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Highway Incident Safety for Emergency Responders. jack@lionvillefire.org. Jack Sullivan, CSP, CFPS Lt. & Safety Officer (ret.) Lionville Fire Co., Lionville, PA. March 9, 1998. “ It Was Just A Routine Call……”. Lionville Fire Company. Volunteer station 90 members, 35 firefighters

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highway incident safety for emergency responders

Highway Incident Safetyfor Emergency Responders

jack@lionvillefire.org

Jack Sullivan, CSP, CFPSLt. & Safety Officer (ret.)Lionville Fire Co., Lionville, PA

slide2

March 9, 1998

“ It Was Just A Routine Call……”

lionville fire company
Lionville Fire Company
  • Volunteer station
  • 90 members, 35 firefighters
  • Suburban, commercial, industrial and residential area, with 10 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike
  • 3 Engines, Tanker, Rescue, Brush Truck & Safety House
  • 525+ runs per year
  • Uwchlan Ambulance, >2000 runs/yr.2 career personnel & 60 volunteers
incident overview
Incident Overview
  • March 9, 1998 - Raining with wet roadways
  • Initial alarm was at 14:10 for a car in a ditch, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, just west of the Downingtown Interchange, Milepost 310.9
  • Uwchlan Ambulance and Lionville Fire / Rescue responded with an Ambulance, Engine, Rescue, the Chief & an Assistant Chief.
original incident
Original Incident

Pontiac Grand Am, westbound on the Turnpike, lost control and slid into the drainage ditch.

scene diagram
Scene Diagram

Pa. Turnpike West Bound

Jersey Barrier

Fast Lane

Right Lane

Shoulder

Grass

Ditch

slide7

Scene Diagram

Pa. Turnpike West Bound

Jersey Barrier

Fast Lane

Right Lane

Shoulder

Grass

Ditch

slide8

Scene Diagram

Pa. Turnpike West Bound

Jersey Barrier

Fast Lane

Right Lane

Shoulder

Grass

Ditch

slide9

Scene Diagram

Pa. Turnpike West Bound

Jersey Barrier

Fast Lane

Right Lane

Shoulder

Grass

Ditch

slide10

Scene Diagram

Pa. Turnpike West Bound

Jersey Barrier

Fast Lane

Right Lane

Shoulder

Grass

Ditch

slide11

Scene Diagram

Pa. Turnpike West Bound

Jersey Barrier

Fast Lane

Right Lane

Shoulder

Grass

Ditch

slide12

Scene Diagram

Pa. Turnpike West Bound

Jersey Barrier

Fast Lane

Right Lane

Shoulder

Grass

Ditch

aftermath of the crash
Aftermath of the Crash
  • 8 firefighters and 2 EMT’s involved in the crash
    • One fatality, 9 serious injuries
  • Original injured patient and two good Samaritans
  • Heavy radio traffic due to weather related calls
  • Mass confusion at the scene immediately after
  • Many assist companies self -dispatched
  • Weather grounded Medivac right after crash
slide17

Aftermath of the Crash

  • Assistant Chief was disabled for several months
    • Eventually resigned from the FD
  • FF Mike Cox has undergone numerous surgeries to repair his injured legs, and had ongoing PT
  • Ongoing meetings and negotiation with the PA Turnpike Commission to improve response procedures
  • Change in Lionville’s response procedure to Trpk
similar fire ems incidents
Similar Fire & EMS Incidents
  • 11-4-97 : Minneapolis, MN - Fire Captain Struck & KilledWorking at “minor injury accident”
  • 1-12-98 : Centerville, Ohio - FF & PD Officer Struck & KilledStruck & killed at 6 car accident along rain soaked I-675
  • 3-09-98 : Lionville, PA - 8 FF’s & 2 EMT’s Struck, 1 FatalStruck and one killed at minor accident on Pa. Turnpike
slide20

Similar Fire & EMS Incidents

5-03-98 : Hagerstown, MD - Firefighter Struck & Killed Directing traffic at vehicle accident ( Driver was distracted by incident operations )

