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Law to go into effect Nov. 24



Courtesy of ResponderSafety.com

On Nov. 24, a federal law goes into effect requiring anyone working along a highway to wear a high-visibility vest.

SUSAN NICOL KYLE
Officer.Com News

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On Nov. 24, a federal law goes into effect requiring anyone working along a highway to wear a high-visibility vest.
The regulation is designed to reduce the number of injuries and deaths of responders while on the nation's highways.
So far this year, at least 50 firefighters, rescue personnel and police officers have been struck while performing duties along the road, according to statistics compiled by officials at ResponderSafety.com.
"While we try to grab every struck-by, we know we are missing many," said Steve Austin, an official with Cumberland Valley Firemen's Association.
Austin said it's unfortunate that there is no way to capture a more realistic picture of the problem. "There are probably thousands of injuries annually that no one knows about. That's because there is no central repository."
His group provides training and resources focusing on placement of vehicles along the road and other aspects of responder safety.
While wearing high-visibility vests are a good idea, law makers didn't consult fire officials while they were inking the regulations.
The garments don't meet standards to be worn by personnel actively engaged in firefighting or hazardous materials operations. Some, however, are flame-resistant.
Officials from the major fire service organizations - IAFC, NVFC, IAFF and Emergency Responder Safety Institute - are working on a document to fix that problem. However, those changes will not be reviewed by federal authorities until next year.
"We're asking people to use their common sense," he said. "Everyone knows it's dangerous to be operating along a highway."
As with many federal regulations, there are no penalties involved for those who don't comply. However, the civil liability is paramount.
"While there won't be someone out there issuing you a ticket for not wearing a vest on a federally supported highway, it's essential that responders obey. It's up to the chief to enforce the rules just as they would any other."
Austin said the bottom line is to protect responders while they work in a very dangerous environment -- the highway.

More information about the regulation can be obtained from ResponderSafety.com.

Story From: Officer.Com News
 

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Public Trough Feeder
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5,181 Posts
"We're asking people to use their common sense," he said. "Everyone knows it's dangerous to be operating along a highway."
Certainly, a kevlar vest won't stop a car, but if any officer wants the option to not walk up to car looking like a lemon at a traffic stop, that should be up to him/her or their agency.
 

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Had enough
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3,270 Posts
I think by 2010 this will be our new uniform.
 
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