2015 has not been a good year for Firefighters and EMTs working at roadway incidents. As of today there have been nine (9) firefighters and/or EMTs struck and killed by vehicles in 2015. That is the highest number of fatalities from struck-by-vehicles that I have tracked over the last 15 years. "D" drivers are hitting our personnel and our fire apparatus with surprising frequency. "D" drivers are distracted, drunk, drugged, drowsy, disgruntled and/or just plain dumb. They outnumber emergency personnel by a large margin when we are working a roadway incident scene.
The highway is one of the most dangerous places for emergency personnel to work. Crash scenes are especially troublesome. There are things you and your fire department should be doing to reduce the chances of a struck-by-vehicle injury or fatality. Lots of resources and training aids are available (for free!) through www.respondersafety.com. There is even an online Learning Network with a dozen modules about every aspect of roadway incident safety. Subjects include Blocking Techniques, Advance Warning, PPE, Scene Safety, Special Hazards and several other modules available 24/7 to fit your schedule.
I've been invited back to FDIC 2016 to present a classroom session on this important topic. I'm sharing information and Highway Safety Tips through social media on a regular basis. I've taught classes and interactive workshops nationwide. We have worked hard to get the highway incident safety strategies and tactics out to firefighters and EMS personnel over the past 15 years. We're going to aim some of our efforts in 2016 at the average everyday motorist and the "D" drivers. They are the next piece of the puzzle. What do you suggest we should do to help change the behavior of motorists around emergency incidents? Blocking apparatus with Flashing lights, florescent and reflective chevrons, Hi-viz PPE, cones, flares, signs and arrow devices don't seem to be enough to get the attention of drivers who literally are not even looking out of the windshield in many cases. We're always looking for suggestions and local programs that are working that we can share with others. What is your FD doing to reduce this exposure?
Here's wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year. Stay Smart and Stay Safe!
#FDIC2016 class promo about "Roadway Incident Safety - The Hits Keep on Coming" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zt6mL7MN0I