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    Default Flagging Handbook

    FYI

    The American Traffic Safety Services Association has a Flagging handbook available.The book is a good resource.

    I find that emergency services are quick to blame the motoring public and in alot of cases it is just.
    However how about us taking some responsibility? We must learn to manage traffic which requires training in flagging, PPE and TCD that increases visibility.We should prepare and warn the motoring public of the dangers.Yes some things will be out of our control such as the DUI driver BUT WE SHOULD MAKE A GOOD ATTEMT at warning the public to the dangers ahead.Good Luck and lets be safe.
    Last edited by coldfront; 08-15-2005 at 07:40 PM.
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    I disagree.....we should not be engaging in flagging traffic....if traffic is a hazard we block the road, let law enforcement handle the traffic control.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
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    "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."
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc
    I disagree.....we should not be engaging in flagging traffic....if traffic is a hazard we block the road, let law enforcement handle the traffic control.
    I disgree
    In a perfect world law enforcement will always be there.I found in most cases law enforcement made be delayed and when they do arrive one officer cannot provide the needed traffic control to provide for a safe scene for responders.Yes! Law enforcement should take the lead.However we need to be able to control traffic to provide for our own safety.To depend on law enforcement totally is not the safest policy.Blocking road with a truck is a form traffic control however may not be the best policy.Blocking can in its self cause a hazard if not done correct.Be safe and provide for your own safety.Do not depend on other to keep you crews safe.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

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    I have to agree with coldfront. The local law enforcement is just as low on manpower as the fire department. Often the FD is the only means of directing traffic. By not doing so, we could jeopardize our personnel even more.

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    To quote the USDOT/FHWA 2003 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices...

    "The ability to quickly install proper temporary traffic controls might greatly reduce the effects of an incident, such as secondary crashes or excessive traffic delays. An essential part of fire, rescue, spill clean-up, highway agency, and enforcement activities is the proper control of road users through the traffic incident management area in order to protect responders, victims, and other personnel at the site while providing reasonably safe traffic flow."

    It's all about scene safety and protecting your own safety. Why wait on LE to do it for us?

    Also notable is that there have already been FD's found partially liable for secondary accidents caused by their lack of setting up traffic control.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc
    I disagree.....we should not be engaging in flagging traffic....if traffic is a hazard we block the road, let law enforcement handle the traffic control.
    I agree completely Chief, but the reality, atleast in our area, is to expect only 1 Trooper to an accident scene unless it's a fatality or a large number of vehicles involved.

    We have been able to get extra help from the Sheriff's office & Dept of Transportation when needed, but we can't always count on them and there may be delays in getting them there & getting them in place.
    the motto of every midnight shift dispatcher - "I'm up - You're up"

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    If manpower is such a big deal, then shut the road down, plain and simple...
    You will have slightly better protection from a 30,000 lb barricade, than you would from a guy in boots...
    If the driving public doesn't like the delay, well, the road they're on isn't the only route in the world, they can turn around and go another way, otherwise T.F.B. Our lives & well being are worth more than someone's impatience, or inattentiveness....
    Last edited by WMFF12; 10-09-2005 at 05:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WMFF12
    If manpower is such a big deal, then shut the road down, plain and simple...
    You will have slightly better protection from a 30,000 lb barricade, than you would from a guy in boots...
    If the driving public doesn't like the delay, well, the road they're on isn't the only route in the world, they can turn around and go another way, otherwise T.F.B. Our lives & well being are worth more than someone's impatience, or inattentiveness....
    That will get you a lot of support for the next fire levy...
    Richard Nester
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    It isn't a perfect world and the job of controlling traffic around an accident or fire scene can be as simple as directing a few vehicles around the apparatus or as complicated as closing of a multi-block area with several intersections to control.
    The police in our community can handle the simple incidents with no trouble, but they just don't have sufficient manpower on shift at any given time to control all the traffic aspects of a large incident.

    Here in Pa., as in many states, we have fire police which are enpowered by state law to control traffic in emergency situations. They are all veteran firefighters who have gone through state training in all aspects of traffic and crowd control and take a serious view of their job of protecting the safety of the crews who are working fires and accidents. To aid them, the state has given them certain powers which are equal to the police at an incident scene, and has doubled the fines to motorists for any traffic infraction committed within an incident zone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22
    Also notable is that there have already been FD's found partially liable for secondary accidents caused by their lack of setting up traffic control.
    Where was this case? I would like to see to details if available or if you know where to find them.

    I would have to agree that law enforcement is normally ortherwise occupied with other things. Like writing the accident report. Around here, the typical response from PD is 1-2 officers. The safety of the scene and the motoring public is left up to the fire departments.

