Most engines come equipped with a wheel chock mount.


Osha Requirements

OSHA Requirement 1910.178(k)(1) states, "The brakes of highway trucks shall be set and wheel chocks placed under the rear wheels to prevent the trucks from rolling while they are boarded with powered industrial trucks.

NFPA 1901

Two wheel chocks, mounted in readily accessible locations, each designed to hold the fully loaded apparatus on a 10 percent grade with the transmission in neutral and the parking brake released.


Fire Apparatus Chocks - Questions:


1. Do you use them regardless of whether you are on a grade?

2. What do you do to remind you that you "chocked" the tires?

3. Do you tether your chock to the engine to prevent loss?

4. Any insight about how to correctly use a wheel chock?

5. NFPA 1901 recommends using (2) wheel chocks, do you?


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You are a giver Jack...
Has ALWAYS been REQUIRED for operating ANY vehicle assigned to the FD since I have been involved since 1966! ANY....meaning even pickup trucks! Even THEY had a set of wooden chocks connected by a length of rope together (ala aircraft-style checks) and you had BETTER use them or if you got nailed by an officer, it was a 30-day "vacation" from the drivers' list for the first time and a PERMANENT removal the second time! It was the same way for my 30 years in the career fire service. We had TWO sets of chocks on each piece! One was the regular metal set supplied by the apparatus builder and the second was a set of those wooden blocks painted bright yellow and connected together by a rope.

You ALWAYS chocked a vehicle, no matter whether it was running or not! ONLY exception was in-station. Also, SOP was to set the parking brake as well and when not running the motor, the apparatus was to be set in gear (preferably reverse or first gear or "park" if an automatic). If the apparatus was running as in a pumping operation, the D/O was to double check that the transmission was PROPERLY engaged in"pump" gear prior to exiting the vehicle and was NEVER to be more than arm's length from the vehicle at any time. (As well as using the chocks)

Even the antique apparatus societies that I belong to REQUIRE a set of chocks on board and REQUIRE that they be used as well as the engine off and brake set. Failure to abide by these SOPs would get you an invitation to leave the event. ALL of my apparatus that I own have TWO sets of chocks and they get used!

And, yes, the D/O should ALWAYS do a walk-around both when beginning an operation and also when finishing up the operation!
It's very rare here. If a box alarm comes out and everyone is running to the piece, I'm not going to stop and slowly walk around the whole thing before I respond. You will never put out a fire here if you do that since the next in company would be you in every time.(fire houses here are blocks apart) When you respond to 15-25 runs/tour you should know your engine pretty good and be able to get around things like that.
Mike,

We use our chocks every time we are out of the station (In station 4x4 lumber between rear of vehicles and personal lockers), as for tips: on grades both chocks on the down hill side, on flat one each direction, for aerials leave a little between chock and tires so that when tires get lifted the wheel chocks don't become wedged.

OSHA rule doesn't apply anymore due to OSHA does not issue fines when jurisdiction of another federal agency overlaps them, in case of wheel chocks FMCSA has jurisdiction. While NFPA requirements for wheel chocks is tough why are we parking trucks on grades WITHOUT brakes? FMCSA requirement for air brake equipped vehicles is that the brakes have to hold 1)both loaded to GVW and unloaded plus 1500 pounds, 2) 20% grade both uphill and downhill on smooth portland cement with no movement. And 3)then bled of all air to ensure compliance even with a single leakage type failure. FMCSA Standard

While NFPA standards for the most part improve safety across the board personally I think if more time was spent on training (pull the yellow knob all the time, how to inspect/adjust the brake system) or a little more on maintenance (If a trooper can inspect all 5 axles on my truck on the side of the road in about 15 minutes how long do you think it would take a mechanic?) wheel chocks wouldn't be needed at all.
Such a different world and sense of awareness for the professional truck driver verses what I would call your typical fire apparatus driver. Firefighters are really not that much concerned about rules and laws compared to folks driving trucks, crossing state lines and dealing with a myriad of commercial enforcement officers with various levels of anal retentiveness that makes one very aware of all the latest laws and regulations.
I know its a different world but one of my pet peeves has always been that as a truck driver operating a vehicle that weighs over 26k pounds I need to take a test showing I know how to drive, how the brakes work, and how to adjust them. If I want to drive a 70k pound Ladder truck down the road with the pretty lights flashing and siren blaring all I need is bubba from down the road to say "Yeah he can handle it". Funny how more and more every one signs up to take state level training on what to do when we get there, firefighter groups will argue against a state level training on how to get there!
Apples and oranges, Mark.

In order to pass a CDL driving test, I have to pass an alley dock driving skill. That skill is intended to show that I can back a tractor-trailer up to a loading dock in order to unload my commercial truck's cargo with a forklift. That is somehing that I will NEVER do in a fire apparatus.

On the other hand, the CDL driver's license does NOT include the ability to maintain vehicle safety while running warning lights and siren, or the ability to use traffic pre-emption devices, or the conditions under which emergency vehicle operators can disregard traffic laws - all of which are things that fire apparatus drivers do every day.

What we need is NOT a CDL driver's test - it's a state emergency vehicle driver's license that includes objectives pertinent to the job and that does not include things that emergency vehicle drivers will never do.

I don't see firefighter groups being against state-level emergency vehicle driver certification, they're just against requireing things that are not pertinent to what emergency vehicle drivers actually do on the job.
That is all great until you introduce things that happen in the real world such as fatigue or slick conditions. It is tough to anticipate when the springs in the cans fatigue to the point that they no longer apply quite enough pressure to hold the vehicle in place or conditions that do not allow enough friction for the tires to hold in place.
Our SOP is that all apparatus will be chocked whenever not moving except in the station. The difference is that we chock the front driver's side wheel instead of the rear. I believe we do this so the driver remembers that the chock is there but based on the physics of motion it makes more sense to chock the rear so I'll talk to our apparatus Officer and get his opinion. Thanks!
While I may not have to back a fire truck into an alley dock to unload it, I have had to back out of an alley way after extinguishing a dumpster fire, it's sorta the same thing.

VFIS which has an EVOC course that is accepted in a lot of states, which is basically an CDL driving course. In any of the evoc courses the class room portion covers liability, SOP's...etc. But how many of the operators know how air brakes work, how to do a pre trip inspection? While the CDL driving test isn't actually for emergency operations if we are already using it as the basis of EVOC why not include the knowledge tests required to get an air brake endorsement as third party proof of passing a particular competency?

Ask around and see when the last time someone checked a hub seal on an axle, or the stroke on a brake and I bet most will say WHAT? Now look around the net or firefighterclosecalls.com for incidents of vehicle accidents due to brake failure. When we do our vehicle checks and fire up all the power tools on the truck does someone go under the vehicle and make sure the brakes work as intended?

Wheel chocks are basically there as an additional safety in case of brake failure how about we take a few proactive steps to find the problem before brake failure.
Just to clarify most air brake systems have automatic slack adjusters and shouldn't be manually adjusted since it may indicate an underlying problem with the entire braking system. Trucks manufactured before 1994 (I believe) are not required to have automatic slack adjuster and can be manually adjusted if they don't have them.
Two things missing from that.

1) Learning vehicle parts, light vehicle maintenance, and how they work doesn't require a CDL or a CDL training course. There area other courses that teach that information. I'm quite familiar with the VFIS EVOC course - I started instructing it over 25 years ago.

2) Backing out of an alley is not the same as backing up to an alley dock. For one thing, on the fireground, you should always have a dismounted spotter directing you as you back, and in the CDL test, you don't get a spotter. That's another good reason to have an emergency vehicle operator's licensing system that's different from the CDL.

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