Extrication Zone, Technical Rescue

Elevators, Trains, and Automobiles: Sizing Up Passenger-Occupied Transportation Machinery

Issue 09 and Volume 172.

BY BRIAN BUTLER AND MARK GREGORY Working around “moving” machinery occupied with numerous passengers presents various hazards to firefighters, especially since it’s the fire department that is summoned first during an emergency. We can no longer rely just on the experienced company officers and rescue personnel to recognize the dangers associated with these types of machines. Elevators, trains, and automobiles transport millions of passengers every day. They are examples of “moving” machinery and are usually occupied with numerous passengers. The fire service must start identifying any machine that is passenger occupied and moving as “transportation” machinery, which would include elevators, escalators, passenger trains, and light rail. “Target hazard” vehicles include buses loaded with passengers, heavy trucks, recreation vehicles (RVs) carrying propane, alternative fuel vehicles, car haulers, sanitation trucks, roll-offs, and school buses. Vehicles transporting dangerous products or carrying the elderly and handicapped are additional types of high-risk transportation machinery that…

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