6-16-98 : Harmonville, PA - Firefighter Struck & Injured Struck & dragged 20 yards, at accident scene (video)

6-26-98: Laurel, PA - Fire Police Lt. Struck & KilledDirecting traffic at scene of vehicle accident

8-01-98 : Streetman, TX - Firefighter Struck & Killed Struck by fire apparatus at grass fire

similar fire ems incidents21
Similar Fire & EMS Incidents
  • 10-24-98 : Forest City, NC - Fire Police Struck & KilledCrossing road at live burn exercise
  • 1-05-99 : Kiln, MS - Firefighter Struck & KilledWorking at scene of mobile home fire ( Driver was blinded by lights from engine facing traffic)
slide22

Similar Fire & EMS Incidents

  • 03-06-99 : Downingtown, PA - Unit Struck, No FF Injuries Traffic Unit struck by Mustang, at the scene of an accident , 2 occupants in car trapped by crash
  • 08-05-99 : Midwest City, OK - Firefighter Struck and KilledWorking at scene of earlier MVA on Interstate 40. One other firefighter also injured in the wreck. ( This incident was the subject of a NIOSH Investigation)
slide23

Similar Fire & EMS Incidents

  • 09-08-99 : Hazard, KY - 5 EMS Personnel Struck & InjuredCar plowed into an accident scene, struck an emergency vehicle, which then struck an ambulance on scene. Driver blinded by early morning sun glare
  • 09-15-99 : Jeffersonville, IN - Firefighter Struck & Killed Struck by fire apparatus while fighting wildland fire
  • 09-27-99 : Marietta, SC - Firefighter Struck & Killed Struck by tractor trailer while directing traffic at scene of previous MVA ( Also a NIOSH Investigation )
slide24

Similar Fire & EMS Incidents

  • 08-12-99 : Dallas, TX area - Fire Truck & 1 Firefighter Struck One Firefighter Injured, but 6 saved !Drunk in full size Blazer, struck the back of an Engine which was blocking an accident scene, moved the Engine 8’ striking the firefighter and a guardrail. Driver of vehicle was trapped, and later died of his injuries. Placement of the engine across traffic saved at least 6 personnel.
similar fire ems incidents25
Similar Fire & EMS Incidents
  • 12-19-99 : Broward County, FL. - Fire Dept Vehicle StruckFire engulfs 2 vehicles after truck hits fire-rescue vehicle. No injuries to personnel on scene.
  • 2-16-2000 : Mason, Ohio - Fire Chief Struck & InjuredFire crews working an accident, when FD Suburban rolled into the work area, pinning the Chief
  • 2-18-2000 : Salt Lake County, Utah. - Fire Truck StruckSUV traveling at high rate of speed, struck fire truck working 2 previous accidents at same spot. No firefighters struck, but one jumped guardrail,and a correctly placed fire truck protected the scene.
slide26

Similar Fire & EMS Incidents

  • 3-7-2000 : Norfolk, VA - Near miss ! - 1 Firefighter injured Engine struck by an out of control dump truck, on I-264. Back injury to one of three firefighters, who jumped guard rail to escape skidding truck. Safe zone established by HIRT unit.
  • 4-22-2000 : St. Louis , MO - 2 Medics & 1 PD Officer InjuredCar struck police cruiser along I-44, which in turn hit ambulance, working a previous accident scene.
  • 4-27-2000 : Atlanta, Georgia - 3 Firefighters Struck & InjuredFirefighters working a car fire on I-20, when a car struck the engine, which then struck 3 firefighters (minor injuries).
slide27

