“Week 1: LODD – Struck by Motor Vehicle at Highway Incident
Review the NIOSH – 2013-5: Volunteer Fire Fighter Killed When Struck While Operating at Scene of Multiple Vehicle Crash on Interstate Highway – Illinois
Did the conclusions in this report offer recommendations for future prevention of similar incidents? What relation did established regulations and standards have to the events surrounding the fatality?
After reading this extensive report, I feel the recommendations were glossed over and non-specific. While some specifics like the use of the right vests were covered, the reality of the situation and this report is that there is not a true pathway to preventing this from happening again. Blockers are touched on, but there is not a real guide to which vehicles are better, etc. I feel that I would have recommended that the vehicles have been positioned in a manner that protected a smaller personnel vehicle like the utility with a larger vehicle like the Engine. Imagine the difference in this outcome if the first vehicle struck was the heavier engine and then the smaller vehicle, instead of the smaller vehicle taking that first hit. The relationship between the regulations and standards to this incident seemed to be very lax, and while it was on the mind of many to be somewhat cognizant of the traffic issues, there were some oversights, such as the poor positioning and repositioning of the utility. (NIOSH, 2014)
A lot of department need better Traffic Incident Management training. I personally sought out better training and found www.respondersafety.com, which has SEVERAL amazing courses on the minutia of TIM, and the various recommendations specific to the many different situations faced on the roadways during these traffic incidents. One of the practices that is catching on in the area surrounding me is the re-purposing of the apparatus that are past their original uses, such as an old engine that can no longer pump for varying reasons, and stripping them down, then adding weight to them for the sake of having them serve the sole purpose of taking that initial hit during instances such as the one studied here. These units are dispatched to all motor vehicle crashes and provide a heavy blocker between traffic and the incident scenes. I picture them as mobile walls that can absorb the majority of the heaviest of vehicles in order to slow them down so significantly that they do as little damage to none to personnel and other apparatus actually being used to work the scene. (McLoone, 2019)
NIOSH (January 2014) Volunteer Fire Fighter Killed When Struck While Operating at Scene of Multiple Vehicle Crash on Interstate Highway – Illonois (Retrieved from https://edge.apus.edu/access/content/group/security-and-global-studies-common/EDMG/FSMT405/NIOSH%20-%20F2013-5_Highway%20LODD.pdf) NIOSH
McLoone, C. (February 2019) Blocking Rigs (Retrieved from https://www.fireapparatusmagazine.com/articles/print/volume-24/issue-2/departments/editor-s-opinion/blocking-rigs.html) Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment
This article summarizes the death of a volunteer fire fighter struck by a car hauler, during the operations of the fire department at a multiple vehicle crash in the State of Illinois on March 2013. Besides the summary of the event, it offers a complete and detailed report of the incident and an Incident Action Plan. The conclusion of the report presents multiple recommendations, that should prevent future similar incidents from happening again. It is crucial to follow these recommendations to improve safety, awareness and scene preservation:
-create a pre-incident plan regarding the placement of the emergency vehicles, PPE, and placement of personnel working on scene;
-develop a program to train all firefighters on all the safety and awareness procedures while operating on highway/roadway;
-monitor the scene continously for any possible change or updates;
-establish the procedures or guidelines for a full clearance of the scene; The conclusions of the report offer an improvement for the fire department, to ensure situational awareness and safety not only for the crew but also other individuals on a scene.
During the time of fatality, the crew did not have the proper awareness of vehicle placement, an example of this was Utility 105 repositioned multiple times. The proper vehicle placement offers a safe working environment. One way of avoidance for hitting other emergency vehicles on scene could be easily attained by simply adjusting the front wheels at angle. Another detail that was noticed, using the timeline provided, is that the incident commander never requested help to direct and manage highway traffic especially during inclement weather. If they had the proper highway work personnel or signs, traffic would have slowed down approaching the scene; the lane closure could have been proper to avoid any casualties as it did. It has been multiple factors surrounding this fatality and injuries. It is necessary to create an environment where the crew is trained properly for situational awareness, for different strategies to be applied and implemented, so that we do not need to wait for a line of duty death report to improve and better ourselves and the procedures.