Traffic safety is important, Damm*t
Falls County first responders participated in a Traffic Safety Class on March 6, taught by Lloyd Junkin, of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.
Junkin travels all over the state with TEEX in conjunction with Texas A&M Fire School where he shares his knowledge with both current and future firefighters, such as with this class, called “Safe Practices for Traffic Incident Responders.”
The class was held for area participants TEEX and the Falls County Volunteer Firefighter Association.
The goal of the course was to have participants come out with the ability to demonstrate first responder safety practices while working traffic incidents.
There were a total of five modules of learning, the first of which was ‘Introduction to Traffic Management.’ It summarized the terms associated with the subject, along with impact to first responders, benefits of traffic management, and liability issues.
“Whose safety comes first?” the 50+ year firefighting veteran asked the participants.
“Mine, Dammit!” was the response that rang back.
According to Junkin, ALL firefighters are professional firefighters. The only difference between career firefighters and volunteer firefighters is that one is paid. The life of every person on the scene matters, but having concern for your own safety is the most important thing.
The second module, State and National Standards, discussed traffic incident management in relation to the State of Texas and The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA.)
The NFPA is a “global self-funded nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards,” according to their website. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free.
Throughout the course of the evening , many videos were shown. These included both near-death and fatal scenes, as a means to show what could happen if procedures are not followed.
One helped explain why “Quick Clearance” Concepts, the third module, is so important. “Quick Clearance” is the idea that if an accident scene is cleared from the roadway, there is less chance of secondary and/or tertiary crashes. The video showed a crash scene that was cleared within 5 minutes, resulting in no secondary crashes and/or injuries.
The fourth module was to be sure responders are able to apply safe practices within the traffic incident area. This included learning to identify safety equipment used along with a crash course on personal survival skills.
Module five covered the various situations faced by responders and the appropriate responses for each. It touched on the components of temporary traffic control zones, using an apparatus for responder protection, how to use zone components noted previously to create a traffic management area, and a list of concepts for managing roadway space.
Firefighters came out from Chilton VFD, Lott VFD, Golida VFD, City of Marlin FD, Rosebud VFD, and Marlin VFD. There were even participants who came from as far as the Rockdale and Rogers VFDs. The Falls County Sheriff’s Department and the Rosebud Police Department were also present for the class. For more information on TEEX and the Texas A&M Fire School projects, head to their website!