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Crash Answered

Anybody else in the world crash a firetruck into a bus on Christmas Day?


Good luck back at work tomorrow (unless it already is tomorrow down under?)

Roll with the punches, accept the inevitable ribbing with good humour, give as good as you get, but keep your temper.

If you get the shakes or flashbacks, especially behind the wheel, tell somebody right away.

Apart from all that, remember to take a picture of your locker, festooned with press-cuttings and/or bandages...

As I write, it is 11.10pm Dec 31st. Went back today. All good. A decent amount of ribbing. Put out a car fire, a grass fire, removed a tree branch from power lines and caught and removed a black snake (that's the type of snake, not just the colour) from a woman's garage. Not all single handed. All good. Back behind the wheel tomorrow. Thanks for the support.

According to my Bumper Book of Australian Etiquette, at this point I'm supposed to punch you solidly in the bicep, hand you a beer, and pretend none of this ever happened.

Instead, I shall dwell again on the unusual lethality of Antipodean wildlife... (Six feet long? Lethal bite? The most dangerous thing in my garden is the occasional pigeon...)

Kiteman, if it's the same creature "WE" call a blacksnake in the USA, farmers call them one of their Best friends. They are non-poisonous and love mice (so having them in one's grain bin is a plus).

I have handled them several times, and even helped an injured one off the road once (not recommended if you don't know what you are doing, even though they are not poisonous, the bite can be nasty painful). Otherwise, they are rather laid back for snakes.

The Australian blacksnakes (which are often brown) are deadly.

Beautiful animals. Not usually lethal. Easy to catch, a bit trickier to release. (We don't harm them, just relocate). Try an Eastern Brown snake or Inland Taipan.

The one's we in the USA call black snakes, are fairly benign (no poison) and are welcome in the grain bins of farmers as they are great mousers :-)

You might want to hand me the beer FIRST.

Glad your ok. This type of experience can be just what is needed. a wake-up-call, if you will. To remind you and all those who know about it, including this site, that we are not immune and to " just, take care out there".

Please explain "else"?


Just want to know if I was the only one.

Would you like to tell us about it, I couldn't find a news article to match.


It wasn't newsworthy. Nobody was injured. The incident we were on route to turned out to be less serious than anticipated (luckily). Another station was dispatched to take our place.

It's an extremely dangerous situation to be traveling at speed under lights and sirens in close proximity to another firetruck. The public sees the first one, stops, gives way etc. then continues on their way thinking "ooh, a fire engine!" That's where I come in. They don't see the second one. I F@#$%d up.
A couple of days ago, I was bullet proof. No more. I could have sent 4 other Firies, myself, a bus driver and his passengers home for Christmas in pine boxes.

We are all big tough blokes at my station. I guess I didn't really have anyone else to talk to about it.
Sorry to waste your time, I'm a good way through a bottle of cheap rum now, and I seem to have something in my eye.

I managed to stop. The bus didn't. A long line of damage down the left side of the bus. The front driver's corner of my truck not too healthy. Lights, bumper, windscreen, 'A' pillar, driver's door,etc.

At the time we were all cool about it. The bus driver could hardly stand unaided. He couldn't write down his details for the accident report. We cleaned up the mess, looked after him until others arrived, limped back to the station ate our dinner and made lots of jokes. We got a spare truck bought out, restowed all the gear in it, and carried on.

All the other stations in the area knew about it before we got back, so I copped some flak. This is what happens when nobody gets hurt. My locker is now adorned with newspaper clippings relating to buses, crashes, bad driving etc.

 A quarter of a second delay on the brakes and you would have found your news story. I don't know why I'm feeling this way 2 days later. I've seen some stuff that would make your hair turn white and then fall out, with no ill effect.

I'm one of our best drivers (not anymore), and some of the blokes have said they were glad I was at the wheel. I don't feel too good about it.

To answer your question, Lots of damage to the truck, no injuries. We should get it back in about 2 months.

I'm kind of a noob to the net and on line conversation and stuff, so I don't know why I'm writing this, or if I'm even in the right place, so I'm sorry if I'm wasting your time with what must seem trivial to those of you that are sober.

