Winter Haven Fire Department:
Did you know that Florida law requires you to move over and/or slow down for stopped emergency vehicles?
Our crews respond daily to many calls including medical emergencies, vehicle accidents, fire alarms, structures fires, and many others. During these calls, proper truck placement is not only important, but also necessary to keep everyone in the hazard area safe. When vehicle accidents occur, emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars respond to the scene. In some situations, these vehicles are placed in a way that blocks one or two lanes, or in extreme cases, the entire road. As per law, vehicles should slow down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit, or to 5 mph, if the speed limit is 20 mph or less. Unfortunately, when people do not follow this, accidents involving emergency vehicles and oncoming traffic are more likely to happen. Although every scene is different, whether it is a car accident that needs heavy rescue, a patient that needs medical care, or a structure fire, crews usually have to get equipment from the truck or the ambulance to provide the best care to those who are involved. If oncoming traffic does not properly slow down, the safety of the emergency personnel and everyone at the scene is at risk.
In order to help reduce this risk, our department recently acquired portable speed bumps from FIRE-TEC. These temporary traffic calming devices can be easily placed on the roadway where the need to slow down traffic is necessary. These portable speed bumps are designed to temporarily control traffic flow. Their design and lightweight allows personnel to deploy and retrieve them in seconds. Unrolled, they are 9.8 feet long, 9 inches wide, and 2 inches tall, which is perfect for a single lane placement. Once these portable speed bumps are properly positioned, the rubber matting will keep them securely in place. They work very well on concrete, asphalt, gravel, and on other uneven surfaces.
As always, the safety of our personnel is paramount. We will start using these portable speed bumps on calls where slowing down traffic is crucial. Every truck in our department will be equipped with two.
We are confident that it will help us continue to provide the best service to our community while keeping our personnel and citizens safe.