jersey Wall". With no altertnative but to drive 5 miles to the next exit, which is in the bordering county. The company officer called for mutual aid from the bordering county, pulled over next to the wall, and dumped the tank through the deck gun, across 3 lanes on the fully involved vehicle. (3 in the morning, traffic not an issue). He didn't put it out, but, he did slow it down enough to give the mutual aid company something to do when they go there.

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