Last night at 20:50, your Sister Lakes Fire Department was dispatched to a reported structure fire. Our members responded to the station and dispersed accordingly. While several of our members and apparatus made it to the scene safely, one of our members who was assigned to do traffic control found himself in harms way.
As many of you know, distracted and impaired driving is and always has been a huge issue. This is why we strategically place members outside of our incidents to assume the responsibility of traffic control. Many of our members have purchased and outfitted their vehicles with emergency lighting and equipment for this reason; to keep themselves and the other members of this department safe.
This was no exception last night. One of our members positioned their personal vehicle (equipped with emergency lighting) across the westbound traffic lane of M-152 near the intersection of M-152 and CR 690. As vehicles approached the intersection that member would turn on their left turn signal indicating that those approaching would need to turn at the intersection. Multiple vehicles responded and reacted accordingly, some needed a bit more redirection and our member did that for them safely by exiting his vehicle and pointing them in the right direction. One vehicle, however, did not respond. Our member again exited his vehicle and that driver still did not respond nor slow down. Fearing a head on collision, our member jumped into the ditch to get away from the approaching vehicle which collided into our members open door and continued down the road towards our emergency scene. Thankfully that quick response to jump in the ditch kept our member safe and probably saved his life!
We can not stress this enough; if you ever see emergency vehicles or approach an emergency scene SLOW DOWN, MOVE OVER, AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. We love the job we do, and we love to volunteer to help each and every one of you in times of need, but we also want to go home safely to our families. We owe it to our families to go home to them after each incident.
We will continue to spread awareness on this topic. Distracted driving is real. Impaired driving is real. The dangers of emergencies are REAL!
You can do your part by not only traveling safely, paying attention to the road, and following directions from your first responders, tow truck drivers and law enforcement on the road but by helping us spread awareness on these topics!