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Old 01-12-2015, 07:13   #1
Tvov
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"I don't do traffic"

I am curious about firefighters who won't "do traffic".

Why or why not?
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:26   #2
4Rules
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In my experience, some people and departments are reluctant to voluntarily accept more responsibility beyond those specific jobs which are traditional to the fire service. Traffic control is sometimes regarded to be a job for law enforcement officers, and law enforcement agencies, rather than a job for the fire service.

Two hundred years of tradition, unimpeded by progress.
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Old 01-14-2015, 00:24   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tvov View Post
I am curious about firefighters who won't "do traffic".

Why or why not?
The Minnesota State Patrol and MNDOT have decided that the rural fire departments are incapable of traffic control and will not call them.
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:28   #4
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What I mean is doing traffic control at a fire/accident scene, especially an accident. Even if a couple cops are there, one of them is probably interviewing people involved in the accident. Inevitably you need at a minimum two people to direct traffic around fire engines, ambulances, and the accident itself. I've heard firefighters say very forcefully they won't "do traffic"... which I just don't understand. It is a job at an incident that needs to be done - by somebody. In many states (including Connecticut), if the Fire Dept is on scene they are technically "in charge", unless the situation demands a different arrangement. Being in charge of a scene includes traffic control.

I've been in my department for 19 years (volunteer). Those early years were the "gung ho" years for me, as with anyone. Racing to be the first one at a call, jumping in for the extrication, grabbing an airpack to go on the line and into the smoke. One thing I hated, and still hate, is standing around not doing anything - which usually starts soon after a scene gets under control. Waiting for the tow truck, waiting to be cleared from the fire scene... as anyone (should) know, there is always something to be done, and I would go out and help guys (usually the older members) direct traffic if I had nothing else to do. Also, being a volunteer, I need to get back to my regular job, so whatever I could do to speed up clearing the scene I did (and still do).

Now my knees are getting worse, and the odds of me wearing an airpack have dropped to near zero. I've got a bunch of stories of accidents (even plane crashes), extrications, fires, helping to move bodies, both still living and dead, etc. Instead of being one of those guys who quits the fire department because they can't wear an airpack anymore, I am staying in to help with all the other crap at a fire department that needs to get done... including the dreaded traffic control. I'm becoming one of the "old guys" working on the equipment back at the firehouse on weekends, doing truck checks, and painting the bathrooms. There is always something to be done.

And, I now help out with our Fire Police. I still drive the Rescue Truck and operate the pumps on the engines if needed, but when the situation calls for it, I don the dreaded slime green reflective vest, grab my light saber, and direct traffic. And more than a few times the Police (this includes State Police on the highway) will ask us to stay longer to help with traffic control until the scene can be fully taken care of.

Doing traffic sucks. But it needs to be done. I over heard one the younger guys in my dept make a comment last week about "I don't do traffic" (I kept my mouth shut), so I started this thread to ask the question about doing traffic, and also to rant a bit.

Thanks for letting me rant a bit, and remember to ask that old guy directing traffic around a scene if he needs a drink!
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Last edited by Tvov; 01-14-2015 at 10:58..
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:29   #5
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The Minnesota State Patrol and MNDOT have decided that the rural fire departments are incapable of traffic control and will not call them.
This is interesting... what happens at an accident scene if there are not enough police or DOT workers available?
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:30   #6
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You can tell I've become one of the "old guys"... look at the length of that post!
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Old 01-19-2015, 18:21   #7
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We don't direct traffic and people manage just fine.
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Old 01-19-2015, 20:21   #8
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I will direct traffic. I just don't like to because a lot of driver's attention is drawn to the bright lights and don't pay attention, almost running over someone (usually the one directing traffic, LOL).

Last edited by Pwhfirefighter; 01-19-2015 at 20:22..
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Old 01-19-2015, 21:21   #9
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I will direct traffic. I just don't like to because a lot of driver's attention is drawn to the bright lights and don't pay attention, almost running over someone (usually the one directing traffic, LOL).
All the more reason not to. We've had enough trucks hit to make one question the idea of a reflective vest making any difference.
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Old 01-20-2015, 07:10   #10
G115BA
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In NJ you are not allowed to direct traffic as a FF. If you do and another accident happens you are too going to get sued personally. You need to be a sworn fire police officer to direct traffic, then you are covered by the town.
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Old 01-24-2015, 20:24   #11
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Its like broccoli - I hate it but I'll do it when I have to....
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:23   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G115BA View Post
In NJ you are not allowed to direct traffic as a FF. If you do and another accident happens you are too going to get sued personally. You need to be a sworn fire police officer to direct traffic, then you are covered by the town.
Wow......

