‘Dallas Blockers’ Adds Safety to Scene – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Dallas Fire Rescue is taking new steps to enhance safety at highway accident scenes for first responders and other drivers.
More “damper” compounds are added to withstand the force of secondary collisions.
“Motorists are traveling at an elevated rate at that speed. We may have curves. We may have elevated roads where there’s not a lot of warning of an accident,” Dallas Assistant Fire Chief Daniel Salazar said.
Dallas firefighter Scott Tanksley fell from one of those elevated roads to his death in icy weather nine years ago.
Dallas Police Officer Mitchell Benton was killed in an accident on Central Expressway two years ago.
These are just two examples of deaths at the Dallas accident scenes.
“The first priority anywhere is safety, the safety of our first responders, and the safety of Dallas residents.” Dallas Fire Rescue Captain Rob Burress said.
Dallas launched the ban program with three old fire engines that are no longer useful for front-line service.
They were stripped of most equipment, filled with sand in a water tank, and had lighted arrow marks on the sides to alert drivers.
“We can park. That way they can close two lanes of traffic if necessary,” Salazar said.
One of the first three barriers was destroyed in an accident, and the other is no longer functional, so only one of the first three barriers is available today.
“We would rather have a piece of equipment that is not on the front lines have that secondary impact if it does occur. It’s not just about cost. It impacts our ability to provide emergency services to the citizens of Dallas if we lose that piece of equipment on the front lines,” Burse said.
Now, the city has used a state grant to outfit three less expensive trucks with so-called “Scorpion” equipment that folds into the back. Scorpio equipment is easy to replace, but new vehicles cannot block multiple lanes of traffic.
“Even though it can only clog one lane, it is easier to obtain and is a much cheaper piece of equipment,” Burse said.
With the new additions, Dallas will have four barriers positioned around the city next week.
Even more would be better.
“It’s a big city,” Salazar said. “It’s a big area to cover.”
The Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee heard the ban program on November 13.
“So, we have to continue to work on funding, at the state level, and ask the DPS, when it’s a highway, to come out with a barrier,” committee chair Cara Mendelsohn said.
The Texas Department of Transportation has Scorpio trucks, and other agencies have some.
They were often part of road construction or maintenance. They may soon become more visible in Dallas accident scenes.
(tags for translation) Dallas