our department has over all had a good relationship with the thp. but latley within the last year or so we have gotten some new troopers and they have a new supervisor. just tonight we had a tractor trailer fire on the interstate. the chief arrives and shuts down the interstate for firefighter and public saftey. when thp arrives he demands that the road be reopened. the tca code says any road in the state can be shut down for saftey buy the highest ranking fire offical on the scene if deamed necessary. i dont see why these new officers cant respect we are just trying to do a good job and control the scene and protect everyone involved, its not like we just go out on any road and shut it down for our health we have much better things to do!!!! are we having this problem everywhere? are our brothers being threatned to go to jail trying to keep our fellow comrads safe? this is an outrage that we should have to put up with sutch garbage from someone who needs to do his or her job and keep the public off of us so we can do ours safley. all i can say is take me to jail but you better have a hell of an atturney and some deep pockets cause im gonna take you to the cleanners if arrested due to shutting the road down!!!!
We have a very good relationship with all branches of law enforcement. Part of the reason for that is mutual respect that has been built between us. We do not unnecessarily shut down a road, if we can do our job and keep a lane open. We have traffic control devices, will often do traffic control so the cop can do his investigation. They appreciate it and will work with us.
The problem arises between FD and PD when one thinks that they have more authority than the other.
Use your powers wisely. You do not want secondary crashes because you shut the road completely down when the smarter decision would have been to move them over, keep them moving and control it while your guys take care of business.
I never hesitated a second to shut a road down, but that was after a good initial size up and assessment was done. Having an SOG that says "shut the road down no matter what" is foolish.
We know we are the good guys. We don't have to keep reminding ourselves!
We never had a problem with more than one trooper in our area but we did have a problem with one trooper, the way we handled that was we got all of the fire officers from the departments in the area and had a meeting to discuss the problem. Then once we were all on the same page we requested a meeting between the area fire officer and the trooper commanders. We discussed the problems with them and the problems were resolved. As a matter of fact this specific trooper ended up being transfered, apparently he was involved in problems in other counties before and they decided to transfer him to another area. I don't think that will happen in your case but maybe this is just a big misunderstanding and if everyone sits down to discuss it you can get it clear up and the problems will go away. If this does not work then the next step would be to go above the local cammanders head & sitdown with their bosses and discuss the problem and response you recieved when you tried to resolve the problems with the commanders. It is always better to sitdown at a meeting to resolve the issues rather than trying to resolve it in the street at a call, and this will show that you are more professional than these specific officers in question, because I am sure you know in all branches of emergency service family (Police, Fire, EMS,Etc.) there are always a few who are very unprofessional that make the rest of the family look bad. The last resort maybe you want to consider is if all the meetings fail is get the media involved, tell them what is going on so the can let the public know, and maybe they will assign a camera crew to you so when you respond they will respond and if these troopers decide to push the issue and put firefighters and public in danger as well as start arresting rescue personnel they will be there to document it and show the public. If the public start pressuring the law enforcement agency in question they will have no chioce but to work with you not against you. Good Luck! Have A Great Day & STAY SAFE!!! Kevin C. Ross
just went to an EVOC class and instructor had an incident similar to this--the instructor closed down both lanes of an interstate cause a 18 wheeler was on top a van with 7 occupants--state boy pulls up and demands he open it back up--the matter ended up in court with the state boy losing.our department doesnt get along with the county brownies where I live.
We basically have a good relationship with DPS and the SO. But there is always Mr. Badge Heavy..... Had one lane of the interstate closed one day for a 2 car accident. SO Sgt. shows up before DPS and barks(very adamantly) that we have trafic backing up and need to get that truck out of the road. Our LT said to load up, he wants to be that way he can fight trafic on his own. Troopers don't mind, as it gives them a safe area to work, and they appreciate us being there. especially since they know we are all volunteers.
There is a bigger problem in our world other than shutting a road down. If a proper scene size up was given, and there was no other alternative other than closing the road so be it. If your Fire fighters are profesional and respect the law enforcement on scene, and you gain their respect that you know what your doing. When you say it needs to be closed they won't argue with you. But if your free lancing and a wild card they will have no confidence in your judgement. Sop's Sog'g are in place for a reason. I would think that there is a county representative that can be the mediator between the law and fire services.
