First Responders Urge Caution On Highways

First Responders Urge Caution On Highways

BLOOMINGTON - The return of wicked weather has emergency responders urging drivers to be careful on the roadways.
BLOOMINGTON - The temperatures are dropping, and promise to stay that way for awhile. That return of wicked weather has emergency responders urging drivers to be careful on the roadways.

First responders say slowing down and moving over can save lives.

The scene of March 5, 2013, is still chilling for firefighters in Bloomington.

Chris Brown was a veteran of both Bloomington and Hudson fire departments. He was part of a crew responding to a call on Interstate 39, when a semi-trailer came through, killing Brown and injuring five others.

"It's a tragic event. Someone's out there trying to do their best to make a positive impact, to try to help a citizen in their time of need and they're struck and killed," said fire chief Mike Kimmerling.

Despite flashing lights on emergency vehicles, and warning signs set up nearby, there are still drivers who don't take caution.

"In a couple occasions, we've actually had to have people bail out and jump over the median on the side of the highway to avoid being struck," said Kimmerling.

When you come to the scene of an accident, it's not just going to be one truck that's working. There will be several others angled off to protect the first responders who are working on the scene.

"Please move away from the vehicle, give us an opportunity in case somebody comes around to the front of the truck, and slow down ahead of time," said Kimmerling.

That's why first responders say pay extra attention when you see emergency vehicles.

"The speed limit may be 70 miles per hour now, but our expectation is that people slow down about 15, 20 miles per hour. This is no different than going through a school zone," said Kimmerling.

Increased safety for drivers and rescue crews makes taking caution worth the while.

"Scott's Law" was enacted in 2002. It increases the penalties for drivers who don't practice extra caution near emergency scenes. Breaking it can subject you to fines of up to $10,000, a suspended license, or even jail time.

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