Apparatus & Equipment, Firefighting, Health & Safety, Truck Company

National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System: Dropped Irons Just Miss

The daily apparatus and equipment check is essential to ensure your rig is in operational ready condition. The comprehensive process involves a number of steps, including ensuring all equipment is secured in the cab and compartments. In this week’s featured report, the engineer of the truck relays an all too familiar near miss that occurs at a seemingly innocent task.

“It was at the beginning of a shift and I was doing my daily truck check. I did the task in my normal manner, starting on the left from front to back…when I opened the fifth compartment; the set of irons fell out and landed about an inch from my foot. The set of irons consisted of an axe, halligan tool and a k-tool strapped together. The irons were not strapped together properly and the blade of the axe was facing out. The axe blade was the part that hit the ground first with enough force and weight to cut into…”

Many of us take the daily truck check for granted. One interesting point to note is the methodical approach the engineer describes. A “normal manner” is mentioned, suggesting there is a common practice followed each and every shift, while this engineer performed this vital function. However, what isn’t normal is the attention to detail given the tools before the engineer opened the compartment door. Once you have read the entire account (CLICK HERE), consider the following:

1. Do you have a “normal manner” in which you conduct your daily truck check?
2. Why do you follow the procedure/steps you do in your “normal manner”?
3. Is your department NFPA 1901 compliant when it comes to securing tools and other potential projectiles on the department apparatus?
4. The reporter notes that the “…irons were not strapped together properly…” Describe three scenarios that would have led to this oversight.
5. Given the scenarios in #4, what corrective actions could take place to prevent the tools from being placed back in the compartment without being properly secured? radio?

Have you experienced a near miss during apparatus check? Make somebody else’s morning go smoother by sharing your story on today so everyone goes home tomorrow.

Note: The questions posed by the reviewers are designed to generate discussion and thought in the name of promoting firefighter safety. They are not intended to pass judgment on the actions and performance of individuals in the reports.