KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – The Kannapolis Fire Department has launched an innovative accident scene safety program. This initiative is designed to protect police, fire and ems personnel and others who are responding to accidents or incidents in high speed and heavy traffic areas such as the interstate, highways or other unsafe roadways. This program will also protect people who may have vehicles that are disabled or damaged in an accident.
The program involves four key components: signage, lights, portable speed bumps and shielding.
“Over the last several years we have noticed more and more incidents where emergency personnel have been injured while working accident scenes or assisting disabled motorists. Most recently, the Miller’s Ferry Fire Department and the North Carolina Highway Patrol, have had people hurt and equipment destroyed because other motorists are not paying attention, do not move over or slow down, when they approach an emergency scene,” said Kannapolis Fire Chief Tracy Winecoff. “Kannapolis has been fortunate to not have incidents where emergency personnel have been hurt at a scene and we want to ensure we continue to be incident free. We hope that this new initiative will keep us safe while we work.”
Fire department staff have placed portable deployable speed bumps and pop-up signage on all fire trucks that typically respond to accident scenes. These easy-to-carry portable devices can be deployed within thirty seconds to help control and slow down traffic flow.
As soon as fire department staff arrive on a call they will “shield” the accident scene by parking fire trucks at various angles and distances away from the accident in order for motorists to have more time to prepare to slow down before they reach the incident. They will then deploy the speed humps and pop-up signs.
New lights with different color schemes have also been installed on fire trucks. Using these new lights will hopefully attract the attention of motorists, again helping motorists recognize that they should move over and slow down.
Kannapolis Fire Department personnel are also educating people on North Carolina’s Move Over law. This law requires motorists to approach cautiously when an emergency vehicle is stopped on the shoulder of the roadway with its lights flashing. Motorists must change lanes away from the emergency vehicle on a multi-lane highway or slow down on a two-lane highway and safely. Motorists must slow down while maintaining a safe speed. G.S. 20-157 (f).
“We will work to educate motorists on North Carolina’s ‘Move Over’ law. Our message is simple – slow down, move over and pay attention. Our most valuable asset is our people and the people we are helping at an accident scene. We need everyone to be alert and cautious on our roadways so we can all stay safe,” Chief Winecoff further stated.
For more information on North Carolina’s Move Over Law, visit www.ncdps.gov