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Thread: Five French Firefighters Struck, Killed at Accident Scene

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    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    Five French Firefighters Struck, Killed at Accident Scene

    Five French Firefighters Struck, Killed at Accident Scene

    ............
    Firehouse.com News

    Five french firefighter were killed Friday night when a car driven by an 81-year-old man travelling some 95 miles per hour plowed into them at an accident scene in the south of France, various French news agencies reported.

    Three of the firefighters were killed instantly as they were attempting to place barriers around the initial minor accident at a dangerous curve on the A7 motorway. Two others are presumed to have drowned after being thrown into a river. Rescuers were still searching for their bodies Saturday.

    Agence France Presse reported that the driver admitted driving 150 kilometers (95 mph) per hour. The speed limit along the highway was 90 kph. He suffered minor injuries. Charges are pending

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    Five French fire-fighters dead in motorway bridge crash

    Five French fire-fighters dead in motorway bridge crash

    Copyright 2002 Agence France Presse
    Agence France Presse...11/30/2002



    French emergency workers searched Saturday for the bodies of two firemen who were knocked over a motorway bridge into a river in a road accident that also killed three of their colleagues.

    The 81-year-old driver of a Mercedes, who has admitted driving at 150 kilometres (95 miles) per hour in an area where the speed limit was 90 kph, suffered a broken ankle in the crash and was expected to be placed under investigation for manslaughter.

    Fire-fighters had been called to the scene of a minor incident Saturday evening on the A7 motorway near the southern town of Valence, and they were putting up diversion signs when the Mercedes careered into them.

    Three firemen were killed on the spot and two fell into the river Drome, where they are presumed to have drowned. A sixth man suffered a broken leg.

    "I didn't see it coming. I heard a boom and I jumped, I thought I was just going to fall onto the ground on the other side of the barrier, but in fact I fell in the water. It was a long way down," said Xavier Chambaud, a fireman who managed to swim to safety.

    The accident occurred on a dangerous curve in the motorway where a temporary bridge has been built over the Drome.

    The French government of President Jacques Chirac has said that reducing the country's persistently high level of road deaths is a top priority.

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    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    A Call for Safe Accident Scene Parking Now

    A Call for Safe Accident Scene Parking Now

    ............
    Ron Moore
    University of Extrication Editor


    The headlines read, "Five French Firefighters Struck, Killed at Accident Scene". The initial story from our Firehouse.com Home Page states, "Five French firefighters were killed Friday night as they worked at an accident scene on the A7 motorway, according to various French press agencies.

    The firefighters were killed when a vehicle driven by an 81-year-old man plowed into them as they assisted the victims of an earlier accident in the southeast part of the country."

    Without even being there, I can venture a guess as to things that can go wrong to result in a struck-by death such as this. It's obvious to me that if a civilian vehicle crashes into firefighters at a scene, then there was an unprotected side of the firefighter's work zone exposed to moving traffic. Possibly the first crash on the French A7 Motorway was along the shoulder of the highway and the responders politely parked their apparatus along the side of the roadway trying not to obstruct the flow of traffic at the scene. Maybe the cops required them to park that way.

    Once details of this tragedy make their way to the rest of the fire service, it will probably show that the firefighters did not 'block' with their apparatus.

    You have to create a safe work zone for your personnel by blocking with your first-due apparatus. It has to be done.

    It is also apparent from studying struck-by LODDs that the responders who get hit, at the moment they are struck, typically have their backs to approaching traffic. For some reason, struck-by personnel are not in a sheltered or protected area 'downstream' of their apparatus. There also is typically very little 'advance warning' of the crash for approaching motorists so traffic keeps moving at a fast pace. Speed is what kills. In France, chances are the old guy who killed the firefighters probably didn't know what he hit until the hitting was all over.

    Reports of tragic Line-of-Duty Deaths such as this continue to haunt those of us who follow these types of incidents. So far this year, over 8% of all U.S. firefighter LODDs are from the same cause; struck and killed while working in or near moving traffic! These deaths have occurred on city streets, rural roads, suburban highways and major expressways all over the country. It's our new worst enemy and as a fire service, we're being annoyingly slow to recognize it.

