National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System: Returning to Station

Near misses at fire stations are nothing new. The comfort zone of the station lulls us into a false sense of safety because we get accustomed to all the peculiarities of the station’s parking lot, footprint on the lot, and nuances of getting the apparatus back in quarters.

“…This morning we had an oncoming member’s personal vehicle parked along the right side of our driveway. While moving slowly and hugging that right side, the member came out of the bay and stood in front of his vehicle where he motioned to the engineer if he needed to move his car. The Engineer motioned back to the member that he did not need to…Unknown to us in the engine, the oncoming member had stepped in between the moving engine and his personal vehicle. As our tail end swung around, it pinned him in between the engine and his car. Luckily, (if you can call it luck) it rolled him between the two vehicles and pushed him out towards the front of his car. We heard screams and…”

Narrow driveways. Station bay openings built for 1920s to 1950s apparatus. Station bays holding twice as much apparatus as they were designed for. Drive-thru bays that are no longer drive thru. All of these situations plague crews on a daily basis as they respond to and return from calls. Most days everything goes without a hitch. Then one or more factors changes and the “norm” becomes a near miss. Once you have read the entire account (CLICK HERE), share the following with your crewmembers.

1. How many obstacles can you identify around the driving paths of your station that could lead to a near miss?
2. What solutions are available to reduce the hazards identified in Question 1?
3. Are there “no parking” areas around your station that members routinely park in during shift change or short stops? Why are the areas “no parking”?
4. Does your department have any SOPs or operational orders pertaining to operating around moving vehicles?
5. There are at least three people involved in this week’s report. Which one, in your opinion, carries the greatest responsibility for the incident occurring and why?

Take 15 minutes to submit your near miss to today. The 15 minute investment could provide a lifetime to another firefighter.

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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