Firefighter Larry Millard of the Endeavor-Moundville Volunteer Fire Department, in Wisconsin was struck and killed while working at an accident scene on I-39 in Marquette County on Friday December 12th. As they were operating on the highway a vehicle approached and swerved to avoid the fire apparatus striking Firefighter Millard.
I have moved back and forth between sadness over the death of a firefighter in a nearby community and anger over the needlessness of it. I am sick and tired of hearing about commerce and convenience as an excuse to keep traffic flowing while endangering firefighters, EMTs, police officers and wrecker operators. When will we step up and demand that our safety on the roadway is every bit as important as our safety at fire scenes? It will take more than fluorescent vests and blocking 1 lane at emergency scenes to ensure our safety. It will take the incident commander stepping up and saying NO MORE to cars whizzing by us at high speeds, NO MORE to our safety being secondary to convenience and commerce, NO MORE to senseless and needless deaths like Larry Millard.
I, for one, will take the entire road if needed to protect my firefighters; I am willing to risk arrest to protect my firefighters. But the solution goes beyond that, we need law enforcement to understand and cooperate, we may need legislation to allow us to close the roads as needed. But what we don't need is anymore senseless and needless deaths.
Rest In Peace Firefighting Brother Millard.