Pennsylvania Statutes Title 75 Pa.C.S.A. Vehicles § 3708. ‘Unauthorized driving over fire hose’: “No vehicle shall be driven over any unprotected hose of a fire department when laid down on any highway, private road or driveway, for use at any fire or alarm of fire, without the consent of a fire department officer, a police officer or other appropriately attired person authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic at the scene.”
Video below was taken during Sunday’s fire at 4219 Winding Way.
Believe it or not – this happens more than you know – and it is simply not acceptable. Additionally – this request to NOT drive over our hose is not new. We repeatedly message out that when you drive up on the bright yellow hose in the street, surrounded by all the big red vehicles and flashing lights – stop – turn around and find a different route to where you are headed. In this particular instance a bystander who did just that – recorded the driver (s) blatantly putting firefighters lives at risk and driving over the supply line – clearly hooked to a hydrant. When firefighters stopped the woman’s car, they immediately requested IMPD and when she heard that – she unapologetically sped off. She is described as a 40-ish year old white female driving a black SUV. The bystander turned this video over to IFD which has now been turned into the IFD/IMPD Fire Investigations Unit who is following up.
It is for this reason and other unintentional breakdown’s occurring, that the IFD has in place a Standard Operating Procedure of always securing two supply lines on every working fire. The supply lines are hooked to different hydrants in case one of the hydrants malfunctions. The supply lines are established separately by incoming engines – in case one of the engine’s pumping systems malfunctions. Wear and tear can cause a supply line to break when least expected. Firefighters inspect every section of hose they use on a fire – after every fire. Apparatus engineers are constantly reviewing the status of the hoselines coming off their engines for any unexpected breakdown to occur. A small hole in a hoseline can wreak havoc on the firefighting effort. That small hole can become larger when water is introduced into the line and pressure applied from the pumps. This can cause the hoseline to burst… rendering the hoseline useless and a becoming a flailing weapon that could easily harm a firefighter or bystander on scene. Firefighters depend on this water supply to protect themselves, make rescues and confine the fire. Yesterday’s actions did damage to one 100 foot section of 5” inch hose after the driver ran over it. It’s replacement will cost the department about $500.
It is because of the intentional, careless disregard as illustrated by this video, that we continue to message out – not to drive over hose and across the country, remain stupefied that drivers still do it. It’s just as important as not parking in front of the hydrant, not going around stopped fire apparatus when they are clearly on an incident, pulling to the right and having a working smoke alarm in your home. When you do this you are endangering the very lives of the firefighters that are trying to protect your life and your property.
Police officers can issue the driver a Uniform Traffic Ticket or elevate it to Interfering with the Duties of a Firefighter – which is a misdemeanor and lead to fines of up to $2500