It's interesting, and I'm gad people were able to walk away.
Things happen, if everyone is "due a bump" you can be thankful yours only amounted to that much.
(I'm only sober for the next hour or so...)


I don't really know what I expected to happen when I wrote my question, and I didn't anticipate revealing so much, but you picked up the ball and ran with it. Feeling better now. Thank you.

You're not wasting our time, and this isn't trivial at all. I, for one, feel humbled that you consider us enough a part of your community that you're willing to share this with us.

As Lithium said, it *is* a big deal. You were in charge in a situation where you feel like you "failed." It sounds like you're feeling responsible for the accident (and yes, that's the right word to use), and you are probably running through all of the what-ifs and worst-cases in your head.

Talking about it, preferably to someone who understands what you do and can be more sensitive about it, is really important. I don't know if your department has a chaplain (or if you swing that way :-), but you might try.

I guess you've noticed I'm a glass half empty kind of guy, and it is I that feel humbled that you lot have listened to me. Over these few days I've realised that one of the feelings I've experienced is humility. I'm not used to that.

Looking at the full half of the glass has made me realise that I probably needed to be knocked down a peg or two, and something like this where everyone lives to tell the tale has done the job. Another bottle or two of "Harden The #$%& Up" before I get back to work on friday, and I'll be faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive.......

Business as usual, and thank you.

It *is* a big deal - you might have to talk it out after something like that (and it doesn't sound like you can really do it with your colleagues). Carry on.

.  Going by your description of the accident and the fact that you are still at work, I have to believe that it wasn't your fault. Sounds to me like the bus driver didn't yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle with lights and siren on.
.  It's good that you are concerned about what happened, but give yourself a break.
.  Ethanol makes a pretty decent short-term fix, but becomes counter-productive after a day or two. If this is still giving you problems, talk to someone (shrink, psychologist, support group, friend, co-worker, supervisor, anyone) about it.

It doesn't work that way over here. I turned against the red and was obliged to stop if a collision was foreseeable. The lights and sirens don't give us right of way. It was my fault. Nothing will happen to me, the fire brigade will take care of the fallout.

The talking I've done in this forum has helped, so thanks for joining in.

As far as the ethanol is concerned, when I'm on duty I'm a firefighter. When I'm off duty I'm an alcoholic.

> The lights and sirens don't give us right of way.
.  That sounds very stupid to me, but if that's how it works over there, then so be it. Just because something is legal doesn't mean it's right; just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's wrong.
> Nothing will happen to me, the fire brigade will take care of the fallout.
.  Well, that tells me that your superiors and co-workers agree that, while you may be legally at fault, you are not morally at fault.

> when I'm on duty I'm a firefighter
.  Thanks.
> When I'm off duty I'm an alcoholic
.  Nobody's perfect (not even me LOL).

You are legally supposed to get out of the way if an emergency vehicle approaches from behind, but you can't be expected to see us approaching from a perpendicular direction of travel if you are doing the correct speed through a green light.

The emergency vehicle under lights AND siren must slow to a speed no more than 8kph when running through a red light (stop sign etc) and must stop if a collision is likely. I needed to stop about a foot shorter.

The fire brigade will accept responsibility for my error, but not liability. If I had killed someone my situation would be somewhat more difficult, but the court would look at the circumstances of the emergency response and take that into account.

I tend to stay off the streets when I can during "drinking holidays"  so no.

You wrote:  I don't know why I'm feeling this way 2 days later. I've seen some stuff that would make your hair turn white and then fall out, with no ill effect.

Well, when it involves your own actions and decisions it is much more Personal, and so you are effected by it to a greater degree. 

I am glad it all worked out with no injuries though.  I know how "close calls" can feel, I have been in a number of them myself.

You are NOT wasting our time. I am female and was an EMT in the 90's, and completed paramedic coursework. I knew lots of firefighters. I appreciate what those who work in public service do for the rest of us. Now I know this doesn't help your gut feeling right now. You have given everyone involved another chance at life. Well done sir, well done.