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Operating Emergency Vehicles. Sugar Land Fire Department Driver/Operator—Pumper Academy Spring 2003. Operating Emergency Vehicles. Operating Emergency Vehicles. Collision Statistics & Causes Driving Regulations Starting & Driving the Apparatus

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Operating emergency vehicles

Operating Emergency Vehicles

Sugar Land Fire Department

Driver/Operator—Pumper Academy

Spring 2003

Operating emergency vehicles2
Operating Emergency Vehicles

  • Collision Statistics & Causes

  • Driving Regulations

  • Starting & Driving the Apparatus

  • Stopping, Idling, & Shutting Down the Apparatus

  • Safe Driving Techniques

  • Backing the Apparatus

Operating emergency vehicles3
Operating Emergency Vehicles

  • Defensive Driving Techniques

  • Weight Transfer & Skid Control

  • Auxiliary Braking Systems

  • Passing Other Vehicles

  • Adverse Weather

  • Warning Devices & Clearing Traffic

Collision statistics causes
Collision Statistics & Causes

  • Overweight, unstable, “homebuilt” vehicles with high centers of gravity and worn out chassis.

  • Improperly baffled water tanks, which cause liquid surge when partially filled

  • Poor maintenance of apparatus, particularly of brake systems

Collision statistics causes1
Collision Statistics & Causes

Time of Day # of collisions

Daylight 108 (51%)

Dawn/Dusk 23 (11%)

Night 58 (27%)

Unknown 23 (11%)

IUP study

Collision statistics causes2
Collision Statistics & Causes

Road Conditions # of Collisions

Dry Road 130 (61%)

Wet Road 22 (10.5%)

Snow/Ice 28 (13%)

Muddy Road 1 (0.5%)

Unknown 32 (15%)

IUP study

Causes of driver operator error
Causes of Driver/Operator Error

  • Insufficient Training

  • Unfamiliarity with the Vehicle

  • Overconfidence in One’s Driving Ability

  • Inability to recognize a dangerous situation

  • False sense of security because of a good driving record

  • Misunderstanding of apparatus capabilities

  • Lack of knowledge about how to operate apparatus controls in an emergency

Driving regulations
Driving Regulations

  • Regulatory agencies that govern fire apparatus driver/operators

    • Federal laws

    • State or provincial motor vehicle codes

    • City ordinances

    • NFPA standards

    • Departmental Policies

Driving regulations1
Driving Regulations

  • Unless specifically exempt, emergency vehicles are subject to the same rules, regulations, and ordinances that govern any motorized vehicle operator.

  • In some jurisdictions, statutes may exempt emergency vehicles responding to an emergency from driving regulations that apply to the general public: direction of travel, direction of turns, parking etc.

Driving regulations2
Driving Regulations

  • When exempted from general public regulations, the driver/operator must exercise great care for the safety of others and must maintain complete control of the vehicle

  • All traffic signals and rules must be obeyed when returning to quarters from an alarm or during any other nonemergency driving

Starting driving the apparatus
Starting & Driving the Apparatus

  • Always consult the manufacturer’s operating manual, supplied with each vehicle, for instructions specific to the vehicle

  • Start the vehicle as soon as possible so that it is warmed up when the rest of the crew is assembled and ready to respond.

Starting driving the apparatus1
Starting & Driving the Apparatus

  • Let the apparatus idle as long as possible before putting it into road gear—for nonemergency response this could be 3 to 5 minutes, for an emergency response it may be only a few seconds.

  • Take the time to review the incident location and consider important factors that may affect the response such as road closings and traffic conditions.

Manual shift apparatus
Manual Shift Apparatus

  • Make safety checks before moving the apparatus: seatbelt fastened, all aboard, mirrors and seat adjusted, battery on, etc.

  • After releasing the parking brake, shift into a low gear that will allow the vehicle to move without undue wear on the engine.

Manual shift apparatus1
Manual Shift Apparatus

  • Release the clutch slowly when starting from a standstill, taking care to avoid vehicle rollback before the clutch engages.

