12/27/08 62 W, 1 I - + 14 - 14 This Afternoon's MVA / Brier Creek Parkway

Motor-vehicle accident with injuries on Glenwood Avenue and Brier Creek Parkway. Two vehicles, with entrapments and a reported ejection. Nine patients transported. One fatality later reported by news media. Raleigh Engine 24, Ladder 23, Rescue 14, Battalion 4; Bethesda Engine 461, Bethesda 100; Six Forks EMS 123, 121, 122; Cary EMS 54, 51, District 5; Wake EMS 15, District 1. Dispatched 3:56 p.m. Click to enlarge photo by Legeros:

Gotta give credit to the folks on the scene there. I happened to catch it all on the radio and I know they had their hands full, but I never heard one raised voice. Excellent job guys!
yfd482 - 12/27/08 - 23:40

Just to keep the record straight, CHIEF 100 was nowhere near this one (actually, I was at EMS 5 listening in). I was listening, however, and thought that the initial responders did a great job sorting out a complex incident.

Skip (Email) - 12/28/08 - 10:54

Bethesda Engine 421, Chief 100 corrected to Bethesda Engine 421, Bethesda 100.
Legeros - 12/28/08 - 10:57

Spelling of Brier Creek correct, too! Photos posting in a few.
Legeros - 12/28/08 - 11:16

Not trying to stir anything up, but it appears there are several firefighters operating on scene without wearing traffic safety vests. Remember: turnouts do not qualify as an equal amount of protection in traffic.

I’m assuming that the yellow vests are EMS personnel.
harkey (Email) (Web Site) - 12/28/08 - 18:23

So, if you are suggesting that a firefighter needs to wear a traffic safety vest on top of his/her turn-out gear, than perhaps turn-out gear should come with more reflective striping. I think it is ridiculous to have to wear a vest over your turn-outs!
J. McAdams - 12/29/08 - 00:25

there has been a change to the standards for wearing traffic vest. Firefighters do not have to wear a vest over turnout gear unless they are directly involving in directing traffic. The standards were changed due to traffic vests causing additional problems while fire fighters perform their duties.
fyi - 12/29/08 - 00:34

Hopefully the top turnout gear agencies will just add striping to the gear so it’ll meet “the standard”. Plus, I’m not “certified” to direct traffic; that’s why PD uses a few days at Gorman and Western during their academy!! If it came down to court testimony, and I was asked “Mr.Silver, how much training do you have directing traffic”? I’d have to answer that one with “None”, to which the attorney would reply “no further questions”.
Silver - 12/29/08 - 00:40

Not to dispute anyone’s “concern” for safety, but unless it is a department policy, a safety vest would not be required over turnout gear on this call. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) ANSI vest standard applies to Federal-aid Highways.
Scottie (Email) - 12/29/08 - 08:33

You don’t “need” to be certified to direct traffic. It’s just nice to be able to say that you have been instructed on the “proper” way. But really, how hard is it to direct traffic? If anything, people need to be “certified” in how to follow directions from someone directing traffic.

It was so bad out there that for a while, we had a civilian doing traffic direction at a low flow location to help us out due to the shortage of officers available…......

But good work out there folks.
RPD - 12/29/08 - 14:16

The issue with turnout gear is not so much with the reflective striping as it is with the background material.

PLEASE, watch this video at respondersafety.com:


Additional info at FireNews.net:


“fyi” I don’t know where your infomation is from, but your post is incorrect. The standards were not changed. Here’s the easy rule to remember: if you are wearing SCBA, no vest is needed. If you are operating in traffic w/out SCBA, wear a vest. The standards have nothing to do with directing traffic or not. If you are struck by a vehicle, is it going to be better/worse because your were on a federally funded highway? The answer is no. Wear the vest at traffic incidents.
harkey (Email) (Web Site) - 12/29/08 - 21:49

#1 You need to follow your Department’s SOP’s, whatever they may be.

