PA Firefighter’s Death Highlights Dangers of Roadway Incidents, Ways to Prevent Them

Firefighter Tom Royds
Firefighter Tom Royds (Photo/Lower Merion Township Fire Department)

A Pennsylvania firefighter struck and killed during a roadway operation shows us again how dangerous it can be to be a first responder working a crash scene. It also shines a spotlight on departments who are working to make sure these types of incidents never happen again.

The Firefighter

Tom Royds was killed Saturday, July 24, 2021, while working at a scene on Interstate 76, according to the Lower Merion Township (PA) Fire Department.

Units were preparing to leave the scene of the original accident just before 3:30 a.m. when an uninvolved vehicle struck three members of the Belmont Hills Fire Company and a Pennsylvania State Trooper.

Royds went into cardiac arrest at the scene and was transported to an area hospital where he subsequently died. The two other firefighters underwent surgery.

Jacquelyn Walker, 63, of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, was charged with vehicular homicide, CBS Philadelphia reports.

Scene Safety

Grand Prairie Fire Department has retrofitted its engines with crash attenuators.
Photo/Grand Prairie FD

JEMS recently profiled the Grand Prairie (TX) Fire Department and it’s amazing work on eliminating roadway deaths among first responders.

As the article notes, the department retrofitted two reserve engines with TrafFix Devices Scorpion Crash Attenuators. The devices protect personnel working on roadways and reduces injuries and fatalities for occupants in the vehicle that collides emergency apparatus.

The Scorpion II Truck Mounted Attenuator (TMA) is attached to the vehicle’s frame. When hit, the Scorpion’s modular design crushes in progressive stages – reducing the impact forces on the vehicle’s occupants.

The two buffer engines are dedicated to Dallas Fire-Rescue Officer William “Scott” Tanksley and Lubbock (TX) Fire Department firefighter/paramedic Eric Hill.

You can lean more about roadway safety here, here and here.

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