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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Foot Pursuits: They are Very High Risk

Foot pursuits are high risk areas.
It’s a scene right out of the movies: The police officer jams on the brakes, the squad car screeches to a stop, the officer jumps out, and starts chasing a suspect. It’s called a foot pursuit and that officer just went through an invisible sign that says “High Risk Area.” That risk applies not only to the officer, but the suspect and the public as well.

LMCIT statistics show that these “high risk-low frequency” events account for 8% of the total police work comp claims, and that injuries from a foot pursuit make up 7% of the total cost for police work comp. Often the officer is alone and this explosion of energy will cause most officers to have tunnel vision, lose situation awareness, and impair their ability to communicate. Frequently, radio transmissions cannot be understood as the officer is trying to catch his or her breath and is somewhat lost as they pursue across the unfamiliar territory that is full of hazards like fences, uneven ground, and clotheslines—adding to the confusion.

Rochester Post Bulletin: “Five People Join Assault of Local Deputy”
A recent event in the Rochester area showed how rapidly the risk can increase during a foot pursuit. The driver of a car who had committed a minor traffic offense ran from the car, and a deputy pursued him on foot. Once the deputy caught him, the man began to fight with the deputy and they were on the ground. Suddenly four more people appeared to assist the suspect with the fight and one of them had the deputy in a choke hold and he began to “black out”. The deputy survived and was released from the hospital that night. Three of the people have been charged—a fourth is expected to be charged soon. 

Foot pursuits are an explosion of risk factors that are out of the control of the officer. The terrain, the suspect’s capabilities, lack of cover, communication issues, and potential ambush are just a few.

Some Risk Management Ideas
Foot pursuits are very high risk.
  1. Know your policy if you have one.  Know where you have the “may’s and shall’s”
  2. Plan ahead and mentally rehearse the factors that warrant this type of risk
  3. Consider slowing down and maintaining a moving surveillance of the suspect
  4. Let the suspect get tired, experience reduced vision, and loss of situational awareness. Save your energy to make the arrest
  5. Coordinating other resources, setting up a perimeter, and maintaining situational awareness is often the best strategy

Up next: Getting more “reps” in a field training officer program.

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why Are Fire Trucks Red? (a guest post by LMCIT Field Consultant Troy Walsh)

LMCIT Field Consultant Troy
Walsh has an extensive background
in fire service and public works.
What is your favorite color for a fire truck?

One popular answer to why most fire trucks are red goes something like this: “Because they have eight wheels and four people on them, and four plus eight makes twelve, and there are twelve inches in a foot, and one foot is a ruler, and Queen Elizabeth was a ruler, and Queen Elizabeth was also a ship, and the ship sailed the seas, and there were fish in the seas, and fish have fins, and the Finns fought the Russians, and the Russian flag is red, and fire trucks are always “Russian” around, so that’s why fire trucks are red!”
Lake Crystal's fire truck is
proud to be orange!

If your city doesn't have a red fire truck, what is the reason why? There is no one answer. Over the years colors have changed because of management, tradition, or just something different. When traveling across Minnesota, you will see a lot of colors for fire trucks, but the most unique deserve a slogan!

Extension Cord Organization

Used 4" or 5" hose helps keep
extension cords organized.
Extension cords are an important tool in the Fire Service, and it is critical to store them in a ready position every time. Looking for an interesting way to store them in the cabinet, and a way to keep them organized?

Take a look around the station and see if you have old 4” or 5” hose laying around. Cut a small piece in the old hose and wrap the cord up and stick it inside. This will keep your cabinets more organized, and when moving other tools it will help reduce the risk of equipment getting tangled up. If you have a marker, you could label the hose with length and type of extension cord. There are always tricks-to-the-trade that will help make the job easier and safer!

Up Next: They are high risk, very high risk—learn more about the hazards of foot pursuits.

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.