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Michigan Fire Department Highway Safety Effort

Thursday, September 22, 2011


You and I have been on quite a journey. We have been seeking to make things safer for all of us who ply our trade on the highways and byways of the world. Yes I say world because our efforts here at Respondersafety.com have gone well beyond the borders of the United States.


That is my friends a really good thing. Although we started out working to educate the fire, police, and EMS of our great nation, our efforts have now branched out to the towing industry and have also moved to other nations where our efforts are recognized as being in the forefront of this growing area of operational concerns.


Many have been the fine folks who have partnered with us to help us multiply our teaching, training, and educational efforts. In this column, I want to share a really neat story about one fire department that is working hard to get the message of highway safety out into their community. These folks recognize the need to educate the public as to the highway-related dangers which you and I face each and every day of the week.


It is a distinct honor and pleasure to share the story about the Monroe Michigan Fire Department’s highway safety story with you. Many times over the past several years I have interacted with Lt. David Nadeau, a safety specialist with the department. I have learned quite a bit from this dedicated safety advocate.


During our conversations I have learned that Dave’s department works hard to teach fire safety for home and work. They also believe that a critical need exists to for them to educate members of the public as to how they should drive when approaching an emergency scene.


You and I will agree with this because every year we have seen emergency service workers that were killed while on highway emergency scenes. In addition, many others are seriously injured. Dave stated that he would like to see something taught in driver’s education training for our nation’s younger drivers. He suggests that our younger drivers need to know what to do when approaching and emergency scene. He suggests that we teach them in the class room before they get on the roadways.


To that end, Dave and his fire department have created ‘Top 10 List’ for use in a public ad campaign. He also suggested a windshield sticker be created for distribution to the community to remind them to operate their vehicles in a safe manner around all emergency roadway scenes.


He even suggested that we create a catchy little phrase to assist us in this effort. He suggested the following:


Stop – What you are doing pay attention

Drop – Your cell phone

Roll – Slower through Emergency scene areas


Like you and I, Dave has seen drivers both young and old drive past an emergency scene while talking or texting on their cell phones. Dave suggests that we are doing better at teaching our own emergency service members how to protect themselves on an emergency scene however, the need still exists to educate the people causing the injuries and fatalities through their inattention and poor driving skills.


He has suggested to me that we in the emergency service world should never approach our duties with a dash or Tombstone courage or Tombstone coverage. We need to train our own people and then work to educate the public to the greatest extent possible. 


Dave is working with the media in his area to get coverage for his ‘Top Ten’ program. He believes that it is possible to do a news cast about helping protect our emergency services personal while driving on the roadways. He is working with the media in his area to create a segment to equip a driver with a head cam and show video of exactly what it looks like when a driver is approaching an emergency scene. 


The intent of this is to show folks what to look for and what to expect from the time they notice the emergency scene enter the emergency scene when they get past the emergency scene. Dave Nadeau wants to educate people to watch how other motorists will react.


He said to me that after all the years of safety training he has learned that when people see something they remember it longer than just by you telling them. That is why he suggesting that a clear windshield sticker be crated to serve as a reminder to people as to what to expect. 


We here at Respondersafety wish him the best. We will support his efforts in whatever way we can. It is great to see people out there working this important safety issue. More people need to join with us. 


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