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Why Do Firefighters Block At An Accident?

Why Do Firefighters Block At An Accident?

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by: TheWoodlandsTXDotCom Active Indicator LED Icon Site Admin
~ 1 week, 1 day ago   Sep 16 2020, 2:25pm 
Why Do Firefighters Block At An Accident?
 
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When it comes to emergency scenes, blocking has a different meaning than what it does when you think of football or in writing.
 
Blocking is the term for when fire and law enforcement departments use emergency vehicles to block accident scenes from oncoming traffic.
 
Protecting an emergency scene is critical.
 
Popular Mechanics magazine ranks Interstate 45, which bisects Spring, as the most dangerous road in the United States.
 
Firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officers face that danger every time they respond to an accident.
 
Emergency vehicles turn on their lights to deter oncoming traffic and Texas Law does require drivers to move over or slow down around accident scenes, but too often tragedies still occur.
 
From 2000-2013, an NFPA study showed that over 60 firefighters had lost their lives when struck by another vehicle while responding to an emergency call.
 
In June of this year, four firefighters were injured when a car crashed into their fire engine while they were blocking traffic at an accident scene.
 
Their fire engine also sustained serious, and expensive, damage.
 
Instead of using fire engines for blocking traffic, the Spring Fire Department does things differently.
 
Spring deploys a Heavy Utility Truck (HUT) to freeway and other major accident scenes.
 
Purchased in 2018 to assist with high water rescues, the Spring Fire Department’s two army surplus vehicles have already paid for themselves.
 
“High water events are rare, so we had brainstormed another use for the HUTs so they wouldn’t sit idly waiting for another Hurricane Harvey moment,” said Spring Fire Assistant Chief Robert Logan.
 
“It was never a matter of if one of our emergency vehicles would be struck at an accident scene, but a matter of when.”
 
The ‘when’ happened August 31, 2020 when a 1999 Toyota Pick-up truck broadsided HUT71 while it was blocking a motor vehicle accident scene on Interstate 45.
 
While fire engines cost more than most homes, the HUTs cost less than $50,000 apiece fully equipped.
 
Purchased from a military equipment company, tuned up and repainted, the Spring Fire Department added additional lighting, signage, lift gates and traffic cone storage for safety purposes.
 
“The HUTs help protect the safety of our team, citizens involved in accidents, and the investment the taxpayers have in our emergency response vehicles,” concluded Logan.
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