National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System: All By Myself…

Police assists are an incident type fire departments respond to thousands of times a year. The interaction that results builds a strong bond between the two agencies that promotes better working relationships and understanding of the role each agency plays in providing public safety. In this week’s near-miss, two agencies come together for this seemingly harmless incident, which serves as a warning notice to be on guard at all times.

“At approximately 2000 hours, a severe wind storm came through and several trees were downed. I was toned out to a tree down blocking a roadway. I responded to the scene and advised my captain, who was also enroute, that I needed no additional resources. I proceeded to cut the tree limbs back to clear the roadway. What I didn’t realize was that the shoulder of the road was washed away and I was directly over a drain culvert…

…While cutting the limbs, I stepped off the roadway and fell approximately six feet, until a vine from the tree caught the underside of my leg. With a running chainsaw in my hand, I attempted to reach…”

There are few areas of the country that are unaffected by storms. Damage created by storms range from inconvenience to devastation. The call demand from storms cause fire departments to modify their response models to handle the increased call load. The increased demand for service puts pressure on responders to proceed into action as quickly as possible, with as few resources as necessary so the demands for service can be met in a timely manner. Once you have reviewed the complete version of this week’s report (CLICK HERE), consider the following:

1. Does your department have a policy on operating in teams of two for all incidents?
2. What type(s) of auxiliary lighting has been provided on your apparatus?
3. Does your department remove downed trees after storms?
4. Have your members received formal training in the use of chain saws?
5. What are the OSHA (or state plan) rules for operating chain saws in your jurisdiction?

Have you fallen because of inadequate lighting? Submit your report to today and keep your fellow firefighters on their toes.

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.

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