BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — Boone County Fire Chief Brian Kunce has been a firefighter for over 40 years. Even now, he says, many drivers don’t move over when they see or hear fire trucks coming.
Kunce says it slows down their response time, for what could be a life-saving effort.
“Nobody knows what kind of emergency we are going to,” Kunce said. “It could be a child, not breathing; someone in cardiac arrest. The quicker that we can get there, the safer we can get there, the quicker we can deal with the patient.”
Scott’s Law, known as the Move Over Law, was passed into law in Illinois after the death of Lt. Scott Gillen, a Chicago firefighter who was struck and killed while assisting a motorist on the Dan Ryan Expressway in 2000.
When drivers approach any police, fire, or ambulance stopped along a roadway, the law requires them to reduce speed and change lanes, if possible.
Boone County Fire Deputy Chief Dennis Dovenmuehle said first responders are always looking over their shoulders.
“We have to be in the middle of the road, basically walking into trouble,” he said. “If you’re not paying attention, you’re going to hit somebody. State Troopers get run into constantly. There is always fire trucks getting smashed into.”
Kunce said his department will park their trucks at an angle to block roadways while they are at an emergency scene.
“I would rather replace a piece of equipment than have someone getting hurt,” he said. “That’s why we have some of our larger vehicles out there, blocking lanes, so our people are safe.”
This week is National Crash Responder Safety Week.