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Editors Column

Editor’s Column-11-1-2019 We are Working Harder My Friends

As we move on toward the end of 2019, it is obvious to me that it has been a very bad year in the world of struck by and line-of-duty struck by deaths. According to our Jack Sullivan, our Training Director, 34 members of the fire, police, EMS, and towing communities have been struck and killed while in the performance of their duties. This has been a tough year for us by any by any means of measurement.

However, I do not want to dwell on the negative here. Let me offer a positive thought. Think about this: How many people would have been struck and killed if there were no Emergency Response Safety Institute (ERSI)? It is my humble opinion that the numbers would be much higher. How many people have been through our on-site and on-line training programs? The number is in the thousands of thousands. How many people are wearing retro-reflective vests because of us? Again, countless thousands of thousands.

We have done well. But we cannot take our foot off of the gas pedal here my friends. There are 34 reasons to redouble our efforts. And I want you to know that ERSI and are in the midst of doing just that. In the next few paragraphs I will outline what we are doing and invite you to join with us in this critical effort.

Our records indicate that numerous firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other emergency responders have died on-duty from crashes and being struck while operating on the roadway. The development of effective emergency warning lighting technology may reduce this loss of life. It may also enhance the safety of the general public who are approached by emergency vehicles as well as those that drive past emergency scenes on the roadway.

ERSI is now seeking to develop a study of the effects of emergency lighting on actual highway operations. Year after year approximately 25 percent of firefighters who are killed in the line of duty are responding or returning from incidents, with the majority of the fatalities from vehicle crashes. This represents the second leading cause of firefighter fatalities (second only to Stress/Overexertion).

We have developed a grant proposal for a study which will seek to expand and continue the study on the effect and how to effectively mitigate the disorientation of motorists caused by the day and nighttime use of emergency warning lights to include issues of lighting color and emergency vehicle visibility/conspicuity and further expand this study to examine issues of concern to the fire service, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), law enforcement, and Department of Transportation highway emergency responders.

Our application for the grant funding specifically states that a concentration of our study efforts shall include issues of lighting color and emergency vehicle visibility/conspicuity. This issue of color shall include the "traditional" red and white color lighting used by the fire service and EMS, and shall also include the use of other colors such as yellow typically used for construction and tow vehicle warning, blue, etc. It is our hope that our project has sufficient merit to be funded. I will work to keep you abreast of this proposed project as it moves through the Government pipeline.

On another front, Bob Cumberland and his committee have been traveling through the Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania areas in their effort to visit highway rest stops and service areas to deliver our highway safety message. They have a booth and a series of our literature which outlines ways in which the driving public can improve the ways in which the drive on our highways and keep an eye out for us. Given the increase in distracted driving, this is one of our most critical operational areas.

Lastly, I would like to touch on our On-Line Learning Network. This has been an area where we have experienced a great deal of growth and success. More than 60,000 people have received training by using this convenient learning network. We have received additional funding to increase the number of programs and are working to expand out efforts. Please stop by and check this out. You can access it through our home page.

We are working to enlarge our efforts to reach as many people as possible. Please climb onboard our operational train of efforts.

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