When we think of our first responders and emergency response fleets we think of the pinnacle of safety, an unrivaled plinth of security and assuredness. But what about when the vehicles we expect to protect us are the ones causing harm? This happens more often than people realize.
While backing a standard fire truck down a road to combat a fire at a local farm in Somerset, New York, a volunteer firefighter was struck and killed while helping to direct the reversing vehicle. The tragedy highlighted a shortcoming with many large vehicles, mainly the risks associated with simply using or being near them.
It should be emphasized that areas outside of the field-of-view of drivers are at increased risk of an accident occurring. The larger the machine, the bigger the blind spots and areas like this, beyond the control of drivers, it is recommended to use additional aides to make up for this lack of control and oversight.
Gordon Gram, a writer who specializes in Fire and Rescue articles recalls a quote, “Way back in the ‘80s when I started talking to fire service personnel, a very famous fire chief told me, ‘Gordon, in my department, traffic collisions involving fire apparatus 1 for every 137,000 miles we drive forward, and 1 for every 14 feet we back up'. He knew it then, and we know it now, it’s filled with risk. It’s an identifiable risk and a manageable risk."
This problem is and has been preventable. Currently, legislation exists to enforce a variety of safety measures on large commercial and public vehicles, encompassing the types of preventative measures and training required in our fleets. While the ruling helps in many instances, in ones like the Somerset incident, it becomes clear that extra precautions were needed. Global Sensor Systems offers a comprehensive and complete automatic backing system, not requiring or relying on driver skill or attention or 3rd parties; our system means no more guesswork for drivers; stopping the vehicle instantly the moment an object is detected in its path.
While tragedies like the one above are difficult to discuss, it is essential, that we take moments like these to reflect on what we are doing to ensure the safety of our first responders and those within our communities
We encourage other municipalities and communities to follow the lead of cities like Venice, Florida. Global Sensor Systems was there in July installing systems on their fire engines.
“Having Global's automatic braking system on the backs of firetrucks is exactly where they need to be. You got a vehicle that weighs over 80,000lbs that's worth $600,000USD carrying a crew of 5 or 6 people...safety is paramount.” Recalls Scott Seymour, a volunteer firefighter and machine operator with over 30 years of experience.
Global Sensor Systems couldn’t agree more. The installations were done with great care, making sure Global’s sensors not only enhanced the safety of the machine, but complemented the superior look of the fire engine. A total of four sensors were installed: 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom, offering backing accident prevention redundancy.