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  • Turnout Gear on Roadway Incidents

    I am looking to find out what others' opinions and departments guidelines are on roadway incidents and proper PPE. Currently, our department does not have a guideline on this particular topic and does not have the best practice on wearing full PPE on roadway incidents. I am trying to change and make it standard practice that any and all incidents involving working on a roadway require full turnout gear (pants, coat, helmet) and traffic safety vest. We have a constant habit of having responders show up in bunker pants only and a vest, or even less.

    My standpoint is to lead by example and so EVERY roadway incident (MVA, car vs. pedestrian, bicyclist down without car) I wear full turnout gear and vest. I think that it is hard to argue with safety when I expect the same out of incoming crews and members of the company in which I am assigned. But it is hard to set this example with other officers not being on the same page and newer members seeing there is no continuity and agreeance among officers.

    Anyone have any insight into this? Am I in the wrong and expecting too much if we are not doing extrication? I just know there are cases out there that (God forbid) there was an injury or death of a member working on an incident and they were not in full PPE, the insurance companies will also find people to testify that would say that they are that "reasonable person in the same situation" and would have worn the PPE and benefits can be denied as a result. That is just one aspect, but please let me know your thoughts.
    -Mitch Nolze
    www.swrfa.org


    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives." ~Edward F. Croker

  • #2
    I guess we just tend to use what is needed for the incident. Car fire or accident with extrication required, definately full PPE. Accident with no extrication required, kind of gray area if broken glass is around.

    MVA involving a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian, probably just pants, vest and whatever medical PPE is required.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Eng34FF View Post
      I guess we just tend to use what is needed for the incident. Car fire or accident with extrication required, definately full PPE. Accident with no extrication required, kind of gray area if broken glass is around.

      MVA involving a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian, probably just pants, vest and whatever medical PPE is required.
      Ditto. Wear what is needed.

      Had a car over a guard rail on side of a bridge a few weeks ago. It was about 96 degrees that day. Shoulder and 1 lane of traffic were closed down, with only 1 lane of traffic open. Vehicles travelling about 10 miles an hour in that 1 lane. Can't think of any viable/realistic reason that I should stand there in full turnout gear. Was a much better chance of heat exhaustion than a vehicle hitting anyone.

      Also, check national highway standards....FF gear is not required. Reflective markings/materials are. Wear proper vests and you are most likely just as "insurance" covered as wearing turnout gear.
      "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

      Comment


      • #4
        Full PPE for everything except bicycle or pedestrians. We spend a lot of $$ buying the best stuff possible for you, and we expect you to wear the stuff and be protected.

        I would discuss this issue with your community's Risk Manager and/or the worker's comp carrier.
        everyonegoeshome.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Eng34FF View Post
          I guess we just tend to use what is needed for the incident. Car fire or accident with extrication required, definately full PPE. Accident with no extrication required, kind of gray area if broken glass is around.

          MVA involving a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian, probably just pants, vest and whatever medical PPE is required.
          I also agree. Too many days >100 degrees to have an absolute about PPE when you don't need the thermal protection.

          If you are involved in performing extrication, then you have to wear the full get up. If you are pushing a broom sweeping up glass or spreading kitty litter, no need.
          I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

          "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

          "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bcjack View Post
            I would discuss this issue with your community's Risk Manager and/or the worker's comp carrier.
            You seem to be implying that if you get hurt and are not wearing the full ppe, you would have a claims issue?

            That has not been my experience at all.
            I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

            "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

            "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
              You seem to be implying that if you get hurt and are not wearing the full ppe, you would have a claims issue?

              That has not been my experience at all.
              Rather than type my dissertation on this again, I will provide a link to another thread where I opine...

              http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=118468
              everyonegoeshome.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by bcjack View Post
                Rather than type my dissertation on this again, I will provide a link to another thread where I opine...

                http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=118468
                In the other thread you basically say you have not heard or are aware of a comp case being denied for not wearing full PPE (turnouts at an MVA).

                Got it. That was my point.
                I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bcjack View Post
                  Rather than type my dissertation on this again, I will provide a link to another thread where I opine...

                  http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=118468
                  Yes, I have not heard of any denials...YET. What I said was "I opine", meaning I am stating my opinion...With all of the focus on firefighter (and most public safety's) "fat pensions", coupled with the recent "Chief's Disease" scandal involving the California Highway Patrol, the worker's comp/disability retirements can't be too far behind.
                  everyonegoeshome.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bcjack View Post
                    Yes, I have not heard of any denials.
                    Okay. I'll check back every once in a while to see if that changes.

                    Carry on.
                    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      On my department we are required to at least wear a reflective vest, but many of us wear full turn-outs anyways.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JakeT59 View Post
                        On my department we are required to at least wear a reflective vest, but many of us wear full turn-outs anyways.
                        I am of the opinion that wearing a vest over turnout gear is usually redundant at best. I'd wear it if I were the pump operator or in an EMS role, but most of the time we block off as much as we need to keep a safety barrier, if we haven't already shut the whole road down. Of course we still get idiots hitting big trucks with all the lasted lights and reflective striping, so I don't see how the vest solves that problem.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by johnsb View Post
                          I am of the opinion that wearing a vest over turnout gear is usually redundant at best.
                          OSHA disagrees which tends to render personal opinions moot. Unless you're actively engaged in firefighting activities, the law requires you to be wearing an approved traffic vest when working on the highway. What's so hard about that? Really.
                          "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                          sigpic
                          The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by johnsb View Post
                            I am of the opinion that wearing a vest over turnout gear is usually redundant at best. I'd wear it if I were the pump operator or in an EMS role, but most of the time we block off as much as we need to keep a safety barrier, if we haven't already shut the whole road down. Of course we still get idiots hitting big trucks with all the lasted lights and reflective striping, so I don't see how the vest solves that problem.
                            I don't see how it hurts....

                            Also, the reflective quality of turnouts is not designed for roadside use. It's designed for fireground operations.

                            A vest is a simple way to increase visibility. I realize it isn't "cool" but what, are we fourteen year olds?
                            I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                            "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                            "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'd be curious to know how OSHA defines actively engaged in firefighting activities.

                              Is the pump operator (obviously needed for the suppression efforts) a firefighting activity? Some Departments deploy a PPV fan at vehicle fires...are the guys setting the fan actively engaged in the firefight?

                              Guess I'll have to do some OSHA searching.
                              "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

                              Comment

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