East Fishkill, NY – The East Fishkill Fire District was dispatched to a rollover MVA on the Taconic State Parkway at 1844hrs on the date of 12-8-06. While operating at this scene, a safety zone was set up in the right-hand lane (cruising lane) of a divided, 4-lane highway (2 lanes northbound, 2 lanes southbound). The engine was set up at the rear of the line in a blocking position (approx. 500 feet back from the MVA), providing a safety area for all responders and personnel up ahead, including several NYSP cruisers, to operate. The vehicle involved in the rollover was in the woods, off the road, on the right hand side. At approximately 1915hrs, a vehicle traveling southbound barreled through the emergency scene going anywhere from 45-60mph in the left-hand lane (passing lane), went off the road into the median on the left hand side, around the point where the engine was set up. Several volunteer FF POVs parked in the median were narrowly avoided. The vehicle proceeded to careen out of control, strike a mulch pile, became airborne and struck a tree head-on. No personnel were injured, and no other property was damaged, but it was a real eye-opener. No one can claim “It will never happen to us,” because, well, it almost did
This just goes to show that even when a proper safety zone is set up according to district policy, vehicles can still miss the safety rig, and strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. It shows us to always keep an eye, and ear open. Should someone have been standing outside of the implemented safety zone, a real tragedy could have occurred.