Traffic Safety Cones - Three Basic Questions...

  1. Do you carry traffic safety cones on your rig?  
  2. If so, where do you store them?
  3. Do you have a written or graphic protocol for usage?
This photograph, although doctored up to show everyone running with safety cones does exemplify, in my opinion a convenient location to store traffic safety cones on your engine. Cones are no different than wheel chocks. Both are used for safety and to prevent something bad from happening... hopefully.

There are some givens, such as parking your engine diagonally, allowing both lane blockage and safe egress for firefighters exiting the emergency apparatus on the highway.

Some outstanding diagrams that are easy to read and use include the following examples:

North Carolina DOT has developed a convenient Emergency Responder Reference Card 30 which provides a quick reference to how and where emergency vehicles should be parked at the scene. Tools such as these are extremely helpful as a reminder especially for new first responders or when there is confusion in the field.

North Carolina DOT Emergency Responder Highway & Interstate Saf...

Unfortunately, even if you have cones out, traffic flares, lights, the works, even professional bus drivers end up not paying attention and hitting parked emergency vehicles actively involved with extinguishing a vehicle fire. The NTSB that investigated this fatality incident provided this graphic showing the departments use of safety cones, apparatus placement and specifics about the incident.

The conclusion for the after accident report in regard to the fire department was the following:

Department SOPs included highway response procedures; however, a more clearly defined description of procedures for responding to highway incidents would be beneficial to enhance the safety of all emergency responders working at the incident scene. 

I personally have been close to getting hit on highway responses during my career understanding that if I did get hit, legally, I was the one causing the obstruction or hazard, and typically, even though I would be dead, the citizen would get away with killing someone. I choose to not be a statistic and recommend even with orange safety cones to have situational awareness to make sure you come home. Watch out for one another because the general public sure won't. How often do you note folks driving by an accident scene and not moving over a lane? I rest my case.

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Please consider stealing everything I provided in this post, embellishing as if its your own to help communicate what people are going to do before a highway response in regard to parking, staging vehicles, etc. A picture says a thousand words and works well to ensure consistency. 

Stay safe Tom,

- Mike

Reading back at this post with a recent input by a member made me shiver when I read what you wrote...

"The sound of the cone under the car is better than the screams of a FF being dragged underneath...."

Show you cones some love! The life they save may be yours...

Post them Ron if you still have access to the photographs. For some reason, people seem to be even more distracted than usual. Could it be text messaging, smart phones, GPS devices or an iPod? Go figure...

Here are a few photo from a car fire scene I responded to in 2010. In the first photo, I had my Amber warning lights on as I approached and stopped to shoot this photo to show how it is set up as I approached and the others are after I was parked and out of my vehicle. I stood across the road from the call and shot the photos due to it being a busy road though for some reason there wasn't much traffic on that night. The FD told me later that week to come into their safety zone for closer photos since I am their photographer instead of across the road zooming in.


Here are the photos.


Sorry if the photos are a little dark or bright. They were taken with my old bridge camera before I upgraded. That medic unit has one of those Federal Signal Vector (V) bars on top so it was throwing off a lot of light. That is our newest engine (Engine 2) which has all LED lights. I don't make it to many vehicle fires or car accidents so I don't have many cone use photos.

We carry cone's. John Doe Dumb Public Motorist know were to go when cones are set up.They know this means danger watch out ect. They do not understand flare's. Flare's say look and find what is going on and crash into the guy ahead of you because they were looking at what happened to.

We do carry them on all apparatus except the brush truck, however, we rarely use them.  If we have an accident, until the scene is secure, we completely shut down the road.  All we have in our area is two-lane roads, so if traffic is to be passing around the scene, it is very slow.  We tend to utilize Support & (senior) Junior members for traffic control on incidents, however, law enforcement is always present, whether it be sheriff's deputies, or state troopers.

We carry 10 cones on every engine. They are on the tailboard, stacked on a commerical device that is made for cones.

my department has them and we use them. i only wish they could be equipped with a device to disable people who hit or drive over them

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