Fireground Safety, Health & Safety

“D” Drivers and Other Hazards at Highway Operations

Issue 2 and Volume 171.

BY JACK SULLIVAN   Sixteen years ago, I wrote “Safe Response to Highway and Traffic Incidents” (Fire Engineering, June 2001), which covered the hazards of working near moving traffic and the ways emergency responders could mitigate the scene dangers and operate more safely. I wanted others to avoid my fire department’s 1998 experience on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. An out-of-control tractor trailer struck eight firefighters and two emergency medical technicians (EMTs) at the scene of a “routine” single-car crash on the highway shoulder. Nine personnel were injured, and Firefighter Dave Good did not survive. (1) Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids (MI) Fire Department. Sadly, in 2017, the topics and key talking points for highway operations haven’t changed much. More distressing, the number of struck-by-vehicle fatalities and injuries continues to outpace our efforts to protect firefighters on the highway. On December 9, 2017, a firefighter was fatally struck by a vehicle…

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