Cibolo Volunteer Fire Department
Approved by: Chief Niemietz
Emergency Vehicle Response
Responding to any emergency call, the Cibolo Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD) places a great deal of responsibility on the DRIVERS of our emergency vehicles. Not only must EMERGENCY VEHICLE DRIVERS (EVD) provide prompt conveyance of the apparatus, equipment, and personnel to provide service to those in need, but just as importantly, must accomplish this task in the safest and most prudent manner possible.
EVDs have in their care, custody and control most of the major assets possessed by this organization (the vehicle, portable equipment and PERSONNEL). EVDs also have a higher standard of care to provide to the general motoring public and must make every attempt possible to provide due regard for the safety of others. Drivers must constantly monitor and reduce the amount of risk and exposure to potential losses during each and every response. Safe arrival at the emergency scene shall be, and must always remain, the first priority of all EVDs. In order to accomplish this enormous task, all EVDs shall become familiar with, and constantly abide by the following policies and procedures.
CIRCLE of SAFETY
Prior to entering the cab and starting the vehicle, the EVD shall make a circle of safety around the vehicle to see that all equipment is secured, that all compartment doors are securely closed and any physical obstructions moved out of the way. During the circle of safety the EVD shall encircle the vehicle and visually inspect all 4 sides and the top of the vehicle before entering the cab. EVDs should also verify right side and rear clearance with the person riding in the OFFICER’S position. This shall be conducted prior to moving the vehicle regardless of whether or not the vehicle is about to leave on an emergency or non-emergency.
WARNING DEVICES and INCIDENTS
When responding to an incident, all audible and visual warning devices will be operated at all times of day and/or traffic conditions. All EVDs must understand that warning devices are not always effective in making other vehicle operators aware of your presence. Warning devices only request the right-of-way they do not insure the right-of-way.
VEHICLE CONTROL and RIGHT-OF-WAY
All drivers shall attempt to maintain control of the vehicle that they are operating in such a manner as to provide the maximum level of safety for both their passengers and the general public. EVDs should be aware that civilian vehicle operators might not react in the manner in which is expected or felt to be appropriate. An attempt should be made to have options available when passing or overtaking vehicles. If another vehicle operator fails to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, the EVD cannot force the right-of-way, nor can assume the right-of-way, therefore you do not have the right-of-way until the other vehicle yields to you.
The EVD shall be aware of the rate of closure on other vehicles and pedestrians at all times to make sure that a safe following distance is established and maintained. All drivers shall follow the rule for safe following distance and allow 2 second of following distance for speeds under 40 mph and 2 additional seconds for speeds over 40 mph.
When responding to an incident, drivers shall operate the vehicle they are driving at as close to the posted speed limit as possible, but not exceed ten (10) miles per hour over the posted speed limit, conditions permitting. Examples of conditions requiring reduced speeds include but are not limited to;
• Slippery road conditions
• Inclement weather
• Poor visibility
• Heavy or congested traffic conditions
• Sharp curves
Any intersection that does not offer a control device (stop sign, yield or traffic signal) in the direction of travel of the emergency vehicle or where a traffic control signal is green upon the approach of the emergency vehicle, all EVDs should do the following:
• Scan the intersection for possible hazards (right turns on red, pedestrians, vehicles traveling fast, etc.). Observe traffic in all 4 directions (left, right, front, rear).
• Slow down if any potential hazards are detected and cover the brake pedal with driver’s foot.
• Change the siren cadence not less than 200’ from the intersection.
• Avoid using the opposing lane of traffic if at all possible.
EVDs should always be prepared to stop. If another vehicle operator fails to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, the EVD cannot force the right-of-way, nor can you assume the right-of-way, therefore you do not have the right-of-way until the other vehicle yields to you.
Any intersection controlled by a stop sign, yield sign, yellow or red traffic light requires a complete stop by the EVD, in addition to bringing the vehicle to a complete stop these additional steps must be followed as well:
• Do not rely on warning devices to clear traffic.
• Scan the intersection for possible hazards (right turns on red, pedestrians, vehicles traveling fast, etc.) as well as driver options.
