Department Vehicle Accident Policy

Department Vehicle Accident Policy

Accident Response

The Accident Investigation Team (AIT) shall be comprised of the Deputy District Chief (DDC) or Assistant Deputy Chief Paramedic (ADCP), the battalion Chief (BC) or Field Officer (FO), and a Duty Safety Officer.

  1. Class 1, 2, or 3 accidents shall require the response of the full AIT.
  2. Class 4 and 5 accidents shall not require the response of the DDC/ADCP or Duty Safety Officer unless injury or significant damage have occurred.
  3. The DDC/ADCP shall be notified of all class 4 or 5 accidents.
  4. The BC/FO shall be the Lead Investigator and Team Leader at any accident to which the DDC/ADCP does not respond.
  5. The response or notification of either the DDC/ADCP, shall be predicated upon the vehicle involved in the accident.
    1. Fire vehicles, including Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances, shall necessitate the response or notification of the DDC.
    2. Emergency Medical Service (EMS) vehicles shall necessitate the response or notification of the ADCP.
    3. If an ADCP is investigating an accident and another accident involving an EMS vehicle occurs, a DDC shall be dispatched.
    4. When accidents involve individuals of the AIT, the accident investigation shall be conducted by non-involved officers of equivalent rank/title. The DDC/ADCP, when assigned, shall be designated as Team Leader.
Purpose: 
  1. Continues the objectives of the Department Vehicle Accident Policy.
  2. Prescribes command and supervisory responsibilties responsibilities and procedures to be followed relating to traffic safety and accidents.
  3. Defines the classifications of departmental apparatus damage and accidents.
  4. Provides the definition of a departmental vehicle accident.
  5. Becomes effective April 1, 2006, and rescinds General Order 89-006, Addendum 1 and Addendum 2.
Scope: 

The objectives of this order are to:

  1. Establish procedure for conducting the investigation.
  2. Define documentation and reporting of accidents.
Definitions: 

The definition of a Chicago Fire Department (CFD) vehicle accident is:

  1. An accident involving a CFD vehicle in motion, or its equipment, striking a vehicle, pedestrian or other fixed object.
  2. An accident involving a stationary CFD vehicle struck by another vehicle.

Classification of Accidents

  1. Class 1 (A) -CFD vehicle or its equipment and one other vehicle; with injuries
  2. Class 1 (B) -CFD vehicle or its equipment and one other vehicle; without injuries
  3. Class 2 (A) -CFD vehicle and 2 or more other vehicles; with injuries
  4. Class 2 (B) -CFD vehicle and 2 or more other vehicles; without injuries
  5. Class 3 -CFD vehicle and a pedestrian
  6. Class 4 (A) -Any damage to a CFD vehicle incurred by striking a structure, post, etc.; with injuries
  7. Class 4 (B) -Any damage to a CFD vehicle incurred by striking a structure, post, etc.; without injuries
  8. Class 5 -Unreported damage to a CFD vehicle caused by a vehicle accident. Unreported damage shall necessitate that an Investigative Review (I.R.) number be drawn on the unit supervisor.
Procedure: 
  1. Company Officers, Senior Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technicians, Senior Member in Charge or CFD drivers shall follow the procedures outlined below:
    1. Stay on the scene of a Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 accidents. For Class 4 accidents, terminate response if injury or significant damage has occurred.
    2. Notify the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) of the accident, describe conditions, location, and the class of accident. If responding to an alarm, advise the OEMC of the termination of response to the alarm except for Class 4 accidents that do not involve injury or significant damage. For Class 4 accidents, return to the scene of the accident after the response.
    3. Ascertain the extent of injuries, render first aid, and order the appropriate medical response.
    4. Make statements to the AIT and the appropriate police jurisdiction.
    5. Relocate vehicles to a safe position out of the flow of traffic unless otherwise directed by the police.
    6. Gather necessary information for the CFD Accident and Damage Report Form #950.
    7. Wait for the AIT.
    8. Complete the CFD Accident and Damage Report Form #950.
    9. Complete the Illinois Motor Vehicle Acident Report.
    10. Forward the comleted CFD Accident and Damage Report Form #950 to the investigating BC or FO before the end of member's tour of duty.
    11. Contact Fleet Management for a work order number.
    12. Make proper journal entries.
  2. Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC)
    1. OEMC shall assign an Accident Record (AR) number when notified of a vehicular accident involving a CFD vehicle.
    2. OEMC Fire Operations Supervisor shall ensure that members of the AIT are dispatched to all accidents at which their presence is required.
    3. OEMC shall make additional notifications, including the following: appropriate police jurisdictions, Fleet Management, Internal Affairs Division, or any other notification(s) requested by the AIT Team Leader.
  3. Photo Unit 
    1. The Photo Unit shall respond to accidents when specifically requested by the AIT Team Leader. This response shall be with emergency lights and siren activated.
      1. Photo Unit shall photograph all accidents with injury and/or significant damage.
      2. Photo Unit shall photograph vehicles structures, and any item or condition relative to the accident investigation.
      3. Photo Unit representative assigned shall forward photographs to the Photo Unit Supervisor.
  4. Accident Investigation Team 
    1. AIT shall respond to the accident location given by the OEMC. Response by the investigation team shall not require the activation of emergency lights and siren unless a serious injury has occurred.
    2. AIT shall ensure that all injured are receiving, or have received, medical attention.
    3. AIT shall interview the drivers of all involved vehicles. 
    4. AIT shall make a visual inspection of damage and determine if the departmental vehicle is in a safe condition to operate. If the vehicle is found to be unsafe or inoperable, Fleet Management shall be notified.
    5. AIT Team Leader shall ensure that, when necessary, the entire accident scene is photographed.
    6. AIT shall obtain the Record Division (RD) number, or its equivalent, from the investigating Police Officer.
    7. AIT shall ensure that all pertinent information has been obtained by the person in charge of the department vehicle. 
    8. The AIT BC/FO shall complete the Vehicle Accident and Damage Report Investigator's Narrative Form #951, indicating their findings.
    9. AIT members shall make a determination on the Vehicle Accident and Damage Report Investigator's Narrative Form #951 of the accident was Preventable or Non-Preventable as defined below.
      1. Non-Preventable
        1. An accident, that after review of the circumstances and factors, reveals that it could not have been prevented by CFD personnel.
      2. Preventable 
        1. An accident, that after review of the circumstances and factors, reveals that the operator or driver failed to exercise precautions consistent with their responsibilities and training, shall be deemed preventable.
        2. An accident, that after review of the circumstances and factors, reveals that the departmental apparatus or vehicle was operated carelessly  or negligently, shall be deemed preventable.

