First responders' safety decreases during the holiday season - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

First responders' safety decreases during the holiday season

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

An increase in holiday travel typically means more accidents on the roadways and for first responders this time of year can be dangerous.

Each year an average of 13 first responders are killed responding to incidents on roadways.

That’s why Hamilton County officials are reminding drivers to stay alert.

Distracted by the hustle and bustle of the holiday travel season, passing drivers can make crash scenes more dangerous for emergency personnel trying to help.

Assistant Chief Dale Head sees close calls too often. The most recent one was on Tuesday.

“Another vehicle tried to pull in between a police officer in an ambulance and the ambulance had the vehicle no one was injured but it was very dangerous,” said Dale Head, Assistant Chief of Hamilton County EMS.

Hamilton County first emergency responders answer over 250,000 9-1-1 calls a year.

Head says each responder takes a risk with every call.

“Usually anytime we go out on an accident see you're pretty close to traffic going back and forth,” said Dale Head.

As millions of people are preparing to travel for the holidays Head wants to remind drivers to slow down and use alternate routes to avoid accidents.

Trying to get a look at an accident which can cause more problems on the road.

“On the interstate it's not unheard of to have two or three other accidents behind the one you're working,” said Dale Head.

Head says when there is an accident scene to remain alert and move over.

“It's customary for us to pass traffic on the left and it's the citizens responsibility to move as far to the right as possible And stop,” said Dale Head.

Also look for and obey all temporary traffic control signs. These are meant to create a safe work area to treat victims.

EMT’s and paramedics have an injury rate that is three times the national average of any other occupation.

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