Fatal fire truck crash offers SOP reminders

There is still a misconception out there that just because you drive an emergency vehicle with lights and siren on, you are not liable for any accidents that occur


A fatal crash involving a fire truck in Pennsylvania last week serves as a reminder of some important safety SOPs that everyone who drives emergency vehicles should adhere to.

As previously reported on FireRescue1, state police have determined that the driver of the apparatus from Citizens Fire Co. of Mt. Holly Springs was at fault in Thursday's crash that resulted in the death of a 70-year-old woman.

No charges have yet been filed and investigations are continuing as state police meet with the Cumberland County District Attorney's office.

Like all states, their Pa. vehicle code says non-emergency vehicles have to yield to emergency vehicles responding to a call — but that emergency vehicles also have the obligation to yield to non-emergency vehicles entering their path.

There is still a misconception out there that just because you drive an emergency vehicle with lights and siren on, you are not liable for any accidents that occur.

Just because you are operating in this way, does it give you the right to proceed through stops signs or any intersection without stopping and making sure that all traffic is stopped in all directions?

This is also true where there are traffic signal preemption devices in place. The sole decision lays with the emergency vehicle driver to make the safe choice before proceeding.

For those officers and even some chiefs who ride in the right seat, they are just as responsible as the driver for making sure the vehicle is operated properly, not using excessive speed and is proceeding the right way through intersections.

All you have to do is watch some You Tube videos to see that there are many fire departments out there still operating in a dangerous manor.

This time of year, as the holidays approach, you should be even more cautious to an increase in traffic, with holiday shoppers on the road as well as schools and colleges closed for the holidays.

Here's some basic SOPs that most should be aware of but that really need to sink in.

  • Remember to make sure everyone is seated and belted before the apparatus leaves the fire station responding to an alarm
  • STOP at all negative right of ways (stop signs, red lights)
  • Adjust your speed based on driving conditions
  • Watch out for others
  • Always use a backer when you put a vehicle in reverse
  • Make sure your drivers are adequately trained in driving and operating the certain types of apparatus that you respond with
  • All apparatus should be properly maintained with records kept
  • Develop SOPs for modified response

Recommended for you

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2022 FireRescue1. All rights reserved.