First responders face many dangers on the job

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NOLANVILLE, Texas (KWTX) Police officers, tow truck drivers, firefighters, EMS and many others all have to make sure they are on high alert at all times when working a scene.

Photo by Tianna Jenkins

Central Bell County Fire and Rescue Fire Chief Jason Worsdale has been in public safety since 1992.

Sometimes he feels like the public doesn’t care about first responders safety.

"We are out on these roadways and they're flying by us at 75, 80 miles an hour,” Chief Worsdale said.

“It's scary and it's dangerous."

In 2015 he says one of his engines was hit head on causing some of his men to be hospitalized.

"I had five individuals out of our roller accident in the hospital,” Chief Worsdale said.

“Two in ICU in a coma almost lost an entire engine company that day and it very well could have been avoided.”

It could have been avoided by slowing down and moving over.

The state law requires drivers to yield to police, fire and emergency vehicles, but it isn’t always followed.

The road is dangerous during the day, but at night levels increase because of the decrease in visibility.

Public Information Officer Dale Hammerschmidt says, because it is hard to see at night they wear a reflective vest, keep flashlights on them and keep their lights on so they can be seen.

"Unfortunately, incidents like which occurred in Waco can happen,” Hammerschmidt said.

“Taking up another lane of traffic is something we do to help decrease the potential liability for any type of incidents."

They also face dangers answering domestic calls.

Hammerschmidt says they never know exactly what will be waiting for them when they arrive on the scene.

But their biggest concern remains on the road.

Chief Worsdale says he worries about his crew’s every day.

“I want to make sure everybody goes home the same condition they showed up for a shift in,” Chief Worsdale said.

“I can preach safety and train and do all that all day long, but if the public is not helping us to help them it puts our lives in jeopardy."

Even though they know it can be dangerous, they continue to take precautions in order to keep the public and themselves safe.