First responders trained on traffic management in Florence

First responders trained on traffic management in Florence
Scene of an extrication crash near I95
Scene of an extrication crash near I95

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - First responders are sent to car accidents nearly every day, putting their lives at risk while also keeping you safe on the road. On Thursday, first responders from around the Pee Dee listened to a SCDOT training course, Traffic Incident Management training to make sure they know what to do.

First responders said it's all part of working together with the other personnel at the same time. For the past 15 years, SCDOT has been reaching first responders to continue to save lives. Sam Brockington, with Florence County Fire Rescue said their number one goal is to bring safety and control to a chaotic situation.

First responders put their lives at risk to get the situation of a crash scene under control, and that's by making sure they know how to protect every other driver on the road too. "We're also concerned about the secondary crashes where people are not attentive and run into the stopped traffic or our safety workers on the scene."

Statistics shared at the training course was for every minute a lane is blocked from a collision, it causes four minutes of traffic back up, which also raises the chance of another crash happening. If it does,18 percent end with a fatality. Mike Bowman, who taught some of the course, is the coordinator for SCDOT's traffic incident training.

"If you can upon an emergency scene and see flashing amber red or blue lights that's the first indication something is going on the roadway.  What we teach responders here is to be cognizant of the traveling public, to watch out for cars as they are approaching incident scenes. Conversely, what we teach the public is to watch out for the responders out there," said Bowman.

"So basically we teach a lane plus one, so if an incident is in a lane, you'll see a fire truck block the lane of the incident plus the lane adjacent to that as well." Bowman said, adding that it's to keep first responders safe, which is also the goal of the South Carolina 'Move Over Law' that involves fire, EMS, law enforcement, construction workers and South Carolina highway patrol officers. It requires you to move over, or at the very least slow down in any emergency.

"Towing is a large part of it because most of the time when you have a large scale incident, the roadway isn't clear until the tow truck gets there and can actually perform their job and clear it," Bowman said.

On busy interstates, like I-95, it is especially important for first responders to know what to do. The traffic incident training will continue for first responders throughout the summer. SCDOT will host one in Myrtle Beach next week.

Download the app, SCDOT511 to get a quick look at interstate cameras statewide for road information, construction and any accidents.

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