Improving the Health & Safety of all Emergency Responders

Apparatus Accident Investigation Plans Stressed at Conference

Gordon Routley and Kevin Roche told FDSOA attendees about the importance of accident investigation guidlines.

January 19, 2018
Firehouse.com News
Where do you start when a fire apparatus or ambulance crashes? According to, Gordon Routely, division chief, Montreal Fire Department, and Kevin Roche, consultant, Facets, too often fire departments do not have a plan or guidelines until faced with an emergency vehicle accident.

At this week’s Fire Department Safety Officer Association’s Annual Apparatus Symposium in Scottsdale, AZ, Routely and Roche gave a presentation titled, “Investigating Crashes,” providing a framework and basic procedures for conducting emergency vehicle accidents of line-of-duty deaths, injuries, close calls and other mishaps.

The main purpose of a safety investigation is to determine exactly what happened and to prevent it from happening again, the pair said. The investigation also provides complete documentation for further actions that might occur, including legal actions or lawsuits and to protect (or sometimes salvage) the reputation of the department.

Routely believes investigations need to be initiated not only in situations involving death or serious injury, but where serious damage to vehicles or equipment, major components or equipment failure, as well as near-miss incidents.

“The most dangerous fire truck in use today is a tanker,” said Routely. “We could do a three-hour session on investigating tanker rollovers. Tankers always rollover on left turns,” he said. “Why? Because you can turn faster on a left turn and slow down for right turns.”

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