I was just wondering what peoples thoughts/department SOG's were on wearing bunker gear, ambulance crew/fire crew, on the scene of vehicle accidents. In my department's SOG's it states "Bunker gear is required for personal injury accidents", yet there are some who refuse to wear it when they respond on the squad(ambulance) because they have reflective vests or jackets. Me personally I wear my bunker gear and a refective vest no matter what truck I respond in.
We allow our people to wear a different type of glove at MVAs when operating the rescue tools. The guys on the pre connect would obviously have their fire gloves on, but everyone is required to be dressed head to toe until they come out of the hot zone and away from the roadway.
Error on the side of safety.
I think the bottom line is that if you are working the rescue aspect (extrication, vehicle stabilization, etc...) that bunker gear is necessary for safety. Not just because you are working around metal but also, don't forget, fire is still a possibility in a case of collision. Wires can short if you don't get to the battery soon enough, to name one hazard. I wear full PPE to everything except medical calls and some search and rescue. Famous last words: "It didn't look like that big of a deal..." Stay safe!
Just a side note: Everyone should be aware that NFPA no longer recognizes a helmet with a shield as eye protection. It is only considered secondary protection and safety glasses MUST be worn. Also as far as the bunker coats, etc., one thing a lot of people don't recognize is that fact that if you are hurt or killed, and not wearing ALL PPE your family may not get the benefits normally given to survivors. I.E. The Homeland Heroes act money.
Not only is the ppe very important for your safety from airborn fluids like blood, vomit, etc.you should be also wearing your helmet with your shield down also with safety glasses behind the shield. These are all for your protection from the hazards of hepatitis,aids, etc. It should not even be a second thought to wear these items when going to a accident call with possible injuries
Sounds like you have the wright idea. regaurdless of SOG's say it just makes sense. You never know`what you gonna find when you arrive. More the visible you are the safer you are. Next you never know what hazards your gonna find on an MVA. People who don't where the proper PPE are just asking to become the next victim.
Our SOG's state that PPE should be worn on all calls - but there are those that say "Oh its only an activated alarm, or it's only a minor mvs, etc." I personally feel it should be worn at all times for your own safety and those you are working with. Even minor mva you can get cut up or scraped if you have no gear on, or slip and fall and get injured. And these days the way insurance companies are working, theya re just looking for reason not to cover you.
As a good samaritan, who happens to be a Firefighter, I carry a small duffle bag in my car with the following items for when I am the first help on scene: Reflective Vest, LED flashlight, 2 Chemlights, rescue knife, mechanics gloves, a $10 pair of safety glasses and 4 or 5 pairs of exam gloves.
I've only had to use it once, but was glad I had it in the truck with me. The whole thing is the size of a small shebox and I can give the vest to my wife or son to stop/direct traffic until the police/FD arrive and take over.
Come to think of it, I might add a couple of Army PT belts (relfective platic belts we wear when running in the Army) so if I give the vest to somone to direct traffic, I can wear a belt while doing first aid. Did I mention I'm a Scout leader and our motto is "Be Prepared?"
On the job, it's always full bunker gear until the IC allows us to dress down. If it's fender bender and the scene is secure we can remove our coats, but must wear bunker pants, helmet, reflective vest, safety glasses and gloves (extrication gloves, or exam gloves if working with vicitms directly). We wear the reflective vest anytime we're going to be in traffic, and the IC has a different color vest than we do.
I think that PPE should be worn by every member of every department that responds to MVA's. If you think about it, you never know what you are going to pull up on. As we all know our dispatchers sometimes don't get or don't pass along all the information on these calls that we go on. Wearing PPE is just the best idea. You can better protect yourself from any broken glass or shrapnel at the accidents. Just like calling for mutual aid "Better to have and not need than need and not have."
It has been well documented that firefighter LODD's and injuries are frequent, and frequently bad on crash scenes. Our Department has made this an issue over the last year and have placed SOP's in place to provide guideance on this matter. But it has to be a buy in from the Command Staff on down. We have had that and the result is better protected personnel operating on our crach scenes.
And, as a line officer, when questioned as to why by our firefighters, my response is simply this:
"Shame on our officers that they care enough to keep you safe on the scene"