Some Thoughts on traffic Control

What do we really know about traffic control, and who taught us?

For this week ‘s training topic I have decided to work on a couple of small drills that involve our personal safety at to protect us while operating at the scene.

Just review a few of these with the troops and review your own department SOPs on this issue to get everyone on your piece or your station on the same page.

If your apparatus has warning lights or directional arrow LED bars is everyone using them and familiar with them?

How far should traffic cones be placed behind your rig? Do you realize it depends upon the size of the cone, the amount of reflective material on the cones, and the normal expected speed of the traffic on the roadway you are operating on.

These same rules apply to our apparatus that we use for blocking. When blocking with a piece of apparatus, place the rig far enough back that if it were to be hit by a tractor trailer unit you would have time to get out of the way before you were struck while operating at the scene. Most of us do not do this because we want equipment from that unit and it is too far away. Make a better plan! If you are going to use the rig, maybe you need another one.

Are your personnel on or off the rig when it is used as the blocking piece? I have heard discussion about both of these practices.

What reflective clothing are you wearing while working. The scotchlite or reflexite on a turnout coat is not nearly sufficient. ANSI makes standards on type I, II, II reflectivity of material for operating on different speed roadways. These lightweight vests can be worn over turnouts if necessary.

Do you angle apparatus so the pump operator is protected?

Are all of your personnel trained to look in mirrors of check traffic before dismounting the rig?

You can drill with these concepts in real life and have some personnel spot apparatus in a large open parking lot to set up a traffic pattern, or you can make a scale mock up of this using “Matchbox” vehicles. If the Matchbox are to scale if you will then remember to make that scale apply to how far they are placed apart….that is 3-4 truck lengths behind the accident.

Take a look at for further information or contact your local police department and obtain some of the training they get for their officers in controlling roadway construction blocking.

Take care and stay safe!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2014