Being seen on the scene is a priority for first responder safety. Each year firefighter and EMS personnel line of duty deaths and close calls show that roadways, highways, and interstates are the most dangerous places for first responders to work. No matter how much reminding motorists are given to move over or how often lighting, cones, traffic signs, and blocking apparatus are used, first responders are still being struck and critically injured or killed on our roadways.
A 2022 report of the Department of Transportation's National Roadway Safety Strategy stated that transportation incidents are the second most common cause of death among police officers and firefighters and the leading cause of death among tow truck operators. As much as 20% of vehicle crashes are estimated to be secondary to an earlier incident. A common recommendation from the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program’s reports on firefighters fatally struck by vehicles is that firefighters wear high visibility reflectorized vests while working on roadway incidents. The same applies to EMS personnel as well.
It is critical that when working on roadway incidents everyone wears personal protective equipment (PPE) that is highly visible, especially at night. Ricochet’s Rescue VIZ™ EMS jacket and pants, the Sentinel™ HiViz EMS jacket, and the ReadyVIZ™ come in a highly visible yellow with 2" Scotchlite silver reflective trim that is ANSI 107 compliant to make firefighters and medics stand out on the scene. ANSI 107 is the standard for highly visible apparel for public safety and non-public safety workers. The standard combines fluorescent yellow-green or bright orange with retroreflective trim that encircles the body, arms, and legs so the wearer stands out with and without a light source.
Ricochet’s RescueVIZ and HighVIZ PPE are also NFPA 1999 certified and have an EMS CROSSSTECH® fabric two-layer outer shell, and polyester mesh hung liner for liquid and blood-borne pathogen protection. This dual certification gives first responders the protection needed while working on vehicle accidents and the ability to stand out to passing motorists. Responding to accidents is a constant duty for fire and EMS departments. Relying on structural firefighting gear or a reflective vest alone does not have you working as safe and seen as possible as if you wore highly visible PPE made for the roadway and interstate environment. Wear the gear designed to give you the best protection possible.