Wednesday, November 21, 2012
We were dispatched around 8pm to an automatic alarm at a local College, I was driving our tanker truck. When approaching the scene there were already other trucks in the entrance to the college. I slowed and then decided to go in the exit. The exit was several hundred feet down the road. I slowed to turn in to the exit road and suddenly I no longer had any power steering. The truck was starting to go off the road and down an embankment into a swampy area. I hit the brakes, stopped and noticed that the engines was off. this is a 2011 international cab and chassis. I then restarted the engine and backed back on to the road. there were no other issues with the truck that night. once back at the Fire house i tried to figure out what the issue was. when another member suggested that I may have turned the key off with my knee. I then went to the truck and tried it. The key turned from run to accessory with just a light bump of my knee. That night I was waiting for another member to show up and was so worried about that, that I just jumped in to the tanker when they did not. I never adjusted the seat or steering wheel causing me to be further forward then I am used to. when I turned in to the Exit road I leaned slightly to the right causing my knee to hit the key.
It does not matter weather you are worried about something else always stick to a routine when getting in and out of a truck. Also situational awareness. at first I was so worried that I could not steer that I was letting the truck roll off the roadway. I quickly realized that if the truck was to go any further we would have tipped over and I hit the brakes to stop us. this was a close call and we only went off the road about 3 to 4 feet.
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