Fire Chief uses outside the box thinking to secure funding for an ambitious project aimed at protecting Emergency Responders from vehicular traffic.
Florence, SC – Firefighting is an inherently dangerous profession. So much so, in fact, that turnout gear manufacturers even remind us of this fact with a warning on our gear; Firefighting is ultrahazardous and unavoidably dangerous. While many organizations and regulatory bodies have spent an unimaginable amount of time and funding to make our profession safer, at the end of the day the risk is still there. According to the 2017 NFPA report Firefighting Fatalities in the United States report highlights, An unusually high number of firefighters were struck and killed by vehicles in 2017 (10 deaths).
Seeing the need for an additional layer of protection Howe Springs Fire Rescue Fire Chief Billy Dillon decided to act. Inspired by SCDOT traffic control vehicles which feature a supplement of traffic cones, high visibility markings and emergency lighting, and a truck-mounted changeable message sign the department started the process of applying for grants for such a vehicle. After several grant applications proved unsuccessful, Chief Dillon decided to get creative. By waiting several months to fill a vacancy within the department, the funding was now secured to equip an existing vehicle within the department’s fleet.
This 2008 Ford F-250 is equipped with a high visibility color scheme including reflective striping, a light package, a mounted changeable message sign, and seventy-five USDOT approved traffic cones. In a time when distracted driving is at an all-time high, solutions such as this can be the difference between life and death for Emergency Responders.