Report Number: 07-0000932
Report Date: 05/29/2007
Today [our Engine] had a near miss at the intersection of [location removed]. The specifics of the event are as follows; after being stopped at a red light, [our Engine] pulled away from [the intersection] with a green light, turning left to go north. As we made our way into the intersection, FF [name deleted] yelled to STOP! Immediately [the driver] stopped. The bumper of [our Engine] came to a stop at a point just past the island that divides the north and southbound lanes. As I looked up into the intersection, I observed a [police car] passing (code 3 en-route to a call) in front of [our Engine] at a high rate of speed. The siren was hardly even audible at the time. We were not able to hear the siren until the vehicle was just past us. In fact, [the driver and firefighter] remarked that the siren was not even on. I do not know if this was due to the speed and over-driving of the siren or if it was not properly functioning as it sounded muffled. Additionally we were all wearing our headsets, which could have led to the siren being nearly inaudible. The headsets did facilitate good communications between the crew and there was no question of what [the firefighter] said from the back.
Writing the description of the event above tends to lessen the speed at which the event occurred. The above events nearly all occurred simultaneously or within seconds and half seconds of each other. Had [the firefighter] not looked right and yelled when he did there is no doubt that a catastrophic collision would have occurred in the intersection as the clearance between [our Engine], once stopped, and the police car was the distance of less than one half of the left turn lane. I would also point out that [the driver's] cautious entry into the intersection also prevented this from being a catastrophic event as [the driver] eased onto the accelerator rather than “punching it” into the intersection.
This was an excellent example of crew resource management working to promote the safety and well being of personnel. There is no question in my mind that [the firefighter] clearly saved the life of the police officer and prevented the serious injury or worse to our crew today. His actions merit recognition from the Department.
Note: this report has been edited to remove identifying information. The square brackets  denote editing by the reviewer.
This case clearly shows what alert and trained personnel can accomplish when an emergency is presented to them. Without complete trust in each other and excellent communications, this event clearly would have been a tragic collision between a police unit responding to an event and a fire unit returning from an event. Rely on your troops and instill in them the power to speak up and be heard when they have a feeling that there is any hint of an emergency. This case is evidence of what can be done to accomplish a positive outcome.
To view the whole report