Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) First Responders go out multiple times every day responding to calls. SVFD First Responders follow the national average of experiencing an increase in distracted driving that has resulted in fire trucks and individuals being hit by dangerous driving while at the scene of an emergency.  While SVFD thankfully has not experienced any deaths from distracted driving, they have had some serious injuries.

Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) Chief Bryan Collins has released this PSA message and video in hopes drivers will focus on driving and keep First Responders safe and able to respond in emergency situations without fear of being hit by a vehicle.

Chief Collins is concerned for the safety of his First Responder staff as more cars return to the road with Governor Inslee moving businesses into Phase 2 operations.  More cars back on the road, means more Firefighters will be put at risk with the increase of drivers being distracted.

“We are happy to see businesses able to open and the community being viable once again.  My concerns are the same as they always are when my First Responders are out on a call, drivers are distracted,” said SVFD Chief Bryan Collins. “With more cars returning to the road, speeds increase, texting or talking on the phone while driving increases, more opportunity for drinking and driving occurs, and road rage opportunities increase.  Any one of those creates a prime situation or condition where driver distraction puts a First Responder in a state of vulnerability at an emergency scene.”

A few weeks ago SVFD had one of their own First Responders hit while volunteering at the District 11 Fire Department.  A distracted driver hit a truck head on which then struck the Firefighter on the side of the road while on call at a brush fire, throwing him into the fire.  He shares his message with Chief Collins asking drivers to pay attention.

Firetruck accidents rank as the second leading cause of on the job deaths for Firefighters.  Up to 25% of annual line-of-duty firefighter fatalities are attributable to motor vehicle crashes and collisions.  Approximately 500 firefighters are involved in fatal firetruck crashes every year; on average, 1 in 100 of those occupants die as a result of the crash.

Slow down, pay attention, and pull right for First Responders especially when driving through an accident zone.

To stay as safe as possible when driving, follow these tips from your local fire fighters:

  • Never use your phone while driving
  • Put your phone somewhere you can’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind!
  • Silence your phone while driving. If you can’t hear your notifications, you are less likely to check them.
  • Designate a texter. Ask a friend to read and reply to your texts while you’re driving.
  • Pull over or wait until parked to check or send messages.
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