Who and what are Fire Police?
Fire Police are volunteer members of a fire department who provide police services at a fire, accident or other emergency scene, or at a non-emergency event when additional manpower is needed to supplement local police. These services may include traffic control, crowd control, scene security and other duties as needed.
Why do they do it?
The job of Fire Police is to protect firefighters from the dangers of public intrusion into an emergency scene. People who drive into an emergency scene may collide with a fire engine, or worse, a firefighter. Even pedestrians on an emergency scene may hamper firefighters' work. Fire Police also protect the public from the dangers of emergency scenes by controlling crowds near scenes, and they do their best to provide the most convenient detour for traffic when roads are closed.
Why do they close the road when I can see there's a lane open to drive through?
Probably because, if an emergency exists ahead, it may be dangerous to the public to drive through the area. There may be a leak of gasoline or other hazardous materials. There my be live wires lying on the road which you can't see from your vantage point. Fire Police are aware of the dangers on the scene, which you are not aware of. But most of all, firefighters may be working in that area, and the road is closed to protect an unsuspecting firefighter from getting hit by a car!
Why do they close the road far away from the incident?
Fire Police do their best to choose the most convenient, easiest detour for all involved. Sometimes they let cars through but detour trucks (CDL-size) because large trucks would be unable to get through. Sometimes they let trucks through but detour cars because trucks would be unable to follow the detour. Ultimately, they're doing what they feel best serves the interests of the safety of the fire department and the public.
Why should I obey the instructions of Fire Police?
Because Fire Police are empowered by Pennsylvania Law with the legal authority to control crowds and traffic and provide security at emergency scenes and other events just like a police officer. Failure to obey the instructions of Fire Police can result in citations which appear on your criminal record, as well as fines and possibly jail time! Obey the instructions of Fire Police.
Don't get angry at Fire Police for doing their job!
Fire Police did not create the emergency! They did not cause the accident. They did not start the fire. They respond to give you a way of avoiding the traffic jam which can be created at the scene of an emergency. They are there to keep you from getting hurt by getting in the way of working firefighters or getting too close to a hazardous emergency. Detouring traffic may cause everything to slow down, but you are actually getting through instead of getting stuck, so THANK A FIRE POLICE OFFICER.