Brookfield gets items for extra safety

Fire Department grants

Troy Kolar, a Canfield fire captain with the Cardinal Joint Fire District, explains new safety equipment, including warning street signs, rechargeable road flares and safety vests, which were presented to the Brookfield Fire Department as part of a grant with First Responders First. At right are Brookfield Fire Chief David Masirovits and Brookfield trustee Ron Haun. Photo by Bob Coupland

BROOKFIELD — Wanting to make sure fire, police and paramedic crews are safer on the highways and interstates when called to accident and fire scenes, Brookfield township trustees pursued and received more than $800 worth of safety equipment.

Trustees on Friday were presented with collapsible signs which warn motorists of an accident, rechargeable road flares and reflective road vests from First Responders First through a grant acquired by fire Chief David Masirovits.

Making the presentation was Troy Kolar, a Canfield fire captain with the Cardinal Joint Fire District, who is with the non-profit organization that provides the equipment. Kolar started making the safety items available to local fire departments after a fatal Ohio Turnpike crash he was involved in November 2014.

Kolar, who has 21 years in firefighting, said the equipment will help alert approaching motorists that safety crews are at the scene of an accident.

Large signs warn of the accident in advance while road flares mark the accident scene and reflective vests worn by responders allow motorist to better spot emergency crew members.

It was Nov. 5, 2014, when Kolar said he, along with part-time paramedics and firefighters were assisting a stalled vehicle on the side of the Ohio Turnpike. A sport utility vehicle had stopped behind the fire truck when a large truck hauling cars struck the SUV, which then hit the fire truck which was pushed forward several feet. The driver of the SUV was killed.

Kolar said the cars on the truck fell from the carrier and crashed onto the fire truck and the road.

“I remembered hearing a really loud tire squeal noise. I thought who doesn’t see a large fire truck,” he said.

So Kolar and his wife, Alissa, started First Responders First, which through fundraising, has been able to give out safety equipment which also includes collapsible cones with strobe lights.

Kolar said they try to park fire vehicles at an angle so if they are hit there will be less impact to equipment. He said the fire truck also is protection for the crews who are off the side of the road.

Kolar said the issue of driver awareness of first responders has been a frustration for him.

Trustee Dan Suttles, a retired firefighter, said he is aware of the dangers both fire and police personnel face on the roadways.

Masirovits said he applied for the road safety traffic grant, which was awarded in March.

“We work on donations only and every dollar we receive comes back to the fire departments. We reach out to police and fire departments,” Kolar said, noting Masirovits wanted both the road flares, since they are rechargeable and remain lighted, and the foldable emergency alert signs.

Kolar also conducts programs in schools called “Stop the Bleed” on how to prevent blood loss in trauma situations.

“We want to protect the safety crews,” he said.

Masiorvits said the equipment was used Friday after a tractor-trailer went off the highway in Vienna. He said the large signs were posted for motorists to be aware of the upcoming accident.