  • Keep the apparatus in low gear until the proper speed or revolutions per minute (RPM) is reached for shifting to a higher gear.

Automatic transmissions1
Automatic Transmissions

  • Do not attempt to jump more than one gear at a time.

  • Once the apparatus is moving, accelerate the vehicle gradually

  • Do not try to reach rated speed in the low gears.

Automatic transmissions2
Automatic Transmissions

  • Stay in the highest gear that allows the apparatus to keep up with traffic and still have some power in reserve for acceleration.

  • Attempt to maintain engine rpm control through correct throttling

  • Avoid over throttling, which results in lugging.

Automatic transmissions3
Automatic Transmissions

  • Do not allow the engine rpm to drop below peak torque speed if lugging does occur.

  • When ascending a steep grade, and momentary unavoidable lugging takes place, select progressively lower gears.

  • Do not allow the engine to over speed because of improper downshifting or hill descent; instead, choose a gear that cruises the speed at 200 or 300 rpm lower than recommended rpm

Stopping idling shutting down the apparatus
Stopping, Idling, & Shutting Down the Apparatus

  • Stopping the Apparatus

    • Before braking, consider the weight of the apparatus and the condition of the brakes, tires, and road surface.

    • If the unit has a retarder become thoroughly familiar with all the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding its operation prior to use.

Stopping idling shutting down the apparatus1
Stopping, Idling, & Shutting Down the Apparatus

  • Do not disengage the clutch until the last few feet of travel, particularly on slippery surfaces, because an engaged engine allows more control of the apparatus.

  • Engine Idling

    • Shut down the engine rather than letting it idle for a long period of time.

  • Stopping idling shutting down the apparatus2
    Stopping, Idling, & Shutting Down the Apparatus

    • When the engine must be left to idle for an extended period of time because of extremely cold weather or during floodlight operations, set it to idle at 900 to 1100rpm rather than at lower speeds.

    • Familiarize yourself with and follow your department’s SOP for times when the apparatus may be forced to idle for an extended period of time.

    Stopping idling shutting down the apparatus3
    Stopping, Idling, & Shutting Down the Apparatus

    • Engine Shutdown

      • Never attempt to shut down the engine while the apparatus is in motion

      • Never shut down immediately after full-load operation; instead, allow the engine temperature to stabilize by idling it 3 to 4 minutes before shutdown.

    Driver operator attitude
    Driver/Operator Attitude

    • Train yourself to be safety conscious and calm

    • Do not drive recklessly or aggressively

    • Do not demand the right of way although you may legally have it.

    • Be prepared to yield the right of way at all times in the interest of safety

    Driver operator attitude1
    Driver/Operator Attitude

    • Drive as you would during nonemergency situations, and take advantage of the room that clears for you on the road.

    • Consider the fire department’s public image and do not drive recklessly, make degrading gestures, or verbal assaults toward members of the public.

    Driver operator attitude2
    Driver/Operator Attitude

    • Refrain from blaring sirens and air horns at 3 a.m. on deserted roads (unless required by law or department SOP)

    Rider safety guidelines
    Rider Safety Guidelines

    • Know that you are responsible for the safety of all personnel riding on the apparatus

    • Make sure that all riders should don their protective gear before boarding the apparatus.

    • If you (as the driver) are not comfortable driving the apparatus wearing fire boots or bulky protective coat, you may don your protective clothing at the scene.

    Guidelines for backing apparatus
    Guidelines for Backing Apparatus

    • If two spotters are used, only one should communicate with the driver; the second spotter should assist the first one.

    • If you do not have spotters or cannot see the spotters behind you, do not back the apparatus.

    • Ensure that all of your department’s apparatus are equipped with an alarm system that warns others when the apparatus is backing up.

    Weight transfer skid control1
    Weight Transfer & Skid Control

    • Methods of avoiding loss of control due to weight transfer.

      • Use only as much steering as needed to keep weight transfer to a minimum

      • Use smooth and continuous steering.

      • Drive slowly on curves and turns.