Personally I don’t believe that traffic vests and fire helments are going to significantly reduce injuries on busy highways. We need better traffic control methods, if that means shutting the road down then that is what needs to be done. We have to slow the vehicles down! No moving vehicles means no injuries (PERIOD). But since that is easier said than done, it is also the responsibility of the responders to be aware of their envoirnment and expect for people not to see them and act accordingly. And just my two cents, fire helments are useless unless its keeping the rain off your face.
gen3fire - 12/29/08 - 23:27

Perhaps a dumb question here, but… if you don a vest each and every time you are stepping into a traffic situation— and regardless if your agency SOPs require same— what’s the down side?
Legeros - 12/30/08 - 09:03

I spoke yesterday with Dr. Nadine Levick, who is one of the nation’s top authorities on responder safety (see http://www.objectivesafety.com). She confirmed for me that the new “safety vest standard” was altered three days before final publication to say that firefighters wearing turnouts don’t have to wear traffic safety vests, because the vests were not fireproof.

I’m concerned because it seems people are posting information here based on what they “think” that might mislead others in this hugely important area. We need to be guided by facts and evidence, not what we “think.”

First – it’s not the reflective stripes that make turnouts ineffective. It’s the background colors – black or PBI tan. They are nowhere near as close to visible as safety yellow/green).

Second – the fire service argument about “not fireproof” falls of its own weight. Check the data on firefighter fatalies for the last upteen years. MANY are on highways. MOST involve either vehicle crashes or firefighters struck. NONE involve firefighters getting burned because they weren’t in flameproof clothing! Heck, you see personnel operating at MVC scenes all the time in incomplete turnout gear, and none of those get immolated either!

Third, for the chap who said that the vest standards only apply on federal highways – not so. The feds have created what we lawyers call a “de facto standard of care” – while maybe the federal government can only enforce it themselves on federally funded highways (which MIGHT include Glenwood Avenue or any other street that the city got a grant for), it will be used as evidence of employer negligence in any civil suit in any court in any jurisdiction.

What’s more important? Convenience? Looking cool? Or doing everything possible to not get killed? We should all be smart enough to do the right thing regardless of the rules, or our leaders should have the courage to require us to do it. Anything else, we run the risk of bagpipes playing Honor Our Fallen. Getting killed because you were stupid is not very honorable. For no reason, it makes your family, friends, and agency suffer.

Do the right thing and BE SAFE!


Skip Kirkwood (Email) - 12/30/08 - 10:54

Firefighters or other emergency responders working within the right-of way of a Federal-aid highway and engaged in emergency operations that directly expose them to flame, fire, heat, and/or hazardous materials may wear retro-reflective turn-out gear that is specified and regulated by other organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association. Firefighters or other emergency responders working within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway and engaged in any other types of operations shall wear high-visibility safety apparel.

FF’s are only exempt when engaged in operations where the vest poses a safety issue, when operating in suppression activities or haz-mat incidents. If you are standing there spreading absorbant, or standing at a pump panel or other stuff like that you are not exempt. This is according to the wording of the law, not an opinion.

Quite frankly this is only one part to a “safe” scene. It also includes proper blocking, apparatus placement, cone placement and keeping your heads on a swivel. There have been dozens of apparatus hit recently and even LODD’s due to incidents on roadways. Do all you can to prevent these, use your apparatus to block, shut down the road, wear your vests and helmets, post advanced warning vehicles and signage. Why do we always try to buck the things that are in place to help us do our job safer so we can go home to our families in the morning?

The easiest policy to remember is if your feet are on the street your vest is on your chest. What harm does it do?
CFP 7021 (Email) - 12/30/08 - 11:54

OK…different perspective. Over the past 35 years I have known (personally known) 4 emergency personnel who were struck and KILLED by errant motorists. None of them were engaged in directing traffic; they were providing care, extricating patients, or standing by with a charged line. And only one was killed on a major roadway.

We (all of us) need to take the proper precautions. We need to take EVERY precaution to make ourselves visible and to protect ourselves. Maybe yellow turnout gear needs to come back (I always liked it). Maybe we need to get away from black turnouts and helmets (finally). There are no ‘routine’ calls when we are standing in the street.

I would would like to echo a couple of things already said, from the aged-paramedic point of view.

To my firefighting brothers and sisters:

1. Please leave room for my ambulance so that your big fire truck is between oncoming traffic and my fragile aluminum box of an ambulance. Even if I am in the ‘safety’ of my ambulance, these units are not exactly crash worthy. Google search ambulance wrecks and check it out for yourself.

