03/01/10 60 W, 1 I - + 5 - 1 Blocking the Big Road

Here's an aerial view of Western Wake and Cary fire department units executing excellent blocking on I-40 this morning. Six people were injured in four or maybe five accidents within three miles of each other. Outside the frame is Cary Ladder 1, also blocking traffic. Read the story and see more photos from WRAL.

WRAL photo

Awesome blocking pic, and way to use the two engines to “direct” traffic.
Silver - 03/02/10 - 00:36

I wish this image had CFD L-1 in it. It was positioned behind WWP196 and took the shoulder and the #1 lane. IMAP was a very big help as well providing our early warning, as if the traffic backed up to US-1 wasn’t enough!
shevais - 03/02/10 - 01:09

Shev, this whole area has come a looonnnggg way when it comes to roadway safety.
Silver - 03/02/10 - 01:13

Let me stir my own pot on this one. Twice in recent postings I have praised or facilitated praise of blocking by fire apparatus. As the above example shows, the rigs are indeed providing crash protection to the crews positioned past them. But what about protection for the driver-operator, for pump operation? Thus, perhaps the most-excellent blocking is nose-in versus nose-out?
Legeros - 03/02/10 - 09:32

Mike you have a very valid point. I prefer the nose-in towards the shoulder, with the wheels turned away from the incident scene, in order to protect the engineer. It all depends on how the situation presents itself and your type of pump panel. Just my two cents. Did you guys have the road entirely shut down while extriction was being performed?(The above picture was obviously after everything had stabilized.) I personnally like to shut things down for the best protection of our folks. If so, it doesn’t matter how the truck was positioned, everyone should be stopped… Looks like eveything went very well at this call- good job WWFR and CFD.
Bob P. - 03/02/10 - 10:03

Bob, there was a safety line pulled (1 3/4”) from CFD E-1, the pump operator did not remain on the panel side of the truck once it was stretched and charged. There were also multiple IMAP and SHP units on scene assisting with traffic control. During the extrication (15 minutes) at one point the entire highway in both directions was shut down (for landing the aeromedical helo). For the most part the #4 lane was open throughout the incident. I don’t think any of our folks in the hot zone were in the least bit worried about any rouge car coming towards us (as we were on the shoulder with an 18 wheeler, 2 pumpers and a Ladder blocking for us. Traffic was at a crawl and there was no real threat of any kind of high speed or out of control driver (as our work zone had been set and the congestion had done most of the work for us).

I agree that if you are pumping a fire then the first due should protect the panel for the engineer. One huge reason that I’m a fan of top mount pumps for any rig that will be responding to high speed roadways. I would say as this situation dictated the placement was spot on. Great comments for facilitating discussion, and learning. and I agree a great job was done by all on all the incidents that went happened on that stretch of road yesterday morning!
shevais - 03/02/10 - 11:41

What are the challenges of parking nose-right upon arrival? Iím guessing driverís defer to nose-left because sight lines are better. They can see right there, right out their window. Does it add much time/effort for nose-right roadway positioning? What are the downsides to always pulling nose-right?
Legeros - 03/02/10 - 13:29

It depends on where the incident is located on the roadway, if this incident would have been in the #4 lane and in the median, then the rigs would have blocked to the right, versus blocking to the left as shown. You want to block to “direct” traffic away from the incident scene, and to try to provide a barrier for responders. If you are blocking to the right on this incident and a car hits you it slides right into the hot zone, which is not good. With a block to the left you slide into the open lanes.
shevais - 03/02/10 - 13:33

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