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Volunteer fire fighter dies when struck by a bus while working along an interstate highway - Illinois.

Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE F2007-26, 2009 Dec; :1-19
During the early morning darkness of Friday, July 27, 2007, a 43-year-old male volunteer fire fighter was struck by a passenger bus while clearing the scene of a tractor trailer fire that had occurred along an interstate highway. The bus was traveling in the traffic lane adjacent to the incident scene. It failed to move to the left to avoid the parked emergency vehicles in spite of traffic cones, an illuminated directional arrow, and flashing emergency lights warning of an active emergency scene. The bus sideswiped a parked engine and struck the victim as he was placing rolled fire hose into the driver's side storage compartment. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by the county coroner. The key contributing factor identified in this investigation was the bus driver's failure to slow down and move over while passing a highway emergency work zone. The NIOSH investigator concluded that to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1. establish pre-incident plans regarding traffic control for emergency service incidents and pre-incident agreements with public safety agencies, traffic management organizations, and private sector responders. 2. develop all-inclusive standard operating procedures (SOPs) for responding to highway incidents with specific guidance on positioning apparatus to protect emergency workers from oncoming traffic when entering or exiting parked vehicles, working pump panels, and retrieving or replacing equipment from apparatus storage areas. 3. ensure that high visibility chevrons and reflective markings are applied to all apparatus to enhance conspicuity while parked at emergency scenes and during emergency response. 4. ensure that SOPs include guidance on establishing advance warning and transition areas, and consider the use of an upstream monitor for highway-related incidents. 5. ensure that fire fighters wear suitable high-visibility retro-reflective apparel while working non-fire emergency scenes near moving traffic. Additionally, governing authorities having jurisdiction should: 1. consider enacting, or enhance existing, "Slow Down, Move Over" legislation to include provisions that will help protect emergency responders who are working near moving traffic at highway emergency work zones. 2. consider adopting "intelligent transportation systems (ITS)" and incorporate "slow down, move over" verbiage into crash warning messages that are broadcast on the national ITS (511) system. Additionally, commercial passenger bus manufacturers should consider incorporating crash avoidance systems into design specifications for passenger buses.
Region-5; Fire-fighters; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Safety-practices; Motor-vehicles; Work-practices; Emergency-responders; Fire-fighting-equipment; Engineering-controls; Surveillance
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Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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Services: Public Safety
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division