Charlotte Firefighters at Risk of Accident, Injury While Responding to 911 Calls

A recent fire truck accident in North Carolina is a prime example of how firefighters and police officers not only put their lives on the line while performing their duties, but are also at risk of transportation accidents causing injury on the way to or from a rescue or pursuit.
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Firehouse.com reports that two volunteer firefighters were injured in an accident while returning from a call in Gaston County. A motorist driving a silver pickup truck ran a red light and crashed into the fire truck. Local authorities reported they were taken to a hospital.

Our Charlotte Workers’ Compensation attorneys know that workers who respond to emergency situations are at risk of an injury or death because the situation is dire and requires a fast-paced response. When rescue workers, law enforcement officials and first responders are responding to an emergency call, flashing lights and emergency sirens aren’t always enough to keep them from being involved in an accident.

We recently posted on our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog that transportation incidents were a common cause of death for workers in the U.S. in 2009. North Carolina reported 51 occupational deaths related to transportation in 2009.

The National Fire Protection Association reported 11 firefighters were killed nationwide in 2010 in vehicle-related accidents. In addition, there were four deaths caused by a firefighter being struck and killed by a passing vehicle. Some of the incidents occurred in personal vehicles while responding to a call but others involved sirens and flashing lights on emergency vehicles.

A fire truck driver has a tremendous amount of responsibility in getting a team of firefighters to the rescue site in a safe and timely manner. Fire departments have a responsibility to train employees how to drive 70,000 pound rigs in emergency situations and sometimes in adverse conditions to arrive safely at a rescue mission. According to Fire Rescue 1, there are three types of fire rescue drivers.

The first is a driver who takes every necessary precaution to make sure workers and equipment get to the rescue site safely, this includes waiting for everyone to fasten their seat belts. These drivers are knowledgeable and skilled and go about their driving in a calm and professional manner.

The second type of fire truck driver gets into a tunnel vision while sometimes putting the safety of his or her riders at risk of an accident. They get caught up in the moment in trying to get to the scene as quickly as possible.

The last type of driver thinks they are the ultimate driver who can handle any driving situation with ease, including speeding to the scene, dodging motorists who don’t move over, or who don’t consider weather conditions. Not only are crew members at risk but motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists also are at risk of an accident.

Ensuring all firefighters have proper knowledge of how to drive an over-sized vehicle and holding them to a high standard of safety can keep crew members injury free while en route to the scene of a fire.

The workers’ compensation attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. offer free consultations to workers who have been injured on the job in North Carolina or South Carolina. If you have been injured and need advice or assistance with filing a claim, call 1-800-887-1965 to speak with an attorney today.

Additional Resources:
North Carolina Firefighters Injured in Crash, by WSOCTV staff reporters, posted in Firehouse.com.

Driving fire trucks can be just as dangerous as a loaded gun, by Chris Daly, Fire Rescue 1.

More Blog Entries:
Experienced North Carolina Law Firm Can Help with Complicated Workers’ Compensation Claims In North Carolina, South Carolina, September 12, 2011.

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