“In Our Boots” Public Service Announcements Show Traffic and Struck-By Incidents from the Responder’s Perspective

PSAs from the Emergency Responder Safety Institute Feature Struck-By Survivors

The Emergency Responder Safety Institute’s (ERSI) new series of public service announcements, “In Our Boots,” challenges the public to stand in the boots of emergency responders exposed to high speed traffic every day as they save lives on the roadway. As traffic whizzes by inches away, an emergency responder describes what it was like to be struck by that traffic at a roadway incident response. The first two PSAs feature Firefighter Mike Cox and Assistant Fire Chief Steve Senn, who were both struck in the 1998 Pennsylvania Turnpike Incident when they were with the Lionville Fire Company. Their willingness to revisit a traumatic experience in their lives opens a window for drivers to understand how one moment of carelessness, inattention, or poor decision-making changes the lives of emergency responders forever.

“When you’re safe, dry, and comfortable inside your car driving by an emergency scene on the roadway, you can’t understand what it’s like for the responders you are passing who are in the rain, snow, and heat cutting people out of cars, performing CPR, extinguishing vehicle fires, directing traffic, and assisting with disabled vehicles while traffic is screaming by right next to them,” said Steve Austin, project manager for ResponderSafety.com. “These PSAs show you what that’s like for emergency responders and how a response went terribly wrong for Mike Cox, Steve Senn, and many others who were hit by vehicles while they were working a crash or other roadway incident. We hope that resonates with people and pushes them to change their behavior when they drive. We want them to avoid incident scenes or slow down and move over if they must pass by. And we want them off their phones with their eyes on the road and their mind on the traffic.”

In 2021, sixty-five emergency responders were struck and killed while assisting others on the roadway. An unknown number of others were injured. Each In Our Boots PSA highlights specific safe driving messages and links them to the possible consequences of not giving emergency responders room to work on the roadway. Freely share In Our Boots PSAs with the public in your community. The PSAs are ideal for emergency response agencies and organizations to post on social media and share with their local news outlets.

The ERSI thanks the emergency responders who participated in recording these PSAs for sharing their difficult stories in the hope that drivers will listen and act to safeguard responder lives.

See all the In Our Boots PSAs on ResponderSafety.com.

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