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Fire platform over traffic

Spotted in Scarborough, UK, the local Fire Brigade setting up its aerial work platform over live traffic for a very brief job to remove a tree limb.

According to our correspondent the entire job took barely more than 10 minutes, so he wonders why the crew did not simply stop the traffic for a few minutes. In his own words: Here are Scarborough Fire Brigade seemingly out to recover a loose branch in a tree in Falsgrave Road, Scarborough over a live traffic junction and indeed moments later above my car.... yet 10 minutes later the incident is dealt with and all fire appliances had left the junction. .. surely for such a quick piece of work it's better to stop all traffic for 5 minutes ?”
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Setting up a platform over the top of live traffic in Scarbourough

We agree – setting up above traffic is a risky business and definitely one for our Death Wish series – perhaps the last of the year.


vertikal editor
I not sure that an apology is particularly appropriate. What we have here is an eye witness account and a response from the fire service which appears to contradict what our contributor said he clearly saw. What would be nice to is to have had a clear video of the event showing exactly what happened, But lets not get too carried away here.

It is good to hear that the Scarborough fire department is 'on the ball' and even if they did slew the platform over the car, they had planned and considered the whole thing and taken steps to be both quick and safe.

There are incidents, such as this for which the term Death Wish does often seem overly harsh - no question about it. It just happens to be the label for our series of unsafe work practices - the vast majority horrendous. Since we started over eight years ago we have posted more than 630 examples - many of them suicidal. I am proud to say that I have seen photocopies of these reports on training room notice boards all over the world - from Dubai to Atlanta, while 69 state and local government departments to date, plus numerous rental companies and institutions - including the BBC - have formally requested the right to use them in their training programmes which we always agree to immediately without charge or cost to them of course. After- all simply try and filter and then post the information which comes in from our more safety minded readers.

Even in this case you can be absolutely certain that the readers report will have been circulated and firemen warned to remain ever diligent. And in my mind that cannot be a bad thing.

However you make a very good point and we do have to be careful not to a)undermine what this series has achieved so far - and b) Not to disparage those such as the Scarborough force who do take safety seriously.

Hopefully no one there was overly offended and the report was taken in a positive manner, which provided an opportunity to double check procedures. If someone there was upset than I am very sorry to hear that.

Many thanks again Heavylifting for your efforts in this case is very much appreciated.

Jan 12, 2017

Explanation provided by North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service to myself, regarding the above article. I think that maybe an apology is required from the editor for making this a Death Wish Series.

Good morning,

Thank you for your email below and I apologise for the delay in getting back to you but as you will appreciate the details of this needed to be looked into in detail. Please see below a response from our Group Manager for Scarborough and Ryedale, ##### #########.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was mobilised to reports of a branch of a tree broken and overhanging, which posed a danger to the public. The incident occurred on the 23/12/16 at 1322 hours. We mobilised a Fire Appliance and Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) to the incident. On arrival we cordoned off the pavement and requested the attendance of the Police to close the road. The aerial ladder was parked across the junction, parallel with the main road. The jacks of the ALP were inbound so that they were not on the highway. Fire crews in high visibility jackets stopped traffic as the ALP was elevated and trained above the highway, once it was cleared of the highway then the traffic was allowed to move again. The branch was removed and the traffic was then again stopped as the ALP was made up and trained again over the highway. Fire crews were at the incident for approximately 20 minutes and the incident was concluded 1359 hours.


Jan 12, 2017

I have contacted North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service with a link to this article and have asked for their comments. If they do not respond on this comments page with an explanation of their actions, then I will post the reply that is provided to me.

Dec 28, 2016

Float your load you may we'll be sat at the red lights but what about them cars in front that have clearly been stopped to let the emergency services work? And as for your passenger taking the photo I can smell Bulls**t hahaha

Dec 28, 2016

Driving a left hand drive car float?? the vent reflection on the windscreen indicates an off side reflection, happy new year, hope your new year resolution's to not use your phone while driving ;)

Dec 27, 2016

Let's end the speculation. .. the traffic is stopped as the lights are on red. The guy in the MEWP then slewes right over my car which was a real concern for me... when the lights changed the traffic flowed as normal.. nobody stopped it. The pic was taken by my passenger and not by me as I was driving. I was there.... it wasn't the greatest practice for our excellent emergency services... that's why I posted it !

Dec 27, 2016

I'm with Jack Westwood on this, clearly the road has been shut while the works are carried out so definitely not a death wish, if anything well done to them.

Dec 27, 2016

I am no detective but if the road isn't closed, why is there two police officers stood in said road holding the traffic back? And if they aren't holding the traffic back, why is your "corespondent" using a camera whilst driving?

I think the Public services are under enough pressure as it is without people trying to pick holes in there work. Let them get on with the fine job they do.

Dec 27, 2016

For a professional public organisation, this is not a good example to be setting.

Dec 27, 2016