WILLIAMSON – Both the Williamson Police Department (WPD) and the East Fork Volunteer Fire Department (EFVFD) were the recipients of some much-needed roadway accident equipment this past week.
Paul Gill, a staff instructor with Southern W.Va. Community and Technical College (SWVCTC), delivered the neon-pink signs, stands and orange collapsible cones that can be used to rope off an area during an accident or other emergency.
Chief Barry Blair accepted the equipment for the WPD, while Sgt. John Hall received the equipment for the EFVFD. Hall is chief of the Dingess area fire department and is also a longtime officer with the WPD.
The Williamson PD is the first law enforcement entity to receive this type of equipment in southern W.Va., according to Gill.
The two Mingo County departments received the free equipment after participating in classes, provided by Gill and SWVCTC.
“I belong to Task Force One, we do mine rescue and emergency service training,” Gill stated. “This class is the Traffic Incident Management Class – it is a 4-hour to 10-hour class.”
“The class is targeted to fire, police, EMS, wrecker operators, utility workers or any occupation that works along the roadways,” Gill added.
“This is a very important class to be sure to keep the motoring public safe,” Gill stressed. “And it will keep the first responders safe.”
The warning sign is pink in color, which is mandated by the federal Department of Transportation, according to Gill. “The hot pink is for emergency use only. That is why it is not yellow or orange. The hot pink is made to get people’s attention so that they will know that there is an emergency ahead.”
“These signs normally run about $400 apiece,” Gill said. There are three signs. One that reads “Traffic Emergency Ahead,” one that says “Merge Left” and the other “Merge Right.”
The orange traffic cones take up less space in emergency vehicles and can help with controlling congested traffic at an accident scene.
“The more we can make the public safe and warn them that there is a situation ahead – the safer our first responders will be at an accident scene,” Gill added.
Gill said SWVCTC has trained more than 400 students with the class and at 15 different locations. They are attempting to train as many as possible in the coalfields region.
“These signs are very expensive,” Gill concluded. “Most of our fire departments and law enforcement offices really can’t afford this kind of equipment. It’s priceless – especially when we can get this equipment out there. For every five students of an agency that completes the case, they can get one set.”
Emergency responders who would like to take the class can contact Gill or Donald Hurley at the Logan County campus by calling 304-896-7413.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)