Friday, December 19, 2008

Apparatus block saves Troopers lives

Wildland firefighters often find themselves working on the side of a road at a fire or a vehicle accident. We have heard stories about drunk drivers being drawn to flashing amber lights on emergency vehicles, like moths to a flame. Protecting the workers at the scene should be job number one.

On February 16 Wildfire Today covered a lawsuit that was won by a firefighter in Hazelwood, Missouri after he was arrested by a police officer for refusing to move a fire engine that was strategically placed to protect firefighters working to extricate a victim at an accident scene. The jury awarded the fire captain $17,500, saying, "We wanted to make a statement that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated."

Billy G. at The Secret List has two similar stories about another arrest and how using fire apparatus to block a scene saved lives.
DEJA VUE...ALL OVER AGAIN: Apparatus blocking Saves Troopers Lives:
Remember wayyyy back in November of 2006 when a N.J. Deputy Fire Chief was arrested on I-80 and held in handcuffs for two hours? Those irrational actions followed an argument with the New Jersey State Police trooper after the Chief refused to move the blocking/protecting apparatus on Route 80. D/C Robert Jenkins of the Rockaway Township FD was charged with disobeying a state trooper and disorderly conduct after arguing with that trooper at the scene of the crash. A second firefighter who drove the apparatus also was ticketed following the conflict. Thoughtless, reckless criminals!...in the eyes of that trooper.

Well-it all worked out in the end, but man oh man, the emotions and the personalities. We have always been advocates of planning ahead with all area cops for blocking and protecting the scene...shut the road down if you have to...to protect ALL the Firefighters and other emergency service personnel on the scene. Well..now, fast forward to YESTERDAY in NJ on the very same roadway....

YESTERDAY 4 New Jersey State Police troopers escaped certain death when a tractor-trailer plowed into their accident scene on icy Interstate 80 (yep-the same I-80) in Hope. The troopers (along with FF's) were operating at a crash when a tractor-trailer lost control just before 0530 hours. The tractor-trailer skidded into another vehicle that spun out on the icy lanes. The rig then smashed into the BLOCKING FIRE APPARATUS and 2 state police cruisers that had responded to the previous crash. Others along with 4 troopers escaped serious injury and NJSP officials believe it worked out well because the fire apparatus was able to block their patrol cars from taking the direct hit. Their police cruisers were totaled..but they weren't.

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