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  • HIT THE FIREFIGHTER

    Hope not but, has your department ever had a firefighter hit by a car at an emergency scene? If so, what if any charges were filed. Does your state have laws that protect you?

  • #2
    Recently Illinois passed "Scott's Law" that increases the penalties for drivers who injure fire and rescue personnel. I don't see how laws like that can PROTECT you if the public isn't constantly made aware of the penalties to remind them to slow down and pay attention. (Like Wisconsin's "Orange Season" ads for construction zones). I wouldn't feel any safer out there, with or without new laws, there are too many "gawkers " that don't look where they're driving. How many times have you been backed up in traffic and when you finally get to the accident scene you see cars almost come to a stop to look at what's going on . The only way I'd feel safe is if they totally block off ALL traffic in the area.

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    • #3
      About 1997 we had two troopers hit in our coverage area. I was on a vol. fire service and worked full time ems. After this we did have bright yellow ems vest with scotch light all over them. Mandatory to wear on all motor vehicle incidents.
      The department I currently work for has very good luck with PD support If we want an area shut down it ussually happens. Must always be conscious of our own safety because most of those yeahos driving wont think of it.
      I do not believe MO has any specific law to help us out. On this particular incident the person left the scene. I he was charged with leaving the scene and attempted manslaughter.
      Stay safe.

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      • #4
        In NJ we are starting to implement the "Highway and Traffic Safety" tactics employed in Virginia and Washington DC for the larger traffic areas (i.e beltway) that they have. These tactics include wearing vests, staging vehicles a certain way - ambulances right behind the vehicle so they can get out, pumper truck behind that angled out to protect workers from moving traffice, etc. - utilizing police to direct traffic because people are less likely to give them grief, using certain types of lights on vehicles so as not to blind the motorists, and marking the area with cones starting at least 1/2 mile back from the accident scene so that motorists know something is going on up ahead and to slow down...this also includes using large digital/highway screens that announce "Police Fire and Rescue Acitivity Ahead, Slow Down, Left lane merging into Right" or whatever they need to let motorists know. We have some local companies providing us with traffic cones, and some money for new lights, and so far all the national testing that has been done on these tactics has shown that these methods work well and are well liked by motorists and emergency personnel as well. You will never stop the idiots that have to gawk...I have always said that if you lifted up the tarp on the body, picked up the severed head, arm, leg, etc. and showed it to them that they would never gawk again. They think they want to see it but when they do they wish they hadn't. Believe me it would work, unfortunately we can't be idiots like they are so we aren't allowed to do such things. I believe that if you contact the Prince George County Fire Department that they schedule classes all over the country to educate people about the tactics they use. Hope this helps. Take care and by all means stay safe out there.
        Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

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        • #5
          Back in the 80s I was struck by an 84 1/2 year old handicapped (ambulatory disabled and hearing impaired) motorist while operating the pump at a car fire in broad (1300 HRS) daylight. I only suffered some bumps and bruises. The elderly motorist was on his way to buy lottery tickets and stated he did not see me, did not see the two engines, did not see the two police cars, did not see the fully involved car fire, and did not feel the hoses he ran over. He eventually stopped because my helmet broke his windshield. He was uninjured. He was not charged or ticketed. He did not inquire into my condition. He was back driving after his windshield was repaired. Here in NJ it's 'who you know' that matters .... and don't let anybody tell you any different.

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          • #6
            Fortunatley we have never had an incident.
            The only thing we have had is a few drivers who were not going to change thier minds about where they are going and how they are getting there. I let the police handle them,the rest to hell with em, I have the road shut down when we are working an emergency, its not worth one of our own. they can take the incovenience vs. our lives.

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            • #7
              No one, NO ONE gets off my engine (an entrapment is the only exception) until the local police or county police or sheriff's department or state troopers or DOT rapid response teams close the roadway.

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              • #8
                Last year, during our propane tanker accident, we had to close the highway for 20 hours. Vehicles were being turned around and it was decided that a desiel tanker would take priority. Long story short, a my driver was clipped as a vehicle jumped our road block. The vehicle took off, and because the highway was clear, had no problems getting away. The police sent two crusiers looking him, but found nothing.

