Lubbock firefighter, police officer struck, killed while working weather-related wreck on I-27

I have many friends who are either cops or firefighters/EMTs, and unfortunately, some of them have been injured or killed in this manner. Even before states started passing "Move Over" laws, not giving space for emergency vehicles on the side of the road was something that would set me off pretty quickly. I was taught to move over for ALL vehicles on the side of the road, but that definitely is a courtesy that is not nearly as commonplace anymore.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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St. Louis
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A very tragic incident indeed. That type of scene is one of the most dangerous there is for responders. A question for the EMS personnel here. When I'm out covering these types of scenes, I notice that many times the responding vehicles are all positioned at the accident location, just downstream from the hazardous condition that caused it (an icy bridge for example). I wonder if any protocols are in place to have at least one responder vehicle back prior to the hazard, particularly in the case of icy bridges? This would encourage drivers to slow *before* encountering the hazard instead of *on* the hazard. Braking on an icy bridge can trigger additional loss of control incidents, some of which will send out of control vehicles toward the first accident scene and its responding personnel. I am not sure if that was the case here, but that scenario is very common. That first accident on a slick bridge is many times not the last.
 
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Lou Ruh

EF2
May 17, 2007
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SE PA
There is a "Bible" for Traffic Incident Management (TIM) called MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices ... see mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov ). The most recent version is 862 pages long, but, the most significant part for this kind of situation is Section 6I. That does not specifically handle the scenario described here, but, the important part of it is doing a proper "size-up" of the incident and deploying the necessary TCDs as quickly as possible ... so, for this scenario, recognizing that the icy bridge was the cause and deploying the TCDs needed to prevent further accidents would be part of it. The problems that often occur is that first responders do not have the TCDs needed to handle the situation and the units that do have them are not emergency responders. So, responders do the best they can with what they have until they can get the needed equipment, and, that can result in TIM not being fully implemented. I live in a state that has traffic control first responders (Fire Police), but, that is it always the case
 
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Todd Lemery

Staff member
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Jun 2, 2014
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It wouldn’t have helped here as I believe the vehicle crossed over from the oncoming direction, but many firefighters position their trucks behind the accident scene with the front wheels turned to the right. We also block as many lanes as necessary to keep an area relatively safe to work the accident scene. The trucks aren’t easy to move and if they do, the wheels cranked towards the ditch will send the truck into the ditch instead of the accident scene if it’s hit. Most of the time secondary collisions don’t come from the oncoming traffic.
One thing that has happened frequently is law enforcement arguing with the firefighters and medics to move their vehicles over, because they want to keep as many lanes open as possible. It’s gotten to the point at times where firefighters have been arrested for refusing to move their trucks, which surprises me because a quick YouTube search would show an almost unlimited amount of videos showing secondary crashes at accident scenes.