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Here’s one true way of avoiding as many deaths as possible on a highway or roadway for firefighters – completely shut down the highway! Of course, this would probably anger many drivers and I have been stuck in those traffic jams before where everything is at a complete standstill. They’re no fun when you have somewhere to be.
The solution is to employ the procedures we have in place now. Don’t hesitate to use multiple apparatus to block a scene, especially when there are snow or ice conditions. Instead of one rig, call for several more. You can also find lots of information about highway safety at www.respondersafety.com. (Also see Dr. Harry R. Carter’s blog “We Must Take Care of Our Troops on Highways” on Firehouse.com.)
Although we are making headway in reducing firefighter deaths, we still have a long way to go. Eliminating firefighter fatalities on highways and roadways will certainly help get us there.
GARY LUDWIG, a Firehouse® contributing editor, has 35 years of fire, rescue and EMS experience. He currently serves as a deputy fire chief for the Memphis, TN, Fire Department. Ludwig is also chair of the EMS Section for the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He can be reached through his website at garyludwig.com.