This boggles my mind a bit.



Side note: WTF is "Fire Police"? Is that some northeast thing?
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:49   #13
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Wow......

This boggles my mind a bit.



Side note: WTF is "Fire Police"? Is that some northeast thing?
Fire police are volunteer fire brigade/company members who receive sworn police powers, special training, and support firefighting efforts at moderate to major incidents. In addition to securing firefighting equipment, incident and fire scenes, and the station itself, Fire police perform traffic and crowd control. In some jurisdictions, fire police are exterior firefighters and may be called upon at fire scenes to perform any of the duties of an interior firefighter except those that require a self-contained breathing apparatus. On occasion, fire police also assist regular police: they perform road closures, traffic control, crowd control at public events, missing persons searches, parade details, salvage, security, and other miscellaneous tasks as requested.
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:43   #14
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I guess it is mostly a northeast "thing".

Wikipedia has a good write up - which, for some unknown reason, I can't post a link to on GlockTalk.

In Connecticut Fire Police don't have any kind of actual "police powers"... 99% of the job is traffic control at fire / incident scenes. It usually ends up being the "old timers" doing traffic. Our neighboring town used to have a large FP dept - a few times going mutual to the town was great, as at every intersection was a FP guy directing out of town fire apparatus which way to go.

Cos Cob in Connecticut has a large Fire Police:
http://ccfpp.org/
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:10   #15
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Interesting. Here, the only thing similar to firefighters with police powers are arson investigators and state fire marshals, and I've never heard of one directing traffic at an incident. Usually, here at least, it will be local LE, or sometimes security/traffic control companies (usually on private property, not public streets--like the security guys at our state fairgrounds).
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Old 01-28-2015, 03:22   #16
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Here in New Zealand, Fire Police were given the same powers as police when at the scene of a fire, crash, hazmat incident or whatever.

They were formed in the 1930s and initially used for crowd control / looting prevention, closing roads, etc.

These days they are called Operational Support and do the same sort of stuff, especially road closures and traffic control. They are automatically turned out to any second alarm or greater fire, or when requested.

They also run canteen units and have a mobile toilet and shower trailer for long duration jobs, like the Christchurch earthquakes a few years ago.

It's great when they arrive and take over when you have hose across a busy road, then offer to roll it all up at the end of the job while you have a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit at their canteen.

A link to the Auckland Operational Support website (the busiest volunteer brigade in the country) http://www.aucklandoperationalsupport.org.nz/




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Old 01-28-2015, 08:24   #17
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Interesting to read about the history Sniff, especially the fire in the '30s that initiated them. Naval officers with bayonets doing crowd control at a fire!
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Old 01-29-2015, 00:17   #18
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Interesting to read about the history Sniff, especially the fire in the '30s that initiated them. Naval officers with bayonets doing crowd control at a fire!
New Zealand's main Naval Base is in our station's area.

Over the last 130 or so years sailors have been an important back up at some of the larger fires.

In the 1950s the Navy purchased a foam tender that was housed at the Devonport Fire Station. It was specifically for responding to any fires at the bulk fuel installation on base.

It was owned by the Navy, but housed and operated by the Devonport Brigade.

Brigade website:

http://www.dvfb.org.nz/a/dvfb.org.nz/dvfb/

Devonport is a composite brigade with both full time professional crews and volunteers providing extra cover on nights and weekends.



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Old 02-25-2015, 12:38   #19
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We do not do traffic, that's what cops are for. We block the scene with the rig, use cones to block the scene and divert traffic in some way that makes sense. If necessary I'll call police for traffic control. We only run four to an engine, some places run shorter than that. If you take a guy off the incident to direct traffic it just leaves you that much shorter personnel wise for handling the incident.
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Old 03-18-2015, 13:00   #20
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I am not paid to do traffic. I am paid to do fire and EMS is why.

I work as a career fireman/paramedic on the busiest apparatus in the state, in a city of a million people. Traffic just isn't my job. I already do a minimum of 12 runs a day with many over 18-20 in 24 hours. I might wave someone past the engine sitting in the street but I am not going to stand there longer than about 5 seconds doing so. Just don't have the time.

Directing traffic is a police matter here.
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