Parking Safely on Slopes

Vehicles - Roads
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Feb 2021


In 2005, three fireline fatalities occurred related to improper parking on slopes. One each involved a water tender, a fire engine, and a command vehicle. In wildland fire operations, we frequently exit vehicles quickly, but it is imperative that anytime a vehicle is left unattended, time is taken to assure it is parked safely and will not present a hazard to ourselves or others.

Standard operating procedures for parking vehicles safely on slopes are:

  • Turn the front wheels uphill or into the inside/embankment.
  • Firmly set the emergency brake.
  • Put the vehicle in park (if automatic transmission) or in forward gear (if manual transmission); do not leave it in neutral.
  • Turn off the engine.
  • Chock the wheels. When utilizing chocks, make sure they are on the correct side in reference to the slope. Assure the chocks are approved to hold the weight of the vehicle and will grip on the road surface.
  • Be aware of safe parking on slopes during an incident when moving a vehicle frequently. When using engines in pumping operations along a roadway, it is easy to get complacent with procedures. Realize when the vehicle is on a slightly different slope and requires placing chocks differently. It is the driver's responsibility to assure not only that the vehicle is operated safely but is positioned and parked safely.


    Additional Resources

    Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
    Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
    NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
    RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
    Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
    Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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