The Baltimore County Fire Department in Towson, MD, is a combination department with 1,000 career and 3,000 volunteer members. The department takes the safety of its members very seriously and used the week of June 14-20 to conduct a full educational program focusing on the Safety Stand Down theme of protecting responders at roadway incidents. This included the following components:
- A joint fire/police public education initiative that included staging electronic sign boards at career and volunteer fire stations along busy thoroughfares to reinforce the “Slow Down, Move Over” law
- Social media coverage/public education effort
- Roadway safety messages transmitted on TG-1 at the start of each shift
- A new department “visor card”/roadway safety “TAC” card to provide a quick reference for major apparatus, including EMS transport units
- Distribution of a traffic incident management guidebook to all career/volunteer fire stations, provided by MDOT/CHART for use in training
- Several live offerings of a TIMS refresher, provided by MDOT/CHART (1 hour)
- SOP 400-21A revision release (Roadway Safety Operations) (effective July 1)
- Four installments of an “Arrive Alive” bulletin aimed at safe emergency vehicle driving/operation, including driving distractions and driver fatigue
- Station visits by members of the safety and logistics divisions, fire maintenance, EMS supervisors, and chief officers to discuss topics related to roadway safety
To make sure the safety initiatives have lasting impact, the department reinforced safe practices by updating their SOPs and working in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Transportation to offer several four-hour traffic incident management responder courses.
The department has an ongoing commitment to keeping responders safe on the roadways and has ordered 16 new fire engines, three new ladder trucks, and 22 new EMS transport units with enhanced safety features such as rollover protection, harness restraint systems for EMS providers in the patient compartment, emergency lighting/siren upgrades including traffic advisor arrow bars, lower step and hose bed heights, and cleanable apparatus cabs.