Seven students in the Stafford Technical Center Public Safety Services Program recently were trained in the area of Highway Safety for Emergency Personnel by a trainer from the Vermont Fire Academy, Chuck Regula. Mr. Regula is a full-time firefighter with the Rutland City Fire Department. The principles behind this training deal with the proper way of positioning emergency vehicles- fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances.
When these vehicles are placed in the proper spot, crashes caused by gawkers are less likely to occur. Crashes involving drivers who focus on the incident rather than the road are far too frequent- they become victims themselves, or in other circumstances, they kill the rescuers at the scene. If the inattentive driver hits the emergency vehicle instead of a person, an improperly placed apparatus will become a lethal weapon; a properly placed one will block the vehicle from doing any harm to the rescuers.
The 10 students who successfully completed the program were Rutland High School students James Bonilla and Jordan Grenier, Otter Valley Union High School student Geoffry McDonald, Mill River Union High School students Haley Cotrupi and James Reed, Proctor High School student Kyle Lenher, and West Rutland High School student Kayla Stewart. Notably, James Reed scored 97 percent on the final exam. James Reed is also a member of the Middletown Springs Volunteer Fire Department.
This course was developed by the Glatfelter Insurance Group both as a public service and as an attempt to reduce the costs to communities that these deaths and injuries to emergency services workers entail. In addition to the obvious costs in death benefits, medical costs, and workmen's compensation claims, there are significant additional costs due to the loss of expertise. It takes years to become proficient as an EMT, police officer, or firefighter, much less an officer or specialist in these fields. When these professionals are lost to a community or organization, the loss is enormous. This course is required by many departments in the fire, police and rescue services.