      • Do not drive on slopes too steep for the particular apparatus

    Weight transfer skid control2
    Weight Transfer & Skid Control

    • Equip apparatus with baffled water tanks.

    • Drive the vehicle only when the water tank is completely empty or full.

    Weight transfer skid control3
    Weight Transfer & Skid Control

    • Common Causes of Skids

      • Driving too fast for road conditions

      • Failing to properly appreciate weight shifts of heavy apparatus.

      • Failing to anticipate obstacles

      • Improper use of auxiliary braking devices

      • Improper maintenance of tire air pressure

      • Improper maintenance of tire tread depth

    Weight transfer skid control4
    Weight Transfer & Skid Control

    • Antilock Braking System (ABS)

      • Purpose—Minimize the chance of skidding when the brakes are applied forcefully

      • Operation—A digital onboard computer monitors each wheel and controls air pressure to the brakes, maintaining optimal braking ability

    Weight transfer skid control5
    Weight Transfer & Skid Control

    • Guidelines for controlling skids

      • When driving a vehicle equipped with an ABS, maintain a steady pressure on the brake pedal (rather than pumping the pedal) until the apparatus is brought to a complete halt.

      • Remember that with air brakes, there is a slight delay between the time the driver/operator pushes down on the brake pedal and the time that sufficient air pressure is sent to the brake for operation.

    Weight transfer skid control6
    Weight Transfer & Skid Control

    • When driving a vehicle not equipped with an ABS, release the brakes, allowing the wheels to rotate freely.

    • No matter what braking system, turn the steering wheel so that the front wheels face the direction of the skid.

    • When driving standard transmission apparatus, do not release the clutch until the vehicle is under control and just before stopping the vehicle

    Weight transfer skid control7
    Weight Transfer & Skid Control

    • Once the skid is controllable, gradually apply power to the wheels to further control the vehicle by providing traction.

    Auxiliary braking systems
    Auxiliary Braking Systems

    • Engine Retarder

      • Saves wear on the service brakes and makes the apparatus easier to manage on hills and slippery roads.

      • Is activated when pressure is released from the accelerator

      • Allows the driver/operator to limit the use of the service brakes to emergency and final stops

    Auxiliary braking systems1
    Auxiliary Braking Systems

    • Front brake-limiting valve system (dry road/slippery road switch)

      • Is intended to help the driver/operator maintain control of the apparatus on wet, slippery surfaces

      • Is activated when switch is moved to the slippery-road position

    Auxiliary braking systems2
    Auxiliary Braking Systems

    • Reduces air pressure on front steering axle by 50% thus preventing the front wheels from locking up and allowing the driver/operator to steer the vehicle even when the rear wheels are locked into a skid

    • Is not overly effective or safe because with the switch in the slippery-road position, braking capabilities are actually reduced by 25%

    Auxiliary braking systems3
    Auxiliary Braking Systems

    • Should be placed in the dry-road position and disconnected as recommended by IFSTA

  • Interaxle differential lock

    • Is intended to provide greater traction for each axle

    • Is activated with a switch in the cab of apparatus with tandem rear axles

    • Allows for a difference in speed between the two rear axles, while providing pulling power from each axle, and providing improved traction.

  • Auxiliary braking systems4
    Auxiliary Braking Systems

    • Automatic Traction Control (ATC)

      • Helps improve traction on slippery roads

      • Reduces drive wheel over spin by decreasing engine speed as needed until traction is acquired to move the chassis.

      • Has no switch for the driver/operator to select; automatically turns itself on and off.

      • Is engaged when a green indicator light on the dash illuminates

    Auxiliary braking systems5
    Auxiliary Braking Systems

    • ATC snow-and-mud switch

      • Increases available traction on extra soft surfaces and may be used to “rock” an apparatus out of a particular spot

      • Is activated with a switch and engaged when an indicator light on dash flashes continuously

      • Should be deactivated (by pressing switch a second time and turning off vehicle ignition) when normal traction is regained.