    If you factor in incidents such as the two cops killed in a struck-by incident last week when they stopped to assist a disabled motorist and the two Oklahoma medics killed last month when an SUV slammed into the back of their med unit as they were standing at their rear bumper, our percentage of LODDs dramatically increases. If you think this is just our problem, for every fire service 'struck-by' death that occurs this year, law enforcement will experience four times that number of police officer deaths killed by moving traffic.

    So what do we do? What do you do about it? Stop just reading about it and do something! If you set foot on or near moving traffic, it can happen to you and it will! What is so important to realize is that the possibility of struck-by incidents can be almost totally be eliminated in your department almost overnight.

    Get the model SOP for what I call "Safe Parking" from the www.respondersafety.com website. Study it, then discuss what it recommends you do anytime you're working in or near moving traffic. Work out the details of how your department can implement Safe Parking right now; before your next response.

    Study and discuss what the SOP recommends in actual classroom training sessions. Follow that up with hands-on practicals where you simulate arrival at a highway incident and you block with your apparatus, create shadows, maintain your buffer zone, protect the loading zone, and don Class III protective attire. If these are unfamiliar terms to you, then you and your department is ripe to be the next struck-by incident.

    Volunteer Fireman's Insurance Services(VFIS) will have a great highway safety program available within a month, complete with lesson plan, PowerPoint, interactive CD-ROM scenarios, and hands-on training skills. The Emergency Responder Safety Institute's website www.respondersafety.com has tons of information to get you motivated including the model SOP.

    A complete series on Safe Parking will be featured in the University of Extrication series of Firehouse magazine early in 2003. The series will include details on implementing Safe Parking guidelines for your department, an officer's quick reference guide for managing a highway incident, and skills sheets for hands-on Safe Parking drills that any department can conduct.

    There are a lot of concerned fire service leaders and prominent organizations working to address the struck-by LODD challenge and eliminate it from our yearly LODD statistics. If you get involved and implement Safe parking within you department right now, we can wipe out this cause of death for emergency responders in your lifetime.

    Put Safe Parking practices in action within your department today. There's no excuse not to! In Memory of:


    20-Mar FF Adam Weisenberger, 19 Gluckstadt, MS
    Trauma/struck by vehicle while crossing lanes of I-55

    25-Mar Captain Alan Frye, 30 Roslyn, NY
    Struck by vehicle while rolling hose during training drill

    11-Apr Chief Earl Hemphill, 61 Russell, KS
    Trauma/struck by fire apparatus arriving at crash scene

    11-Jun FF Shane Kelly, 26 Oviedo, FL.
    Trauma/struck by vehicle at crash scene, Florida Turnpike

    1-Jul Captain Ken Granholm, 29 Esko, MN
    Trauma/struck by vehicle at MVA scene, I-35

    19-Aug Chief John Moore, 42 Ellerbe, NC
    Trauma/struck by vehicle at MVA scene, Highway 220

    29-Nov 5 French Sapeurs Pompiers (fire fighters)
    Trauma/struck by vehicle at MVA scene, A7 Motorway


    Ron Moore University of Extrication Editor

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    Ron Moore Fire Training Manager of Plano (TX) Fire Rescue

    Ron Moore is the Fire Training Manager of Plano (TX) Fire Rescue. He is responsible for development, delivery and evaluation of continuing education fire and rescue training programs for the 283-member ISO Class 1 fire department. Plano Fire Rescue protects a city of 250,000+ population situated on the north border of Dallas. The uniformed members respond over 16,500 times a year and provide service with 11 paramedic engine companies, 4 paramedic truck companies, and 6 mobile intensive care unit ambulances.
    Ron is the author of the University of Extrication series, featured each month in Firehouse magazine and is the moderator of the University of Extrication interactive web site on Firehouse.Com.

    Ron has conducted advanced automobile rescue seminars and bus rescue training programs nationwide since 1979. In 1984, he received the International Society of Fire Service Instructors George D. Post Instructor of the Year award for development of the first school bus rescue training program in the United States. In 2000, Ron was awarded the International Association of Fire Chief

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