          The determination of preventable or non-preventable is for the purpose of ascertaining proper remedial action, if any is warranted. It is not a determination or admission of liability, legal or otherwise, on the part of the operator or driver. The AIT shall make this determination at the conclusion of the investigatory process.

    10. In the event that the AIT uncovers violations of Department Rules and Regulations, Practices and Procedures, General Orders, Directives, or Memorandums during the course of the investigation, the AIT Team Leader shall recommend the appropriate remedial action.
      1. Remedial action may be any of the following:
        1. Training at the Company, District, or Fire Academy.
        2. Discipline 
        3. Any combination of the above.
      2. The initiation of discipline shall be the responsibility of the AIT Team Leader.
    11. The AIT shall initiate the appropriate procedures in accordance with the provisions of the current order relating to Substance Abuse; Drugs/Alcohol, when in their opinion, circumstances surrounding the accident justify such action. 
      1. When the driver or operator of any CFD vehicle is involved in any classification of accident resulting in injury to any person.
      2. When the accident results in significant damage to any vehicle or property, and the accident is determined to be preventable.
      3. When the behavior or conduct of the driver or operator evidences reasonable grounds to suspect substance abuse in the opinion of two supervisors, one of whom shall be exempt of rank.

        The AIT shall make a determination prior to the conclusion of the investigatory process. The DDC/ADCP shall transport the memeber for medical screening. The DDC/ADCP shall be responsible for subordinates completing all requisite paperwork.

    12. The BC/FO shall forward all completed forms through their respective channels to the District/Division of occurence. Forms and information submitted shall include the 950, 951, RD number, and any other information relative to the accident.
  5. DDC/ADCP and BC/FO shall follow the procedures outlined below:
    1. Review all required reports for pertinent information.
    2. Complete all relevant sections of Vehicle Accident and Damage Report Investigator's Narrative Form #951. Indicate as to whether or not the accident was preventable or non-preventable. 
    3. Complete the DDC/ADCP Vehicle Accident Investigation Report Form #952.
    4. Forward all reports to the District Chief (DC)/Deputy Chief Paramedic (DCP)
  6. DC/DCP in whose jurisdiction the accident occurred, shall follow the procedures outlined below:
    1. Review all required reports for pertinent information.
    2. Complete all relevant sections of DDC/ADCP Vehicle Accident Investigation Report Form #952. Indicate as to whether or not the accident was preventable or non-preventable.
    3. Fax copies of the investigation packet to the Bureau of Operations, Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner (EMS or FSR), and the Division of Safety.
    4. Forward the originals of all forms to the Director of Safety.

      In the event the investigating DDC/ADCP and/or BC?FO is assigned to a District/Division other than the one having jurisdiction over the accident, the Director of Safety shall send a copy of the forms to the impacted jurisdiction District/Division for retention in their files.
  7. Duty Safety Officers shall follow the procedures outlined below:
    1. Respond to all accidents as the Duty Safety Officer pursuant to this order. Class 4 and 5 accidents shall not require the response of the Duty Safety Officer, unless injury and/or significant damage have occurred. The response of the Duty Safety Officer can only be teminated by the on scene DDC/ADCP.
    2. Review the circumstances surrounding the accident and determine what actions shall be taken to prevent future occurrences.
    3. Forward specific recommendations to the Director of Safety.

Responsibilities: 

Supervisiory Responsibilities:

  1. Company Officers, Senior Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technicians, and other Supervisory Officers, shall assist Chief Officers in achieving the objcectives of the Department Vehicle Accident Policy.
  2. Supervisors shall hold subordinates responsible for their driving conduct at all times.
  3. Supervisors shall be held responsible for the reckless or negligent driving actions of their subordinates, if it is determined that the supervisor failed to exercise the necessary control.