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Editors Column

We Are on the Move

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Editor’s Column: 8-2-2019

We Are on the Move

As we move quickly through the summer of 2019, things in your association have been moving along quite well. Let me share with you the fact that we, as an organization, are celebrating well over 20 years of service to the fire, police, EMS, and towing industry communities. The challenges are many. This has been a very bad year on the highways of North America.  Our deaths and struck-by incidents are up. 

The Emergency Response Incident Safety Institute of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association (CVVFA) is working hard on a number of fronts.  Our Learning Resource Center now has well over 55,000 registered participants.  New courses are being created, piloted, and put on line. The response to our efforts has been phenomenal and we are working to strengthen our efforts in order to reach more people. 

We have reached the point where we feel that we need to move beyond our normal user groups.  So in addition to our efforts to train members of our user groups, we are looking to move out into the world in an attempt to reach the people who are actually striking our folks.  We have labeled this group as the “D” drivers: distracted drivers. 

Greg Yost and Jack Sullivan traveled to Miami for a joint press conference with the National Safety Council to discuss the results of a survey of people as to their level of concern with the highway safety ‘struck by’ issue. A survey of the results indicated that people were concerned in a variety of ways.  Steve indicated to me that the reach of the publicity which this press conference received was in excess of 25 million people nationally as measured by a national firm that tracks media reach. 

Our organization is now working to create a program to reach the drivers who are hitting us. Bob Cumberland of Maryland is heading up a working group to provide training and handouts to drivers at a variety of highway rest stops in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, FL, New Jersey and other states.  They set up their booth and go to work in order to engage with people stopping to use the rest stop.  

We think that at some point our training efforts must extend to the initial training manuals used to train our new drivers.  We need to educate and reinforce the idea that you have to watch out for people operating on the highways and byways of our great nation.  This will take a major effort on the part of our association.  We are always looking for members of our association and other folks in the world to help us with this.

On another operational front, we are working to answer a request-for proposals (RFP) from the U.S. Fire Administration to do a study of vehicle emergency lighting. While we know a great deal about this, we do not have the engineering experience to properly perform this study.  Therefore, we are reaching out to a number of universities which have engineering experience in the lighting industry to assist us with this project.  We have anecdotal experience that the brightness, color and sequencing of the lighting affect the perceptions of the driving public as to what lies ahead of them in the road.

Let me assure you that we are working to move ahead on many different fronts.  We know what we need to do and are laboring valiantly to accomplish our missions.  Please accept our best wishes for a safe, happy, and enjoyable summer.

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