Thursday, December 13, 2012
On 11/24/2012, my department had a firefighter suffer
significant facial injuries when he fell from the upper rear turntable platform
an aerial apparatus. The firefighter DID have proper PPE on, including a
helmet. He mistakenly thought that an open compartment door was a
continuation of the walking surface he stood upon because it hinges up to the
same level and was made of the same diamond-plate material. It IS NOT the
first time our department has experienced this exact cause of injury. A
previous incident several years ago left a firefighter with two broken arms.
All Fire Departments need to analyze their own apparatus to
see if any compartment doors could be mistaken as walking surfaces while on top
of any apparatus, especially upward-swinging rear doors of rear-mount aerial
units. My department has and is taking further measures to clearly mark the
compartment doors and differentiate them from the upper walking surface,
including the use of alternating colored striping and "Not A Step"
labels placed upside-down to be read from the upper platform when the door is
Further analysis is being performed to determine any other
possible contributing factors such as lighting, climbing and dismount
practices, turntable overcrowding, etc. The possibility of mandating
"locking in" while operating/standing on an aerial apparatus
turntable has also been discussed.