Crash Responder Safety Week

Mark Brown REACT[1]Slow Down. Move Over. Be Safe.

These words are echoed throughout all conversations about Crash Responder's Safety. Arizona has put them into action bypassing the Move Over Law in 2005 to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities to the men and women who respond to emergency incidents. According to Emergency Responder Safety Institute, there were 46 emergency responder fatalities reported in 2020 and, as of the end of October 2021, there have been 51 fatalities reported for this year. These are the fatalities we know about, the amount not reported could be even higher. Not to mention the number of near misses which happen every day since many of those aren't reported. Crash Responder's Safety Week is a way for us to remind our drivers to stay vigilant. When you see an emergency vehicle, move over and slow down. By drivers doing their part, we can help to reduce the risk of needless secondary crashes and save lives.

At MCDOT, our Regional Emergency Action Coordinating Team (REACT) partners with the cities of Peoria, Glendale, Avondale, Tolleson, and the unincorporated roadways in Maricopa County. When an incident occurs, we provide traffic incident management by setting up road closures, installing and maintaining signed detour routes, and providing information to travelers. These emergencies can happen at a moment's notice no matter what time of day. Our team is always prepared for any emergency and has the ability to respond to multiple incidents simultaneously. REACT works in tandem with the Fire Department, Law Enforcement, Tow Truck operators, and Ambulances to reduce the risk of secondary collisions. These can be as bad or even worse than the primary collisions we are handling. When you see those emergency lights or traffic control devices, we ask you to be patient and know we are doing our part to make sure you get home safely.

Although Crash Responder Safety week will be observed November 8-14 this year, we ask you to drive through emergency scenes safely every day, because there are real people behind the lights. Secondary crashes are avoidable which is why we are pleading with Arizona drivers to take responsibility and drive safely. Consider the men and women responding to these incidents. When you see emergency vehicles with flashing lights remember they have families and lives outside of work just like you.

Byline: Mark Brown, MCDOT, REACT Program Manager