HELENA - According to the Federal Highway Administration, this year alone there has been 26 first responders hit and killed on emergency scenes along the highway. With the alarming rate of first responders being hit and killed they have created the Traffic Instant Management System (TIMS).
The program helps all first responders coordinate their responses to cut that number. Throughout the training, first responders will learn to work together to respond and react the same way to the scene and stay until the accident is completely clear.
“There is a great big world past the hood ornament on your car. Look down the road and look and see what’s going on around you. Move over and slow down when you see those flashing lights,” said Bob Drake the Fire Chief for the Tri-Lakes Volunteer Fire Department and a Certified Instructor for the TIMS Program.
Since January there have been 10 towing and recovery personnel, 12 law enforcement officers, 2 firefighters and EMS personnel and two mobile mechanics killed when responding to the scene of an accident. The FHA says that is an alarming increase from 2018 and the injuries could be 10 to 20 times more.
Alex Betz a Sergeant with the Montana Highway Patrol says they have a dangerous job as it is, and with motor vehicles driving by at a high rate of speed makes it that much more dangerous and their vests won't be able to stop that car.
“Montana does have a law that says you need to slow down, change lanes if you can safely, and proceed with caution past emergency lights and we need to do that. It’s not fair to those responders that are out there working to save people's lives and do the good things they do every day for people to smoke by them going 80 mph,” said Betz.
First responders are urging the public to slow down and move over because they really want all their first responders to come home.