2. I don’t care what the cops say, shut the road down. My parents buried two of their kids, and my mother does not need to bury the last one. Our safety is more important than keeping any roads around here open. If the cops arrest you, I’ll help post your bail.

3. Wear the vests. Maybe if you are on a hose line, or in close proximity to flammable/ combustible liquids, you can spare it. I don’t know, if that PBi is all it is cracked up to be, it should not be a problem. Seems like they all come off pretty easy. Or maybe the NFPA can write a standard for NOMEX traffic vests (I saw them one time years ago).

4. And if you are blocking for me, please do not leave until I am ready to leave (remember my non-crashworthy ambulance?). You look after me and I will look after you.

To my EMS brothers and sisters-

1. Wear the vest. Keep in the door pocket or on the dashboard, but put it on.

2. Two of the friends of mine who were killed died of head injuries that could have been prevented if they had had some sort of helmet with a chinstrap. Think about wearing your helmet, with the chinstrap.

3. Make sure there is a big fire truck between you and oncoming traffic. On a 29B8 on any sort of busy to kind-of-busy road, request fire units to respond as you are leaving the station (29B8 is on the CAD). And don’t let them leave until YOU are ready to leave. Your safety is more important than anything else.

4. If it makes YOU feel better, shut the road down. I cannot count how many times I have shut down I-95, I-40, I-695, US 70, US 64, US 15-501, and US 421, and there have been upset troopers to go with each time. They were young and they got over it. My (and your) safety is more important than anyone else’s travel plans.

Just the random musings of a growing-senile paramedic wandering through this world.

DJ’s back.
DJ (Email) - 12/30/08 - 23:17

I meant to say that it seems like the vests come off pretty easy.
DJ (Email) - 12/30/08 - 23:20

Well said DJ. It’s not about anything else but the safety of you and all of those at the scene. Do whatever it takes. Let’s all go home safe.
yfd482 - 12/31/08 - 09:57

Straight from the NIOSH investigation report of the LODD of Asst. Chief Gene Thomas in June of 2008 in Onslow County:

NIOSH investigators concluded that, in order to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should:

* ensure that fire fighters responding to a scene involving a highway incident control oncoming traffic first, before responding to the emergency

* establish pre-incident traffic control plans and pre-incident agreements with law enforcement and other agencies such as highway departments

Additionally, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) should:

* ensure that emergency vehicles are parked in protected work areas when responding to emergency situations

Additionally, municipalities should consider:

* establishing a multi-agency communication system for response operations to coordinate and communicate incident activities

Although there is no evidence that the following recommendation could have specifically prevented this fatality, NIOSH investigators recommend that fire departments:

* ensure high-visibility vests meet minimum requirements of ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 or ANSI/ISEA 207-2006

Notice it says to minimize, we are not eliminating the risk, merely hoping to make it smaller, like everything else we do in this line of work.
CFP 7021 (Email) - 12/31/08 - 10:16

Not trying to change the subject, (okay I am) if you look at the statistics being struck by a vehicle accounts for roughly 12% of firefighter deaths in the category of responding to and from a call. Several of these victims fell off the tailboard of the apparatus. I completely understand the concern of operating in traffic and wearing a vest, but i think it is more of a concern when you listen to the radio and you hear officers on the scene of an incident ask the responding units to (come on, step-it up, etc.) when the units are already reponding emergency traffic. Doesn’t this seem to put a little extra pressure on the driver-operator and possibly make him push a little harder than he already is. In 2007 there were 27 deaths caused by wrecks responding to and from calls. 1 death from being struck by a vehicle. Overall I feel like we are doing a good job of being safe in the street, we just need to be safer getting there and back.

FYI http://www.tkolb.net/FireReports/Firefig.. 2003-2007 stats. Intersesting reading.
gen3fire - 12/31/08 - 18:20

As you can see by Skip’s posting, my information was not incorrect.
FYI - 12/31/08 - 23:20

If you post under “FYI”, does it really matter if you get the last word in by saying you were correct?
J McAdams - 12/31/08 - 23:54

And already a firefighter has died this new year, struck and killed by apparatus at a house fire. http://www.wusa9.com/news/columnist/blog..
Legeros - 01/02/09 - 12:34