Unfortunalty, our FD and PD do not get along at ALL, I think if everyone new each others job spec and responcibilities then we could better understand why decisions are made and aid each other. Each department here thinks and speaks the worst of each other especially at MVA, we try to help them get VIN and license plates but if the s*** is engulfed we can only try.. It is sad to say the only time it hits home is when fire is involved with something or someone they can relate to.
Driver/operators have control of scene, and safety of crews till troop arrives have closed interstate numerous times for fires and extrications where we had numerous Emergency vehicles on scene for fire fighter safety. Once under control we open reduced lanes with cones til troop arrives and does its job and we clear with the troop before we leave and see if they need our help. Even had trooper take pictures of how we shut down lanes and left one lane open using just 4 cones and a slow/stop paddle sitting in cone. We made the travel lane narrow and put slow paddle 150 ft from back of apparatas giving us room around Engine to work and not get run over. Usually only have one trooper and one sheriff unless possible fatality and they under stand that people don't see BRTs or flashing lights. Have had a couple troopers hit in last couple years so they appreciate us doing what we do.
I have had a very similar case. I was the driver for my volunteer department and we were working a extrication job on a two lane state highway. My Chief arrived on scene and shut the road down #1 for the extrication and #2 so we could have a L.Z. for Life Flight. This turned out to be a more difficult extrication than was expected and took about an hour. While we were still in the vehicle working with the patient a young and new GSP patrolman aproached the chief and requested that the road be opened up. The chief advised him that we would open the road as soon as the helicopter left the scene. Nothing else was said, and everyone seemed to be getting along on the call until it was time to clean up. Chief told me not to move the engine until he advised since it was blocking the road in a blind corner. I made my way back to my engine to get ready to leave. When I reached my engine I was aproached by this same patrolman. He quite angrily told me to "move this truck from the roadway immediately". I advised him as calmly as I could that I could not move the engine until my chief told me to. The next thing I hear is the officer shouting that if I don't move this GD engine he would place me under arrest for obstructing justice! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I kinda stood there trying to figure out how to explain to this officer that there were people in the roadway and that i would move it as soon as the chief requested. I apparently wasn't making myself clear enough because the next thing I know I have a pair of handcuffs on and he is leading me to the patrol car! Luckily a sherrif deputy was approaching as this was going on and interviened. Before it was all over there was a meeting with the post commander and the county fire chief, a written apology to me, and the patrolman, who lived in the northern end of the state was transferred to the south side of the state. I really don't know what possesed him that night but I'll bet he doesn't do anything like that again.
Sadly on FirstResponderNews.com they have a instance like this. I dont remember what state it was but the dispatch was a MVC and fire company arrived on scene and shut down 2 lanes (4 lane highway) and when police arrived they told the chief to remove the road block since the MVC was off the road and in the woods. He refused-long story short police ARRESTED the chief and the driver of the engine. Afew months ago it went ot court and the chief had to publicly appoligize to the Police Department.
Personally we dont tell the police how to do their job so if were on a scene and want the roads shut down for safety i dont see why they would tell us how to do our job but its crazy how power hungry many cops are especially the new recruits, we have alot of them around my area.
One of the important things to remember is that we need to look at the whole picture... Which sometimes extends beyond a single incident.
I know of places where the instantanous choice is always to shut the road down. Sometimes it is necessary, sometimes not. If a department has a reputation for often shutting down a road when it is not necessary, then perhaps a law enforcement officer's opinion is colored by previous incidents, not just the current one. Shutting down a road, especially a busy one, does have consequences beyond drivers sitting and waiting to get through. Drivers try to find their own detours, sometimes with disasterous results (think putting oversize vehicles on undersized roads and/or bridges).
I do not by any means want to sound like I don't support shutting down a road when it is necessary. As always, our safety comes first!
Volunteer Fireman's Insurance Services (www.VFIS.com) has a great course on highway safety. I have taught it many times and it is always an eye opener, even for those that have been in the service for a lot of years. If you have access to that course, put it on for your area AND INVITE LAW ENFORCEMENT. Working together in advance certainly trumps handcuffs anyday!
It was in New Jersey and the case was thrown out of court. If the chief apologized, he did so freely.
Based on what I read about it, it would have been a cold day in Hell before I would have apologized to the cop.
But we don't have those types around here.