    We usually have limited personnel on scene, esp. during day-time hours, so traffic control usually consist of putting the apparatus between them and you, and hope you don't get ran over.
    LT/EMT Wright
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    All opinions expressed are solely of my personal opinion and in no way reflect those of my department. This is for those of you who use a large stick to stir excrement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loxfire16
    Where was this case? I would like to see to details if available or if you know where to find them.
    I'll see if I can find my notes and what I can track down.

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    I would park the truck visible for the oncoming traffic to see and block/shut the road down I'd rather have my trucks hit than any of our people.


    ON A SIDE NOTE I DON'T REMEMBER TRAFFIC CONTROL IN AN OF MY FF 1 OR FF2 TRAINING, OR IN THE IFSTA ESSENTIALS OF FIRE FIGHTING TRAINING BOOK.

    Also I sort of remember reading what catch22 is talking about.
    Last edited by dday05; 04-25-2006 at 09:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dday05
    ON A SIDE NOTE I DON'T REMEMBER TRAFFIC CONTROL IN AN OF MY FF 1 OR FF2 TRAINING, OR IN THE IFSTA ESSENTIALS OF FIRE FIGHTING TRAINING BOOK.
    I don't know if it comes from IFSTA, NFPA, or who, but at least in Missouri FF I & II students are now having to learn some traffic control. I evaluated a class last semester and they actually drew traffic control as a practical.

    I'm not finding which departments were found partially liable. But as I recall, they they hadn't put up the early warning devices, etc., and shut down more lanes than were required for the incident. Subsequent back-up resulted in secondary collissions, which were where they were found liable. Probably should have clarified that earlier.

    If I remember right, these were St. Louis area (not the city, before someone jumps me) departments.
    Last edited by Catch22; 04-26-2006 at 12:02 AM. Reason: typo

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    While traffic control is not, I suppose, a directly mandated scene priority, it is enveloped by scene safety- which is. Naturally, this would come in a couple of different phases. Traffic control is, obviously, a police / municiple enforcement mandate... but as it pertains to our scene safety, it becomes our own responsibility. (In my opinion, at least.)

    With my department back home, I know we usually roll out to an accident scene with 3 trucks, not including command. Traffic control is one of our biggest on scene priorities because it directly involves scene safety.

    A cop car will show up with one or two guys... we roll on with 6-8 on average... we've got the crews so we do it (composite). Helps interdepart functionality. Gets them through their investigation sooner and gets us off scene faster... Sounds good to me.

    Short of that- I suppose you can leave your trucks to do the work- After all, why put a 200lb person in traffic when in theory a 60000lb truck can do the same thing?

    We've had a few close calls that I think were only close calls because of our effective traffic diversion. On the other hand, some close calls resulted from the diversions. One thing I've learned from being on a few of these close calls is that people are generally smart... traffic is stupid.

    And by the way... just because it's not in your books doesn't mean it's not a responsibility- mandated or not. I can't imagine someone performing your eulogy saying "He was a good man, but unfortunately "not drinking 60 liters of ketchup in one sitting" was not in his ifsta manual."

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    "Effective traffic control is the responsibility of all responders on scene."

    "You should operate as if someone is trying to run you over." - Chicago Fire Comissioner.

    Closing a roadway is a solution, but rarely the best solution. The opportunity for secondary accidents is greatly increased when the length of the traffic queue increases, when out-of-town travelers must be detoured, and especially when there is insufficient advanced warning.

    You also have to consider that closing a roadway quite often impedes your ability to get the resources you need to the scene. If traffic is backed up, so is your responding apparatus.

    OSHA, the Federal MUTCD and others actually recommend that you address traffic control before you address the problem at hand. For, without effective traffic control, you may be contributing to the problem and not the solution.

    We have adopted the attitude that "traffic control is the job we do most often - and the most dangerous job we do." For example, being struck in the roadway was the fourth leading cause of death amongst firefighters in 2004.

    Fire Police is the first course we teach our new recruits because it's the first thing they can get involved in before they get their firefighter training.

    I just co-authored a three-hour Highway Safety Course for First Responders with other members of NITTEC. We also created a responder check list that you can download from the forms, guides and resources page of our Erie County Division of Fire Safety web site. You may find it helpful.

    Another helpful resource on this subject is: www.respondersafety.com.

