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Vehicle Operations Standards



A. POLICY 1) It is the policy of the Bend Fire Department to promote safe practices in providing emergency services to the public. The purpose of this policy is to guide members of the Bend Fire Department in the safe operation of department vehicles during emergency and non-emergency response situations. B. PROCEDURE Driver/Engineer Responsibilities 1) Driver/Engineer shall be responsible for the response readiness of assigned vehicles, to include: 

Vehicle/equipment apparatus checks (as outlined in the Apparatus and Equipment Maintenance Guidelines).

Vehicle inventories

Vehicle appearance/cleanliness

Documenting and requesting maintenance/repairs

2) Driver/Engineers shall be responsible and accountable for the safe operation of the vehicle. While it is expected that crews will discuss road conditions, traffic congestion, routing and passing of vehicles; the ultimate decision as to how best execute such matters shall be decided by the driver. Any discrepancies that occur in the safe operation of the vehicle shall be discussed in a training/discussion format. The appropriate supervisor will be notified of such discrepancies. 3) Every member who drives Fire Department vehicles must meet the following minimum standards: Minimum Standards for Operating a Department Vehicle 1) Possess a valid Driver’s License from the state where the employee resides. Any member shall report immediately to their appropriate division chief or staff manager the loss of driving privileges or inability to operate any of our vehicles.


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CITY OF BEND FIRE DEPARTMENT POLICY, PROCEDURE AND INSTRUCTION 2) If corrective lenses are required by a Department of Motor Vehicles, secure and maintain a pair of safety glasses (if a person wears glasses, they have to get prescription safety glasses and wear them at all times while driving BFD rigs?) prescribed to give normal vision in both eyes and wear the glasses or contact lenses at all times while driving Fire Department vehicles. 3) All employees must complete the department approved vehicle operator training program for each vehicle classification in their assigned duties. C. INSTRUCTION General Driving Responsibilities 1) Before starting or moving a vehicle, the Driver/Engineer will perform walk around of vehicle to assure that all compartment doors and equipment is secure. 2) The instrument panel shall be checked upon start up to ensure proper system status. A major malfunction, such as loss of oil pressure, is cause for immediately stopping the engine. The instrument panel should be checked periodically during operation to ensure proper function. 3) Parking brake shall be set before leaving the vehicle, and released before moving a vehicle. 4) Wheel chocks, if carried, shall be used whenever apparatus is parked outside the apparatus bay. Wheel chocks will be retrieved and stowed prior to moving the apparatus. 5) Driver and passenger(s) must be seated and belted before parking brakes are released and the vehicle is placed in motion. 6) Personnel shall remain seated and belted and until the vehicle is stopped and parking brake is set. 7) Vehicles (excluding staff vehicles) shall not be backed until a guide or spotter is posted. Plan ahead so backing can be avoided if possible. The driver is responsible for ensuring that sufficient personnel are assigned to direct and assist in the backing process. It is understood that at times in emergency situations exceptions can be made, however, this should be the exception and not the rule. See Signals SOG for all proper verbal and signal communications for backing of apparatus 8) Non-members shall not be allowed to ride apparatus without permission from a Chief Officer and the HIPPA Privacy Officer. Exceptions to this include transporting family members of patients or non-injured individuals from incidents


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CITY OF BEND FIRE DEPARTMENT POLICY, PROCEDURE AND INSTRUCTION and hardship cases with intent of positive customer service and community assistance. 9) Vehicles shall have headlights on both at day and night while operating on any public/private roadway, parking lot, etc. Exception: when parked at a scene/incident and use of headlights will blind oncoming traffic and create a safety issue. 10) Drivers of apparatus shall not utilize cell phones while operating a vehicle unless they are used for emergency purposes and of hands free design. 11) No loose hose or equipment shall be carried on tailboards, running boards or in the cab of apparatus. Oregon Vehicle Code for Emergency vehicle Operations 1) The Oregon Vehicle Code provides the following exceptions for emergency vehicles while responding in the emergency mode to emergencies threatening life or property. At all other times, emergency vehicles are subject to all provisions of the law. 2) The driver of an emergency vehicle responding to an emergency may: 

Proceed past a red signal or stop signs, after slowing down or stopping as necessary for safe operation, and making use of both a visual and audible signals.

The emergency vehicle must be slowed or stopped until all cross traffic is aware that an emergency vehicle is signaling for the right-of-way and said traffic has stopped to let the emergency vehicle proceed.

It must be understood that the traffic moving with the control device has the right-of-way until it is relinquished to the emergency vehicle. Right-ofway must not be taken arbitrarily under any condition.

3) Exceed the designated speed limits so long as persons and property are not endangered. 4) Disregard regulations governing directions of movement or turning in specified direction when a visual signal is in operation, with due regard for safety. 5) Park in areas designated as no parking. A visual signal must be in operation while parked in no parking area. An emergency vehicle that is parked shall not use the audible signal.


