SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – We are currently in National Crash Responder Safety Week, but on Nov. 12, a tow truck driver in Des Moines lost his life responding to a crash. It’s all the more reason to remind folks to move over and slow down.
“The week brings awareness to traffic safety and more so the responders that are on these roadways dealing with this,” Ryan Collins with Sioux City Fire Rescue said. “It’s not a fire department issue, it’s not a law enforcement issue, it’s everybody that’s on the scene that’s trying to mitigate whatever is occurring.”
Nearly once a week, a first responder is killed while responding to an emergency roadway accident.
“Of course its going to be law enforcement, it’s going to be fire personnel, but it’s tow truck drivers, it’s any type of motor vehicle assistance,” Collins said.
Stockton Towings Safety Director Kurt Miene said his men are frequently out on the roadways.
“We do hundreds of thousands of calls each month,” Miene said, “so we’re out there like yesterday they had a large crash, multi-vehicle up on highway 60 outside Le Mars, they were out on the road, closed both directions of the road for about two hours while they did that big recovery.”
Miene says close calls are all too common.
“Our owner operator Mr. Mark Stockton on October 10th of 2018 up by Le Mars…he was there along with a DOT supervisor in the orange truck with all their lights going and he was struck and severely injured,” he said. “Broke his leg.”
That’s why first responders have to be on top of their traffic incident management.
“Any time that there is an accident on a roadway,” Deputy Fire Marshall Collins said, “you’re going to see personnel in high visibility vests, you’re going to see lots of lights, you may see the chevrons on the back of the vehicles that glow in the dark. Those are all for safety, the responders’ safety,”
“All law enforcement in this area, Woodbury County, Sioux City Fire and Police,” Miene said, “they’ve all been trained in the TIMS program and it gives them the methodology of how to park on a scene, how to properly use lights, how to set up cones, tapers, how to shut roadways down and create detours properly.”
And Miene wants you to know that road safety is a two-way street.
“The most important thing or the most dangerous thing we’re going to do is drive a motor vehicle,” he said. “And it not only affects you while you’re driving, your actions can be detrimental and fatal to other people by not paying attention.”