For firefighters, taking care of their fire stations occupies a varying amount of time. A station‘s age, size, green space, overall footprint, crew size, and funding support are all factors in what is done around a station for maintenance. Many firefighters develop affection for their station that ranks with the rigs they ride and crews they work with. The duties around the station can usually be categorized as housekeeping and expanded to include lawn maintenance. Despite the rather mundane terms, unusual circumstances can occur that are worthy of sharing.
“I took the lawn mower out of the storage room to mow the lawn and I left the mower very close to the overhead door. The mower then rolled several inches and came to a stop when it hit the door. When the door was opened the handle of the mower caught on the door brace and was lifted off of the ground eight feet. As the door began its bend or turn at the top, it fell the entire eight feet and damaged one wheel.”
Who would have thought…? We chock the wheels of our apparatus, but the station mower? The central message here is to know your surroundings. Changes in ramp slopes, floors sloping in different directions to facilitate drainage, and general settling all contribute to creating rolling hazards. Parking the mower on the grass or paying attention to the roll factor can ensure the station mower doesn’t become airborne. Consider the following:
- How many “roll” hazards are evident at your station?
- What is your station/department policy regarding people/objects near overhead doors?
- What would your notification procedure be if this near miss had happened in your station?
- What would have to be done to the mower, post fall?
- Would an incident like this result in disciplinary action, or would your department look deeper into causal factors?
The reach of near-miss reports is virtually endless. With over 5000 reports in the system, there is no telling what will be submitted next. One thing is certain; every near miss submitted is a teaching moment other firefighters can benefit from to make it through another shift safely.
Have you experienced or heard of an unusual station near miss that others could learn from? Submit your report to www.firefighternearmiss.com today so everyone goes home tomorrow. For more on the value of firefighter near-miss reporting, CLICK HERE.
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.