    Click or call and let me know what you think of it and I'll e-mail you the Microsoft Word version of the checklist.
    Last edited by Tiger5; 06-13-2006 at 11:10 PM.
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    i really dont give a flying duck if you get to work on time. i plan on going home the next morning. i would gladly park the ladder across all 4 lanes to protect me and my crew. my safety isn't worth it. if it means the next big purchase gets voted down oh well. got a problem with that. huh mr i'm in my honda accord don't mess with me or i'll spill my starbucks crappachino on you with the hand that isn't hollding my cell phone, beer, shaver, makeup, cigarette, whatever else draws my concentration form the road. blub

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcfd45
    i really dont give a flying duck if you get to work on time. i plan on going home the next morning. i would gladly park the ladder across all 4 lanes to protect me and my crew. my safety isn't worth it. if it means the next big purchase gets voted down oh well. got a problem with that. huh mr i'm in my honda accord don't mess with me or i'll spill my starbucks crappachino on you with the hand that isn't hollding my cell phone, beer, shaver, makeup, cigarette, whatever else draws my concentration form the road. blub
    Too much coffee??????????????????????
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

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    nope mountain dew.
    i can't stand coffee.

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    Question Handling traffic

    Recently, we had a pedestrian fatality at night and our dept was put in a position of where we were it as far as traffic control was concerned. With only 2 officers on duty, we had little choice but to handle traffic. Even though we closed the highly travelled 2 lane roadway, motorists attempted to go around the engine by going through parking lots only to find the road
    blocked at the scene. We shut the road down in a location where drivers could easily turn around but they made it more difficult then it needed to be.

    I don't like to handle traffic, I don't feel we are prepared for it like the PD is or should be.

    I feel more confident in a burning structure than I am with some &*^*$ head
    pointing a 3000# vehicle at me.

    Am I the only one that feels this way?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF1005
    I don't like to handle traffic, I don't feel we are prepared for it like the PD is or should be.

    I feel more confident in a burning structure than I am with some &*^*$ head
    pointing a 3000# vehicle at me.

    Am I the only one that feels this way?
    Don't take this wrong, but how much traffic control training have you had? The reason I ask is just an observation from department's I've taught traffic control to. We're trained day and night to handle structure fires, extrication, etc. But, how often are we in the road compared to fighting a structure fire (which also requires some traffic control). Training, training, training.

    Most of those I've taught traffic control to say it helped out a lot. The guys at my FT department made fun of those big, pink "Emergency Scene Ahead" signs until they saw them in action, then it's "man, you weren't kidding, those things actually work!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22
    Don't take this wrong, but how much traffic control training have you had? The reason I ask is just an observation from department's I've taught traffic control to. We're trained day and night to handle structure fires, extrication, etc. But, how often are we in the road compared to fighting a structure fire (which also requires some traffic control). Training, training, training.

    Most of those I've taught traffic control to say it helped out a lot. The guys at my FT department made fun of those big, pink "Emergency Scene Ahead" signs until they saw them in action, then it's "man, you weren't kidding, those things actually work!"
    I agree those signs do a good job.Most traffic reduces speed and traffic flows smooth.
    Last edited by coldfront; 11-05-2006 at 07:14 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    .

    Most of those I've taught traffic control to say it helped out a lot. The guys at my FT department made fun of those big, pink "Emergency Scene Ahead" signs until they saw them in action, then it's "man, you weren't kidding, those things actually work!"

    The signs are a good idea. Is this a standard for most fire departments around the country? In my area signs are not used...yet. So how far in advance of the accident scene do you set your sign?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete50 View Post
    The signs are a good idea. Is this a standard for most fire departments around the country? In my area signs are not used...yet. So how far in advance of the accident scene do you set your sign?
    I guess you could call it the standard, as the MUTCD requires warning signs. Placement kind of depends. I usually have my guys use 1/2 mile as a rule of thumb. It all depends on the road and how the curves, hills, etc. are laid out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    I guess you could call it the standard, as the MUTCD requires warning signs. Placement kind of depends. I usually have my guys use 1/2 mile as a rule of thumb. It all depends on the road and how the curves, hills, etc. are laid out.

    Thanks for your reply Catch22. The material that I have for TCP courses is geared up for construction sites etc. This is okay as most of it would apply to anyone that has to control traffic through a work site or around an accident scene.
    My material goes over proper work zone signs, spacing etc. but this obviously would not apply to an emergency scene.
    I really like the idea of a "emergency scene ahead" sign and will mention this in upcoming courses. Thanks again.

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    I was doing traffic control when I was an Explorer at age 16.

    Lets face it, not every town and city is the same. There are some where the FD won't touch traffic control and there are an abundance of police officers or other agencies to handle it. There are places where the FD will regularly do traffic control. We do it regularly and have no problem doing it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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