A great deal of my writing over the past decade has come as the editor for the Respondersafety.com website. As the editor, a great deal of what I do involves researching and writing about the highway safety problems which you and I face each and every day. You and I both know that it is tough out there on the highways and byways of our nation. It is my job to share some ways with you that can make your highway safety responses work a little bit safer.
Basically, that is how I have operated for most of the dozen years I have served as the editor of this important Internet resource. But wait. I do have a life outside of my writing and consulting world. From time to time, I still respond as a volunteer firefighter with the Adelphia Fire Company located here in beautiful, downtown Adelphia, New Jersey. As a matter of fact, I have been one of the "Top Ten Responders" for the last several years.
Yes, you might even say that I am on the road a lot. Most of the time, I will be the driver on the first-out pumper during the daytime hours. So I am quite familiar indeed with the quality of the drivers out there who may wish to hit my buddies and me as we work out there on the highways of our fire district. I do not think that I am seeing things which are any different that you are.
Times are tough out there on the highways and byways of our great nation. Let me also suggest to you that things are not going to get better for any of us anytime soon. On those occasions when I am behind the steering wheel of our fire company units, that I am no different than ant of you.
I put my life on the line to protect and serve the citizens of my community. I face a wide array of drivers who could care less that I am chauffeuring a fire truck. No, to them I am just one more roadblock on their road to high-speed happiness. You and I are just something with which the drivers out there have to suffer through.
Let me now share a little story with you. It is an important story because it shows a number of the negative driver behaviors which you and I must anticipate encountering from time to time during our responses on the highways and byways of our response area.
Not too long ago my fire company was sent out on a motor vehicle accident response around suppertime. It was not too hard to find the accident, as it happened in front of our old fire station, which is located right next to our main fire station built in 1965. Let me note for the record that our station is located on a very busy county highway. In my case, I live about 300 yards from the station on the very same highway.
Since the traffic was beginning to back up in front of my house, it was necessary for me to make my way through a convenience store parking lot and onto the side road off of our main road. I then took a back street into the rear entrance of our fire station.
Traffic was really screwy as I pulled our rescue pumper out of the station and moved to a position in front of our old station, about 100 yards away. I was directed to a blocking position by one of our assistant chiefs. I parked the pumper, set the amber stick on the rear to its flashing position and began to set up my highway road cones to block off our unit.
Let me stress that all members of the Adelphia Fire Company operating at this location were wearing their retro-reflective public safety vests as they began to work at cutting the battery cables on both vehicles and stretching a protective hose line. It was at about this time that we noted a number of cars coming past out location and placing us all in jeopardy. There were also cars cutting down the back alley that I used to reach the station. These people were going through the fire station parking lot in an attempt to reach the eastbound lanes of the county road.