From WRAL-

“Teen driver hits firefighters at wreck scene

Posted: Today at 11:03 a.m.
Updated: 38 minutes ago

Greensboro, N.C. — A 16-year-old driver plowed through the scene of an earlier traffic accident, injuring two Greensboro firefighters early Sunday. The teen driver did not stop for emergency lights and road flares surrounding a wreck scene at Creekridge and Randleman roads, according to the Greensboro Fire Department. Firefighters J.N. Harvey and L.D. Boone tried to get out of the way, but the girl’s vehicle struck them. The vehicle hit another vehicle, but the driver continued on. Greensboro police officers stopped her a short distance away. Both Harvey and Boone were expected to make a full recovery after being treated at Moses Cone Hospital. Harvey returned to duty the same day. Police were testing the teen, whose name was not released, for impairing substances. There was no word yet on any charges.”

There you have it. Flashing lights and flares do not protect us. I wonder if GFD had apparatus blocking the lanes?

In the meantime, shut the lanes down. I’ll say it again (and again if needed), our safety is more important than anyone else’s travel plans.
DJ (Email) - 01/04/09 - 14:37

how much you want to bet she was on the cell phone as well – can’t seem to find a single female under 40 not driving while yakking away on a cellphone
cornerhydrant - 01/04/09 - 19:41

cellphone use while driving just as bad as dui – hands-free just as bad
cornerhydrant - 01/04/09 - 20:43

Relating to today’s article about the Wallace firefighter who was injured on I-40…I wan’t there, but I do have questions-

1. Were suitably sized fire apparatus blocking the lane(s) to create a safe zone? If not, why not? If it was because the department has no such policies, now is as good a time as any to get them in place. Was it because law enforcement wanted to keep the lanes clear? If so, it is time for a come-to-Jesus meeting between the local LE agencies (including SHP) and the fire service. My safety (as well as that of my brothers and sisters in the fire service and EMS is far more important than clear roadways. Clear roadways do not even rate a distant fourth to my safety.

2. Was sufficient warning in place prior to the actual crash site to let motorists know of the situation? I do realize that this may have happened too quickly so maybe there was not time. But if there was, we have to realize that in reality, people on these highways do actually travel in excess of the speed limit and we must anticipate and plan for it. Especially in ares with rural interstates.

3. Vests do not protect you, they only make you visible (as targets, maybe?). Still, a few people out there are paying attention so we need to make it easier. Hopefully vests were on.

4. I am curious as to the time of day (night) that this happened. If it was at night, how many clear lights may have been in a position to distract the driver (take-down lights, alley lights, flashing headlights, high beam headlights, flood lights, etc.). All the more reason to shut down lanes. BTW, in my travels, EMS and LEOs are the worst for the various white lights. Maybe all emergency vehicles should have ‘shift-into-park shut offs to disable flashing headlights and high beams.

5. If the driver was talking on the cell phone, take her license until she is 18 and for community service, she should have to help take care of Firefighter Campbell.

My thoughts are with Firefighter Campbell and I wish him a speedy recovery.
DJ (Email) - 01/15/09 - 14:36

From CFP mailing list: On Wednesday January 14 2009 Wallace Fire Department along with Duplin Co EMS were dispatched to a MVC on I-40 at the 387 MM on the Northeast Cape Fear River Bridge at the Duplin/Pender Co line. After units arrived it was found that there were no patients however the vehicle was in the roadway and the bridge covered with ice from temperatures in the upper 20’s. While WFD and the NCSHP were clearing the roadway a pick up truck lost control on the bridge and struck the NCSHP vehicle and headed toward a group of firefighters and the trooper, Wallace firefighter Henry Dave Campbell pushed the trooper out of the way as to not get hit and was struck by the out of control pick up the trooper was also struck. Firefighter Campbell was rushed to New Hanover Regional Medical Center as a level 1 trauma patient and the trooper was taking by another trooper to Pender Memorial Hospital and was treated for a broken arm. Firefighter Campbell was rushed to surgery for his injury’s and is listed in critical but stable condition. Firefighter Campbell suffered injury’s to his liver, spleen, aorta, and a collapsed lung. Please keep firefighter Campbell and the Wallace Fire Department in your prayers and BE SAFE OUT THERE!!!!
Context - 01/15/09 - 14:46

FireNews coverage: http://firenews.net/index.php/headlines/..
Legeros - 01/15/09 - 21:56

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