                Now, it is written into our OG's that the IC, or ranking firefighter, has the power to stop all traffic until he/she feels there is no danger to personell on scene. We park our trucks across the road. Nothing moves until we are done. You can't get hit by a car it none are moving. It is a simple answer that works for us. Sure, the police don't like it, but they are not the ones working. The 38 000 vehicles a day don't like it either, but I am sure they would rather be waiting line then be wait for use to cut them out.

                If it is minor, or we have enough members, we will set up traffic and get people moving... but safety comes first. None of us want to be hit by a car, I hear it hurts, so why take the chance with rubber-neckers. Our job is dangerous enough already.

                Stay Safe all.
                "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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                • #9
                  In my town in Aug. 99, there was a firefighter and killed by a car while attending to a lady that had rear-ended the truck. They had responded to an MVA I believe and were awaiting a wrecker or PD when the truck was hit, so they got out, and started care on the lady. S curve, limited vis., wet pavement on an interstate, and the truck not blocking any traffic. One of the guys was walking "upstream" to place cones and flares when he had to jump the jersey divider to get out of the way of the car that did the damage. Don't know about any charges, and some of my details might be sketchy, but that's the gist of it...
                  ...if you put the handline in the right spot, you won't have to jump out the window...
                  -Andy "Nozzles", SQ18, 9-11-01

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                  • #10
                    You wouldn't be speaking of Midwest City, now would you, Mr. Freeze?

                    I read the LODD report on that incident. The incident was on I-40, in the far left lane, in the rain and just over the crest of a small rise. Rescue truck was parked behind a car that had spun out into the divider wit no injuries. Ladder responded with the Rescue and parked farther back to slow traffic for the Rescue. Car 1 tops hill and rearends the Ladder. Firefighters get out to see whats going on. Car 2 hits Car 1, going underneath it. Firefighter start tending to victims. Car 3 hits Cars 1 and 2, one FF jumps divider into oncoming traffic, one FF hit by car and thrown over divider, and one FF thrown over Ladder.

                    Bad deal all around. I don't know if any charges were filed, but I be surprised if anyone got more than a Driving Too Fast for Conditions ticket.

                    "Oklahoma Firefighter" printed the new SOG that Midwest City drew up after that, taking into considerations the events that caused the incident.
                    Bryan Beall
                    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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                    • #11
                      Up here in Canada we (the Fire Dept.) have the jurisdictional powers to become peace officers under the hiway traffic act. That means we can redirect or shut down traffic altogether on any roadway be it a country road or a major hiway. Safety of our members is paramount to anything else we do while on a call on a road call. The most important thing we do to ensure our safety is to go upstream of the scene and establish warning devices to warn the public of impending danger ahead. A number of years ago in Calgary Alberta a rescue co. responded to an mva on a freeway. The rescue co. responded from the south in the northbound lanes while the accident was in the southbound lanes. They pulled off the side in the fast lane and had to crawl over a dividing concrete seperating bullovard to gain access to the scene. While the operator was on the top of the rig to take down pylons to set out to warn and divert traffic a young lady that was studying for an exam and driving at the same time drove into the rear of the apperatus and was pronouced dead at the scene. A tragic story. The reason I relate this story to you is that the estate of this young lady sued the City of Calgary for an enormous amount of money and the judge ruled in favour of her estate. He cited the fire dept. for not warning the motoring public of impending danger ahead.
                      It would seem that even when we try to do what is the right thing we are held accountable for what other people do.

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                      • #12
                        THIS is one of those areas that I have BIG problems with Joe Citizen. IF we have the people at something as 'simple' as an MVA, I try to make sure that there are two people on each end directing traffic, one to direct traffic and one to watch OUT for traffic! Our county cops are pretty awesome about shutting things down---once they get on scene. Between working road construction many moons ago and currently doing time on the road "on-scene" I've come to the conclusion (big news, right?) that you just HAVE to maintain your situational awareness. It really is a shame to HAVE to be so vigilant, amd not spending that time focusing on the scene, but y'all are ALL right about one thing: There are more yahoos than not out there on these roads, and they ALL "just have to get by". Nuf said.
                        Oklahoma Bound!

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                        • #13
                          7 years ago we had a firefighter killed by a drunk driver while he was loading a patient into an ambulance. the driver of course got a light sentence. it was horrible since he took a life of a firefighter. I think we changed some procedures and are definitely more aware of our scene and protection of the scene by apparatus

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