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Monday, July 16, 2012

Canada: Equipment Backing Accident Kills Young Firefighter

 Canadian Firefighter Thierry Godfrind killed in the Line of Duty July 13th was struck and run over by his own backing apparatus.

WHAT:  While Responding to the call crew accidentally drove past the incident address and  Firefighter Godfrind behind the driver got out to back up the rig. 
 The driver and officer were aware of that. 
 While backing up, the firefighter was struck by the apparatus, fell and was dragged under and killed. 
 It appears the driver was unable to see the firefighter who was backing him up but kept going instead of stopping resulting in the horrific death of Firefighter Thierry Godfrind. 

WHEN: Sunday, July 15, 2012 Firefighter Thierry Godfrind was part of a team responding to the call along with apparatus from two other stations. Initial reports are that his company was responding to food on the stove with the occupant locked out.

WHO: 38-year-old Firefighter Thierry Godfrind was killed responding to a call in which a man had locked himself out of his home with a pot being heated on a stove., Two other firefighters on the scene were brought to the hospital to be treated for shock, the newspaper reported and all firefighters on the scene have been offered psychological support. Firefighter Godfrind had been with the Montreal department since March 2010, according to the newspaper.

WHERE: The incident occurred in Montreal, Canada - Ville St. Laurent. 

The incident is under investigation by the fire department, the Montreal police and the Commission de la Santé et de la Sécurité du travail, the province’s workplace safety board, according to the newspaper. At this time it is confirmed that this was a apparatus backing incident. 

LESSON LEARNED: First Rule of Apparatus Backing Safety - If the driver loses sight of the spotter(s) at any time, the driver shall immediately stop the vehicle.
  • Before backing a fire department vehicle, the driver shall ensure that the intended path is clear of hazards or obstructions. 
  • One or more spotters shall be employed as guides in all situations where the driver does not have a clear vision of the path of travel.
  • Two spotters should be assigned when backing large or heavy apparatus–one covering each side of the vehicle. When available, a third spotter can be used to monitor traffic or, especially in the case of aerial apparatus, watch the front of the vehicle for overhead obstructions.
  • A spotter is responsible for guiding the driver and ensuring that any potential hazards are avoided.
  • Standard signals shall be used to communicate with the driver during the backing maneuver; hand signals or voice signals transmitted over a portable radio can be employed for this purpose
  • The spotter shall direct the driver to STOP at any time the backing maneuver cannot be completed safely. 
  • The spotter(s) shall be on the ground, to the rear of the vehicle, and shall remain visible to the driver at all times. If the driver loses sight of the spotter(s) at any time, the driver shall immediately stop the vehicle.
 Portable radios or tethered vehicle-mounted intercom systems are recommended for spotters’ safety. In no case are cameras or safety devices a substitute for a spotter. (NFPA 1500 requires at least one spotter to have contact with the driver.)

California Fire News 2012 

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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