06/11/07 69 W, 1 I - + 11 - 18 Car vs. Charlotte Engine

Charlotte fire photographer Mike Porowski snapped this pic of Engine 22, struck last night at an MVA on I-85 by a passenger vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed. The driver of the car later died. Two FFs were transported for observation. The picture is from FireNews.net. Who else votes for EMS-style reflective chevrons on the back of every piece of fire apparatus, period?

here’s the the FF’s not being more injured than they were. If this doesn’t hit home for providing a safe area for our crews to work in I don’t know what does. Just remember, we didn’t cause the problem, park to block, turn your wheels towards the guardrail or the shoulder/median and away from the incident. Call for more trucks to help create a safe working area, take one more lane than the incident occupies, put amber lighting on the rear of equipment, and BE safe, thank goodness no FF’s were critically injured.

and I give a huge two hands up for the inverse chevrons on the rear of ALL apparatus, EMS units, and Police cars. The Wake EMS units never fail to grab my attention when I see them day or night.

we have to stop worrying about “looks” and start worrying about FF safety and doing everything possible to increase it.

CFP 7021 (Email) - 06/11/07 - 19:31

Amen 7021, enough with “it looks good bo’”. WE aren’t here to just look good. We need to concentrate on responder safety. To those that think the new RFD policy involving units responding as safety is “overkill”, it’s time for you to open your eyes. Maybe NFPA can step up and add it to their requirements for new apparatus? I’m all for it.
Silver - 06/11/07 - 21:49

I hate to be a buzz kill, but I don’t think the cheVrons would have made a difference in this situation.. simply judging by the rate of speed which the drive nailed the back of the truck, I promise the LEDs should have gotten his attention.

With that said, I do, however, agree with having cheVrons on the back of apparatus.
Luke - 06/11/07 - 23:48

Yeah you can put chevrons and all the lights you want on the back of emergency apparatus, but that still doesn’t account for stupid. People are so into what they are doing right then that drivers don’t see what is going on around them. How many times do you come up behind a veh that simply refuses to pull over because they don’t see us or hear us behind them. I am not saying chevrons won’t help but if it wasn’t for stupid we wouldn’t have jobs.
Mike - 06/12/07 - 00:20

Anybody else notice the amount of ground ladders on this eng. I see atleast a 35’,24’, 2 roof ladders and they probably have an attic ladder. Tell me they aren’t prepared to throw some ladders when they roll up to a house.
Mike - 06/12/07 - 00:22

As for the ground ladders all of the new Charlotte Smeal engines are coming with dual ladder racks, the usual compliment of ladders and a 35 footer. Adds some flexibility on scene and if you can’t get the ladder company close enough you’ve got another option for more ladders. Another reason is that there are certain situations where the engine gets there before the ladder and the usual 24 just isn’t quite big enough with some of the newer construction the area is seeing as in 3 story rowhouse type of townhomes. Main drawback is that you lost some compartment space and squeezing everything in can be a hassle, especially the high rise packs. This would be the second CFD Smeal engine to have a mishap, back in 2003 or 2004 CFD E-23 ran off the road responding to a call in the county and spent a year being rebuilt. In the end the message is be safe on scene and watch your backs because the people out there sure aren’t.
Char-meck guest - 06/12/07 - 01:37

Spec’d with one 40’, one 28’, two 16’, and one attic ladder.
Luke - 06/12/07 - 01:37

The thing about chevrons as supplements to lighting at night, as I understand it, is that they provide a visual shape in addition to a cue. Sort of “large box-shaped object ahead” versus “large mass of lights ahead.” Would it help the distracted driver traveling at a high rate of speed? Eh… Somebody in the know that probably cite studies how lighting can “blend together,” which, in turn, could happen with chevrons, I suppose, if every emergency and service vehicle on the highway had them as well.
Legeros - 06/14/07 - 07:48

The study I keep trying to find again talked about using only amber lights once at a scene and it being safer. I remember the take-home point being when people see flashing red and blue they think emergency and are more likely to veer into the scene out of curiosity (remember the driver’s ED lesson about you drive where you look) but with amber people associate “Caution/ Road Construction” and are less likely to be as distracted. I want to say it was one of those Phoenix Fire things, and they put amber lights visible from all directions of their ambulances/apparatus. Either way, you have to always stay alert and park properly because there is no guaranty that any John-Q-Driver passing by will not be distracted no matter what safety precautions you take. And I am sure any Chief would rather replace their most expensive piece of apparatus 5 times because it was placed properly at a scene then to have one of their people be seriously hurt.
Dave - 06/14/07 - 16:01

It was a study done by the California Highway Patrol in the 80’s I believe. (in regards to the amber vs red rear facing lights)
AB - 06/14/07 - 16:09

It is difficult to see in the picture, but both of the rotating lights (near the ladder racks) and the top two square lights are amber.
Luke - 06/14/07 - 20:02

Or how about these as vehicle lights? http://thrillingwonder.blogspot.com/2006.. Those are from Google searches, after a private reader comment about vehicle lighting in the east.
Legeros - 06/14/07 - 21:53

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