    Interaxle differential lock
    Interaxle Differential lock

    • Leave in unlocked position under normal conditions; move to the locked position only when approaching or anticipating slippery-road conditions.

    • Lift your foot from the accelerator when activating an interaxle differential lock

    • Do not activate this switch while on or more of the wheels is actually slipping or spinning; damage to the axle could result.

    Interaxle differential lock1
    Interaxle Differential lock

    • Do not spin the wheel with the interaxle differential locked; damage to the axle could result.

    Atc how it works
    ATC—how it works

    • When a drive wheel starts to spin, the ATC applies air pressure to brake the wheel. This transfers engine torque to the wheels with better traction.

    • When all drive wheels begin to spin, the ATC reduces the engine torque to provide improved traction.

    Passing other vehicles
    Passing Other Vehicles

    • Whenever possible, avoid passing vehicles that do not pull over to yield the right-of-way to the fire apparatus.

    • Always travel on the innermost lane on multilane roads.

    • Avoid passing vehicles on the right

    • Make sure you can see that the opposing lanes of traffic are clear of oncoming traffic if you must move in that direction.

    Passing other vehicles1
    Passing Other Vehicles

    • Avoid passing other emergency vehicles

    • Always coordinate by radio when passing emergency vehicles

    • Flash your high beam lights to get the driver’s attention when preparing to pass.

    Adverse weather
    Adverse Weather

    • Adjust apparatus speed according to the condition of road surfaces.

    • Decrease speed gradually before entering curves.

    • Know and anticipate areas that become slippery first: Bridge surfaces, northern slopes of hills, shaded spots…

    Adverse weather1
    Adverse Weather

    • Test the brakes in an area free of traffic

    • Use the windshield wipers and defrosters to keep the windshield clean and clear.

    • Snow tires or tire chains reduce the stopping distance but increase starting and hill climbing traction on snow or ice.

    Adverse weather2
    Adverse Weather

    • Increase the safe following distance between vehicles.

    • It takes 3 to 15 times more distance for a vehicle to come to a complete stop on snow and ice than it does on dry concrete.

    Warning devices clearing traffic
    Warning Devices & Clearing Traffic

    • Civilian drivers respond better to sounds that change pitch often.

    • Take care not to “outrun” the effective range of siren

    • Operate warning devices from the time the apparatus begins its response until it arrives on the scene.

    Warning devices clearing traffic1
    Warning Devices & Clearing Traffic

    • Use some discretion in the use of sirens when responding to sensitive situations such as psychiatric emergencies.

    • Limit use to true emergency response situations according to your department’s SOP’s.

    • If not contraindicated by department SOP’s, turn off all warning devices and proceed with the normal flow of traffic when driving on limited-access highways and turnpikes

    Warning devices clearing traffic2
    Warning Devices & Clearing Traffic

    • When more than one emergency vehicle is responding along the same route, travel at least 300-500 feet apart.

    • Use the radio to communicate between responding units when approaching the same intersection.

    • Always take precautions to ensure a safe, collision free response.

    Traffic control devices
    Traffic Control Devices

    • Traffic signals in front of the fire station

    • Multiple traffic signal control

    • OpticomTM System

    • SONEM 2000 System

    Good driving practices
    Good Driving Practices

    • Remember that speed is less important than arriving safely at the destination.

    • Slow down for intersections, and stop when faced with a red light or stop sign. Anticipate the worst possible situation

    • Drive defensively!

    • Expect that some motorists and pedestrians will neither hear nor see the apparatus warning devices

    Good driving practices1
    Good Driving Practices

    • Be aware of the route’s general road and traffic conditions.

    • Remember that icy, wet, or snow-packed roads increase braking distance.

    • Do not grind the gears on manual transmission vehicles

    • Do not use the clutch pedal as a footrest

    Good driving practices2
    Good Driving Practices

    • Do not exceed 10 mph when leaving the station

    • Do not race the engine when the apparatus is standing still.

    • Always use low gear when starting from a standstill.

    • Keep the apparatus under control at all times.

    • Taking NOTHING for granted!