In the last two weeks in Oklahoma, three fighters engaged in
wildland firefighting responses are known to have sustained serious injuries
due to being hit by vehicles. While
each of the three individuals are expected to make a full recovery from their
injuries, the outcome from each incident could have proved fatal.
Since the peak of Oklahoma’s Spring Fire Season is rapidly
approaching, please take the time to develop or review your Department’s
protocols for roadside response. Below
are a few Tactical Considerations* to consider when responding to wildfires
that occur near a roadway:
Anytime traffic flow is affected by the incident, contact the jurisdictional
law enforcement agency for assistance.
Conduct all operations as far from traffic lanes as possible to provide for
crew and public safety.
Park units on the same side of the roadway whenever possible to avoid traffic
Exit the fire apparatus away from the roadway or where hazard exposure is
Exit the fire apparatus with full personal protective equipment.
Post a lookout to watch for and control oncoming traffic.
Utilize forward and rear spotters when visibility is impaired or road
Utilize and place traffic warning signs whenever possible
If equipment needs to be removed from the traffic side of the apparatus, one
person will retrieve the equipment and a lookout will watch for oncoming
Engine operators will operate pumps from the non-traffic side or from the cab
of the apparatus when possible. Keep all hose, fire tools, and equipment out of
traffic lanes when possible.
Ensure apparatus emergency lighting and headlights are in use to maximize
During night operations firefighters should maximize visibility by utilizing
reflective clothing, vests and other safety equipment such as headlamps as
During daylight and low visibility roadside responses, wear hi-visibility clothing
to maximize safety.
All emergency responses on roadways will be concluded as quickly as possible to
reduce personnel exposure.
NOTE: Each agency emergency vehicle operator
should follow State laws and department/agency policies governing the
operations of emergency vehicles.
* For a full text of Roadside Incident Response and many
other pertinent wildfire safety topics visit the Wildfire Lessons Learned
website at http://www.wildfirelessons.net
Other valuable reference documents concerning Responder
safety from the U.S. Fire Administration can be found at the following
Emergency Vehicle and Roadway Operations Safety https://www.usfa.fema.gov/operations/ops_vehicle.html
Emergency Responder Safety Institute - http://www.respondersafety.com/
Posted on Tue, March 1, 2016
by Communications filed under