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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Best Practices for Emergency Apparatuses in Parades—A Guest Blog by LMCIT Loss Control Field Consultant Troy Walsh

Guest Blogger/LMCIT Loss Control
Field Consultant Troy Walsh
Everyone loves fire trucks when they are in a parade. The public sees the bright shiny fire truck, polished chrome, flashing lights and sirens, and of course the candy. But what happens when someone complains about the siren being too loud, or if there is an emergency during the parade? How about the public, or even firefighters riding in or on the apparatus? These all have liability, and LMCIT has paid claims for parade-related issues. To avoid injury or liability claims, there are some best practices to follow.

Transporting to and from the parade:

  • The Fire Apparatus Operator (FAO) should be trained and approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to drive and operate the apparatus. 
  • Pre-trip inspections should be completed to ensure the apparatus is road worthy, and all standard lights, emergency lights, warning devices, and safety features are working. 
  • Make sure that apparatuses in the parade are considered “out-of-service.” Backup equipment not in the parade should have the responsibility to respond to emergencies. Parade apparatuses should stay “out-of-service” until they are clear of the parade route.
  • Fire apparatus that is going to or coming from a parade should follow all Minnesota state laws, including the use of seatbelts by everyone on board. 
  • Riding on the tailboard, sideboard, ladders, or in any unseated or unbelted position should be prohibited. 
  • Be sure not to exceed the approved occupancy for seat belts.

Participating in the parade:
  • Prior to the beginning of the parade, hold a “safety briefing” for all participants involved to be sure they understand the safety rules and parade route. 
  • The FAO shall adhere to all parade rules and guidelines.
  • Be sure to verify the rules for using emergency sirens and air horns with the parade organizers. Their use should be limited, if used at all. These types of loud sounds can startle or scare horses, dogs, and parade watchers, and the decibel level could damage hearing. 
  • The use of any emergency lights is allowed but should be used with caution. 
  • Personnel riding in the apparatus should be seated and should use the seat belts. There should be no riding on tailboard, sideboards, ladders, or in any unseated position.
  • No candy or objects should be thrown from the apparatus by occupants.
  • Distribution of candy or objects should be done by participants walking alongside of the apparatus. The walkers should maintain a line of sight with the FAO.
  • Have designated walkers beside each tire to ensure that bystanders and children do not move towards or under the apparatus, as children will sometimes leave the curb and quickly go into the street if they see a piece of candy.
Antique fire trucks may require extra precautions.

Other guidelines:
  • Operation of any apparatus while under the influence of alcohol or any illicit drugs is strictly prohibited and against Minnesota State Law.
  • If the fire apparatus must drive in reverse or an operation that limits visibility, the FAO must ensure that there is a “spotter” located in the blind-spots of the apparatus. (Parade staging areas tend to be crowded.)
  • Fire apparatus is not limited to engines, rescues, ladders, or tankers. It also includes command vehicles, utility vehicles, ATV’s, and specialty units. If seat belts are available, they are required to be worn by Minnesota State Law. 
  • Antique fire apparatuses typically do not have seatbelts installed so are not required to be worn, but the other safety guidelines still apply.
  • Anytime the apparatus is parked, “wheel chocks” should be used to keep the apparatus from accidentally rolling. 

What if there an accident with injuries? 
  • Immediately stop, and call 911.
  • Attend to anyone injured.
  • Notify the parade organizers as soon as possible. 

What if there is a property damage accident? 
  • Notify the parade organizer/committee as soon as possible.
  • If the damage is to another vehicle or property, be sure to notify law enforcement. 
  • Follow department policy on vehicle accidents. 

Parades are a great time to showcase your fire department and equipment. Make the most of this opportunity by ensuring you have a safe event.

Up next: Common Themes—A Snapshot of the Minnesota Safety Council Safety and Health Conference

Stay safe,

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Helpful Links

An Inver Grove Heights firefighter duty crew 
is pictured here with Chief Judy Thill.
Photo courtesy of Kathryn Forss.
Fire Duty Crews
We are seeing more cities augmenting their paid on call or volunteer fire department with duty crews or paid staff. The use of a duty crew helps lower response times while helping to address the lack of traditional volunteers. A recent copy of the League’s Minnesota Cities magazine has a feature article on this trend.

Did You Know?
The titles are interesting and the videos are relevant. “Procedural Justice”, “Alzheimer’s”, “Diplomatic Immunity”, “School Violence”, “Mental Health”, “Dispatcher Stress”, “Complacency and Domestic Violence.” The titles are part of the California POST Board’s “Did You Know?” online training series. They explore current law enforcement topics and safety issues in professionally produced three- to ten-minute, high-quality productions.

The videos work well for department meetings and roll calls. They can also be very effective for public presentations and citizen’s academies, as they shed light on the difficulties officers face daily—and there is even a little “cop humor” in a couple of scenes. Here’s the link.

Additional Resources
The California Post Board has additional online training available, including their “Safe Driving Series.” In the video entitled, “Remembering 5th and Wall,” they revisit the tragic loss that occurred when two Los Angeles police cars collided.

Up next: Parade Season is Here: Tips for Firetruck Parade Safety (a guest blog by Troy Walsh)

Stay safe,

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Super Bowl Contract Reviews

Minneapolis will be hosting Super Bowl LII (52) this coming February and will be asking for law enforcement assistance from throughout the region. Securing the ten days of events around the Super Bowl will require a tremendous number of police personnel.

Before your city enters a contract to provide officers for this effort, be sure to have the contract reviewed by the League’s legal staff before it is signed.

The contract review is free to member cities! And the LMCIT legal staff is familiar with these agreements, as well as with the unique liability issues that may be associated with the Super Bowl. The review will make sure both your city and the contracted entity have the proper coverage for any claims that could arise.

For more information on this contract review, contact:

Chris Smith
Risk Management Attorney
(651) 281-1269
(800) 925-1122

Up next: Helpful Links

Stay safe,