Similar Fire & EMS Incidents

  • 4-26-2000 : Fairfax County, VA - Fire Truck Struck w/ 1 FF InjuryEngine working an accident on the Capital Beltway at 00:30, was struck by an auto ( @ 60 mph ) operated by an impaired driver. Safe zone established . Fire engine destroyed.
  • 5-11-2000 : Fairfax County, VA (Again ! ) - Fire Truck Struck Engine struck by car driven by impaired driver on I-95, No injuries to firefighters, safe zone established. Fire engine destroyed.
  • 5-10-2000 : Jones County, KS - Fire Truck Struck Auto, driven by impaired driver (.25 BAL) struck Quint which was operating at a car fire. The quint was on the side of road, had out cones, and there was a police cruiser 100 yd. back. 1 firefighter brushed by the car as it went by….
slide28

Similar Fire & EMS Incidents

  • 5-26-2000 : Chicago, IL - Firefighter Struck and Injured Firefighter was running a hose across the street at the scene of a garage fire, when he was struck by a hit and run driver. Firefighter was in hospital in stable condition.
  • 7-13-2000 : Friendswood, TX - FD Capt. Struck and InjuredCaptain was investigating smoke in an oil field, when he was run over by a suspicious vehicle he encountered at the site.
  • 8 -20 -2000 : San Ramon, CA - Fire Truck Struck Citizen killed when her car struck a fire truck on location of a previous MVA.
similar fire ems incidents29
Similar Fire & EMS Incidents
  • 8 -21-2000 : Gary, IN - Firefighter Struck & Injured Firefighter was assisting an engine backing into station, when he was struck by an auto and injured.
  • 9 -01-2000 : Angeles National Forest, CA - Fire Truck Struck One citizen killed and one injured when their motorcycles struck a slow moving fire truck working a wildfire.
  • 9 -04 -2000 : Yuma, AZ - Firefighter Struck and Killed Struck by ARFF apparatus while on training drill.
  • 9 -04 -2000 : Ludlow, MA - Firefighter Struck and Injured Hooking to a hydrant at a structure fire.
similar fire ems incidents30
Similar Fire & EMS Incidents
  • 9-04-2000 : Ludlow, MA - Firefighter Struck and Injured Hooking to a hydrant at a structure fire.
  • 9-17-2000 : Maryland Heights, MD -FF Struck and KilledStruck while crossing an interstate at scene of an MVA.
  • 10-24-2000 : Clearfield Co., PA - Fire Truck Struck, 3 FF Injuries Parked rescue truck with 3 firefighters inside, was struck on an interstate, by a tractor trailer driver who fell asleep.
  • 11-02-00 : Jonesboro, AR - Firefighter Struck and Killed Crossing road at scene of a disabled fire truck on a roadway.
similar fire ems incidents31
Similar Fire & EMS Incidents
  • 11-07-00 : Tiffin, OH - EMT Struck and Killed Assisting a pedestrian along a highway.
  • 12-23-00 : Chicago, IL - Firefighter Struck and KilledWorking an MVA on a highway.
  • 01-10-01 : Kendall, NY - Firefighter Struck & Killed
  • 01-17-01 : Chicago, IL - Firefighter Struck & Injured
  • 01-18-01 : Calumet City, IL - Fire Truck Struck, Civilian Injured
similar police dept incidents
Similar Police Dept. Incidents
  • The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, and the Concerns of Police Survivors
    • 20 police officers died after being struck by vehicles outside of their cruisers in 2000
slide33

Firefighters responding to calls,need to operate“as if someone is trying to run them over”

James Joyce, CommissionerChicago Fire Dept.January 2001

lessons to reinforce
Lessons to Reinforce
  • Build awareness through more intense training
    • Firefighter I or EMT - B classes
    • Station or Company Orientation
    • Annual In Service Training
    • Bulletins, SOG’s, Lessons from Losses
    • Evaluate apparatus placement & safety procedures during all drills and training sessions.
lessons to reinforce35
Lessons to Reinforce
  • Multi-agency coordination & communication
    • Fire, EMS mutual aid agencies
    • Law Enforcement agencies
    • DOT, wrecker services, HazMat contractors
    • Preplan traffic control plans for major routes
    • Table top drills with mutual aid agencies ?
lessons to reinforce36
Lessons to Reinforce
  • Limit the Exposure
    • Minimum Apparatus & Personnel
    • Limit crews on scene to only those necessary
  • Limit the time on scene
    • Clear-up crews as soon as possible
lessons to reinforce37
Lessons to Reinforce
  • Need for advance warning to slow passing traffic
    • Arrow Boards, Flares, Cones, Police Cars, DOT signage
    • Variable Message Signs, News Media / Traffic Reports
lessons to reinforce38
Lessons to Reinforce
  • Apparatus Positioning and Arrangement
    • Guard the scene, guard the crew
    • Park apparatus at an angle
  • Work on side away from traffic
    • Pump Operators, Location of equipment on rigs
    • Look ! Before disembarking apparatus
  • Shut Down the Roadway
    • Not Popular with Law Enforcement or the public
    • May be Necessary ! - Plan for it in advance.
slide39

