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"I think it's the height of patriotism to continue to exercise your right as a citizen and to hold your government to account. Isn't that what the very essence of democracy is about?"
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 7 July 2019  

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  Division chief, Move Over Law and road closures
  By Robin Widmar

   EMS Division Chief
   The Falcon Fire Protection District welcomes its new Emergency Medical Services Division Chief, Jonathan Webb, who, since 1999, worked for American Medical Response. His responsibilities ranged from paramedic to field training officer, field supervisor, operations supervisor, and most recently administration supervisor and materials manager. He is also a petty officer (corpsman) in the U.S. Navy Reserves, where he is responsible for the medical readiness of more than 500 sailors.
   
   Webb’s responsibilities at FFPD include overseeing the district’s newly established EMS ambulance transport division; developing policies and procedures; developing EMS training for district personnel; working with the district’s medical advisors to establish guidelines that fit its needs; and working with other agencies to develop mutual aid agreements specifically targeting EMS.
   
   “It’s exciting to be a part of an organization that is growing as fast as the community is, and bringing a whole new system into the community,” Webb said. “It’s challenging but will be rewarding to see it all come together.”
   
   Colorado’s Move Over Law
   On June 15, Colorado State Patrol Trooper William Boden died when he was struck by a vehicle while on the scene of an accident on Interstate 70. He was the second Colorado state trooper hit and killed by a vehicle this year. While the circumstances behind the incident were still being investigated as of press time, it is a sobering reminder of the dangers that all first responders face on roadways.
   
   Colorado enacted the Move Over Law in 2005. This law requires motorists to change lanes and move away from emergency vehicles stopped on the shoulders of roads and highways. The AAA online Digest of Motor Laws (https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/move-over-law/) provides a brief description of Move Over laws across the country. In Colorado:
   
   “State law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles that are displaying flashing lights, including tow trucks, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest, if safe and possible to do so, or to reduce to a speed safe for weather, road, and traffic conditions. Also included in the law are utility vehicles and road maintenance vehicles.”
   
   Falcon firefighters have plenty of stories about motorists who came dangerously close to emergency apparatus and firefighters working at traffic accident scenes. They want to remind drivers to be attentive to the road ahead, and heed the Move Over Law to help protect first responders.
   
   Why are roads closed for traffic accidents?
   Road closures happen for many reasons. Regardless of the cause, an unplanned detour or traffic blockage can be frustrating for drivers.
   
   A recent comment on local social media stated that when a road is closed because of a traffic accident, it usually means a fatality has occurred. This is not entirely correct.
   
   Crashes that result in a fatality or serious injury can trigger an extended partial or total road closure to allow law enforcement personnel to conduct a thorough investigation. However, other reasons for accident-related road closures include (but are not limited to)
  • Hazardous utility damage (downed power line, ruptured gas line, etc.)
  • Severe damage to road surfaces resulting from the accident or a resulting vehicle fire
  • Vehicles, light poles, trees, or other debris blocking the road
  • Delay in removing immobile vehicles
  • Hazardous materials spill

   Even though roads are reopened as quickly as possible after a crash, inevitably a number of drivers will be inconvenienced. Falcon firefighters want to remind residents that the safety of first responders and the public they serve is always the first priority. They ask everyone to exercise patience and follow the direction of emergency personnel when faced with an unexpected road closure.
   
Stay connected with the FFPD:
Website: http://www.falconfirepd.org
   Facebook: Falcon Fire Department
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
   NextDoor.com
  
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  Safety Tip
   Airline safety briefings are important
  By Robin Widmar

   For those who would rather read, chat with seat mates or play games on their phone during pre-flight safety briefings, consider what happened aboard Southwest flight 1380 in April 2018. A major engine failure sent shrapnel into the fuselage and blew out a window, killing a passenger and causing the cabin to depressurize. A photo posted to social media showed many of the remaining passengers improperly wearing their yellow oxygen masks, despite being briefed on proper use a short time earlier.
   
   Flying on a commercial airline is statistically a safe way to travel, with an accident rate of one fatal accident per 2,520,000 flights worldwide in 2018, according to the Aviation Safety Network. ASN estimated worldwide air traffic of about 37,800,000 flights last year, which translates to a lot of pre-flight safety briefings.
   
   Regular fliers can become complacent about listening to the safety briefings provided by flight crews. They have heard the same information so many times they feel as though they could give the briefing themselves. The reality is that the safety briefing is as relevant on a passenger’s 100th flight as it is on the first.
   
   Accidents and emergency landings do happen, so it is in every passenger’s best interest to know what to do. Aircraft have different configurations, and the middle of an emergency is not the time to be figuring out where the exits are on that particular plane. And a sudden loss of cabin pressure should not be the motivation to learn how to wear an oxygen mask.
   
   Those who choose seats in exit rows for the extra leg room need to realize that they also bear additional responsibility for assisting the flight crew and other passengers during an emergency. In May 2019, a woman seated in an exit row was booted off an Air New Zealand flight for refusing to pay attention to the safety briefing. According to multiple witness accounts, she refused to listen to the safety briefing and ignored repeated requests from the flight crew and fellow passengers to pay attention. As a result of her refusal to comply with flight crew orders, the plane returned to the gate and the woman was escorted off the plane to meet with law enforcement authorities.
   
   Pay attention to each pre-flight safety briefing. It only takes a few minutes to reduce personal risk and improve the outcome if something should happen.
  
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