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CITY OF BEND FIRE DEPARTMENT POLICY, PROCEDURE AND INSTRUCTION 6) A school bus or worker transport bus with red lights flashing shall cause the emergency vehicle to be stopped. The driver of the emergency vehicle may proceed with caution after determining that no passengers of the bus remain on the roadway. Direct visual contact and acknowledgement from the bus driver is advised for clearance to proceed past a school bus. 7) The provisions of the Oregon Vehicle Code do not relieve the driver of an emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and are not defense to the driver in action brought for criminal negligence or reckless conduct. 8) When driving code one, all emergency vehicles shall abide by the rules dictated by the flaggers, signs, and barriers in construction zones. When driving code three, all personnel shall work in conjunction with the flaggers and construction crews to gain access to, or proceed through any construction area. Extreme caution and slow speeds shall be used. Warning Devices 1) Audible signal – The siren is a legal audible warning device according to state law and should be sounded frequently when responding. Air horns may be used in conjunction with the siren. An air horn is not a legal emergency warning device and should not be used to the exclusion of the siren. 2) Visual signal – The emergency lights that the vehicle is equipped with constitute the visual signal. The opticom device shall be considered a visual signal and shall be operated during emergency response. The opticom device shall be turned off upon arrival at the incident scene to prevent associated traffic signal activation. Additional, the opticom light should be turned off in rural areas where there a no opticom signal to activate. Emergency Response 1) Oregon law requires that all vehicle on the road to yield to the right and stop for emergency vehicles. When responding code three, red lights and siren do not give you the right-of-way; they only ask for it. 2) In most instances, Driver/Engineers should pass vehicles on their left. It is acceptable for drivers to pass vehicles on the right as needed; however extreme caution shall be used. Passing on the right shall not be considered normal practice. 3) Vehicles shall not enter bike or pedestrian lanes, or exit the pavement to pass vehicles.


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CITY OF BEND FIRE DEPARTMENT POLICY, PROCEDURE AND INSTRUCTION 4) An Emergency vehicle should be driven near the center line on a two-way street so that the Emergency vehicle is visible to oncoming traffic. In addition, Driver/Engineers should position their vehicle so the traffic you are following can observe you in their rearview mirror and their side view mirror. 5) When approaching a controlled or uncontrolled intersection with audible and visual signals operating, the Driver/Engineer must slow or stop until all cross traffic is aware and relinquishes the right-of-way. At no time shall any emergency vehicle with audible and visual devices activated proceed through an intersection at any speed greater than what it can be safely stopped at in a moment’s notice. 6) Except when absolutely necessary, one-way streets should not be traveled in the opposite directions. 7) When approaching a railroad track, slow down; ensure tracks are clear before proceeding. Railroad tracks should be avoided if possible for emergency responses. Use alternative routes when possible. 8) When approaching intersections, remain alert for other emergency vehicles responding to the same alarm. Your siren may make another vehicles siren indistinguishable. All responding apparatus are expected to communicate with each other and yield as needed at all intersections. It is unacceptable for vehicles to race or try to beat one another to an incident. 9) When approaching an intersection that is blocked by traffic, use discretion regarding the siren and horn. Excessive use of audible warning devices in these circumstances may cause drivers who cannot move to panic. 10) Audible signals shall be used with discretion around pedestrians. 11) Audible signals shall be used with discretion when approaching animals or livestock on the roadway or shoulders, horseback riders, or vehicles with trailers that contain animals and livestock. Avoid situations that will cause animals or livestock to have a negative reaction to audible or visual signals putting responders or bystanders in danger. 12) Audible signals shall be used with discretion during hours in which it may disrupt quiet neighborhoods with no apparent road traffic. 13) All personnel are encouraged to reduce/downgrade their response and that of other responding units when possible and pertinent. 14) The driver of the vehicle has the responsibility for safe operation; everyone in the vehicle has the responsibility to assist in watching for traffic. Further, each person has the right and obligation to request the vehicle be slowed or stopped if