Jersey Barrier

Fast Lane

Right Lane

lessons to reinforce40
Lessons to Reinforce
  • Scene Lighting
    • Reduce emergency lights, Use “Blocking” mode, Sign Boards, Arrow Boards, Arrow sticks
    • Increase use of amber lenses (more apt to slow traffic)
    • Provide scene illumination after dark
    • Presence of Police vehicles shown to slow traffic
lessons to reinforce41
Lessons to Reinforce
  • Require Retro-reflective or Florescent clothing / PPE
    • Structural gear may not offer “high visibility”
    • Safety Vests - Get them & Use Them !
    • ANSI 107-1999 High Visibility Safety Apparel
      • Class I - Traffic < 25 mph, separation from traffic
      • Class II - Traffic > 25 mph, inclement weather, directing traffic
      • Class III - Traffic > 50 mph, emergency responders
    • Co. Officers monitor & enforce their usage ?
    • SO carry spares ?
    • Vests on apparatus ? Assigned to each person ?
slide42

Traffic Safety Vests

ANSI Class II

ANSI Class I

lessons to reinforce44
Lessons to Reinforce
  • Personal Protective Equipment
    • Use of helmets and turnouts prevented more serious injuries at the Lionville incident.
  • Design safety features into all new apparatus
    • Use of better reflective markings on rear of apparatus
    • Space for storage of traffic control equipment
    • Design lighting to protect the incident scene
slide48

Lessons to Reinforce

  • Safety Officer assigned for scene safety
    • Scene hazards and traffic control
  • Accountability System in Place on ALL Incidents
    • Ability to account for all personnel on scene
    • Could you identify if any of your crew were under a vehicle that intruded on your scene ?
slide49

NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigations

  • NIOSH Report 99F-27 - August 5, 1999 Incident in Oklahoma - 2 Career firefighters were struck on an interstate; one was killed, and one with serious injuries
    • On the internet: < http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face9927.html >
  • NIOSH Report 99F-38 - September 27, 1999 Incident in South Carolina - Volunteer dies after being struck by a tractor trailer truck.
    • On the internet : < http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face9938.html >
slide50

NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation Recommendations

  • Establish, implement and enforce, standard operating procedures (SOP’s) regarding emergency operations for highway incidents.
  • Position apparatus to take advantage of topography and weather conditions (uphill / upwind) & protect firefighters from traffic.
  • First control oncoming vehicles before addressing the emergency event, in the event the police have not arrived.
  • Ensure that personnel position themselves and victims in a secure area, when it’s not possible to protect the incident scene.
  • (DOT) - Use of “variable message signs” to inform motorists of hazardous conditions or vehicular accidents.
slide51

NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation Recommendations

  • Ensure that personnel park or stage unneeded vehicles off the street / highway whenever possible.
  • Ensure that personnel wear personal protective clothing that is suitable to that incident while operating at an emergency scene such as a highly reflectorized flagger vest ( strong yellow green and orange ).
  • Ensure that personnel conducting traffic control measures use a highly visible stop / slow paddle.
  • Establish pre-incident plans for areas that have a higher rate of automobile incidents.
slide52

Take Action !

Awareness

Strategy &Tactics

Training

SOP’s

Equipment(New & Existing)

Leadership