Posted: Dec 5, 2012 9:24 PM by KXLF Media Center
Updated: Dec 5, 2012 9:28 PM
Responding to the scene of an accident is one of the most dangerous activities a firefighter participates in, according to Jerod Gonzalez, firefighter for the Butte-Silver Bow Fire Department.
Responding has recently become more difficult for the firefighters or Butte, because many drivers fail to pullover to the shoulder of the road.
"Mainly rush-hour traffic is the worst for us, especially Harrison Avenue and Montana Street," Gonzalez said. "I think a lot of the reason why people don't pull over is they simply cannot hear us. They have other distractions going on."
Drivers are typically playing music too loud or are preoccupied by other activity inside the vehicle.
"The driver has to be aware of what is going on around them," Gonzalez said. "We are always running our lights and sirens for a reason, and that's so people can hear us and see us."
It is important to stop your vehicle after pulling over to the right side of the road.
"A lot of the vehicles are just pulling to the right and not stopping so it makes our job difficult to get to the scene safely," said Brant Bristol, firefighter for the Butte-Silver Bow Fire Department.
Firefighters work with law enforcement to create a barrier with their vehicles to block a scene. Most drivers will go around vehicle barriers out of curiosity and convenience, according to Gonzalez.
"Anytime that you see emergency vehicles in the middle of the roadway try to detour a block or two ahead or before the incident," Gonzalez said. "That way there isn't a big traffic jam at the intersection and people aren't trying to get around us."
When firefighters are at the scene of an accident on the highway, they find drivers use the least caution when several first responders are standing near or in the lane of oncoming traffic.
"People just don't slow down for emergency vehicles that are tied up one the scene," Gonzalez said.
"If we don't have highway patrol or police out there blocking the scene, it can get a lot scarier and a lot more nerve racking," Bristol said.
Firefighters ask that you slow down to 35 mph when one lane of traffic is blocked on the highway.