Nearly once a week, a first responder is killed while responding to a crash

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 8:12 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Nationwide, almost once a week, a first responder is killed while clearing a roadway crash, according to the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Driving past an accident, most people’s reaction is to slow down and stare at what is happening.

Last year, a total of 19,464 crashes were reported in South Dakota, and 148 of those were fatal. That’s seven more deaths than 2020.

So Monday, the Rapid City Fire Department trained for a vehicle extrication. In the event there is a bad accident, and someone is trapped in their car, the fire department wants to be able to get them out.

While their goal is to make sure everyone gets home safely, there are some things first responders want drivers to know.

If you happen to see an accident, the first thing you should do is:

  • Call 9-1-1
  • Slow down
  • If you can, stop to check on the people involved.

Move over a lane from the accident and give as much space as you can to the first responders. When driving by the accident, it is vital that you pay attention to the road and not the scene to avoid causing any further issues.

“Typically well have overhead lights on with a directional arrow. If it’s dark out we try and turn our headlights off so that we don’t blind incoming traffic. The other thing people see is all of the reflective striping that is on the back of our apparatus. We’ve got, as you can see in the back of rescue 3 there chevrons on the back that will reflect and that is an indicator of emergency services working on the side of the road,” said Lt. Tammy Stadel, paramedic at Station 3.

Ways you can avoid getting in a fatal car accident include: drive slow, pay attention to the road, obey traffic laws, avoid distracted driving, and avoid being on the cell phone.

When inclement weather happens, you should slow down, turn corners slower, and give yourself enough time to come to a complete stop.