• Begin to slow down well before reaching the intersection and cover the brake pedal with the driver’s foot, continue to scan in 4 directions (left, right. Front and back).
• Change the siren cadence not less than 200’ from the intersection(s).
• Scan the intersection for possible passing options (pass on the right, left, wait, etc.).
• Avoid using the opposing lane of traffic if at all possible.
• Come to a COMPLETE STOP
• Establish eye contact with the other vehicle drivers; have partner communicate all is clear; reconfirm all other vehicles are stopped
• Proceed one lane of traffic at a time each lane of traffic as a separate intersection.
At any time an EVD approaches an unguarded rail crossing you shall bring the apparatus or vehicle to a complete stop before entering the grade crossing. In addition the EVD shall perform the following prior to proceeding:
• Turn off all sirens and air horns
• Operate the motor at idle speed.
• Turn off any other sound producing equipment or accessories.
• Open the windows and listen for a train’s horn.
When responding to a call in a non-emergency response mode or normal flow of traffic (non-code 3 or when not responding to an incident) the vehicle will be operated without any audible or visual warning devices and in compliance with all state motor vehicle laws that apply to civilian traffic. At no time should any emergency vehicle be operated during response with only visual warning devices.
ORDINARY TRAVEL PROCEDURES
All drivers shall obey all traffic laws and traffic control devices when driving any fire department vehicle under ordinary travel conditions. Any driver observed breaking any traffic laws or driving any vehicle in an aggressive manner, will be subject to disciplinary action including, suspension of driving privileges.
CVFD requires all persons riding on fire apparatus to be seated in approved riding positions and be secured to the vehicle by belts whenever the vehicle is in motion.
The EVD and/or person riding in the OFFICER’S position shall verify that all personnel are properly seated and in seat belts before the vehicle is moved. Standard communication signals should be formulated and utilized by all personnel.
CVFD prohibits the riding on tail-steps, sidesteps, running boards, or any other exposed position. (EXCEPTION; On scene of Grass/Brush Fire B3/BT4) Personnel who perform grass/brush; emergency medical care while the vehicle is in motion should be secured to the vehicle by a seat belt or safety harness designed for occupant restraint.
CVFD recognizes that backing emergency vehicles is made hazardous by the fact that the driver cannot see much of where they intend to go. CVFD recommends that whenever possible, drivers should avoid backing, as the safest way to back up a vehicle is not to back up at all. When it is necessary to back up any departmental vehicle, all drivers shall follow one of the two measures:
• CVFD’s first choice of backing procedures is that before any vehicle is put into reverse and backed, a SPOTTER be put in place near the rear of the vehicle. The spatter should be safely positioned, so that the EVD can see them at all times. If at any time the EVD loses sight of the spotter, the driver shall immediately stop until the spotter is visible again.
• If conditions exist that make use of spotters impossible, all drivers, before attempting to back up any fire department vehicle, shall make a circle of safety to see that; no person/persons are directly behind the vehicle or in its intended path of travel. All equipment is secured and that all compartment doors are securely closed. Any physical obstructions are moved out of the way. The EVD should also note all potential obstructions in the intended path of travel.
RESPONSE in PRIVATE OWNED VEHICLES
When any member responds to the station in their private vehicle, each member must strictly adhere to all applicable motor vehicle laws. No member of CVFD is permitted to violate any motor vehicle laws.
While it is recognized that timeliness in response to an emergency is important, it is imperative that all drivers understand that their private vehicles are not emergency vehicles. Any driver observed operating any vehicle in on aggressive or unsafe manner will be subject to disciplinary action including, suspension, loss of driving privileges and/or termination.
RESPONSE DIRECT to SCENES in PRIVATE OWNED VEHICLES
Officers may, at their discretion, respond direct to scenes. This is usually in the case of the Fire Chief or Assistant Fire Chief for command and control purposes.
Other members may be requested by an officer to respond direct to a scene for various reasons.
Certain members may be given permission to respond to certain scenes by an officer. This may be one time or on-going permission.
No other members are authorized to respond directly to scenes.
All fires should only be responded to from the Fire Station
with appropriate vehicles and