About 200 emergency responders turned out to for a massive demonstration on Highway 16 near Langham on Monday night, March 20, to pay tribute to a tow truck driver killed on the job during a blizzard near Esterhazy earlier this month.
The event also called for changes to allow tow trucks to use a combination of amber and other coloured lights while assisting motorists.
Over 50 tow trucks, fire trucks, police and rescue vehicles gathered at the Highway 16 weigh scales southeast of Langham at dusk. Firefighters from Langham, Borden, Dalmeny, Martensville and Warman arrived in marked fire trucks wearing their turnout gear.
As darkness fell, the procession of trucks, with their lights flashing, headed out onto the divided highway in both directions.
After setting up warning markers, the emergency vehicles parked on the side of the highway and the drivers removed their hats in a show of respect, while passing traffic slowed to 60 kilometers an hour.
Brad Warriner, a driver with a Saskatoon-based tow truck company and a key organizer of the event, said drivers need to slow down when passing any type of emergency vehicle.
“We wanted to raise awareness that people need to slow to 60 kilometers,” said Warriner. “It’s really too bad that a tragic event has to happen to get people’s attention.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a tow truck, police car, fire engine, or ambulance.
“Slow down, pull over and give us the room we need to do our work. We want everyone to be safe.”
Warriner said tow trucks need more than amber lights.
“Some kind of combination of lights, whether it’s amber and red, or amber and blue, would be a lot better at getting people’s attention,” he said. “There are so many amber lights used on such a variety of vehicles that people tend to ignore them.”
Warriner said he was amazed at the turnout for the rally.
“I can’t put it into words,” he said. “I didn’t think we’d get this big a response. It really shows this is an important issue.”