SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — According to AAA Texas, an average of 24 emergency responders are struck and killed by vehicles while working at the roadside each year. We talked to first responders in San Angelo about what it is like for them when severe weather hits.

Officer Richard Espinoza, with the San Angelo Police Department, said, “It’s definitely a challenge for first responders as we are tasked with traveling to and handling multiple calls for service regardless of how the weather is.”

Espinoza said working in such terrible weather comes with multiple challenges. However, the biggest challenge was motorists not moving over or slowing down while first responders work in weather-related accidents. 

“It’s imperative that the public takes into consideration the amount of time and effort it takes for our first responders to meet the needs of our citizens not only in ideal weather conditions but also in weather conditions like today,” said Officer Espinoza.

Johnny Fisher, Assistant Chief of Operations for the San Angelo Fire Department, said, “On scene at wrecks are always dangerous, especially in conditions as they are now. Some people don’t pay much attention to the conditions or don’t think the roads are too bad until it is too late to control their vehicle that is out of control.”

Fisher told CVHP staff that the wrecks in town have been substantial, but the wrecks out in the county have even been more so because of roads that have iced over. The Wall VFD has been staffed for 72 hours attending multiple rollovers that have occurred on S. 87. While assisting SAFD medics and rescue crews Wall VFD has responded to 15 emergency calls for service, with 13 of those being vehicle crashes due to icy road conditions.

In Texas, drivers are required to move over a lane or slow to 20 mph below the speed limit when approaching emergency vehicles, law enforcement, tow trucks, or other vehicles on the side of the road using visual signals or flashing lights activated on the roadside.

Both SAPD and SAFD ask the community to slow down, don’t do unnecessary driving, and pay attention to local news/media outlets as weather and road conditions are constantly changing.