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CITY OF BEND FIRE DEPARTMENT POLICY, PROCEDURE AND INSTRUCTION unsafe acts are occurring that may create safety issues to the public, our personnel, or damage our equipment. 15) Tender responses: For safety reasons, the standard tender response will be code one to all emergency and non-emergency incidents. 16) Alarm system activations: Responses to commercial and residential alarms activations shall be a single code one engine. The engine company officer has the discretion to make contact with occupant to ensure the incident has been mitigated and alarm system reset, then no response is needed. The Officer is also expected to upgrade as needed based on incident notes, dispatcher information, or gut feeling. Officer should include in their analysis the safety and security of occupants and that the alarm system has been properly reset or fire watch posted. Officers should coordinate all information with the appropriate Fire Investigator and/or Deputy Fire Marshall for their district. 17) Code one vs. code three responses: All responding personnel have the discretion and the responsibility to evaluate all situations involving both fire and EMS responses to determine the appropriate level of response that balances incident needs and responder safety. In all cases the first due apparatus has the authority to upgrade or downgrade responses based on incident information, incident needs, risk to the community and responding personnel. Personnel shall consider predetermined dispatch determinants and caller information in their decision making process. It is anticipated that in most cases involving multiple units responding, the closest unit will respond code three when necessary with secondary response vehicles responding code one. Apparatus at Emergency Scenes 1) Vehicles shall not be driven over fire hose except when absolutely necessary. 2) When parked on or along a roadway, four-way flashers and appropriate visual signals, flares, cones, traffic warning and routing devices shall be used. 3) Where scene safety allows, the blocked streets will be reopened as soon as possible. Public convenience shall be considered at all times. At emergency scenes, park responding vehicles to facilitate the ingress and egress of specialty vehicles, e.g.:



Medic units or rescue companies at medical scenes


Truck companies at structure fires


Mutual Aid and support resources such as power, gas and police agency access

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CITY OF BEND FIRE DEPARTMENT POLICY, PROCEDURE AND INSTRUCTION 4) Do not create an exposure problem with the apparatus. Particular attention should be given to height of buildings and collapse area, and parking under overhead power lines. Vehicle Collisions 1) All vehicle collisions involving Bend Fire Department vehicles or property that result in damage in excess of $500.00 (estimated) must be investigated by appropriate local law enforcement agency. Damage involving less than $500.00 damage shall be investigated by the most appropriate local authority such as safety officer, risk manager, or supervisor, at the best discretion of the vehicle operator dependent on the situation. 2) Any incidents involving known or implied personal injury shall be investigated by the appropriated law enforcement agency. 3) Vehicles involved in a collision must stop at the scene. 4) The emergency vehicle will immediately inform dispatch of the collision and request that another unit be dispatched to the original emergency. The crew will triage the incident, determine needs, render aid and gather information needed to complete collision reports. 5) The non-emergency vehicle operator/driver will immediately notify dispatch and/or their appropriate supervisor. The individual will assess the scene and request additional resources if needed. Exceptions 1) If there are no injuries, a three-person crew may leave one member, equipped with a portable radio, at the scene to exchange information and await the appropriate police agency while the two-person crew continues to the emergency. Follow up with shift commander and police agency as appropriate. 2) If an emergency vehicle is involved in a collision with a stationary object (a parked car, trees, etc.) while responding to an emergency, the crew may proceed to the emergency. Non-emergency vehicles shall remain at the scene for law enforcement. Follow up with appropriate law enforcement and supervisor as needed. Notification 1) The following procedures shall be used for proper notification in the event of a motor vehicle collision involving a department vehicle.


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Vehicles involved in emergency or non-emergency response will notify dispatch and the shift commander. Advise of response status and request appropriate resource needs.

Non-emergency staff vehicle operators will notify the appropriate supervisor, identify status and immediate needs.

Supervisors will ensure that department fleet manager, safety officer and city risk manager are notified. Reporting 1) The following procedures shall be used for proper reporting in the event of a motor vehicle collision involving a department vehicle. 

The Driver/Engineer shall document incident as appropriate using the accident reporting kit materials.    

Photograph the incident Gather pertinent information Gather witness statements Complete required documents

All reports and photographs shall be completed and delivered to the appropriate supervisor, Shift Commander, or department safety officer prior to the driver being released from work.


When appropriate, the driver shall submit the Department of Motor Vehicles Accident Report to the Department of Motor Vehicles immediately upon leaving or prior to leaving work. A copy of the DMV report shall be included in the documentation. Driver shall be responsible to coordinate any fleet damage to fleet manager. Any injuries to personnel shall be appropriately documented and also forwarded to department human resource representative.

Supervisors shall review the accident reporting information for proper completion and forward all materials to the department safety officer prior to being released from work.

The safety officer shall review the accident reporting information and forward the appropriate information to city finance and risk management departments.

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The safety officer will forward a copy of the DMV report and other documentation to the Safety Committee for accident review and identification of possible corrective action recommendations.

The Safety Committee shall review each accident and determine if the incident was preventable and any safety recommendations to improve conditions or circumstances.

The safety officer shall evaluate and coordinate any disciplinary actions necessary for vehicle accidents.

The fleet manager will coordinate all moving of apparatus to accommodate repairs or out of service vehicles.

The safety officer shall create and maintain a file of each accident, in conjunction with the city’s risk manager.

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PPI 1500-003 - Vehicle Ops Standards  

Vehicle Ops Standards