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Editors Column

Georgia on my Mind

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Many times as I prepare to write my column for you, I wonder just what it is that I will be able to share with you.  We are all busy folks and I really do not want to waste your time with nonsensical meanderings.  However, I was in Georgia recently for the Firehouse Central Expo in Atlanta and encountered something really dangerous. It is my intention to share that with you today.

Sometime before I left I was invited to visit a local volunteer fire department in a small town about 30 miles south of Atlanta. It was my privilege to be a guest of the Flovilla, Georgia Volunteer Fire Department.  They were a fine group of friendly folks.  It was my privilege to meet a number of firefighters from the company and the region.

During my visit I got to see a number of improvements to the fire department which came about because of their success in gaining FIRE Act grants over the years.  It was also my privilege to share a number of stories which came from my 2006 Road Trip through 20 states in middle America. 

After the visit drew to a close, my host, Chief Glenn Williams loaded my bags and me into a department sedan and took off for downtown Atlanta.  It was the typical “dark and stormy night” you read about in the fictional accounts of scary stories.  As we were driving up Interstate 75, Glenn and I were chatting about many things. Among the topics was the matter of the poor driving conditions we were enduring. 

All of a sudden we came upon the scene of a disabled motor vehicle.  We could barely see the first tow vehicle and its driver.  The light on top of the truck was weak and barely visible and the driver was out behind his vehicle without a high visibility vest.  Just ahead of that truck was another flatbed truck with the disabled car onboard.  Again the light was very weak in the vehicle and the driver did not have a vest on.  At least not one that Bill Glenn and I could see.

My friends, I have to wonder just how many incidents like this are happening every day around our nation.  If I saw one, were there possibly hundreds more happening all across our nation?  Were there thousands more?  What must you and I do to reach these people?

That is the challenge which we here at must address.  Let me assure you that we are working hard to reach out in a variety of new educational endeavors.  In the coming year we hope to travel to a number of new places to deliver our life-saving message,

We have had our successes.  Primary among these are the issue of the retro-reflective high-visibility public safety vests.  We have also made inroads in a number of federally funded reports.  In addition we were a part of the traffic safety incident command manual created by Fire Protection Publications at Oklahoma State University. In my own home state I was privileged to be at the ceremony where out state ‘Move-Over’ law was signed. 

Yet as much as we have done, there is still much more to do.  We are on the verge of a new effort to reach out and begin a public education effort.  I shall work to keep you apprised of how we are doing.  It is one thing to preach to the choir (you).  It is another thing to try to recruit new members of the congregation of knowledgeable people (the general public who is hitting and killing us).  We know what needs to be done. We are now making the move to the next level.  Stay tuned my friends.

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